Tag Archives: music

CHUCK… R.I.P.

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We lost one of the biggest influences in all of Rock and Roll today… Chuck Berry.  His touch was everywhere… ask any rock and roller. He wrote about sex and cars and Sweet Little Sixteen.  I grew up when there were soda shops, jukeboxes, and drive-restaurants with car hops on roller skates.  We danced to his songs at the high school dances and blasted them from the radio when we went cruising in our cars.

No disrespect to Elvis… but Chuck… he was The King.

He wrote, without a doubt, one of the greatest Rock and Roll songs ever…

Wish he could have lived to see his new album released.

AMY!

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I was working and listening to an iTunes Shuffle, when Tony Bennet came on with one of his duets.  I wondered who the lucky woman would be and knew from the first note that it was Amy Winehouse.  No one sang better with Tony than Amy.  Sure miss her.

Friday Fictioneers: JUST THRUMMING ALONG…

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JUST THRUMMING ALONG… A Drabble for FriFic

“Hi, guess what, Cheryl?”

“What now, Ethel?”

“I’m in a band!”

“Wait till I stop laughing. You, in a band? You are not musical, Ethel, never have been.”

“Well, I am now. It’s a jug band and I’m ‘The Hamboner’.”

“Listen to yourself, Ethel. ‘Jug band’!” And what the hell is a hamboner?”

“I’m the percussionist, and Willie invited me. He’s letting me use his Frottoir.”

“I’m afraid to ask. ”

“It’s a washboard, Cheryl! And we’re playing at Lottie’s.”

“That dump! With the hand jive guy? Now I know what a jug band is, thank God they serve alcohol. ”

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Bodie Miller's Washboard... this talented musician is usually found behind a guitar, but is known to do some 'thrumming'.  I took this photo last year at a music festival.  I'd never seen one close up.

Bodie Miller’s Washboard… this talented musician is usually found behind a guitar, but is known to do some ‘thrumming’. I took this photo last year at a music festival. I’d never seen one close up.

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I like photos like this one by  John Nixon for this week’s Friday Fictioneers prompt.  Look at the photo… find inspiration… write a 100 word story.

Here’s who wrote one this week…

I went past the obvious, into the store to see what I could find to interest me… Washboards… Bingo… I remembered Bodie’s.  A staple of Zydeco music, the first washboard or rubboard… called the Frottoir in Cajun French… was made by Mister Willie Landry in 1946.  Hand Jive is also a popular folk music talent…. you all remember ‘Willie and the Hand Jive’!

 Ethel is a little more adventurous than Cheryl and I think she would try something like this.  Cheryl got drunk and went home with Willie.

Trifextra: Week Seventy-Two: SUMMER IS…

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SUMMER IS… in 33 words

Summer is ‘The Mill’!  Music in the air… everywhere.  There are violins, guitars, flutes, harps, accordions, drums of all kinds, harmonicas, banjos, cellos, tambourines, horns, pianos, squeeze-boxes, cymbals, lots of singing and dancing!

♬♪♪♩♬♪♫♭𝄢♩♬𝄫♪♩♫

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The instructions for the Trifextra Writing Challenge this week were… “This weekend we’re asking you to describe summer in your own words. Thirty-three of them exactly, of course. Good luck!”

♬♪♪♩♬♪♫♭𝄢♩♬𝄫♪♩♫

Each summer high in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, somewhere near Yosemite, about 500 souls gather for a conclave of The Sierra Music and Arts Institute… more commonly known as Sweet’s Mill.  The old timers just call it The Mill.  For 60 years now, on the site of an old sawmill, a music and arts retreat takes place in the form of a giant campout.  Musicians from around the world come together to share their knowledge and talents with others, and just plain perform.  Artists gather to demonstrate their skills and teach others.  There’s also drama taught, with two plays being produced.  Do you want to learn how to belly dance, flamenco, tango or swing?  Classes for that.  At night on different stages, there are performances to show off new-found skills, and for old friends to get together and jam.  And, lots of dancing!

I help out in the Arts Area.  I don’t play a musical instrument, but I write stories and take thousands of photos.  Here are two from last year.  The photo of the young man playing the steel guitar got me a ‘Best of Show’ ribbon at our county fair, in its category.  He was sitting at a table near the main stage practicing or maybe just playing… there’s a lot of that going on.  It made a great still-life photo.

But my favorite photo of all, is this one of a woman playing the violin.  For me, the story makes the photo, and I’ll tell how I came to take this one.  I had gone up to the Flamenco Camp, because I had never been there.  The Mill is over 200 acres, with different interest groups banding together in camps.  There’s Gypsy Camp, Flamenco, Cowboy, Meditation Meadow, Old Timey, Bluegrass and on and on.  There are still some I have to discover.  So, one day I went up to the Flamenco Camp and watched a maestro teach a group of children the fine points to playing a flamenco guitar. Some women practiced dance to the music on a small stage they had made.  As I was leaving, I heard the most beautifully haunting violin music.  I went toward some tents expecting to see the violinist, but nothing.  I followed the music up a hill through increasingly heavy brush, and finally in a small clearing I found a young woman playing a violin.  I snuck a photo and listened to her play.  She finally stopped, saw me and shyly smiled.  I asked if I could take her photo, and she beamed and posed for me.  They are nice photos of her facing me, but I like the first one I took best.  So, that’s kind of two faces of The Mill.  I’m leaving in two weeks… I can’t wait.

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Here’s one I wrote for Trifecta that I liked… I had a great time last summer listening to music and enjoying the creative camaraderie in our camp… and of course got some great photo.  There will be no music at the ‘Mill’ this year due to the lack of rainfall in California.

HOW AMY WINEHOUSE SAVED TedBook!

I never make New Years Resolutions.  1 ~ Because if you want to do something… do it. I think resolutions are a crutch to procrastinate and make yourself feel better… and you will never keep them.  2 ~ Because I never kept them.  So this year, my New Year’s Resolution is to reopen TedBook and write something in it.  I feel better already.

My friend Margie told me, “only 8% were ever kept”.  I read that if you put it in writing, it may actually have a chance of happening.  Okay, it’s in writing now… it’s all up to me… I want to be in that 8%!   Yesterday I looked to see when the last entry in TedBook occurred… yikes!  January 2, 2011… one whole year of silence!  Another friend, Keri, reminded me of that this morning, after I mentioned I might start blogging again.

Why the silence?  No one particular reason really… I think mostly procrastination.  It’s not like I didn’t have any ideas… I had many, and wrote a lot of blogs in my mind, complete with photos.  But, I never got to the point of transferring them into my computer.  A lot of my friends asked me where TedBook was, and why they were not seeing new blogs.  I would hear… “where’s your blog”, “what happened to TedBook”, “weren’t you writing a blog”… after a while it was down to two.  O’B would bug me about it when we saw each other.  Louisa would mention it… in November, I got a note from her… “Why aren’t you writing?”  I could tell she was disappointed in me.  I thought… “I’m disappointed in me too”.  I have friends with blogs… Jane in L.A., a champion fighting Autism … Aggie in Chicago who posts a quiz everyday, except Saturday when she’s shacked up with her boyfriend.

The straw that broke the camel’s back, so to speak, was when O’B started a blog!  She had moved back to Sacramento, after an absence of some 30 years, and she and Anthony had bought a house in Southside Park.  Southside is a downtrodden mostly Latino neighborhood, that I have a feeling is becoming Yuppified (not naming any names here).  Catherine is a curious and outgoing woman, who has undertaken the chronicling of Southside.  Hence her blog

                      Southside Park: Forty-Six City Blocks of Surprise 

       Join me as I explore urban living in Sacramento’s Smallest Neighborhood.                                                                                 

Lord knows I waste enough time on facebook and playing Words with Friends (Alec Baldwin has yet to challenge me), so I really have the time… I just have to do it.  I was jealous with every new post O’B made… and she is prolific.  So, that’s what had been in the back of my mind, and I don’t mind admitting I was feeling guilty.  My own daughter, Ashley, was now more of a writer than me.  She had taken a creative writing class, and had written some impressive pieces.  I had encouraged her to start a blog… and I can’t even do my own… at least she has two teenagers to blame, or maybe just the college classes she is doing.  Sure better reasons than my slacking.  So, this was where I was at on New Year’s Eve.

I don’t drink Champagne or go to New Year’s Eve parties anymore.  The last one I went to, about 10 years ago, my date and I snuck out early and welcomed in the New Year in private… my best New Years Party ever.  This year I watched a movie, and was saying Happy New Year to my facebook friends when I saw this post.

I had been meaning to check out Amy’s latest album, ‘Lioness: Hidden Treasures’, and was glad for the reminder.  I’ve always liked Amy and was saddened  by her death and the loss of such a talent.  After listening to “Our Day Will Come” and “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow”, I was near tears.  Her day will never come, and there is no Tomorrow for Amy Winehouse.  It gave me pause to think… I was lucky, I had survived my drug of choice, which like her’s, was alcohol.  It’s destructive force had ruined relationships and created havoc in my life, but my biggest regret, is that I could have been and should have been a better father.  Unlike Amy, I was able to change my life for the better.  But, Amy made me face myself and make some choices that night.  One of those is to resume my blog.

                          Of course I bought the album and I reopened TedBook.

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This was an important post for me… another step in a bloggers life.  I thought I would share it with my friends at Yeah Write.

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