Wednesday, December 13, 2006

sweat dreams

i like to get up a good sweat. its been a talent of mine for as long as i can remember. it's got no less since i've had the tummy. however pas de problem. some of the best dancers i know are big guys. they can't half move the flesh. anyway getting up a head of steam is part of the fun and a bit of mass is no disadvantage there. even if the heart attack is just around the corner. but i'm not running scared of that one now. so i tend to shift and to hell with the consequences.

trouble is the ladies don't all appreciate my hard line terpsichorean ideology. some ain't so fussy of course and are happy (or at least prepared) to squash up to a hot wet boy gyrating along the path to salsa euphoria. some point blank refuse to climb aboard the human waterfall. while others, just so long as the waterfall in question realises they are acting under duress and would much rather be dancing with a person with more polite transpirational habits, will condescend to a twirl or two.

me i don't care. i just go for it. like i do when i play music. i generally perspire quite heavily on a gig. more if its a good one in a hot dive with the bass reverberating off the rafters, the pints of cooking lager flowing free and the bodies crushing and pushing together. i used to perspire so much at events like that i had to wear a sweat band. just like mark knopfler. only a little bit for the pose but mostly because there was so much juice running off my face i couldn't see the finger board if i didn't.

there haven't been so many of those sessions recently. perhaps the days of good old thumping r&b are over. r&b as in rhythm and blues that is, not its claim-jumping contemporary namesake. yeah good old fashioned r&b, music with a back beat, a bit if drive and if you're really lucky, plenty of harmonica.

maybe the lack of gigs is one reason its been such a buzz to discover salsa. i love the dancing. only wish it had been around when i was younger, thought i was cooler but was in fact stupider. i may not have spent such a colossal amount on the drink. salsa is a similar, if not more intensely uplifting experience to playing in a pumping r&b band to a hall full of grooving punters. the argot changes of course, with culture and with time, but the buzz and the beat go on.

although i love the moves i've never been the one to watch from the floor. i've always needed to be part of the action. whatever that action is. with musical action this is more so. and so i fall under a new spell. i want to play harp in a salsa band. and a tango outfit. my dream is renewed.

who does it? the only one i have heard is charlie musslewhite. and that is ONE. i'm sure the harp could deal with those trumpet lines. or do something equally useful. and the chrom can for definite do tango. i've heard joe powers. and hugo diaz.

the quest now is how to work up a sweat with a bunch of latino musicians on their own musical and geographical turf. why are they not going to blow me out? answer is they are. there must be a way round it though. how'm i going to put the dream into practice?


Sunday, December 10, 2006

hitting the big time

did my first solo public performance yesterday. played at the funky craft fair in mumbles. reasonable response. got £3 in the hat. lunch cost £4 but got a free cuppa.

i have some backing tracks on the laptop. but in the event they were too quiet so, like a good boy scout, i burned them onto a cd (can you get a badge for cd burning in extremis? i think i'll propose it to brown owl next time i catch him at it) and put that on the fair's ghetto blaster. ghetto whisperer would have been more accurate. but it gave me the volume i needed in that environment.

played st louis blues, love story, malaguena (sort of. well i knew it was malaguena anyway.) hungarian dance, georgia, speak softly love, summertime, misty and a couple of others including one of my own called left foot tango. plus a bit of diatonic. did two sets. more accurately the same set twice.

i felt i needed to get used to performing so that playing in comps would not make me so nervous. in addition to the bucks i got a couple of positive comments from the stall holders. and married women started throwing themselves at me. got chatted up by a charming lady, espoused for over the half century and some years my senior, who wondered where we had met before. and another, enthusiastic lass who could talk the spots off a leopard and whose current conubial standing turned out to be more meaningfully measured in months. nuff said.

later on went to peppers wine bar in newton road plus harps and was asked to play for brian evans the owner's dinner guests. did speak softly love. went down a storm. ended up generally tooting till the wee hours. some chrom some diatonic. so now i think i can play when i'm drunk too. just as well as i had several pints bought for me. but whether to lubricate the larynx or shut me up i am not sure.

anyway hasta la pasta, compadres, and away