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My name is Stanley Robinson.

But you might know me by my stage name ‘Swamp Dog’ Robinson.

I had a few minor hits back in the sixties

Everybody told me that i should of made it to the top.

But i didn’t quite make it.

My name is ‘Swamp Dog’ Robinson.

And this is my story.

 

I was born July 28 1947 in a mean little town.

Not all that far away from Nashville Tennesse

A mean little town where everybody did it tough.

My mother was the head of the house because dad was injured in the war.

She did all that she could to keep the wolves from the door.

 

We didn’t have any money so we lived with grandpa at his house.

And sometimes he would entertain us by playing his guitar and singing along.

He told that what he was playing was called country and western.

But my mama called it the blues.

I didn’t care what it was called.

I just loved the sound of that guitar and grandpa’s voice

I knew then and there that playing country and western was my career of choice.

 

I used to sneak into grandpa’s room and fool around with his guitar.

And dream about moving to Nashville and becoming the latest new sensation.

Having girls throwing themselves at my feet.

My songs would be played on all of the radio stations.

I will become inducted in the country and western hall of fame.

And everyone on Earth will scream and know my name.

 

One night grandpa caught me messing with his guitar.

And he offered to show me how to play.

I quickly learnt all of the basic chords i just couldn’t get enough.

Me and my grandpa were hanging tough.

 

I practised everyday until my fingers would bleed.

That guitar meant the world to me.

Except of course for mama papa and grandpa to.

But that goes without saying.

I just wanted the world to hear me playing.

 

For my fifteenth birthday i was given my very own second hand guitar.

And it soon became my pride and joy.

I knew that money was tight and that mama and papa were struggling.

So i gave them a kiss and a hug of thanks.

I loved to watch my fingers move up and down the fret.

I thought to myself ‘ You haven’t heard nothing yet’

 

I took my guitar to school so i could practise every chance i got.

One day a teacher heard me playing and asked if i wanted to play in the

school band?

I just shrugged my shoulders ‘sure’ but inside my stomach was doing cartwheels.

I was boarding the train of with silver wheels.

 

So i joined the band and after a week of practise we were ready to play our first show.

But at the last minute the singer got cold feet and quit on the spot.

The teacher started to panic and asked if any of us could sing?

I put my hand up thinking ‘How hard could it be?’

That is when i discovered that i had a voice.

So now i was playing guitar and singing lead.

Unfortunately that is when my ego started to feed.

 

The school band was good,but i knew that i was better than the others

It was good to play to my family and friends.

But i wanted to play to the masses.

A friend told me about a club that held a talent quest every Thursday night.

So i racked up the courage and went to this seedy little joint

And waited for my chance at the end of the line.

I knew that this was a great opportunity to shine.

 

When my time came i walked onto the stage as nervous as a kitten.

But i soon turned into a lion and began to roar.

I gave it everything that i had and a whole lot more

I just let the music do the talking

I was only supposed to play one song ,but i ended up doing three.

The noise from the crowd got the adrenaline pumping.

And my ego got a boost that it didn’t really need.

I was floating up on cloud number nine.

But as you know not every cloud has a silver lining.

Sometimes they can turn heavy and black.

I was now walking a very dangerous path.

And there was no going back.

 

After my set i waited around for the other contestants to do their thing.

And even though i was underage a local bought me a whiskey to calm my nerves.

It filled my stomach with fire but it settled me down.

I licked my lips i really could do with another taste of that soothing liquor.

Looking back now i should have walked out of that door without looking back.

Already my world was beginning to crack.

 

I won the competition with first prize being a chance to record a demo tape.

That would be sent off to all of the record companies.

An opportunity to hit the big time.

I could tour the world with the likes of Cash.Kristofferson,Rodgers and Cline.

The cream of the crop.

I was too busy living on the edge of tomorrow.

So i didn;t hear the penny drop.

 

When i arrived at the recording studio first thing i did was visit the bathroom.

The day before i had bought myself a hip flask and filled with Johnny Walker Red.

I sat there and had myself a tiny little sip.

Barely enough to wet my lip.

 

But it was enough.

I got through the session with flying colours.

A couple of my own songs were put down plus a Jimmy Reeve cover.

I layed them all down in one take i was played like a man possessed.

Feeling rather pleased with myself i snuck off to have another drink.

A toast to my success.

I raised the flask up and ‘God bless’.

 

My demo was sent off to all of the record labels.

And i was expecting an avalanche of replies.

Instead all i heard was the roaring sound of silence

To say i was disappointed is an under statement in the extreme

But i was still in my teens so all i could do was play the local bars.

I played and played for years waiting for my break.

My drinking was getting out of hand

But it was a crutch that i needed to keep me from going insane

It also helped me to forget my memories and forget the pain.

 

Than one night i was playing at a local dive trying to make a living.

But still dreaming the dream.

After my set i was sitting at the bar having another glass of temptation

When i felt a tap on my shoulder,i turned to see a guy in a suit.

He told me that he had enjoyed my show and had listened to my old demo.

Would i be interested in a recording contract with Warner Bros ?

He told me that he would drive me to Nashville and i could sign the deal

My dream once again was becoming very real.

 

After a month of rehearsal and a whole lot of drinking

I entered the studio to record my first album

But the recording session didn’t go so well.

A bottle of whiskey was in my left hand and the microphone in my right.

So we had to play take after take.

I could tell that the session musicians were getting pissed off with my

unprofessional attitude.

But i didn’t really give a shit.

I was a star on the rise it is now my time to shine.

I celebrated with a bottle of whiskey and few glasses of wine.

 

To my and the record companies surprise the album was a hit.

In the first week it sold over 100.000 copies

And after a month my album was sitting at number 10 on the country and western

chart.

My management quickly arranged an American tour to cash in on the success.

I did interviews after interviews with the music press getting my name out there.

There was also talk of touring Europe Australia and Japan.

I am living the dream i am the main man.

 

The first show was in Cleveland supporting Waylon Jennings.

We are off to a flying start.

My backing band is red hot and we blow Waylon off the stage.

We travelled from town to town city to city criss crossing the whole country

The headlines were calling me the new kid in town the latest sensation.

I was quickly becoming the toast of the nation.

 

The tour was a great success until we reached Atlanta Georgia

I walked out onto the stage with my guitar and a bottle of Johnny Walker.

But midway through my set i started to forget the lyrics and i hit a few wrong notes,

The crowd was getting restless and had started to boo.

I gave them the finger and screamed out ‘fuck you’

 

I was kicked off the tour.

And i went back home with my tail between my legs.

My manager told me that my drinking was really starting ti get out of hand.

And i agreed that i needed to tone it down.

So we came to a compromise,i could have a glass or two before the show.

But nothing while i was onstage.

But inside my alcohol fuelled brain was starting to rage.

 

After a week of recovery i was reinstated onto the tour.

On the condition that i clean up my act and behave.

I wholeheartedly agreed to their wishes.

 

My antics at the Atlanta show had made the headlines  and gave my record sales

a boost.

But i knew that if i didn;t behave myself my career would be over.

I would have a shot or two and play and sing with soul.

But i was teetering on the edge of a great big hole.

 

For the next few years i kept a low profile.

Building up my fan base and keeping out of trouble.

My album sales were steady and a had a couple of hits in my home town.

But don;t think that i have turned into an angel.

Because every now and then i will go on a bender.

That will sometimes last a whole week.

My throat was so hoarse i could barely speak.

 

Than my manager calls with some good news.

Willie Nelson is coming to town and he wants me to be his support act.

Willie at the time was one of the biggest stars on the planet.

So this is a big chance to kick start my career.

So i will have to be on my best behaviour.

This is the last throw of the dice.

I will never get another shot at the big time if i keep fucking up.

I have to stop drinking from the Devils cup.

 

After two weeks of rehearsal i am ready for the show.

But instead of the usual two shots i down half the bottle to settle my nerves.

My manager tells that the concert is being filmed for a TV special.

So i sneak a bottle onstage and hide it behind the amps.

Just for a little insurance you have to understand.

I walk onstage the stage with my great little band.

 

I get a good ovation when i finish the first song.

But by the fifth song my throat is getting dry,

So during the guitar solo i go behind the amps for a little taste.

A voice in my head is screaming  ‘What a fucking waste’

 

After a few more visits to the bottle i just say fuck it and take the bottle back with me

and put it near my microphone stand.

Like a security blanket.

I have a long slug before i start my final song.

The bottle is almost empty.

My brain is a little blurry and i struggle to remember the words.

The last thing i remember is hearing the jeers and heckles from the crowd.

I start to stumble and fall right off the stage.

My career is over i have reached the final page.

 

I am now 55 years old and i am still waiting for that phone call that will never come.

I still play guitar and sing country and western.

Or country as they call it now.

I had my chance at stardom but i drank it all away.

My demons are with me and they are here to stay.

 

 

THE END.