Jamming at Ricks Bar and Paccalo's
On Fat Tuesday, we went into to town and met Louis and Laura for
a nice lunch in one of the many open air restaurants.
Tuesday was also the "Puddle Jump" seminar and kickoff party.
Most of the cruisers who would be crossing the Pacific Ocean this year
gathered at Ricks, with some of the staff from Latitude 38 and other
experts on the route giving a slide show and presentation for the
intrepid adventurers. Andy Turpin, the senior editor of Latitude 38 was there,
and told us he was leaving town the next day.
Andy and I had talked about jamming, him on Banjo & me on Guitar, ever since
the start of the Baja-Ha-Ha. Unfortunately, our motor problems in Tortuga Bay
had caused RHAPSODY to fall out of the Baja-Ha-Ha, and so the opportunity for us
to get together never arose. However, here in Zihuat we finally got a chance
to do some tunes together. As the Puddle Jump party was winding down, I convinced
Andy to go to his hotel and get his Dobro/Banjo and come back to Rick's to jam with me.
Meanwhile, as Andy split to get his guitar, another guitar player
began setting up. I struck up a conversation with him and learned his name
was Eric. He told me he works more or less full time getting gigs at the local
hotel and restaurants. When I mentioned the Grateful Dead to him, he dropped
the fact that Bob Weir had just been at one of the hotels he played at a few nights previously. The management
had in fact given Eric the night off so that Bobby and the Midnights could play!
In any case, as it turned out, Eric was probably about the best guitar
player in town, It became apparent as he worked first thru some popular
rock tunes and then started playing great, fast flamenco stuff. I was really
impressed. Then he let me get up and sit behind him on bass for a few tunes
which was really nice too. He definitely worked the crowd with his professional
licks and great vocals.
A hard act to follow, nonetheless, it was great fun when Andy returned with his
Dobro/Banjo and Eric let us have the stage to do some tunes. Andy and I traded tunes,
me backing him on guitar and then him backing me on the dobro as each of us got to
sing three or four tunes and show off some lead work. I was very impressed with
Andy's level of playing and happy that we had, after talking about it for nearly
6 months, finally gotten together to play. It was sweet, but short tho, as Andy had
to get ready to leave the next morning and could only hang out for an hour or so.
We had also heard about another opportunity to jam at a bar called Paccalo's.
Louis, bless his heart, had laid all the groundwork for me, and gotten me an
advanced invite to jam with Steve and Ralph there.
So when we met a charming Czech guy named Dan at Rick's who told us that he
knew Steve and Ralph well and that they would be glad to have me sit in,
it was only a short walk over to Paccalo's for that. As we got there,
Steve and Ralph were just setting up and getting started, and soon Louis and
Laura wandered in with a gaggle of other cruisers and we got a large table going.
Steve started playing the bass to Ralph's guitar and they worked thru a selection of snappy
popular rock tunes that quickly got the crowd happy and dancing. We all
had beers and tequilas and Steve and Ralph invited me up to play bass
for the 2nd and 3rd sets. It was, once again, great fun all night long
with me punching out the bass lines to a plethora of popular rock standards
as Steve switched to rhythm guitar and sang and Ralph played his great lead licks
and everyone danced, drank, and had a good time!
Tuesday night ended up with us happily making our way back to RHAPSODY,
getting just a little bit wet as we boarded the dinghy, somewhat tipsy, in the
shallow waters off the beach.
Wednesday night was local blues celeb(from Grand Coteau,LA!)
Jimi Mamou's birthday party.
I had talked to him about jamming a bit, and was invited, but we
were too tired Wednesday night to hang out long enough as the party
was just getting started at 10:00 pm, so I missed my chance to jam
with Jimi. Oh well, can't have everything!
I did get another chance to jam on Friday night at Rick's Open Mic night.
Although we didn't get any photographs of the sessions, I got to play bass behind almost
everyone that got up that night, including the aforementioned Mike from CUTTER LOOSE, a sax player, and
a couple of other guitar players whose names I've unfortunately forgotten.
Friday night I also got a chance to do a full solo set on Acoustic Guitar,
singing a bunch of my usual Grateful Dead tunes, which people seemed