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Book 1. The Blessed Virgins and Book 4. Concert in New York Continued…

August 15, 2010 Leave a comment

Book 1. The Blessed Virgins

And so somewhere in the winter of 1958 Mud led her little band (Little Larry Gale and I) away from the land of the ice burger, to the lands of eternal spring  and summer, the Blessed Virgins. Of course I wore my recently purchased black leather jacket (just as I would wear it both day and night until I completely and incontestibly  physically out grew it over a year and a half later)

When we had left St. Thomas, fleeing {“The Bills” (who ever those guys were) four years earlier Gale and I were very different children. We  now carried the depravation  and esteem issues of absolute down and out poverty, disrupted education, and serious questions about (the theretofore unquestionable such as) Mud’s competence as leader of the pack, and all that that meant.

 Just about the only thing that we never questioned about Mud was her taste in music, it was with out exxception, always great. Mud was never negative about music, any music. She just plain out andf out loved music. And while we  never heard her say a negetive or angry word about it, a few years later our father Frankie, would surprise and hurt use by “hating” Rock And Roll and any and everything else that had replaced Big Band and Be Bop.

It was very disturbing to hear that kind of angry agrandiament of one kind of music over all others. It seemed so obvously stupid that, while trying to defend my self and the music, I was embarrased for him. How can anyone expect kids to  primarily identify with and love the music which expresses the time and concerns of their parents,  rather than the music that expresses the times and concerns of their own generations?  

Still, I see that same crazy conceit all around, all the time .It is so disappointing and transparently stupid…still.

That said, Me fadder dear was a hell of a singer and those tunes he sang were certainly very very good ones. Further, his emphasis and constant refrain on singing was “it’s all in the phrasing Fidel, (he lovingly called me “Fidel, The F*ckin bombthrower from the islands,) It’s all in the phraseing” has served me well. Continues…

Book 4. Concert in New York Continued

What a blast we had… the whole raggy band, a confoundation of experiences and ideologies a flim flam flashin dash-agoria of frantic -zigzagomania, a schreehin’ scramble of the lost push pulling the lost in concentric kaleidoscopic circles. And that was before we even got out the door and into our veehickles.

A Carnation, carvention, carfused, caravan of veehickles screwed tightly onto out of state licence plates, plates that I D’d us as hick-prey, thus fair game for the pent of frustrations and ever so inventive vulgarities of anxiety sizzled big city pedestrians. Even so.. we were so excited to see them that we reveled in their exotic and colorful stereotypically  accented verbuse, and have recounted every  single delicious expression and “cuss” phrase back and forth amongst us over and again. What fun we had. I really do wish you were there. The folks at BWAC (The Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition) put the absolute once and for all kibosh on the fiction that New Yorkers are cold and distant.

These good people could not have been any warmer and more welcoming. And dear goodness, I had kinda sorta somehow forgotten how beautiful and intoxicating New York City Lady Girls have always been to me. Man o man, young and old silver and gold, each more beautiful than the last.  What a joy it is to see a city full of ‘im!

We are booked to come back for an opening on Saturday, May the 7th 2011.

We will be there bells a ringing!

Here is a band photo that we took at BWAC just after our performance.

New Scott Fagan and The MAAC Island Band

New Scott Fagan and The MAAC Island Band

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This week we play for the third anniversary of the MAAC (Middletown Area Arts Collective) and next week we will play the benefit to save Harrisburg’s own Riverboat “The Pride Of The Susquehanna”. We are working on doing “The Virgin Islands Songs live in Concert” at the Richold Center For The Arts in St. Thomas, and filming it as a potential music special for PBS. We shall see…

 

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Book 4. and Book 2. The Second Coming..Continued. and Cover, South Atlantic Blues

January 24, 2010 Leave a comment

Book 4. and Book 2. The Second Coming… Continued. And  Cover, South Atlantic Blues 

But that‘s all beside the point and neither here nor there…The point is that I am on my way back to “Babylon” ah..I mean the states, to try and “do it right” this time, against exactly the kind of odds that it takes to stimulate a fellow like me, a freakin’ trillion million to one.

I’m 36,000 feet up in the air and believe me we are going like a bat out of hell. Heading straight for the heart and brains and soul of Babylon, Washington DC.  (Hmmm, well perhaps it would be more accurate to say “nerve center” instead, because the heart and brains and soul of America are..in my experience, certainly not concentrated in  Washington DC.  Those with pathology for power are concentrated in the district but it seems pretty clear that the heart, brains and soul are everywhere, anywhere but there)

 Least ye take offence thinking that I have no right to speak frankly about the USA, you’ll be relieved to hear that my direct ancestry (on me dear Mudders side) arrived in Virginia before the revolution, And my Great Great Great Grandfather fought for the Union in the battles of Shiloh, Hatchie, Vicksburg, Jackson, The Red River Campaign, Kennesaw Mountain and The battle of Atlanta as a member of Third Regiment, IOWA Infantry. He (Edwin B. Slatterley) was wounded, left for kaput, “caught himself” got up and survived to fight on to the bitter end. Eventually dying (years later in Grass Valley Ca.) as a result of his Civil War wounds.

Other Great Great Grand Parents crossed the plains (it took six months) to California in a covered wagon (leaving Terre Haute, Indiana) in April 1852 and as a result of moolah made during the Gold Rush, were able to purchase (and have been working) a thousand acre ranch outside of “Rough and Ready” “Wheatland” and “Spencerville”, Nevada County, California, ever since. I would add that I voted for Margret Mead and James Baldwin for President and Vice President respectively, in 1968. And ask that you don’t discount my paternal’s history in a Convent’s Garden in New Orleans and eight children and a candy store in Hells Kitchen and the death of Pater dears Mater dear (Sally the orphan girl from Scotland in the TB wards of Welfare Island in New York City’s East River) all of which (though very much a partial history) establishes the right of their descendent to fight with wit and pen (and light sword as available) against “schupidness” and the sick and twisted forces of aggressive ignorance and repression.

 Forces so well represented in recent years in the actions and intentions of those that would weld bars across the Golden door and bomb the beggars with the audacity to hope for a better life in the welcoming arms of the land of the free…

 In Washington, I will de train from de plane and hop on a puddle jumper which will take me to my destination, Middletown, Pa. Of Three Mile Island fame. There I will  take a, make a, stand along side The MAAC (The Middletown Area Arts Collective)  in pursuit of the Second Coming…We shall see what we shall see.

 A few days ago, I got back to the pad to discover a bootleg copy of “South Atlantic Blues” in digital format (A bootleg CD) was waiting in the mailbox…

Looking at the quality of the Joel Brodsky photograph that is the South Atlantic Blues cover, shrunk down to CD size, it occurred to me that CD Covers miniaturized an art form that was better maximized. We would have been better served making records and album covers the size and weight of a locomotive drive wheel.

 In fact, if this photograph were to reflect the fun that we had making it, it would have to be the size of a barn door.no…a double barn door. Mort (Mort Shuman) picked Roberta and I up in his little MG first thing in the morning and took us to an extremely upscale hair salon.(keep in mind that I was a semi savage) where in (maybe after spritzing me once or twice with the perfumed  “eu de knock out drops” reserved for biting, scratching, screaming and kicking children) we got me (in 1964) a mighty fancy (so fancy and subtle that it’s probable that they didn’t do anything at all) hundred-dollar haircut.

Then we headed down to Joel Brodsky’s studio in the garment district, where we broke out the Guitars and the Rum and Coca-Cola, and proceeded to sing in English, Spanish Calypso, and “Rum tongues”. A medley for the ages. Merrily  bashing guitars stopping only to splash and resplash “Cuba Libres” down the screech pipe.

While directing the Don Q  to where we thought it would do the most good, we had migrated/fallen out onto the roof of the building, within moments the musica brought hundreds of seamstresses and garment workers to their windows all around and above to cheer us on, Mort and I were both fluent en espaniol at the time and sang every verse of Morty and Doc’s song “Sweets For My Sweet”, every “Trio Los Pancho’s” and Ishmael Rivera tune we could, along with much extemporaneous and highly complementary improvisation dedicated to the ladies in the windows above and around. It was the greatest great fun. I don’t know how in the world Joel wound up with such a serioso shot, however as ultra serioso was my natural state of being; I suppose it was by natural default.  

What a great photographer and great good fellow he was. And what a great writer, producer and friend Mort was. Unfortunately our best musical work together drifted up and into the air, here there and everywhere but the recording studio, but good lord, what a great and beautiful spirit he was and what great and beautiful joy he brought to me and to us all with his music.

 Another interesting element of the South Atlantic Blues cover is the black and white design done by a company called the “Graffiteria” their clever concept allows the boy’s name and his hundred-dollar hair “cut” to coexist and complement one another. Further, I personally was thrilled to bits to see the little ATCO logo on a recording of mine because Ben E. King was on ATCO and Ben E. King was my man!

 Album covers were fascinating and often full of content. It’s now fairly well accepted that the music business went to the CD format for purely moneymaking reasons. And they made a fortune with it, however not only did their decisions impact every associated art, distribution wholesale and retail business, they destroyed almost every element of an entire  industry. Anyway, my bootlegger friend Tony has been more kind and more supportive of me and my music in the three years that I have known him, than ATCO/Atlantic has been in the forty two years that they have sat on and then buried (and now lost the master tapes of) my first  album. “South Atlantic Blues”.

I could go on about this stuff and perhaps I will elsewhere in the blook, but for the moment, Tony cleaned up the “pops and clicks” and “South Atlantic Blues” sounds really good. I can’t send you a copy, ATCO/Atlantic won’t sell you a copy, but Tony might know where you can get one…I will post his webaddress in the near future so that you may go and contact him there.

 My friend Tony is a full on ttrriipp! Fully functional in at least four dimensions at a time. He contacted me through the internet wanting to help in which ever way he could because he is moved by my music and thinks it’s a shame that more people have not been exposed to it. Tony had spent a number of years living in St. Croix (Virgin Islands) And was a refreshingly enthusiastic action oriented gent. I traveled to New York in a beautifully snowy March, and we spent two round the clock days and nights attempting to get the live California recordings of “SOON” to a listenable state. We will be able (with just a little more work) to release “SOON” on CD early this year (2010) thanks to Tony and his beautiful work AND the warm hospitality of his sweet sweetie the lady Pola.

 I am back in the states and pursuing the second coming. This night, I am carrying my guitar and slowly walking back to my little pad after performing at the MAAC space,  www.middletownarts.com  I’m walking between and through  red brick walls, dark alleyways and  bitterly cold, gritty streets of an old swept aside industrial age railroad town,

I’m remembering my sainted sister Gale, who after the high drama and excitement of the life we shared as “kids in chaos” chose to make a life for herself in this little town on the banks of the Susquehanna. For years, (although I would visit her here regularly), I just didn’t get why she would do that. Good lord a’ mighty, I didn’t get it.

Now I think I understand, it has to do with the human relationships that are possible in the “wings of life” away from center stage. The low key, rather than the screech of life above high C. Good straight forward uncomplicated people.  Gale was the President of the local “Friends of the Library” for 25 years. When she died we gave most of her book collection to the library for their annual book sale and Gale’s Cook Books and Mysteries alone, raised close to seven thousand dollars for them (at fifty cents and a dollar apiece) can you imagine?

I love my sister Gale and I walk past her Beautiful old three story red brick house (now owned by the bank) coming and going to and from The MAAC (The Collective). Every time I do I am filled with missing her and the times that we had together many of them in this very house, in this very town. In any case, this cold night, these sporadicly placed misty street lights, the weight of time in the air, the guitar on my arm, the lingering excitement and heightened awareness of the just done performance, are like dejavu all over again. I have walked this way in a thousand places. They come tumbling back this still night This time I hope to do it right.