The Sunny Side

Pics, flicks and notes about my musical friends and family in and around Old Town Eureka, California.
Click on photos to enlarge.

My Photo
Location: Eureka, California, United States

My front porch in Old Town Eureka is known as The Sunny Side. Southern exposure, protected from the wind, it is an ideal place to sit and play old timey tunes and watch the parade go by.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Father's Day Gift

My daughter Lily and grand daughter Sophia gave me a harmonica for Father's Day, a very nice Hohner Golden Melody in the key of D. Great for playing old time fiddle tunes. Here's an interesting bit of history about the harmonica. It seems that when Napoleon was digging up those old tunes in Egypt he also uncovered the instruments used to play the tunes. A mouth organ fitted with reeds, from the Reed Sea. He also discovered that many of the tomb paintings are actually illustrations of the dance steps used to accompany the music. Napoleon loved the instrument and the music and wished to share it with the rest of Europe, so he called it the Hamphonica, in honor of Ham, the biblical founder of Egypt, and began on his quest of spreading the joy to the rest of the world. But folks got the name confused with the Harmonica invented by Ben Franklin a few years before, and anyway Napoleon had a hard time pronouncing the hard consonants in the word Hamphonica. The French have what is known as a lazy tongue and try to avoid consonants, replacing them with vowels. Probably from eating snails. This is illustrated by the fact that the word Fiddle, when spoken by a Frenchman, sounds something like Violin, from which we get that word. In France snails are thought of as a venison. The dance that accompanies the music came to be known as Hambone, as depicted in the tomb paintings. Along with the music we Americans acquired these treasures from Egypt in 1803 with the Louisiana Purchase. And that is why the Harmonica is known as the French Harp. Or it could be because you use your tongue to play it.


Father's Day

Hangin' out in front of Has Beans.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

TV Magic

Ever wonder how the What's Going On spots on Fox 29 are made? Well, Ross is the producer of the show, writes the scripts and tapes the entire thing single handed. He also plays in the local band The Delta Nationals, and has played in many other bands, including The Roadmasters.

Monday, June 04, 2007

The Origins Of Old Time Music In America

In 1798 Napoleon, the great leader of the French Republic and the Grand Army, led 38,000 troops as well as civilian archaeologists into Egypt and commenced to digging around the pyramids and the Sphinx. Buried deep under the feet of the Sphinx he uncovered tunes dating back to the very beginning of civilization, music as old as Egypt herself.
Things did not go well in Egypt and he still had the world to conquer, so he decided to sell the tunes and some land to the United States in order to finance his plan to spread the ideals of Democracy to all of Europe. President Thomas Jefferson was a great lover of music and was excited to give these great tunes to the American people as a gift, so in 1803 he purchased these tunes and the land from Napoleon for 15 million dollars. As the tunes were paid for with public funds, these tunes are public domain and belong to every American to do with as we please.
My thanks go to Napoleon, Thomas Jefferson, and all the great old time musicians and musicologists that have studied and interpreted these fine tunes from ancient Egypt, these great American Fiddle Tunes.


Sunday, June 03, 2007

Loretta Del Rey

My old friend Lori is in town visiting friends. Here she is with Peter and Sue in Old Town for Arts Alive.

Gertrude Is Missing

A fine old time string band called Gertrude Is Missing played on the street last night for Arts Alive in Old Town.