The song tells a compelling story of James and Red Molly and their fascination with other, and with his classic motorbike. Now James is a bad boy – part of his attraction for Molly – and things end poorly for him in the song, written by British guitarist, singer and songwriter Richard Thompson.
The first time I heard the track, it sounded like it would make a fine treatment for a film script, and it seems that Al Sciarrino had the same reaction. He has spun the bare-bones story from the song into a full-length novel, Vincent Black Lightning 1952, due for publication by Cape Fear Media in early October.
Sciarrino is an attorney and a professor of business law in New York whose first novel, Officer Candidate School, was published in 1994. That book was based on his experience in the U.S. Army Signal Corps Officer Candidate School, and dealt with questions about military hazing.
His love of music and motorcycles is what led him to his newest undertaking.
“What inspired me to write a novel based on the bluegrass hit, 1952 Vincent Black Lightning was the jumpy cool version by Del McCoury and the lyrics. I must have played the song a hundred times the first few days. I did not know much about Del McCoury and bluegrass until that song and, of course the movie O Brother Where Art Thou. Now I’m a real aficionado of bluegrass and learning more about it each day!
My novel is loosely based on the song…I make James Adi less of a calculated robber and a little more like Robin Hood…and I also bring in the Korean War.”
The book will be released in conjunction with ibluegrass.com and Solid Gold Country. Pre-orders will be accepted beginning on September 16.
**NOTE: To avoid confusion, the Richard Thompson who wrote this fine song – and a good many others – is not our Richard F. Thompson, a regular contributor to Bluegrass Today and editor of British Bluegrass News.