Wednesday, January 31, 2018

On this Day Yes a Tuba...

Facebook has this "on this day" thing that pops up every morning. Most of the time I don't pay it much mind. I have found out from paying it some mind before that I am usually doing one out of about four things. I am either fishing, (I know you wait with baited breath to see another photo of Cathy and a catfish and yeah, baited breath does sound a little nasty) playing guitar, watching someone else play guitar or playing tuba. We will talk about the tuba here because this photo of me and Coraline playing tuba popped up as a memory today from 2011.
 Of course my continuing series of baby in the tuba is as popular as ever even all these years later. Her Ezra and Wallace share duty. At first I thought Wallace was crying but I think that was singing. 



 In this year's version of Coraline with tuba you can see how much she has grown as she grips a baritone horn. Interesting piece Warren holds. IT's an E-flat tenor horn Rose found in a thrift store for $20. No mouthpiece and one valve is stuck but I think it's repairable. It will be an adventure with e flat as I am used to the concert c instruments.  It will be kind of like transposing for an alto sax I think. These horns were used as a mid range um pa on the up beat in British military bands.

 Today I held Ezra and played the baritone horn for him. He was just as quiet as a mouse and curious as a cat. Looking, looking and wondering about this low brass world he lives in. 




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Monday, January 29, 2018

Finely Had Christmas...

Well we finely got the gang all together for Christmas. The babies got to meet, we opened presents, fried fish, cooked red beans and rice, sucked a few crawfish heads and had a big Mexican food buffet. I don't think the fun could have been better. Here's just a few pictures of my family and probably grandkid heavy. 

Ezra and Wallace meet.
 Of course baby in the tuba.
 A walk with the babies.
 Tiring day.
 Who is this guy?
 A horn for everyone.
 Morgan and Ali.
 Coraline.
 The Tullochs.
 Tim and Rose.
 Opening presents.

We gave the kids paintings done by Cathy's old friend Karen.
 This is a p-buzz trombone. It has 5 notes on it. I might get me one.
 If you build a wall, no more Mexican food.

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Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Morning on Big Slough...

I have not been too mad at the ducks this year. Other than a couple of scouting trips just to look for ducks I finely made it over to The Big Slough Wilderness Area to make a for real try. The ducks put one in the win column today as I saw only about 8 and did not even fire a shot. 

Here is a look down the big slough. This is one of the more narrow places.


This look is a low lying area off the main branch that begins to fill as the water rises. Usually early in the season before winter rains set in you can step across a trickle here. If water gets out all over the bottom areas like this make tricky wading.   


In this photo  is one of my favorite ducking spots. The big slough is at my back flowing past where I sit. A very swift current follows left with a slower current forking right to head to a beaver pond. Right in front of me is a little slack water area that has filled from the tributary in the previous picture. Hope you can follow all this. It's just one of the things I do.

I saw 6 ducks on the water here all swimming down from the left fork against the flowing current. Three were too far for a shot, the next three were in range and I thought briefly about potting them on the water but then I though freezing temps, cold swift water, steep banks and old man and I decided the fetching of the kill would require too much effort.

I shot a duck coming in from upstream at this area last year and by the time I forded the slow flowing slough I had a bit of a search to find where the fast current took him. Recovery involved hanging by my toes down a steep bank.  I did say I was not made at the ducks this year. 

Plenty of red birds about. Wonder if these guys have ever seen a back yard feeder? This cardinal and a titmouse were drinking from the puddles. 




Plenty good eats down on the big slough. Just sit around and shell out the mussels to your hearts delight. 

I carried my popiel pocket fisher man and made a few casts with a spinner bait but no bites. Sometimes throwing and winding back a spinner bait can be a relaxing therapy. While standing here doing that three dogs ran past paying me no mind. The had hunter orange collars so I figured there might be other sportsmen near by. I turned my camo hat inside out so I was orange also. Seemed a good idea. When I got the truck another pickup was parked beside me and looked to have transported the dogs in. I noted an open 30 pack of Bud light on the passenger seat.

It was a good trip and with that I called it a day.   


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Monday, January 22, 2018

New Orleans Brass Bands...

I'm a horn player. When I started cutting my musical chops there were pop hits by groups like Chicago and Bill Chase that were inspirational to a kid trying to learn a horn. There are still good horn bands around. They may not be making towering hits on the pop charts but if you go down to New Orleans you can see brass bands building on a tradition that dates back to the 19th century.

War is hell they say. It chews up lives and takes a vast amount of resources and equipment. After it's over people try to take their lives back and there is usually a fantastic amount of surplus floating around. In New Orleans post Civil War some of the surplus was military band brass instruments. With New Orleans being a party town and a place to mix cultures folks picked up the left over military band brass instruments and fused European marches with African folk rhythms and a new style of music was born that continue to evolve with hip hop and funk elements added in a natural progression. You can find whatever you want in this type of music with your traditionalist bands and innovators all occupying the same time and space. 

We saw this pickup band on Frenchman Street.

One thing I have noted is that many of these bands seem to be born out a particular group of players that have been together since a high school or college band program. Some of these street corner guys had Southern University Band T shirts and hoodies. Maybe just up for the weekend making some tip money. 


This tuba guy had a hybrid horn with a fiber glass bottom and a metal bell. Could be a horn pieced together other parts or maybe something to cut the weight a little bity but still a metal bell for tone. We all have our little sound formulas.  

We were on our way to see the Hot 8 Brass Band. The t bone player in the red shirt was a Hot 8 member who sat in with the street band. 


The Hot 8 has been in existence for 20 years. They are the more "modern" stylist of the brass band music fusing the old style, funk, hip hot, R & B and local bounce into great music. I can hear some Mardi Gras Indian rhythm in there also. The tuba player Bennie Pete is the leader. 


I enjoyed this trumpet player. I don't know if he was super stoned or maybe just super cool but he was a real laid back cat who never missed his cue and always hit his mark. You could tell he was really feeling the music. 


There is some tragedy to the Hot 8 story. Three members have been lost to gun violence. Two were seeming random and one was a controversial police shooting. We all hear that all lives matter. Brass band lives matter too.  


Don't tell me there is no good music being made anymore. Guys are making it up as they go along everyday. 





     

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Monday, January 15, 2018

Fishing by Myself...

 Cathy and Mary went down to Rose's to get a start on wedding plans. My input was not required. I went fishing all on my own. It was a nice 31 degrees when I got to the lake about 8am but that was not a barrier. I ended up with 20 fat cats in the boat.

It started like gang busters with a bite on the first cast and then four nice fish in quick succession. Things slowed a bit and I poked around some favorite spots with the best bite coming at the place we call old reliable at about 12 noon.




Heard that old joke, the water is deep? Well it's cold too. Depth finder shows the old Angelina River channel at 42' and the water temps on the surface at 47. Those catfish on the bottom don't know how cold it is. Quite a few I caught today had eggs in them. Maybe after this spot of weather they have predicted it will soon be spring like. 


Water turkeys perch on an old dead tree. Probably 25 or 35 feet deep right there and that tree has been standing there since the lake filled up mid 60s. Not many left with horizontal limbs for perches. Likewise there are not many horizontal limbs below the surface either to hold fish at multiple levels. I saw one tree with more birds but a boat flushed them before I could get a picture. 


I knew I had at least 20 fish in the box when a guy motored up and asked about my luck. I told him good and caught a fish as he sat there. He stayed in the area pocking around for a crappie bite and when I left I motored by and told him to take my spot. He said "but I wanted crappie." That seems to be a 1st world response I get more and more when I am generous. It's not what someone wants. 


The day ended up very nice. Hard to believe from looking out the back of the boat as I motor into the Hanks boat ramp cove that snow is expected tomorrow. 

Here is the money shot. I guess it's a good thing Cathy was not along. There would have been 60 fish to clean. This bunch made 5 pound of fillets. 


And here is how the biggest fillets ended up, blackened in a pan New Orleans style. I kind of did it low fat with olive oil instead of butter. I figure I am good having eaten several blackened dishes last trip down south. 

Just for the record the bite is light. Hardly any of these fish hit the line hard. Most of the time I the best way I can describe it is that the rod just felt different and I set the hook and the fish was on. 




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Sunday, January 14, 2018

My State of the Union...

It's time to make my state of the union address or more properly state of the blog. It this time of the year, January that I use two criteria to judge what's going on in the world and that's how many fish we caught last year and the annual report secular vs religious Christmas cards I received.

First, the fishing. We fished 17 times last year. That does not include ski/swimming trips where we did not fish. That does not seem like a whole lot just about 1.4 times a month. We caught 252 fish. That's down from 500 fish last year but if you run a knife down each side of the fish when you fillet and then most of those fillets were big enough to split again that a lot of pieces of fish.

I guess we were just not as mad at them this year but lot of stuff happened. Grandchildren born, outboard broke down and so on. We just had the one big fish fry last Mardi Gras and no plans exist for anymore fish fries at this time except when the kids are all here in a couple of weekends.


May be I need to set up a fish camp like this one I spotted near Pat's Seafood, Breaux Bridge, La.



This fish count brings us to the Christmas card count. You know by now how I do this. I simply go through the Christmas cards and look for religious imagery, wording or quotes of Bible verses and the card falls into the religious category. If you sent a picture of Frosty, Santa or your dog it falls into secular. I was pretty liberal, but you know that already and let some vague symbols pass. I was tempted to let some family picture cards pass because they were nice and small families with one child did conjure up a kind of Madonna type scene.  If your card had a word like peace or hope, definitely  Christian virtues it did not pass without another clear symbol of faith. I mean how many times have you stood over the chaos of gift opening screaming for peace? If any you get my drift. 

The final score was 26 secular to 12 religious. I hear a lot about putting Christ in Christmas. Here is an easy chance and some blow it. Looks like last years score was 26-15 secular winning. I got less cards this year. Maybe I was taken off some lists because of blog posts like this. I have not counted my presents to see if I got less of those also.  0

In final summery we come to the point that probably most Americans had a similar experience last year. We did not fish enough and we were all talk and no action on the religious side of things. May be we will make that sh**hole list of countries yet.  

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Friday, January 12, 2018

Adam Carroll at The Mucky Duck...

We took a quick trip to Houston last evening to catch singer song writer Adam Carroll's set that the Mucky duck. If you have ever hit your stride down in Louisiana, got a ride home from a girl with dirty hair, wasted time reading historical markers out on highway 21, got red dirt on alligator shoes, prayed to Saint Bernadine  or been up to your butt in mud putting out decoys there is something in his songs for you.   



After a set of his own Adam was joined by his wife Chris for a couple of here songs and a few duets. Then Adam played another set and Chris returned to the stage to close out the set strongly. Adam is a Texas fellow born in Tyler. Chris is a Canadian. We know of another Texas/Canadian thing like this. 


The songs are good, maybe better that some more touted folks working this same area. It's also endearing that the stage show is not too polished. We bought CDs after the set and both of these folks were gracious and took time with the fans, even the guy who wanted to have an email conversation on how to play a certain song. Cathy has been playing his song "Bernadine." 

It was a good night in Houston for Texas Music. This was an early show and it was temping to head over to the Height's Theater where Billy Joe Shave was holding court. Having seen Billy Joe back in May we elected to head home but there are some good upcoming shows at The Heights including new country darling Margo Price on Jan. 31st. 

If you been haunting the coffee house and listening rooms of Texas for a few decades like me you will need some Adam Carroll and you will know just what he talks about. 





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Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Louis Armstrong and His Collages...

Everybody knows Louie Armstrong. If you don't, stop reading now. Louie, a trumpet player, singer and actor made music that spanned the 20s to his death in 1971. He was one of the first black artists to cross over to popularity with white audiences. He was a heavy marijuana user and being from New Orleans always signed his letters "red beans and ricely yours." If you stop by the old US Mint in New Orleans you can see an exhibit of his art that is not as well know as the horn playing. Louie made reel to reel tapes and cut out pictures colleges to cover the boxes they were in.

The recordings Louie made were music that interested him. He recorded himself talking about subjects of interest and interviewed friends. He captured back stage environment noise and random sounds at home. The New Orleans Advocate called him an "early pioneer of the mixtape culture."

He decorated the boxes these tapes were kept in. He started in the early 50s with this project and the colleges are a rhythmic visual companion to the recorded sounds. In addition to the boxes the colleges he also decorated the walls of his Queens New York home. Here's a photo I made at the mint exhibit.
   

That's Louie at work in his Queens home. You can see his reel to reels and the walls covered with interesting things he has cut out. In addition to the walls and tape boxes he also made scrapbooks. There are reportedly "hundreds" of the boxes and 28 of them are on display at the Mint museum. 


These are just a few I photographed. 
Louie never said much about the collages. In a 1961 interview he simply told a reporter "for posterities." For us I'm glad to have a look inside this great mind. Check out the jazz museum at the US Mint in new Orleans. It's a great place. They even his first horn that he played in the Colored Waif's Orphanage in New Orleans around 1913.  






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Thursday, January 04, 2018

The Royal Rounders...

Here's a band we caught New Year's Eve in New Orleans in the back room at Buffa's. If you don't know Buffa's it's been there since 1939 on Esplanade just across the street from where the Quarter begins. I have walked past it many times but in an era where most bars are stand up places to see music this was a nice cozy sit at a table like a civilized man and watch a durn good band. 

The Royal Rounders have a pretty impressive resume. Members of this band have played with Al Hirt, Dr. John, Rod Stewart, Col. Bruce Hampton, Garrison Keillor's Prairie Home Companion and includes the savior of the world wide oyster industry.  
Being a slide player I was happy when I saw this guy, Dave Easley on stage. He's out of the late Colonel's band and can be found in other places around the jam band scene. Very good sound all clean, powerful surfy, jazzy and Hawaiian.


The sax player on the right is Jerry. He kind of adopted us as we were sitting right close to the stage and being friendly was helped a lot by the two hours he sat drinking at the bar before his set started. Turns out I've heard this man play before. he played the sax solo on the Rod Stewart hit tonight's the night. I have that record around here. He also played with Delaney and Bonnie. I have always been curious about how long #1 hit money lasts so I asked him. Rod paid him $367 for the solo. He described a feeling that something was put somewhere that I can't say on this family friendly portal in very colorful language.  


The big guy on sax saved the oyster industry. No details were given. I ate oysters several times this trip and I thanked him.  



No story on the bassman other than he was a cool funky dude and a good singer. 

The drummer is Freddy. You have herard him alos on late 60s Al Hirt Records and severl Dr. John records in the decades that followed. Another stone cold cool dude. 


No good photos of him but the piano guy was from the Keillor show. 


Crowd turn out was light for this cast of interesting characters but then I might never have gotten to meet these guys and here the road warrior stories. I'll have another post up later about another great band that played the time slot before them. There is just too much to see and do in New Orleans. 


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