Headed to Murhphy’s for Potato Pancakes

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Good morning from Whiskey Creek, where, with Lynn and me, my two sons, Phillip and Peter, their two wives Summer and Ivona, granddaughters Lexy, Ava and Lucy and grandson Ted, the humans actually tie the number of non-human mammals…ten to ten. Oh happy day. Actually, oh happy days. So much fun.

I’d like to spend a little time sharing some of the highlights but seeing as how we’re about to make another one…a trek to Murphy’s for the best potato pancakes in the Western Hemisphere, I’ll have to settle with a re-run of a welcome I wrote right around this time four years ago. It was about, what else, the impending GREAT 48 Jam in Bakersfield. Each year the excitement builds a little earlier, a little stronger and is generated by the swelling army of folks who trek down (or up as the case may be) for the whirlwind weekend. But back in 2009, I was all about convincing people they should head on down to Oil Town to give the event a try. Interestingly I wouldn’t change much about my list of reasons for loving this CBA event four years later…

Top Ten Reasons for Loving the GREAT 48 Hour Jam in Bakersfield

Everyone has their own…that’s the nature of love….but here are mine.

#10—I love the GREAT 48 Hour Jam because Duane Campbell thought of the idea and I learned some years back that when Duane starts a sentence with, “Hey, you guys wanna…..” a good time is almost certain to ensue.

#9—I love the 48 because of the chicken fried steak that hangs over both ends of the enormous platter brought to you by your server at Buck’s Crystal Palace. (I must admit I’d love the event even more if Buck was still around to sing Tiger by the Tail, but in life you can’t have everything,)
#8—I love the 48 because each year I get to sleep in the bedroom of the Presidential Suite, which makes me feel very, well, presidential, even though no one else is willing to try sleeping in the room because of the raucous, till-dawn jam going on in the adjacent room. (Being booked into the PS is, Craig and Kelvin have explained to me, both an honor and a curse, the curse taking a far greater toll by Sunday morning check out time.)

#7—I love going to the jam in Bakersfield because it’s actually about the same distance from my house in Jamestown as it is from Pasadena in the L.A. Basin, which means I get to play music with scores of folk who, because of the Huck Finn Festival which takes place on the same day as our Grass Valley fest, I never knew existed. (It’s the north-meets-south thing in the best possible sense.)

#6—I love the GREAT 48 Hour Jam because, even after this many years, it continues to help get the awful taste out of my mouth left by our oh-so-hopeful but nevertheless ruinous SuperGrass Festival. (That something so much fun, with some much energy and promise, could have taken hold in Bakersfield, the CBA’s field of dreams-gone-bad, gives me hope.)

#5—I love the 48 because at any given time of the day or night and within a three to seven minute walk, I’ll be able to find the perfect jam for me…some familiar faces, some new ones, mostly traditional tunes and at least half of those Stanley Brothers and only an occasional song in B or Bb.

#4—I love the Bakersfield jam because, even though it’s the same every year and delivers exactly what the name promises…..forty-eight hours of jamming…. you can always expect something new and different—this year we’ll have a Thursday night kick-off concert by the Brombies, followed by a reception in the President Suite, a half dozen or so workshops on Saturday afternoon, (banjo, fiddle, mandolin-making, etc.), vendors selling strings, tuners and other essentials, and…..drum roll please…..a new, acoustically superior room for our Saturday night band scramble.

#3—I love the event Duane Campbell dreamed up because, even though you’ve got lots of choices of things to do, you have the absolute freedom to do any or none depending on your fancy. (This freedom is due in part to the fact that since our event doesn’t cost any thing you’re not wasting any money by missing something.)

#2—I love the whole idea of the GREAT 48 Hour Jam because the extreme goodness and saneness of the notion of people getting together in small and medium sized groups to make music spontaneously and harmoniously is reinforced by the fact that so many people show up from all of the state to do just that. (That is to say, the 48 helps me know I’m not crazy.)

#1—I love driving down to Bakersfield every year because I come from a very small family, (aside from my wife and kids and grand kids, everybody’s pretty much dead), and for me the GREAT 48 Hour Jam is as close as I’m ever going to get to a family reunion.

Hmm, only two grand kids when I wrote this back in ’09. Life is so damned good.

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