I’m going to do something a bit different this week and focus on story telling as opposed to linkage. Mmm, sausage. I’m going to dispense with the introduction and move on to this week’s theme song. Louisiana Blues, was written by the King of the Great Migration to Chicago blues, McKinley Morganfield aka Muddy Waters. His stage name is relevant to this week’s extravaganza as you’ll soon see.
Here are two versions of this blooze classic starting with the original recorded in 1950:
It’s high time for a 1993 cover of Louisiana Blues by Paul Rodgers with Yesman Trevor Rabin on lead guitar:
Finally, I saw Zydeco great Clifton Chenier at Winterland on a bill with Muddy and headlined by Hot Tuna back in the 20th Century. It remains one of the best concerts I’ve ever seen. This is a different song of the same title that was written by the great man with lyrics in Cajun French. Mais oui:
As I continue to turn the Odds & Sods format on its head, there will be no break. Why? Because a brother can’t catch one or some such shit.
Adrastos-Zelig Encounter Time: I’ve been going to the same barber in the Quarter since Katrina. I was badly in need of a haircut on Wednesday. I might not be able to grow much on the top but it gets scraggly and even shaggy in the back. You’re probably wondering where this story is going. Here’s the pay-off such as it is. My barber worked on Oliver Stone’s JFK when it was filmed in New Orleans. His primary job was doing Tommy Lee Jones’ hair. They two have stayed in touch over the years and I’ve heard that Tommy Lee stops by for a trim, shave, and chat when he’s in town. But I was never there when TLJ visited until this week. He was the head after me so I hung out awhile and bantered whilst his face was lathered. Bantered and lathered is the name of my next band.
The barber knows I’m a film buff-even if I loathed JFK (the film, not the President)-and that I’d get a kick out of chatting with TLJ. I did. I asked him why he was in town and he replied in his clipped delivery: “Location hunting, eating, maybe some Jazz Festing.” I was surprised about the location hunting and said: “What? No horses in this one?”
“I’m glad someone saw the pictures I’ve directed,” he looked at the barber and said, “This guy’s okay.”
The most amusing moment of my brief encounter with Tommy Lee Jones was when he asked the barber, “You’re not voting for that asshole Trump, are you?”
“No, I think I’ll vote for the lady,” he replied in his silky Cajun accent. The barber has an announcer’s voice, he should do voice overs instead of sweeping shorn locks off the floor. Btw, he told me it was okay to write about this but to keep his name out of it. I honored his request. Besides, the barber sounds better than his name anyway. It has a slight hair of mystery…
My only regret is that I didn’t get a picture or do my TLJ impression. Actually, I’m glad that I skipped the latter. As to the former, it would have been deeply uncool and make me feel like a paparazzo or stalker. I don’t like feeling like a stalker: I hate celery…
Local’s Day, Mud Day: Dr. A and I went to Jazz Fest yesterday. It’s called local’s day because many of the tourons haven’t arrived yet for the second weekend. For those of you who have never attended, it’s held at a race track: the Fairgrounds. Most of the festival takes place on the grassy infield surrounded by the track. It’s gotten overcrowded and more expensive in recent years so I don’t go as frequently as I once did. Of the seven days, I used to attend three to five times. Of course, my legs couldn’t take it at my advanced age. As it is I feel like saying “cut off my legs and call me Shorty” after yesterday’s mudwalking.
In recent years, I’ve been grouchy about Jazz Fest. They’ve brought in some acts who didn’t fit the original spirit and theme of the festival, and it has gradually morphed into a less distinctive but still good music festival. What’s Jazzy and Heritagey about Bon Jovi or Billy Joel? Now if this was Jersey or Guyland it would be a different story.
The main reason for my Fest grumpiness has been the overcrowding. Festival attendance has been stable but the Fairgrounds has been jam-packed in recent years. I blame creeping tailgate-ism for the problem. People are bringing camp chairs and tarps and have become increasingly territorial. Not a great approach to a multi-stage event. I prefer to roam about and graze on both music and food. The good news is that Jazz Fest honcho Quint Davis initiated some positive changes to relieve overcrowding this year. The most important one is the addition of bleachers to the biggest stage. Yesterday was the first time I haven’t felt crowded at that stage in many moons. Thanks, Quint.
Enough cranky exposition, I promised storytelling and it’s time to stand and deliver. Sit and deliver would be more appropriate. I don’t have one of them new fangled standing desks. I’ll take my mighty early 20th Century arts and crafts behemoth any day. This seems to have deteriorated into a discussion of furniture. It cannot stand. I must sit down but first a musical interlude:
We began the day at our friends and Spank krewemates Addie and Jeremy’s digs near the Fairgrounds. They have an open house every day during Jazz Fest and call it Porch Fest. They rarely go to the Fest any more because they have more fun Porch Festing. It’s always an excellent first stop. We ran into our good friends Will and Jennifer there. She’s better known as my Spank protegé and her hubby is this week’s Being NOLA on Twitter:
Dr. A took that picture on Will’s camera. He emailed me one of us with our hostess but my eyes are closed and I look like I have indigestion so it has been suppressed. That’s one advantage of being a blogger: I can play photo god.
Once inside the Fairgrounds, we made a bee-line for some food and wandered off to the Louisiana crafts area. We said hello to our friend Roberta who was decorating Muses shoes for the punters to admire. It started pouring whilst we were there so we settled in for a visit. When it let up, we began our muddy trek about the Fairgrounds. In the immortal words of Lyle Lovett that was…
Lyle didn’t play Jazz Fest this year but our mistake was being outside during a torrential downpour. I had my big-ass umbrella so only my pants legs were soaked but my shoes became intimately acquainted with the mud. Squish. I have the feeling that Jennifer and Will didn’t look so lineny fresh after going a few rounds with Mother Nature either.
After drying out in the Grandstand, we made our way to the Gospel Tent to hang out with our friend Chef James aka the Accidental Cajun. It was no accident: we’d been trading texts. He had the sagacity to park his ass in the Gospel Tent whilst I was transformed into a drowned rat.
The minute it stopped raining, Dr. A, James, and I exited the tent but the rain resumed so we traipsed over to the Blues Tent where Geno Delafose was cranking out some spirited Zydeco. Dr. A took this picture of James and me:
I am deeply un-photogenic but I quite like this picture. It must be the shirts or the Kangol hats. We even look like we, uh, like one another. We are fine photo liars. End of this brief photo skull session; make that sugar skull session.
The highlight of the day was seeing the Tedeschi-Trucks Band at the big stage. I refuse to use the sponsor’s name since it’s an auto company. Besides, this local uses its original name, the Fess stage, after the late, great Henry Byrd aka Professor Longhair. There’s a lot of aka-ing in this post; at least no aka-47’s are involved…
Anyway, we sat in the newly added bleachers and had a grand and non-muddy view of the stage. The music was so good and the seat so dry that we stayed for the entire set. One highlight was Jimmie Vaughan and ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons sitting in with Tedeschi-Trucks. It was a fabulous show from the married blues rockers and their big band. Here’s one of the numbahs they performed from another festival. I hope it was drier there:
As great as the music was, the highlight of the end of our muddy day at Jazz Fest was two little boys having the time of their lives. Presenting the Mud Brothers:
They carried on like this for most of the two-hour set. When they got good and dirty, Dr. A left the bleachers and took those marvelous pictures. It was an appropriate ending to a fun and muddy day. If it doesn’t rain today we’re going to Porch Fest and then our top-secret location behind the big stage to hear Stevie Wonder. I hope he plays this classic, which was inspired by Tricky Dick:
That’s it for this week. I’ll be back with the usual array of links and puns next week. I hate to be two-faced and change things up on you. Actually, I don’t. It’s down to meeting Tommy Lee Jones who played Two-Face in Batman Forever. Pretty damn good segue if I say so myself.