Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Old School Texas Singer songwriters...

I know, you want the scoop on the latest thing. I give it to you when I can. At the Conroe Americana Festival we recently attended we saw a couple performers, Gurf Morlix and Eric Taylor who have left their mark on the Texas music scene.  Both singer were at the Red Brick Tavern. It was a listening room atmosphere. 

Here's Gurf. Not really a Texan but he got here as quick as he could to perform with Blaze Foley, play in Lucinda William's Band and produce Ray Wylie, Robert Earl, Lucinda and more. Really great show of good songs accompanied by porch board foot tapping rhythm and a couple of really great sounding parlor type guitars.  

I really have a jones for one of these small parlor type guitars but I need another guitar like a hole in the heard and as big as I am would look like a baboon trying to delicately hold it. Ann Kelly has a new one and sometimes she lets me tune it. It's cool in a Howlin Wolf eats 50 bream at a backyard Memphis fish fry kind of way. 

A few nights later we caught Eric Taylor. He's a Texas guy and from the old Houston Townes Van Zant music scene. In addition to performing he teachs songwriting at workshops around the world. His tunes have been recorded by Lyle Lovett and Nanci Griffith. 

I have seen Eric before maybe 20 plus years ago at the Camp Street Cafe and know him to be a bit of a quirky performer with many stories to tell. He was forthcoming with his experiences with Townes, Bob Dylan and George W. Bush.   

As I say this was a listening room and Eric promised he would not get any louder. Songs were good but age and miles on the road takes his toll and his voice and mobility seemed a bit frail. Hopefully I'll be able to have some one write that about me one day.  He got up to go pee once during the set and had his wife play a couple of songs. I won't do that. My wife won't let me have the guitar back when I return.  

After the show Eric took a table by us and stuck around for a bit of the next band, The Cordovas. After the pee break from which he returned he was sipping what looked to be a White Russian. I know, I'm the butt head who quite drinking so now I'm counting your trips to the bar kind of guy but after his set he had three more. Usually the sign of a guy who don't eat having drinks with milk or tomato juice mixers.  

By the way Gurf mentioned his heart attack he had last year. Check out these old school Texas Master while you can. 

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Sunday, June 25, 2017

I have Been Accused of Shameless Advertising But...

I like the Rolling Stones all right. I might be more of a Beatles guy but I do remember that first transistor radio I owned and how I sat in the backyard swing on darkening summer evenings in the late 1960s  fine tuning in the pop songs of the day with the Stones being in heavy rotation. 

Later on into the 70s with a little disposable income coming my way I bought that old Stones double album of greatest hits, the greatest ones up to that point anyway. You know which one, I still have it. I think pop stars thought a bit different in those days. The stardom of the day could be fleeting so it probably made good sense to cash in on a greatest hits. 

In the 80s I think it was GW sitting in the house on King Street who turned me on to the Exile on Main Street record. I taped it on cassette. Listened to it a lot cruising in the Rocket 88. A bluesy, boozy collection of tunes and I own it on CD today. 

About 10 years ago I was somewhere and a middle aged guy had on a Stones Concert tee shirt. One that was recent at that time and another guy (I know what you are thinking, we weren't standing at the urinals) asked him if he had been to the concert.  He said yes, front row seats. The other guy seemed to think front row at a Stones concert was a pretty rough place. The concert goer replied, "It's not like the old days. Those are expensive seats. It's people in suits and stuff sitting in them." 

 Even though they have great grand kids The Stones are still putting out music, playing concerts, selling tees and I think they even write books. They make money in ways they might not even know about. I spotted this DHL Express truck on the highway from my seat on the Blue Line train from Chicago's O'Hare Airport to downtown. That explains the blurry photo as it was a shoot from the hip think quick chance.

aNow I have been taking the high road all these years with music. You know, no playing Free Bird and even though Prince was a cool dude I won't jam with you on Purple Rain. Plenty of people doing that stuff is what I am getting at and I don't know the words anyway.. I will put my image on the side of a truck. Of course the money needs to be right and they need to catch my best side, make me look skinny and cool and that kind of stuff. 

So the Stones sit around, "got on the DHL truck mate, high Fives all around" or do they know? Jace, do I need a manager?  


Tuesday, June 20, 2017


Yeah, we all know kids like dinosaurs. I guess I am not a big fan but it's something they use to get the young ones interested in science. In fact we have a very nice little dino place right here in town. I must say though if you visit the Chicago Field Museum  or perhaps if this is a traveling show you need to make it to see the Jurassic World Exhibit. 

I know you say, "well dinos did not exist. Not in the Bible." They got bones so even though it's not in the written record I think that God, in all Her infinite wisdom was able to make these creatures walk the earth. With a little help from Universal Studios in this exhibit they walk the Earth right beside you. 

These things are so real they had Warren making lip noises, clapping his hands and whistling just like you would call a dog to you. One day my grand kids will tell their grand kids that old pop pop took us to see the dinosaurs. 

These things walked around in cages, looked at you and popped their jaws at the bars in the unpredictable ways you would expect a real big lizard to act. Here you see Coraline gets enough of this one. 

Call him over closer Warren. See how that goes for you. I did not get great photos of some of the better ones because there was so much movement and the cages were a bit dark which I suppose was to hide what ever trickery makes these things work.  

Very real, impressive exhibit. Some people were too slow though and got eaten. 


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Sunday, June 18, 2017

Another Day at the Lake...

Summer is here. So far on this round of 7 days off, that's how you mark time working 7 on and 7 off, we have been to the lake 3 times. Twice to fish and once for a belly photo shoot with Mary and Miguel. I guess we have not been too mad at the fish because we only caught 9 yesterday and they will get cooked up today. There has been lots of swimming and general laziness. I am not prepping for a big fish fry at this point. Unless the public demands it I am not feeling like cooking 50 pounds in 90 degree heat so small batch cooking may be the order of the day as it has been this weekend. 

I know you are tired of fish photos so how about lake side wild flowers and Spanish Moss?  

Yeah, she caught more fish that me. It was a shallow water bite but probably moving to the deep patterns soon.  Couple of boats doing the floating noodle thing in our area. 

No shirt summer! 

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Friday, June 16, 2017

First Swim of the Year...

We took the first swim of the year on Wednesday. Water temps were 85 degrees and Cathy allowed how it was a little cold but the air was warm so things evened out. I think we used to make a big deal about taking the kids swimming and tubing on May 1st each year. Can anybody explain that? 

Here Cathy eases down into the cool water. The yellow thing around her hips is a flotation device we usually use when we stop the boat in the middle of the lake and dive in for a swim. You sit in it and float and we call it the butt floater since it floats your butt. 

Cathy was tired after a week at work and said she did not feel like cleaning  a bunch of fish. I felt like eating fish so we pulled up on a little point and caught 7 catfish and one bream in shallow water. I cleaned and fried them nice and brown with an organic kale salad and home grown tomato as a side. Plenty of hot sauce for me.   

Lake looks good and is up a bit after recent rains. I look to fish and swim some more this weekend. 

As a side note we made a quick trip to Tyler so Cathy could pick up sewing material and the Gander Mountain Sporting Goods store is closing with everything 20-50% off. Kind of an expensive store so $200 fancy camo jacket is still $100 but for low techers like us there are some bargains. 

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Sunday, June 11, 2017

Chicago Fishing...

I did fish in Chicago. I guess broke the law since I did not have an Illinois licence. Got away with it too. Some will say that I always do but since I caught no fish I'll cry no harm no foul. That's the style these days isn't it? 

The lake in Humboldt Park is just a few blocks from The PK manse. 

Walking around the lake I saw this guy catch a yellow catfish. He threw it back but I saw another guy with a light rig under a small bobber that caught a sunfish about the size we use for bait and he put in a bucket. That's ok, no size limit on those in Texas and I am sure it's the same here. 

Little bit confusing bit of signage about the lake. Some signs say fish from fishing stations. All about the lake are nicely planted native plants to combat erosion with nice flat rock open areas that seem to be made to set up a lawn chair and fish. There was one sign that said fish from pier only. Most fishermen and some women were fishing from the flat rock areas. 

Geese parade on a pond spotted with some type of seed pods there were blowing in the wind. 

Mallard ducks. I guess I should have been hunting. Few shots would not be noticed in the noisy big city. 

My weapon of choice instead is the pocket fisherman. If you remember about a year ago I caught a fish using this thing in a rushing Puerto Ricoian rain forest river. Since then it's pulled a few bass and perch from Pop's pond. Today I was tossing a 1/8th ounce road runner jig and the tiny sunfish were too small to get the hook in their mouth but they would run out of the weed line and bite at the curly tail every now and then. 

Fishermen are a friendly bunch even in Chicago. Most commented and admired my portable rig. 

We did take a look at the Lincoln Park Zoo a couple of days later. It's a free zoo and maybe not the greatest zoo I have seen but there was a mossy pond where Cathy taught the grand kids to spit in the water where some pretty decent sized bream would come up to investigate the spittage. After a bit of doing this three largemouth bass 12-15 inches long also came to see what the fuss was about but I did not have my equipment with me this day.    

After fishing there is a pretty good in a trendy way burger shop with a nice shady breeze way. Here's Katie and her niece and nephew cooling with topo chicos after an afternoon of fun. 

Fish while you can. You don't have to be catching. 

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Friday, June 09, 2017

The Lonesome Organist...

On this trip to Chicago it was kind of a kids fest with the grand kids along but me, Katie and Peter did make it out to to a little bar to see one of their favorites, the Lonesome Organist. 

The L.O. is a one man band show. This seems to be popular as I noticed at the recent Conroe Americana Festival there were a lot of guys with porch board stompers, kick drums kickers, tambourines and such on their feet doing a foot shake, march and tap in time to their tunes. The L.O. is kind of a misnaming as he does not play organ. He plays Accordion drums and a little twinkling kids piano all at the same time and then uses a looping pedal to lay a backing track while he plays fiddle, banjo or guitar.  He was very good. 

Singing and playing a couple of instruments that are real easy to sound bad on if you are not careful. 

Really great set of pipes with a fantastic vocal range from low to high. Note in to the right of his feet the small Roland Cube amp that he miced through The PA for some huge sounds. 

Why is a guy like this not famous? I'd say the music falls into the weird old America category. I think maybe in our not too distant past there were guys like this running around all over America playing the bars and medicine shows. TV and corporation radio playlist killed stuff like this because they told us what to like, what styles would be popular, that musicians would all be well dressed with $100 hair cuts and cute as buttons. Woe be it to the guy with the beat up fiddle. That won't look good on a 50 inch high def big screen.

Good reso/slide playing brought to mind the late Chris Whitley. Similar high yodel and open tuned chord progressions. 

Here's a photo of him playing the tinkling piano thing. Also did some tap dancing.  

There was an opening band by the name of Pillow Hammer. Now I have some pretty broad taste in music and am well aware that you should never say "I like all kinds of music" I can't say anything bad about this band's performance. They were tight, I usually like a band with trumpet in it, there were elements of free jazz type playing that was well done and organized and the overall live sound was on the mark. I'll have to put them down as not my favorite. 

One interesting piece of gear the singer had was a homemade leslie speaker, vibrato or chorus effect. This was some sort of fan thing in front of an amp that reproduced the old Lesile organ sound that was discovered by a lot of the mid 60s guitar heros. Sounded pretty good and I guess maybe a bargain when considered that this type of sound from an electronic guitar pedal will set you back a couple of hundred bucks for some of the mid line gear of this type.  

I bought his CD. I like all kinds of music. 


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Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Happy Birthday Katherine...

We are back after a trip to Chicago. It was the 4th Annual Crawfish Boil and too bad we had to be back so soon but here's a few photos from the boil to wish Katie a happy birthday today. 

Crawfish racing! 

Quality control examination 

The final inspector. 

Would you believe that the caption to this photo is, "Hey guys, somebody farted!" 

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