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Performance at the Coffee Gallery in Altadena, California

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  • D. Keith Howington
    Most enjoyable! I had not seen Tracy live for nearly two years, and this was the first time with Jim Henry. I had a sore throat, and was concerned about this
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 6, 2006
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      Most enjoyable! I had not seen Tracy live for nearly two years, and
      this was the first time with Jim Henry.

      I had a sore throat, and was concerned about this creating problems for
      others. It turned out fine, though there were a couple of occasions
      that I caught up on my coughing during the applause after a number. ];-)

      And there was lots of applause. Tracy was in excellent form, and she
      and Jim Henry worked well together. The pleasant chat introducing songs
      was almost entirely Tracy's -- but at one point, Tracy's guitar string
      broke (halfway through Preston Miller) and Jim entertained the crowd
      with some jokes while Tracy restrung and retuned.

      Just before this, at the beginning of that piece, Tracy had talked about
      the typos in the Preston Miller lyrics -- including "farrow" for "faro",
      as we've discussed here at length.

      She wound up with an amused "Well ... it *could* happen, I suppose..."
      at which point the audience was inclined to help out with what "laudanum
      and farrow" might translate to. From the audience:
      "Wine and swine!" Jim Henry thought this was great. Thus encouraged,
      the suggestions kept coming:
      "Pigs and swigs!"
      "Grog and hogs!"
      "Cork and pork!"
      "Morphine and porcines!"

      At a lull from the audience, they swung into the song itself, resulting
      in another lull when Tracy's string broke as mentioned above.

      Jim pondered for a moment when asked to entertain the crowd by Tracy,
      and I suggested that "since the audience was quite willing to forgive
      the Preston Miller typos, it was an example of your *people* telling you
      to let your *farrow* go."

      A collective groan, and off he went into his own humor -- since he
      couldn't do *worse*. ];-)

      The venue worked very well -- it was a coffee-house in Altadena (a
      suburb of Pasadena) called "The Coffee Gallery". In back was a separate
      room with a stage, and small tables and chairs holding only about 50
      people. It was full, of course. This intimate setting makes for close
      connections to the sound and to the performers, and we were adjacent to
      Jim on the stage. (A slight drawback; his monitor was right in front of
      us. The electric guitar was mixed fairly high and tended to step on the
      voices and her instruments a bit from where we were sitting. For pieces
      where he played acoustic instruments, it was just fine.)

      They played a mixture of old and new pieces, and were definitely big
      crowd pleasers. The introduction was nicely done: "And now, folks, the
      only act who could compete with the Superbowl: Tracy Grammer!"

      We brought some friends along with us, a retired couple from the East
      Coast. We'd just given them a set of Dave & Tracy albums for Christmas
      -- and to our delight these were a big hit and the songs that Alan was
      particularly hoping to hear were all played.

      Tracy and Jim played two good-sized sets with a fifteen minute
      intermission -- and more songs during the encore performance. They were
      relaxed and smooth. Some of the pieces:

      A fiddle-and-banjo medley from /The Verdant Mile/
      Crocodile Man (this was preceded by a funny monolog about Maureen
      McCormick's version of the song, and Tracy's ultimately unsuccessful
      attempt to find out what "Marsha Brady singing Crocodile Man" sounded like.)
      Shadows of Evangeline
      Tanglewood Tree (my favorite of the evening, Jim did quite well on this)
      This Dirty Little Town (which, Tracy assured us, was not L.A.)
      Hey Ho
      St. James Infirmary (explained -- though the explanation doesn't quite
      seem to fit the lyrics)
      Mother I Climbed
      Hard to Make It
      Preston Miller ("Now we're going to lighten the mood with a story of a
      man's murder.")
      Ruby (preceded with Jim's story of his daughter Ruby demanding equal
      time, since he'd written more songs about her brother.)
      One Horse Town (Jim: "Anybody here heard of Belcherton,
      Massachusetts?" In the audience: "Yes!")
      The Verdant Mile (and the story of its origin)
      Farewell to St. Delores
      Laughlin Boy (and the contact from Seth Laughlin's granddaughter
      correcting a few details)
      Disappearing Man
      Gypsy Down
      Poncho and Lefty

      The order is only approximate, but I think I've got almost all of them.

      At one point early on, Tracy was talking about Jim Henry's impressive
      set of control pedals -- the envy of guitarists everywhere, she said. I
      was amused at her IDing the pedals instead of peddling the CDs.

      And speaking of CDs, CD sales seemed to be good -- they couldn't have
      been *bad*, as we took the opportunity to stock up a bit. We felt that
      it was part of our job to encourage their return to Southern
      California. We're getting sparse on the list! ];-)

      ===|================/ D. Keith Howington, CEO (CEO@...)
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