Another day in paradise here on the Gulf of Mexico. The Bennett clan has gathered once again for a couple of weeks of glorious sun, warm Gulf water, swimming, eating, reading, rum-centric drinking and the occasional naughty hot dog for breakfast. Also making my way through a great 6 DVD box of Ernie Kovacs shows, a brilliant early pioneer in television who knew what to do with the medium before TV itself know what to do. We're fortunate to get away to this lovely island each year and have the company of our children as well, though after last night's disastrous attempt at a board game they may have second thoughts next year.
As the waves lap the shore just below our deck, it is hard to believe that two weeks from today I'll be in London to begin rehearsals for this autumn's tour. We're having a second helping of the tour we did last year with Bob Dylan, this time in North America. Looking forward to seeing Mark and the guys soon and having a two month jaunt across America and Canada.
I was talking with a friend earlier this year who mentioned it was coming up on the 40th anniversary of the recording of Neil Diamond's Hot August Night album. I've not exactly been counting down the calendar but it really caught me by surprise. You're joking, I said.... when? He replied, uhmm.... August. Yes, of course that's when it would be and here it is. I've trod those boards several times since 1972, a couple more with Neil and a few thereafter. The thing I always remember is being 21 years old, standing behind the closed curtain as the show began, theatrical smoke so thick you could scarcely see a foot in front of you let alone breathe. The orchestra's opening strains of the overture to the first song and it's final held peak note before I staggered through the opening riff of Crunchy Granola Suite, the curtains mercifully opening to let that smoke out and we were off like a freight train. I would never have dreamed the recording of those shows would still be held in such high esteem four decades later. I'm proud to have been on those recordings and salute Neil & Co. as they continue making and breaking records.
The historic Phoenix music store Ziggie's is in the process of restoring their 1956 neon sign which has fallen victim to vandals and one too many desert storms. It's the same sign that was above the doorway when young Duane Eddy ambled in and bought the 1957 Gretsch that produced that rebellious twang we all love. Ziggie's is also one of the leading accordion dealers and repair headquarters in the west. When my pal Al Casey left L.A. and moved back home to Phoenix, he started teaching at Ziggie's and tutored countless guitar players there. You can see that famous neon sign, find out about it's restoration and even help, here's the link: http://www.indiegogo.com/ziggiessign?a=1006166&i=emal
As this summer comes to a close, I hope it's been good for everyone. It certainly has been a hot one.