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Mister Barth
When Your Job Sucks, But You Have Control of the Radio
When I was sixteen and had just dropped out of high school, I began working at Mancuso Printing in Washington PA, in the bindery, which meant that my job consisted of standing before a series of boards that circled the room, stacked on cinder blocks. On these boards, along the east, south and west wall, were stacked 370-some stacks of printed paper that consisted of the Fox Groceries pull-tab catalog, to be collated and spirally bound. I collated, which meant I placed page 1 on top of page 2, and those on top of page 3, and those on top of page 4 and those on top of page 5!
“Aghhhh!”
Most of the presses were small offset presses, one of which was run by an 18-year-old guy who had the radio! Thankfully we both liked rock, and so did my partner, Peter Dan, a former drug addict of perhaps 25 who told me stories about getting kicked out of whorehouses, gangbanging biker babes and having sex with sheep in hip wader boots, so that you could jam the sheep’s legs down in the boots and she would be stuck, and move around like she liked you as well.
The big Hiedleburg press was run by Mister Barth, a tall, bearded, older German man who had just immigrated from Bolivia. As a WWII buff I was somewhat afraid of this fellow. Mister Barth hated the rock music and took refuge in the noise of the monstrous machine he cared for. But the ink and paper would need changed and the offset press kid would crank up the music, to which Mister Barth would grumble under his breath in German.
A popular song of the time was ZZ Top’s La Grange, a song that finally won the old German refugee over to rock and roll. One day, Peter Dan nudged me and said, "Holy Shit, Herr Hiedleburg is doing the Texas Boogie,” and we were treated to Mister Barth—all six foot four inches of his silver-bearded propriety growling, “Eh hehehe!” and dancing slowly about the big press grumbling the lyrics to the tune below.
ZZ Top La Grange live 1982
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Add Comment
deuceJanuary 29, 2016 2:17 PM UTC

Great tune. My library had Tres Homres so it was one of my first beloved rock LPs when I was 12. We played "Tush" in my first band.