Category Archives: Trop Rock Happenings

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Richard Crooks Memorial, Where is Key West Heading?

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Then there’s the Conch Train. It’s been running for about sixty years. A little tour that is loaded with fantastic, historical information. Apparently there are some in town who are now complaining about the speaker system on them, as they drive through their neighborhoods. I’d be willing to lay odds that these complainers have not been living with the Conch Train for sixty years. I’d wager that these idiots moved here while the Conch Train was well established and today want Key West to be just like it was wherever they came from, be it Scarsdale N.Y., Newton Ma., Atlanta, or Michigan.

What they should do is move back.

This ain’t the mainland.

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However, one thing is abundantly clear: The overall quest of the island’s goal is to be more and more like the mainland cities in Florida, such as Tampa, St. Petersburg, Ft. Lauderdale, or Miami. 

Personally, I think they are not seeing the island’s niche, that being an island at a far outpost from civilization. 

Article source: http://keywestmusic.blogspot.com/2015/01/richard-crooks-memorial-where-is-key.html


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Richard Crooks A.K.A. Father Time

However, Richard was always the most professional player I’ve played with. Before we recorded my album, I gave everyone who was going to play on it an acoustic demo that I recorded, so that they could learn the songs. Now mind you, the entire crew were first rate musicians. When we got into the studio, more often than not it became a musician saying to me “Woh! Wait a minute, what the hell did the song do there?” to which I replied “I gave you the demo recording, and the chord sheet that went along with it. Didn’t you listen to it? Then they would say “Well, I was thinking your stuff was like that other Trop Rock guy……” and I would reply “No, my stuff isn’t like his or anyone else’s. My stuff has chord changes that are not the norm. They go off the beaten path, but manage to flow quite naturally.  That’s why I took the time and money to record and give you the recording and lyric/ chord charts, so you wouldn’t be learning the damn song in the friggin’ studio.”

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Here’s an amazing thing about Richard Crooks. When we were finished with the rhythm tracks, (Bubba Low Notes, played the bass at the San Carlos Institute sessions along with Richard, by the way!), we went back to the studio to prepare for the other instruments, that would be added to the rhythm tracks. As it appears on the grid on the computer, there are the sound waves and every few inches there are vertical lines. These are the exact points of where the beat lies. As humans, no one is perfect. Inevitably, a musician is either a touch in front of the beat, or a touch behind the beat here and there on occasion. The engineer will move it digitally to compensate for the error. I’m talking about drums, however this can happen with all instruments.

My life long friend, Vintz McKeon, came to Key West a few years back. Vintz and I had been in bands together until I left New Jersey and moved to Florida when I was twenty one. Vincent is an extraordinary drummer, based in New Jersey, not too far from NYC and is in the city very often catching music shows of all sorts of genres over the years. From the Allman Brothers, to Charles Mingus, to The Band, to Tower of Power, to James Taylor, to Miles Davis. He’s also active, playing with a band named “The Harmony Brothers” for the last several years. When Vintz heard Richard, he was in awe.

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(“Island Blue” featuring Richard Crooks on drums)

Guitarist Larry Baeder mentioned to me the day after Richard’s passing that the entire music fraternity in New York City was mourning. I can tell you that so is the one in Key West.

Key West is so grateful you chose to be part of this island.

My most sincere condolences go out to his wonderful wife Nina and his entire family.

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To obtain my music:

My CD is available on iTunes, CD Baby, CD Universe, Rhapsody, and Beachfront Radio.
Search: Key West Chris

Thank you everyone!!

 

Article source: http://keywestmusic.blogspot.com/2014/12/richard-crooks-aka-father-time.html


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MOTM Part 3 and MUST DO’s in Key West!

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Later that evening we headed over to The Bull where Kelly McGuire was playing and hosting the Atlanta Parrot Head event there. Lots of friends were there as well! Key West / NJ resident and pal Beth Schreier (she was also at Schooner! She gets around!), Dianna Greenfield Christ, Pablo Heins, Art Hessen, Darlene Hessen, Jeff Lange, Debbie Simmons, Lee Simmons, Micki Greer, Fred Wunder, Rich McGuire, Michelle Tafoya, Brian Fields, …the list went on and on! A typical Bull evening too! Lots and lots of laughs all night long!

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Complements to Mike Miller for organizing this great event!

Mr. Andy Westcott playing for the Hugo Duarte fundraiser at Captain Tony’s

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(Sam Rainwater)


MUST DO’s IN KEY WEST

On an odd note, at the aforementioned Sunday event at Captain Tony’s, Dani and I started off with a song of mine, “Sailing”. Before we started I got on the mic and asked how many people in the house had been out on the water since they’ve been here? No one raised their hands. I thought maybe no one heard me, so I asked again. Again nothing. So I said “No one’s been out on the water?”. Nothing. We went on with our set and all went great and we were well received!

“SAILING” 

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Thanks!

Article source: http://keywestmusic.blogspot.com/2014/11/motm-part-3.html


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Fantasy Fest/MOTM Part 1

MOTM 2014  Part 1
The last two weeks ave been beyond busy! We were busy throughout Fantasy Fest and MOTM. Fantasy Fest Tuesday and Wednesday Dani and I played The Bull’s late night gig 10 – 2 What a hoot that was! The place was packed all night long with people in various costumes, plus a few with body paint.

Fantasy Fest is a great festival. Naturally the body paint folks get the main publicity from it all, however in reality, they only compromise maybe about 15% of the crowd.


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Dani Hoy and John Sausser at The Bull

The Shanty Hounds had their weekly Saturday gig at The Hen and Hound, on Angela Street, just in from Duval St. and we made it a Welcome to Key West gig for some of our out of town friends, who arrived in time for the Fantasy Fest Parade, later that evening!

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Art and Darlene Hessen arrived from Georgia along with their friends Lee and Debbie Simmons. What a great way to travel to Key West!  Dave and Audrey Overholt in from Ohio, Tim and Angela Cordts came from just a few Keys up, Naval Airstation at Boca Chica Key and Tim sat in with is playing harp! They live on their sailboat at the marina there. Talk about living the good life!

We had a “Welcome To MOTM” BBQ party at our place on Sunday. A stellar crowd again at our home, what we call “the Conch Rock Shanty” too! Michelle Tofoya and Brian Fields from Alburquerque, Patty and Rick Holden from New Jersey, Micki Greer from Tennesee, Fred Wunder from Pittsburg, Audrey and Dave Overholt from Ohio, and Shanty Hound percussionist John Sausser and Terri Wlaschin, recent arrivals to Key West from Maryland.

A BBQ is our standard welcome party here at the Conch Rock Shanty and this followed in the tradition. I think it’s fair to say that a marvenous time was had by all! If you come to Key West, let us know and we’ll throw a BBQ! (we’re just looking for an excuse to throw party!)


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The next day we were off to Key Largo, 100 miles (162 km)  up the Keys, for the 7th annual Pit Stop Party, with our friends Brian and Michelle from New Mexico!  This would be an over night excursion and we wanted to make it an adventure. To make things easier on us all, we let our dogs Cajun and Tooloulou drive while we sat in the back and enjoyed the scenic drive through the Keys, which by the way, is always rated in the top ten most scenic drives in the United States.

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On the way down, someone posted in facebook that they got a speeding ticket rushing to Key West.

Wow. rushing to Key West. Now there’s a prime example of someone who is in a mainland mentality. Hey! You’re in the Keys. Relax. You don’t rush to get anywere here. Leave that “got to get there” mentality back in Pittsburg, Atlanta, Newyork, L.A…. what have you. If the speed limit in the Keys is 45, go 45… or 40, for that matter. The I rushed to get here so I can relax” theory is just flat out wrong.

Before I moved here I lived in a town called Cutler Bay, which was about 36 miles to Key Largo. I used to head to the Keys quite often and whenever I crossed that border line at the Last Chance Saloon in Florida City, where the Conch Republic starts, it was as if a large weight lifted off my shoulders. The pressures of day to day life were now released and I just relaxed. On the 18 mile streatch ( the drive through the Everglades between Florida City and Key Largo, the speed limit is 55. I’d go 55 but it seemed there was always someone who had to rush to the Keys come up behind me. Here’s the usual look on their face:

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Now is that the mindset you want to be in when you’re in the the Keys? Of course not! Leave the rushing around back at your front door when you leave. Or at lease when you cross the border to the Conch Republic.

Come to the Keys, relax and chill. You’re on Island Time!

The Pit Stop Party was a blast! They had a new location this year and it turned out, dogs were not allowed! Holy Crap! Well, in the end they were kind enough to let us stay in the back area, which was cool with us! We hung out with Harry Teaford and Billy Bob of Radio A1A! How cool is that? They play our music and also air our pod cast shows “The Key West Music Show – Conch Rockin in the Keys” and “Key West Beer Tales – The Sum of all Beers” Now that’s what I call good company! Great hanging with you guys!

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What a beautiful setting too!
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An all day event, with many performers, a big tiki hut, good food, BYOB, right on the water… who could ask for more? What a great event! Thanks to Ray Yu for putting on such a great event!

Just before sunset we ran up to my old favorite bar, the Caribbean Club, up US1 a couple of miles for sunset. Tough to beat both the establishment and the sunsets there. A lot of the 1948 movie “Key Largo” was filmed here and you can feel the spirits of Bogie and Becall there!
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For the evening we retired to Sunset Cove resort, which I spoke about in the last blog. I love this place. As it turned out, our friend Rick Schettino was also there and he, Dani, Brian, Michelle, and I headed out on the dock with guitars playing commenced! After a short while a few people came out who were also staying at the motel and joined us. They were from Washington State and had spent the last week in Key West for Fantasy Fest and catching a flight from Fort Lauderdale for home in the morning.

Dani, Brian, Rick, and I had decided all the songs we were going to play that evening out on the dock, would be the slow, quiet ones that we wrote, yet don’t get to perform all that much. It just fit the situation. All too often playing in bars, people want the up-beat, get up and go songs. These folks from Washington State were digging what we were playing though. They had a week of get up and go and the quiet music suited them perfectly. It was a seriously great evening of playing music in an ideal setting. A light breeze and you could hear the lines on the masts of the sailboats, anchored off shore.

Waking up in Key Largo at Sunset Cove is so relaxing! Nothing like Key West, which for us is like the big city.  This is tropical tranquility at it’s best. Do yourself a favor…

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(A view of the dock at Sunset Cove in Key Largo where we just hung out and played the night before)

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(At Sunset Cove Beach Resort beach tiki with Dany Hoy, Michelle Tofoya, Brian Fields, Key West Chris Rehm Cajun Rehm and Tooloulou Rehm)

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Dani Hoy and the author, Key West Chris hanging in the Tiki

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view of Sunset Cove Beach Resort, Key Largo, from the beach.

Here we are in Key Largo and now are heading back to Key West, albeit making several stops on the way! The game is a foot and we’re off to other destinations in the Florida Keys, bringing music and fun to wherever we go! That’s what we do!

To be continued…..


To obtain my music:

My CD is available on iTunes, CD Baby, CD Universe, Rhapsody, and Beachfront Radio.
Search: Key West Chris

Thank you everyone!!

Article source: http://keywestmusic.blogspot.com/2014/11/fantasy-festmotm-part-1.html


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