Myrna and I recorded “Ride in Your Automobile” in New York City in 2001. This song was written by our friend, Mary Lane, one of the great contemporary blues singers in Chicago.
Myrna and I drove to Chicago three or four times a year to visit Mary. We often sat in with her and A.C. Reed at Kingston Mines. This world is becoming more lonely by the day. A.C. has also departed this vale of tears.
We bought our Ford Expedition in 2001, so we really were riding in our automobile. Myrna loved that car. It was so big, tough, fast and masculine. Within a year of buying the Expedition, we bought our Harley.
The journeys from New York City to Chicago were always wild adventures. With Myrna in tow, every character in America wanted to stop and talk. New York was going through the worst of its fag worship era. Myrna was desperate to escape that sissified, swishy world. She had grown up among the loggers, fishermen and truck drivers of coastal Oregon. She loved macho good old boys.
I remember, in particular, eating lunch in a truck stop in Ohio and talking with a snaggle-toothed truck driver from Alabama. As every man did, he broke down and told Myrna his entire life story. He owned an enormous farm down south, something like 100 acres, and he was growing pot. We asked him if he wasn’t worried about getting busted and he replied that he was well armed. In fact, he wanted us to know, down south everybody was armed.
“An armed society is a polite society,” he said.
Myrna and I spent those long drives listening to CDs of our music and working on our harmonies. The cab was always filled with pot smoke. Back in those days, I smoked. Since her death, I’ve stopped, partly because I can’t afford it, and party because that was something I did with Myrna. I no longer want to do that with another person. There are so many parts of me that belong to her alone, that I can never give to another person.
Between the practice sessions, Myrna would tell me the fantastic stories of her life. She was an astonishing story teller, moving me quickly from tears to laughter. Myrna expected life to be rough and tough. In fact, she relished the rough and tumble of life… even the worst of the music world.
“Ride in Your Automobile” is one of our best harmonies. Living without singing with Myrna… good God, how can that have happened?