8. The End Of The Beginning

Bobby Poe and The Poe KatsOne particularly brutal winter, Bobby Poe and The Poe Kats had a fantastic gig in the Colorado Rockies in support of Marty Robbins, with Wanda Jackson also on the bill. While cursing their fate that there was so much bad weather to deal with, the band finally made it through the snow to the gig.

After the gig, which was a highlight of the band's career, it was my dad's turn to drive home. It was a hair-raising experience. It was all my dad could do to keep the car from sliding off the snowy mountain roads into oblivion. As it was, he rolled the car over in a ditch at the bottom of a particularly slippery slope.

Miraculously, no one was seriously hurt. It was at that exact point that I believe my dad prayed hard and promised to change his ways on that lonely mountain byway. And he did change his ways - he decided he would rather be the manager in the nice warm office, instead of the poor performer traveling mostly from one godforsaken hellhole to the next.

Also around this time, Big Al became even more of a focus in the band and on record. Billed as Big Al Downing and The Poe Kats, a now classic recording was released called "Down On the Farm". "Down On The Farm" has been covered by a multitude of artists over the years, including on Shakin' Stevens and The Sunsets debut album "A Legend" (produced by Dave Edmunds, the track featured the band's Rockin' Louie on lead vocals), as well as later covers by Webb Wilder and Kim Lenz, among others. "Down On The Farm" was recently included in Rhino Records comprehensive 2006 compilation "Rockin' Bones: '50's Punk & Rockabilly"...