Earlier in the afternoon, while I was setting up my equipment, I had a nice chat with Paul Michalec who decided to open the 49 at 49 book to page 2, on which I am featured. Paul himself is on the cover of the book as well as maybe on page 6. Or 8. One of the usual waitresses was out for her birthday. Mike Shifflett failed to show up. Was he out sailing? He was missed, not only by us but by the waitress with whom he regularly flirts. Mike will be very disappointed to learn that he missed a choice version of the St. James Infirmary.
Monthly Archives: March 2015
I took particular pleasure in the opportunity to turn my amp up just a little higher than usual and project my sound out into a much larger space than usual. My regular gig at 49 West Cafe and Wine Bar is indoors with people chatting and eating. It is always a challenge under that circumstance to find the right level: Not to be two loud and overpower the room, nor be too quiet and not be heard. Toward the middle of my second set on Maryland Avenue, it dawned on me that I really didn’t need to modulate down at all, so I let it rip. Reminding me of so, so many years ago when I used to wander the streets of Annapolis on a Friday night singing at the top of my voice in a sort of operatic version of the Volga Boatman’s Song, among a few others. Might I then have had a small bottle of spirits tucked away in my coat pocket. Perhaps. Thanks to the Maryland Avenue Merchants for an opportunity to play for the public.
Saturday was a good day all told. Starting out with a nice healthy breakfast of oatmeal and espresso. It was a rainy morning, which is much easier to deal with than ice and snow as far as I’m concerned. Even though St. John’s College is on spring break, I’ve been keeping my pottery classes open for those who care to show up. The Tuesday night class has been completely abandoned but in the Saturday group there has been a regular and enthusiastic turnout. Then in the late afternoon I did my usual two sets at 49 West Cafe and Wine Bar including the following tunes: Creole Belle, Trouble In Mind, Hesitation Blues, Make Me A Pallete, One More Cup Of Coffee, St. Louis Blues, Crawling Kingsnake, Got The Blues, Nobody Knows You When You’re Down And Out, Ella Speed, Betty and Dupre, St James Infirmary, Nervous, The Thrill Is Gone, Georgia, Way Down In The Hole, Big Chief Buffalo Nickle, and Freight Train. After I did Georgia, Mike Shifflet (a regular in the audience) said something like “Nice job, Ray,” and later another person in the audience called me “Ray.” I had to explain that my name is not actually “Ray” but that Mike was just giving me a nice compliment by comparing me to the incomparable Ray Charles. First set of music was a bit of an uphill battle with two parties of very loud and chatty young people in addition to the usual sounds of passing cars, clattering of dishes and very noisy espresso machines. But the second set was miraculously peaceful and I could actual hear the space around the music I was trying to create. What a difference! I guess it was noticed by the audience. In any case tips were about double the usual, so thanks very much whoever and where ever you are. There’s no nicer compliment than a good tip of $. My sweetheart and most faithful fan took this picture with her phone. Thanks Zahn.
After a few days of warming weather the local rivers and estuaries melted. Carr’s Wharf extends out into the Rhode River and at the end of this lovely warm day the ice was finally melted. This river is where we spend many pleasant evenings poking around in the nooks and crannies in our little 10 foot skiff. The far shore is almost all protected Smithsonian property and all sorts of creatures (large and small) can be seen going about their lives in what might be imagined as a natural environment. It is so refreshing after months of being ice bound to see actual ripples in the water.