Well, Summer weather is here is Southwest Florida! Ushered in with much vigor by TS Andrea this week, dumping 6 inches of rain on us over several days. Our landscaping work is now in full swing and we’ll be soaking wet until November.
I am also in the process of setting up a video show on the “Bill Madison Channel” on Spreecast.com called “A Song For You” where I will broadcast a song now and then and hopefully have some guest artists on as well. I’ll post the link when ready. Spreecast is pretty interesting with varied discussions and, though fairly new, promises to be a great platform for interaction, networking and creativity!
Don’t forget to order your copy of “Pass On The Love”! I know CD’s are passe, but, if your like me, you’ll like the “hard copy”. Just $10 at my web site:
Now, let’s go back to the Summer of 1966 and Road Trip Part 12!
It was and is still amazing to me the power Jan had over the femininity that always surrounded him. He would waft his long scarf in their faces, tell them how beautiful they were, speak poems off the top of his head especially for them. I was thinking about him and Café Innisfree as the bus pulled into the terminal in Montreal. I had returned to Providence at my mother’s request, tied up a few loose ends and now I was returning to Montreal once again. I was anxious to return to Café Prague and pick up where I left off. Mid summer in Montreal that year was truly amazing. It was easy to pretend that I was in Paris – the little market like shoppes everywhere selling flowers everywhere filled the city with a wonderful fragrance. The late afternoon was sunny and warm as I headed for Rue de St. Catherine and the Café Prague – guitar and duffle bag in hand. As I approached the Café, I heard someone playing the Petula Clark song “Downtown” as an instrumental on the guitar. Remarkable finger picking, I thought. As I entered I saw this fellow with red hair sitting on the stage playing “Downtown”. There were a dozen or so people sitting in the audience totally engrossed in his playing. When he had finished, the applause sounded more like a hundred people, which went on and on, until he stood up from the stool and began to pass the basket – where people would place their donations for the artist performing.
Café Prague was a “basket house” – music would be going on beginning around lunch time and ending in the late evening/early morning with a parade of musicians climbing on stage – doing their thing – and then passing the basket for whatever money the audience was willing to donate. If you were persistent and could get a spot on stage often enough, you could earn around $15 to $20 dollars a day. Mostly it turned out to be more like $10. The Café made money selling coffee and exotic non-alcoholic beverages and sandwiches. Herman, the owner, was a gregarious fellow with a wonderful sense of humor. He spoke with a thick European accent and moved around the place quickly and efficiently selling his food and drink. He loved the music and seriously wanted to help all the itinerant musicians who frequented his stage – often giving free food and drink in addition to providing a platform to perform and make a little money. I loved the place! The stained glass windows, brick walls, dark wood, candlelight and the smell of fresh coffee created a wonderful ambiance.