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The Ghost of Roosevelt December 7, 2013

Posted by The Typist in music, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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“I don’t think he takes requests,” my friend Eric said.

Jon Cleary had in fact spent the past two hours hunched over the piano at d.b.a with the intensity of a concert pianist at Carnegie Hall, announcimg songs to the microphone. From deep inside his trance the spirits of Professor Longhair and James Booker escaped into the room like the thermocline cloud of forbidden cigarettes, hovering at about ear level, microscopically turbulent at the pitch and roll of each arpeggio and left clef chord.

As I walked up with a bill in my hand he turned briefly toward the audience to announce last somg. I waved the ten and asked, “would consider a request? Some Roosevelt Sykes?”

“Some Roosevelt Sykes,” he echoed back in a flat, uncommitted voice.

I dropped the bill in the bucket and walked back to my friends. Before I could turn around to face the stage, he called the song. “Some boogie-woogie,” he said. “The Honeydripper.” Eric began to reminisce about the Maple Leaf back when, Roosevelt and Booker and the Professor, but only Patrice was really listening.

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