Brad Spurgeon's Blog

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Another Wednesday Double-header, this Time with Joe on Violin

January 6, 2011

I was sitting in the Highlander last night when I felt a tap on my shoulder and turned to see Joe Cady and his violin case. It was the first time I’d seen Joe at the Highlander. Joe and I have had a funny criss-crossing life in Paris. Joe works in computers by day and on the violin, guitar and voice by night. He’s from somewhere in the U.S. where the accent is noticeable. He plays a mean violin, but his main instrument is the guitar.

We met at Norman Spinrad’s 60th birthday party in 2000 in Paris near Notre Dame. We then ran into each other a couple of years ago at the Biz’Art jam session near the place de la Nation, where we saw each other a couple more times. We then met up again at Norman Spinrad’s 70th birthday party in Paris in September. Then Joe came and played along with me at my brunch at the Mecano, where he also joined up with David Broad, and went on to do a gig with him.

Joe was at the Highlander with Rony Boy on guitar and vocals in order to warm up for a gig they are doing at the Baroc this Saturday in their band, The Romantic Black Shirts.

As a warm up for his warm up for his gig, Joe offered to play violin along with me at the Highlander. I was to perform just before them. I agreed to this whole-heartedly, as it is always a pleasure to play with Joe, and it is always nice to have the weapon of a bigger wall of sound at an open mic aside from just the voice and guitar. But I had to change song choices to suit this, and I decided to go with “Crazy Love,” which Joe suggested, with “Not Much in the Mood,” the song I wrote at 16 about losing a lover and being in the mood for nuthin’ (and which I have now given a name after X decades), and “Just Like a Woman.”

It went over very well, I felt good, felt into the music, wore no sun glasses, made no explanations about my black eye, and the three songs were filmed by some guy with a pretty professional video camera, and he may be sending me the results eventually. It felt right on.

Joe and Rony Boy then played and they were really together, and they got the whole room moving and shaking and tapping the tables with the Johnny Cash song I recorded…..

There was the interesting 73-year-old British “chap” who played before me, and for a while I was worried that I might be overshadowed by him – but in the end, the contrast proved helpful. I’d heard of this man doing the open mics – and apparently he uses my list of open mics to find places – but this was the first time I had seen him.

After Joe’s performance I suggested to him that we go to the Cavern, which had its open vocal jam just around the corner. I had a hunch I could get Joe up there playing with the band and with his violin, and I was right. And it proved to be the longest jam I’d seen at the Cavern’s open mic, and it was very cool – “Sympathy for the Devil,” with Joe singing and playing violin…. (oh, and reading the lyrics too….)

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