Tag Archives: Kashmere Stage Band

‘They won’t let me play’

Evan wants to do it all. Evan is 15.

He’s been in high school for little more than a semester and already has sampled at least a half-dozen clubs, two sports and most of the social opportunities. This week, the Snoball dance is on Saturday night.

But not all is well on the East High campus.

“Dad, they won’t let me play in pep band,” he said the other day.

Some of his friends are in pep band, including his girlfriend of the moment — the one with the strict parents, the one who gets to do almost nothing outside of school.

But you have to be in band class to play in pep band, and Evan hasn’t taken band class since seventh grade.

That hasn’t stopped Evan. Never mind that he doesn’t know any of the music. Never mind that he doesn’t read music well enough to learn the songs even if someone slipped him the sheet music. Never mind that he rarely practiced when he did take band class.

He got out his sax the other night. He started playing it. I doubt the pep band is playing “Mary Had A Little Lamb,” but there you go.

He fancies being able to walk in with his sax, sit down and play along with the pep band. I think it’s gonna be a hard lesson learned. It’s a little like playing basketball in the driveway and then thinking you can just join the varsity at midseason. Don’t work that way, pal.

Maybe Evan can listen to these tunes and learn them. From Houston:

“Louie, Louie,” the Rice University Marching Owl Band, from “The Best of Louie, Louie,” 1983. It’s out of print.

“Super Bad,” Kashmere Stage Band, from “Texas Thunder Soul: 1968-1974,” 2006. The best high school band ever.

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Filed under February 2010, Sounds

A birthday at Ray’s Corner

Ray turned 84 today.

You know Ray. He’s my dad, the guy who lives at Ray’s Corner, the apartment with the loud music, and the place where the martinis are made of gin with the vermouth bottle held about a foot away.

When my dad gave away his record collection a couple of years ago, I got first dibs. One of the records I kept was this one:

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“Time Out,” by the Dave Brubeck Quartet, from 1959. Dad played it often when we were kids.

Turns out this record is celebrating a birthday, too. It was recorded 50 years ago this summer. NPR’s “All Things Considered” had a nice piece about it last week.

Though this album came out in 1959, its biggest splash came two years later, when “Take Five” became the first million-selling jazz single on the Billboard charts.

They must have played it on the radio at the time, because I couldn’t otherwise begin to imagine where Dad, then in his mid-30s, might have heard “Take Five” and dug it enough to buy the album. At the time, we were living in Ironwood, Michigan, an all-but-played-out iron mining town not far from Lake Superior in the most distant corner of the Upper Peninsula.

“Time Out” was, and is, notable for experimenting with time signatures other than 4/4. Here’s what the liner notes say about “Take Five,” which was composed by sax player Paul Desmond, one of Brubeck’s longtime collaborators:

“‘Take Five’ is a Desmond composition in 5/4, one of the most defiant signatures in all music, for performer and listener alike. Conscious of how easily the listener can lose his way in a quintuple rhythm, Dave plays a constant vamp figure throughout, maintaining it even under Joe Morello’s drum solo. It is interesting to notice how Morello gradually releases himself from the rigidity of the 5/4 pulse, creating intricate and often startling counter-patterns over the piano figure. And contrary to any normal expectations — perhaps even the composer’s! — ‘Take Five’ really swings.”

OK, class dismissed. Time to dig it.

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“Take Five,” the Dave Brubeck Quartet, from “Time Out,” 1959.

Here’s a cover, one that uses the Brubeck original as a jumping-off point for a stone funk arrangement full of horns and wah-wah guitar. Probably not Dad’s thing, but I like it.

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“Take Five, the Kashmere Stage Band, from “Texas Thunder Soul, 1968-1974,” 2006. Remembering the sizzling high school band that came straight outta Houston.

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Filed under June 2009, Sounds

Do your thing at the polls

As a 30-year veteran of the Mainstream Media, I am obliged — no, required — to preserve the illusion of objectivity when it comes to matters of public interest.

That renders me a bit of a second-class citizen at any time, but particularly at election time. Unlike many of my fellow music bloggers, I am not free to tell you who I have supported during this long presidential campaign, not that it would factor in your decision.

Regardless, please go vote on Tuesday … unless you’ve already done so, as I have.

Hear, then, the voice of Roebuck “Pops” Staples.

Somebody out there got to listen
Somebody out there got to know what I’m talkin’ ’bout
Raise your hands, raise your hands if you’re with me
Give us hope in a hopeless world

You’ve got to listen to the voice inside
About peace and love; don’t compromise
Realize that time is passing by

There are mountains to climb
Can’t be standing still

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“Hope In A Hopeless World,” Pops Staples, from “Father Father,” 1994. Out of print, but mp3s available from Amazon.

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Indeed, do your thing.

“Do Your Thing,” Kashmere Stage Band, from “Texas Thunder Soul: 1968-74,” 2006. The funkiest high school band you ever heard. It blew out of Houston, Texas, during the Nixon administration.

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Filed under November 2008, Sounds

Puttering around the dial

A word of thanks to all those who have stopped to visit AM, Then FM since its launch back in late February.

We have a small but faithful group of readers, e-mailers and commenters, all of whom are much appreciated. Last week, we set a one-day record for visitors after Jefito again graciously pointed his readers in our direction. Thanks, Jeff.

What you’ve seen here so far is — I hope — the tip of the iceberg. My next project is to get set up to rip from vinyl, and there are lots of goodies there.

Just wanted to call your attention to a considerable expansion of the blogroll at right.

They’re the blogs I most often visit and the blogs of some of our friends. You’ll find mp3 samples at most of them. The blogroll leans toward older stuff — from the ’70s back — and it leans toward rock, soul, R&B and funk.

So just keep on keepin’ on.

Here’s a Sly Stone cover, done in the early ’70s by a high school band from Houston. You simply will not believe these are high school kids.

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“Thank You,” the Kashmere Stage Band, from “Texas Thunder Soul: 1968-1974).

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Filed under May 2007, Sounds