We’re going to double our pleasure today with the release of two new projects from Playing for Change. Project 101 features the world’s children telling us to Don’t Worry, Be Happy. Project 102 features four of the PFC band members taking a roadside break while on tour in Australia.
As most of you probably know, Blake’s Coffee Shop in Greenfield, has been demolished. The local watering hole went out of business several years ago and in the interim the building rapidly deteriorated and became unsalvageable. Pat Hays purchased the property, which had become both an eyesore and safety hazard, and funded the demolition and conversion into a parking lot.
I’m taking an online course in Southern folk culture and doing some added research about blues music history. With either topic it is impossible to avoid the racism and segregation that’s so closely associated with life in the American South.
Blues singer, Ruth Brown, talked about growing up in a Southern town with strict lines separating whites and blacks. At a local dance function the dancers were literally separated by a rope dividing the dance floor into white and black sections. The band, which was often black, would get to playing fast tunes and in the ensuing dance fury the rope often came down and social divides forgotten until someone would notify the police. Then the music would be stopped, the rope re stretched, and segregation restored.
After a couple of years of planning Desha LLC got to break ground this morning for their new Subway store at 203 Jefferson St. in Greenfield. A new facility will be constructed where Farmer’s Wholesale once stood. Besides a new building there will also be off-street parking and a drive through. They are currently operating out of a rented property in the fourth block of Jefferson St.
They say a picture can speak a thousand words and when I saw this picture it told me a story of infinite length.
My favorite French musician, Delbarjo (aka Ludovic Fonteyraud), is back with a great cover of On the Road Again played on a 3-string cigar box guitar that was custom-made for him here in the states. Delbarjo aptly terms his style as sleazy blues and personally, I love it. I’m also a great fan of his video creations. He has the knack of matching the tone of the video to the tone of his audio. Excellent travail mon ami.
Tis the day to scare and be scared, Halloween. Pretend you’re sitting around a campfire on a dark moonless night and the person you trust most begins telling you this story.
I’m not Scottish but I do enjoy the occasional wee bit of their whiskey. Back in the 1960s I had the excellent fortune of spending three months in Scotland, courtesy of the US Navy and I totally fell in love with the land and the people. We were the first American war ship to enter the harbor of Greenock, Scotland since the end of WWII and we were greeted as saviors. The hospitality and warmth of those people will always be appreciated and never forgotten.
Recently my wife and I, for the second time in recent months, spent an evening at The Paxton Theater, home of Ohio’s oldest country music jamboree. For fifty years now the Paint Valley Jamboree in Bainbridge, Ohio has staged country music programs most Saturday nights of the year. Earlier this year the Paxton changed hands and the new owners have poured their hearts and wallets into rejuvenating the building and upgrading the technical aspects of what modern music requires; better lights, better sound system, improved acoustics, and much improved aesthetics.
New Orleans’ Grandpa Elliott is one of my favorite musical legends. For several years now he has been touring the world as part of the Playing for Change band. P for C recently released an album of Grandpa’s music and made available this video of Down by the Riverside.
I’m currently taking an online course via the University of North Carolina on Southern folklore traditions. It’s a free course offered through an organization called Coursera and this is the fourth session I’ve enrolled in. Most of the offered courses offer the option of earning a certificate but I just proctor the lectures and take the quizzes just for the heck of it.
The professor who is teaching my folklore class titles himself as a folklorists and has done something in his life I’ve always kicked myself for not doing. Early on he took the time and effort to record the people and characters he met along life’s road. Armed with a decent movie camera and recording equipment he filmed many of the old timers from whom he learned life’s lessons. He has films and audio recordings of a well-known local auctioneer of his boyhood days in rural Mississippi, a local black preacher delivering a Sunday sermon in the call and response tradition of the black church, young black boys verbally competing with derogatory lines about each other’s family and friends, and many performers rooted in the traditions of storytelling, field chants, country music and the blues. Without this man’s efforts so much cultural richness would have been lost forever.
Is it just me or have any of you simply had all the politics you can stand? Others say, and I usually agree, that I’m a political junkie. You’d think with the mid-term elections being so near I’d be more excited and paying attention.
However, it’s the opposite that’s true. Two weeks before election day and I don’t know the name of the Democrat’s candidate for governor. I know the current governor is named Kasich but not sure if I spelled his name correctly, I don’t know who is running for election to the US House of Representatives or any of the state positions. If there are any issues up for consideration I am again, in the dark.
It struck me while watching this Playing for Change video that many of the people involved in this project are probably Muslim. Yet I found zero reason to feel frightful. Why is it we assume so much that’s not founded in reality.
Recently vice president Joe Biden addressed a group of Harvard students and when one student introduced himself as being the VP of Student Council Biden responded, “Isn’t it a bitch…that vice president thing!” Biden’s face lit up with a toothy smile and most people in the room took it for both the humor and the truth that was spoken. Being vice president of the United States is, and always has been, a bitch.
Until most recent times the VP has done little but wait in the wings, out of sight and out of mind. While many Americans can rattle of a decent list of former presidents, how many can come up with as good a list of vice presidents?
FACTOID: You are more likely to be struck by lightning than encounter a case of voter fraud.