as the little girl in the ruby slippers once said.Â I’ve been back about a week and a halfÂ and am getting caught up on most fronts. The hike in the English woods with Hank and Harold was accomplished before the snow really set in there. Those folks are not used to the kind of cold they got recently and getting a flight out was more problematic than I expected but was managed finally. Overall it was a good tour, though I’ll have to wait till Eddie does the complete accounting to see just how good. He’s gone to his winter place in Key West to rest up and plan the next outing for the orchestra. I don’t expect to hear from him for a few weeks at best, so as a result there’s no recommended listening for this post. However I would like to again suggest that if you have not yet done so, please do visit my revamped website. In particular the mosaics page has new photos of some of my work that I think you might enjoy. The wagon featured above (The Flower Power Flyer) is just one of the things you’ll see there. My thanks again to everyone who’s been following my exploits and a promise that there will be new music to hear soon on my site so please do stay tuned, and take care. Photo by Bob Grieser
from green and pleasant (if slightly chilly) England. The engagement on New Years Eve went very well and now we’re preparing to head back home to complete this world “tour” and catch up on real life. My thanks to all those who have been following our travels and special thanks to those who made it to the shows. Hank and Harold are looking forward to a break, as is Mr. Ersatz so the timing is right. Before we’re done here though, there is another recommended listening for you folks.Â Today’s pick is “Briefly Shaking” by Anja Garbarek released in 2005 on EMI in Norway. This disc is a wonderful collection of songs with a techno blend of great sonic textures to match. My favorite track is #5 titled “Shock Activities” a real catchy number for sure but many of these are just that. Check it out I think you’ll enjoy it. Speaking of enjoyment I think the Headstock brothers and I will go check out the New Forest National Park before we leave here on Wednesday.Â A hike in the woods would do us good and who knows when we’ll be back this way again. I’ll post you folks when I get back home, meanwhile take care and my thanks to all you for reading and listening along the way.Image courtesy of twistedpapers.com
from beautiful Santa Catarina, Brazil !!!Â What a beautiful place to find oneself on Christmas Eve.Â It’s supposed to be in the low 90’s here today, quite the difference from the expected high of 20 back home in Colorado.Â We’re due to leave here by Tuesday next week to make the big New Years Eve gig on Thursday, but I’m in no hurry and neither is Hank or Harold.Â Speaking of back home-the elf in charge of my website (spelled Sarajane)Â informs me that all the pages have been revamped to load faster and the mosaics page has new photos also, so please do check it out and let me know how it’s working, many thanks to her for all her hard work on this and many other matters in the past year. Mr. Ersatz has requested that the recording of note this week be “A Testimonial Dinner”Â The Songs of XTC by various artists released in 1995 on Thirsty Ear Recordings. This is a great collection of tunes performed by 11 different artists/bands in a variety of styles with due respect to the original versions accorded. Eddie and I agree though that the version of “Dear God” here by Sarah McLachlan is worth the price of admission alone, a stunning cover by any measure you choose.Â Again my thanks to the folks at twistedpapers.com for the travel images featured on this tour, please check out their site for more fun stuff.Â Best wishes for a safe and happy holiday season to all my friends and family wherever you might be and thanks to all of you who have stopped by to read and listen…more soon.
within a stately building dating to the 1850’s. There are no dining facilities in the hotel but there’s a place that serves great tapas on the way to the club we’re playing at that works just fine. Paraguay is warm and wet so far, and very green.Â I hope to visit the botanic gardens nearby to see even more plants of the region. Eddie says the next gig in Brazil has added an extra night to the contract which makes his day. He also said this week’s recording of note is “The Dreaming” by Kate Bush released in 1982 on EMI in America. This collection of tunes is an amazing showcase of vocal prowess amidst lyric and musical power and grace. There is a clarity and “punch” to this album that he believes excels above any of her other recorded works to date, not to slight any of them but this is a true gem. Eddie’s right,every track on this disc is a winner, give it a listen I think you’ll like what you hear.Â There’s no show this evening so I think I’ll see if Hank and Harold are up to doingÂ dinner before I get on with doing my laundry…ahhh show biz!Â Seasons Greetings to all of you back home and loyal reader/listeners everywhere. More soon…meanwhile thanks again to twistedpapers.com for the scenic travel images used for this “tour”.
in Japan, but the local hot springs are one of the nicest features of any stop so far on this tour. Also the people here have been so friendly and helpful. I had a broken latch on my accordion case that the hotel recommended a local man to repair and he did a wonderful job for a minimal fee with no waiting. The shows have been going well, Eddie even seems happy although he’s a bit under the weather (spelled Saki) today. But that’s okay cause we don’t ship out till Friday (for S. America) , and I have an alternate media choice for this weeks music pick. My oldest son Ian has just made available on-line to view, a copy of his student film “Collywobbles” from 2006. I contribute the musical selections for this film which I think you’ll find amusing. Be forewarned this short film features puppet on puppet violence. You can view it at the link listed below. Hope all you folks are having a safe and happy holiday season so far, my best to all of you and thanks again for checking in on me. Thanks to the boys at twistedpapers.com for the travel images. More soon…..
where we’ve been very busy catching up on all aspects of life on the road,while we wait to head to Japan next. I have to say that I’ll miss all the stuff you can get to eat here. It’s been amazing food, even the Headstock brothers say the variety of grub has never been better on a tour stop with Eddie. As a nod to being in Hong KongÂ Mr. Ersatz has chosen the fourth album from Siouxie and the Banshees titled “Juju” for the pick of the week.Â Although not the album that “Hong Kong Garden” is taken from, “Juju” is one of the greatest recordings by any band of that era.Â Released in June of 1981 on Polydor,Â this album features wonderful guitar work from the late John McGeoch , percussion with “punch” from Budgie, dark and dangerous bass from Steven Severin, and the lilting lovely voice of the one and only Siouxie Sioux.Â Every track here is a winner but my personal two favorites back to back are “Halloween” and “Monitor” that close the A side of the album. The goth side of punk never got any better than this collection of tunes, good call Eddie.Â Well that’s it for now from here, time to practice and pack for Japan, more to come soon, take care and thanks for checking in. image courtesy of twistedpapers.com
here in Shanghai. The temperature is in the high 70’s a nice change of pace from the last couple of stops we’ve made. This city is huge, they tell me there are 20 million people in the greater metropolitan area and growing. As far as I know we’re only due to stay here a couple of days before we head on to points north, so I don’t if I’ll get a chance to see any of the sites or not. I’m hoping to get to see the City God Temple if I do. At any rate I hear it’s snowing up a storm back home( around a foot and a half at the house) but my wife says it’s clearing out and supposed to warm gradually in the days to come. The talk of snow has reminded Eddie of one of his favorite albums which he puts forward as this weeks recording of note. The album is “Dis” by Jan Garbarek released in 1977 on the ECM label.Â Jan on saxaphones and wood flute is joined by Ralph Towner on 12 string and classical guitars with field recordings of a windharp in the mix for three of the six pieces including the title track. This music has a rare spacious nature to it , which is a quality present in a number of releases on this label over the years. To Mr. Ersatz’s credit, I find “Dis” to be as listenable today as it was when I first heard it over 30 years ago, well worth checking out. Speaking of checking out I should go down to the front desk and see what this “message” light on the phone in my room means. I’ll write more soon as I get elsewhere,Â Happy Halloween and take care. Image courtesy of twistedpapers.com
where it’s still warm but not quite as much as the Sudan was. This is a city full of history and people, quite unlike anywhere we’ve visited so far on this tour. The manager of the club we’re playing is an old friend of Eddie’s and we might stay a couple of extra days to play a party for a mutual friend they seem to owe a favor to. Hank and Harold are going out tomorrow to see some ancient religious sites and I might tag along if I feel up to it. After we leave here we are supposedly off to China next, although transportation issues are still arising..we’ll see. Meanwhile Mr. Ersatz has requested that this weeks recording of note be “Marscape” by Jack Lancaster and Robin Lumley. Released in 1976 on the RSO label this album features all the members of the band Brand X plus Jack Lancaster on woodwinds and Bernie Frost and Simon Jeffes. It’s a great collection of fusion oriented tunes played with a mixture of delicacy and gusto. Mr. Phil Collins turns in a rock solid performance on the skins here as do the rest of the Brand X boys on their respective instruments. I was lucky enough to see Brand X back in the summer of 1977 and it was a high energy show and I had a front row seat ,Â it was a great night as I recall. Anyway a wonderful disc to check out , should you get a chance. Speaking of chance I think I’ll try and find someplace close by to get some dinner. Hope all you folks back home are doing OK, thanks for checking in on me. I’ll post next when we move on from here, take care. Thanks again to the guys at twistedpapers.com for the great images I’ve been using inÂ this “Tour” blog.
should be the title of this post. After a few days here in Khartoum I’m ready for a cool down. It’s been in the low 100’s every day here so far and the hotel we are staying at, lacks any of the comforts that would alleviate that state.Â It cools down to the low 80’s at night, but the ballroom we’ve been playing in retains the heat of the day more than I would prefer. At any rate tonight is our last one here and then it’s farther east to points not fixed yet. My wife back in the states informs me that some friends of ours have contacted her to express their good wishes for me on my journey as described in this blog. I should remind those folks and any others who might be “believing” this bit of fun, to refer to my blog entry from the 21st of June this year, which addresses the “reality” aspect of this trip and my companions. Speaking of Mr. Ersatz…. Eddie’s musical pick of the week is an album titled “Divisions On A Ground”Â by Richard Harvey, originally released on Transatlantic records in 1975. Being an introduction to the recorder and it’s music this disc features Harvey on recorders along with a six piece ensemble. Recorded at St. Paul’s Church, Wimbledon Park, London in July & August 1974.Â The works here ( by Vivaldi,Â Matthysz, Handel,Â Finger,Â van Eyck, and Loeillet ) span about a century of Baroque music at it’s popular peak. Mr Harvey though a mere 21 years of age when this record was made, brings 17 years of playing the instrument to bear on these pieces with beautiful results. No real standout number here,Â just a wonderful collection of gracefully performed musical works that are a great listen. Well that’s about it from here for now, hope all is well for you folks wherever your are, please stay tuned for more. Image courtesy of twistedpapers.com
from beautiful Cairo, Egypt.Â It’s been sunny and warm since we left Greece with no major distractions on the route. Hank didn’t seem to enjoy his time on board the boat as much as his brother Harold, but he seems to have recovered now.Â The schedule only calls for us to be here for a few days before we head south to the Sudan where I understand it’s quite a bit warmer than here.Â This is a really bustling city and I hope to get out and see it while I’m here. There is also a music shop that I want to visit while I’m here that is supposed to have some accordion related items I’m seeking. Speaking of music…Eddie has asked me tell you that the pick this weekÂ is ” Travelling” by John Williams (the guitarist) released in 1978 on Cube records in the UK. Â Mr Williams is joined on this recording by some excellent players as they exploreÂ contemporary reworkings of some of the classic gems ofÂ J.S. Bach and more. Having studied with Segovia early in his career, Mr. Williams displays a level of fierce exactitude in his performances that helps drive these modern arrangements. The album is arranged and produced by Stanley Myers. My favorite track is the version ofÂ “Sheep May Safely Graze” arranged by and featuring Richard Harvey on recorders.Â A very pleasant musical excursion that you might enjoy if you give it a chance. Well Hank must be feeling better cause he’s at my door and wants to catch a bite to eat before the gig, so we are off to find some food. You folks all have a good day and I’ll post when we head south later in the week.
image courtesy of twistedpapers.com