Café Crem

Art, Music and Words around The Coffee Table

The Misty Mountain Hop – part the first

I know we only seem to stay in one place for a nanosecond before flitting off again, but believe it or not last year we felt we hadn’t really used the Boomobile enough, so we’ve made a point of remedying that in 2010. Our latest jaunt was up into the Sierra Nevada, mainly for Miki to sketch, but also for me to get a little distance from the album, and read some books.  Two of them were music related, of course, a wonderful biography of the legendary Who drummer Keith Moon, by Tony Fletcher, highly recommended, and Jools Holland’s Barefaced lies and Boogie Woogie boasts, a witty and informative autobiography by a great musician and presenter. I also managed to cram in the actor Robert Lindsay’s autobiography, Letting Go, which he kindly signed to Miki and I following Miki’s superb portrait of him, and perhaps the fact we’re both Derbyshire lads who support The Rams and have sang about them!

Rolling Stones on tour....

Anyway, as we journeyed away from the coast and up onto the winding mountain roads, our route appeared to quickly become ever more vertiginous. Miki was staring to get nervous (which is when I , perversely, start to enjoy myself) Added excitement was provided by: 1) The rock falls onto our carriageway, and 2) the disappearance down the mountainside of huge chunks of the opposite carriageway. We were encountering these at such frequent intervals, I can only marvel that we didn’t ever encounter both at the same time, thereby rendering passage impossible. This happy circumstance notwithstanding, I was glad to have brought copious amounts of underwear…..

"Here we go loop de loop...."

From the signs we saw everywhere, it appeared that many millions of European funds were being allocated to fixing these death traps roads. It seems to me that the money would have been better spent on teaching the Spanish how to build them properly in the first place.

Following an unfortunate right hand turn that almost resulted in me inadvertently making off with an entire village’s supply of fiesta bunting, not to mention a couple of old ladies wrapped round the wing mirrors, we finally entered the village of Tevelez in a more appropriate manner. The sign at the entrance proclaimed that the village ‘touched the sky’ and as we looked up from the valley road at the white buildings disappearing into the mountain mists, I felt inclined to believe them.  By sheer good fortune, we ended up beautifully parked within the village, adjacent to a waterfall and mountain stream.

The artist at work. I was making the coffee......

We spent a lovely couple of days there exploring the steep village streets and houses, and embarking on one of the mountain walks that circumnavigated the area. Miki of course, began sketching the sights around her. You can read about her thoughts and see some sketches from our trip HERE.

Working up an appetite on the slopes

....and a raging thirst

Perhaps the most staggering sight for me was that of the great swathes of pristine white snow still stubbornly clinging to the higher peaks, even in mid-July! Hiking around shirtless in the summer heat and gazing up at the snow was distinctly surreal.

Nature boy

Just having fun

One interesting event was when we heard some strange crackling sounds, and looked out of the window to find that a mist had descended all around the Motorhome – Except we soon discovered it was smoke, and where there’s smoke, there is inevitably fire. Jumping out of the Boomobile we could just about make out two figures trying to control a blaze of their own making. Health and Safety. Two words completely anonymous with each other in Spain.

"I told you not to smoke on the job, Manuel..."

"Aaahh! The cool, crisp, clean mountain air....."

The village also seemed to be famous for its Jamon, though we saw hide nor hair of a single pig on our whole trip. I could only conclude from this that the entire population had been slaughtered and now hung unceremoniously in the shops.

Nice legs, shame about the face.

Having enjoyed a wonderful few days in Tevelez, we filled our bottles from the fresh mountain water and headed off to find some more of these fairy tale villages, tucked away beneath the Spanish peaks.

Kev Moore

July 29, 2010 Posted by | Art, life, nature, painting, photo, travel, writing | , , , , | 3 Comments

We are so lucky….

Just saying hello......

An ass in the wild.........and a donkey in the background

Every day, Miki and I head out at 12.40 to nearby Vera for our 1k swim.  It’s about a 20k round trip, and we take a usually deserted back road which almost goes ‘as the crow flies’ between our place and the pool.  It always seems like something amazing is happening on that road, giant lizards scuttle across in front of you, or a snake coils its way from one side of the road to the other, or great flurries of brightly coloured birds fly above us. The other day, the whole road seemed to be dancing with wedding confetti, when in fact, as we got closer we realized it was a myriad of butterflies.

"I'm staying with Dad....."

"Oi!!! What you looking at???"

Lately, we have taken to seeing a lovely donkey patiently waiting at the side of the road when we pass, and yesterday we could resist no longer and Miki got out to say hello.  Today we also decided to get some photos of the wonderful horses that we pass in the stables near the pool.

"I think horses are overrated..... (((sniff)))) "

How lucky we are!  Not only to be able to go off and swim every day, but to drive through this beautiful countryside that serves up fresh surprises at every turn.

Kev Moore

July 16, 2010 Posted by | animals, fun, life, nature, photo, travel, writing | , , , , , , | 9 Comments

By special request: Miki’s baby pink converse bag!

Shelley expressed an interest in seeing my Converse bag’s ‘baby sister’ – so here it is, being worn by Miki as we stopped for a coffee on the coast, driving to Malaga before we went to the States to collect her new passport. I bought it for Miki as a present in Odemira, Portugal. The blue bag you see on the stone table was also a present, from Miki’s brother. It’s a beer cooler – all the way from Tahiti. (He didn’t put any beer in it though!)  😦

Coffee Alfresco

Kev Moore

Miki here, now. I just took a close-up from my Converse bag…

and we don’t use the beer cooler for beer, but… to keep our coffee warm!

May 29, 2010 Posted by | coffee, friends, fun, humor, life, personal, photo, travel, writing | , , , | 14 Comments

My Strawberries

I’m growing more strawberries this year. I was fascinated with the colors of this one.

I am fast approaching the submission deadline for the Alice in Wonderland themed art show. I still have a LOT of work to do. But I am procrastinating, and letting my attention stray to several other projects. I am off to yoga class now. I really need to work on my FOCUS.

May 29, 2010 Posted by | Cafe L'Arte, photo, Shelley's Creations | , | 5 Comments

Over the Hills and Far Away -3-

Clearly, boredom is a huge problem here....writing on walls to relieve it....

Having overnighted in Peyrehorade, we headed for the Atlantic coast, aiming to hit it some kilometers North of Biarritz. Now out of the Pyrenees and in the departement of Landes, we finally arrived at the seaside village of Vieux-Boucau ….

The weather took a turn for the worse and wind and rain swept in. We found a great parking area for the motorhome, with Electricity supplied for a very reasonable 5 euros a night.  Now, I personally find seaside towns out of season and in the rain quite depressing.  However, I ventured out with Miki for a walk and had a look at the beach. I think the British word for this kind of activity is ‘bracing’.

Like I said, bracing.......

Landes - "The Sunshine State"

We hurriedly returned to our Boomobile haven, and battened down the hatches for a night beneath relentless rain, and hoped for better weather to greet us when we moved south down the coast to Biarritz in the morning. We needn’t have worried…..

Kev Moore

May 11, 2010 Posted by | Art, life, photo, travel, writing | , , , | 7 Comments

Evening in A Minor

I’ve been taking a long break from the internet to enjoy the Spring weather, but I’ve been missing my friends here at Cafe Crem. So I thought I’d stop by, with my hot cup of coffee, to share my latest projects with you.

I started playing my violin again, after being away from it for a very long time. I’m very excited about the new challenges this brings. I hope to have some recordings to share with you soon. Until then, I have this new slideshow art piece for you, featuring my silent violin:

I’ve also updated my Electric Blue slideshow, if you’d like to take a peek at that.

My next art project is for a show this summer that will have an Alice in Wonderland theme. I have until next month to create 5 pieces to submit for consideration. I’m thrilled with the possibilites this story presents, but I’m also finding it difficult to get a handle on what direction I want to go in with this. I at least know I want to create 2 or 3 slideshows. I am really enjoying this new format.

Now, it’s time to refill my coffee cup, look through some more of these great photos from Kev and Miki’s trip, then get back outside!

April 18, 2010 Posted by | Art, Cafe L'Arte, Music, nature, photo, Shelley's Creations | , , | 9 Comments

Jackson 2

Okay, it wasn’t all rain in Jackson, we did manage to get out and take a trip around the local reservoir. Here’s a few pics from that day, plus a couple more as yet unpublished.

"After I'd been to IHOP I was THIS wide......"

 

 

Musician - alone with his thoughts

"Are you looking at me?"

Risking the wrath of the ducks, Kev balances egg on head.

 

"So where's this bloody ferry, then?"

Kev outside St.Paul's ..er....I mean, the State Capitol building.

Look Ma, it's a reasonably old tall building!

Kev Moore

February 3, 2010 Posted by | fun, life, photo, photography, travel, writing | , , | 11 Comments

Here comes the Sun (previously published in mooremusic.biz)

 

For Miki and I, Sunday was just exactly that – SUN day. The day we would make our way to that unassuming building on Union Avenue, where Sam Phillips distilled what the world came to know as Rock’n’Roll.  For all the history, I wasn’t sure how this would work as a ‘tour’.  Studios from the 40’s and 50’s by their very nature were simple affairs,  so I didn’t think I’d be walking away with any more than a “bin there, done that”. How wrong I was.

 

 

From the moment we walked into the reception, which was a memorabilia-ridden 50’s style coffee shop, with an impressive 50’s style record shop in the back, we knew this tour was a good idea. The vibe in the place was just right, and we paid our money and waited our turn.

 

We were led up a narrow staircase into a room lined with glass display cases, containing amazing ancient recording devices, including an RCA lathe with a shiny uncut piece of vinyl on it. We saw Sam Phillips’ tape machine on which he recorded anyone and everyone.  Our guide for the tour was Cody, and I have to say right here, he was a star. He sounded genuinely enthusiastic, he was clear, concise, funny, and most importantly, brought the story of Sun Studios to life. Without him, it would have been the poorer.

 

I was incredibly moved by the tale of The Prisoners, who were actually prisoners, brought under armed guard and chained together around a single microphone to record “Just walking in the Rain”.   As the track played, haunting and beautiful, I could picture the scene.

 

We heard how Ike Turner’s band struggled up to Memphis, six in a car, with all their gear on top, and how the guitar amp fell off!  The speaker had two big holes in it, and when they arrived, they stuffed some newspaper in it, and used it for the session. The distorted sound it gave made “Rocket 88” the first genuine rock record with fuzz guitar. the track pumped out around us as I stared through the glass at the actual amp with the newspaper still stuffed into the speaker cone. History in my face.

 

 

Of course, inevitably, we came to the story of Elvis. What I learned was that perhaps the most influential person in the history of Rock was Marion Keisker,  Sam Phillips’ secretary. It was she that was on the front desk when a shy 18 year old Elvis walked in, pretending he wanted to record a song for his mum.  In those days, tape was expensive, so people who wanted to make a record for themselves paid their couple of dollars and had to record it in one take, directly onto the disc. Any mistakes were recorded for all time. If you didn’t like it, you poaid for another go!  And then, there it was, crystal clear, the young Elvis, singing “My Happiness” – his very first recording. Sam Phillips wasn’t in that day, nor was he impressed when Marion kept pressing him to take another look at this shy kid.  He hated the kind of ballady pop that My Happiness represented. A year would go by before events would conspire to bring Scotty Moore and Bill Black, guitarist and baassist respectively, into Sun to have a go at recording something. They didn’t have a singer on hand, and once again it was Marion who pushed Sam to get Elvis in.  Would you believe it, when Scotty and Bill asked this kid what songs he knew he suggested My Happiness once again! After a long day, Sam poked his head around the door and told them to call it quits. Elvis, panicking tried to play every style he knew – remember, he was influenced by country, blues, everything that was happening on the Memphis scene, and gyrating wildly, he launched into an Arthur Crudup blues song, “That’s alright Mama”. Scotty and Bill joined in, fooling around, playing wildly. Sam was stopped in his tracks. He asked them to get organized around the mikes so he could record it properly. This moment, this exact moment, was the birth of rock’n’roll, the creation of an entirely new genre, the  perfect amalgam of disparate styles. It is perhaps the single most important event in recording history. It cannot be overstated.

 

 

Me with Elvis’s microphone

 

As we walked through Marion’s office, and into the studio, we were played a recording of the very first time this song was played on the air. The DJ played it 19 times , one after the other, and the world would never be the same again.  As I stood in this completely authentic, unchanged studio, with this song playing around me, shivers coursed up and down my spine. I touched the microphone Elvis used here, I heard about the ‘Million Dollar Quartet’ – when Sam Phillips had the tape running for an hour and a half as Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johhny Cash and Elvis recorded together.  It wasn’t until after Elvis’s death that Phillips revealed its existence, as Elvis was contracted to RCA when he ‘accidentally’ recorded him!

 

 

This studio launched the careers of all of these people not to mention a guy called Roy Orbison. It is truly the birthplace of rock’n’roll.  It had lain unused, abandoned for 25 years, and was lucky to have survived being demolished and turned into a McDonalds – but it  wasn’t – and I’m lovin’ it!

 

 

Kev Moore

 

January 26, 2010 Posted by | Entertainment, life, Music, photo, writing | , , , , | 6 Comments

Blues challenge – Night 2

Table art at BB Kings....

I returned to Beale Street on Friday night, this time withe Miki in tow, and we began again at BB Kings, where Blackburn had already take the stage, delivering a set no less powerful than the previous nights. We found a  table, ordered a beer and settled down to watch Ali Penney & the money makers, and a number or two by Boa & the Constrictors before nipping in to Superior just in time to catch the last two numbers by The Swamp Doctors, who were truly exceptional.  Their stock in trade being a supertight blues-funk.  Following them was Art Harris and the Z-Tones, with a guitar/sax/drums double bass line-up that swung. Miki was particularly amused by the antics of the double bass player, who spanked, spun and rode his instrument like a 2-bit floozie! Great entertainment, and they seemed to have cranked it up a little since the previous night, perhaps mindful this was make-or-break time with the judges.

A Z-tone gets up close & personal with his instrument.....

A technical hitch meant that by the time we entered the Rum Boogie Cafe, Crossroads Blues band were only just taking the stage, and they delivered a good set that built well, like the previous night, but didn’t quite have the same spark. Then we were in for a treat. Mo’Blues, an Argentinian band who I’d not seen, proceeded to rip up the rule book and put some rock in to the blues, with earth-shattering bass and virtuoso lead guitar, with every rock’n;’roll pose in the book thrown in for good measure. Playing each others guitars, playing them behind their heads, you name it, they did it. Great showmen, and the crowd loved them.

Miki thought they’d clinched the night. But she hadn’t seen the Nico Wayne Toussaint band the night before. Four sharp-dressed dudes took to the stage. Not the youngest men in the room, but jumpin’ to the jive like young kids, and performing with clinical aplomb. Professionalism oozed from every pore. Supremely confident Nico owned the stage blowing up a storm with his harmonica, ably abetted by Josh “The Pitbull of Blues” Rowand on the lead guitar. Flitting between a trio of fine axes, he let his fingers do the talking, and he had a helluva lot to say.  The came, they played they delivered. At the time of writing, I don’t know if they won their venue or not, but I can’t see any other outcome.

We left Beale behind for another night, still marvelling at this pot of gold at the end of my personal musical rainbow.

Kev Moore

Pics by Miki

January 24, 2010 Posted by | culture, Entertainment, events, Festivals of the World, life, Music, photo, travel, writing | , , , | 6 Comments

Beale St, over @ Moore Music!

Kev and Miki at The Rum Boogie Cafe

You can check out a piece about one of our nights out on Beale street, with photos, over at moore:music, by clicking HERE!

January 21, 2010 Posted by | coffee, Entertainment, events, life, Music, photo, travel, writing | Leave a comment