I learned something interesting today. Those National Public Radio stories where the reporter goes into the field and interviews people about interesting things. It sounds simple enough. Just get a cassette recorder find someone and ask them questions and record what they say.
This weekend I learned it's not that simple. My friend Dale and I drove down to Opp, Alabama (home of the world famous RattleSnake Rodeo) and met Lamar Morris at the home of Wes and Deidra Laird. Wes and Deidra grilled pork chops, made rice, sauteed mushrooms and tossed a fresh salad. We sat around and had a leisurely dinner and Dale asked questions to get a feel for an angle for the story.
After dinner, Dale got out his mini DV recorder which is a small digital recorder smaller than a pack of cigarettes. He wired tiny microphones to Lamar and recorded him talking about life on the road with Hank Williams Jr. and other famous country artists in the 60's and 70's. We also recorded him playing the guitar.
This morning, we got started at 9 a.m. and did another three hours of interview questions. One story that I've never heard was about the time that Lamar played on stage with Hank Williams Sr. Lamar was just a kid about 10 years old. Hank came to Andalusia for a performance and a friend of Lamar's father asked Hank if Lamar could play a few songs. Lamar said he played three songs made popular by Hank Sr. before the star came on stage. "I'd better start the show now," he said "before you play all my songs." Hank was having fun with the kid, but Lamar said he was mortified that he had made ol' Hank mad.
We also video taped Lamar playing a song off his album "Walls of Memories." This was for a separate project that is in its infancy
On the way home this afternoon, Dale said we got some good stuff.
The real work begins now because Dale will have to edit all that tape down to a report that is from 5 to 8 minutes long. Dale will write his thoughts and observations and splice it together with the words and music of Lamar.
I'm sure it will take several days to distill it down to the finished product but Dale is a very good writer and editor and he does remarkable work.
I was fascinated by the process and I had a great time learning something new.