Music In the Used Book Store

When I first moved to Dallas, 36 or so years ago, I lived in the venerable (and still there) Turtle Dove Apartments, off lower Greenville Avenue, behind the Granada Theater.

One of the things I liked to do was to walk up to Greenville and Mockingbird and then down a few blocks to a crackerjack used book store, Half-Price Books. I have a bad book addiction and the maze-like selection of rooms chock-full of tomes of all types was an irresistible draw.

Is there anything more evocative than the paper-and-mold smell of a used book store?

Over the decades I moved and so did the store. It kept outgrowing its present digs and, like a gigantic paper hermit crab, shed its shell and found larger quarters. It moved north to Northwest Highway, settling in to an old Captain’s Cargo store – leaving it with two incongruous sailing vessel type stairways (that location is torn down and an REI landed on the spot).

My addiction was as strong as ever and one day I went to the place only to find giant “Closed” signs plastered all over. Sadly, I turned to my car only to spot giant streamers and “Half-Price Books New Location” signs across the street in a giant new building.

It’s the biggest used book store I’ve ever seen, in an open-plan of comfortable rows rather than the usual maze-like configuration. I’ve been to this big main store hundreds of times over the years, though I’m slowing down now as I try to get my inner hoarder under control and deal with the realization I have more books than I can read in the rest of my life.

Meanwhile, in another story, in 2012 Candy and I stumbled across a group of singers, a jam, at the Bar Belmont in West Dallas. I became their fan.

Charli's Sunday Afternoon Acoustic Jam

Charli’s Sunday Afternoon Acoustic Jam

belmont3

Playing the Dobro

Playing the Dobro

Over the years, Charli’s Jam has been forced to move around too. As their fan, I followed to various bars and other spots – and enjoyed most every place.

And now, they have settled in to the Big Main Half-Price. The same bookstore I’ve been hanging out in all these years. They perform on Sundays at three PM – I stopped by for a listen and to check out the new digs.

Other than the unavailability of alcohol… it seems like a sweet spot.

Charli's Acoustic Jam at the Half-Price Flagship Bookstore

Charli’s Acoustic Jam at the Half-Price Flagship Bookstore

Charli's Acoustic Jam at the Half-Price Flagship Bookstore

Charli’s Acoustic Jam at the Half-Price Flagship Bookstore

Charli's Acoustic Jam at the Half-Price Flagship Bookstore. I think this is the same guy playing the Dobro that I saw in 2012.

Charli’s Acoustic Jam at the Half-Price Flagship Bookstore. I think this is the same guy playing the Dobro that I saw in 2012.

Music cases and used books... and a bass.

Music cases and used books… and a bass.

I Kept My Tune

“So I went ahead and made me a guitar. I got me a cigar box, I cut me a round hole in the middle of it, take me a little piece of plank, nailed it onto that cigar box, and I got me some screen wire and I made me a bridge back there and raised it up high enough that it would sound inside that little box, and got me a tune out of it. I kept my tune and I played from then on.”
― Lightnin’ Hopkins

Denton, Texas

Denton, Texas

Whirl Of Matter In Motion, Like A Patch Of Sand-Storm

“After supper was over and the toasts had been drunk, the boy Pablo was called in to play for the company while the gentlemen smoked. . . there was softness and languor in the wire strings–but there was also a kind of madness; the recklessness, the call of wild countries which all these men had felt or followed in one way or another. Through clouds of cigar smoke, the scout and the soldiers, the Mexican rancheros and the priests, sat silently watching the bent head and crouching shoulders of the banjo player, and his seesawing yellow hand, which sometimes lost all form and became a mere whirl of matter in motion, like a patch of sand-storm.”
― Willa Cather, Death Comes for the Archbishop

Denton, Texas (click to enlarge)

Denton, Texas
(click to enlarge)

The Music Was Breath And Food

“Then the singing enveloped me. It was furry and resonant, coming from everyone’s very heart. There was no sense of performance or judgment, only that the music was breath and food.”
― Anne Lamott, Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith

Courthouse Pickers Denton, Texas (click to enlarge)

Courthouse Pickers
Denton, Texas
(click to enlarge)

Photo taken turning the weekly Courthouse Pickers – bluegrass jam session every Saturday at the county courthouse, Denton, Texas

Tears Were Warm, And Girls Were Beautiful, Like Dreams

“Even so, there were times I saw freshness and beauty. I could smell the air, and I really loved rock ‘n’ roll. Tears were warm, and girls were beautiful, like dreams. I liked movie theaters, the darkness and intimacy, and I liked the deep, sad summer nights.”
― Haruki Murakami, Dance Dance Dance

Monco Poncho and Fans Four Bullets Brewery Richardson, Texas

Monco Poncho and Fans
Four Bullets Brewery
Richardson, Texas

Every Heart Sings A Song

“Every heart sings a song, incomplete, until another heart whispers back. Those who wish to sing always find a song. At the touch of a lover, everyone becomes a poet.”
― Plato

Mural of Madison King behind cars from the Invasion Car Show Deep Ellum Dallas, Texas

Mural of Madison King
behind cars from the Invasion Car Show
Deep Ellum
Dallas, Texas

Mural of Madison King, by Frank Campagna

I’ve been a fan of Madison King for a while now and was glad that Frank Campagna chose her for one of the murals in Deep Ellum.

Madison King at the first Patio Session

Madison King at the first Patio Session