It’s been over a year since the day I started working on “Darla Come Down From Jackson”.
I don’t remember ever making an official call, the project is growing and developing by itself. The tributes to Charlie that I have received to date have come from all over the world. From Japan, Argentina, the Old Continent and of course the United States. By Charlie’s friends, who were lucky enough to know him and by those who knew him through his records. By those who, like Charlie, have a huge discography to their credit and by those who have returned to record music for this occasion.
I would record a cover myself, if only I could play an instrument and my voice had not the same sound of the cry of a cat whose tail was crushed.
“Darla Come Down From Jackson”, the title is provisional, is and will be a tribute to the music of Charlie Mcalister. It will be something big, the size of a mammoth, huge and sensational like Charlie’s record production. The more songs reinterpreted, received, the better.
I see the finish line, we will reach it in a couple of months.
I have told this story on more than one occasion. Charlie was planning a trip to Italy, at one point everything seemed ready. He would have lived in Bari, Italy for a couple of months. There was a house, I had found a tape recorder on the internet, there were my grandfather’s musical instruments, something of mine and I had already alerted friends and acquaintances who could play an instrument. They would be Charlie’s backing band. Charlie probably already had in mind a bunch of songs.
I would periodically send Charlie videos. The fisherman who used a tray to curl the octopuses, the man who opened a sea urchin with a knife and ate it as soon as it was caught and other daily scenes of the life he would have lived here in Bari. Charlie’s journey never happened. In “Umpo Scuzzi” there is a song called “Failed Trip To Naples”, Bari, if you don’t know it, is about at the same latitude as Naples, just on the opposite coast of the boot, the Adriatic.
Charlie, I recently found out, was studying Italian.
“Umopo Scuzzi”, the title of one of the two albums released by Almost Halloween Time Records, are not Italian words, I think Charlie meant “Un po’ scusi” which translated would be “Excuse me, Just a little”
I don’t know why Charlie didn’t come in the end.
Charlie once confessed to me that he had some problems with the law, problems that were delaying the release of the documents necessary to enter Italy. The thing never worried me, I was determined to bring Charlie to Italy, he could potentially be a serial killer, or he might have committed simony and abigeant. But I never cared about things, I never asked him what kind of problems he had with the law. I never cared. For me they counted and still count the hours and hours of music that Charlie recorded for us, Mississippi Luau counts, The Florescent Package Deal Chicken #4 contained in a bag along with various found objects counts, Subhurbian Beachtown counts, Eight Month Tab counts, Me Motiff San Foule counts
We were close even a few years later, during my honeymoon in the United States, we talked with Charlie about the possibility of meeting somewhere in the vastness of the new continent, he was working on a video project for Spew Geyser, the latest incarnation of Flannel Banjo or if you prefer Frekshow Tapes, Tar Owl, etc. He wanted me to participate in the shoot too.
I have heard a lot of anecdotes from his friends, most of them I have heard in person and now I keep only a distant memory. Other images I have of Charlie, true because they are fixed on tape, are the ones we can all see in the video testimonies that Charlie left us. The legendary concert, in which Charlie plays while someone waters him with a pump.
Charlie and I never met in real life but I seem to know him. Surely we have been friends
This is an official call, send me your anecdotes about Charlie and your covers. We will make this tribute special.