Barbara met and married Harry in 1961. Beat by beat in this autobiographic narrative and biography, she tells his comeback story as a freelance percussionist in Chicago in the sixties, then flashes back to his career before they met before going on to tell how her career path and their marriage changed when life forced Harry to move in new entrepreneurial directions in the seventies and beyond.
THE DRUMMER DRIVES! offers a unique view of a colorful period of Chicago's musical entertainment history that is spiced with romance, drama, and Harry's wit and humor. The book revolves around the author's lifetime of journals and Harry's scrapbooks and nostalgic letters, which are filled with historical "music biz" stories and remembrances of the days when he was playing with the big bands and doing recordings in Chicago; his comments about many of the musicians, entertainers, and conductors he worked with; his thoughts on being Czech; his love of good food, fine books, record collecting, band music and the circus; and how he felt about getting old and being forced to lay down his sticks because of ill health. The book also includes colorful anecdotes shared by many musicians who knew and worked with Harry.
There is much to enjoy in this informative and humor-laden memoir, but you may also find yourself tearing up at times as you read this honestly-told story of the author's unusual life journey with a man who was "no ordinary Joe," an individual so complex that she was still trying to figure him out after nearly 44 years of marriage and five years as his widow.
Barbara Brabec is the author of several small business books. This is her first memoir.