Sunday, September 18, 2011

Ol' Brown Shoe at The Tap

On Saturday September 17th I drove up to The Tap in Haverhill to see my friend Larry Mancini's band, Ol' Brown Shoe.  Had a nice visit and talk with Larry and his co-guitarist Jeff Larson and then bassist Jeff Rajchel and drummer Jack Howard came out and the music started.

They played a great mix of Allman Brothers and Dead of course, combined with some reggae songs, Dylan songs, and some unexpected gems like Paul Simon's Me and Julio.  Highlights for me were Southbound and Blue Sky (Larry has always played Allman Brothers songs fantastically), Deal, and Boogie On Reggae Woman, that I hadn't heard for maybe 30 years.  They also did You Win Again and neglected to comment that it was the 88th anniversary of Hank Williams' birth ... don't know if they were aware of this.  Had a wonderful time!

Late Evening on the Assabet

Brought the kayak to work Friday the 16th and put in at the Lowell Street bridge in Concord.  A week left in summer (the equinox will be on the 23rd this year) and still plenty of time to get out on the water.  The water level had been very high earlier in the week ... still a reminder of Hurricane Irene and subsequent storms.  It had gone down some but was still high enough so the launching area was shrunk.  No problem because I didn't see anyone else the whole time.

I put in and paddled hard up the Assabet, getting all the way up to the old railroad bridge past route 62 before turning around  Saw plenty of birds in the lovely, massive elms and oaks on that part of the river, plus a few herons and lots of those big ducks(?) with red faces that hang our around the lower Assabet.  At one point a squadron of them careened down the river past me and it's a good thing I was pulled over to the side.

The sun set right around the time I turned around and by the time I got back to Egg Rock it was pretty dark.   But the dusk was beautiful on the river: a black mirror that shone more and more as the air got darker and the water picked up and reflected the last rays of light.  By the time I got back I was paddling almost blind through a dark blanket, guided only by sounds and the feel of the current.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Jimmie Dale Gilmore and the Wronglers at Passim

On Wednesday the 14th we met at On the Border and then eased across the street to table 5 at Club Passim for a vegan dinner and then Jimmie Dale Gilmore and the Wronglers.  We had never seen Jimmie Dale before and I would have loved to hear him play songs such as Santa Fe Thief, Dallas, and Goodbye Ol' Missoula but he's got a great thing going with The Wronglers and this was a delightful evening of American standards.

And by "American standards" I don't mean [the great!] songs a Billie Holiday or a Frank Sinatra would consider standards, I mean A.P. Carter, Bill Monroe, Tommy Duncan, et cetera ... the kind of stuff that rocks my world.  Jimmie met up with a Harvard Bus grad named Warren Hellman who took up the banjo for a hobby and had the organizing moxie to put together a great band to play the old songs like they should be played: simple, short, and democratically.  Several of them were just carried away by the Tea Party of Nate Levine on rhythm guitar and Colleen Browne on electric bass after the others had contributed their virtuoso licks.

Eight people were pried into the small Club Passim stage (including Krista Martin on fiddle and Bill Martin on Mandolin, Heidi Clare on fiddle and some incredible harmonies (either she was born to sing with Jimmie or vice versa), and stellar acoustic lead guitar and cheerleading from Robbie Gjersoe).  Every song they sang I've heard innumerable times before and this time was the best: Time Changes Everything, Columbus Stockade Blues, Footprints In the Snow ... the hits did not stop.  The killer for me and Sarah was when Warren Hellman sang Big Rock Candy Mountain, that Sarah's Dad used to sing to her as a child.

Had a great time and though it was a short show, this *was* a Wednesday night and we got back to the parking place I had found on Cambridge Common and got back home not too late.