“Satin Sheets”

jeanne-pruett

CHAPTER FORTY-EIGHT

SATIN SHEETS

John Irons had approached me about doing a “Country” version of “Wild Wednesdays” on Labor Day. What the hell. We agreed to a fifty-fifty split. The WKMF “Country Carnival” drew four thousand. We had Bobby Bare and Jeannie Pruett as major draws and a dozen or so local country bands.

Jeannie Pruett had a #1 Country-Western hit with “Satin Sheets To Cry On”. Jeannie sat in her mobile home as fans lined-up outside for autographs.  “Look at ’em fuckin’ squirrels”, her road manager reflected aloud.

Well, he wasn’t all wrong.

The Country audience in Flint during that era was rather rural in both background and predisposition. There were quite a few exceptions, but those were far in the minority. There was a pronounced lack of sophistication and a tangible aura of subcultural angst highly evident and prevalent from the moment we opened the gates at Noon. The “WKMF Country Carnival” had been promoted as a “family affair”. That it was.

There were picnic tables, fold-up chairs, beer kegs and blazing grills as far as the eye could see. Little kids were running around everywhere with no obvious supervision, many falling into the lake completely unnoticed. There were near-drownings every five minutes. The whiskey flowed. Major fist-fights were breaking-out everywhere. Even women were punching women and pulling-off each other’s wigs.

A number of younger couples had playfully headed back into a wooded area where, according to reliable sources, they were pulling down each other’s pants and screwing their brains out in broad daylight, otherwise remaining fully-clothed and “decent”. Many families had brought their dogs along. These were starting to pack-up, rummaging through unguarded food baskets and over-turned trash cans with reckless abandon. My entire long-haired “roadie team” locked themselves in the “record room” and refused to come out without police protection.

A giant of a man grabbed John Irons and proudly announced that he was John’s “favorite fan”. He demanded to meet Jeannie Pruett. When John allowed how that just wasn’t in the cards, the son-of-a-bitch drew a foot-long butcher knife. John kicked him in the balls and called for a cop. The “favorite fan” was arrested and brought downtown. He was back an hour later with three brothers. They were all hauled-in.

By the time the day ended, there had been forty arrests. Those detained were just the obvious ones who moved slowly and were caught. The park was a wreck. Irons and I made a grand total of two hundred dollars each. Security costs had tripled due to a number of off-duty officers wisely called-in by Chief Boyce. Oddly enough, there were no serious injuries reported. The folks had obviously practiced this sort of thing before.

There was absolutely no disagreement from anyone that the “WKMF Country Carnival” had wrought more havoc and had engendered more flat-out trouble in ten hours than every “Wild Wednesday”, “Super Sunday” and regular Rock ‘n Roll concert ever held at the facility all put together.  There was no press coverage whatsoever. The day went unknown by most and forgotten by almost all.

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