Tuesday, July 13, 2010

fiddle & tuna

Strangely enough, I found myself listening to some cuts by Aly Bain the other day. This is unusual because I am a noted disliker of Irish music. But Aly Bain is such a wonderful fiddler that I enjoy whatever he plays; besides, straight-up Irish fiddle tunes are not all that different from straight-up American fiddle tunes.

I once saw Aly at a folk festival, and in the lobby of the building, Aly had an impromptu double fiddle jam with Jay Ungar. Aly picked up Jay's great shuffle in no time, and it was a pleasure to see them play. I have a sweet tooth for double fiddle *and* a sweet tooth for a good shuffle. Any good fiddler should be able to play one.

I am fussy as hell about fiddlers, and worship the really good ones. The late Richie Shulberg was wonderful, as is his former bandmate Alan Kaufman. And I think I recently mentioned the guy from the Red Clay Ramblers, whose name is escaping me just now. Among the forefathers, I like Eck Robertson, and even though I mostly don't care for bluegrass, I love both Vassar Clements and Clark Kessinger. Also Alan Block. If anyone knows of any music blogs where I can find Kessinger or Block, please let me know. I'm also looking for the Art Rosenbaum/Al Murphy album.

I never had the patience to practice enough to master any instrument; I play about half a dozen just enough to appreciate people who really play them well. The one I got best at is the banjo. I have a banjo and also a uke. I ought to spend some quality time with both of them. I had a notion about playing English music hall songs on the uke, and recently downloaded a really good anthology of those songs.

Best of Aly & PhilAly Bain - 50 Fiddle Solos (Music Sales America)Transatlantic Sessions 3Roads Not Travelled

It's still ridiculously hot, which means another pasta and bean salad for dinner. This time I have fava beans, so I'll probably season it with cumin and go kind of middle-eastern. I adore cumin and am always looking for an excuse to use it. I often put it in tuna salad.

Tuna salad: Barry dumps a can of tuna on a plate and a spoon of mayo. Me, I make a big production out of it. My tuna salad can include a hard-boiled egg, nuts or sunflower seeds, raisins, red onion, tomato, roasted peppers, apple, mustard, black pepper, ground chipotle pepper, garlic powder, oregano, basil, cumin, olive oil, recaito, and so on...plus mayo. I like to eat it on toast but I really like it with crackers or even tortilla chips. Barry teases me a lot about the time it takes me to fix myself some tuna. It started many years ago, back in good old Mohegan Woodlands, when a friend's mom, Lila Hammer, made tuna salad with mayo, pecans, and canned mandarin oranges. It was awesome. My mother made tuna salad with diced green pepper, and I was unaware that celery was the norm. Green pepper was also quite good.

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