Monday, January 18, 2010

Blue, Blue Monday: Stogie as a Walmart Greeter and Bass Player

Northern California is colored gray today -- it is raining hard with strong winds.  I am still unemployed -- seven months now.  I have never before been unemployed in my life.  Rush Limbaugh says that unemployment insurance payments tends to keep people unemployed, under the assumption that if people are paid not to work, they won't.  I really can't say that is true for me, Rush -- I apply for jobs every single day.  The unemployment I am receiving helps but it is not enough to cover my bills.  Without savings, we would have lost our house by now.

The economy is really hurt this time.  This is not your usual economic down cycle:  it is far worse than that.  I will not give up, though.  I'll work even if I have to become a Walmart greeter.  "Welcome to Walmart!  Now get your ass in here and buy something, we're not in business for our health, you schmucks!"  (Perhaps I should soften my greeting a bit in order to enhance my chances of getting hired.)  [Kudos to Walmart for giving employment and opportunity to people who need it.]

We had another band practice last night.  We tried out a young guitar player.  He was great.  Blues riffs flowed seamlessly out of his Fender Strat.  A good musician can do that -- sit in with a band and sound like he/she has been practicing with that band for ages.  The young gitfiddler decided we were not for him -- he's heavily into Stevie Ray Vaughn and finds jazz too laid back.  No problem, we weren't offended in the least.  We then beat him up, broke his red Strat over his head and dumped him in an alley on the bad side of town.  (Just kidding.)  Actually, we like Stevie Ray Vaughn too -- just not a steady diet.

My bass playing continues to evolve and shine -- funny how regular practice will do that.  The band members were telling me, "Gee that sounded good, Stogie!"  I was taken aback and felt embarrassed.  "Just doin' my job, gang!"  Some of the songs we are practicing now:

1.  "Why Don't You Do Right?," by Peggy Lee.  This great old jazz/blues tune was revived in the movie "Who Framed Roger Rabbit," when Rabbit's cartoon wife sang the song in a nightclub.  Peggy Lee (of "Fever" fame) recorded the tune in 1942 with Benny Goodman.

2.  "That's Why I'm Crying," by Koko Taylor.  Very bluesy.  I love this tune.  Chords are easy but the song has soul -- one of those songs you can really feel in your bones.  See YouTube embed below if you want to listen.

3.  "Rio de Janeiro Blue," by Randy Crawford.  Another bluesy/jazz tune.  See embed below for the tune.

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