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Memphis Blues Again by the Dead

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Somebody stop me, for God’s sake!!! Two posts in one day!

In my last post, I referenced one of my favorite Dylan tunes: Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again. Is there any wonder that many of us in the late ’60s and early ’70s were so smitten with the Bobster?!??! Listen to the lyrics!

I had more than one friend in my high school and college days who, like me, had a sort of inside game we played on people. We’d try to converse the entire day using only Dylan quotes as our responses to what folks said to us. Crazy? Yes. Fun? Oh, HELL YES! And we could do it, too, couldn’t we, Andy McLenon and Bill Poteet and Ken DeVille? Goofing on people; it’s not just a way of life; it’s a religion.

Anyway, here’s a splendid cover of that splendid song by the Dead, with Bob Weir on lead vocals and shorty shorts, from 1989. Jerry’s playing his Doug Irwin Tiger guitar:

I don’t always like what the Grateful Dead did, but when I do like them, I like them a lot.

A jam buddy has said that he may invite a friend of his from Takoma Park, Maryland, John Kadlecik, to one of our Usual Suspects Saturday night jams. Furthur is the band that the surviving Dead band members have and John’s the lead guitar player. From what I hear, John’s a great guy. He’d fit right in with our ensemble; especially if he likes spicy shrimp!

Enjoy!

Well, Shakespeare, He’s in the Alley . . .

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At least that’s what Dylan said back in 1966:

Well, Shakespeare, he’s in the alley
With his pointed shoes and his bells,
Speaking to some French girl,
Who says she knows me well.
And I would send a message
To find out if she’s talked,
But the post office has been stolen
And the mailbox is locked.
Oh, Mama, can this really be the end?
To be stuck inside of Mobile
With the Memphis blues again.

Sorry I haven’t posted in a while; it’s been a busy month or so!

Here’s a little background and then some history, with photos! One of the main reasons Patty and I moved up here in 1987 was the fascinating history in the Washington, DC, area. We love exploring all the old places and learning what happened in those places in years past.

From mid-December until the beginning of March, I was a print-production contractor at the Society of Neuroscience in downtown DC. Great place and wonderful staff. In late February, I got an offer to return to a prestigious organization where I had contracted a couple of times last year, and decided to make the switch; they also have a wonderful staff and a great marketing department. But I’ll miss SfN and its amazing collection of people!

Anywho, in the alley behind SfN’s modern offices just south of Thomas Circle, at 14th Street NW and Vermont Avenue, is an alleyway. Just down the alleyway is this fantastic old carriage house, which now houses a bar called the Green Lantern. Here’s an iPhone photo I took of the 1860s building last month, on a cold and rainy afternoon while I smoked a cigarette in the overhang of a garage doorway:

GreenLanternBar1

Now, thanks to the wonderful folks at Shorpy.com, here’s the same alley in 1919 or so:

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Note that the building on the far right– you only see the corner– is the same carriage house that now is the Green Lantern. What nails the location is the dome shown in the photo’s background; it’s the Portland Flats, which is often called Washington’s first luxury apartment building. An online DC history website says that this Green Lantern bar carriage house building housed a brothel in the 1980s. In the 1919 photo, the horse-drawn grocery wagon has the name of P. Chaconas

And, thanks once more to Shorpy.com, here’s the Chaconas grocery store in 1915 or so:

Shorpy 00048a

The Shorpy caption reads:

“P.K. Chaconas Co. Market.” Pictured: Proprietor George Chaconas, whose grocery (“fancy fruits and vegetables”) was at 924 Louisiana Avenue N.W.”

Pretty cool, huh?

In the first old photo, the Society for Neuroscience office building– 11 stories high and as nice an office as I’ve ever worked in– is at the end of the alley where the ramshackle two- and three-story brick buildings were in the old days.

Just shows what you can discover while wandering around town.