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A Thanksgiving with Tutsie, Foxy, Mighty Whitey and Captain Timmy Carstephen.

November 25, 2015 4 comments

BOOK 4. A Thanksgiving with “Tutsie, Foxy, Mighty Whitey, and Captain Timmy”

(On Thanksgiving Day 2009, Tuts and Tim and Nicky and I took a little trip together up to Jos Van Dyke to see the Fox. We were talking with him and Tessa about doing a three-man concert there featuring Ruben, Nicky and Myself, that now sadly will never be. In this Thanksgiving post, I‘ve tried to capture some of what was so wonderful about that time together.)

From “Book 4. A Little Trip To Jos Van Dyke”…

Today is Thanksgiving and we will pass it it in a small sail boat called “Stargazer” with Tuts, Captain Timmy Carstephen, Nicky “Mighty Whitey” Russel and The “First lady of ALL The Virgins” The Good Lady Delia, ( of St. Thomas, Harlem, Haight Ashbury, and Tortola) We will be on our way to spend the day with our old friend “Sir Foxy”, (recently Knighted by The Queen Of England, honest) in Jos Van Dyke, in the British Virgin Islands.

We have been planning a trip to see our friend Philiciano Callwood aka “The Fox” aka Foxy. He has a beach front bar in Jos Van Dyke, that has become quite popular over the years. We are going up to see him about scheduling a concert. Tuts and Timmy and Nicky and I have each and all known him for many years. Tuts and I have known him the longest, in fact since we were all boys living in Bournefield in the 1950’s.. Philiciano (or Phillie as he was known then} was brought down from Jos Van Dyke to St. Thomas by his mother, who worked as a house keeper for Mrs. Creque and the three naughty Creque daughters.

They all lived in the huge pink Creque Mansion on the “Hidaway Road”. A Mansion large enough (people said) to contain both Heaven and Hell in equal measure, and according to he girls.. it certainly did.

That any of them survived the Creque Mansion is the kindest kind of miracle, and Foxy’s subsequent success may be proof positive that the long sufferin’ can earn and redeem good karma points. Knowing (and loving) the Creque girls as we do, Tuts and I can “vouchify and attest” that he earned ‘em, every one.

These many years later, we (and they) are all very happy for his good fortune. That good fortune includes falling in with the Lady Tessa, late of wildest Australia, who turned out to be his Ms,  his match and his mate.

 As I mentioned, our little group of travelers includes a lady who is also a legend in her own time, “Miss Delia” of St. Thomas, Harlem, Haight Ashbury and Tortola. Our little crew are all miraculous survivors.

We have been “adults” since childhood, which means our childhood lives were shot thorough with adult concerns and behaviors like “where are my cigarettes and where is my rum” and our adult lives shot through with the  behaviors and of concerns of childhood, like ”where are my cigarettes and where is my rum” (while Tuts and I got clean and sober long ago or we would be long gone, recovery doesn’t change the past or the depth and longevity of the connection between and among kindred spirits)

 We are intending to sail up to “The Foxes Tamarind” on Timmy’s 28 foot sail boat “The Star Gazer” Timmy (I should call him “Captain Timmy,” he’s had his Captain’s papers since he was 18) has been sailing these waters since he was a child. First on his family’s beautiful 48 foot, black hulled Ketch “The Shellback” and then on the mighty “Maverick” certainly one of the most beautiful awe and dream inspiring sailing ships to ever grace the harbor at Charlotte Amalia.

One of my very earliest songs was about the Maverick.

“Maverick Sailing On the tide

Maverick where are you bound tonight

With new born child below, blow ye winds oh blow

Keep them safe from rock and wave and blow ye winds oh blow

 Maverick, take me for a ride

Maverick, I need a place to hide

From things I should not know, Blow ye winds oh blow

Keep us safe from rock and wave, and take us where we want to go”

 We are all children of “Trader Dan’s” a St. Thomas, waterfront bar that drew and welcomed one and all, (including school children in our two-tone uniforms and empty book straps).

There was no minimum drinking age in the Islands in those days (I had been buying rum on credit at the local shops for my mother and stepfathers, since I was six) and those of us with a predilection, or as the recovery materials put it “a predisposition to alcoholism” were blindly (no pun, I mean it) demonstrating what early onset familial (genetic) alcoholism looks and sounds (and feels) like. We were having the time of our lives.

 As I’ve said, that any one of us survived (many, maybe most, didn’t) is really quite unexpected, but here we are sailing out of the lagoon, and east to Jos Van Dyke. We have all made this trip in many a vessel over the years.

 One trip found Tim and Tuts and I in an ocean racing Donzi with my little twins Lelia and Archie, and their beautiful Mother Annie. We stopped at Sandy Cay” on the way up that day, and had to swim ashore with the little ones. Archie rode on Tut’s back like the Ginge bread man, and Twinkle rode on mine (yes, yes, they were wearing their little life vests) still it was so exciting for them that they have never forgotten, (their Mother has likely never forgotten either), What a beautiful and exciting windblown day that was, and what a beautiful and calming day this is, as we sail on Timmy’s little “Star Gazer”.

The sea breeze is extraordinary; it’s coming down through (Sir Francis) Drake’s Passage and across Pillsbury sound bringing the coolest freshest air imaginable. Its way too easy to forget how good it feels head to toe, body and soul, to sail these waters and to sip this sweet sweet breeze…

Tuts is talking like he’s having a flashback to the swim in which he became the first native Virgin Islander in known history to swim from St. Thomas to St John.

“Look, look” he says, there’s the two poles on St. Thomas that I saw from the tip top of the giant wave, and there is the undersea cables that I told you about! And look, look how the current is trying to sweep everything southwest; out of the sound and into the sea, “De nex stop out dey is New Orleans m’boy, Wha? Not me again meson, not me again!” “But Tuts,” somebody says, “dem boy sae you ‘fraid!,  an das why yu ain’ gon do it again, dem boy sae yu ‘fraid man, yu ‘fraid! 

“Oy fraid? Oy fraid? Yu damn right ah ‘fraid”,  he says indignantly, “Who ain’ fraid a out dey, schipid in dey ass! Meson, yu don know dey got Shak out here big like de Bismark? Me bouy, de shak dem so big yu cou drive a safari truck on dem, in fact if yu wan tu know de whole trut, das de onliest way I mek it to Sain John.

 Off to the left are the beautiful gold and green islands of Thatch Key, then Congo and Luango. We see the remains of the old great house of the plantation on Luango, where the white overseer was dispatched by freedom seeking slaves in the first moments of the St. John uprising of 1733.

Beyond the keys, to the North and East is Jos’ Van Dyke. An Island  named after a Dutch Pirate Captain but settled by the Quakers and part of the British Virgins. When the English renounced slavery in 1833,  the Quakers on Jos’ gave the land to the  people that they had held in bondage there.

The Danes abolished slavery in 1849 consequently slaves in St. John were always trying to find their way to Jos Van Dyke and Tortola and freedom.  In fact there is a huge iron sugar cane boiling kettle on the sand in Jos’ that a St. John slave was able put his wife and children into, and  sail (or row) them safely all the way  to Jos Van Dyke and freedom. When I first came up to see the fox in the sixties,  the iron kettle was still on the beach.

We slide up to a new concrete wharf and head for the old wooden customs office only,  now it’s a new concrete customs office, where we discover that the gentle portly gentleman who had manned the post since salt met water, had been called away to work the customs house at the Pearly Gates.

As Delia and the current customs gent negotiated, I spotted our friend Ruben Chinnery sitting at a table under the trees in front of a little beach side café, We have all known Ruben for at least forty five years, and Tuts and I for closer to fifty, back then,  Tuts and Ruben and I had a little “Band” that knocked the living hell out of “Perfidia” I was the singing Sax man, Tuts played the Trumpet and Ruben strangled the guitar til’ it squeaked for mercy. Good lord we loved to play that song. it was also the only one we could play. Perfidia and nothing but Perfidia.

We have jammed together at Foxy’s many times since then, and we are here today to see about setting up a gig in which Ruben, Nicky, (Mighty Whitey) and I would be playing together all day long (maybe three sets each and one or two super long jams)

After speaking with Tessa and The Fox, it’s on. We will decide on the date at a future time. That done, we socialize… hug and smooch and then…we head back down Pillsbury Sound.

Between little St. James and the entrance to the Lagoon, Timmy (the Captain of the little ship) cuts the engine and announces that we aren’t going any further until he hears a few specific tunes. The mighty fine fellow hands me my guitar and says “The first one is “Mademoiselle”. 

 The boat is rocking like crazy and I am sitting on the roof of the cabin, so I jam a foot against a stanchion and the other against the life lines and, once properly “jammed”, I sing my friggin’ heart out. It isn’t everyday that tough, and weathered, beaten but not bowed, hombres honor me in this way. I am really touched that my lifelong tough guy compadres feel this way about my music, and I will fall overboard and drown, guitar and all before I will disappoint them.

Here’s a recent “LIVE” recording of Mademoiselle..

https://scottfagan.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/08-mademoiselle.mp3

 Now, says the Captain, Now let’s have Captain Creole!

(I am posting our recent “LIVE” recording of Captain Creole with  Nicky’s dedication in it)

We all knew the song.  I had first recorded it for BANG in 1966 and then again  for RCA in 1975, and Nicky is in fact on  the chorus of the recording (from “Dreams Should Never Die” lilfish records, 2006) posted here. We each and all  sang one rousing chorus after another, until we reached the dock.

 What a time we had. Not riotous or raucous or criminally rambunctious (as was our wont in the past), but one filled with love and laughter and honest strong emotion, in the most beautiful settings in the world, Drakes Passage, Pillsbury Sound and the warm and grateful embrace of a small circle of friends. A once in a life, shared culmination of  lifetimes, a Thanksgiving to remember. And I do. And now I wish the same love filled..HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO YOU!!!

 All Words and Music Scott Fagan, Copyright, Scott Fagan Music ASCAP

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Terrific New Scott Fagan/South Atlantic Blues Article, from London.

October 29, 2014 Leave a comment

Here is a terrific new article (written by Hugh Dellar) from Shindig Magazine in London, about my first album “South Atlantic Blues”. South Altantic Blues, released in 1968 was/is very much about the life that we shared in Charlotte Amalia. How wonderful that people are still discovering, listening, and being moved. The album “South Atlantic Blues” may be in the process of being re-released, we shall see. CLICK ON THE LINK BELOW FOR THE ARTICLE.

Scott Fagan Article

Here is a link to the album in it’s entirety.
http://www.scottfagan.com
follow the link to lilfishrecords and look for South Atlantic Blues in the menu on the left.

Remembering “SOOKIE”S WESTERN JAMBOREE”

September 9, 2014 Leave a comment
 SOOKIES WESTERN JAMBOREE

Some of you good people will remember that once upon a time we had one radio station in The Virgin Islands, called WSTA.

A wonderful station that did it’s best to play something for everyone. This meant that we were all exposed to every kind of music.

Believing in music as I do, I believe that this wide exposure had a very positive effect on us all. Among the varieties that we enjoyed was good old Southern Gospel and what they called back then, Country and Western.

At 3 O’clock in the afternoon the Virgin Islands looked forward to a show hosted by a young Buckaroo from Frenchtown called “Sookies’s Western Jamboree”. The show featured artists like Hank Williams, Gentleman Jim Reeves, Faron Young, Skeeter Davis and Patsy Cline and songs like “Your cheating Heart” “Cold Cold Heart “Send Me The Pillow That You Dream On” “He’ll Have To Go” and many others.

In those days as you know we here in The Virgin Islands had a number of our own “home-grown cowboys” young (and old) rough and ready hombres who worked and lived out in the wild wild East, West, North and South Side and rode their horses all over the place and once a year in the big carnival parades.

In addition to the working cowboys, there were a number of fellows in town who had perhaps been too strongly influenced by the Western Movies that played at The Apollo, The Alexander, and The Center Theater what seemed like every day and night of every week of every month of every year for many years running.

These home-grown  hombres certainly considered themselves to be the real deal also, and as romantic a figure as any other cowpoke anywhere and they were.

As noted elsewhere in “The Virgin Islands Songs”, I fully intended to grow up to be Gene Autry the singing cowboy. So naturally I was very interested in learning how to “make up” songs like those that we heard, on Sookies Western Jamboree, and in the cowboy movies.

Here is one of my own Caribilly influenced songs, (written with the brilliant McCauley Brothers) reflecting the influence of and my love for “Country and Westindian” or Caribilly. So here we go..in rememberance of Sookie’s Western Jamboree and our very own Caribilly Cowboys.

“Sweet Cheyenne”

I’m going to tell you a story

about Sweet Cheyenne

it’s been, a hell of a life, but she’s always done

the best that she can

There is a girl called Sweet Cheyenne

she comes from down Texas way

she needs someone who understands

she’s spending the night in Santa Fe

A cowboy came south from Alberta

To leave his past behind

it’s been a hell of a life, but he never gave up,

he’s just not that kind

There is a girl called Sweet Cheyenne

She comes from down Texas way

She needs someone who ‘ll understand

He’s spending the night in Santa Fe

There on St. Francis street

these two travelers meet

God Blessed the girl called Sweet Cheyenne

The girl from down Texas way

And the Calgary cowboy they call Dan

Spending the night in Santa Fe

God Blessed a girl called Sweet Cheyenne

who does the best she can

And a kind gentle cowboy they call Dan

Cause he’s found his woman, and she’s found her man…

God Bless Sookie’s Western Jamboree, The Drifting Buckaroos, The Center Theater, and every Rootin’ Tootin’ Carabilly Cowboy (and Cowgirl ) there ever was.

August 15, 2014 Leave a comment

Here’s one for Bite Size and the “All She Wants To Do Is Dance” Group.

From the Live Album “SHAKE A BUM” by Scott Fagan And The MAAC Island Band lilfish records, St. Thomas Virgin Islands

This Remembrance Before It’s Too late..

August 6, 2014 2 comments

Our little family of  friends are scattered across the world too far from one another. Each day more of those that we have loved are going and gone. This remembrance before it’s too late, to you still here and to those we have loved and will be loving forever..

“It Sure Has Been Good” Scott Fagan and The MAAC Island Band

“Scott Fagan Sings Stephin Merritt”

January 30, 2014 Leave a comment

Dear Friends,
Here’s an unusual “smiley” photograph taken at a recent Christmas gig. The only other “smiley” photo of me was on the back of the RCA Album “Many Sunny Places”. That smile was directly related to the 3/4 empty bottle of Mount Gay Rum there in the foreground. This new “smiley” one popped up I guess because well..we were playing a big benefit Christmas Dance, people were really having a ball and I just Love Christmas!Scott Fagan at Christmas Gig 2013

Our “Scott Fagan Sings Stephin Merritt” album project on kickstarter is generating interest in the media.
Here are six little articles about it, and a link to the project on kickstarter. Please take a look, it will be a great and historic album, the boy writes great songs and I intend to sing the holy heck out of ’em.

Pitchfork
http://pitchfork.com/news/53343-stephin-merritts-father-scott-fagan-launches-kickstarter-to-fund-scott-fagan-sings-stephin-merritt/

USA Today
http://www.usatoday.com/story/popcandy/2014/01/09/crowdfunding/4390113/

The Line of Best Fit
http://www.thelineofbestfit.com/news/latest-news/stephin-merritts-father-to-release-magnetic-fields-covers-album-143087

Je Ne Sais Pop (Spanish)
http://jenesaispop.com/2013/12/16/stephin-merritt-versionado-por-su-desconocido-padre/

Il Post (Italian)
http://jenesaispop.com/2013/12/16/stephin-merritt-versionado-por-su-desconocido-padre/

The Vinyl District
http://www.thevinyldistrict.com/storefront/2014/01/forgotten-songs-case-scott-fagan-stephin-merritt/

Scott Fagan And The MAAC Island Band @ Gullifty’s Camp Hill PA.

December 7, 2013 Leave a comment