All The Gold In California (Wasn’t Enough To Keep Larry Gatlin From Flying Southwest)

June 18, 2008

Paloma nudged me as we were checking our bags. “Hey, isn’t that Larry…ummm…Hagman?”

I was puzzled and, in a role reversal, I offered up her standard reply. “Isn’t he dead?”

I’m not sure if Larry Hagman is still among the living or not, but I did finally recognize the gentlemen waiting for the same delayed flight as us. It was country singer Larry Gatlin.

Now, the only song I know by the man is All The Gold In California because it played constantly on the country station to which my parents had tuned the kitchen radio. As for actually being able to visually ID the man, you can chalk that up to years working in record stores and, in fits of boredom, perusing every single album in those stores.

As we munched down some food near our flight’s gate, Larry assumed a position against a post, leaning in posed casualness like some hooker on a street corner.

“Think he wants to be noticed?” Paloma asked.

He got his wish soon enough as another passenger latched onto him like a dog to a soup bone. As Larry had a travel buddy, Paloma and I settled into our seats, ignored the safety lecture, and observed the other famous folks aboard our flight.

Paloma spotted the portly fellow who played Craig on Malcolm In The Middle. Then, she nudged me as a forty-five-going-on-twenty-five year old, bottled blonde took a position across the aisle.

“It’s Betsey Johnson,” Paloma whispered.

“The woman who invented the American flag?” I asked. “Can’t be. She has to be dead.” (OK, I know that was Betsy Ross, but I had no idea who Betsey Johnson was and had to think fast.)

Our flight was turning into an episode of The Love Boat; our cast completed by some busty brunette that Paloma insisted was a porn star. She turned out to be some flight attendant sans official attire (either that or, in an effort to cut costs, Southwest is employing porn stars as part-time help).

In truth, none of these people were any of the people we suspected/accused them of being except for Larry Gatlin. This fact was confirmed as we exited and passed his seatmate who was chattering like a monkey on crack into his cell phone – “I just spent the past two hours with Larry Gatlin…”

Hole – Gold Dust Woman
Personally, I thought the final Hole album, Celebrity Skin, was nearly flawless and I actually prefer their version of this Fleetwood Mac classic to the original (I think it appeared on the sequel to The Crow soundtrack).

Aztec Camera – Working In A Goldmine
I first learned of Roddy Frame when I heard the effervescent Oblivious on 97X out of Oxford, Ohio in high school. I think that I heard Working In A Goldmine on the syndicated show Rock Over London and immediately was smitten with the dreamy song – “glitter, glitter everywere.”

Neil Young – Heart Of Gold
I’m a much bigger fan of Neil’s more grungy material, especially with Crazy Horse and, if I had to choose one album by him I’d likely opt for Freedom, Sleeps With Angels, or Weld, but what’s not to love about Heart Of Gold?

Dire Straits – Love Over Gold
In college, I used to mess around with one of my roommate’s guitar and became so infatuated with the playing of Mark Knopfler, I spent a good six months listening to nothing but Dire Straits. It didn’t make me a guitarist, but I did know every note of their catalog, particularly their finest three albums: Making Movies, Love Over Gold, and Alchemy.