Thursday, October 23, 2014

A Great Guy has Passed Away...

Jim Lamont, a long time St. Patrick's Catholic Church member, a songwriter, a joke teller, a friend and great guy has passed away. Here is a photo of Jim and his wife Cheryl from the 2011 St. Patrick's festival. It was taken at the same time Jim was interviewed by the Lufkin Daily News on the subject of changes in the parish since 1928. 

I have gone by Jimmy and Cheryl's the past few years to play Happy Birthday for him on the tuba and spent a couple of hours last month playing songs on the cigar box guitar for him. He spent a couple of hours giving me tips on climbing a greased flag pole and how to pass off as a monkey after being hypnotized in a medicine show. Jim's in heaven singing his spirit songs and does not need a cigar box. I'm still down here on earth and  have not made it to the top of the flag pole and the monkey thing scares me.  

When I was first getting to know Jim about 25 years ago we were at a church Fat Tuesday dinner and I had just returned from a little Mardi Grawing in New Orleans the previous weekend. Jim loved to tell jokes and he began telling me one. He said "A hippy was at Mardi Gras and he had on a loin cloth. He stuck a bottle of gin in the waist band of it and the next thing he knew he got pushed out into the street and was walking along among the parade floats..." I couldn't listen to the rest of the joke because I was distracted about how this guy knew what had happened to me the past weekend. 

Jim was not a computer user but Cheryl keep him up on the blog but I don't think he really needed it. He knew you when he saw you. Till we sing your songs with you again, thanks for everything. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Guitars for Sale this Weekend...

My guitar stress tester Warren shows off some of my latest builds. He's a good model but you have to be careful. He almost fell over when an airplane flew by. At this point a guitar comes in third against airplanes and tractors. 

What Warren is introducing is a new budget line of guitars. On Saturday I will have some nice instruments on sale at St. Paul's Methodist Church's fall festival from 9am-3pm. I don't expect to sell a bunch of $60-$75 dollar guitars (my usual pricing) at a craft fair so I have made some non electric diddly bows and some guitars from less sturdy boxes that will be bargain prices. There will also be some shake stick percussion and electric drums from wooden cigar boxes. Christmas tin guitars will be blown out at lower prices and of course I will have a couple of nice instruments for sale also. All instruments are tune-able and gig able. 

Just for comparison sake I recently visited South Austin music, a place where pro musicians of Austin Texas shop and there were three builds for sale there that fall under the cigar box umbrella of definition.  There was a wooden box type and a license plate guitar. One was a 5 string if you can figure that and both had fretted necks. They were meant to be played electric so while I am sure pickups and hardware were good they had no more acoustic personality than your average electric guitar. The other was a Punch cigar box, a box I have used for builds and while it had a nice fretted neck it was not solid and the box top was loose with no box corners. Prices ranged $175-$225. I am not offering fretted necks so you will need to learn slide but I think my guitars have dual acoustic/electric personalities that you will find pleasing in addition to solid quality and gigiability at a blow market price that covers my cost and leaves room for your customer satisfaction and fun. 

Here is a few close ups of the economy one string. I have three of these made from old cracker boxes. They will be $5 each. Where you gonna have more fun than this for $5? 

I might trim that string before Saturday. 

My celebrity endorser Bill Cooney will be on hand in the booth for autographs and we will be jamming all day. Hope to see you there. 

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Friday, October 17, 2014

Once Again I Get Conned into a Quick Trip...

I guess everything has a cost. For me that cost is carrying furniture to a third floor apartment. Maybe I'm hiding my age better than I think is why they ask me to do these things but it was for a really sweet person and the apartment was in the righteously funky South Austin part of town so I guess in the long run I am the winner. After the chore was complete me and Cathy relaxed in a room on South Congress Street in the old Austin Motel, a motor court type of place dating to 1938 and walked across the street to catch Dale Watson at his Monday night vertical gig at the Continental Club. 

I remember the old days of the early 80s which in reality don't seem so old to me. South Congress did not have too much going on. The Continental was there and I guess the motel was there but it must have been pretty dark and it seems like I recall street walkers on that side of the street as I walked up the other side to see music at the club from my old friend Julie's house. Now a days my activity tolerance is lower for walking dark streets. The Austin Motel is a trendy, hip place to stay if you have the bucks and get your reservation in early. There are a lot of shops with boots, jewelry, vintage clothes, art and old records which all require money also. There is a big new motel under construction on South Congress which is going to put thousands of more people on the streets. They will need food, bathrooms and stuff to buy. I just hope I can still get into the Continental Club for $7 to see a killer hard country band which by coincidence is the same price people pay to see me at local VFWs playing most of the same songs which as songwriter Randy Newman says "Just not as good." 

Dale Watson has a great band. In addition to playing all the old hard country favorites he dipped into the swing songbook with some Louis Jordan and a great country cover of the John Lennon tune "Ballad of John and Yoko." This is the way a band from Texas should play. They come in looking all country boy and the next thing you know it's taken off in a whole nother direction.  

I think Dale must have some sort of working agreement with Lone Star Beer. He had a little theme song and dance thing he played about Lone Star several times during the night and he drank a lot of them. He advanced a conspiracy theory that it was Lone Star which Jesus turned the water into but big wine has put a spin on the story that we can't seem to break out of. 

I can't seem to see where my friend Julie's house was off South Congress. Might not still be there. Much has changed. With all these people coming they are going to be the type that want lights. They won't be like me during those years I flailed at the dark. Maybe with the lights I can see old friend's houses and the places I have been.   

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Grand Kids...

Warren knows who butters his bread. 

I took several photos is this sequence. This was about the best one to at least get them both looking the same direction. 

Hey! That looks kind of like some one gave him a bud lite...

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Jamming With The Stone Wall Rockers...

Thanks to Travis for inviting me out for his annual Stone Wall Rockers Benefit for M.D. Anderson Jam. I played percussion for a Beatle themed gig. Travis was pretty persuasive that he need me as a cowbell specialist for the tune "A Hard Days Night." You may have to do as I did and youtube the song as I could not really recall a cowbell part but yes it is there. I also played my turtle stick shaker as that seems to have become something that is expected when I jam with the Rockers. 

And here is my rock history moment. They all holler more cowbell. Just for the record I did play the cowbell in appropriate places. I did not play it when the band performed "Imagine." 
That's Rayburn and his son Marshall in the foreground. 

Two handed percussion, a shaker and the turtle stick. 

The Brazos River Rats also performed. 

Thanks again Travis for the invite to play, the catfish dinner and the funds raised for M.D. Anderson. 

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Fishing Sights...

Got blown off the lake with thunder cracking close by yesterday but we did manage enough fish for a little fish fry and had some good fun while at it. Here are a few photos.
The I'm driving and you are not photo. As old Pop-Pop ages and has his hat over his eyes more often it helps to have young eyes at the driving wheel. 
Mary and Coraline make the I want to drive next face. 
Usually we just take the grand kids fishing but we let their parents, Rose and Juan join us this trip. 
On a clear day the 147 bridge is usually visible about 4 miles and you can see it to the left of the point of land sticking out ahead. Mary puts on a rain coat hoping to tough it out. We ended up with 9 catfish and with some of the last trips catch thawed out the Zamora family joined us for supper. 

Rainbow's end. If there is a pot of gold somewhere over there you will need scuba gear to find it. 

Friday, October 10, 2014

If You Visit Korea Today...

You can catch Max Reynolds at the Zandari festival. Max is a local musician working on being big in Korea. I think he has a good chance. Here's a photo I made of Max, Raul and Nancy otherwise known as Social Bliss playing at the Factory a few weeks ago. 
The Factory is a place where people go and take music lessons, listen to bands, dress up funny or not and jump around when they hear music they like. There is usually food from the Old Souls Food Truck but I don't know if you get to eat while you are taking a lesson. There are young people there and also old guys like me. The people you meet will act like they knew you were coming. 

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