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Ordinary Man

One of my favorite Christy Moore songs (written by Peter Hames), which seems particularly timely these days, I’m sad to say.

I’m an ordinary man, nothin’ special, nothin’ grand,
I’ve had to work for everything I own.
Well I never asked for a lot, I was happy with what I got,
Enough to keep my family and my home.
Now they say that times are hard, and they’ve handed me my cards,
They say there’s not the work to go around.
When the whistle blows the gates will finally close,
Tonight they’re going to shut this factory down,
Then they’ll tear it down.

I never missed a day nor went on strike for better pay,
For 20 years I served them best I could.
With a handshake and a cheque it seems so easy to forget
Loyalty through the bad times and the good.
The owner says he’s sad to see that things have got so bad,
But the Captains of Industry won’t let him lose,
He drives a brand new car, and smokes a fat cigar,
And still he takes his family on a cruise.
He’ll never lose.

Now it seems to me to be such a cruel irony,
He’s richer now ever he was before.
Now my cheque is spent and I can’t afford the rent,
There’s one law for the rich, one for the poor.
Every day I’ve tried to salvage some of my pride
To find some work so’s I might pay my way.
But everywhere I go, the answer is always no,
There’s no work for anyone here today.
No work today.

And so condemned I stand, just an ordinary man,
Like thousands beside me in the queue.
I watch my darlin’ wife tryin’ to make the best of life,
God knows what the kids are goin’ to do.
Now that we are faced with this human waste,
A generation cast aside.
For as long as I live, I never will forgive;
You’ve stripped me of my dignity & pride.
You’ve stripped me bare.


Happy Mardi Gras!

If you’re not in New Orleans, you are (like me, unfortunately) in the wrong place. Sigh. Maybe next year.

Me Big Chief, me feelin' good ...

Back to the Indians in a bit … in the meantime, if you don’t know them already, you need to learn the four primary Mardi Gras songs:

Professor Longhair, “Go to the Mardi Gras” (audio only)

The Hawketts, “Mardi Gras Mambo” (audio only)

Al Johnson, “Carnival Time” (audio only)

Earl King, Dr. John, Professor Longhair and The Meters (!!!) — FULL VIDEO!

Now, time for some Mardi Gras Indians:

The Wild Magnolias, “All On A Mardi Gras Day” (audio only, with slideshow)

The Wild Tchoupitoulas, “My Big Chief Got A Golden Crown” (audio only, with slideshow)

Big Chief Albert Lambreaux, Big Chief Monk Boudreaux and other Indians, singing “Indian Red” in memory of a fellow Indian taken by the Federal Flood after Hurricane Katrina, interrupted by Larry Ragusa (from HBO’s “Treme”)

A little brass band music on the streets …

Rebirth Brass Band, “Do Whatcha Wanna” (filmed in the French Quarter on April 24, 2008, the day before Jazzfest began)

Finally, my favorite band out of New Orleans these days:

Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, “One Night Only” (performance from the David Letterman Show)



Rebuild, renew! That’s what people do.

One of the highlights of our trip home for Jazzfest a couple of months ago was seeing the stage debut of the work-in-progress musical by Colman DeKay & Paul Sanchez, “Nine Lives,” based on Dan Baum’s fantastic book. The goal is to take it to Broadway, and while it’s not a fully-realized musical yet (no book or staging), it was staged for the first time on Wednesday, May 9 at Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre in the French Quarter, and it was fantastic.

Here’s a look at the finale of the show, “Rebuild Renew.”

Now go buy the CD!


A change was made uptown, and The Big Man left the band …

RIP Clarence Clemons, 1942-2011.

The Big Man and The Boss

“Clarence lived a wonderful life. He carried within him a love of people that made them love him. He created a wondrous and extended family. He loved the saxophone, loved our fans and gave everything he had every night he stepped on stage. His loss is immeasurable and we are honored and thankful to have known him and had the opportunity to stand beside him for nearly forty years. He was my great friend, my partner, and with Clarence at my side, my band and I were able to tell a story far deeper than those simply contained in our music. His life, his memory, and his love will live on in that story and in our band.” — Bruce Springsteen

I’m very sad tonight, and listening to the E Street Band.

Thank you, Clarence, for being a big part of the greatest rock ‘n roll shows I’ve ever seen in my life.


Live from Jazzfest 2011!

I’m sitting in the Gospel Tent, where Sister Naomi Washington and her group just finished — hallelujah!! I also just finished my traditional Creole’s Stuffed Bread to start my festival day, as I’ve done for nearly 25 years.


Seeing Mrs. Merlene Herbert, who makes and sells these from her Lafayette restaurant Creole’s Lunch House, is a gem of a human being — I adore her and I love her food! The lines for her stuffed bread (still the most underrated food item at Jazzfest yet one of it’s very best) should be at least as log as for the Crawfish Monica right next door. Go get one every day if you’re going to the Fair Grounds this or next weekend.

(No more strawberry lemonade for me though, sadly — they changed vendors last year and now it sucks.)

Don’t get used to me weblogging from the Fair Grounds, though! It’s seriously draining my battery. Better to follow my Twitter feed – I’ll be updating that frequently.


Happy Jazzfest!!