Saturday, May 29, 2010


I am half listening to the annual Eurovision Song Contest and thinking, yet again, what a load of shit the whole thing is. Not only are the songs poor and the performances bland, but the voting is a joke. I am prepared to bet (even halfway through) that the British entry will not be in the top ten. That's partly because it is piss poor, but also because the countries club together in supporting their neighbours - and no one likes the Brits, except the Irish, oddly.
Graham Norton gamely tries to make his (largely gay) audience think that this is a real competition and that it is somehow important. But everything knows that it is anything but that. I preferred Terry Wogan's cynical and sometimes bloody rude commentary, but I can't blame Norton for trying to bring some credibility to this so-called contest, which is well past its sell-by date. Britain last won this in 1997 with Katrina and the Waves, and previous winners were Bucks Fizz in 1981 (pictured), Brotherhood of Man in 1976, Lulu in 1969 (jointly), and Sandie Shaw in 1967. None of the songs were particularly inspiring, but had a certain Eurovision 'Boom bang a bang' quality. But that was before Europe expanded to include parts of Asia such as Azerbaijan and certainly before most of Europe hated the UK.
Never mind. I have nothing better to do this evening as I am surrounded by packing cases ahead of my move to the country on Tuesday. So I don't give a rat's arse who wins. But I will eat my record collection if the UK entry wins.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Final photos from the US trip

As the memories of the US trip begin to fade, here is a final batch of photos.
This is the La Louisiane recording studio in Lafayette, where many cajun and swamp pop artists have recorded, which the Woodies were invited to visit by David Rachou, son of founder Carol Rachou. Woodie Martyn Harvey inspects some of the vintage recording equipment at the studio.
Alan and I at the Boudin store in Henderson. It's the first restaurant that I've been to which has a bucket in the middle of the table. Very useful for crawfish tails - or if you've had too much to drink.
This is me in Port Allen, Louisiana, with Baton Rouge behind me. Before they built the bridge this was the main crossing point for the Mississippi.
Dave and I propping up the bar at Teddy's Juke Joint in Zachary, near Baton Rouge.
A small town country fair at Arnaudville, near Lafayette.
When Dave and I got to New Orleans we heard that the Treme brass band would be leading a procession to honour Fats Domino and that Fats would be there in person. The band was there but sadly Fats wasn't.
The old Rock 'n' Bowl was put out of business by Katrina, but a new, larger version has opened down the road.
Woodie Ralph Edwards entertained fellow Woodies at Ernie K-Doe's Mother in Law Lounge in New Orleans.
The bar has fantastic murals on all its outside walls commemorating Ernie. The main door on the left has been hit by two vehicles recently, hence the lack of a mural at that corner.
Here are the Pinettes, an all female brass band, who played at Charmaine Neville's club opening.
Here is a bust commemorating the deaths of Buddy Holly, the Big Bopper and Ritchie Valens in 1959. It's at the Museum of the Gulf Coast in Port Arthur.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Photos from New Orleans- 3

This is the last set of pictures from my US trip, all but one of which were taken on the final day of the New Orleans Jazzfest.
First, here is Clarence 'Frogman' Henry. This is Clarence Carter being interviewed ahead of his performance.
The Soul Queen of New Orleans Irma Thomas.
In the Gospel Tent, here is Sherman Washington and the Zion Harmonisers.
At the front of the stage instead of behind the drums, here is Warren Storm, with Willie Tee and Cypress.
Performing in the rain this is Clarence Carter.
B B King in the Blues Tent.
The next four photos are of the individual members of the Neville Brothers. Here is Charles Neville.
This is Aaron Neville.
Here's Art Neville.
And lastly Cyril Neville.
This final photo is of me with the bust of the Big Bopper at the Museum of the Gulf Coast in Port Arthur, Texas.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

More photos from New Orleans

Here is the third batch of photos from my US trip.
The first three were taken at the excellent tribute to Bobby Charles by the Li'l Band of Gold in a crowded Parish Room at the House of Blues. Here is swamp pop singer and drummer Warren StormAmong a number of special guests for this show was New Orleans legend Dr John. Another guests was Elvis Costello, who is pictured duetting with Tommy McLain on Before I Grow Too Old. My sentiments exactly!
The next few pictures are from the second Friday of Jazzfest. Here is New Orleans' contribution to the girl group sound of the 60s, the Dixie Cups.
And here is another towering New Orleans musician, pianist, singer, producer, songwriter Allen Toussaint.
This is Jose Feliciano, who didn't quite light my fire.
Over in the Gospel Tent were the Selvys, an excellent all female gospel group in the traditional style.
Gospel in an altogether more modern style was offered by the energetic Kirk Franklin.
And here's a picture of me enjoying Jazzfest.
These are two of the Gypsy Kings.
Away from Jazzfest, here is a tormented looking Irma Thomas singing at an evening show at The Precinct.
This is Charmaine Neville at the launch party for her new jazz club on St Charles Avenue.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Photos from New Orleans - 1

Here are some photos from the first few days in New Orleans.
Here's Dave Alvin who played with the band The Guilty Women at the Rock'n'Bowl. Bobby Rush told a few lewd jokes and played some good acoustic blues when he did a free show at the Louisiana Music Factory.
A group picture of all the UK contingent at Ernie K-Doe's Mother in Law Lounge, with a couple of musicians who played with him back in the day.
Louisiana artist Jay Chevalier played a short gig especially for the UK contingent at Peaches Record Store.
And Marcia Ball played for free in Lafayette Square.
Now on to the the Thursday of Jazzfest. Here's local bluesman Classie Ballou.
This is jazz singer Dee Dee Bridgewater being interviewed - much too fragrant for Jazzfest methinks.
There was some good zydeco on hand. Here C J Chenier, son of Clifton.
Here's Geno Delafose with French Rockin' Boogie.
Back in the Blues Tent here's Bernard Allison, son of famous father Luther.
Closing the festival on one of the stages was Elvis Costello and the Sugarcanes.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Photos - Lafayette and Baton Rouge

Here is the first batch of photos from the US trip. These are from the Lafayette/Baton Rouge leg.
First photo is of the excellent Sharon Jones who, with her band the Dap-Kings, really lighted up the Festival Louisiane in Lafayette. Teddy's Juke Joint near Baton Rouge was the destination on our second evening. Here are bluesmen Rudy Richard and Larry 'Lightning' Washington.
And this is Teddy himself, who masterminds the shows. At one point he was standing behind us shining a torch on the band to create lighting effects!
Ruthie Foster appeared at the Baton Rouge Festival and showed that she has an excellent voice and a wide range of material.
Tony Joe White's hypnotic singing and steady laid back manner was a real highlight at the Baton Rouge festival.
And here is young bluesman Chris Thomas King, also at Baton Rouge. He appeared in the movie Oh Brother Where Art Thou.
Back to the Festival Louisiane and this is the King of Cajun music D L Menard.
Also in Lafayette here is a photo of Nathan and the Zydeco Cha Chas.
We ate some great food on the trip, best of which was at Landry's restaurant in Henderson, La. Left to right here are yours truly, Allan Lloyd and Dave Carroll.
Kenny and the Heartbreakers play every Sunday night at the Atchafalaya Club in Henderson and it's a throwback to the late fifties, when Kenny recorded a couple of singles.
And here is a group picture of some of the 2010 Stompers with Kenny that night.