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new cruise ship: "American Song"

Postby bloke » Sat Oct 13, 2018 6:24 pm

I showed up today to play on the ship, and thought I may have screwed up (though I was certain that the text said the ship was to be moored at Beale Street Landing (foot of Beale Street, with the spiral ramp and floating dock).

It is a BRAND NEW ($40M) Ship...NOT a sternwheeler cruise boad, but about the same size (actually: larger)...sort of a five-deck "cruise yacht". I'm pretty sure this was its maiden voyage...uber "new carpet smell".

The lounge that we play in on this ship (instead of on the front of the second deck) is on the front of the FOURTH deck...up much higher. The lounge is a bit bigger than the lounges on the big sternwheelers...and the ceiling is much higher, rather than only a flat 8-foot ceiling (so better sound). Count up to the fourth deck in the picture, notice where there are many windows close together on the front third of the fourth deck, and you'll see where we play.

The center staircase/elevators is glass-glass-glass and spacious.
I think I like the sternwheelers better, but this is really sleek and (though the sternwheelers are only built to LOOK old) modern.

Image

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Re: new cruise ship: "American Song"

Postby Three Valves » Sat Oct 13, 2018 6:32 pm

I dig the smaller ships. More expensive though. :(

How was the gig??
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Re: new cruise ship: "American Song"

Postby bloke » Sat Oct 13, 2018 7:51 pm

The gig was the same as always, with mostly the same type of people - though some appeared to be a bit younger than usual. ...On one of the sternwheelers in its lounge, I recall an incident where an old lady told me that I should consider polishing my tuba a bit more often. I retorted by suggesting to her that she ought to pull up her pantyhose, so they wouldn't appear so wrinkled. She then told me that she wasn't wearing any. :shock:

Rather than a bunch of dark wood, multicolored upholstery, and whimsical decor (as is experienced in the sternwheelers), we were surrounded today by a lot of white and a lot of glass.
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Re: new cruise ship: "American Song"

Postby Three Valves » Sat Oct 13, 2018 7:58 pm

Classic!!
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Re: new cruise ship: "American Song"

Postby bloke » Sun Oct 14, 2018 8:05 am

I'm not much of a picture-taker, but I realized today that I did snap three pictures total: from inside the lounge and from the top of the stairwell.

Image
Image
Image

The guy (Dan Knowles (blue shirt in the back nearest the door to the outside) actually stays with the cruise, sings, tells, stories, and teaches banjo beginner class lessons to anyone who is interested. Not "officially" a member of our jazz band (and this is probably his first-ever delve into any flavor of "jazz" music), he also offers to help haul garbage on the ship, and do most anything (no extra pay) to fight off boredom. Beginning a couple of years ago, he began sitting in the back of the lounge and listening to all of our Saturday morning boarding-time gigs.
A year-or-so later, he began sitting in every time. He sits next to our guitar player (hollow-body F-hole cutaway) who previously played banjo with the band, but who is primarily a guitar player. I suggested (years ago) that he just go ahead and play guitar, since he has more guitar chops and because it also offers more mellow-sounding and more-resonant chords (particularly since there is no keyboard instrument). The leader agreed, and then the guitar player came up and thanked me profusely for suggesting it...
...but now (as explained above) we have a guitar AND a banjo on these cruise-boarding gigs, and the two of them are referred to (when introducing the band) as the "Wire Choir". It works out, because the guitar player can now play single-note solo choruses (i.e. melodic), while the banjo guy (again, who stays with the entire cruises) keeps the chords going.

The tall/slim guy in the picture Jim Pettit (who, it appears, might possibly be receiving his payment) is the owner of the venerable Memphis Drum Shop. If you have any percussion friends, they have likely heard of the Memphis Drum Shop, just as they've heard of Lone Star Percussion.

As long as I'm yaking about the band, the trombone player is the band leader, Howard Lamb, who is retired from the Navy Commodores as the former lead trombonist. We usually give Howard a smooth 4/4 beat for his choruses, to match his style of playing. Howard has some pretty good patter that he offers (jokes, stories, fake-stories-that-are-jokes, self-deprecating remarks about himself, insults towards the rest of us...occasionally joking insults towards good-natured/loud-mouthed guests, etc.) that he offers to the folks in-between numbers in a low-key and almost-vocal-fry-but-not voice. Being from North Carolina, he has the appropriate accent and inflections for the patter as well. Nerd-info-wise, Howard plays a very old Bach 12 trombone.

To Howard's left (to the right of Howard in the picture) is Jim Mahannah (installing his Mardi Gras beads). Also now in his 70's and having survived throat cancer, Jim is a virtuoso-level jazz saxophone/clarinet/flute player. (Back in very end of the 1970's - when he and I were working an every-night polka band gig at a very-very nice German bar in downtown Memphis...where we would play polkas, waltzes, shadishes, etc, along with C&W, top-40, 40's jitterbug, and most anything...and I was doubling on bass) Jim would bring three or four horns (including his bass trumpet...but not his trumpet, because there was a trumpet player in the band). Jim could improvise 12-to-the-bar to strains of Viennese (Strauss) waltzes on flute (think about the tempo, and the speed of the 16th's at that tempo), and we all also knew six or seven Strauss waltzes (all the strains) without having to look at lead sheets...and no, we didn't have written out parts to anything, just a fat stack of melody/chords lead sheets that stayed sitting on the floor next to the accordion player. Anyway...Jim is an extraordinary musician, and was actually playing TRUMPET (definitely a secondary double) with the band yesterday. Jim also plays trombone (was the trombonist with the New Orleans Jazz Ramblers, and is heard [mostly] playing trombone on that band's c.d. - as well as clarinet), piano, bass, and drums. A month ago, Jim bought a piccolo (mostly, for fun, but also) to pull out for 4th-of-July/Veterans Day (etc.) gigs. I remember doing a 4th of July gig with him a few years ago... There were only four of us being pulled around through several residential streets (only $500 neighborhood budget to hire a band), and we probably played 20-or-30 patriotic marches (no sheet music) in that parade...stuff like American Patrol, Col. Bogey, King Cotton, The Billboard March, The Thunderer, Americans We, Washington Post March, His Honor, (of course) S&SF, many others...most anything that we collectively remembered playing from our "youths", and felt as though we could get through all the strains without "crashing and burning"...

...but I absurdly digress.

...and yes, Three Valves, its quite small as far as cruise ships go, but - docked at the foot of Beale Street on the Mississippi River, it appeared pretty darn large...and even with the River being low (as much lower, the ship would have had to have been docked at the secondary or even tertiary docking location), and even with Memphis sitting up very high on a bluff (which is why - with the town almost never flooding, due to the bluff - Mrs. bloke's direct ancestors, the *Winchester's, established the trading post and ship loading/unloading location, which they named "Memphis" - after the Egyptian city on the Nile, there) that ship loomed up pretty high.
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*https://www.jstor.org/stable/42621595?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents
Last edited by bloke on Thu Oct 18, 2018 10:25 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: new cruise ship: "American Song"

Postby Three Valves » Sun Oct 14, 2018 10:09 am

I’ve always loved getting dressed and going to swanky parties.

ACL has a similar ship we see in the N Chesapeake Bay.

We’d like to hop aboard one day and go to New England for the post hurricane season Fall tour.
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Re: new cruise ship: "American Song"

Postby bloke » Sun Oct 14, 2018 10:20 am

Three Valves wrote:I’ve always loved getting dressed and going to swanky parties.

ACL has a similar ship we see in the N Chesapeake Bay.

We’d like to hop aboard one day and go to New England for the post hurricane season Fall tour.


Your post refers to weather/temperatures/seasons...
Our cruise line learned - after the first year - to avoid July/August/early-September cruises (too hot and humid) and also to avoid mid-December through - early March cruises (though in "the south"...too cold, until the ship makes it down to around Natchez). ...so we work roughly half the Saturdays each year, PLUS there are now (with these new yacht-style ships also being introduced) some Tuesday jobs added in. 8)

bloke "For those who do not know, Three Valves is a boat/ship aficionado."
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Re: new cruise ship: "American Song"

Postby Three Valves » Sun Oct 14, 2018 7:05 pm

But my real talent is fluid mechanics!! :tuba:
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Re: new cruise ship: "American Song"

Postby Ken Herrick » Sun Oct 14, 2018 7:26 pm

Three Valves wrote:But my real talent is fluid mechanics!! :tuba:


Including super fast evacuation of beer from a yard glass?
Free to tuba: good home
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Re: new cruise ship: "American Song"

Postby Three Valves » Sun Oct 14, 2018 9:06 pm

Please, I’m a 56 yr old man.

I haven’t done anything that immature since I was 40!!

I’m still not above drinking form a 1l glass at an Oktoberfest, however... :oops:
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Re: new cruise ship: "American Song"

Postby bloke » Mon Oct 15, 2018 8:38 am

Three Valves wrote:Please, I’m a 56 yr old man.

I haven’t done anything that immature since I was 40!!

I’m still not above drinking form a 1l glass at an Oktoberfest, however... :oops:


Politics are banned here, but we all know which enclave engages in handwringing over being "green".
I'm pretty sure I can identify your politics from this post, because you express absolutely no concern
regarding saving the planet. Do you realize how much additional detergent, water, and energy to heat
that water is required to additionally wash a stein, mug, or glass vs, (simply) washing a pitcher?
Please get over your politics, ACTUALLY become as mature as you CLAIM to be,
and just drink out of the pitcher (or keg), please, sir !
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Re: new cruise ship: "American Song"

Postby gionvil » Mon Oct 15, 2018 9:50 am

For the ships enthousiasts, I have played few gigs with a brass quintets on board this gem: Steamship "Concordia" built in 1926 by Odero Shipyard in Genova, and still in regular service on Lake Como. One of the oldest steamboats still working in Europe's internal waters. It has 2 wheels amid quarterdeck.
We used to play on the bow deck ( with good weather..)
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Re: new cruise ship: "American Song"

Postby bloke » Mon Oct 15, 2018 11:03 am

8)
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Re: new cruise ship: "American Song"

Postby bloke » Mon Oct 15, 2018 8:38 pm

Three Valves wrote:I’ve always loved getting dressed and going to swanky parties.

ACL has a similar ship we see in the N Chesapeake Bay.

We’d like to hop aboard one day and go to New England for the post hurricane season Fall tour.


Everyone was wearing shoes...I suspect you would have appreciated that.
re: clientèle... One never knows, but it just appeared as though (on this yacht-like cruise ship, as opposed to the typical sternwheeler ship cruise clientèle that I've been seeing over the past few years) that some of the old guys had probably (several years ago) traded in their bosses for younger ones.
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Re: new cruise ship: "American Song"

Postby bloke » Sat Nov 10, 2018 7:19 pm

When the River stage is too low, these deep-draft ships must move to alternate Memphis docking locations (other than the adjustable-down-about-30-feet-or-so Beale Street Landing).

Today, the passengers boarded a couple miles north of Beale Street at a place called "The Greenbelt". Just behind "The Greenbelt are fancy newish houses in an area called "Harbor Town" were NO ONE ever built houses before - due to occasional flooding, and - yes - those houses occasionally flood.
(Can you spell D-U-M "dumb" ?)

Anyway, this docking location requires the use of an old-school gangplank, and The American Song (a bit oddly) features a hinged "nose-cone" which elevates to reveal a stored gangplank and alternate entry to the ship.

Again, the top deck (slanted windows facing forward) is where the lounge in which we play is located.

Image

Today's *hors d'œuvres ...smoked salmon pâté in little pastry cups, some fancily-prepared fruit, some pastries (eclairs and fancier stuff), and hot chocolate spiced with Kahlúa and (well...) with Hershey bar squares in an adjacent dish.

I don't much care for Salmon pâté...but actual SLICES of smoked salmon (in the center of the huge plate) were fashioned in to the shape of a rose...so (well...) after the passengers were ordered to their staterooms to watch the safety video, I made those slices of smoked salmon disappear. 8) :oops:

oh yeah...and we played music...and I played a tuba...for about 45 minutes or so...
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Re: new cruise ship: "American Song"

Postby Three Valves » Sat Nov 10, 2018 8:08 pm

:tuba: Building homes where it floods.

Weakening the area of a ship where it should be its strongest.

What could possibly go wrong??
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Re: new cruise ship: "American Song"

Postby bloke » Sat Nov 10, 2018 8:41 pm

Three Valves wrote::tuba: Building homes where it floods.

Weakening the area of a ship where it should be its strongest.

What could possibly go wrong??


> I neither own nor insure any of those houses, and nor do I pay *taxes in the city that possibly subsidizes any losses that those homeowners may incur due to stupidity involved in site selection.
> When that ship is negotiating its way down the River, I am not on it, and have already disembarked from it with funds in my pocket covering roughly 3 dollars for each minute of time I spent working on it when it was docked.
> All is right with the world...of bloke.
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*owning no real property there, and making a point of never buying anything there
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Re: new cruise ship: "American Song"

Postby bloke » Sun Nov 11, 2018 8:31 am

sidebar-of-a-sidebar-of-a-sidebar: (Geography)

Check out the area where the fancy-new-ish Mississippi Riverfront houses are that occasionally flood..."Harbor Town".

THEN notice the name of the peninsula (former island)...MUD ISLAND. :shock: :roll:
There is a REASON why it was named MUD ISLAND...because it would often FLOOD.
To the right (on the map), you see "Wolf River HARBOR".
Wolf River is a tributary (feeds into) the Mississippi River, runs westward, and finally runs westward around the north side of Memphis before emptying into the Mississippi River.
Years ago, a NEW MOUTH was cut for Wolf River (NORTH of MUD ISLAND, and NORTH of this map), which is why that water on the right side of the map is now named "Wolf River HARBOR", rather than (simply) "Wolf River". That was when MUD ISLAND became a peninsula, and was no longer an island.

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Re: new cruise ship: "American Song"

Postby bloke » Sun Nov 11, 2018 12:57 pm

Thanks for putting up with this thread...

- I'm fascinated with these ships (as they are a completely new thing for this region).

- I'm fascinated with this gig (as it seems - ?? - to be oddly expanding into a semi-job, rather than - per the typical gig) slowing/quickly sinking in the west.

- The band is fun. We're not amazing, but we have fun, and we seem to obtain smiles (or - at least - puzzling looks :P) from some of the tourists...many of whom are international.

- The two steerwheelers vs. the big white ship:
There seems to be a different vibe/aura. When in the 2nd-deck lounges in the sternwheelers, the passengers nearly always seem to be very engaged. With the newer big white ship (larger 4th-deck lounge/higher ceiling) we seem to function more as "background". Additionally, the passengers on the white ship - at least, so far - seem to average 10 - 15 years younger.
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