old time music, new and vintage, with early Red Clay Ramblers favorites

Delaware - Pennsylvania Weekend
Page 2 (back to Page 1)

April 10, 2015
Brandywine Friends of Old Time Music
Unitarian Fellowship Hall
Newark DE

April 11, 2015
Front Hall House Concert
Bryn Athyn PA
(near the Pennypack Creek)

April 12, 2015
Susquehanna Folk Music Society
Abbey Bar
Harrrisburg PA

Front Hall House Concert
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UP 'N BACK (continued)
by Bill Hicks

Continued from page 1...

HoneyCocaine_bill.jpg (84210 bytes)We all just hung out in the morning, which means these days checking your messages. I let Libby know we'd made it to Saturday. After a while it got to be lunch time, and Rafe directed us to one of the things cities just have over the countryside--interesting restaurants. We went to a Korean place named "More Food." It's a really wonderful place, as big as a supermarket, with pictures of a huge number of dishes on the walls and organized according to inscrutable Korean principles (one area was called "Ming," another "Fuze," and then there were two or three in phonetic Korean). You ordered by number and paid a cashier, then waited for your number to appear in lights over a window centered in an array of pictures of dishes. The service was fast, and we were hungry. The food was fantastic too. What a delight. The place was probably ten minutes from Rafe's house. Can't beat that. There's nothing within an hour of my hobbit hole that comes close. After we finished up and bussed our dishes we went downstairs and looked at the shops of various mostly Asian packaged foods and fresh fruits and vegetables. There was a poster still up from an event that had happened the week before, a Korean hip hop festival apparently:

When we got back to the house Rafe looked up Honey Cocaine on the google. That's her in the center circle. She's got a fine resume, and people will pay $50 to "meet and greet." Not bad. I hope she rides the great swell of stardom a long time, and never gets a splash. We took long naps after we got back, then it was time to go to our gig, just a few towns over through the endless suburban streets. We went through Jenkintown both ways. It was a house concert, with very nice appointments. The stage looked like this:Asplundtstage_bill.jpg (30451 bytes)

It was a small room with great acoustics and we played around one mic, with Mr. Craver having his own Shure 58 workhorse over by his keys. Again, great audience, fun night. As we were so well rested and fed, we seemed to over all play better, although I managed to stomp all over Craver's break in "Play 'Rocky Top.'" I've always liked a meta song; we did this one back in the day, when we were in the band we were in in the '70s. It sort of drifted away, although I worked on reviving it when I was writing a lot of songs and going out and doing solo songwriter shows, about fifteen years ago. Last summer the band revived it, with a new arrangement, and it's gotten rather snappy. Here's what it sounded like during one of it's first revival moments, but it's tighter and better now: Craver Hicks Watson Newberry "Play 'Rocky Top'"

After we licked up the bits of cheese and bread left by the audience, and packed up the instruments, we made the late night way back through Jenkintown to Rafe's. I told him it made me some nervous to play a Tommy Jarrell tune in front of someone who'd studied Tommy more intensely than I had. We laughed, and Rafe reminded me of something about Jarrell's "Sally Ann" (which we tend to close the show with) which I'd pretty much forgotten. There once was a low 4th part! At the moment I just agreed, thinking that what I play these days, namely the first or high part played an octave lower, was more or less what he was referring to. But in the middle of the past week, as I sat at my station at the truck scale during a hitch of emptiness between customers, I recalled exactly that low part, a quite different thing, how it goes, how at the end of it there's even a kind of pause, before the whole symphony restarts at the top. I don't know why I've dropped that out. I expect there was a reason, partly that I've given up long ago playing in cross-tuning with the G string tuned up to A for tunes in the key of D--Tommy Jarrell's way of playing such tunes. Having that open string low note makes that low part, which is little more than a scale, very easy to play at speed. And then there's that hitch at the end. Whatever, Rafe was right. There's a missing part in my "rendition." Good thing I don't claim to be reproducing the Jarrell repertoire, just playing tunes I "got" from him long ago.

When we got back to Rafe's it was mighty easy to hit the hay, and the boys couldn't even tempt me with a short glass of Jamison's. Soon it was Sunday morning. Absolutely divine fresh bagels and perfect feather-thin Nova Lox arrived. My gawd, the city life! Then we were on the PA Turnpike to Harrisburg and our last gig, at the Abbey Pub and Restaurant.

Harrisburg's a lot like Durham, but without jobs. Here's what the street looked like on a bright Sunday afternoon:nyrees_bill.jpg (66069 bytes)

The pub itself is a block further, out of view. The stage is on the second floor, but there was a lift and we got our gear up there without much groaning. The sound engineer, a guy named Chili, was very good although used to doing bands with plugged in instruments. He had some trepidation about all our open mics, and the risks of unexpected whistles mid-song. We had plenty of time to get the sound system wrung out, and he and I even sat at the bar and watched some of the Masters' final round and talked about the scrap metal world a bit. "I do some scrapping when it's tight," he said. The audience drifted in, and eventually filled up the space very well, and there were several old friends I hadn't seen in a long time, from the Augusta teaching days.

I thought our sets in Harrisburg were the best we did, and we nailed Play Rocky--I remembered to shut up and let Mike take the chorus break like we have planned it, before jumping in on the last verse. To top off the whole evening, we had a great meal down below at the pub's restaurant, and drove out to the edge of town with the Susquehanna Folk Society's President and spent the night in her beautiful expanded log cabin, which was a lot like here in my log place. Then it was Monday morning and off to North Carolina.

The trip up, with it's several hour traffic jam, made choosing I-81 an easy decision. Then Jim topped the plan by discovering to the rest of us his secret passageway over to Rt. 29, across Afton mountain, a mere 15 or so miles (just enough) of beautiful mountain roads and switchbacks, then back onto the 4 lanes of 29, as usual not heavily traveled, and we whizzed down through Lynchburg and the Falwell Empire, and Concrete World, and on to Danville and NC 86, and were home to Jim's by about 5, and I got on out here by 6 or so, after hosing off the incredible layer of pollen on the Toyota, Jim living in the midst of huge pine trees that apparently spent our weekend away in utter sexual frenzy.

I can't say I really want to go back to life on the road. It was great to get home, and I enjoyed work this past week a little more than usual. But as a once-in-a-while thing, our modest tours are pretty great. The food alone, this trip, was worth the effort. We also met some really great folks, and discovered we still have an audience out there.

More Bill Hicks: "Ramblings of a Fiddler"


Set List 1
Rockingham Cindy
Man From Tennessee
I'm Getting Ready To Go
Aragon Mill
Tying 10 Knots in the Devil's Tail
Texas Gals
Missouri Borderland
My Old Cottage Home
How Does A Glass Eye Work
Piney Mountains
Miller's Reel
Beale Street Blues
You've Been A Friend To Me
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Set List 2
Hobo's Last Letter
Kiss Me Quick
Uncle Charlie's Revenge
Give Me The Roses
Rabbit in the Pea Patch
Casey Jones
Play "Rocky Top"
Uncloudy Day
What Does the Lonesome Dove Say
Ship in the Clouds/Red Fox
Merchants Lunch
Long Time Traveling
Sally Ann
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 More recent concert pics
Thanks again to Kathleen Tannian Sheehan for the pics of the show as well as the three videos.

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April 20, 2015