Long Gone Daddies
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Some nights, we have the road to ourselves and the radio sings only for us. We play our shows and tear-ass out. Tonight, it was this little dive bar in a town we took to calling East Motherless. But we play, no matter. We rock and then we roll. The soundcheck and the fury, the power chord and the glory. Then we load our gear into a muddy-brown Merc with a little trailer behind, and we re off. Slinging gravel, filling sky with road.
All his life, Luther Gaunt has heard songs in his head songs of sweet evil and blue ruckus, odes to ghosts, drinking hymns. In search of his past, he hits the road with his band, the Long Gone Daddies, and his grandfather's cursed guitar, Cassie.
While his band mates just want to make it big when they get to Memphis, Luther retraces the steps of his father and grandfather, who each made the same journey with the same guitar years earlier. Malcolm Gaunt could have been Elvis that white man who could sing black except his rounder's ways got him shot before he could strike that first note for Sam Phillips at Sun Records. At least that's what Luther's father Malcolm's son always told him before he made like smoke when fame came calling and disappeared down south, too.
As Luther discovers the truth about the two generations of musicians that came before him, he must face the ghosts of history, the temptations of the road, and the fame cravings of a seriously treacherous woman named Delia, who, it turns out, can sing like an angel forsaken.
Long Gone Daddies is lyrically written and accessible as a hook-filled favorite song and proves that the people who struggle the most are invariably the most interesting the most noble whether they succeed or not.
- Amazon Sales Rank: #2169705 in Books
- Published on: 2013-02-15
- Original language: English
- Number of items: 1
- Dimensions: 1.10" h x 5.60" w x 8.60" l, 9500.00 pounds
- Binding: Hardcover
- 272 pages
"All kinds of histories have been written about the music and lore of Memphis, Sun Records, and Elvis Presley. Then there's "Long Gone Daddies, a work of fiction that gets to core truths mere facts can't convey namely, what it is about the sound that leads a grown man to spend his life chasing it down blind alleys and back roads into countless smoky bars, juke joints, and recording studios. Guitar wrangler Luther Gaunt and his band of beautiful losers pursue their musical dreams with a righteous fury, a fool's joy, and bulletproof souls. Long Gone Daddies is a highly entertaining read that's so Southern-fried you can smell the barbecue, taste the beer, and tap your foot to the honky-tonk beat. It is a book about and for anyone who knows what it means to be a prisoner of rock 'n roll." -Parke Puterbaugh, author of Phish: The Biography and former senior editor at Rolling Stone
"I've been a fan of David Wesley Williams and of his novel Long Gone Daddies since I saw the first pages of it two years ago. I'm so happy to see my anticipation of the event of its publication realized. It is a book full of wild music and generous imagining. Read it slowly. You'll love it." -Richard Bausch, author of Something Is Out There and winner of the PEN/Malamud Award
"This lyrical multi-generational musician's tale marks veteran newspaperman Williams's impressive first novel. . . . The historical backdrop, including a cameo by young Elvis as a busboy, adds delightful texture and rich depth to Williams's fictional account of the early days of rock 'n roll." -Publishers Weekly
"Luther, Delia, and the Long Gone Daddies are on a rocking, rhythm-and-blues tear across the South, and you want to be there when the band starts playing. By turns exuberant and intimate, David Wesley Williams's prose captures the glories, perils, and pleasures of the road a soulful musical tour de force!" -Bland Simpson of The Red Clay Ramblers, author of Into the Sound Country
"Long Gone Daddies is a story that sings. This tale of a struggling band unfolds in the places where my favorite music was born. But like a good song, it transcends the particular. It conjures Maxwell Perkins's idea that one of the great themes in literature is a man's pursuit of his father, and Utah Phillips's line that 'the past didn't go anywhere.' " -Singer-songwriter John Gorka
"Long Gone Daddies is a rich, full-bodied novel that ebbs and flows like the Mississippi into its flood plains. It is about wanting and getting what you want, but mostly it is that rare creature in fiction: an honest lie." -Courtney Miller Santo, author of Roots of the Olive Tree
"Williams' eye for the nuances of family drama and rock-and-roll misanthropy is remarkably sharp." - Bob Mehr, The Commercial Appeal
"The novel's 'soundtrack' Johnny Cash to Carl Perkins to Otis Redding is one thing. The lyrics of Luther Gaunt, scattered throughout the narrative, is another. But this is equally a story of fathers and sons and wives and of a girl named Delia, another named Wanda, and third named Ida. Williams has the rhythm of these lives sounding just right, his distinctive prose style as lyrical as any lyric in song." - Leonard Gill, The Memphis Flyer
"A coming-of-age story, pilgrimage tale, and homage to the city of Memphis, the novel is narrated by young Luther Gaunt (son of John, grandson of Malcolm) with a spare lyricism that swings from sly humor to despair with the gutsy style of a great blues song." --- Maria Browning, Chapter 16
Long Gone Daddies is a bluesy, smoke-tinged story of a man, his guitar, and the family lore that haunts and threatens to dismantle his future...At once dreamy and wild, a churning, soul-searching trip into the root of music making. Readers will find in this novel an immersive and imaginative experience. --Foreword Reviews
About the Author
A thirty-year newspaperman and native Kentuckian, David Wesley Williams is currently the sports editor at The Commercial Appeal in Memphis. His fiction has been published by Harper Perennial's Fifty-Two Stories, The Pinch, The Common, and Night Train. Williams was chosen for Richard Bausch s Moss Workshop in Fiction at the University of Memphis in 2003 and attended the Sewanee Writers' Conference in 2010, where he studied under Padgett Powell. Long Gone Daddies is his debut novel.
Most helpful customer reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful.
Everyone from Memphis or the Mississippi Delta Should Read This Book
By Angela T. Harwood
I highly recommend this book for anyone who enjoys a great story with fine language and depth of character. This novel follows three generations of musicians who all shared the same guitar. The grandson and main character, Luther Gaunt, is on his way to Memphis with his band, the Long Gone Daddies, when they pick up a dangerously attractive woman named Delia, who wants something from Luther - something Luther is not sure he wants to give, but he may not have a choice. The story of each of the Gaunt men intertwine throughout the narrative as Luther struggles to understand his past and fight the legacy of the cursed guitar and the "almost famous" musician so he can face the future and, perhaps, be the first Gaunt man to survive with his soul in tact. On top of discovering another great gem of a novel, I loved reading about the music and musicians from the area where I grew up.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful.
This novel is lyrical and atmospheric. Obviously a work of great heart, each phrase is lovingly crafted. A book to savor in the backseat riding down Route 66, or just when you want to feel like you are. Wry, sly, and smooth. If you like bluesy American storytelling with classical bones, you will like this one.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful.
Sing Me A Story
"Long Gone Daddies" reads like a soulful blues melody. I loved this debut novel from David Wesley Williams. It's a fiction "must read" for anyone who's a fan of Memphis music and Delta blues. The journey of the protagonist, Luther Gaunt, is told in a descriptive, lyrical prose style that is simply beautiful to read. The author highlights the depth of his musical knowledge as he weaves bits of music reality into this work of fiction effectively. The connection of the guitar, Cassie, as it travels between three generations of Gaunt musicians serves as a great link to intertwine their lives, heartaches, and struggles as each one has their own story to tell.