French Quarter Fest – Day Four

Day Twelve

Never lend books; no one ever returns them. The only books I have in my library are books other people have lent me. Anatole France. (not to mention C. D’s!!)

Jeff, Rick & LJ – Day Four FQF

There was a brief overnight thunderstorm, a bit of heavy rain for 10 minutes or so.

Reports back from The Way Out West gig are saying that the Lachy Doley Band put on a great show. Also that there were a couple of special punters in the house, including the legendary Mr Ross ‘the Boss.’ Wilson.

You may recall from previous blogs, that this time last year, I was interviewed by the Producer/Writer (Al Molten) of an upcoming Allen Toussaint documentary. I had been wondering if I had got left on the cutting room floor. After all what would an Aussie be able to add to a story about one of the greatest writers/producers this city has ever known. Turns out that Al thought the interview was OK, and to have a person from the other-side of the world speak about why New Orleans music is important worked well. Al said in his phone call that production is all but finished with an August screening in the pipe-line. I may get to see the finished work before I go. If I get my hands on a copy then y’all can expect an invitation to the Australian screening at our place. I may even get a Red Carpet to walk!

Today, (Sunday) is the last day of the FQF. I leave around 11 to head down for some more New Orleans music. That’s what makes this festival special, nearly all the musicians performing are from the great state of Louisiana and more particularly, New Orleans. It is cold out today. Cold, for New Orleans weather that is. People have on sweaters and hoodies!

Breakfast this morning is Crawfish Pasta and Fried Fish.

I headed straight to the Abita Stage to catch the last fifteen minutes of the Irene Sage Band and then hung around for the Bucktown Allstars. I caught up with Jeff and LJ and then headed to the GE Stage for a young band, Mainline. They were very good. If you can get out of the strong breeze then there is some warmth in the sun. Not a lot mind you. I have for the first time seen folks walking around with goosebumps, that is unheard for New Orleans approaching mid-April. A local told me that a Northern weather front has come in.

Not sure why, but I got me some more food. Now this is something that needs to be done in Melbourne. Garlic Parmesan Fries. Oh my, how good are they.

Got myself the first beer I have had for four days. I tasted an Amber, the Boot and a Hop-On. I worked out that the Hop-On is the best value at 6%.

I headed back to the Abita Stage. Rickey Gros is one of the Stage Production crew who I have met on previous trips. Real nice guy, but always busy, and it is hard to have a long conversation. Well today I hit pay-dirt. I said to Rick that he must have seen some amazing band over the years. He then proceeded to tell me a little of his music work history. Rick is the same age as me (64) and we are only a month apart in birth months but centuries apart in music experiences. Rick did his first (unpaid) gig when he was seventeen. How is this for your debut back-stage experience. Sha Na Na, Foghat and the Allman Brothers! He had a break from the industry when he joined the Marines. After discharge he joined the Bernard Production company and has been with them for some thirty-one years. He also told me of a piano performance he worked on. Fats Domino, Jerry Lee Lewis and Ray Charles. Jerry Lee got up to his old tricks and busted the piano seat just before Ray Charles was due on stage. Rick had to gaffer tape the seat back together. I could have listened to his stories all day. Music history, right there.

Jeff also has so many great music stories to tell, Jeff worked on the floating venue, the steamship, River President. He recalled one gig with George Clinton where he thought the steamship was in danger of sinking due to the power of the music. Jeff also worked with Stevie Ray Vaughan and a very young Robert Cray. That steamship was then turned into a floating casino.

Wendy brought me a cool seat to take with me. In fact it was stored at Pat’s home for my return. Numerous people have asked where I got the seat from as they want to purchase one.

The only bonus that can be had from having to go to one of the Porta-Loos (they can be a little gross) at the festival is to follow someone that has just smoked some weed. Go in for a piss and come out buzzing.

It was time to leave the festival. I said my goodbyes to Jeff and LJ. They have both made me feel so wlecome as has Stew and carol around on the Jack Daniels stage. Great friends indeed.

So another FQF is done and dusted. To top off the day I had a feed of a dozen Char Broiled Oysters, or as we say in New Orleans, ersters.