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Thursday, March 24, 2016

The Longest Lasting Gig!!!!


A lot of people are familiar with the restaurant/bar in Card Sound, Key Largo, Alabama Jack’s. For those who are not, Alabama Jack’s is twelve miles east of The Last Chance Saloon, which is in Florida City, down Card Sound Road. Card Sound Road is the alternate route to Key Largo from the mainland. Here you have a place on a thin strip of land between Card Sound and Barnes Sound, in the middle of nowhere. Nowhere being the Everglades. It’s a fabulous, open air Keys bar. I’ll get into Alabama Jack’s in the book I’m writing “The Absolute Best Bars in the Florida Keys”, which you can follow the progress on Facebook at this link:

While Alabama Jack’s is a fascinating location, it remains the backdrop for this particular blog. Today’s blog is focused not on the bar, but on the band that plays there, The Card Sound Machine. The name of the band stems from a tongue-in-cheek take off on The Miami Sound Machine, a very popular Latin/American pop band fronted by Gloria Estafan, who were popular and from the general area.
If you go to Alabama Jack’s on a Saturday, or Sunday afternoon, you’ll catch the Card Sound Machine playing. Here’s the interesting catch: If you went to Alabama Jack’s Saturday or Sunday since 1985, you would have seen the Card Sound Machine!!!!!

The Card Sound Machine

Yes, The Card Sound Machine has had that gig for thirty one years, at this writing! They started there in 1985! Truly amazing! As you can imagine, over the years there have been some changes in the band, however the drummer, Billy Bob, and the pedal steel player, Jimbo, are charter members.

Here’s a fun one! Jeff, the lead guitarist, is the youngest member. Jeff replaced his parents when he joined the band! As I say, he’s the lead guitar player, but before that he was the bass player and another wonderful guitar player, Tommy Potter, was on guitar. Tommy left the band and Jeff stepped into the guitar player shoes. I was floored when this happened because I couldn’t believe what a great guitar player he was. I had only heard him playing bass before that! His sister, Salina, also sings with the band as a featured vocalist. 

Artie, the bass player, is the new guy in the band and my guess is he’s been with them ten years, or so, picking up where Jeff left when he moved to lead guitar. Keith will often accompany them on guitar. Before he passed, Bill “The Cox that Rocks”Cox would sit in with them as well on harmonica, keyboard, and fiddle. That was his biggest thrill too!

I recall reading years ago in a music magazine, about a band in the mid-west who lost their gig after twenty years. Most bands hold a gig for a matter of months, or even weeks. Some, a couple of years. I was amazed they held a gig that long! On the flip side, here we have The Card Sound Machine playing Alabama Jack’s for thirty one years and counting! Totally amazing!

These guys are the nicest guys you’d ever want to meet. I’ve known them for years, since I lived on the mainland in Southern Miami/Dade. I’d often sit in with them in various combinations of personnel, in a few bars in the Homestead/Redlands area.

It was funny. When we arrived there doing research for my next book (The Absolute Best Bars InThe Florida Keys), drummer Billy Bob was delayed. Jeff gave me his guitar and hopped on the drum seat and we belted out Kansas City, Girl From The North Country, and You Win Again. What a blast! Thank you guys!

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Picture by Dani Hoy

This is a fun, Country based band! There will always be folks out on the floor dancing

You can catch The Card Sound Machine every Saturday and Sunday afternoon at Alabama Jack’s, Card Sound Rd. Card Sound, North Key Largo. It’s a Keys tradition so stop by for an afternoon of fun. Do yourself the favor and make it happen!

My book “Bar Stories” is available through Amazon!


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Search: Key West Chris

Thank you everyone!!

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