It has been a long time since this all happened (1969-1971), my personal battle with Rock music, alcohol, and more. Now I have the victory and have been set free for many years. still it has not been long enough to erase the pain for my friends who died needlessly during that time. The friend who died in Mexico when his drug deal went bad; another who died on the floor of his room from an overdose while his “friends” ran away to avoid facing up to what had happened.Another so-called “friend” who got involved in a love triangle with a husband and wife and ended up murdering both of them, and then lying his way out of it.Thank you Jesus that you saved me and took me out of all that! Praise God, but how did all that happen? Let me think………
Upon arriving at college I embarked on a head-first”dive” into the world of rock music, smoking dope, and drinking. All of this I thought was necessary to fit-in and meet the approval of my peers and new-found friends.I was introduced to all kinds of new music through fraternity brothers and other “cool” people at the school.Before long we were traveling to Atlanta to hear a free concert at Piedmont Park to see the Allman Brothers Band. Even though they were now based in Macon and I was from Macon, this was my first time to see them play, and man did that make an impression on me! I had never heard anything like that music before and from that time on I was hooked! Any chance I could find to hear a live band play I would go. Studies did not matter any more, I had found something that seemed to validate me, Rock music. I embarked on a “fog” which mercifully I survived.Jesus had His hand on my life, even then.
Back at college I had managed to fail most of my Freshman classes. My new-found indulgence in Marijuana and alcohol resulted in my reward; a new classification from the Draft Board just after my eighteenth birthday; I-A classification! That meant that only an act of God could keep me from being drafted and shipped off to the Vietnam War, where I would have a lot more to battle than Rock music! My mom and dad were panic stricken, but I was too naive to comprehend the seriousness of my situation!
Miracles do happen though, and somehow my dad was able to get me a college deferment, which would keep me from being drafted as long as I was in school. The new problem was that I was about to get kicked out of school because of my failing grades, but somehow my dad was able to persuade my professors to give me another chance and I rose to the occasion.Somehow, the Lord spared me a terrible fate which again gave me a chance to straighten out my life.I quit the dope for good and managed to get my grades to a respectable average. A year after graduation I found myself in Miami Florida working at my first flying job, where I would stay for the next three years as the Lord prepared me for what lay ahead.
My mind goes back to a bar in the restaurant called “Leo’s” in the alley in downtown Macon Georgia. The year is 1976 and I didn’t know it yet but I was on the verge of the move of my life (to Honolulu Hawaii during the next year). I am sitting at the bar next to Bobby Whitlock,former keyboard player-guitarist with Derek and the Dominos, George Harrison, and Delaney and Bonnie and Friends. You can hear Bobby singing duo with George on “MY Sweet Lord”(Little did I know within a few years I would be flying tourists over George’s home on Maui).The Rolling Stones and John Lennon are among the other band-mates of Mr. Whitlock (Happy Birthday Bobby on March 18!) Bobby wrote several songs on the Layla Album along with Eric Clapton and played them in the famous recording sessions over forty five years ago.
I was struck by the fact that he was very easy to talk to, relaxed and very modest. We sat at the bar and talked with Leo, the Greek immigrant owner, about girls and music… What else? Now if you are looking for a world-class ladies man, Leo is your guy, and there were very few ladies in Macon, married or otherwise, who could resist his charms.(A few years later I would have the honor of being best man at his wedding in Hawaii, but that’s another story.) Leo and I are still friends and we keep in touch.
There had been many nights of drinking and partying at Leo’s.It was the “In” place for the Capricorn Studios crowd and all the rock stars that came through Macon to record there.The times they were a-changing, and Jimmy Carter was getting ready to run for President. Many of the Capricorn artists would work for Mr.Carter and help him get elected.Leo would eventually leave town and return to his native land. As for, me there were bigger and better things ahead and little did I know of the life-change that was in store.(To be continued)
Thank you Jesus! Maranatha!
P.S. Why am I sharing this encounter with a famous musician, something that happened over forty years ago? Because at that time I would have given anything to be him and to live the life he lived. My life was at a crossroads and I literally went in a different direction. I can honestly say now that I am thankful for the life that Jesus gave me over the last forty years, and that He is Lord of my life.To see where Bobby has accomplished in life and that he is also happy is a good thing. What I want to say is that I would not trade places with anyone, and I am thankful that the Lord has brought me through to this point, and that He will continue to be with me into eternity with Him!
You can find Bobby at: http://WWW.bobbywhitlockandcococarmel.com