Sunday, July 29, 2012

More Cheap Gear...

It's been nice to get some paying gigs every now and then with the Back Porch Band. I use the money to pick up gear that I probably would not use with the Back Porch band but would use in other just regualr old back porch situations. Here's two things I bought over the last couple of weeks. On the right you see a bongo cojon and a baritone Ukulele.

 I notice that the  box cojons you sit on to play are popular these days with some small acoustic groups and when I saw these bongo cojons they were cheaper. Also you sit on the big big box cajons to play. It takes a pretty sturdy box to hold me so I figured I would be better off holding bongos in the lap. This drum has two sound chambers each with wire snares. Tap all around for a variety of sounds. I am polishing my chops by playing along to WWOZ radio out of New Orleans.  One thing to remember about cojon drums. Cojon means box drum. So the night of the gig if you call your rhythm section mate, the bass player and tell him  you will be playing cojon he knows it's a box drum. If your tongue slips and you say cajon the bass player will think you are playing a drum made out of balls. 

On the left is a nice little baritone uke. I bought it used at a local store. It's a Diamond Head brand. Made in China. I think if you buy a budget uke in Hawaii these days it's made in China. Tuning is the Chicago tuning I have been using for tenor banjo and mando these days so no great leap to begin playing and having fun right away. Of course I am playing the same old songs you might hear me play on anything but the mellow sound of the uke seems to bring out something different about them that helps revitalize the same old same old and gets my regular riffs out of the rut they get stuck in sometimes. Pop plays the uke, Cathy know a few tunes on the uke, Miguel plays a tenor uke and Runt has a soprano. Might see a uke choir on these pages some day. 

It's really a golden age of fun, cheap, available, funky musical instruments. Don't trust anyone without an instrument in their home. Playing and instrument and singing what you want to is freedom.  Posted by Picasa

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Latest Version of the Mother Ship...

It's like a little formula. Couple of pretty good pedals, a venerable Vox Wah and a Boss Blues Driver. Several cheap Asian reverse engineered jobs. The phase and tube screamer are so fresh off the boat Roger Nerren was written in Chinese. Add one ton of pink echoplex delay and a trash dumpster guitar. Don't forget a fender tube amp and a brass slide. Listen to lots of Mississippi Hill Country music. Bounce it off Jupiter. 

The Mother ship is launched. Thirty Seconds over Electric Ladyland:

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Cement, Clay and Glass...

I think that was a song by the old psychedelic country rock band The New Riders of the Purple Sage but please don't ask how I know these things any more. It's an old song and I think they were singing about skyscrapers all of which pictured here are much older than the song. I made these photos on a recent trip to Chicago. Yeah I looked like a total tourist with upturned camera and aching cervical  crimped vestibular artery self inducted dizziness posture.  A total square.  So unhip to be almost dead but maybe not as uncool as I looked walking for exercise in the mall last night. It was cool in the mall but not in a new black kind of way. 

So what were the Riders singing about? Are these things really made of cement, clay and glass. What am I writing about? Some times I get reader feed back that indicates a different message than what I had on my mind. May be I should run for office. A chicken in every pot seems to be popular if that's what it means to you.   Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Monkey Wards Building...

Made this photo on a recent architectural boat tour of the down town along the Chicago River. It's the old Montgomery Wards distribution building. I forget the name of the architect who designed it and the date it was built. It's old. Note the bend in the building. That's following the bend of the river. So many things here that take you back to  different time. 

This floor footage was so large that the employees filling orders wore roller skates to get around inside. And unlike business today there were many employees. Anything you ordered from that old Monkey Wards Christmas catalog came through here.  I had kind of a cosmic thing going on as I sat in that boat on the river taking a photo. I thought about the old 15 horse power Sea King my dad bought in the early 1960s. It was what we ran the East Texas Rivers with. From one river to another it came through this building to be shipped brand new to our little Wards distribution center in our home town. 

There were many buildings along the river like this. Dating back as far as the turn of the century they were impressive places where every day people worked and made America great. Most still in use and changing hands like money every decade or so. They have been chopped up inside to house many small firms employing fewer people. Brought to mind a Walmart distribution I recently passed on the highway.  It was big, flat, tin shining there in the middle of an open field. I think I could still smell the cow patties pushed out of the way to make it a place. Probably few folks working inside driving fork trucks with mounted computers filling orders as an unheard of rate. At the end of the shift they jump in cars and race away. Be nice to take a leisurely walk along a river after work with great views all around. A good way to relax.    Posted by Picasa

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Electric Went out and the Camera Battery Died...

18 hours without power after a big lightning storm and I bet you guys were wondering what I was doing. I also ran out of camera batteries. I rode the knee board till my arms hurt, Mary was the only person in the boat driving, I was yelling "hands on the wheel" anyway so no pictures.

So this all gives us a chance to backtrack a bit and get up a few more pictures from out recent Chicago visit. First photo, Cathy, me, Katie and Peter. We got a street person to snap this candid pose of us looking all like one of those tribute cover bands you see these days maybe suddenly breaking into "Rock Lobster."

Second photo is the building where the PK lives. Their's is the second floor window in the turret on front.    Posted by Picasa

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Ali and Coraline tube...

Ok, you hold on to that baby now. Hold on to the baby. You holding on to that baby? You got a hold of that baby. You got the baby? Posted by Picasa

Friday, July 20, 2012

Wallace Blood Shows...

Coraline fishing with only a little help from Pop-Pop. I'm a two name kind of guy, like Tu-Pac. 

Coraline might have some Wallace blood after all. Learning to fish early. She won't remember this. Catching fish will just be something she has always done.Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Plenty Rain Lately...

Coraline takes advantage of the permissive good times at Pop Pop and Gabba's house to get really wet and muddy during a pleasant summer rain. I think an old video tape still exists of Mary as a toddler wading in this same area, falling down getting up and eating mud. Maybe we should get it u-tubed.  Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A Man and His Gar...

Took Pop and Geneva out for another quick spin on the lake after work yesterday. We floated the noodles and did not catch any cat fish but managed this big gar. Cathy hooked the noodle line with the boat hook and I netted. I don't know how much he weighed but it was a challenge for the aluminium  handled net.

I am guessing he weighed about 25 pounds. Maybe 20 after he pooped all over the boat. Just kidding about that. We CPRed this guy. Catch, photo, released. 

How about a blog contest for you blog junkies. How many times do I appear on these pages wearing the khaki shirt and the black swim trunks? Winner gets to view the blog for free.    Posted by Picasa

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Back Porch Band at the VFW...

The Back Porch Band played the VFW last night to great success. People danced. We got paid. They booked us for another upcoming date. The band did not break up. So over all a good presentation. These are a few picks form the evening and I will probably get an album up on facebook. Thanks to Miguel for making the pictures. 

Playing with Mary is one of my great joys in this band. If I don't mind saying so we are a great rhythm section. Third photo is me and the lead guitar player, Earl. Forth photo is proof that being in a hat band leaves lots of room for silliness. I guess I don't need to point out to anyone that I do have the biggest hat and with the proceeds from this gig I am going to buy me one of those glitter suits with my name in rhinestones across the back. It will let folks know I am no ordinary dude. 

Last photo gets most of the band members in it. Neil the steel player and the main guy who does most of the business managing, provides the rehearsal hall and other chores is off to the side but this photo just captures the sensitive complective shoe gazing country music we are famous for.   Posted by Picasa

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Pop and Geneva Hideout...

I think hiding out was a term they used. I found them though and spent a morning at the lake. Fishing was slow. Everybody did catch a fish but no real size. I guess this is a by product of mostly ski trips lately. We are not on the fish so expect some serious fish searching soon. 

They do have a new travel trailer. It's been on a few trips, very nice and comfortable. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Back Porch Band Gig Shameless Self Promotion...

Come see me and Mary with the Back Porch Band this weekend Lufkin VFW Saturday Night July 14th 8pm. Cover is $5

Here's a grainy flip cam video from a gig about a year ago:

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

I Think We Have a Situation Here...

I think we have a situation here I and really don't know what it is. What we do have is Cathy, Rose, a rubber boat, a swim noodle and some lily pads. As far as the personal dynamics involved, well let us just say you will have to guess at those yourself.  Probably complicated but then what is not? At least they are smiling and enjoying a cool day at the lake with some silly fun. .   Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Happy Birthday Mary...

Do we really need another picture of Mary on skis? Sure especially since it's her birthday. Mary turns 21 years old today. 

Second photo is Mary and my Mom, who also had a birthday blowing out their candles. Third photo is of people who did not have a birthday this week. At least they were allowed cake. 

Last photo is Coraline, who also had a birthday this week and Rose. Kind of looks like cake was sized by age, the older you will get the bigger cake you will get. Posted by Picasa

Monday, July 09, 2012

Morgan on Skis...

We will continue with our fun in the sun and ski world with some photos of Morgan cutting the wake. First shot is on the knee board. Second shot is on a pair of thrift store skis I picked up for a few bucks years ago. Good 70s vintage equipment. The thrift store is a good place for bargin hunting skis, especially since wake boards are all the rage.

Third photo he drops a ski and has the slalom thing going on. Third photo is a little blurry but what the hey, he's flying through the air. Thanks to Miguel for the photo work.  Posted by Picasa
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