Friday, December 18, 2015

In The Darkest Hours

UW students are cramming. The Essen Haus regulars are holding up the bar (God bless ‘em). Some nice young folks are passing boots and enjoying each others company. We are four nights away from the longest night of the year.

While setting up the gear, the Trio (me, Rick, and Randy Kiel filling in for ailing Gary Hendrickson) catches each other up on how we knew our two recently passed friends and compadres—Steve Kasprzak and Bill Beckman. Death can put a serious damper on the joyousness of the season. We tune up and soldier on with our conjoined repertoire of mostly well-worn sixties hits, country, polkas, and Christmas tunes.

Then what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a dude who looks and sounds like the elusive Don Vallarta (aka Chico LaBamba). It is! WTF indeed! Back for a rare holiday visit to our fair state, and in company with brother Rick and his lovely wife Jody, Don needs only the faintest whiff of cajoling to join in and take us for a spin through Two More Bottles of Wine, Good Hearted Woman, Third Rate Romance, Route 66, etc. Musical merriment!

Wait, there’s more. My old pal from Capital City Distribution, Mike McCloskey, shows up with his friends and they collectively light up the dance floor with smoove moves. Not surprisingly, Mike has a joke to share, but amazingly, this one is GOOD! Our small but stalwart audience gives us more appreciation than we deserve. In case I forgot to make it clear upon last midnight, we love you for that. Give and receive thanks! The days will soon be getting longer. More light.

Coming up!
Dec. 18, The Birddog Blues Band at Smokey’s in Monroe, WI. Special guest, on the mighty B3, John Cammilleri.
Dec. 25, Peace on Earth, People!
Dec. 31, wringing in the New Year with The Cash Box Kings at the Crystal Corner.
Jan. 7, BWT3 at ye olde Essen Haus.

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