Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Colorblind James and the White Caps, Circa '78

When the White Caps first came into being, a typical night's songlist boasted a great smattering of covers such as Little Sheila, Be Bop a Lula, Ready Teddy, Money, All By Myself, Good Rockin' Tonight, Great Balls of Fire, Jambalaya, Iko-Iko, Little Queenie, Sea Cruise, etc. Along with that were Chuck's jugband songs like Do Women Have Souls?, Can't Stop Doing What I'm Doing, Blue Dog and If I Could Play the Tuba as well as his new rocknroll/rockabilly songs such as Sophisticated, I'm Still Dancing, After the Fox, Purple and Gold, Please Please Please, Don't You Believe in Me?, Crazy-O, Pay Up, You Need Somebody on Your Side, Water Street Stomp, Blind Girl and of course America, America. More comprehensive lists of covers and originals will appear later. For now, that's certainly enough. During a six-hour gig, the band might have played at the most two or three slow songs. The best of these was Chuck's ultra-spiritual pre-lounge-craze foxtrot "Diamond Mine":

Went to the diamond mine
And I grabbed a few
I grabbed a couple for me
I grabbed a couple for you
I grabbed a couple for me
I grabbed a couple for you
And don't you feel like a king
When you're visiting the Diamond Mine?

Chuck said he had written it while sitting on the steps of the Water Street Music Hall at about 3am. It was one of those songs that simply fell into his lap as he strummed his acoustic guitar. Chuck was a night owl and the staying up to the dreamy hours of early morning, he always felt more open to the grabbing songs from the cosmos. Each song was a diamond plucked from the diamond mine. And each song made him feel like a king with a place and purpose in the infinite cosmos.

2 comments:

Martin Greggor said...

Anyone know where I can get a recording of Diamond Mine by the CJE? I had it from an Andy Kershaw session they did for the BBC but somewhere in the move from tape to digital it got lost aaaaargh !!!!


Martin

Anonymous said...

Thanks due to Phil for getting me this "gem" (ha ha piss poor joke). I love this track it just has such a mellow swing groove - lost it for years and now it is safely backed up in at least five locations - not taking any risks. Never fails to lift my spirit - Don't be no early bird is the final word.