By James Calemine
Don Nix‘s Road Stories And Recipes contains personal music stories of Memphis, Muscle Shoals, dangerous juke joints, traveling tales in the 50s, 60s and 70s as well as over 60 recipes from some of the world’s most talented musicians. Don Nix, musician/songwriter/producer, recounts his singular memories and experiences through the years in the book.
Nix tells first-hand stories about crossing paths with a long list of luminaries such as Freddie King, Albert King, Dewey Phillips, Steve Cropper, Duck Dunn, Charlie Freeman, Terry Johnson, “Packy” Axton, The Mar-Keys, Jim Stewart, Estelle Axton, Wayne Jackson, Stax Records, Chips Moman, Rufus & Carla Thomas, Elvis, Carl Radle, J. J. Cale, Chuck Blackwell, Leon Russell, Booker T. Jones, Isaac Hayes, Al Jackson, Furry Lewis, Gus Cannon, Charles Elmo (aka Charlie Brown), Gram Parsons, Delaney Bramlett, Jim Dickinson, John Fry, Sam The Sham, Eddie Floyd, Wilson Pickett, Sam & Dave, Taj Mahal, Jesse Ed Davis, Dale Hawkins, Otis Redding, Dan Penn, Spooner Oldham, Donnie Fritts, Eddie Hinton, Charlie Musselwhite, Jim Keltner, Jim Gordon, Sid Selvidge, Rita Coolidge, Jimmy Johnson, Roger Hawkins, David Hood, Wayne Perkins, Joe Cocker, Karl Himmel, Denny Cordell, Elton John, Robbie Robertson, Levon Helm, Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, Bobby Keys, Lonnie Mack, George Harrison, Steve Winwood, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, and John Mayall.
John Mayall wrote the Foreword to Road Stories And Recipes. Mayall revealed: “What you are about to get stuck into is the reminiscences of a truly humorous raconteur and participant in an exciting period of rock-n-roll that might have slipped your attention. Here you will find stories of the road that tell of an era of our musical history that will hopefully give you something to remember and have you on the phone urging your friends to go out and buy it. As if this memoir isn’t enough, you are also getting a cookbook full of recipes from a whole slew of musicians who often don’t get to eat as handsomely on the road as they do in their own kitchens…”
Many of the 45 photographs in this book originate from Nix’s personal archive. Don Nix played an integral role in American music, and these pages verify his talent and influence in the community of first-class musicians. In the Prelude, Nix wrote: “The Memphis music scene has become a phenomenon with literary midgets as well as giants doing interviews, taking notes, and writing books. The trouble with this is, of course, if you ask twenty people the same question, you get twenty different answers, twenty points of view, twenty different memories, and, in some cases, people who were on the fringe or who were not there at all, giving their opinions about what happened.
“I have read books and heard people interviewed about Stax and its glory days when I know damn well they never set foot in the place. I get angry sometimes when people look at it from an analytical point of view. They put it under a microscope, dissect it, examine it, and reexamine it. They try to make it something it ain’t, cause when you get past all the books and labels, it was just people trying to make a living the best they could. creating something that had never been before without even knowing it. People who got paid very little for what they contributed but would have done it for free because they loved it. Making music meant freedom as well as a sense of belonging, but most of all it was fun.”
Some of the musicians that contributed amazing recipes in this book include Tim Drummond (Green Chili Pork Stew), Butch Trucks (Sauteed Chicken & Kielbasa), David Hood (Louise’s Lemon Dessert), Lonnie Mack (Mexican Delight), Don Henley (Texas Chili), J.J. Cale (Quick Dinner), Bobby Bare (Biscuits & Gravy), Tom Dowd (Fettuccine), Delaney Bramlett (Delaney’s Stew), Dan Penn (San Francisco BBQ Chicken), Wayne Jackson (Lowfat Chicken Dish), Steve Cropper (Linguine with Cream Sauce), Little Milton (Catfish Head Stew), Sam The Sham (Chili Pie), Dickey Betts (Smoked Venison), Eddie Hinton (Tuna Helper Skillet Style), Donnie Fritts (Cornbread Dressing), Jim Dickinson (Boiled Salad Dressing), Jim Stewart (Vegetable Casserole), Sid Selvidge (Jalapeno Cheese Grits), Jerry Wexler (No-Cholesterol Corn Pudding), Spooner Oldham (Salmon Gravy) and Nix’s own Chicken Pot Pie recipe.
Road Stories And Recipes celebrates southern music and cooking like no other book. I keep this one in the kitchen. Check out Elizabeth Josephine‘s adaptation of Steve Cropper’s dish…