Matraca listened, absorbed, and dreamed—and she didn't tell anyone she wanted to write. But she slept with an AM transistor radio under her pillow, asking herself: What makes this song work? Why does the melody do that? What are they trying to say? She experimented alone in her bedroom. At sixteen, she came downstairs and told Icie she had a confession. But she didn't talk. She picked up a guitar and played a song she'd written called "Holding You Close With My Eyes."
At the right place on the right night, you can walk into a nightclub in Nashville, start recruiting at one end of the bar, and by the time you’ve reached the other end you’ll have a band that sounds like they’ve been backing you for years. I know because I’ve done it.
The man looked out from the record cover: silver-white hair flowing to his shoulders, sturdy jaw with sideburns, large-brimmed hat shading his deep-set eyes against a lowering sun. He was pensive, mysterious, vulnerable. He was Charlie Rich—P.O. Box 3510, Hollywood, California, 90028.
And here are Marlene, Carlene, and Darlene, in all their flamingly, ecstatically subversive glory, proclaiming the good news of the drag queen gospel in the prohibitive shadow of Southern Baptist headquarters.