MR. COTTON EYED JOE


Al Dean (born Albert Dean Callaway) was known as Mr. Cotton Eyed Joe.  He died in 2016 at the age of 85.

Early days

Al Dean grew up deep in South Texas near the small town of Freer where most people called him Dean.  He started  his country western band, Al Dean and the All Stars, but kept his day job with an oil field supply company for several more years.  The group played for dances all over South Texas and beyond in dance halls and honky-tonks great and small.

At the request of a man who asked if he knew “Cotton Eyed-Joe,” he and his band started playing it at dances.  In 1967 he recorded it as a single on KIK-R Records.  From then on it became his and the band’s signature song even though several other artists have recorded it.  The dance was sort of precursor to the line dancing of today with a skip, kick and a whoop.  The song was featured in the “Urban Cowboy” mechanical bull scene. which premiered June 5, 1980 in Houston, Texas.  Their Galen said his parents attended the premier.

A writer of one of his obituaries described it this way:

…Dean began recording in the late 1950’s including some rockabilly singles.

In 1967, he hit paydirt with an old fiddle tune titled “Cotton Eyed Joe” for KIKR Records. The song dated back many generations and had been recorded in 1941 by both Adolph Hofner and Bob Wills.

“It was a song that I heard as a kid,” Al said. “No one had ever heard of the song. It had died. I had a cowboy from South Texas come up to me and ask if I knew ‘Cotton Eyed Joe.’ I said I did, but I had not sung it in years. We sat down and taught the guys in my band, note for note, how I remembered the ‘Cotton Eyed Joe.’”

The “Cotton Eyed Joe” inspired a new round dance polka for couples. This dance was adapted into a simplified version as a nonpartner waist-hold, spoke line routine. Heel and toe polka steps were replaced with a cross-lift followed by a kick with two-steps. The lift and kick are sometimes accompanied by shouts of “whoops, whoops,” or the barn yard term “bull shit”, mimicking the act of kicking off barnyard muck. .

“This guy found a girl to dance with every time that we would play ‘Cotton Eyed Joe,'” Dean recalled. “He started kicking around on the dance floor and the poor girl walked off in the middle of the dance. Every time we had a show he would ask us to play the song and he would drag a poor girl out on the dance floor and every time she would walk off. It started to spread from there and now everyone does the ‘Cotton Eyed Joe.'”

The song would become a standard in bars, clubs and dance halls all over the United States and make Al Dean and the Allstars a much sought after commodity on the music circuit.

Eventually it became a family affair with wife, Maxine, and sons, Galen and Gary joining the band.  In the early days, Maxine’s two brothers, Julius Ray Whitley and Albert Whitley were part of the band.  In South Texas if you needed something to do on a Saturday night, you would ask, “Where is Dean playing?”

Maxine played drums.  In this early photo her brothers, Albert Whitley and Julius Ray Whitley were to the right of Al Dean.

In this later photo sons have joined their parents.  Left to right, Gary Callaway, Al Dean and Galen Callaway.

The South Texas Music Walk of Fame honors music and music professionals with local ties.  On June 3, 2017 he and his band, Al Dean and the All Stars,  were inducted into the South Texas Music Walk of Fame along with five other inductees in Corpus Christi, Texas.  The other were:  Chris Perez, the Texas Jazz Festival, Andrew Moore, Beto y Los Fairlanes and Wanda Gregory.  Past inductees include Kris Kristofferson (from Brownsville, Texas),  George Strait and Selena.  

Marker at Water Street Market

The ribbon cutting begins!

Son Gary Callaway cutting the ribbon on the star assisted by former band member, Allen Pollard.  In back from left to right, Maxine, Rick Maguglin, former band member, and son Galen Callaway

His career spanned over fifty years as he continued to perform into his eighties; his last professional appearance was in June of 2016.  He died in October of that year.   A portion of State Highway 16 north of his hometown of Freer will be dedicated as “Al Dean Memorial Highway.”  Over the years about forty musicians were part of the All Stars.  This star was for Al Dean and all the All Stars who ever played in the band.

Al Dean in his later years.  Left to right Al Dean, Maxine, sons Galen and Gary Callaway

He was my first cousin.

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CHECKING IN WITH RANDOM THOUGHTS…


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MURAL ON A WALL OF THE CORPUS CHRISTI CALLER-TIMES BUILDING

CHECKING IN

It would be nice to report that I have been not posting recently because I have been on a winter cruise to Cuba (we did consider it!) or that I have been working on the final draft of a new novel (I  am thinking about it!).  I regret that I have missed reading many of the entertaining blogs that I follow!

The main reason for neglecting my blog and other blogs is that I am volunteering four mornings a week through United Way of the Coastal Bend with the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program.  I will be volunteering through April 17.

RANDOM THOUGHTS BRIEFLY INTO 2017

Our winter came compressed into two days in the early part of January when we had temperatures just below freezing for two nights.  I lost several of my herbs and will be ready to replace them soon, especially my basil.  Now the temperatures are hitting the high eighties so spring is here early as the mesquites are putting out and the live oaks are losing their leaves.

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The last of my basil was used in December to make a small experimental batch of cellobasil, a liqueur, made with pure grain alcohol.  The basil leaves were soaked in the whisky for a few weeks, then the leaves were strained and a mixture of sugar and water were added.  It aged in a dark cabinet for a few more weeks before it was ready.  It turned out better than I expected but it is potent and needs to be sipped slowly.  It is green with a hint of basil and reminds me of absinthe.

The Flag

Trump has begun his administration and has not disappointed his supporters as becoming President has not changed him at all.  He tweets daily about international policy, those who dare disagree with him, Saturday Night Live, domestic policy, judges, theater and various trivia.  I never felt so close to a POTUS before!  He really wants to communicate with me on a personal level!  Seriously, I am appalled that he continues to put the media down and calls all news that does not flatter him fake news.  Scrutiny comes with the job.  He seems to want Americans to believe only what he tells them and cut out the free press and the First Amendment.  And that is a dangerous thing!

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Volunteering with the VITA program is a way for me to combat the negative effects of what is going on with the wide political division in my country.  I can treat each person with respect no matter their status, appearance or attitude and spread tolerance and kindness. The college student volunteers, some international, give me hope for the future.  And paying our taxes unites us all!

Husband and I have been looking at condos on North Beach located in Corpus Christi and near the Harbor Bridge.  Sometimes we think we want to downsize a bit to a life on the beach without the worry of keeping up a yard.  Could we adjust to happy hour on the balcony looking out over the bay and watching the ships come in and out and the dolphins at play?  Maybe…maybe not.   We will see if we are brave enough for change!

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Thanks for stopping by!  Remember that every day is a gift and we all depend on each other and this Earth we all call home.

DAY OF THE DEAD OR THE DAY I DIE


A post from two years ago.

My beautiful picture

NO VISITORS

Day of the Dead –
Paths of flower petals and
burning incense guide
spirits to the house of the living.
Tables with favorite food and drink.
orange and yellow flowers,
all offered to the spirits.
Then the living go to
graves of the dead.
Custom says ill fortune, illness
death or worse
may befall
those who make no offerings.

Who will decorate my grave?
Who will bring me food?
Who will talk to me?
No one.
Cremation may be best for me.

 

For more on the traditions of the Day of the Dead check out this website.

http://www.celebrate-day-of-the-dead.com/

 

PINK PLANE ON THE FLIGHT DECK!


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Sitting proudly on the flight deck of the USS Lexington is a plane that has gone pink in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness.   A press release described it this way.

“The USS Lexington is excited to announce the very first F9F-8 Cougar painted in pink. The F9F-8 Cougar will be displayed on the flight deck, for all to see, in support of Breast Cancer Awareness.

For the first time in history, it will be showcased in the color “Heliconia”, a vibrant shade of pink. The idea was presented by the Director of Operations & Exhibits, Rusty Reustle, from a technique he observed Disney using while filming Pearl Harbor. Dishwashing liquid is applied to latex paint and prevents the paint from becoming permanent.  The F9F-8 Cougar is the swept wing version of its forerunner, the F9F Panther — Grumman’s first jet fighter plane. The Blue Angels flew with the F9F-8 and one –8T from 1955 to 1958. The USS Lexington chose a fighter plane in support of all who have fought and continue to fight the battle of cancer.”

(Scenes from the movie,” Pearl Harbor“- 2001, were filmed on the USS Lexington and starred Ben Affleck.)

pinkjet2016ABOVE:  Rocco Montesano, Executive Director; Rusty Restule, Director of Operations & Exhibits; Leon Root, Chief of Maintenance
BELOW:  USS Lexington Crew (employees) & Board Members

The jet will remain on display in pink through the month of October and then will be power washed back to its original color.  The USS Lexington rests in Corpus Christi Bay, just across the ship channel from downtown Corpus Christi, Texas.

(Here is a post from last year, “Boobs and Betty Bombers”, when I joined at team from the Lex to raise money for the American Cancer Society.)

MONDAY MADNESS: The Coastal Crone’s Political Poll


voting

Voting is serious, but this presidential election has been sad, crazy, wild, vulgar, funny, stupid, silly, unbelievable, entertaining, shallow, unpredictable and way too long in my humble opinion.  There are all sorts of polls from every angle to try to predict the popularity or  trust of the candidates by region, gender, income, age, ethnicity, education,  etc.   I have created my own simple poll, thanks to WordPress.

Participation is open to anyone who visits my blog (following is appreciated but not  required) and is not limited to legal United States citizens.  International participation is encouraged.  Polling is anonymous and comments do not have to reflect your choice unless you wish to do so but please keep them civil.  Thank you very much!

POLL NOTE:  If you want to view results, click on “View Results” which will show comments that do not show up in the regular “Comments.”  I do want want anyone to think I am blocking ANY comments!!   I think that comments that show up there are by those who may not be using WordPress.

Celebrating the Autumn Equinox with Honeymoon Mead


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The word “honeymoon” originated from the tradition of giving newly weds a moon’s supply (month’s) of mead on their wedding night. This sweet mead is balanced by a delicate oaking in bourbon. Complex & rich in taste. – From the website of Rohan Meadery

 

 

MEAD: An alcoholic beverage created by fermenting honey with water, sometimes with various fruits, spices, grains or hops.  The alcoholic content ranges from about 8% to more than 20%.  The defining characteristic of mead is that the majority of the beverages’s fermentable sugar is derived from honey.  It may be still, carbonated, or naturally sparkling; dry, semi-sweet, or sweet.  Mead was produced in ancient history thoughout Europe, Africa and Asia. (Wikipedia)

A few weeks ago Husband and I took a day trip to Rohan Meadery, a small meadery situated between the south central Texas towns of La Grange, Round Top and Fayetteville.  We enjoy visiting wineries but had never been to a meadery and did not know that Texas has seven meaderies of which Rohan Meadery is the oldest.  There is a modest tasting room where we sampled five each.  We found most to be too sweet for us, but we did find that the Honeymoon mead was quite good –  smoothly semi-sweet yet dry but with a hint of something stronger.   The meadery has its own bee hives and chickens range freely.

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Our alter set to celebrate the Autumn Equinox this evening.

While in the area we also visited the Texas Czech Heritage and Cultural Center  and the Monument Hill and Kreische Brewery State Historic Sites  Just outside of La Grange is where the Chicken Ranch, made famous by the movie “Best Little Whorehouse in Texas” starring Dolly Parton and Burt Reynolds, was located.  Apparently the descendants of the Germans and Czechs that settled in the area in the mid-1800s were fairly tolerant of prostitution at the time.

May you find peace and light as we begin another season and embrace the beauty and possibilities of each day.  Cheers!

equinox