Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween...

I know you have seen this photo before. It exists on the blog in other places but it's one of my favorites. Good enough to use again even though it must be 20 years old.  Halloween is very important around here. Happy birthday to Rose, Juan and Uncle John. Thanks to Cathy for saying "yes" as I will always remember this holiday day, happy day as the day I asked you to marry me.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Are Your Pictures Yours...

I knew a guy one time. It was back in the days when you had to take your photo film (grand pa, is film what you are spitting up?) to the drug store for development. He thought that if you had a really good scenic photo taken on your vacation the people who saw it first, the developers, would sell your scenic view to the postcard companies. He claimed he had seen photos he had taken at the Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls, the Old Stone Fort and other places for sale in the tourist souvenir stores. 

I did not much buy this. I think there is probably only a limited number of places you can stand to make a picture of the Old Stone Fort so if me and you both have a Brownie camera I bet our photos are going to look about the same.  Now given a nice camera and a trained eye a good photographer might come up with an extraordinary shot. I don't think this guy I used to know had a trained eye and I think he was mistaken about the photo on the postcard being one of his. 

The internet has changed all this and I don't think people use postcards all that much anymore. Now I think my pictures and pictures people make of me end up online somewhere. In fact I know that whenever I put up a photo of my wife in a bathing suit it automatically ends up on some hot chick web site. See some guys can't make it on their own thing. That's why they must piggy back on the thing you do which is being married to a hot chick. 

So this brings us around to a recent fishing trip. We are tied up on the secret spot and down the lake comes this. 
Looks like he's headed right to us. I had to take my hat off to get this next photo.

Somewhere on the internet is a pontoon boat/hot chicks fish web site and pictures of me doing my thing are all over it. 


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Another Church Member Passes...

Our condolences go the the Glenn family on the passing of their mother Helen. Cathy visited Helen's parents and took them communion and for the past few years as Helen became more immobile Cathy visited her at home and took communion to her on Sunday evenings after church. 

On Sundays when I was not working I usually went with Cathy. Helen was another one of those people who knew you when she met you. She always told me to behave as I left her home. I don't know what made her think I might do otherwise.

Here's a photo I took of Cathy and Helen when we recently visited her at M.D. Anderson in Houston.
Helen came home shorly after this and passed away yesterday surrounded by family.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Saturday Cigar Box Fun...

Took a booth at St. Paul's Methodist Church Fall Festival on Saturday and had a good day playing and selling cigar box guitars. It's my cousin Dixie's church and she invited me to purchase a booth for this event.  I do have a long connection going back to St. Paul's. I had friends that went there and I remember going to dances with live bands. In fact I remember one dance where the band had white and black people in it. That was bound to have been around 1972 so even though members have aged it's a pleasant place and was very open to the noise I made all day in the booth. 

The final total for sales was two one stringers, a three stringer and an amp. Bill Cooney, my celebrity sponsor and endorser  came along and backed me up on tenor guitar and tenor banjo. Here's a photo of Bill and I tried my best to make it look like a George Harrison album cover.
My mom has a lots of friends at this church. She is really an old Methodist but has been mixed up with the Baptist so long she continues on there. She played a little percussion and made sure my act was consumable for the venue, in other words not too many songs about New Orleans. 
Cathy is in the background. She put out some of the baby blankets she makes for sale but no luck on these. 
Here's a happy buyer but his wife is not too sure. He told me he tried to learn guitar at age 80 but gave it up. I like that. If you don't succeed, scale back and do less. I think it was Ken Kesey who said something like I promise a lot to be able to deliver what I can. If you playing more than one string you just showing off. I sold another one stringer and the booth had only been open 5 minutes and did not get that ladies photo. She bought the prince Albert can diddly bow.
Here is a girl that is going to make her boy friend very happy this Christmas. She bought a cigar box guitar and amp. Sounds like he might be a good player because she wanted to hear the guitar through the different amps. She said "I know some sound better with certain guitars." You can see what she picked. 

A good fun day. met some other interesting people but might save their story for later. There is a video of me and Bill playing on facebook. Thanks to all the shoppers and the church we had a fine time. 



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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Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Black Joe Lewis at Riot Fest...

When we mentioned we would be seeing Black Joe Lewis it caused a bit of confusion because it was at first thought we were trying to distinguish between two different performers and we did not want to mislead people who may have thought we saw White Joe Lewis.  It's not that kind of thing. If you like blues, garage, punk or James Brown check out Black Joe and his newest album "Electric Slave." For that manner please be sure and check out any Black Joe album. 

Black Joe hails from Austin so he is best I can find out a Texas boy. We are friends on facebook. He has pictures of himself holding up a big bass he caught so he is an ok dude. 

They used to call this band the Honeybears but I don't think they are using that name for now. This was the first act to open Riot Fest and possibly the loudest band we saw. May be the coldest band we saw because you could see these Texas guys shiver and rub their hands against the chill damp Chicago day. 
This guy's bari sax honk makes you want one of these in your band. Check the scorpions embrodiered on his shirt. I think this shirt might be from a street vendor in New Orleans that I also bought two shirts from except mine have crawfish and bigfoot embroidery. 
For all you old high school band mates. The horn band is alive and well. The thing that all us old horn players dug about music in the 1970s still has a groove. 
Bass player what am a bass player. I want to be this guy when I grow up. I noticed the band posted a video clip this week of them clowning around before a gig. I think they all mostly had on the same clothes as they did this day in Chicago. Traveling light I guess. 

I am a Fender amp guy but Joe makes me want a Vox. 


Sunday, October 05, 2014

Fat Man and Little Boy...

Fat Man and Little Boy were the names given to the only two atomic bombs used in warfare. The USA dropped them on Japan in 1945.  It was Peter Tosh, the Jamaican Reggae singer who had a song Called "No More Nuclear War."  I can't dig war of any kind but I am dropping these two primitive guitars on you and the names seem to fit since the big one is made from an oreo cookie commemorative tin and the other is from an old Prince Albert Tobacco can. Either substance can blow you up in it's own way. 

The Prince Albert is a one string "diddley bow." The Oreo guitar is a three string. Both have good acoustic sounds. The Oreo stays in tune well but I have not tried to keep the Prince to any certain note. As I sing and play I just tune it to my voice on the fly. Non musicians I have played the one string for have been pretty impressed with what it can do. I haven't actually played it for another musician yet. They will probably say "Mudbelly quit fooling around and start rocking us some Eagles!"  

The year this tin issued was 1999. It has some wear marks from someone's big old cookie grabbers pulling it apart. 

An expert could date this can. Morgan found it in his out building at the house in Hearne, Tx. 

Both are electric. I have not given them a good run through with a tube amp other than to make sure the electrics worked quietly. I do have a new distorto pedal that I bet will make these scream. Maybe in the next couple of days I will try a youtube video.    

The one string is a laminated board, something someone gave me thinking I could make necks with it. It's ok for a one string and with the aged tin gives it a nice antique look. 

You can find these guitars and more on sale Oct 25th at the St. Paul's Methodist Church Fall Fest and Fish fry. Hours are 9am-3pm. I'll have a booth and be singing and playing all day. I don't have anything to do with the fish part of it but expect some deep discounts on one string guitars, some Christmas tin guitars and percussion stuff. I may try to make some non electric guitars that I will also discount. Nice cigar boxes will be full price.

In case you think I am joking about nuclear war:



Wednesday, October 01, 2014

A Brand New Game to Play...

 Life has moved on even for those of us who live it online and I hope everyone realizes that only about a thimble full ever really gets diluted down to something that can be written about. A few weeks ago we attended Riot Fest, a big concert in Chicago. I made many photos and have lots to write about them. I also invented a new game. 

We have played this game in some form or another for some years now. You know when you are visiting an out of town place and on a crowded street you see someone that looks like a friend but can't possibly be that friend because of the situation of you being a traveler in a strange land and your real friend is stuck back at work. To play the game you say something like there is _____ if he had a good day, went straight, been born rich, or never listened to his mother. Take your pick or make something up. They say we all have a double somewhere. 

So taking this one step farther (always pushing) when you see a weird looking person, and there were plenty at Riot Fest I came up with a question to ask them. First the weird people:

If you note a lot of these photos are made with the subjects unawares I have discovered that you don't just run up and startle weird people. 

These two pretty tame. 

Mohawks enjoy the Ferris wheel. 

Did not want his hair to be like dad's.

So here is the rules to the game. Go up to a strange looking person or better yet a group of strange looking people hanging out together and ask, "What's the name of your band?" 

If they got a band name you won. It's time for others in your group to take a turn picking a weird looking dude and asking the question. The person that picks a dude and he or she is not in a band has to spend an hour hanging out with that person. At the end of an hour you move on, catch up with your group see how others are faring and total score based on hours wasted with weird dudes. I know you are wondering so yes I did have to spend and hour with some of the people in these photos. 

It's good harmless fun, you meet new people and is less dangerous than watching middle east war videos on youtube which I guess could fall under the living your life online thing. 

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