Back After Two Years of Travel and Overwork by Tondeleo Lee Thomas

Sunday, August 31, 2014 3:20 PM Posted by Tondeleo Lee Thomas
It has been a little more than two years since I did any writing for Doc Stevens. I have been studying at uni, and have difficulty with some of my exams. I have had to take extended breaks in order to pay my expenses. A lot has happened in my life and in Doc's life, Marilyn's life and their music. I have finally been able to come back to the States, and it was so god to be able to meet up with Doc and Marilyn and their friends again. It has been too long!
Over the last two years, Doc and Marilyn have solidified their music, and have added some consistent band members. For years, they have relied on whomever could get a day off work, or whoever was available to play at any particular event. They have a lot of friends who are good musicians, but it has always been a sore point, when discovering who had a change of plans at the last minute, and who would actually show up. They finally have a name for the band, and have pretty well with it. They play at festivals, family reunions, community and civic events, church concerts, reunions and other events, as well as pig pickin's and fish fries. They settled on the name, "The Doc Stevens and Marilyn Holy Ghost Band and Show." I asked Doc how they came up with that name, and he had on of his typical answers where you cannot be sure whether he is joking with you or being serious.

Here is what he said: "Well, Tondy, the Doc Stevens part was pretty easy. That's my name. The Marilyn part was also easy because that's Marilyn's name. The Holy Ghost part was pretty easy 'cause we're all filled with the Holy Ghost. The band part was easy because we all sing and play music together, so we added the word, 'band.' We show our high energy and our zeal, and aren't afraid to let it show, and that is where we got the word, 'show."

Somehow I feel like I shouldn't have asked, but Doc looks genuinely open and like he is telling me exactly how they came up with that name so I am not going to question him anymore about it or press him for any more details. They have collected a very talented group of musicians over the last two years. 

Jerry "Buttermilk" Wade plays lead guitar for them, and adds just the right chemistry musically and socially in the group. He is from North Carolina and has traveled extensively in his quest to keep food on the table and a roof over his head. 

On bass guitar is Jay "I Didn't Do It" Jordan. Jay is a diesel mechanic and also owns his own dump truck. He has a 6 string bass that he is all over. He adds a definite rumble and rhythm to the sound. 

On the drums is Brian Garner, and no one is real sure where he came from. He is quiet and doesn't talk about his personal life too much. He lives in Western Charles County now, and plays drums well. That's about all Doc knows about him. 

Rick "Lump" Tolley plays the bones and the blues harp. Rick is a longtime resident of Western Charles County, and is the brains of the group, according to Doc - well, Doc says that Rick and Marilyn both have been blessed with more brains then he has, which he allows isn't much anyway. 

Marilyn has moved to Eastern Shore, MD, and still comes to play with the band as often as possible. Doc said he was afraid she was going to split up the act when she moved there, since it's a two and a half hour drive, but she still makes it to all the main events. He's real proud of her, and how she has grown up and launched off on her own. But he misses her. 

I've been taking a lot of notes this Summer when talking with them, hundreds of pictures and a few good vids of them when they have played this Summer. I've gotten to record several hours of talks as well with them, and am looking forward to updating the blog, and catching up on the changes that have taken place over the last two years since we have been together. 

I'm guessing that the first several posts will be just trying to update what has happened in Doc and Marilyn's lives, and in the lives of their friends. That will keep me quite busy for a while. I just hope I can juggle my new intense schedule and work and class and also be able to keep the blog updated over the next few months. We shall see what we shall see.