Starting work on a new album I will be calling “Rogues”! It’s pretty much about rogues… I’ll keep you posted. In the meantime, I’d like to share some of what I hope will be interesting and enjoyable entries.
First up, is from my friend Merle Burke – the “Bard Of Bartlett” – that’s Bartlett, New Hampshire! He has a very interesting site called “An Old Man’s Tales and Musings” Stories and tales of New England from an Old Yankee’s point of view. I would like to share “Skunk Ladies and Speak – Easies” – posted by Wilfred Poole!
Prohibition dint slow down tha consumption of alcoholic beverages much in our town. It actually speeded it up — so much so, in fact, that one time a few church ladies decided that they had to do somethin’ about it.
Just so happened that one of them ladies had quite a way with skunks. She could get them to walk right up to her and follow her right into her house if she wanted to and, they wouldn’t even spray on her.
Well, one night, she charmed about 20 of those smelly critters of all shapes and sizes right into her back yard. Then, she and several other church ladies marched them right down to that old gin-mill, opened tha door and turned them loose on about 50 people. Seems that place and tha people in it and tha entire town was so smelled up that it took weeks for things to to get back to normal.
That skunk parade ended tha ‘speak-easies’ in our town for good. And, from that point on, for that operation, tha ladies in tha church auxiliary was affectionately known as tha ‘Skunk Ladies!’
Copyright© 2013 By Burke Enterprises. All Rights Reserved.
Next is from my old friend and musician, Jim Remington. He and I toured together in the late 60’s and became recently re-connected. We plan on doing some musical collaborations in the near future. He is also a great writer and story-teller as you will see in the following story about one of his visits to Ireland!
Mostly Short, Mostly True, Stories From Ireland.
By Jim Remington
If you spend some time traveling in Ireland you soon learn the concept of “soft rain”. Almost a mist but still wet enough to qualify as rain, the frequency allows you to get used to it and kind of enjoy it. It seems to fit in with the countryside and the feel of the land. In fact, it is what brings the “emerald” to Ireland. Great for photography and rainbows! However, less frequently, that “soft rain” turns into a real lashing, a total downpour, and almost any endeavor becomes impossible. I found myself in East Clare one afternoon in such a rain. We call it a “gully washer” out west here. I was headed to Tulla, an area steeped in traditional music, home of Paddy Canny, P.J. Hayes, Martin Rochford , Joe Bane and other well – known players of that time. The rain was so fierce that it was hard to see where the road was headed – never mind which side I was driving on. There was no chance to enjoy the scenery as it was impossible to see any distance. I had to stop driving and get off the road. Before I got to Tulla I passed a small cross-roads pub tucked back a bit from the road and felt this would be a nice respite from the weather. I thought a pint and some conversation were in order.
Except for the pub sign out front this could have been a country home. Maybe it was at one time. I opened the door and immediately the smell and warmth of the turf fire invited me in. This was the place for me to take a break from the weather. Three lads were seated in front of the fire playing that wonderful laid back but rhythmic East Clare music. Fiddle, flute and concertina-reels and jigs. What a perfectly complete and lovely sound. I thought about going to the car and getting my fiddle but a moment of listening changed my mind. Even the sweet sound of the lark would have been an intrusion on their playing. These fellows had obviously been playing together for years. No words were spoken, just tune after tune.
There was nobody else in the pub but the owner and the players. I sat at the bar, ordered a pint, and relaxed into a perfect setting to spend the afternoon. The rain continued to batter the roof and windows but that was outside. I was in no hurry to go out there and head to Tulla. I had all I needed right here. I finished a pint (maybe two) and thought a sip of the dew, a taste of the craythur , was needed. I asked the bar keep what his best whiskey was and he immediately replied “The Redbreast is what you would want”. I had never heard of Redbreast but you can’t refuse such a definitive recommendation. I ordered a glass for myself and one for each of the players. The bartender himself didn’t drink. The first sip of the Redbreast was heavenly! The angels sang, the harps played and my taste buds rejoiced. This was something special. Exceptional. The players complimented me on my wonderful choice of beverage and thanked me with a set of tunes in my honor. And I’m sure in the whiskey’s honor also. The music seemed to reach a higher level. Maybe it was more of the up-tempo reels, maybe the whiskey, but the music really took off. Several locals came in to get out of the weather and with their encouragement the music lifted once again. I would die to have a recording of that afternoon, but a recorder was out of place and time. This was how it used to be, only better, as they say.
As the afternoon changed into evening it was time to go. I bid my thanks and farewell. The rain had stopped and as I headed towards Tulla, a rainbow appeared over the hilltop town. What a wonderful exclamation mark to my afternoon! I still hold that afternoon as very special and dear. And whenever a drop of Redbreast crosses my lips and warms my palette (which happens on occasion) I think of that afternoon: the pub, the music, the company and the drink. Perfection!
I met Tyrone Shoelace and his pals on Reverbnation! They fanned me! This is a really funny video they made called “Corduroy Kingston”!! I Mean Funny!!
I would like to play for you my friend Doug Dickens recording of his beautiful song “Reflections On Pinewoods Lake” Sooo nice!
My friends “Interactive Murcia” from Spain just released this great new song called “Inspirational”! Great guitar playing on this!
Well, that’s it for now…hope you enjoyed this post and I will do more of the same as we go. Coming up, as soon as it’s written, will be more of “Road Trip”!!! Certainly looking forward to that. Have a great week! Don’t forget, I’m on Street Jelly every Friday afternoon at 4:30 PM EST for “Bill’s Happy Hour!” We have a great time over there on Street Jelly!
Have a good one! Bill