Tuesday, June 30, 2009

'All he needed was a hot night in June'

After a few days with nothing in the case, I needed to get back on track today and so I went back to the location where I'd done the best so far.

As I think I mentioned last time, the acoustics at Canal Street are great when there are no trains, so a good thing is you can play slightly quieter songs and people will still hear ok. I was using the Yamaha today so there was a decent resonance anyway. But while I didn't quite hit the heights of the last visit, I still got a dollar, which I was grateful for. The running total is now $29.17.

There wasn't a singalong with a passenger like last time, either, but one guy came down onto the opposite platform as I was playing 'Lawyers Guns And Money' and sang along from over there until his train came. That was cool.

It was a good session, I played for about an hour and three quarters. I might come back to this spot once a week from now on, since it's a nice place to play.

Today's Songlist:

People Get Ready - Curtis Mayfield
I Want You Back - Jackson Five
Bad Moon Rising - John Fogerty
Brown-Eyed Girl - Van Morrison
Marriage Made In Hollywood - Paul Brady
Hungry Heart - Bruce Springsteen
Kiss That Counted - Catie Curtis
Waiting For My Real Life To Begin - Colin Hay
Galway Girl - Steve Earle
Searching For A Heart - Warren Zevon
You Got Lucky -Tom Petty
Lawyers Guns And Money - Warren Zevon
Johnny Strikes Up The Band - Warren Zevon
Lovers In A Dangerous Time - Bruce Cockburn
Peace Love And Understanding - Elvis Costello
Knockin' On Heaven's Door - Bob Dylan
Walking In Memphis - Marc Cohn

BuskerCam today is a song written by Paul Brady and Michael O'Keefe, who's maybe better known as Bonnie Raitt's ex-husband or even as Danny Noonan in 'Caddyshack'. Anyway, it's a very cool song and somewhat apposite this week.

And here's Paul Brady and Karen Matheson playing the song much more melodiously. Listen out for just an unbelieveable bit of Dobro playing by Jerry Douglas.


I went looking for some subterranean music today and ran into a number of players; at 14th Street, Calebe Arruda was playing violin and sounded really good. He's obviously been practicing hard; then on the R train, I saw a couple of gospel singers who asked if I'd come and play with them; but they were also preoccupied with how to get ahead of the blind gospel singer who was in the carriage in front of them.

When I was finished at Canal Street, I ran into a 'hand percussionist' called David who had cymbals and drumtops fashioned from what looked like packing film strapped to his body and was beating them furiously. I gladly gave him the dollar I'd made. The poor guy looked exhausted. He's at the station often, so I'll see him again and get some video next time.

On my train home, though, I had one of those 'lightning fast' experiences with a trio who called themselves The Diamonds, who dived onto the carriage, played a variant of 'Jambalaya' and timed it perfectly, passing the hat, finishing up and diving off again at the next station. Their bass player saw I had a guitar case with me and said "you play too?" I said "yeah, but it's nothing compared to you lugging that thing around".

"It's not that heavy," he just said.

Sometimes I lose sight of the fact that I'm playing at most for a couple of hours at a time - these guys are on the go all day, and then in the evening will probably often play out as well at a bar or restaurant. It's a physically tough life, no doubt.


As I'm writing this, I'm watching an excellent documentary on Nova about Oliver Sacks and his work with 'Musical Minds'. Its pretty fascinating stuff and you can watch the episode here from tomorrow. If you've read Sacks's book "Musicophilia" you'll have an idea of what it's about.

1 comment:

  1. I really enjoy reading your blog. You meet the most interesting people and I'm glad that you share some of it with us. I haven't read "Musicophilia" yet (I will when I get the chance) but I have read "The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat" and there were some interesting stories about musical memory.