If you go
What: Live on the Levee
When: 6:30 p.m. Friday
Where: Haddad Riverfront Park
FYI: Friday's lineup starts with The Boatmen at 6:30 p.m., followed by The Recipe at 7:45.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Friday night's Live on the Levee headliner has invited a special guest artist promised to bring down the house, without singing a note.
Mannington lawyer Phil Prichard will take the stage with Morgantown's The Recipe to read a poem he wrote in 2000 called "Davie's Jubilee."
The band, fronted by his son, Joe, will then perform its adaptation of the poem, a 15-minute anthem that includes some 1960s-style rock jams along with an Irish fiddle reel.
It's not a tune the band trots out often, but it's always well received when it does, Joe said. Last year's Live on the Levee audiences would have seen it for the show near July 4 — but the band never took the stage because of the derecho that hit that night.
"My dad will come out at the beginning of the second set. He wears a Recipe T-shirt and a Mountaineer ball cap," Joe said. "And honestly, every time he has read this, it brings the house down."
Joe hates to admit his dad's poem may never have come to be in song form.
"I have to say this — Dad has been pitching me poetry for years," he said. "He's a fantastic writer."
The problem was that Phil's writing style didn't always translate to The Recipe's musical style.
"So I would have had to make a lot of changes," Joe said. "I just kept saying, 'This is really great, but. . .' It always made me feel really horrible."
In 2000, Joe saw another of his dad's poems, a lengthy piece about a young West Virginia man named Davie who goes off to Vietnam to serve — and doesn't return home.
"I saw this thing laying there and it was just too good to pass up," Joe recalled. "It had me crying and laughing. So I called some of the people in the band and I said, 'I have to do something with this."
Joe realized the song would be unusual.