Blue Lou's Reports From the Road


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   The Texas Treasure experience was.......an experience. In retrospect,it could have
been a great many things...not the the least of which would be dangerous.
As I write this,tropical storm Claudette has just made landfall,somewhere between Galveston and Corpus Christi,and it doesn't look pretty. One can only imagine what it
would be like on a ship in the Gulf right now.
   Luckily,we had smooth seas for the entire two weeks. Which is not to say it was a
smooth ride...some days the ship rocked about considerably. Each time we left
the dock,the propellers would vibrate the stage hard enough to knock over
glasses of water,send the CD/picture display crashing onto the dance floor,
and make thunderstorm-noises come out of my guitar amp. Scary at first.....
but we got used to it. I recall seeing some looks of concern from  passengers,though......
   As a gig,it wasn't all that unusual--pretty good,in fact--short hours,room & board...
we played about 1½ hours per set,twice a night.
   A little background---apparently gambling isn't legal in Texas,so to get
around the law,the ship loads up passengers and sails out to international waters,
where they can gamble 'till their heart's content.
Our job was to keep them happy/ occupied on the trip to and fro.....
   Sounds great on paper,huh?
   It did have a few drawbacks,like itsy-bitsy,teensey-weensierooms,which had no
phone or TV of course,and the central fact that after your 1st set, it was
around 5 hours until the next one,and guess what?......you're at sea,with no place
to spend those hours,except maybe the craps table......a bad idea,for my money.
   Every gig is different,that's for sure. We arrived with an untried PA system,
having never set it up before (remember the trip to KC?)--a new mixing board,
right out of the box,an effects unit,still IN the box,and a drummer
we'd only just met over the weekend in Indianapolis. On the face of it,this was a
recipe for disaster! However,by all accounts,we sounded good.The audiences
seemed to like us, we sold a few CD's...and we had good feedback from
the other musicians on board. One of them was a solo act,a fellow named
John Marquette---he and I traded photos,and stories from Back in The Day.
   The other act was Hot Spices, a reggae/calypso group.
I felt for them,since they performed outside,and  it was oppressively hot
most of the time---we were uncomfortable at times,even inside.
   Living/working on a ship has its own special rhythm,and some aspects
that would be just plain silly on land. The differences seemed magnified
since over 200 people lived there full-time,and the vast majority of those
spoke English as a second language........this fact showed itself in odd ways......
in person or on paper,at times I just didn't get it.
   Every gig is different,that's for sure.
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