Music at Philo's, Latcho and Andrea, and Ana Banana's

That Thursday night then, after getting the inverter fixed, we decided to head to the open jam at Philo's. In a way, this is when our visit to La Cruz really began. I had fun jamming on the beach in Chacala and had heard that Philo's and La Cruz were good places for musicians, but I really had no expectation that our visit here would turn into a kind of musical paradise.

At this point I need to interject a small side story, involving Louis and Laura from CIRQUE, whom we had met in Tortuga Bay and with whom I'd done a little juggling at the Baja-Ha-Ha beach party. They were really nice people and we connected quickly, but we kept near-missing them thereafter, finding their boat card on our cockpit table in La Paz as we were leaving, and then seeing them come into the marina in Mazatlan, once again, just as we were leaving. So, as much as we wanted to get together, we kept experiencing these near misses.

It turns out, as they told us the story, that somehow a rumor got started in La Paz that I was going to play at one of the bars there. A guy named Anthony on MANDALAY had told them so. He must have been confused after enjoying a few tunes that PK and I had played on RHAPSODY while at the dock, and started a well intentioned but misguided rumor, which apparently snowballed. Louis and Laura gathered 15 or so people, went to the bar, where somehow my name was on the marquee, and they were mightily disappointed when I didn't show up Of course, I knew nothing of it, and in fact was on Isla Espiritu Santos at the time!

So that Thursday, here in La Cruz, when we saw them coming into the marina, we greeted them with shouts of joy and helped them tie off as they pulled into one of the slips near us. They told us the tale of the gig-that-wasn't and how they had chanted "Patrick, Patrick" at the bar to no avail, and then virtually demanded that they get to see me play at Philo's that night. So it was with Louis and Laura, and their friends Dan and Alene, that we made our way to the bar.

It began innocuously enough with Philo and his band doing a set at about 8:30 pm. With Carlos on drums, Peggy on Bass, Oscar on Sax, Hock on spoons, and Leon on the washboard, they soon had the crowd up and dancing. Philo has a set of songs that he does which include a couple of great originals and bunch of good covers. After that set, Philo turned the stage over to the various musicians that had congregated for the jam. Peggy graciously said I could use her amp, and I brought my Carvin 5 string bass to the stage.

I ended up playing bass on stage the rest of the night, backing all the other musicians that got up. Rusty got up and did some classic old folk/country tunes, then Oscar switched from sax to guitar and ripped up on some Doors tunes and some Mexican rock ballads. Hock switched from spoons to acoustic guitar and did a few of his originals, which are unusual crowd pleasers, to say the least. Russ, who mans the Rib Wagon and cooks up a storm, got up on harmonica, with Philo and a nice Canadian named Brad on guitars and we did a blues set. By the third set it seemed like Philo was calling "Tequila por la Banda por favor" (Tequila for the Band, if you please!) after every song, and things got a little fuzzy for me at that point.

I do remember having a great time, getting lots of compliments and Philo inviting back to jam "anytime". I remember ending the night, on the way back to the boats with Laura and Alene (Louis and Dan having gone home earlier, leaving the womenfolk with me lol), with us all singing Christmas Carols in the wee hours on the streets of La Cruz.

Then, the next night, after finding the post office (described below) , we went to a restaurant called the Black Forest to see this flamenco guitar duo, Latcho and Andrea. We were the guests of Christian, the marina manager, at his table, with some of his friends from the area. Without expecting it, once again, we were turned on to some great musical work, with Andrea pounding out rythms and Latcho ripping up on lead. They were formerly members of the Gypsy Kings, an internationally famous act, and we got to drink with them and a gentleman ex-pat named Tequila, real name Dudley, who we would get to know even better in the days to come.

Once again, somehow the Tequila started flowing, and I don't really remember how it ended, but I was sure I had a good time. The next morning I got an email from Andrea saying that she had seen my website (I gave her a card), and wondering if I could help her with a technical issue regarding a new tape recorder she had purchased. I said yes, of course, and we made an appointment for Monday. Meantime, I nursed my second hangover in as many days and spent most of Saturday just recuperating, as now I knew that on Sunday there would be ANOTHER open jam at a place called Ana Banana's!

So on Sunday, I gathered up my acoustic guitar, electric bass, and even took my battery powered amplifier to shore for the jam. Barry at Ana's organized the jam, and gave me a slot somewhere in the middle. And once again, the music took on it's own momentum.

Some of the same musicians from Philo's showed up, so I remember backing Hock on a set of his music, and Peggy playing bass behind Rusty on his set. Bill (who also plays great Classical guitar) did a set of blues. Mike on guitar and CC on bass did a set with some more folks. I remember meeting several more drummers and bass players and many guitar players. I did a set of Dead tunes with Brad on guitar which went over well. I also got to back a super neat older lady, Bobby Lee, who, at 75 or so, tore the house down with her versions of "Old Time Rock and Roll" and "Land of a Thousand Dances".

Tequila (Dudley) was there, as was Mike from SNOWGOOSE another guitar player on the boat right next to ours. Many of the cruisers that we had met once again showered me with compliments about the music. Once again, I got a bit drunk, as the Tequila and Beer were flowing, but my overall impression is that we got to meet many many nice people and I got to play a ton of music.


The last wild jam included a guy named Nicholas who played some tasty guitar, and who told me that he had been sailing thru too, and had decided to just stay in La Cruz once he ran into this music thing. In fact, Nick told me, he and Hock had a paying gig on New Years Eve and he asked me if I'd be interested in playing bass for them!

You Bet! Double Wow!

So, in our first week in La Cruz, from a musical party perspective, I got to attend and participate in two hard core jams, saw one world class musical act, got seriously drunk three times, and after all was said and done, ended up getting invited back to Philo's, as well as to a paying gig on New Years Eve! Is this a great place or what?

Music and New Friends in La Cruz