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Monday, April 9, 2012

The Best Live Bar CD Ever Made, Keys Tranquility,Shot Doctor, Key West - World Economic Barometer??? ,

Photobucket ^Listen to Dildo Key (it’s a REAL Key! See note at end of this blog) by Key West Chris, Featuring Barry Cuda on piano^ In 1999 I was writing for a music magazine called “Southeast Performer” and I reported on the music happenings in South Florida. This included Broward, Dade, and Monroe Counties (Ft. Lauderdale, Miami, and the Keys). I lived at that time in a town called Perrine, which became Palmetto Bay while I was there. It was fun reporting on the Keys, as it killed two birds with one stone: One was reporting and the other was the fabulous excuse of going to the Keys! The Keys weren’t that far either. Key Largo was only a 35 minute drive. Interestingly enough, I considered The Caribbean Club my local bar! To this day it ranks in my book as one of the top three bars in all of the world (there is no sole #1). I did several excursions to Key West, of course. After all, Key West is literally a music mecca for live music! How many times have I reported in this blog of friends visiting and being completely blown away about the live music scene here? It’s non-stop! . Well, I had come down to Key West in 1999 and caught Barry Cuda and the Sharks, who were playing at Sloppy Joe’s that day. Barry Cuda, “The Pianamal”, playing on his upright piano, complete with big rubber tires so he can roll it gig to gig, Steve Mello on drums, and Chief Billy on upright bass and harmonica. That was the Sharks. They had always been a favorite of mine down here. On this occasion however, they had just released a brand new live CD, “Fish Nuts”, recorded around the corner at B.O’s Fish Wagon by Dan Simpson. It goes without saying, I bought it. . After getting back home I popped it in the CD player (didn’t have one in the car back then) and immediately fell in love with it! Many people will rightfully say that The Allman Brothers Band’s Live at The Filmore East is the best live concert ever recorded in the history of Rock. It set entirely new standards on so many different levels. I will concur with them. However, what I found with Barry Cuda and the Sharks album “Fish Nuts”, back in 1999, was that this recording was the finest live bar album ever made. So, here we are in 2012, thirteen years later, and I can safely say that it remains the finest live BAR album ever made in the history of recording. Nothing comes remotely close. What makes “Fish Nuts” so exceptional is a combination of things. To begin with, it’s the band, of course. Barry Cuda and the Sharks were the ideal bar band to begin with. They were very, very good for starters, yet at the same time, quite loose. Literally anything could happen off the cuff, at one of their gigs! Secondly, the location, B.O.’s Fish Wagon, that ramshackle shack with a corrugated metal roof, no walls and lobster pots, fishing nets and marker buoys draping the place, is the ideal motif to set a backdrop for Barry Cuda and the Sharks loose cadence. Additionally, at B.O.’s there is no stage, per say. There’s a part of the joint (and a ”joint” is the best description of the place, if there ever was one) where the band sets up, however it’s right in the middle of the place with tables all around. The looseness of the place fit’s the looseness of the band. It’s very common to see a patron walk right past ‘Cuda and say something to him in the middle of a song. So the audience is a very active participant in any of Cuda’s gigs there, “Fish Nuts” being no exception and no doubt a key reason that recording came out so well. Several guest musicians sit in on various songs as well. As I stated thirteen years ago, if any performer wants to learn how to do a live bar gig, this is the example. Likewise, if anyone wants to have an example of what a real Keys gig is, this is it! I would play this CD at parties I threw and everyone there would always ask “What IS this??? This is fantastic!”. Barry Cuda has changed the name of the band to “Bong Hits For Geezers”, although they still use “Barry Cuda and the Sharks” for corporate gigs. Richard Crooks is now on drums and you’ll still find Chief Billy at some of the gigs as well. Kenny Fradley is there on Trumpet and Flugelhorn as well. Additionally, they play around town, but you can always catch them on Fridays at B.O.’s Fish Wagon, from 6- 9. Buy it at “Barry Cuda and the Sharks – Fish Nuts – The best live bar album ever made in the history of recorded music, bar none!” KWCR The Shot Doctor, Scott Alan was in town for a few days and stayed at the place. We had a great time together and look forward to his return. His Shot Doctor was a major hit with the Spring Breakers, as you can imagine! I spent a couple of days at my friends, Rich and Cindi Hogan’s, up in Cudjoe Key, again this last week. Jeff Jackson and I drove up. It’s a completely different perspective there. The reality is, Key West is the big city as far as the Keys go anyway. I find it funny when I meet folks from out of town who say “It’s so laid back here!” referring to Key West. I suppose from their perspective it is. Hanging out with Rick and Cindi really is what I call “Keys laid back”. Everything is quiet, for one. Peace and tranquility abide on the other Keys. I wholeheartedly recommend to anyone coming to the Keys, to spend a day or two, at least in some of the other Keys. Additionally, every Key is different from the other and has it’s own personality. I keep talking about doing a bus tour of say 45 people, or so of the Keys stopping in maybe two Keys overnight on the way to Key West, a day or two here, then two more on the way back… Maybe three or four performers… Hummmm! Photobucket Key West has been having a superb season this year. It was only this week that I actually passed a B&B that had a sign out that said “Vacancy”. It actually caught my eye. I mean, there was a vacancy sign! I haven’t seen that all season! The town’s been packed and everyone seems to be doing well because of it. Spring break just ended and that was bumper to bumper for the month of March. I’ve also had friends from out of town throughout the season calling to see if I knew of any hotels, B&Bs, ex. That had rooms available. With all the economic sad news we’ve been hearing, I’m hoping that Key West is a barometer for the coming year for the rest of the world. Imagine that, The Conch Republic being gauged as world barometer for the economic outlook. HA HA HA HA! Photobucket Note on the song Dildo Key at the top of this week’s blog: I was looking at a soundings chart ( a road map for sailors) several years back of the upper Keys, when my eyes popped out. I cleared them, however I was still seeing the same thing. There, plain as day, six and a half miles south/south east of Flamingo was an island named “Dildo Key”… right next to it was.. Johnson Key..No fooling! Naturally, I had to write a song about it! I mean seriously, how couldn’t I? Here’s a copy of it, just so you know I’m not pulling your leg! Longitude: -80.8736809 Latitude: 25.0404059 Photobucket Key West Chris' music is available for download at iTunes,CD Baby,CD Universe, Rhapsody, Beachfront Radio, and for physical copy at Green World Gallery, The Cork and Stogie, and Key West Bait and Tackle

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