My rider’s got a mojo, she’s tryin’ to keep it hid But papa’s got somethin’ for to find that mojo with. —Blind Lemon Jefferson, “Low Down Mojo Blues,” 1928
What a change in the weather. Partly cloudy, with NO RAIN but 90% humidity. Pat picked us up and we made our way to the festival site. I have mixed emotions today, as well as being extremely tired. This will probably be my last time at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. No use being sad: just enjoy the day.
As I ate a very delicious serving of Vietnamese egg rolls, I listened to the UNO Jazz Allstars. We have organized to meet up with the ‘Boss Man Krewe’ for a team photo. Photos were taken and we say goodbye to Skye, Scott, Jamie, Simon, and Rachel. They are all flying out tomorrow. Skye and Scott are heading to the Bahamas for a week.
I stayed in the Blues Tent for Ernie Vincent and the Top Notes. Ernie had a regional hit some years back with ‘Dap Walk’. I have always enjoyed Ernie’s playing. Pat has provided me and the girls with a pass to the Millers Beer hospitality tent, which also allows for three free drinks. We head over to take advantage of the ‘hospitality’. It is a great space with plenty of seating and couches available under shade. Large screens are broadcasting the music from the main stage. It would be very easy to settle in for the afternoon. We chatted with a couple of guys. They are both locals and we spent a lot of time laughing at what each of us said. As they left they said in typical Southern vernacular, ‘It was great visiting with y’all, y’all have a great time.’
With all the rain we had yesterday the grounds are nowhere near as muddy as I had imagined.
Back to the Blues Tent for Martha Redbone. Martha is a blues and soul singer. She is part Choctaw, European, and African American. Her music is a mix of RnB and soul fused with elements of Native American music. I had only just discovered her music a few months back and was greatly impressed. She sang a killer version of the Beatles’ Blackbird. I also was impressed with the Johnny Cash song, Drums, which was originally recorded in 1964. If you don’t know what the ‘Trail of Tears’ is then you really do need to find out. ‘In your winning you found shame.’
From the Indian reservation to the governmental school
Well they’re goin’ to educate me to the white men’s Golden Rule
And I’m learning very quickly for I’ve learned to be ashamed
And I come when they call Billy though I’ve got an Indian name
And there are drums beyond the mountain Indian drums that you can’t hear
There are drums beyond the mountain and they’re getting mighty near
And when they think that they’d changed me cut my hair to meet their needs
Will they think I’m white or Indian quarter blood or just half breed
Let me tell you Mr teacher when you say you’ll make me right
In five hundred years of fighting not one Indian turned white
And there are drums…
Well you thought that I knew nothing when you brought me here to school
Just another empty Indian just America’s first fool
But now I can tell you stories that are burnt and dried and old
But in the shadow of their telling walks the thunder proud and bold
And there are drums…
Long Pine and Sequoia Handsome Lake and Sitting Bull
There’s Magnus Colorado with his sleeves so red and full
Crazy Horse the legend those who bit off Custer’s soul
They are dead yet they are living with the great Geronimo
And there are drums…
Well you may teach me this land’s hist’ry but we taught it to you first
We broke your hearts and bent your journeys broken treaties left us cursed
Even now you have to cheat us even though you this us tame
In our losing we found proudness in your winning you found shame
And there are drums…
I said thanks to one of the ushers as I left the tent and told him this was my tenth and last visit. He looked at me with a smile and said, ‘We will be here next year’. In fact, he said it twice. I felt like Sinbad the Sailor being serenaded by the mythical sirens with their hypnotic singing.
Back to the Lagniappe Stage for another favorite band, the Deslondes. I spotted Bernie and we listened to the set.
I wanted to meet up with Wendy and Pat in the Blues Tent for Tab Benoit but I could not get in as the crowd was so big.
I grabbed a Peach Beer and sat outside to listen to the music and watch the world go by. Here are my observations on the passing crowd:
Tattoos, compression socks, hats of all types, baseball caps, slow walking, fast walking, scooters, wheelchairs, white, high yellow, brown, black, sunburn, smiles, Europeans, Aussies, Kiwis, locals, drinks in hand, prams, kids, band t-shirts, NOLA colors, plates of food, musos with instruments, flag carriers, gum boots, shrimp boots, Doc Martins, flip-flops, beer, frozen daiquiris, tie-dyes, old and young, cut off jeans, very unfit police officers, pith helmets, walking sticks, white legs, tanned bodies, backpacks, fat bellies, WWOZ tags, a continual passing parade of people heading to different stages. All with one thing in common – a love of music.
I caught the end of Nathan and the Zydeco Cha Chas at the Fais Do Do. I am setting up early for the Flatlanders. Bernie found me and we waited for the band to commence. The Flatlanders are Joe Ely, Butch Hancock, and Jimmie Dale Gilmore. Each of the three singers/songwriters is legendary in the Alt-Country genre. Fantastic songs and playing. I am torn now as I have to leave the Flatlanders to catch a little of Tom Jones.
At 83 years of age, Tom sure can still sing well. I can now say I have heard ‘Delilah’ sung live and, as a bonus, he also sang Leonard Cohen’s ‘Tower of Song’.
Pat dropped us off at the nearby Blue Oak BBQ where we met up with Hoff and Bernie. It took about half an hour to line up to order the food as the restaurant is packed with hungry festival people. The food did not take long to be delivered to our table. Cara ordered a family meal for the four of us to share (Wendy, Cara, Taylah, and me). We have no way of eating the amount of food that was delivered to our table! I hear the distinctive Aussie accent on the table next to us. Very interesting guy who is from Freemantle but has lived in Santiago for the last 20 years where he owns and operates an Airbnb
BBQ at the Blue Oak
All in all, another memorable Jazz Fest.