A second of your life...ruined for life.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Born Today: Les Baxter

Above is the man in action, swinging a stick to calm the massed natives...
Below is Mr. Baxter's rendition of "Unchained Melody," coming to us from
a parlor in Italy:

From Michael DeCapite's novel RUINED FOR LIFE!, a scene of high school kids
cruising around in Cleveland in the mid-70s:

We drove around. Jake was in the backseat cracking jokes. He kept asking
us to stop where there'd be people he knew. It was dark, we were covering
distance, killing time, waiting to be free of school and out in the world.
The streetlights ran out.
An airfield went by. Lost Nation Road. The Roxy Music tape ran through
and popped itself out and the radio came on. An old song was beginning, just
a voice. Jake eased right in, he knew all the words. Luke glanced at him in
the mirror and I turned around. The song was coming from the night, we'd
driven into it.
There were strings and voices in the background, but the voice was trying
to leave them behind. Jake's eyes were closed. We thought he was camping it
up. And then, in the continuous darkness of the car and the night, the song's
drama and reality hit me and the back of my neck tingled. Jake's voice
cracked and soared and broke into falsetto. I turned and watched the road.
Luke lowered the radio and we drove on while Jake sang "Unchained Melody".

You can read more of DeCapite's writing at sparklestreet.com.

Les makes a quick appearance in this essay by Brian McMahon of Cleveland's
the electric eels:


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