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I ask the Lord, please forgive me for the stuff I done trying to make a nickel - Pinetop Perkins

Author Topic: Port Townsend Post-soak/Decompression  (Read 14477 times)

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Offline Slack

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Port Townsend Post-soak/Decompression
« on: August 04, 2003, 01:41:24 PM »
Greetings All,

Just a quick note to start the topic in case anyone wants a place to post.

What a grand time!  I keep thinking the workshop cannot get any better - year after year!  Superb faculty (in increasing numbers), great classes, great afternoon and evening workshops and entertainment - the particpants concert was even a standout - (relatively speaking  ;) ). Great work Bruce, Although I'm sure there was a hitch or two - I did not hear of any - very smoothly run and great flexability shown in handling the Armstrong tributes.

The Weenie house was great this year - what a hang out! - the wit, bullshit, laughs, jokes, smart-ass comments, dumb-ass comments, food, coordination, alcohol consumption, cooperation, morning walks to town and just plain good company were.... simply superb.  Really great that Johnm, Ari, David Evans, Lightnen' (Mr. Party in-a-box!) and other faculty dropped in often and stayed late!

Thanks all for the *fantastic* time!

OK, back to staring at the wall and other attempts at work - this reality stuff is brutal today.

cheers,
slack
« Last Edit: August 04, 2003, 02:00:52 PM by Slack »

Offline kid reno

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Re:Port Townsend Post-soak/Decompression
« Reply #1 on: August 05, 2003, 07:54:26 AM »
Hi Guys,
I want to thank all the weenies for making my return to Pt. Townsend great.  I too really enjoyed the faculty that hung out at the weenie house and felt that we had concerts every night.  Great food, drink, but mostly the company.  
I came home sleep deprived, overweight, and with very sore fingers.  I must haave had a great time.  A special thanks to my roomy Front Page for letting me share his space.
On the flip flop,

Heric
 

Online Johnm

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Re:Port Townsend Post-soak/Decompression
« Reply #2 on: August 05, 2003, 03:12:33 PM »
Hi all,
I'd just like to extend my thanks for all the hospitality the Weenies showed everyone who came by their primary domicile (whether on staff at P.T. or not).  For old-timers like me who know how bad the food service can be, it is a great improvement over the past to be able to have delicious dinners in good company, but for newcomers like David Evans, Paul and Judy Luis Watson, and others, I'm sure it made a special difference to be able to walk into such a welcoming situation.
Music and teaching were really fun for me at camp this year (though I didn't have a tremendous amount of energy for heading up to 204 in the evening).  Having Lightning, Ari , and John Dee back made things a lot of fun and just juiced up the general level of musical energy.  There really was too much for me to take in, but that's okay, such abundance means there is "something for everyone".  It is great to see how quickly people are picking up things in classes now.
Apart from the music and teaching, though, it was tremendous fun, as John D. said, good and bad quips, we may remember the best and some of the lame ones, too ("Lock and load!).  And the walks kept my energy up all week.  A great time.
All Best,
John      

Offline Bill Roggensack

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Re:Port Townsend Post-soak/Decompression
« Reply #3 on: August 05, 2003, 11:28:34 PM »
Well - it was another great year at PTCBW. Kudos to Bruce Reid and his able right-hand gals, the ubiquitous JoanG and the lovely BonitaZ. Also, thanks to JohnM, PeterM and all the others who helped Bruce put the program together. I wish I could do it all over again in about a month so I could sit in on all the other classes that held interest for me - Stgeve and Del's classes on guitar duet playing, Ari's Blind Blake sessions, Lightnin's ramble through the obscure and divine, and maybe even some of the blues singing classes (God knows I could use the help, if for no other reason to crack the secret of learning lyrics!). I arrived home pretty tired, but that will pass. Unlike some of my more sensible 'aging' colleagues, I refused to succumb to the urge to be in bed before midnight. I have Jed to thank for sending Heric to room with me - I'll blame all my late night indiscretions on him and Lightinin'. It was a treat to have Kid Reno in attendance, and despite a bit of friendly bickering between us homies, I think we got on at least as well as the 'Odd Couple'. That's my story and I'm sticking to it!

First - the classes. I pretty much stuck to Rich Del Grosso's mandolin classes in the morning and John Miller's late afternoon recap, and floated around in the after-lunch time slot. I caught David Evans on Tommy Johnson one day, and made jambalaya on another. Rich did a superb job with his choice of material, hand-outs, and excellent teaching technique. I was ready to absorb at exactly the level he hit, and four classes has given me a wealth of new mando material to build on. As usual, John Miller's classes were a treat - some very cool songs, and in particular, my personal thanks for covering athe Robert Belfour material. I've had a chance to listen to his new album, and I agree with your assessment that "What's Wrong With You" is a much stronger outing. I clearly have my work cut out to master all (or at least some) of the materilal I've collected on MD.

Then - the concerts. I thoroughly enjoyed the Ari/John concert on Tuesday evening, and I got the whole thing (minus the final tune) on MD with a recording that sounds pretty good. There was some truly beautiful playing that night, and Ari's dry humour was icing on the cake. I also enjoyed the Participant's Concert - there were actually some pretty decent  performances (especially 10 year old Jonah doing Skip James - watch out David Jacob-Strain!). A trip to the Public House on Friday night allowed DougT and me to catch two sets of the Yes Yes Boys - I particularly enjoyed the clarinet/sax work of Craig Flory.

Next - the 'events'. It was great to get together with everyone, and to once again have the opportunity to stay on Officer's Row - deep thanks to BruceR and JedP for making this happen. There were some truly great meals whipped up at Weenie Central, and I was really pleased to see so many faculty members taking advantage of this 'service'. Everyone pitched in with the prep and clean-up, so mmany hands made light work. Where else could you score 'all you can eat' BBQ salmon and halibut, gourmet hamburgers, jambalaya, grilled pork chops, corn bread, collard greens, and Greek salad all on the same menu. PeterM and JoanG - thanks for all the fresh produce, especially that mutant onion! David Evans, Ari and Andy Cohen became kitchen regulars - frequently entertaining us with their renderings at all hours of the day, including breakfast. Some of the story telling around that table brought tears to my eyes. JohnM - I've already gotten pretty good mileage out of your 'Hindenburg maneouver' story! Another highlight was Lauren and Ed's cocktail party - a real success with a professional bar tender and all. But the highlight for me was the entertainment - first, a Mexican band, then Lightnin' Wells with his ukelele repertoire. My next favoirite event was the Weenie chorus lending authenticity to Lightnin's verson of 'Cecelia' (not the Paul Simon tune). And I will finish up my list with Lightnin' and PeterM leading the pack into a couple hours of hillbilly and Louvin Brothers tunes - albeit at 2 in the morning!

Finally - the regrets. I wish I had slept more. I wish I had drunk and eaten less. And I wish I wasn't such a lousy liar!

In closing, I think that word of Howard Armstrong's death took a bit of the shine off the week since so many of the faculty and students knew and loved Howard. He will always stand as an example to me of how one can live life to the fullest. If there was ever a self-actualized man, it was William Howard Taft Armstrong. The CENTRUM memorial service on Friday afternoon was both fitting and touching. FYI, PBS is running 'Sweet Old Song' in encore on August 12, 2003 at 10 PM EST (check local listings). This film premiered on July 30, 2002 and is well worth watching. Here's a link to Howard's obit in the New York Times:

http://www.nytimes.com/2003/08/02/obituaries/02ARMS.html

All for now,
FrontPage

Cheers,
FrontPage

Offline frankie

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Re:Port Townsend Post-soak/Decompression
« Reply #4 on: August 07, 2003, 03:44:37 PM »
I had a good time at Clifftop this year, but missed you guys sorely.  Strangely enough, I did manage to get something of a Country Blues fix while I was there:  I ran into Nate Layne, who can sing eerily like Clarence Ashley and knows tons of Mississippi Sheiks and Papa Charlie Jackson songs.  I also met a guy named Todd Cambio, who happens to build amazing replicas of Stella 12 strings under the name Fraulini.  I talked PT up to him - maybe he'll make it out there...  

He had one 12 out there with him - a Francesca model (jumbo body).  Poor guy was walking it around the camp looking for somebody who was interested in that kind of thing.  All the old-time guys kept giving it the hairy eyeball - then he stumbled across me.  I can't play any Leadbelly or Blind Willie McTell to speak of, but it sure was fun to play (and, to my credit, I recognized exactly what it was as soon as I clapped eyes on it!).  He's a player too - with a nice touch and a really nice guy.

Anyway, I'm gonna see Ari over the weekend, so I'll try and get as many good stories out of him as I can!

Offline Bill Roggensack

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Re:Clifftop (was --> PTCBW Decompression)
« Reply #5 on: August 07, 2003, 03:52:15 PM »
Frank:

Tell us more about Clifftop. There was a rumour going around the PTCBW could be moved back to late June in 2005. It is being held a week later in 2004, starting the first week of August.

Will that make it easier for you to return to Port Townsend? Maybe as faculty? Hint, hint .....

Cheers,
FrontPage
Cheers,
FrontPage

Offline frankie

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Re:Port Townsend Post-soak/Decompression
« Reply #6 on: August 07, 2003, 04:16:08 PM »
Well, I guess I spent most of my time chasing my kids around the camp...  Still, there was a lot of amazing music to hear, even if I didn't get to play as much as I would have liked (which is a lot more than I could have realistically expected, admittedly).  I entered the banjo competition for the first time and while I didn't place, I did get lots of support from people who are kind of my heroes:  Walt Koken, Marvin Gaster, Pete Peterson.  I played a banjo version of Muddy Waters "I Be's Troubled".  It was fun, but I'm sure that I disqualified myself because it's not a traditional tune.  You can hear an early version of it here:

http://www.donegone.net/sounds/i_cant_be_satisfied.mp3

I think I play it a bit better now, but it should give you an idea.

As for PTCBW next year, I'm thinking that we'll forego Clifftop next year and make PT the big vacation.  I'm not sure if we'll bring the kids, but I'd love for Kim to go - her fiddling is really starting to take shape.  It'd be nice if Suzy Thompson was there again (hint, hint, hint!).

Anyway - gotta go get the chillens in bed!

Offline frankie

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Re:Port Townsend Post-soak/Decompression
« Reply #7 on: August 07, 2003, 04:20:40 PM »
Plus - enough about Clifftop...  I wanna hear more about PT!

Offline Slack

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Re:Port Townsend Post-soak/Decompression
« Reply #8 on: August 08, 2003, 10:47:16 AM »
Hey Frank, good to hear from you!

The blues banjo sounds great, I would have voted for you! ;)

PT was packed with activities and has been the last few years, which I think is great but has the disadvantage of limiting playing together.  I was getting up at 7:15am and going to bed around 1:30am (although one night I had to retire at 12:30 in order to recover from staying up till 3:30 the night before).... and I regret missing those 6 hours each day!  We were supposed to have a Weenie SC meeting on Monday at 11, the dead day,  couldn't get to it!

I enjoyed Andy Cohen, a varied Repertoire - a vaudvillian (if that is a word) songster, effusive, high energy and very funny.  Brought a 50's Epiphone hybrid (archtop guitar with a flat top!).. that he liked a lot.  

I enjoyed David Evans.  He had no one show up in is first class, but by Wed. had 25-30 in his afternoon workshop.  He gave informal scholarly talks and he is a great player.  Played a very modern looking Dobro reso, which was really a contrast to the old , very country style of playing.... but lots of variation in his playing and the clanging Dobro reso suited his style perfectly - he was great!  

I enjoyed Lightin' Wells, (party in a box!) - great last minute addition. His NC drawl, evil grin and wicked laugh were infectious.  Superb Uke playing of some great old and funny songs, (he plays everything as far as I can tell) = one great time.   There were several others that were itching to play during Lauren's happy hour - the Uke ruled!

I really enjoyed JohnM's and Ari's intmate evening concert.  Swapping songs in very relaxed fashion -- JohnM's arrangements and originals contrasted with Ari's perfectly executed classics made for a great evening.    I tell ya, there are a lot of quick, dry wits and smart-a's at PT - but I think I'm safe to say that no one can hold a candle to the lightening quick wit of Ari on or off the stage!  The deftness with which he flushed a drunken harp player - was a thing to behold.  

.... more later.  I've got a few photos to post (who has time to take photos!), which I'll do this weekend. Will also try to figure out how to do a different background in the photo gallery (no guarantees) as it is tough to read..

cheers,
slack

Offline Slack

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Re:Port Townsend Post-soak/Decompression
« Reply #9 on: August 08, 2003, 12:00:41 PM »
...also.  Encourage Ted to do PT, he would find much enthusiasm for his Stella 12 Strings.  Steve James was gushing about his Ralph Brown stella 12- string - I did not see it or here it up close, but they are supposed to be top rate.  http://www.hlmusic.com/ralphBowngtrs.htm

cheers,

Offline uncle bud

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Re:Port Townsend Post-soak/Decompression
« Reply #10 on: August 08, 2003, 12:36:00 PM »
Hi All (Hiya Frank!),

As others have eloquently stated, it was another great year. It just seems to keep getting better, much to our collective astonishment. Bruce Reid did a great job taking it up yet another notch and I presume is still getting some well deserved rest in California (where you will soon all be forced to speak in Austrian accents). Wife Bonnie and right hand gal Joan Greene were also superb and deserve kudos.

If I can be presumptuous I would say the Weenies did a good job as well, from feeding many faculty at the main house over the week, to the blues buddies program, helping out Andy Cohen with Honeyboy Edwards, making sure John Dee Holeman was getting any rides or help he needed, shuttling faculty like Robert Lowery to and from the Fort, into town, around the grounds during the workshop, even providing instruments to performers for the festival (LWood's tricone for Lowery, Repp's 12-string for Ari to play a Leadbelly tune). There were also numerous miscellaneous errands for Centrum and even medical attention from our favorite mando-plucking plastic surgeon for a kid who walked into a tree. I'm sure I'm forgetting more.

I didn't get to do as much playing as I'd have liked because of my ongoing battle with tendinitis but with careful pacing, ice, and Advil, I was able to play through the whole week in all the classes I attended without difficulty. Resting the hand forced me to miss some of John Miller's late repeat classes and I regret that, though was thrilled with his songster class on Joe Callicott, Stack O' Lee, and Robert Wilkins. Calicott's version of Frankie and Albert was one of the highlight's of the week for me. Thank you John.

I did classes with John, Ari, David Evans and Lightnin' Wells. Would have liked to have checked out Steve James and Del Rey's duet class and checked out Robert Lowery. He's a character, quite funny, and always looking for someone who's playing music.

It was great to meet John Heric, another very fine Weenie and a talker and wit to give FrontPage a run for his money. John, I didn't get to see you off when you dashed out on Friday but now that you're living in the area I trust we'll see you next year.

The concerts at the festival were very strong. Cephas and Wiggins were better than I've ever heard them. Phil in particular was blowing the shit out of his harp. Maybe daughter Martha's presence cranked things up.  :)  Robert Lowery, Ari, Del and Steve, John Miller, Andy Cohen and more put on very strong sets. It was fun to meet Andy, who competes with Lightnin' Wells in the party-in-a-box category, though I think Lightnin' has more tunes and a better accent.  ;)  The only downers at the concert were Honeyboy, who was dropping beats, bars and everything else all over the place and is IMO just too old to play in a group or duet setting. I think he could pull off a solo set where no one had to follow him. The audience was nevertheless very sympathetic and could have been ugly.

The other downer was the gospel set. Unlike the years I've been attending PTCBW, the workshop's gospel choir did not perform at the festival but was given an 11:00 am slot at the chapel. I imagine a lot of people missed seeing them because of that. Cora Jackson brought in her regular singers and rhythm section instesd for the festival slot. Frankly, they weren't very good, certainly nowhere near good enough to bump the choir. The style of gospel was far to pop for me -- at one point I turned to Slack and said aside from the religious lyrics, this could be a Lionel Ritchie tune. Thumbs down. It seemed many agreed with me as I watched people stream out of the hangar during that set, which normally garners standing ovations.

So, thanks to all weenies for a great time, and lastly kudos to Jed for the housing arrangements which seem to get more complicated each year, even without computer crashes.

Andrew

Offline uncle bud

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Re:Port Townsend Post-soak/Decompression
« Reply #11 on: August 08, 2003, 12:41:17 PM »
Another highlight:

John Miller: "Look! I'm at a bluegrass festival!" (falls like a drunk to the floor).

hehehe

Offline Rivers

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Re:Port Townsend Post-soak/Decompression
« Reply #12 on: August 08, 2003, 05:38:19 PM »
Sounds wonderful, thanks for all the reviews. Reno Kid you made it there this year eh? Like the new handle, sorry I missed you.

Congrats to all, I hope it made some bucks and will keep going so I can have a shot next year. I'm playing pretty good these days but the Port T Contry Blues (& latterly BBQ) workshops gave me a shot I can't get anywhere else.

Tell me did Andy Cohen bring his dulceola and regale you with Washington Phillips tunes?

Offline frankie

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Re:Port Townsend Post-soak/Decompression
« Reply #13 on: August 08, 2003, 06:37:30 PM »
...also.  Encourage Todd to do PT, he would find much enthusiasm for his Stella 12 Strings.

That's basically what I was telling him. Clifftop is cool, but not exactly the right setting for a Stella 12 string tuned down to C...

Here's a couple of pictures that he sent me of guitars in the works.  A jumbo Stella 12:



and a small body 12 (think Barbecue Bob):



He's also thinking about making a jumbo bodied six string.
« Last Edit: August 08, 2003, 06:39:29 PM by frankie »

Offline Slack

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Re:Port Townsend Post-soak/Decompression
« Reply #14 on: August 08, 2003, 08:16:06 PM »
Quote
That's basically what I was telling him. Clifftop is cool, but not exactly the right setting for a Stella 12 string tuned down to C...

Yep, an odd duck in the land of Dreadnaught.  

Cool looking guitars, really like the looks of his small body.(I've got the specs on a Stella 12 - and one day I shall build one. )

Probably the most interesting guitar at PT was Heric's Mauer - wow, very upscale appointments, 00 size and a very distinctive sound - great clarity/separation and it has miles of sustain.

Quote
Tell me did Andy Cohen bring his dulceola and regale you with Washington Phillips tunes?

Hey Rivers,

Andy played his dulceola at the introductory session only (or the only time that I was aware of) - "What are they doing in Heaven today?" and had the crowd join in, really a very moving thing to do, it was great.  As a result of some column written about WP and the dulceola (I've forgotten the blues writers name), he found out that his keyboard dulceola is not what Washington Phillips played  - as you cannot hear the keyboard action/hammer pounds on WP's recordings - which would be apparent if he were playing a keyboard instrument.  So the WP dulceola is still a mystery.  Andy announced he was selling a CD called "Dulceola Favorites" -- and I thought he was joking! (it sounded like good parody to me!?)... ah well, you learn something every day.

JohnM also had a religious songs day and taught "What are they Doing in Heaven Today", very cool, capoed high at the 6th fret makes a guitar sounds very dulceola like.  Great tune.

cheers,
« Last Edit: August 08, 2003, 08:21:50 PM by Slack »

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