Wednesday, March 2, 2011
“That was the sing-along……..”
Well, here it is, April 2, and you thought I forgot, didn’t you! You thought I forgot all about my 12 shows in 12 months, because there’s been no March concert review.
Well, fear not. By the skin of my teeth, I made it to the ol’ Aladdin Theater last Monday, March 30.
This performer has always been a mysterious character, and this show certainly held true to that. On stage, a small bentwood chair was flanked by antique occasional tables, each with a lamp. The kind of lamps you would see in an old Victorian home, or at least in a thrift store. Next to the chair, was a small plastic wastepaper basket. There was a piano draped in sheets off to the side. Over the PA, a barely audible old-time jazz tune was playing – it sounds like a scratchy 78 rpm.
This can only mean one thing.
It must be time for a Leon Redbone concert.
The roadies come out and turn on both lamps. The house lights dim, and a shadowy yet familiar figure emerges – Panama Hat, walking stick, dark shades. He looks just like every picture I’ve ever seen of him. Always a character, Leon’s show is a mix of deadpan humor, vaudeville, and greatly understated ragtime-blues style guitar. The guitar style matches his gravelly, hushed voice. It wasn’t uncommon for him to sing a verse, and then hum and whistle along to the next verse.
This was possibly one of the quietest shows I’ve ever been to. Luckily, we were in the 3rd row. Leon seemed to be keeping time with both feet. Before the 3rd song, he suddenly asked if there was a brick in the house! A roadie eventually provided him with one – and Leon used it so he could prop his right foot up. (Classical guitar players will do this too, when they sit down to play.)
Leon Redbone tuned his guitar a lot. Since he was accompanied by a piano, he kept tuning his guitar directly to that instrument. Sometimes he would hit the neck of his guitar with his hand, as to “make” the guitar go into the right key.
He referred to his crumpled up set list that he pulled out of his suit coat as a “unique list of artifacts” mainly old-time swing, jazz and blues songs, and usually announced, after the song was finished, that song, of course, was the “sing along.” Mixed in with his set list, were old photographs that he gladly shared with us. One photo was of a long-forgotten jazz recording pioneer, the other photo, was of course, Don Ho and Barbara Eden, on a beach in Hawaii. Go figure!
But perhaps the best piece of advice from this iconic performer:
“DON’T WAIT TOO LONG IN LIFE”
1) Big Chief Buffalo Nickel?
(not sure on this one)
2) She’s My Gal
3) Another Story, Another Time,
4) Sweet Sue, Just You
6) Her love belongs to me??
7) “Vienna” (whistled to an old recording
of zither music)??
8) Please don’t talk about me when I’m gone
9) After Tonight (solo piano)
10) I Ain’t Got Nobody
11) Step it Up and Go
12) My Blue Heaven
13) Ain’t Misbehavin
14) Shine On Harvest Moon
15) Encore 1 – Oh Susannah, Dust Off
That Old Piano
16) Encore 2 - If We Never Meet Again this
Side of Heaven
p.s. – the only Leon Redbone album I own is “Christmas Island.” So I’m not sure of the titles on #1, #6, and #7. See you at the next show!
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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"
Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge