Saturday, February 28, 2015

No Catch on The Sabine...

Or as a subtitle some might wonder "What was it exactly were you doing as you stripped down for the state trooper and was it your idea or hers?" Anyway the fish did not bite for us but a trip to the Sabine with cousin Beverly and her husband Donny was not without fun and a small measure of excitement.  

We were just about to the turn when the trooper thought I was in a bit of a hurry and pulled me over. Bundled as I was for a cold day of fishing a request by the nice lady trooper caused me to have to exit the truck and shuck some outer layers to gain access to my wallet. I guess she had mercy on me or maybe she was thinking (I have this on good authority) can't wait to show this dashboard camera video at the next trooper Christmas party. I am now about 5 out of 6 on avoiding citations at this point in time and did not even have to undress for all of them. As this warning ticket proves "Violator: Wallace Carl Eugene." That's me. 

As to the Sabine the recent rains have the river way up from two weeks ago when they were biting well. Yesterday the did not bite at all. The high water has scattered them. You can see from this photo Cathy sits instead of stringing, Donny casts with no result as Beverly paces the bank in search of just the right current eddy into which to cast. 
As we took a lunch break three boats showed up and anchored off our little sand bar. If you look at their position in the photo that is about where we stood to catch fish when the river was at lower levels. They were using the same road runner jigs as us. Before the showed up we had poured about 1000 cast in that area with no result. They did not have any better luck than we did. . 

Maybe in a couple of weeks provide there's not too much rain we will try again. 

Thursday, February 26, 2015

So I Won't Forget This...

I am reading a book by famed producer Daniel Lanois called "Soul Mining A Musical life. I like it but then I am a fan so like a fan I like all of his stuff. I also like New Orleans and he recorded several records for himself, Dylan and the Neville Brothers there. In fact once I caught a bit of his set at the Jazz Fest as I was passing through on my way to see something at another stage. I knew him but had not begun to collect his stuff. Wish I had stopped to pay more attention. Anyway on this cold day just so I won't forget here is a quote from the book on tubas, tone and humidity:

"They say that the funk comes from the tuba. The high humidity content in the air of New Orleans provides a tuba player with a better seal at every gasket, at every vale, and in the way the Sonar signal of a whale reaches a long distance with the water as it's transmitter the New Orleans thick moist air is a loyal, relentless conductor of tone."

Man could I do some damage down there. 

Here is a clip of Daniel doing kind of what I do at my house.


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Have Not Given Away a Big Screen in a While...

So it's that time again. Got to keep the old blog up and running so we give away a big screen. In case you want to know the history of giving away a big screen just click on the little tag thing and you can see where we have been and what we have done. I mean that is the definition of history all wrapped up nice and neat like in a TV Guide or something. 

What we do is every now and then our sponsors and handlers let us have a big screen at cost and we have a contest, people send in donations or as some fundraiser call it a pledge and we give away the prize to the lucky winner. This fundraiser way predates the click like or share on facebook and win these cowboy boots thing. A nice median donation of $39,000 will put you right up there in the running to win and keeps this blog on the air. 

Here is a look at this years prizes. It's a special multi prize package and it's packed up shrink wrapped and ready to be shipped to the lucky winner. 
In case you need a better look to make sure they will all fit and match the man cave or where ever here's the other side 

Remember that you need not be present to win, no sales taxes apply due to the fact that it would just be an unfair burden on the sacrifices of my blog readers and supporters, and I'll bring it over to your house myself. Of course I'll stay and watch awhile but I'll try and keep quiet. 

Send your money now and be quick about it. 

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Saturday, February 21, 2015

Still Buying Records...

I might have made a passing mention in a previous blog that while in Houston waiting on the Deke Dickerson and Los Straitjackets show me and Cathy discovered a neat little record store called Sig's Lagoon. In fact the owner of  Sig's was in the opening band.  It was a good store with new and used stuff. 

Now when you think of used records you might think of the guys who still lived just like they did in a dorm room in 1976, died from eating too many honey buns only they were living at mom's house and then she was left to give his records to Goodwill. I look through stacks of records like that sometime at thrift stores and that is what I think. Some guy died and they gave away his record collection.  Stacks like these seem to be  full of multiple copies of mid 1970s hits like the Bay City Rollers, Henry Gross, Peter Frampton, Paul Anka and the Eagles. I never bought those back then (well I confess to a couple of Eagles 8 tracks) but there must have been a lot of guys like this. Once upon a time America was still the land of the big 12 incher and from the evidence of multiple copies in the bins there were enough of them manufactured and sold to pave the planet in 180 gram vinyl. I don't know what the 8 tracks are paving. I'll try to get the numbers on those later. Anyway what we do around here is buy mostly records you have never heard of. Here is a sample from Sig's. 
Now really we have heard of some of this stuff. That record on top that says bongos. Everybody knows what a bongo is. Then there is a polka record, something by Hank Thompson and the Brazos Valley Boys, a live John Sebastian, an Xavier Cugat, a Pete Fountain (we collect a lot of his stuff and man he made a bunch of records and still is) and a record of English folk songs done on banjo and recorder. Now Sig's had some high dollar collectible, rare records, lots of very good condition stuff for $10 which is about my limit for used. I'll pay $10 if it's something I just can't live without. There were many records in the $5 range (fair to good condition usually) and then a favorite of me and Cathy plenty of $1 bins to dig through which is where all these came from. Easily good fun for a buck. I have spent a lot more than this trying to have a good time. 

Sig's also has new records. Records are popular again and at the Dickerson/Straitjackets show there were a lot of guys eating honey buns snapping up the new records they had for sale at about $25 a pop three and four at a whack. I was plumb embarrassed and uncool to just purchase two cds but I did get to listen to them on the way home that night. I know technology advances fast and I never discount that I might not have heard of the latest thing but I don't think the record people got to do this. 

Sig's also had some turntables in case you are thinking you might not be able to get in on this good fun. I know folks can get pretty snobbish about audio gear but these were $100 which I suspect is entry level. That's ok though. Just to get yourself spinning those big 12 inchers. 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Cigar Box Guitar Build #42

 Here is cigar box guitar build #42. It's a Madrigal Habana cigar box which I note sells for $20 on ebay. I could not really date the box but would guess possibly  40-60 years old. Madrigal were Mexican made cigars. 

It's a three string fret-less to be played with a slide. 

Box shows a bit of wear at some edges but a little lemon oil shines it up. 

I tuned it up low to high B-G#-E which is a little backwards from my usual. I might try to change the low string to an E so it has a little more honk. 

It's electric with a piezo pickup. My initial impressions are that the acoustic sound is great but the electric sound is a little trebally for my taste. That might be different with a tuning change and there are always things to do amp and pedal wise to get the big scream going on.  

As I say hard to date this box. A business site shows the import company still in operation. I don't know if you can still get the cigars. 

This guitar for sale $75. I think it's a nice one. 


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

All on a Mardi Gras Day...

Happy Mardi Gras Day. Actually I am a little glad I am not down in New Orleans because what with this cold snap I don't think I would be comfortable in the skimpy costume I had picked out to wear just in case I found myself somewhere south of I-10 this morning. Things like that happen all on a Mardi Gras Day. In the mean time here is an old photo I shot with 35mm and scanned in so it can be broadcast to the world of the good Doctor John performing at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival sometime in the early 90s. The good Doctor is still going strong with a new release recently of Louie Armstrong Standards.  I think I have seen Doctor John about three times in live performance through the years. 

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Live Music...

Went to the Liberty Bell in Nacogdoches for live music Friday night. The band was Jeff Plankenhorn, a lap slide player from Austin. We have seen Jeff a couple of times at the Saxon Pub in Austin. As you may have noticed slide guitar is ind of my thing and this was a great show. His backing band was very good. 

Nice electric dobro played standing up. Set up was a modest pedal board with some delay, overdrive and wah-wah. I am a sucker for wah sounds on slide and it does have a precedent going back to the great slide player Earl Hooker but seems like with my usual gigs it don't fit so well. Jeff sounded great and I need to find my own place myself to use these sounds. Looks like amp was a Marshall clone but he did not blow the roof off the place with it.  

Check him out. Buy cds, don't listen on Spotify. Support live music. 

Saturday, February 14, 2015

It's a Sabine Thang...

So I have noted that folks are in the area making a TV show for Animal Planet about looking for bigfoot, Sasquatch, yeti, swamp ape or as he is know in some Eastern Texas areas the Sabine Thang. I would get involved but my wife won't let me.  She thinks that I have enough hobbies and here's photos and a report of our trip to the Sabine River to fish the white bass run.

Cathy was a bit doubtful about this trip which was to the River Ridge RV park and guide service where we paid a "picnic on the sandbar" parking fee to fish this fine stretch of river. See Cathy is a bait on the bottom wait for a bite kind of fisherperson who thinks that's extra work to cast and reel in lures where sometimes you don't get a bite instead of letting it sit there till the bite happens. She adapted very well though and had about 5 fish on the stringer before I had one. 
It was definitely a job for the rod and reel combo Cathy is using we call the red rascal.
You see the lure, a roadrunner with a chartreuse curly tail. I started with a black back/green belly monkey tail. They did not like it like the chartreuse.  

There was a lot of cell phone texting photos to people stuck at day jobs. If you did not get one let me know and I'll send. 

Don't worry it's the same stringer. We just both had to have our picture with it. I guess it is lucky we did not catch a bigfoot. We would have had to let him ride home in the front seat of the truck. 

As we sat and ate a shore lunch we got all sentimental about Valentine's Day and told each other how much we were glad to be married and like to do so many things together. I think she was honey potting me. She just want's some one big and strong to be able to drag her stringer uf fish up a tall sandy Texas river bank. 

All these fish were caught in about an hour and a half. Total drive time to and from was 3 hours. Cleaning time was 1 hour. As the action slowed I changed lures to see if that would make a difference and caught one, even if it was the smallest one of the day on this spoon that Katie and Peter sent me from some northern place, Chicago, Milwaukee or Canada. They have sent me spoons before that were killer on speckled trout. Keep them coming seems like we mostly have old sliver colors around here. 
A guide at the RV park says barring rising water the run last till the end of March. Most of the fish we caught were males and good size ones at that. They run first. We had about 10 egg filled spawning females. This makes me thing the run might just be starting good. 

It was a great day on the river. 

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Strange Reports and Sightings So Far This Week...

Two people have told me that they saw on TV that the battle of Armageddon was imminent.  This would have been cause for alarm had they not both given different locations that the battle was supposed to take place. Kind of like the weather reports it does depend on which station you watch sometime. They don't always get it right. Then there was the other guy who just no said "aren't you Mandy Patinkin?" I was standing in line at at Old Souls food truck. I was was not singing and apparently just getting by on looks alone. I said "Who?" He said "Haven't you seen the Princess Bride?" I haven't. Again watching different stations. 

I saw the thrash metal band Gwar and made their photo this summer at Riot Fest in Chicago. Some parts of the theatrics had an apocalyptic feel to them. If you don't know Gwar and I admit I did not before this show. They are a band that has created a huge barbaric interplanetary display of violence, blood, political, scatological and sexual shock rock. A little bit of deft maneuvering of props and sage presence and Ammageddon could be worked in.  At riot fest that day you could always tell who had been up front for this set. They were covered in fake blood. 

And before you say "well mudbelly, I was shocked to see a nice boy like you at the concert." Well I was shocked to see you there because a little internet research shows that since 1984 Gwar has sold 800,000 records as well as comic books, games, lunch boxes, a cartoon, a board game (I have bought none of this) and well you know just all those shameless self promotion things an artist can get sucked into and that I wish I could break into myself. 

Here's the photos. 

Ok, I understand if you are a little more comfortable with Mandy Patinkin and want to stand in a food truck line with him. To be honest I have not thought about Gwar since the day I made these photos, I watch very little TV and am certainly in no position to be guessing on Armageddon. 

Monday, February 09, 2015

Thinking Like A Grandpa...

As I look back on these photos of my grandchildren  it teaches me something. I am thinking like a Grandpa. I mean I am a grandfather but you know what? I should have been up in this play ground equipment with them. 

Friday, February 06, 2015


Some may say I have wussed out. Some might think "old." Some might be saying "can't hear himself burp." Well it's kind of true I guess because this week at band rehearsal I started wearing fancy noise reduction ear plugs. Results so far are good but it was harder to make a photo of a body part you can't really see than I expected. Not to well practiced up at this kind of photography. 

Seems this past winter I have been troubled more than usual with sinus, laryngitis and something that has been steadily growing, tinnitus which is a ringing in the ears caused by among other things exposure to loud noises. 

I got plenty of reasons to have ringing in my ears. I have worked in loud (I did use hearing protection but it was for 25 years) places, did some gun shooting, years of thinking I had to be front row at musical performances and of course playing loud music in bands. I have also been guilty of listening to music in the car and with the advent of digital read out volume levels thinking that to be a responsible adult I had to set the read out to my age to well you know what they say, act my age. 

Seems that\loud music does not bother me if I am in a big enough space. A recent show I attended, Deke Dickerson and Los Straitjackets saw the guitar players using Twin Reverb, Super Reverb and Hard Rock Deluxe Fender amps plus bass and drums. Those are big boy amps and in a medium sized venue volume was well controlled.  If I am playing in a spacious rehearsal hall or big stage myself no problems to exacerbate the ringing in my ears because best I can guess is that I am not on top of my amp, someone else's amp or have the drummer ringing cymbals in my ear.  Lately I am in a small rehearsal space with the guys on top of each other and what with the sinus and all tinnitus has been bad. 

The sinus is much better and I used the ear plugs this week for the first time. I had some regular off the shelf foam plugs but these work to stop loud, low, high pitched and sudden noises while letting you hear yourself sing and then be able to talk between tunes and hear the voices of others. 

I think it's going to work for me. I will live.  Maybe you should get you some ear plugs next time you see me play. 

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Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Once You Start Sliding...

You don't go back. At least that's what Bluesman Brownie McGee said his farther told him in regard to how to play the guitar. Despite the fact that Brownie started out on a guitar made from a marshmallow tin he did not continue playing slide guitar but developed a complex picking style. I saw Brownie with harp player Sonny Terry twice in the late 70s/early 80s and it was a really great show and a lesson in American folk blues.

 Myself I have pretty much gone to playing slide all the time on whatever instrument except for bass, baritone guitar and tuba but that could change anytime a burst of creativity overtakes me. In this photo Warren knows old Pop Pop does something on the strings with this thing and he is trying to figure it out.

Composer W.C. Handy, born in 1873 was an educated and trained musician who is known as the father of the blues. He is given credit for evolving the blues from a regional folk music to one of the strongest elements of American popular music. In was in 1903 while waiting for a train in Tutwiler, Mississippi that Handy spotted a man in the station playing the guitar. This is what Handy said about it:

"A lean loose-jointed Negro had commenced plunking a guitar beside me while I slept... As he played, he pressed a knife on the strings of the guitar in a manner popularized by Hawaiian guitarists who used steel bars....The singer repeated the line three times, accompanying himself on the guitar with the weirdest music I had ever heard." 

This is one of the first mentions of slide guitar. After their meeting in the train station the slide guitar man wandered off into the mist of history. I often wondered what happened to him. It would not be until 1923 that two recordings were made by Sylvester Weaver called "Guitar Blues" and "Guitar Rag." "Guitar Rag" eventually morphed into "Steel Guitar Rag" for Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys. 

Speaking of western swing and lap slide Hawaiian players Warren seems to prefer the guitar on his lap for playing. This is Cathy's soprano uke which he used in our jamming this weekend. Warren seems to do somethings that indicate he's a lefty but he always flips the guitar right handed. Here he works on his sitting playing in a train station posture. Don't look like he will be going back from here. 

As I sell my cigar box guitars I think I might not be making it real clear about the slide part. Takes something different to play slide. You got to leave those fingers behind and never go back. It's the mist of history, trains, old souls, turning off the music channel on your TV, chance meetings, limitations, imagination, ear training and of course a couple of music theory courses never hurt anything. 

Slide on. Don't go back. 


Sunday, February 01, 2015

Blog Post That Shook the Music World...

You may remember a few months back I was looking through old family memorabilia and turned up a couple of  photos of a group that played on Memphis radio in the late 30s-early 40s Called Bob McKnight and his Ranch Boys. Here is the original blog post at this link.  Through the wonders of the world wide web two people contacted me about this little piece of music journalism I did.

The first was Bob McKnight's great grandson Rick. Rick's mom is Madalyn, one of Bob's daughters. I guess Rick was doing a web search and came up with my blog. As I do not have originals of the photos I sent him the copies I had. He does have some recordings of Bob and the boys and is going to send them. I have promised not to profit from these and keep them for my own pleasure only. 

The next person to contact  me was a French fellow named Alain who goes by the web persona Rockabilly Joe. He is a writer for the French Magazine Rock and Roll Revue and musicologist who judging from his facebook posts is really crazy about Elvis. Check his web site or friend him on facebook by his name Rockabilly Joe. Much of the web site and facebook is in French but Joe is an excellent pen pal who corresponds in English very well. The reason Joe contacted me was that he interviewed Freddie Boy Burns who turns 101 years old today. That's Freddie in the above photo on the far left. 

Here are a couple of photos Joe sent me of Freddie. Here he holds the copy of Rock and Roll Revue with his interview. 
This is Freddie and Dave Stewart. I don't know Dave but these photos are dated January 2015. As you can see he still has his guitar. Remember never trust a man without a guitar. 

I have put Joe and Rick in contact with each other. Hopefully Rick will find out more about his great grandfather and maybe Joe can get some info from Madalyn for a book he is writing. 

As for me looks like once again I have done my part for hillbilly rock and roll. I take away a 2010 quote from a Freddie Boy interview that I used in my earlier blog post. Freddie sees his career not as an overnight sensation like Elvis but as a more gradual trajectory. I want to be like Freddie when I grow up. Sometimes it seems like I might just be making that climb to the top and might get there with a few more years of work. I hope like Freddie I get long enough on this earth to make it. 


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