Friday, April 30, 2010

Trying something new - the $85 breakfast...

We're up too late to get our free hotel breakfast so we meet the Pool Hall Studs out at Brennan's on Royal.  No Lucy's.  This is in line with our theme for this year- If it's new, we will do.  Yes, it's really clever, isn't it.  All credit to those witty PHS.  We are seated adjacent to the courtyard.  Andy, a tall, young lad with perfectly coiffed blond hair is our waiter.  Bloody Marys.  We all decide to try the Table d'hôte Breakfast  Three Course Prix Fixe, which allows us an appetizer (they all go for the Strawberries With Double Cream, while I opt for Maude's Seafood Okra Gumbo), an entree (Eggs Benedict for Johnny Gumbo, Eggs Bayou Lafourche for Mark and me, and Eggs Nouvelle Orleans for Barry), and dessert (Bananas Foster is the iconic choice) - for $36.  Andy informs us that we have made excellent choices.   We are relieved because no one wants hear the dreaded, "God, that choice really sucks, you moron."  More Bloody Marys, then coffee.  Our bill is delivered as we plan our Fest attack strategy of the day,  Barry studies the bill intently, trying to figure out how our little breakfast ballooned to a tip-included $340!  We suggest that the prestigious litigation firm, Dodge Consulting, pick up the tab for us, but Johnny Gumbo politely declines.  The Fest calls.

Yes, folks, it's PIANO SHIRT FRIDAY! But what happened to Aretha?

Woke up this morning to review today's choices out at the Fairgrounds and saw that Aretha Franklin has been replaced by Earth, Wind & Fire as the closer at the Acura Stage.  That's the second time in recent years that she's pulled that stunt.  Johnny Gumbo is already dissing Jose Feliciano.


Thursday, April 29, 2010

Thursday photos...

Just arriving in NOLA and checking in at my hotel, I meet up with the Studs at Deja Vu on Conti for our pub crawl while awaiting the arrival of Johnny Gumbo from the Left Coast

We venture out St. Charles to Cooter Brown's for a great Chicago Dog and one of their 400 beers

Order up the dogs at Cooter's right here

Sign along St. Charles while walking (foolishly) to Dos Jeffes on Tchoupitoulas

 Mark (aka The Big Me) and Johnny Gumbo caught during a tense game of pool at the Half Moon

Hot lead singer of band at Fatz Catz on Boubon Street

We're here!...

Although takeoff was a bit turbulent, we managed to get here in one piece, actually getting into Louis Armstrong Airport ahead of schedule.  Mark immediately calls our driver-extraordinaire Garland and, amazingly, he's already outside!   We grab our stuff and meet him outside, load up, greet some other Garland folks arriving from Denver and enjoy the ride into town with a beer and some spicy fried chicken (truth be told, one of the Denver guys stole my beer!).  I'm dropped off first (remember, because Johnny Gumbo, arriving later from Seattle, won't sleep with me, we're at a different hotel from the Pool Hall Studs), while the PHS continue on to the French Quarter, where I'm to catch up with them at Deja Vu.

The Pool Hall Studs decide that our motto this year is If it's new, let's do, or something clever like that (they couldn't remember).   We're off on a pub crawl, first stop (actually second, after Deja Vu), Cooter Brown's.  Our cab ride up St. Charles past Tulane and Loyola to Carrelton is very slow (altogether now, HOW SLOW IS IT?).  Well, since you asked, it is SO slow that I spilled my beer on my lap when our idiot cabbie hit a bump and it had completely dried by the time we got there!  400 beers!  Way too many, but I settle on a Scottish beer, Old Jock.  Mark orders up a Cooter Dog, while Barry and I choose the heftier Chicago Dog.  Onion rings. Very good.  Gumbo calls from the airport and we tell him to meet us at Cooter's, but he wants to get checked in first, so we start walking back down St. Charles to find Dos Jefes Uptown Cigar Bar on Tchoupitoulas St.  No way, says a lady as we stop to ask for directions, better take a cab.  After awhile, we do.  Great little place.  Order up beers, while the Pool Hall Studs settle on their cigar choices.  Did I say pool?  Rack 'em up, big guy.  I win the first of whatever stupid game Mark came up with, then got bored and he won the next two.  Best thing, anyway, because he was beginning to pout.  Grateful Dead singing Dylan's Baby Blue.  Gumbo arrives!  Hugs 'n kisses all around.  More pool with Dr. john & the Night Tripper playing in the background.  

Next up, the Half Moon.  Wide open bar with lots of dogs roaming inside and out.  More pool; Queen on the jukebox.  We win the last (and designated most-important) game.  Time to clean up.  We meet the Studs back at Deja Vu, then head out for dinner at the Palace Cafe on Canal where we meet up with Billy V, in town for the medical trade show.  As usual, fine food and wine to compliment the witty repartee.  After dinner, Gumbo and I head up Bourbon, stopping at Fatz Catz to listen to a couple numbers, then join friends at Fritzel's European Jazz Club, where traditional jazz is presented nightly by local musicians as well as by bands visiting from Europe, to complete our first night in the Big Easy. 

Stay Thursday, my friends...

Heading out to Bradley early Thursday morning with the Pool Hall Studs for the flight down to the Big Easy for my 6th Jazz Fest, meeting Johnny Gumbo, who will be arriving from Washington.  Stay tuned for reports of the festivities, including Piano Shirt Friday! 

Thursday evening music schedule at the Louisiana Music Factory:
6PM- Amanda Shaw & the Cute Guys
7PM- Shannon McNally & Hot Sauce
8PM- Lil' Band 'O Gold
9PM- Theresa Andersson

Photo gallery from 1st weekend

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

This is sad. Amy, whatchu wanna do?...

Amy Winehouse Bruises Boobs In Boozy Fall

The Rehab star has more breast issues...

15:04, Tuesday, 27 April 2010
Amy Winehouse has reportedly bruised her surgically enhanced boobs after a drunken fall.
The Rehab singer, who underwent a boob job just seven months ago was said to be back in hospital yesterday after taking a tumble, leaving her 32D chest 'battered and bruised.' Winehouse, who is allegedly back with ex-hubby Blake Fielder Civil not only hurt her breasts in the 'drunken' fall - she also injured her ribs and forehead after stumbling to the ground in her North London flat.  According to The Sun, Amy was taken to a private clinic in London's Harley Street, where she initially received her boob job and had to stay over night for observation.  A source told the tabloid that Wino was 'chaotic' in her drunken state and ran around the clinic topless and smelling of booze.  The insider then claims to the paper that Amy was asked by nurses to calm down and was then taken to a room where she was monitored for any concussion.  This is isn't the first time the singer has had problems with her boob implants. Only recently she was admitted to hospital with chest pains and in the past, the implants have even leaked causing Amy to be hospitalised.

Acoustic Valerie

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Hey, aren't you guys the famous Sawtelles!!!!!....

What a gorgeous Spring day, boys and girls! An early morning round at Timberlin with the regulars (excepting Steve the Bod, who was probably at a video poker machine in Atlantic City; so we rented an Anderson), followed by a quick trip over to the Silver City's annual Daffodil Festival (alone, no one to play with, although The Reet said she'd go if I wanted) to catch Christine Ohlman/Rebel Montez and sample some of the other fine eclectic music usually on display. Had to park down at the bottom of the hill in the Centennial Plaza (is it still? and what centennial?). No matter, the walk back up the hill is good for you. Christine and her band are in fine form, performing a number of cuts from their recently issued album, The Deep End, as well as more familiar stuff from earlier albums (she has six), including the always killer version of Buddy Holly's Not Fade Away. Guesting on backup vocals/harmonica was the incomparable Robert Orsi of the D. Smith Blues Band. At the end of the set, I wandered over to the Jeff Crooms Welcome Stage where I expected Kicking Daisies to be some kind of homophobic S&M metal band, but found the second coming (3rd/4th?) of the Hansons entertaining an enthusiastic crowd of young teens and their parents. Kinda cute, sorta. Suddenly, my eye catches a familiar looking couple. Could it be? Yes, I think it is! Not completely certain, but, "Hey, aren't you guys the famous Sawtelles?" Slightly startled by the affront, they look at me and respond, "Yes, in fact, we ARE the famous Sawtelles." A lovely introductory chat ensued. The Plantsville-based Nerve Rock duo will play their final gig in a series of monthly appearances Friday May 14 at Typhoon (Thai, get it?) Restaurant on Main Street in Middletown. It's BYOB, great food and the set starts at 6:30PM. Make plans to be there (note to the Andersons and Valentes to clear their schedules). And they gave me a copy of the Sawtelles (well, I THINK they gave it to me)!

On my way out, I stopped to pick up a copy of The Hard Way and say hello to Christine, who made believe she remembered me. Mentioned that I saw she was going to play the Howlin' Wolf in New Orleans next Thursday and that I'd be in Nola for Jazz Fest with Johnny Gumbo and the Pool Hall Studs, but she said the event was way oversold because it was to benefit the New Orleans Musicians Fund. She'll jet back right after the show for a gig up in Northampton.  Missions accomplished, I head out toward the Centennial Plaza (is it still? and what centennial?), passing by the exiting River City Slim van filled with equipment and musicians (one of which looks like Bill Walton, circa 1974).  As I pull out onto I691, an ever-pompous John Sterling tells me the Yankees are beating up on the Angels (apparently their boyfriends are not back).  Back at the ranch, steaks on the grill and a glass of wine with The Reet.  A good day.

Music becoming a main attraction of fest (Record-Journal)

Celtics roll, Yanks don't...

Friday, April 23, 2010

Next Friday is...

at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival!

It was about mid-morning in hot, sticky New Orleans and I needed something wet to jump-start my day. Upon entering Lucy's Retired Surfers Bar on Tchoupitoulas St., I saw this guy in a faded yellow Hawaiian shirt and sunglasses, guzzling a tall Bloody Mary, holding court with a bunch of unsavory-looking characters from Connecticut. "Who is THAT?" I whispered to the barkeep.   "Careful what you say, son," he replied with equal parts awe and fear in his voice. "That, my friend, is Johnny Gumbo."

Johnny Gumbo will appear nude at Johnny Gumbo's Nude Lounge upon special request, an event not for the faint of heart (or anyone who has just eaten). The first 100 women in attendance receive a signed Johnny Gumbo Piano Shirt (the second 100 receive TWO signed shirts).

Thursday, April 22, 2010

One week to go....

New Orleans street performer debuts at Jazz Fest
NEW ORLEANS – For most of his 65 years, street singer Elliott Small was famous only on a New Orleans corner — until an innovative 2008 Internet video went viral, bringing the white-bearded, overall clad musician with the turned up hat brim before a global audience in a worldwide collaboration performance of Ben E. King's classic, "Stand By Me."  Now Small, better known as Grandpa Elliott, will be a featured singer at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, one of the world's premiere music venues. The festival, which runs for two weekends each spring, kicks off Friday with more than 65 performances including Lionel Richie, The Black Crowes, Steel Pulse, George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic, Baaba Maal and Nathan and the Zydeco Cha-Chas.  Small debuts on Saturday in the Blues Tent. He's one of dozens of local musicians who will showcase their talent before an audience of thousands. Last year, more than 400,000 people attended the outdoor music, craft and food fest held at the Fair Grounds Race Course. - (complete article)

Very cool...

Monday, April 19, 2010

Weekend update...

Keith, Sharie, Vin & Marcia on that midnight train to Georgia for some R&R (I'm assuming, knowing that group, that it's rockin' & rollin')....Gene & Bonnie off to Vegas with helpful gambling tips from Richard Harvey;  hey, did I see them in the front row last night, donning big ol' cowboy hats, at that country music awards show?...I see that Christine Ohlman will be appearing at the Howlin' Wolf in New Orleans next Thursday night; that's the day we arrive for Jazz Fest.....Came upon about 30 choppers in front of Smokin' With Chris while walking the trail Sunday noon; very cool, but no camera...

The trail mix:
Give Your Loving To Me (Big Sandy & His Fly-Rite Boys) Night Tide
Strange Desire (Black Keys) Magic Potion
Tempus Fugit (Chick Corea) Remembering Bud Powell
The Match Game (Otis Redding) The Very Best of...
Tango Suite: Allegro (Yo-Yo Ma) Soul Of the Tango
Rocks Off (Rolling Stones) Exile On Main Street
Night Shift (Bob Marley & the Wailers) Rastaman Vibration
Oh Yeah Maybe Baby (Laura Nyro) Walk the Dog & Light the Light
Come Softly to Me (The Fleetwoods) Street Corner Singing
Dance and Boogie (The Pipettes) We Are the Pipettes
Popeye the Sailor Man (Kinky Friedman) Kinky Friedman
I Can't Help It (Linda Ronstadt) Heart Like a Wheel
Feel Your Groove (Bed Sidran) That's Life I Guess

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Saturday is Record Store Day (like you didn't know!)...

(from Wikipedia, so it must be true)- Record Store Day was conceived by Chris Brown, employee of the independent record store chain, Bull Moose, located in Maine and New Hampshire and was founded in 2007 by Eric Levin, Michael Kurtz, Carrie Colliton, Amy Dorfman, Don Van Cleave and Brian Poehner as a celebration of the unique culture surrounding over 700 independently owned record stores in the USA, and hundreds of similar stores internationally. Record Store Day is celebrated the third Saturday in April.

Record Store Day is the one day that all of the independently owned record stores come together with artists to celebrate the art of music. Special vinyl and CD releases and various promotional products are made exclusively for the day, and hundreds of artists in the United States and in various countries across the globe make special appearances and performances. Festivities include performances, cook-outs, body painting, meet and greets with artists, parades, and DJs spinning records. Record Store Day is currently managed by Michael Kurtz, Carrie Colliton, Melanie Nipper, and Eric Levin.

Some suggestions:
Integrity 'N Music on the Silas Deane in Wethersfield - website
Turn It Up in Northampton, MA - website
Brass City Records - website

Rolling Stones issue unheard song for record stores
LONDON (Reuters) – The Rolling Stones will release "Plundered My Soul," a track never heard before, as a limited edition vinyl single to mark Record Store Day Saturday which aims to support struggling music retail outlets.  An iTunes digital download version of the track will be available from Friday, according Universal Music Group.  Plundered My Soul was discovered during work on the reissue of "Exile on Main Street," considered one of the group's most important albums, due on May 17. The song will be one of 10 bonus tracks on the deluxe edition.  Other never-heard-before tracks featured on the Exile reissue include "Dancing in the Light," "Following the River" and "Pass The Wine."  British band Blur is also supporting Record Store Day with its first single for seven years, also as a limited edition vinyl single.  The release is part of a series of seven-inch singles being issued by the band's label to mark the day, with The Beatles and Lily Allen among EMI's releases, limited to 1,000 copies each.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Should five per cent appear too small, be thankful I don't take it all...

Now my advice for those who die
Declare the pennies on your eyes
'Cause I'm the taxman, yeah, I'm the taxman
And you're working for no one but me.


Saturday, April 10, 2010

Saturday night may be made for fighting, but I'm just listening to my late afternoon trail mix...

I Want To Walk You Home (Paul McCartney featuring Allen Toussaint) Goin' Home: A Tribute To Fats Domino
Without Your Love (Al Anderson) Pay Before You Pump
Mother (Plastic Ono Band) Plastic Ono Band
Power Of the Gospel (Ben Harper) Fight For Your Mind
Blue Turning Gray Over You (Billie Holiday) Billie's Blues
High Water (Bob Dylan) Love & Theft
Come On (Lucinda Williams) West
Red River Rock (Johnny & the Hurricanes) Dean's Top 100- 1959
Picture Book (The Kinks) The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society
Black Night (Guitar George Baker) Mojo Lady
St. James Infirmary (Allen Toussaint) The Bright Mississippi
Worried Life Blues (The Animals) The Complete Animals
Houses In Motion (Talking Heads) Best of...
Exactly Like You (Terrence Blanchard) Let's Get Lost

The Masters- hey, guys, it ain't freakin' church!...

Awwww gusta, Dave Loggins, worst lyrics ever...

Friday, April 09, 2010

David Simon's "Treme" moves to a Crescent City beat...

NEW ORLEANS (Billboard) - At a pizza joint in the Lower Mid-City neighborhood of New Orleans, writer-producer David Simon is talking about his newest TV series, "Treme," which premieres Sunday (April 11) on HBO. 

"On one level," he says, "it's a celebration of American music." He interrupts himself, pausing in appreciation of a J. Geils Band blues cover playing on the radio, wondering about the song's source: "Is that Jimmy Reed?"  Simon is a music lover, pure and simple, his ear grabbed by whatever moves him, his mind moved to explore its history and context. That's no secret to fans of Simon's critically acclaimed HBO series "The Wire": During its five-year run, the show employed five versions of Tom Waits' "Down in the Hole" as themes, yielded two compilation CDs (one drawn exclusively from artists based in the show's setting, Baltimore) and nearly always positioned music as more than just a soundtrack bursting forth from a car speaker or jukebox.

With "Treme" (pronounced "truh-may"), Simon ups the ante, moving music to the foreground. Set in New Orleans, "Treme" picks up three months after the floods that resulted from the levee failures in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Culture -- which in New Orleans means a tight braid of music, cuisine, dance, visual art and street life -- is the primary focus of the series, as indeed it was and is the defining element of the city's identity and its recovery.  Familiar faces from Simon's troupe of actors show up as fictional cultural fixtures: Wendell Pierce (detective Bunk Moreland on "The Wire") plays Antoine Batiste, a trombonist we first encounter subbing with the real-life Rebirth Brass Band. Clarke Peters (detective Lester Freamon on "The Wire") plays the Mardi Gras Indian Chief Albert Lambreaux, chanting some of his best lines while beating a tambourine. 

The true-life heroes of New Orleans music figure prominently too: In addition to Rebirth, the list of musicians making cameo appearances, often in performance, includes trumpeter Kermit Ruffins, pianist/singer Mac "Dr. John" Rebennack, saxophonist Donald Harrison and Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews.  If Simon's new show is a fictional depiction of what truly drives life in New Orleans, as he explains, it's also a loving expression of what captured his attention decades ago and kept him coming back to the city through the years.

Billboard: How did Jazzfest affect your musical immersion in New Orleans?
Simon: When I first went to Jazzfest, I'd check out the national acts, the ones I knew. But then I started to make one discovery after another -- the guys I didn't know, should have known, wanted to know better. I heard Eddie Bo play by himself at a Piano Night at Tipitina's. Funky, soulful. I didn't know much about him, but I went over to Louisiana Music Factory the next day and copped some CDs. That's always the way it works, right? I discovered how much I loved Snooks Eaglin by walking into a club and hearing him taking requests and just killing everything. Human jukebox, indeed.- (complete article)

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Unseasonably warm early May evening trail mix...

Love and Affection (Joan Armatrading) Joan Armatrading
Mashed Potato Time (Dee Dee Sharp) Hotkennedys- Surfin' at Groton Long Point
Learning How To Live (Lucinda Williams) West
My Girl Josephine (Doug Sahm) The Last Real Texas Blues Band
Sing For Your Supper (Mamas & Papas) California Dreamin'
River Is Waiting (John Fogerty) Revival
Funky Tonight (John Butler Trio) Grand National
Don't Step On It (James Hunter) Believe What I Say
I Love How You Love Me (Paris Sisters) Phil Spector- Back To Mono
House Of Blue Lights (Johnny & the East Coast Rockers) Live And Swingin'
Corner Stone (Bob Marley & the Wailers) Soul Rebels

Sunday, April 04, 2010


Got the McGowans coming down from Framingham/Somerville, but our youngsters abandoned us for Syracuse and Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.  Got Yanks/Sox tonight, but switching to Bitches v. Baylor (Lady??) Bears @9:30 PM for NCAA women's semis.  I had the Butler doing it last night, but couldn't stay up for (Jerry) West Virginia./Dukies.  Got Terrence Blanchard on the CD player (iPod won't shuffle).

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Saturday afternoon pre-Final Four trail mix...

Your Long Journey (Robert Plant/Alison Krauss) Raising Sand
Crying (Roy Orbison) Only the Lonely- Live
He Stopped Loving Her Today (George Jones) 16 Biggest Hits
Rock Salt And Nails (Bob Dylan) Genuine Basement Tapes Vol I
I Don't Believe (The Paladins) Genuine Houserockin' Music
Just One of Those Things (Nat King Cole) The Billy May Sessions
My Favorite Revolution (Eugene Edwards) My Favorite Revolution
I Want To Love You (Delbert McClinton) Best Of...
Bongo Man A Come (Jimmy Cliff) Wonderful World Beautiful People
In the Still of the Night (Dion & the Belmonts) The Wanderer
Silent Sea (KT Tunstall) Eye To The Telescope
My Man (Billie Holiday) Billie's Blues
Crossroads (Tracy Chapman) Crossroads
I Can't Hide It (Mitch Ryder & the Detroit Wheels) Sock It To Me

Ray Davies performs at La Zona Rosa as part of SXSW 2010 on March 18, 2010, in Austin, Texas.  (Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images)