Saturday, December 31, 2005

Maggie has arrived!

No music today - just a little car talk.
Maggie is a 1968 Volvo 122S (Amazon) that my #2 son bought from a fella out in Nebraska. She's his first car, aside from the hand-me-down grocery-getter we gave him to get to and from school. He found her on the internet, for sale by another Volvo nut, and paid for her himself.
I'm proud that he has kept a family tradition of old Volvos. There are 6 Volvos in the driveway when the kids are all home. Why Volvo? Old ones can be had inexpensively, they last forever, and are easy to work on. We are a frugal lot.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Closing another year

Well, another year is drawing to a close. They seem to be going by much faster than they used to. This past year has been particularly rough on this little planet. The tsunami, earthquakes, hurricanes, wars... All pretty sobering stuff.
We've got a new year ahead of us, folks.

We only pass this way once, let's all enjoy the ride!

Guy Davis - We All Need More Kindness In This World
from his new "Legacy" cd on Red House Records

Thursday, December 22, 2005

At Last I'm Ready For Christmas!

The tree is up, the shopping is done (well, almost) and I have the rest of the year off from work. At last, I'm ready for Christmas.

Postings here on the Bus will be sporadic until the new year. I'll be enjoying some time with friends and family as I suspect many of you will.

To all the travelers who have taken a ride with us on the Bus these past few months, I'd like to say "thanks" for all the friendly encouragement and good conversation. I've had some great journeys, good drink, good music, and met a few new friends. And that's what it's all about.
Over the next week I'll tune-up the Bus, restock the bar, and load up with plenty of new tunes.

May you all have a very merry Christmas!

Stan Rogers - At last, I'm ready for Christmas

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

A little Christmas fun

Santa Claus is coming to town in a pirogue for Michael Doucet. A cajun version of the classic complete with fiddles and accordions.

Seattle based, Ranch Romance took their name from a pulp western magazine of the 1930's. I like their blend of jazz, alt. country, western swing, and a dash of satire on this Elvis standard.

Let's round out this set with Ottmar Liebert's new-age flamenco guitar version of another classic Christmas song.

Michael Doucet - Santa Claus Is Coming To Town

Ranch Romance - Santa Bring My Baby Back (To Me)

Ottmar Liebert - Deck The Halls

Christmas in prison

One last song with the "Christmas away from home" theme.
This one is a special request from our good friend Walt, one of the best yard sale hunters of obscure music I've ever met.

John Prine - Christmas In Prison
the live version from his cd
"A John Prine Christmas"

A cup o' mud

Coffee, that dark essence that helps us deal with a new day. I perfer mine black and strong. Nothing fancy, no flavorings or exotic brews just a good, hot cup of joe.
Judge Parker has posted the 4th installment of his incredible series 7 Drinks of Mankind. The lore, science, myth and music of java is the subject this time around. Put on a fresh pot and get on over to Locust St.. Tell him you took the Bus.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Christmas in the Trenches

Without a doubt, the hardest Christmas away from home is that of the soldier.
John McCutcheon's song about the Christmas Truce of 1914 reminds us that the world was once a more civil place.

John McCutcheon - Christmas in the Trenches

Monday, December 19, 2005

First Christmas Away From Home

Stan Rogers' "First Christmas" is not the typical "dashing through the snow, Santa Claus, and Ho, Ho, Ho" sort of Christmas song, but nearly everyone can relate to at least one verse here. We have all experienced a "First Christmas", at some point in our lives and Stan Rogers has captured those feelings as if we each had written our own verse.

Stan Rogers - First Christmas

Remember those that may be experiencing a "First Christmas" this year.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Christmas Time's A-Comin'

Peter Rowan - Christmas Time's A-Coming

Ed Sweeney - Gloucestershire Wassail

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Long Train Home

Yesterday's post got me to thinking about the last time I stopped in Roanoke. They've got a mighty fine rail museum there. If you are ever passing their way, stop in and hop a freight for a while.

Ron Wall - East Bound Freight Train

Jim & Jesse - My Long Journey Home

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Seldom Scene Christmas

The Mill Mountain Star, built in 1949 to symbolize Roanoke, Virginia's claim as the "Star City of the South".

I have mentioned many times in this space how much I enjoy bluegrass gospel. There is nothing that can compare to good three-part harmony, and no one does it better than the Seldom Scene.

John Starling - Beautiful Star of Bethlehem

The Seldom Scene - Silent Night

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

The Coming of Winter

The thermometer on the back porch is dipping well below this old man's comfort zone tonight. Winter is just around the corner. I don't mind cold nights like this, as long as I can enjoy it through the window with a hot buttered rum.

Shep Cooke was a member of Linda Ronstadt's Stone Poneys, and has shared his voice and guitar on recordings by Tom Waits and others. For all this, he is most remembered for his 'Concert Tour of Mars' which was presented to the world by Dr. Demento.

Shep Cooke - New England Winter

Monday, December 12, 2005

Boogie Woogie Christmas

Katie Webster - Deck The Halls With Boogie Woogie

Charles Brown - Boogie Woogie Santa Claus

I know you all have been gettin' your dose of Christmas goodness over at Big Rock Candy Mountain. Be sure to check in every day.
While you're at it, stumble over to Locust St. where the third installment of the "7 Drinks of Mankind" has been posted. This week's thirst quenching topic: Spirits!


Sunday, December 11, 2005

Acoustic Christmas - Part 1

Harvey Reid is quite possibly the best acoustic guitarist you've never heard of. His credits include winning the 1981 National Fingerpicking Guitar Competition, once winning the Beanblossom bluegrass guitar contest. His Steel Drivin' Man CD was voted in 1996 by Acoustic Guitar Magazine as one of the 10 Essential Folk CD's of all time. A multi-instrumentalist, Harvey was also the 1982 International Autoharp Champion, plays the six-string banjo, mandolin and bouzouki.
When we operated the Barrack's Coffeehouse Concerts, Harvey made the trip from his home in Maine to do an annual show for us in Florida to standing room only audiences. Here are a couple of cuts from his The Heart of the Minstrel on Christmas Day CD, available on his self-produced Woodpecker Records.

Harvey Reid - Jingle Bells - solo guitar

Harvey Reid - Deck the Halls - solo autoharp

We have heard that Harvey and his partner, violinist Joyce Andersen have recently become a trio! Congratulations to Harvey and Joyce.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Another Cajun Friday

Once again we are ending the week with some music from the bayous. There is something about cajun music that makes it impossible to keep your feet still. The old blue bus was my home for several years. It was parked near Bayou Gosh, in Boutte (Boo-Tee), Louisiana, and quickly became a gathering spot for music, food and drink. The sound of accordians and fiddles usually kicked off the weekend.

Balfa Toujours - Kingpin Special

Beausoleil avec Michael Doucet - Me and Dennis McGee

Ya'll have a good weekend!

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

A trip to the north country

Many years ago, I spent some time alone in a canoe in western Ontario and eastern Manitoba. Me, my canoe, gear, and supplies were loaded onto a CN boxcar. The engineer stopped the train at the river crossing that we had agreed to and promised to stop again in a week to pick me up. It was a service CN offered to backcountry paddlers and backpackers. The Canadian National Railways crosses the continent much as the Old Blue Bus will today.
From Toronto, Ontario, Prairie Oyster have been serving up country, country-rock and country-swing for two decades. We've got a tasty sampling from their "Blue Plate Special" cd. (Thanks to my friend Walt for turning me on to them).
In the late 1980's and early '90's, my wife and I owned a music store in south Florida. We also produced the Barracks Coffeehouse Concert Series. One of the best singer-songwriters we had the pleasure of presenting was James Keelaghan. He refused to fly, so he rode the trains from British Columbia to south Florida. After the sound check I gave him the keys to my old Volvo P1800 so he could relax on the beach before the show. This cut is from his "Road" cd.
To finish today's trip we head for the Maritimes. Stan Rogers needs no introduction on either side of the border. The pictures he painted with his songs of the Maritimes are partly responsible for my wife and I being married in Halifax, Nova Scotia and spending over a month enjoying the Canadian Atlantic. One of the greatest singer-songwriters to grace this earth, Stan was tragically taken in 1983. This song is from his "From Coffeehouse to Concert Hall" cd.

Prairie Oyster - She Won't Be Lonely Long

James Keelaghan - Number 37

Stan Rogers - Acadian Saturday Night

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Corn Squeezin's

The Appalachian region is known around the world for two things that we hold dear here on the 'Bus; bluegrass and moonshine!
I'm not one to pass up a good parkin' lot pickin' session or a clear quart of 'shine. So pull up a seat, tune up your axe, and pass that jar.

Grandpa Jones - Mountain Dew

Jimmy Martin - Moonshine Hollow

Bryan Bowers - Festival Love

Salamander Crossing - Tear My Stillhouse Down

Monday, December 05, 2005

Ian & Sylvia

My love of folk music all started when I first heard Ian & Sylvia on the radio. It was in the mid 60's, the folk resurgence was well underway, and this couple from Canada caught my ear. They separated in music and marriage in the mid 70's. Ian moved back to Alberta and is still a driving force in Canada's country music scene. Sylvia has returned to the studio a few times also. Here is a cut from their early days as a duet and more recent solo cuts from each.

Ian & Sylvia - Four Rode By

Ian Tyson - Cowboys Don't Cry

Sylvia Tyson - Pepere's Mill

Sunday, December 04, 2005

John McCutcheon

John McCutcheon, a fellow Virginian, has long been a favorite here on the 'Bus. John has been making music that opens peoples eyes, lifts their hearts, and makes them think on their own for over 30 years. I'll refrain from any political discussion here, as hard as that is for me. John's new release, "The Greatest Story Never Told" is on Greg Brown's Red House Records, and has a drive and power that we haven't heard from John is some time.

John McCutcheon - Ghosts of the Good Old Days

Thursday, December 01, 2005

The best laid plans...

I had all sorts of stuff planned for today's post. Well, maybe not really planned, more like a bunch of half-assed ideas that just wouldn't come together. So I pulled the cork on a bottle of inspiration and started spinnin' cd's and lp's just to see what would happen.
What have I got to show for it? Well, I'm affraid this bottle is just as empty as my head. I have listened to a lot of stuff that may inspire something down the road, but "tonight, the bottle let me down". So here's a few cuts from things I can reach without getting out of this chair.

Brooks Williams has been touring for over twenty years. His polished guitar work is a blend of folk, jazz, blues, classical. This cut is from his 1996 release on Green Linnet Records, but I can not find it in their catalog anymore. Try his website, I see he links to iTunes for this cd.

Brooks Williams - Rotterdam Bar

Jeffery Foucault is a young fella from southern Wisconsin. He toured the UK with Kris Delmhorst and Peter Mulvey. On their return they spent some time at his cabin in Wisconsin, where they recorded the Redbirds cd using a single open mic in the living room, giving it a raw, homemade flavor. This cut is from his debut cd Stripping Cane.

Jeffrey Foucault - 4&20 Blues

Albert Cummings

So far this week we've taken a look at some white country guitarists who were influenced by the blues. Like Riley Puckett, Albert Cummings started on the 5 string banjo. He remembers, "I’d go to bluegrass festivals and watch the main stage acts. The fun though was at night when I could wander through the campgrounds, and there’d be a jam session every 100 feet." And like Puckett, Cummings made the transition to guitar. The seed was planted when he was 16 or 17 and a brother-in-law gave him tapes of Stevie Ray Vaughan during the Texas Flood period. "It’s got to be some freak thing. How could anybody play guitar like that? I used to listen to these tapes over and over," he says.
A personal epiphany occurred in 1987, when he wandered into a Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble show at Boston's Orpheum Theater. "That first time I saw them play, I was riveted. I had never experienced anything that intensely powerful in my life."
On his CD "From the Heart" he is backed by Vaughan’s full Double Trouble lineup of Chris Layton, Tommy Shannon and Reese Winans.

Albert Cummings - Regular Man

Albert Cummings - Tell It Like It Is

Jingle Bells my @%$

Had your fill of the same old Christmas songs on the radio already?
Make a trip over to Big Rock Candy Mountain. I'd be willing to bet none of these Christmas songs are in rotation on your local radio.
Be sure to check back every day for a new song.