Saturday, October 23, 2010

You guys don't look like Cafe Nine types....

"You're really going to make me do this?" bitches The Reet endlessly throughout the day, "You aren't a real Yankees fan, I guess."  I don't need this, I'll go see Tony Joe White at Cafe Nine all by my lonesome.  The Reet finally stops whining, agreeing to a pre-concert stop at AJ's for a burger and crab cakes.  I think she was thinking she could convince Barry that he should go instead of her.  No luck, babe.

Early show, doors open at seven, show starts at eight, we'll be on the highway listening to the game by nine-thirty.  The Reet remains skeptical.  We arrive just before seven.  Holy shit, an open parking space right across Crown Street from the new entrance (they no longer use the State Street door, which almost put you on stage as you entered).  The remainder of the happy hour crowd mixes with the early Tony Joe crowd.  Smells a bit gamey as we snatch two bar stools.  The Reet makes me order a pina colada even though I know there's no way in hell a bar like this serves drinks like that.  Sorry, pal, this is a dive bar.  I nod.  The Reet orders Coke.  The barkeep hesitates, waiting for the Jack or rum or whatever, but quickly realizes that The Reet wants it straight.  We settle in, an hour to showtime.  The Reet has it set up that Garrett and Judy will continuously text her the progress of the Yankees game while she is imprisoned at the Nine.  An interesting young lady with spiked hair, lots of tats, a huge lip ring and dark eye 'wings' takes our $15 cover and stamps us.  Lots of conversations with the new arrivals who wedge next to us to order up drinks.  A tall, sturdy gent from New Milford and his wife grab the table directly behind us.  At one point, he smiles and says, "You don't look like Cafe Nine folks."  Oh?  The Reet chirps up that we, in fact, frequent The Nine often (obviously including herself even though many of our visits are just me).  He offers that guitarist Bill Krichen (once of Commander Cody & the Lost Planet Airmen) was fabulous here recently.  Hearing that we were from Southington, he inquired of the Cadillac Ranch and, when informed that we never go there, assumed we hated country.  "You don't like country?  Tony Joe is country!"  Easy, pal, the place is a dance club.  Line dancing.  I love lots of country, though I'm more inclined to say Tony Joe is blues.  Oh, sorry.

The place is filling up.  Christine Ohlman appears.  I wonder if she'll do a song or two?  The Beehive Queen finds a spot against the wall towards the back.  The Reet goes outside for air and overhears our lip ring girl say that her mom and dad are weird just like her, but her brother has rebelled by wearing khakis and light blue shirts!  It's just after eight when Tony Joe, dressed all in black and sporting dark shades, pushes toward the stage from the back, settles onto a stool with his guitar and harmonica, and says, "How y'all doin' tonight."  We're doin' just fine, aren't we Reet?

(Per Wikipedia) Tony Joe White (born July 23, 1943, Oak Grove, LA) is an American singer-songwriter and guitarist best known for his 1969 hit "Polk Salad Annie"; "Rainy Night in Georgia", which he wrote but was firstly made popular by Brook Benton in 1970.  His set is similar to that which I saw in New Orleans at Jazz Fest a couple years ago, starting out with some solo acoustic blues, then introducing his drummer and getting deeper into the Louisiana swamp with some electric.  The voice is deep, commanding.  The Cafe Nine crowd is noticably older, with some curious youngsters (under fiddy) mixed in.  He's really good and they love it.  A tasty, understated Rainy Night in Georgia quiets them.  Tony Joe offers a few songs from his new CD, The Shine.  Mental note to purchase it, but it won't be tonight, for The Reet will have us OUT OF HERE as soon as the final song is done.  The Reet returns from yet another break with news that the Yankees are down 1-0 early.  Damn you, Phil Hughes.  She also found out from the owner that the set goes to 9:15.  Well, here it comes!  Polk Salad Annie. 

If some of ya'll never been down South too much...
I'm gonna tell you a little bit about this, so that you'll understand  what I'm talking about
Down there we have a plant that grows out in the woods and the fields,
looks somethin' like a turnip green.
Everybody calls it Polk salad. Polk salad.

Used to know a girl that lived down there and she'd go out in the evenings and pick a mess of it...
Carry it home and cook it for supper, 'cause that's about all they had to eat
But they did all right.

Down in Louisiana Where the alligators grow so mean
There lived a girl that I swear to the world, Made the alligators look tame
Polk salad Annie, polk salad Annie
Everybody said it was a shame, Cause her mama was working on the chain-gang
(a mean, vicious woman)

Everyday 'fore supper time She'd go down by the truck patch
And pick her a mess o' Polk salad And carry it home in a tote sack
Polk salad Annie 'Gators got you granny
Everybody said it was a shame 'Cause her mama was aworkin' on the chain-gang
(a wretched, spiteful, straight-razor totin' woman,
Lord have mercy. Pick a mess of it)

Great show.  We get home just in time to see Phil Hughes get lit up for a two run double. Damn Yankees.

(courtesy of  this guy from a show at Smith's Olde Bar in Atlanta:)

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