Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Kings and Queens of the Accordion Festival...

I have had a busy week. One thing I have not had the time to document properly in this space is the Kings and Queens of the Accordion Festival which was held a couple of weekends ago in Houston at the Miller Outdoor theater. I am going to have to arrive earlier next time because we missed the polka bands but saw several Tejano bands and one Zydeco band.  The zydeco band was C.J. Chenier, the son of legendary great Clifton Chenier. It brought to mind a time I saw Clifton play. 

I saw Clifton play a couple of times in the mid 80s in New Orleans. Once at the Jazz Fest but the time that really sticks in my mind is the time I saw him play at Tipitina's. Tip's is a famous New Orleans music club located in an old house of some sort located on the corner of Napoleon and Tchoupitoulas . I have been there many times seeing everyone from Gogol Bordello to the Killer Bees to Gatemouth Brown and more. The club is fixed up quite a bit these days but it seems like the time I saw Clifton I did not even go in the club but instead stood out side looking in through an open window that allowed you to look right down the stage right to left. There may be a couple of people that read this that were there that night so maybe they will help me out. It might have been one of those doors of perception things but I stood right there, drinking beer out of my own ice chest (you can do that kind of thing in N.O.) and watching the greatest zydeco band in the world. 

See, at the time I did this I was starting to play a little music and kind of getting to the point when people would let me and some other guys play at their party. I had a brand new Fender bass guitar bought as best I remember in 1983 or 84 and I thought I was playing it pretty good and the girls were starting to come around. But that night I stood there looking through that window, that hole in the ether, ozone, firmament or what ever that opened and let me see right on to the bandstand. Clifton was center stage but closest  to me was the bass player and the guy was tearing that thing up. I watched and that night I felt like I had a very long way to go to be able to be worth anything as a musician. 

So I let that lesson serve me. Every time I think I am going pretty good or got a sweaty little band with a rocking groove I take a look through the open window. 


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