The Blues smorgasbord


John Hammond performing

Blues Guitarist John Hammond performs at the 2011 Blues Music Awards in Memphis TN. Not normally seen by the audience is the sound engineer in the pit below the stage. He coordinates with the board engineer on the hall floor. They make the music sound cool. Hammond was the winner of the Blues Music Awards "Acoustic Artist of the Year" award. As one listened to him play, it was no mystery why he won the prize.

Once a year, Blues aficionados  from around the globe gather in Memphis TN to bestow awards on those whom they believe have eclipsed everyone else in certain categories for the past twelve months. The event is the Blues Music Awards, a function of the Blues Foundation. This  year, due to some really good friends, we were a part of that crowd May 5, 2011.  The night rocked!

Smokin' Joe Kubeck

See Blues pictures at Corndancer dot-com

Before venturing further, may I suggest that you go to the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot-com where this story started and get in on the beginning. You will see pictures of performers Steve Miller and Buddy Guy, along with Smokin’ Joe Kubeck, whose thumbnail picture you see to the left. We will wait here for your eventual return.

As would be expected, you saw everything from designer togs to thready jeans, but it being a blues event, that’s exactly what one would expect. The crowd was milling around imbibing and chatting while perusing silent auction items, a staple at non-profit organization events. Attendees were seated 10 to round tables. We were fortunate to be seated with friends who are members of the Memphis Blues Society.

Janiva Magness

Janiva Magness, a former Best Female Contemporary Artist and BB King Entertainer of the year, wowed the crowd with her energetic vocals. She tours with her band and makes around 200 appearances a year. In her spare time she is a foster children advocate.

The Steve Miller Band was the opening act. He was followed by the likes of Buddy Guy, the Mannish Band, Janiva Magness, Karen Lovely, Willie  “Big Eyes Smith” and a host of other performers. Their acts punctuated the awards and kept the place rocking.

The Nighthawks Acoustic Blues Band

The Nighthawks Acoustic Blues Band,winners of the Acoustic Album of the Year for their "Last Train to Bluesville." They clearly demonstrated why they won.

See more Blues pictures

Check out the our three galleries of pictures from the 2011 Blues Music Awards. You’ll see Steve Miller, Buddy Guy and a host of other famous blues performers.

Blues Music Awards Gallery-1, 37 pictures

gallery thumbnail

Blues Music Awards Gallery-2, 20 pictures

2011 Blues Music Awards Gallery-2

Blues Music Awards Gallery-3, 29 pictures

2011 Blues Music Awards Gallery-3

 Speaking of punctuation, my enjoyment of the performance was temporarily punctuated by a waiter dropping a charger full of plated dinners on my person. I heard this strange noise and saw cheese and macroni, fish, green beens and rib meat, plates and lids tumbling into my lap. The wait staff was about to panic, but I assured them that all was well as I wiped cheese and macaroni from the back of a Nikon D300. Nothing was hurt but my feelings, so I laughed and told them to be cool.

Flooded house

Flooded residence on Arkansas Highway 1, north of DeWitt, Arkansas. We were on this road because the White River was over a bridge on I-40.

Due to the recent rains that have turned the Delta into a large pond dotted with islands of dry land, we took a detour route to Memphis which added about 45 minutes to the trip. Not too bad. Mostly a pleasant drive through the Delta. The pictures here are on the trip back.

Your own personal levee

Just a bit further down the road, we saw a residence where the owners took matters into their own hands. They built a levee around their house and barn which appears to be in the neighborhood of 15 to 20 feet AGL (above ground level).

Homemade levee around house

Ready for high water. Enterprising homeowners built their own levee.

Levee around delta home

Closeup of your own personal levee.

Since this is primarily an agricultural area, people are no strangers to working with dirt and have the equipment to do the job. Driving on, just outside DeWitt, we saw a tall plume of black smoke. If there was a fire, I wanted to see and shoot it.

House on fire

A burning house in DeWitt, Arkansas. I visited with neighbors who told me the fire was set deliberately to destroy the house.

We found the fire. After the neighbors told me it was deliberately set, I wondered why. Taking a second look at the flaming structure, I noticed that is was covered with old late 40s asbestos siding. Not a bad idea, but asbestos is not terribly flammable. Good luck folks.

land leveler towed behind pickup

Just east of Humphrey, Arkansas on Highway 152, we ran up on a pickup towing a land leveler which was as wide as the highway.

 Just 25 miles or so from home, we came up behind a land leveler being towed by a pickup. The driver did not notice us at first, but we eschewed honking the horn anyway. He finally saw us and carefully pulled to the right to let us by. I say carefully because that sucker would mow down mailboxes in a heartbeat.

A few minutes later, on the final run for home, we were not so fortunate. We came up behind a wide load personified as the dump body of one of those huge strip mine dump trucks which will hold approximately a small town. We followed him for about 15 miles when we reached an alternate route. Finally made it home in one piece. The dogs were glad.

Thanks for dropping by,
Joe Dempsey,
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind

http://www.joedempseyphoto.com/
http://www.joedempseycommunications.com/
http://www.corndancer.com/joephoto/photohome.html

The Eternal Question for Arkies in 2009


“How high’s the water mama?”

Johnny Cash birthplace sign at Kingsland AR

Not far from the birthplace of legendary singer Johnny Cash is this sign with its feet in water. The sign, on US Highway 79 just north of Kingsland, Arkansas, normally high and dry, is being encroached upon by waters from the swollen Saline River, less than a mile north.

The symbolism of the sign with its feet in the water, in 2009,  is all too familiar to Arkansans. No one alive can remember a rainier year. All of which prompts one to hum “How high’s the water mama?” without too much provocation. I had the pleasure of watching the man in black perform that tune at Rison, Arkansas, a short ride up the road, in the seventies. I had no idea then that the tune would take on new meaning in this neck of the woods. Some local bards, tongues firmly ensconced in their cheeks, are musing, ” … makes Noah’s flood look like a mornin’ dew,” along with similar, but more colorful observations which I will eschew. Something about a boot.

Rodgers barn

See it at Corndancer dot com

This story started in Cleveland County, but water was not the subject. A really cool old barn was. I could not help but notice the water while going after the barn.

Click here to take a barn-break on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot Com, a very cool thing to do.  We’ll be waiting here for you when you get back.

We nearly made it through the year without a moisture laden seven-fold amen to the aquatic symphony which has been 2009, but the two days before Christmas were soakers for most of the state.  Reports of six to 10 inches for the two days were not uncommon. As a result, the Saline has been a river on steroids.

Construction equipment under water

On Christmas day, this equipment, parked at the foot of the US Highway 79 bridge over the Saline was high and dry. Yesterday, Dec. 26, the truck and ‘dozer were still high and dry with a few inches of water over the tracks of the back hoe. This morning, Dec. 27, it was a different story. Blub, blub.

Bridges and other man-made structures are good standards by which Mother Nature’s machinations can be measured. In less than 24 hours December 26 and 27, Saline grew several feet. The signs and the bridge below are prima facie evidence of a misbehaving river.

Sign at Arkansas Game and Fish Commission Saline River access point

This sign is on the east side of the south end of the US 79 bridge over the Saline River between Rison and Kingsland, Arkansas. The left picture was shot at about 4:30 p.m., December 26, 2009. The right picture was shot about 11:30 a.m., December 27, 2009. The water color is the same, the direction of light is different, hence the different appearance.

POOL ACCESS

I was recently made aware of the origins of the name of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission access point, “POOL ACCESS.” It was explained to me by my good friend, Dick Warriner. The Saline, for the most part is not a deep or wide river. Under normal circumstances it is a docile stream and at least at one time, was legendary as a fishing resource. It may still be, but you could not prove it by me.

The river widens and deepens somewhat at POOL, just down river from the bridge, hence the name. There is also a bluff at POOL  which was also the site of the “old bridge,” and more importantly to Dick, a favorite swimming hole frequented by his family during his childhood. Dick’s grandfather, Grover Roberts, a resident of nearby Herbine, built a retractable tire swing there which was well used by his progeny and I’m certain by other youngsters in the area. Thanks for the info Dick.

Saline River Bridge

The US 79 bridge over troubling Saline River waters between Rison and Kingsland, Arkansas

Parting Shot

While crawling over the bridge on the west side, south end, on top of the abutment, I found a pile of nuts and bolts. These were certainly not placed here by four legged critters or birds, or one would certainly think so. And, there have been no plausible rumors of cults the members of which have a thing for galvanized nuts and bolts. Since this is not a pedestrian bridge, and few besides myself have probably ever noticed the hardware collection, the local curiosity coefficient is low, so an explanation is yet to be revealed.  Why pray tell, is there a pile of nuts and bolts on the abutment?

Nuts and bolts

This is nutty. But the nuts and bolts are the same as hold the bridge railings together.

Thanks for dropping by and Happy New Year!!!

Joe Dempsey
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind
http://www.joedempseycommunications.com/
http://www.joedempseyphoto.com/
http://www.corndancer.com/joephoto/photohome.html

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