More Jamaican Jerk Chicken…Please!

HOW – DEE……I’ve got some catchin up to do and I plan on doing that this week. But for now I wanted to update the journal with a poem I spoke about in one of my last posts. During our Hot Tuna weekend in April I mentioned what a great poetry reading we had…..courtesy of Jeroch Carlson…..before the band took the stage. It was dynamite…..and out of sight! Well, I had asked Jeroch if I could post his poem and he gladly has forwarded it to me.

Jeroch is our newest Ranch-hand and what an impressive cat he is. We met years ago and it is funny how the hand of fate has directed our convergence and we have become good friends……and I can see we are on the path to a life-long friendship. The fact that he now works at the Ranch is just a true blessing……as you can’t beat the joy of working with friends. Jeroch is a character of great depth and the more you get to know him …..you realize how deep he is. He helps out here at the Ranch with the kitchen work, the plants, landscaping and most importantly …..keeping the vibe right and positive. He also served as our I-ficial minister for the great wedding we hosted last year here at the FPR for Kate and Ryan McNabb. It was a super special day. So….. the poem follows…….

… Another thing I had mentioned from that same post will not be happening……I am sorry to say. I had mentioned the great jam at the student performance that I got in on with John B. and Stu …..we did an electrifying version of the Animals’ classic, Don’t Bring Me Down…..with Stu on bass and John on electric sitar. The plan was to put it up on the Fur Peace channel on YouTube. Well…..when I got to listen to the final mix……the bass was almost completely out of the mix and it was even hard to hear the sitar. I had to make a decision to nix the idea rather then put up something I wasn’t happy with. So……that jam was one of those things that was just for the moment. The poem follows……but…..I want to drop in a couple of Jorma’s comments as he took the stage after J-rock’s reading…….”and they say poetry is dead. Wavy would have loved it!” Well we all loved it and I hope you all love it too……..here it is………..

The Only Thing We Could Use More Of Is Some Jamaican Jerk Chicken
By Jeroch Carlson

What ..(sniff)…is that…(sniff)…smell? Around here you can always smell something cooking. Usually you can’t smell music…Which is funny because we can indulge in it with every one of our other senses. You can see it happening, hear it, breathe it in and feeeeel it resonate throughout your whole body, and when the jam really gets going you can taste it. Music can be a rare exotic tropical delicacy that transports you to a different time and place. But then remains only in your memory as the taste of something so Organic, wild and free that you’ll travel the world over to catch a whiff of that magical recipe again. But here… here you can expect to catch a whiff of something that will light your eclectic taste buds on fire every spring, summer, and fall.

So what lights your grill? Something tender and raw, or are you one of those well done and searing hot music lovers? Or for those vegetarians, don’t you worry! We have a virtual salad bar of musical history for you, with all the fixins’. If you like sweets, you’ll have to wait till that candyman comes around again.

For you connoisseurs maybe some tasty fresh local mushrooms, with Marsala wine on a bed of lovely greens with rice and some South California Sea Bass to whet your pallet. A little raw electric Mando marmalade served up as a garnish to those funky Chops you know and love. Or you could be one of those folks that just loves to sink their teeth into a Big Juicy Hot Tuna Burger. Best local Tuna around. Only local Tuna around. All from the best grill man in town. And like all great recipes it takes a little improvisation, so while you wait, would you like a little Hot jelly roll blues to go with that wavy gravy? A little seaweed strut? Something to drink? Maybe a little True Religion or just a hot cup of Rhythm Tonic for yo’ soul.

A great man once said, “Food and music are certainly two of life’s necessities. There is a third and a forth. The place and the time to enjoy them.” That man’s name was Jorma. Living the dream. You reap what you sow and you can’t just eat at any old Café these days and with so many people just eating on the run, the fact that we feast in the Captains’ Living Room casually is a dream for many, and a reality for us. Because as a good Shepard once said,” As long as you’re in this world, you’re the light of this world. “ Breaking bread here is something special. Keep those lamps trimmed and burning and when you have the wisdom to know the difference just for today, then we can be together. So get away from that everyday dredge and step up to the edge and take a look at the view. And right around midnight, when the moon is so bright, and from it the light shines on the dew and mists dance outside. Because it doesn’t matter whether those stars are in your crown or whether they are in the skies with the fireflies. You’re eating with the original psychedelics chefs, serving up so many flavors it doesn’t matter whether you’re Indian, Greek, Cajun, or Hungarian like me, once you’ve eaten at the Beatrice Love Kitchen you’ll never need to go anywhere else and you know you won’t need a doggie bag. If you’ve got somebody to love, they’ll be dessert. And on the way out maybe you hear the faint sound of a cedar Native American Flute coming from deep in the valley. Or the hoot of an owl and that long sought after feeling of “I’m home” fills your thoughts and then your whole being. So you turn to your left, and you ask, “What’s fur dinner tomorrow night, Jorma?” And he’ll say, “I don’t know I thought you were cookin.” So oh Lord search my heart for a good recipe so I can show you the way home. And don’t get too glazed tonight, drink this evening in slowly and digest it fully and Bon Appetite!

Sunshine and some fine pickin’ too

This past camp weekend was another winner. We had a small but enthusiastic group of students…..all of them were repeat offenders. Jorma had cancelled his class so he could attend to some other business that required his presence. This left Steve Kaufman and Jonathan Edwards as our two reigning teachers for the weekend. The students that came to the Ranch for this session were treated to a lot of schooling by two very dedicated teachers. Indeed……both professors kept on going way past the scheduled class time. Judging from the students in the class, I believe they did that out of love for the music and the teaching experience, rather then because their respective classes needed extra schooling.

The weatherman had called for rain throughout the weekend, but we were treated to all nice days. We did get that rain on Saturday night, but it waited until most people were in the Fur Peace Station for the “big show” and it abruptly ceased when the show was over to allow our patrons a wet-free walk back to their cars. As for the Saturday night concert….Well, another sold-out house was treated to a wonderful night of music and entertainment. Steve and Jonathan both played fantastic sets of music, and aside from their fine playing and singing, they were both very communicative with the audience …. full of wit and humor. The evening was punctuated with alot of applause and laughter…..real good stuff.

Steve started the evening’s festivities with a primo display of the fine art of guitar flat-picking. Steve’s playing is just over the top. I know he was influenced by the great Doc Watson and you can hear it in his style of playing. Still…..with all respect for Doc…..I don’t think Doc or very many other flat-pick masters can reach the speed and fluidity exhibited in Steve’s playing. We were treated to some great tunes, including material from Steve’s two most recent CDs…..Goodnight Waltz and Acoustic Stomp. Steve was a big hit and he received a standing ovation from the ever appreciative music lovers that comprise the Fur Peace audience.

The second half of the concert got underway just after 9:30 pm and as soon as Jonathan came through the door he was greeted by a loud applause from an audience that featured some old friends and acquaintances. You see Jonathan has local cred around these parts…..he went to Ohio University, right here in Athens, in the late 60′s. He dropped out of OU in 1968 to pursue his dream of making music….and God Bless…..40 plus years later… he is still living the dream.

Jonathan brought along a GREAT sideman for his trip to Ohio. Charlie Rose accompanied Jonathan throughout the evening……displaying great talent on the banjo, upright bass and pedal steel. No…..he didn’t play them all at the same time, but he excelled to the highest of heights on each instrument he played. Charlie also had a very nice demeanor and during the nights he was with us at the Ranch, he joined with the students each night in the jam sessions that come together after the schooling is done for the day. One night I heard him picking guitar with two Ranchers and he sounded great on the six string as well. Overall great musician and human being and a pleasure to have met.

So……back to the concert. Jonathan put together a brilliant set which featured alot of old favorites, some fine new tunes and some folk classics, nicely interpreted. As mentioned…..there was a good deal of banter between songs….funny stuff…..as he told some very funny stories and let us all in on the behind the scene meanings of some of the songs. His story about “Upsy Daisy” was in particular very amusing. The show started with “People Get Ready/ Train of Glory” and ended with an acapellla encore of “This Island Earth” and sandwiched in between these two gems was nothing but gold. AND……speaking of gold, Yes, he did play his #1 hit from 1971 “Sunshine” and it went over big time. Towards the end of Jonathan’s set he invited Steve back out to the stage to join him on a few numbers. Steve did a terrific job pickin some tasty licks that fit right into the flow of the music. Jonathan ended the set burning it up with two old favorites….”Athens County” and “Shanty”. Both these songs along with “Sunshine” all come from Jonathan’s first self-titled album / CD which contain a cache of the tunes that our still a very big part of his set. As I mentioned Jonathan got to visit with some old local friends. He also got in a nice visit with one of his old teachers from the OU Art Department……it was very nice to see.

Sunday was another spectacular day. We decided to do the Student Performance in the Workshop and we also decided to set it up as a round robin. Since we had a small group we just set the chairs in a nice circle and we went around the circle with each person having an opportunity to play a song when it came to them. Hencely……my friends……the workings of a round robin. Well we went around that circle at least a couple of times. Certain songs invited group participation and everyone jumped to the occasion. I played a couple of tunes when the circle came my way…..first time….”She Belongs To Me” the second go around it was “Angel From Montgomery”. I was in a nice spot within that circle and I had Jonathan on my right and Mr. Charlie on my left and we played nice together. It was really nice harmonizing with Jonathan, it’s a nice feeling when you’re hitting the notes in harmony…..sounds good and feels good too. We were about to wrap it up when long-time FPRer Mikey – B requested an unplugged encore of Jonathan’s “Sunshine”…..he obliged and we all sang and played along to a perfect song to bring a perfect afternoon to a close.

The next morning we had another FIRST here at the Fur Peace and judging from how well it went over…..it won’t be the last. We started the day off right by inaugurating our brand new “Coffee Break Concert Series” with an unexpected mini-concert by the camp’s Captain …..JORMA! We kicked it off just after 9:00 am in the workshop building and Jorma played a nice set for all of us. He started things off with the beautiful instrumental, “Living In the Moment”……this was followed by….”A song I’ve been playing for about 45 years”, …”Come Back Baby”. Next up …..a chart topper……the #1 folk song of last year as determined by the folks at Folk Alley… “River of Time.” A song always guaranteed to pick you up and make you feel good….”I Am The Light Of The World” came next ……followed by “Things That Might Have Been” and “Let Us Get Together Right Down Here” closed things out nicely. Everybody loved it and there was no doubt that the “Coffee Break Concert” was a hit with the Captain as well……what a great way to start the day!!! After a morning recap we broke camp….. the day had already been full and it was a fitting close to an action packed weekend.