Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Ernie Marrs

That blasted song from the movie INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS has been going around and around  in my head.  It reminds me of a folk singer that lived in Atlanta in the 1960s that we met.

My Facebook friend Kathie Stehr had something about Atlanta's underground newspapers of the 60s and maybe the early part of the 70s THE GREAT SPECKLED BIRD last month. 

I met Ernie Marrs, a writer and editor for THE GREAT SPECKLED BIRD.  Ernie was not only a writer and editor of the BIRD, he was also a poet and song writer.  He had written several songs that sold well.  The one that stands out is PLASTIC JESUS.   He was also friends with Bob Dylan.   But he didn't quit his day job, he was also a roofer.

Years ago, shortly after we were married we were having drinks with one of Anna's co-workers Pat  at the Redwood Lounge (which I renamed the REDNECK Lounge) in Little Five Pints and Pat was telling us about her friend Ernie Marrs, which essentially she told us just about what I told you in the above paragraph except the PLASTIC JESUS part.  Pat said, "Well lets go see him, he just lives across the street."

We went across the street and behind the house  to a garage in the back.  Above the garage was an apartment, with steps  on the side, leading up to a door to the apartment.  I forgot the details but I remember I was alone at the top of the landing knocking on Ernie's door.  The girls must have been waiting in the car.  After drinking all that beer  at the Redneck Lounge I felt I had to urinate then - no waiting, I was about to burst.   Being woozy, and with no better sense, I pulled it out and starting urinating from the landing at the top of the stairs, with a good view of Atlanta.   Then, behind me on the stairs I heard somebody quickly climbing the steps.  I turned around and that was the first time I met Ernie Marrs.  I switched hands and shook hands with him.  He didn't seem to mind.  I told him Anna and Pat was down in the car.  He motioned for them to come up and they did.  Come to find out he had the hots for Pat. 
He played us some of his songs he had written and we drunk some of his beer.  He enjoyed our surprised visit as much as we did.  

It been so long ago I forgot the details but I think we had a few other encounters with him - but Anna and I were invisible, he was always focused on Pat.  He faded away in time and I think he died in the late 1980s.


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