Sunday, April 28, 2013

2013 Festival Season

We kicked off our yearly Anniversary whirlwind of music by checking out Tab Benoit at Ruby's Roadhouse on April 22nd. Tab played a very energetic show, which I felt was a bit short and there were no encores which for Ruby's, is a rare event. 

Tab said, "You know, a guitar is just a wooden box, so it is just like being inside a guitar here. Playing at Ruby's is like being inside a wooden box. Who does not love listening to music inside a wooden box.?" 

Tab says ...we are in a wooden box......

The crowd was a bit rowdy and getting into my space. I went onto the patio against the wall right behind the band and the sound there was awesome. I hung out there for a while and went back in to watch  him play "Give me my medicine." I was at the side of the stage standing on the benches. It sounded great from there.
Tab Benoit

We had planned a Lil' Band of Gold gig for the following Saturday. I started looking around to see that there was a second LGB show that was cancelled. I was wondering what was up. I asked around and heard rumors that were hard to believe. I have decided to keep the stories to myself. There is no way to verify them.

Steve Riley
On Sunday, March 23rd, we slipped off to Eunice to go see Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys at a crawfish cook off. The festival had no food left by the time we got there at 1:00. We did get a bowl of  Etouffee that was excellent. Steve played about four songs and the wind blew dust up into Dan's contact lenses, so it became apparent that we had to go home. It was a pretty day and the ride was nice once Dan got his lenses to clear up. The wind was very cold, but the sun was bright and the skies were very blue. We did a little sightseeing around Eunice and drove a scenic route for a while.

Friday, April 12th, we went to Lafayette to see Black Bayou Construct at Downtown alive in Lafayette. It was a fun set, but we only saw part of it because we had tickets to see Zachary Richard at the Acadiana Center of the Arts Crossroads series.Roddie Romero was playing guitar for him and Dudley "Cruze" Fruge was on drums. I was excited because I love Dudley's drum style. Dave Torkanosky was on piano. I don't recall the bass player's name as he was a new face to me.  It was a very good show. I especially loved to hear some new songs and some old ones also.
I was expecting to get the new CD autographed after the show, but Zack did not come out as he usually does. He was with the film crew. After the show we hung around in the Lobby long enough to greet Dudley and Roddie. Dudley was beaming with excitement to have that opportunity to perform with Zachary again. He had toured with Zack in the past. We had a great visit and planned to go over to Antlers on Jefferson street to catch Michael Juan Nunez play the last part of a set. I don't have photos because the center does not allow them.

Next: Michael Juan Nunez.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Ernest James Zydeo releases a new CD - 3 Steps from La La

I got another interesting  message from my Zydeco friend Ernest James who lives  up in Kansas City Missouri. (See my previous blog January 2010.) He wanted me to review his new CD -3 Steps from La La.
I had become interested in this band when Valcour records made their previous CD the CD of the month, EVEN THOUGH THEY WERE NOT RELEASED ON VALCOUR RECORDS! That's what got my attention in the first place.

I was checking post on the Facebook feed and saw an  interesting thing. Ernest James posted he was playing an Octoberfest gig  and I laughed to myself. Zydeco music is a far cry from German Polkas. Then a few days later Ernest posted a funny statement.  He a said a man approached him in the middle of the gig and this is what was said:  (Copied from his FB Page ....)

" Quote from Tulsa man: "Heard what chu boys was playing right dare an I said, "Them German boys been eatin' some crawfish!"
*firm handshake at Oktoberfest

I got a full belly laugh at that. I was ready for the new CD. After communicating with Ernest back and forth, he sent it to me. I have it in the car CD deck and have been digesting every note of it song by song. It is VERY GOOD.

The Zydeco influence is still strong, but this CD is very complex. Starting out with the lead cut, "Shake it Sugaree,"  each cut is strong and well thought out. As I stated in the previous review of his two previous CD's, there is an undercurrent of melodies that are California influenced, such as the guitar work on  "Sugaree."

My favorite cut, "Supposed to do" is pure blues. This is a song about evading temptation. I love it, especially when he professes to the seductress, " If you knew what I had you would understand......" 
The intro to this song starts out with clear as a bell guitar work, has a silent moment then spins into  low down gutsy groove. There are sophisticated drums and lead guitar licks that knock me out. It is hard driving, in a slow gutteral way that hits home. It slows down and then builds up suspense over and over again. You can see the mental struggle the singer faces and -SNAP- you feel his dilemma. The chorus is sung with two part harmonies which is brilliant. 

Ernest is very good at writing lyrics with some tongue in cheek witty sexual innuendo. On "Woa Sally" he sings about Sally taking him "into   into  the kitchen and turning out the lights, then "turning on the stove,"  then into the  basement, going "underground," and other two meaning phrases that are a delight. The lyrics are sung in a very catchy pleasing way. The second song with innuendo that I like is "Janitor" which starts out with a clever statement after a ringing doorbell, "Did someone call for the janitor?" followed with some clever two meaning lyrics. 

  Jaisson Taylor vocals ramps it up on "Zydeco Mother's day" with some hard core blues. If you like the Blues, you will adore this cut. 

The whole CD is filled with extremely good guitar work, well thought out lyrics and harmonies, and attention to detail.The song "Red cross People" is an example of story telling, emotional insight into the plight of  the rail riders and homeless in America, and the fact that there is little consideration for these people. It is told with a hint of humor. The mean, psychedelic guitar work at the end highlights the cluster-funk of angst these people must go through. There are layers upon layers of guitar work towards the end that express the jumbled up feelings that these people must endure. Jaisson Taylor sings one soulful  line that really hits home at the end "I didn't hurt nobody....."

Ernest ends the CD with the  Gospel standard,  "Glory Glory" ramped up with accordion that is complex, pleasing, and sure to be played over and over again if you pop it into you CD player. This is like a cross between Dixieland and Zydeco woven together in a way I have never heard before. It is delightful. 

Their CD release party will be held on November 30th, 2012 with their first live performance with their fiddler:

BB's Lawnside BBQ  
1205 E. 85th Street
Kansas V City, Mo

You can access this CD by going to 
the band's website is

Patty McGehee

Music Trip to Austin -September 2012

Sam Broussard, Johnny Nicholas, and David Greely at Hilltop Cafe
Johnny Nicholas and Dave Greely at Hilltop Cafe

Starting in at the first of August, Dan and I  made a trip to Austin and Fredericksburg,  Texas to chase Golden Triangle. We caught their CD release party at Hilltop Cafe out of Fredericksburg on a Thursday night.
The Hilltop Cafe is a small gem in the middle of nowhere owned by Johnny Nicholas and his wife, who is the chef.

This place is an old service station from the 40's revamped and decorated with a lot of memorabilia Johnny collected when he toured with the band
 Asleep at The Wheel. (Dan and I followed Asleep at the Wheel around for a few years over 30 years ago.)  This was a unique dining experience, paired up with the incredible show performed by Johnny Nicholas, David Greely, and Sam Broussard, also known as the Band Golden Triangle. Previously, I posted a song performed by two of the performers at Chickie Wa Wa. Check it out to see what you think. Sam was unable to make that Chickie Wa Wa show show, but the performance  still stands up extremely well. Dan and I were the first to purchase their CD that night at The Hilltop and they autographed it on the spot.

Patty at Luckenbach

The next day  kicked around the countryside and visited Lukenbach Texas and then caught Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys  and Golden Triangle on a double bill at Antone's in Austin. C C Adcock sat in with Steve's band. That was a very good show. Dan and I started dancing and got the whole place up and going.

After the show, C C told us that Jimmy Vaughn was at The Continental Club Upstairs and we went there when we left. We were able to catch most of a set Jimmy Vaughn  put on, which was sort of a Jazzy Blues mix.
Steve Riley At Antone's

Patty and Jimmy Vaughn

C C Adcock At Antone's

We went back to The Hilltop that Saturday  night for another spectacular dinner and show by Steve Riley and his band, of whom one of the members is Sam Broussard. Sam is an exceptional guitarist, I might add. 

After visiting with Jimmy Vaughn after the show Friday night, CC also  invited us to go to the Fuck Cancer benefit held the next day (a Sunday) at The Continental Club , which was a benefit  for guitarist Nick Curran, who was riddled with cancer at the time. (Nick passed away two weeks ago-RIP.)

Patty and Dale Watson
The list of performers that played that day were:
Dale Watson
Dave Gonzales and Stepahnie Marlar
The Wyldwood Four
The Horton Brothers
The Bellfuries
The Sniffs
The Modern Don Juan
C C Adcock and The Lafayette Marquis and of course
Nick Curran and The Flashboys

Nick was very sick, could not speak, yet he played a blistering set of high powered punk. Dan got a poster and had all of the performers autograph it. I don't think I will hang it with the "F" word on it, but we will treasure it anyway.
I am posting  a photo I took of Nick's hands. I will not post a photo of him the way he looked that day  out of respect. He looked terrible and I don't want anyone to re-post a photo of him in that state and take it out of context.
Nick Curran's hands at the Fuck Cancer Benefit

The concert ended at 7:15 that evening and I had to jump in the car and drive back to Louisiana to be at work the next day at 7:00 am. I was an hour late to work, getting there at 8:00, after making a hellish ride back though the night which included getting lost in Houston due to a badly marked detour. It was worth it.
I went to work the next day  with the stamp on my hand in red  ink that read "Fuck Cancer." I wore it proudly. After all, I lost both my parents to cancer and it just did not seem right to wash it off.

Patty and Nick Curran in 2009  at The Blue Moon-Lafayette LA

Friday, June 8, 2012

Johnny Nicholas and David Greely

Johnny Nicholas and David Greely

Dan and I braved the rain and drive to NOLA to see Johnny Nicholas and David Greely do a set at Chickie Wa Wah. It was an incredible show which showcased Johnny's song writing ability and David's ability to pick up a melody right away. David Johnny have voices that mesh quite well.
Here is the  song address for the song "Big Basile."  David Greely is amazing and Johnny writes the most wonderful  songs.



Monday, April 9, 2012

Michael Juan Nunez and the American Electric is set to release "My Little Train Wreck" on April 17th, 2012

A couple of weeks ago I was baby sitting my adorable grand baby and stayed home while Dan and Larry drove  over to Lafayette to see Michael Juan Nunez and The American Electric at a fundraiser.I don't know much about that show, but as Dan was leaving Juan slipped him a copy of the just completed and polished "My Little Train Wreck" CD to bring back for a listen.

I was honored. I listened to it four times in a row and sent Juan a message: Could I review it? He said to keep it under wraps for a while and that we were privy to it ahead of the world. Of course we have been listening to it non stop. It has ten clean cuts.

Juan's song writing and slide guitar abilities shine here. He also brought into the fold some of the best musicians Acadiana  has to offer, including super slide star Sonny Landreth.
Over the last few months we have seen Juan play the title track song "My Little Train Wreck" many times with only him on guitar. It was a delight to hear Sonny Landreth slide on in on that cut and to hear Juan hold his own next to Sonny. I used to think Juan was heavily influenced by Sonny, but side by side it is obvious that Juan has a distinctive individual  style of his own. He uses a variety of guitars on these tracks and even plays bass on a cut.

Juan has brought in some young guns from his Alma Mater, Erath High School. A young man from Erath High School named Alex Boudreaux plays trumpet, Mike Veasey, the assistant band director at Erath High School plays sax, and Josh Trahan from UL plays trombone on the cut named "Lemonade." This cut has a very "New Orleans" feel to it. Delightful.

Dudley Fruge and Clint Redwing appear on the drums throughout the tracks. I can tell who is who, but listeners not familiar to these two might have a hard time distinguishing between the two. Basically, if there is finesse involved in the drums, that is Dudley. Powerful pounding sounds of driven force is usually Clint.
My favorite bass player in the world, Chad Willis is found here in full force. On "Needles," the sound gets powerful and tough and it brought back the feel of an Anders Osborne show I saw a year ago. Clint Redwing pounds the drums with force and conviction here.

The cut "Rock N Roll" is very good but I am hooked on the version from Juan's web site in a group of songs he allowed fans to download for free called "Songs from Potter's Field." (That gift is gone from his site now, I am sorry to say!) I can't get used to this version. If you have not heard the former, you will like this version just fine.

A tune about Harry Hippolite is endearing. This is a sweet tune dedicated to Juan's dear friend. It is a wonderful blues ode to a wonderful person.It is soulful and emotional.This showcases Juan's use of the slide in a way that is all his own.

The end cut is my favorite. "Up Jump the Devil" showcases the unusual  sounds Juan can coax  from the guitar just as he does at the end of each and every live show he does. Juan coaxes out sound here that is powerful, unusual, yet subtle.This cut reeks of  hardcore blues. Gris Gris oozes out of the sounds sliding across the landscape all the way from Congo Square ..........................

You can catch Michael Juan Nunez and the American Electric Thursday, April 19th, at  8:00 pm at Jefferson St. Pub, Jefferson St., Lafayette, LA, and at Festival Internationale in Lafayette, Louisiana on April 28th.
Below is the link to a video from the fundraiser that I missed.

There is a long list of people involved in the making of this CD:
Dan Desandro does the Mexican DJ voice on "Border Station."
Jerry Lejeune plays a gris gris stick on "Up Jump The Devil."
The CD is engineered by Tony Daigle and produced by A.J. Dauphin and MJN.
It is mixed by MJN and Tony Daigle. It was recorded October 22-26 2011 at Electric Comoland Studios in Lafayette, Louisiana, except for "Up Jump The Devil." Additional over dubs were done at Jerry Lejeune's studio in Lafayette, Louisiana. "Up Jump The Devil" was recorded (the guitar and vocals) at the KRVS
studio on the ULL campus by Aaron Thomas, and Carl Fontenot.

I am looking forward to the next few shows. I hope to see you there.
Patty McGehee

Below is a link to a live performance..........


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Repost for My Space from 2 summers ago-Christian Serpas and Ghost Town at Ruby's Roadhouse

Christian Serpas and Ghost Town At Ruby's

Dan was sleeping on the couch at 7:00 Saturday night. He just can't hang with me on a Saturday night when he golfs on Saturday morning. I have a long time sulk going on about his Golf playing because it is always more important than my wants. It leaves me either watching him sleep on the couch all Saturday night or I can go out with friends. Problem is, at our age, no one wants to go out on a Saturday night to see music but me, so I find myself off into clubs alone.

That usually presents few problems but it does limit where I will go. For instance, I just won't go to The Marigny alone.
Hammond is close but there is only two music clubs-one with too much cigarette smoke for me and the other a trendy College bar with high cover  charges for bands. Tommy's Pizza Parlor has Patrick Catania and Chris Zimmer there on Thursdays. They are wonderful to go watch, but alas, they are sandwiched in between the bar and a table section making it awkward to position oneself to listen.

That leaves Ruby's. It is a 30 minute drive away in
Mandeville, La. It is a funky down to earth bar with a great sound system, a patio for smokers, and a staff that does not put up with nonsense from patrons. I feel safe there and usually have a great time.
So, Saturday Dan slipped off to go play golf and by
7:30 was cutting z's on the sofa. I was about as stir crazy as could be. I left in time to arrive there at 9:30 To see Christian Serpas and Ghost Town. The band was hanging around with friends cutting up and enjoying themselves. They are a very uplifting group of guys.

The show was solid and fun. I especially like their selection of covers of Rockabilly and vintage Country sprinkled with a few special songs on the verge of what I would call Folk music. ("Kocking on Heaven's Door," written by Bob Dylan.) They do a killer version of Bobby Fuller's "I fought the Law." George Neyrey made his guitar sound like a steel pedal guitar on this one somehow.
They performed "Little Sister," a song made famous by Elvis - written originally by Jerome "Doc" Pomus and Mort Shuman, members of the Songwriter's Hall of Fame. This night, Christian sang it less stylized and with less of a nasal tone than  he has in the past. I like the new way a lot better.

A few Johnny Cash covers, a few Buck Owens songs later, they did a couple of songs Christian wrote. My favorite is "Read them and weep." George Neyrey plays very sweet guitar licks on this song and they are his own......Christian's lyrics are wonderful. I love the way he writes songs. He always tells a sweet story. If it was up to me, I would like them to do a whole set of songs Christian wrote. "Nothing ain't worth nothin" was especially touching to me that night.

I think my favorite cover they do is "Brand New Cadillac," a tune written by Vince Taylor, recorded in 1958. (covered by the Clash in the 1970's.) Somewhere in my vinyl  records I had a LP of Vince Taylor with a cover written in French. I think my cousin  has it now, over in Mandeville. I got it at Record Ron's in the French Quarter in the 70's when I saw the cover picturing a girl in a 50's style party dress hanging on leather clad Vince. Very campy stuff. I never even played it - had no turntable at the time and my cousin "stole" it from me when she was visiting. She claimed she would put it on cassette for me. I am still waiting. 

They ended the night playing "Sleepwalk," a tune written by Santo and Johnny Farina. It was originally recorded in 1958. I am very familiar with this song as it is the favorite song that Paul Lil' Buck Sinegal loves to open and close his gigs with. Now, after hearing both guitar players play this song, it is hard for me to chose who does it better: Lil' Buck  or George Neyrey, Lil' Buck  or George Neyrey, Lil' Buck  or George Neyrey, ????? IT is a toss up to me. How either of them can make a guitar sound like a pedal steel guitar - I don't know. And, Paul Lil' Buck Sinegal is a legend, so that should tell you a thing or two about George Neyrey's ability. Behind all of this is two other solid wonderful performers that provide a foundation for Ghost Town: Brent Roser on Bass and Jeff Oteri on drums. Jeff is a driving force  in Ghost Town. Brent is solid and fun to watch. 

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Remembering Buster Holmes' Kitchen

I awakened a little while ago and brewed coffee and chicory and cut a couple slices of French bed for breakfast and had a memory flash: I was back in Buster Holmes' kitchen in the French Quarter in New Orleans, Louisiana. I was sitting  at the counter in his kitchen eating red beans and rice. On the side was two pieces of French bread spread with real butter. I had a small glass of iced tea. Mr. Buster was watching me eat. I had just paid him seventy five cents for the plate of food and the tea. If I had wanted just water, my tab would have been 45 cents. It was hot in there. Not every place in the Quarter had air condition in those days, and certainly there was none in the kitchen.

"He asked me, "Hey Lil' Blondie. Are you a runaway?"

"Naw," I told him. "My daddy is working  for Mac McConnel down on Bourbon street." Buster sighed in relief.  He was used to seeing teenage  runaways in the Quarter and he had a big heart.

It was 1969 and I was 15 years old.

Buster  had a towel over his shoulder and he was cutting up onions and bell peppers. He had  a huge pile of them he was throwing into a large bowl. There were no food processors in those days. Cooking was laborious.  I remember going there quite often to eat, not because it was good, nor because it was cheap. I went to watch Buster and his staff cook. I found it fascinating to watch him prepare fish and fry it. I guess, I learned how to fry fish by watching Buster. He had pork chops in a pan and GOD THEY SMELLED FABULOUS!

Through a screen door (my memory sees a screen door!)  one could see the inside of the restaurant. It was not fancy, just clean and respectful. It had a nice comforting, homey feeling.  There were photos on the walls of local musicians and celebrities. That is where you went to get the fancy, more complicated Creole fare that Buster could cook up. Oysters, fried Trout dinners, and all sorts of Creole delicacies were on the menu. Turnip greens, Pork chops, soul food, Buster cooked  it all. Buster was famous for his cooking.  

But, back in the kitchen was where the action was. I loved to sit at his counter and watch him cook.When some black street performers (tap dancers) came in to eat, he shooed them all the way over to the other end of the counter. I was surprised he did that. I guessed he was afraid that the tap dancers might get out of line and I would  go back and tell daddy that I had to sit next to black street people. Buster had a great sense about running a business and  making sure he was managing his customers. But, that is what was  intriguing to me about Buster's. EVERYONE was welcome to eat in the kitchen. Sitting next to black  tap dancers from the street had an appeal to me. It was exotic. It was not THE WHITE BREAD SIDE OF LIFE. So, to hang out in Buster's kitchen, the only qualification was, you had to be hungry and at least half the people in your group had enough money to pay.

I went back to Buster's kitchen counter many times. I wish I could go back there now. If  I recall right, it was on the corner of Orleans and Burgundy street. My recollection is beans and rice was 45 cents. I have read articles that a say people paid 25 cents and a penny tax. Well, not in 1969, but maybe earlier in time that may have been true.

I am including a link to a wonderful blog that has a lot more info about Buster Holmes' and the characters  that went there. It was close to Cosimo Matassa's recording studio (J and M Studios) and may famous people went there. It is a hundred more fascinating than my remembrances, but to me, these are dear memories of a man that could not let the little people of New Orleans go hungry, if only they had a quarter..............................

RIP Buster Holmes                 1905 - 1995

Patty McGehee