I have written in a previous blog post about one of my 4-H experiences. For a couple of years in high school, I participated in 4-H as a member of a crop judging team. I spent a lot of time learning how to identify different types of seeds. I spent very little time learning how to evaluate hay which seemed to be the more important part of the competition. Anyway, I learned a little about crops and had a great time. We would go to competitions at the Mid-South Fair in Memphis. But the one that really counted was at the West Tennessee State Fair in Jackson. This was also my first exposure to the 4-H Chicken Shack.
The 4-H Chicken Shack was started at the West Tennessee State Fair in 1962, the same year I was born. By the time I first encountered it, the Chicken Shack had become a reliable fundraiser for 4-H and it was a really good place to eat. It had not yet reached legendary status. But it was becoming something you could count on at the fair. The Chicken Shack even made an appearance on the big screen in the 1975 biopic of Buford Pusser, “Walking Tall: Part 2”. Some of the scenes for the film were done in Jackson, Tennessee at the fairgrounds. You can see the 4-H Chicken Shack in the background of a scene were the actor playing Buford smashes the window of a car.
A year ago, the Chicken Shack was celebrating its 50th anniversary. At that same time, I was playing regularly at an open mic night. My friend Steve was in charge of the venue. One night a few weeks before time for the fair, he challenged the performers to write a song with the theme “I met her at the 4-H Chicken Shack”. He gave us two weeks to come up with something. My inspiration took me in the direction of writing about a secret meeting with a girlfriend at the fair. I would use the girl's family's search for the couple as an opportunity to describe the different things that went on at the fair. While I spent a lot of time looking at all kinds of exhibits at the fair when I was growing up, I never went for a clandestine meeting with a girlfriend.
If you have read my other posts, you know that I usually go to Graceland each year for the Candlelight Vigil on August 15. This year, I decided to take the whole week off. I also decided to record this song that week and prepare it for release. I have a good friend involved in 4-H and the Chicken Shack who encouraged me to do something with this song. I decided that recording it and preparing it for release about a week before the fair was a good idea. I hope you think it was a good idea too.
There is some old home movie footage in the video. These clips are from my family’s Super 8 home movies. You can see me on the rides. I was 5 years old at the time this was made. There is a little girl with the baby bottle in the video. The bottle is filled with soda. Early in the footage she is running through the crowd on her own. She is my sister. She had probably just turned 1 when this film was shot.
Singer, Songwriter, Entertainer, Storyteller