Art, blog, History, Kansas City, music, photography, Story, Uncategorized

Slowly, my house

Slowly I turn, step by step, inch by inch…

Something new is coming. My blog, My House The Trading Post, is slowly gaining followers. Wow!

The type of stories that I enjoy sharing are about the Belles of Westport, stories about Westport fashions then and now, stories of the Civil War, and Love Stories then and now. The posts that were least viewed were the stories of music and art that we make here at the house.

What I have learned about blogging is shorter posts are often viewed more than longer posts. Inspirational messages are also favored by more views. I have also learned that one post a day is preferred over multiple posts a day.

Thank you for viewing my post.

Advertisements
Standard
Art, blog, History, Kansas City, music, photography, Story, Uncategorized

My House The Trading Post-On Stage

All-Hail Terrie

All-Hail Terrie.

It’s all in fun.

My house the trading post, today is a stage for Bob, and I. While I, make visitors feel welcome with a batch of home-made cookies, Bob, entertains them with his “licks” on the guitar.

Treats

In 1967, Bob was part of a band called, The Horde. The Horde recorded a session in Durham, North Carolina while in college. That album was recently re-released this past summer. The band played gigs at numerous universities. They have been called the most exciting mid sixties garage band to ever be discovered. They starred at the usual teen dance clubs, Fraternity parties, and Student Union dances. The played songs like, “Paint It Black.” Which starts with Bob playing the guitar solo. The guys were considered hippies, traveling all over the place playing the ‘British invasion’ influenced music. They liked the raw in your face blues, filtered through British pop.

Cambridge, 1970

Cambridge, 1971

After the demise of the band the group went their separate ways. Bob graduated from college and went to New York to go to Columbia University Law School and later to Cambridge University, England. He now practices criminal law and family law.

7530_164815541017_718256017_3611910_4421384_n

He continued to play rock and roll and other music venues through the years.  He had a band once called the, “Bell Street Blasters.” With the Bell Street Blasters he played theater and stadium level gigs appearing in shows with B.B King, Johnny Winter, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Ray Charles, and others.

Press Buttons Firmly, by The Horde, Vinyl &CD.  Price: $23.99

Press Buttons Firmly, by The Horde, Vinyl &CD.
Price: $23.99

During, the past summer, twenty-five brand new vinyl, The Horde, albums arrived, with two-dozen CD’s. They sit behind the display counter in Bob’s law office. The album’s public recognition is a little late, only forty-six years, too, late. Very, very few people out there are buying the Horde’s album, “Press Buttons Firmly.” A song titled after the guys noticed the message on the juke box in a tiny coffee shop on campus.

The Romantics. Bob, pictured on right.

The Romantics. Bob, pictured on right.

North Carolina, in the sixties, was the deep south. The music the Horde’s were playing didn’t live up to the soul music country’s expectations. Bob and the band members, complained that the crowds constantly requested the song, “Stubborn Kinda Fella.” An incident the guys still talk about, is when a group of frat guys got fed up with the hippy band, and headed for the stage. Their drummer stared the angry mob down as the rest of the guys escaped. Take the time to listen to The Horde’s songs, amazingly good.

Max Groove and Bob Simons appearing at JAZZ on 39th and State Line Road.

Max Groove and Bob Simons appearing at JAZZ on 39th and State Line Road.

Today Bob plays jazz and country gigs on pedal steel guitar. He has been appearing in duos with Billboard charted jazz keyboardist Max Groove. Together they play Jazz R&B or original New Age Jazz. He is a talented musician who mostly jams with friends.

If you are looking for a unique gift for a music lover, or collector, please consider, The Horde, album, “Press Buttons Firmly.” I highly recommend the album, Break-A-Way-Records did a marvelous job remastering the album. Someone out there in the world actually owned the orignal version of the recorded songs and they put them on YouTube, that can be sampled at:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XZ6qQAhgzG4&feature=relmfu
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zvBoPSZ6Hnc&feature=relmfu
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UsgIFrpdi7I&feature=relmfu
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mx5bSt7Y6Yc&feature=relmfu
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ITxBi-K38vc&feature=relmfu
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X4hvHxk8zBw&playnext=1&list=PL0qGfMEO0Ns-4NmFHT8YyAU0CR5tx-2mS&feature=results_main
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f7PsyHJkNiM&feature=relmfu
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZExhskQR0fI&feature=relmfu
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r6c_i7y4-PM&feature=relmfu
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xUXob71ctIM&feature=relmfu

The original 1967 -record of The Horde last sold on ebay for $1800. There are only 25 copies of the original studio recording. The new album is also available on Amazon for just, $23.99.

Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan

The routine at the house includes watching X-Factor. Tonight, like many other nights, I was enlightened by a brief music history lesson given by my husband Bob. Now mind you, I have heard of none these individuals or the songs. The song, ‘Hallelujah’ was song by a contestant on tonight’s X-Factor, a televised talent contest.

Leonard Cohen, a musician in the Music Hall of Fame who also received three Juno Awards nomination, got his start in the music business in 1967. Cohen is credited as the singer and composer of ‘Hallelujah.’ One of his earliest hits was with folk singer, Judy Collins, for the song, ‘Suzanne.’ Bob made me watch a YouTube video of this act (while I was trying to enjoy the X-Factor show).

In 1967, Cohen moved to the United States to pursue a career as a folk music singer and songwriter. During the 1960s, he was part of the Andy Warhol’s “Factory” crowd. According to Wikipedia, Andy Warhol speculated that Cohen had spent time listening to Nico in clubs and that this had influenced his musical style.” His song ‘Suzanne’ became a hit for Judy Collins and was for many years his most covered song. His song, ‘Hallelujah’ found greater popularity through a cover by John Cale.

The New York Times praised the song ‘Hallelujah’ in a review, noting that “Cohen spent years struggling to write the song ‘Hallelujah.”  Many singers have covered versions of the song. There are over 300 versions known. It is often called one of the greatest songs of all time.

John Cale was a member of the Velvet Underground, an American rock band, active between 1964 and 1973. The band was part of the first real scene of the high literature culture of Andy Warhol. These people were the hippest of hipsters. The Velvet Underground was formed in New York City by Lou Reed and John Cale. I believe, Nico was also a singer and songwriter for the band.

Lou Reed was a frequent performer at ‘The Factory’, a studio owned by Warhol. Andy often asked his assistants to help set up parties, which were groundbreaking assemblies of musicians, artist, hipsters, gay partiers, and drug addicts. The rented studio apartment in New York’s grubby 60’s neighborhood pre-dates the Studio 54 era. Bob tells me this, but as I always lived in the Midwest, and really don’t have a clear conception of Studio 54 either.

Bob says that Andy Warhol supported the music of the Velvet Underground and this influence started the avant-garde craze. Avant-garde is a term used in the fashion world, and when describing something that is ‘cutting edge.’ Andy Warhol designed the cover of the first album for the band, a banana. That banana is one of Andy Warhol’s most recognized artworks. It became the most popular album cover art of all time.

Lou Reed went on to write a song in 1972, called “Walk on the Wild Side” on his second solo album Transformer. Lou Reed had performed at Max’s Kansas City in New York and Studio 54, two of the most famous and treadiest clubs in New York.  Leonard was famous for his poetic song lyrics, ’Suzanne.’ Like singer songwriter, Bob Dylan, he was the poet of the time.

The song contest show X-Factor, has enlightened me to the history of old songs. From my husband Bob, I learn that he is often irritated that shows like X-Factor don’t actually acknowledge the cover songs properly. The old songs are, too often, credited to modern singers, like Mariah Carey, or to the last pop singer that sang the song. Passive television viewers, like myself, pay no attention to the originality of a song or who composed it. I usually don’t even have an opinion as to who sang it best.

While I watch television, I’m thinking, the judges are babies. The female judges on the X-factor wear a lot makeup. They represent youth and have a good game for knowing their own limitations and their wealth hides any immaturity. Simons Cowell has matured and he has been less critical of the young singers.

The whole time I am unable to actually hear the girls and boys sing on the show because in the background my darling husband, Bob has picked up the acoustic guitar and plays. Singing songs like ‘Wild Wood Flower.’ A song, I never heard before. He says it is the greatest country song ever.

I’ve heard it before, only ‘cause he sings it whenever he picks up the guitar. He knows other songs, and I like other songs, but that’s not what he plays. I like when he plays ‘Greensleeves, or  Jonny Cash’s, ‘Ring of Fire.’ My Lutheran upbringing loves to sing hymns like, ‘What Child is This,’ during the Christmas season. I happen to know Mary J. Blige is not the original composer of that song.

Once, Bob and I, recorded, ‘Ring of Fire,’ for our grandson, Eddie. On one of those recordable page books. Eddie, loves to turn the pages of the recordable book and listen to gran-ma and pawpa sing various folk songs. If you’d like, I’d be happy to make you a book; just let me know. We have a few for sale.

Typically, I don’t sing in public. However, I did sing in my high school choir. I have also, been known to take a shot of tequila and do a little goofing around singing. Last Halloween, at the Monster Bash hosted by a local Westport Tavern, I tried to perform an Amy Winehouse song.

tequilla

Standard
Art, blog, History, Story, Uncategorized

My House The Pre-Civil War Trading Post

Pioneer lunch pail and coffee thermos

Pioneer lunch pail and coffee thermos

My House The Pre-Civil War Trading Post

I was interested in the history of my house, the pre-civil war, trading post, from the moment I saw it. Bob, (my husband) gave me directions over the phone,” it is the large, white, pre-civil war building on the corner, a block east of State Line Road, you can’t miss it.”

When I pulled up to the place, I had noticed how adorable the neighborhood was. An old working class neighborhood from a time when families with children, once lived. Some were typical depression era bungalows. Many still display the original ornamental trim and stone masonry foundations and porch pillars. An occasional leaded glass door with frosted etching to greet guests, all reminded me of that “Mayberry,” small town charm.

However, not a child to be seen, not a toy in a yard, or a child’s bike on the porch. I haven’t had to buy Halloween candy, since I moved in 5 years ago. The residents have lived in their homes and this neighborhood for a life span, their children grown and moved on, only an occasional Jehovah Witness, if visitors at all. As the properties become available, the homes have been converted into rental properties, apartments, and the type of  commercial properties that sell antiques, hot coffee, beauty shops, pet groomers, and law offices.

The large, vividly colored, Victorian house on the far opposite corner to the trading post, stands empty, it has been used as a restaurant, but nothing has survived since the murder-suicide, of a couple of guys, that once owned it and made all the beautiful renovations.  The bodies of three males, dead in the middle of the street, outside the magnificant home, after a domestic dispute.

Apparently, the resturant owner came home to see that his partner had remodeled the entry hall, with a plum colored wallpaper, without his consent. A fight broke out between the two, which escalated. As one fellow went running for his life into the street, he was shot by his partner, however right behind the shooter was the kitchen cook, who was having an affair with the man fatally wounded. With another shot fired, the cook killed the interior designer, realizing what he had done, he took his own life. (I apologize, if offensive).

Another notorious murderer, from this neighborhood is that of, Bob Berdella (human heads were found in his backyard after a brutally tortured, young naked man escaped). My dad, who loved to go shopping on Saturday mornings, almost bought one of the human heads that Berdella had for sale at the Flea Market Bar and Grill on Westport Road. Too gruesome. Its stories like that, that can shame a neighborhood. But, you wouldn’t know that from the large colorful banners, honoring KU, K-State, and MU, that drape from porch railings and attic windows. College territory has replaced the frontier.

It would appear that the median age of the residents, are 28 years old. Bob and I feel old. Guys in their 20’s own their own home in this neighborhood (and they take in numerous roommates.) Some rent, others inherited the house they live in. Lucky kids.They are artist, musicians, and tavern owner, lawyers, doctors, and teachers. Late at night, when sound travels, you can’t walk past more than three houses without hearing a full live band, practicing in a basement or garage. The artist, have their works displayed everywhere, it’s a beautiful place, if you have an eye.

As I came into view of the pre-civil war tavern that Bat Masterson, Doc Holliday, and other pioneer figures are said to have been, I could easily imagine the rambling frame structure to hold ghosts of the past. However, the illusions of taking a trip back in time disappeared when I entered through the double doors of Bob’s modern law office.

The interior has been completely redesigned. A reporter for the “KC Counselor,” described his visit, as “startling.” I agree, stepping into the historic building requires a mental transition. It is a feast for the eyes. Few would have seen the possibilities, much less a comfortable habitat. The ancient structure’s lower level was once a dirt floor dance hall, and the sagging rooms defy a carpenter’s level.

The entry has a wall to wall bookcase, stacked to the ceiling with a library of books, albums, and music and golf memorabilia. To the right is an iron staircase that ascends into a narrow opening. In front of the bookcase, an antique (19th Century) commercial, glass display cabinet, made of oak, the type once found at the jewelry or drug store, with green felt lining in all the pull out drawers in back of the case. This treasure, left behind by a previous proprietor, was filled with artifacts of Bob’s life. He had created a new-age living style from resurrected butcher carts, discarded old dental office furniture, and various whimsical art deco artifacts and many of Bob’s over-size photographs, oil paintings, watercolors, and much more.

Property (2012)
Property (2012)
Bob Simons, guitar player with Romantics, pictured on right
Bob Simons, guitar player with Romantics, pictured on right.

My House the Trading Post, has introduced readers to my home town of Westport, Kansas City. The area boasts a rich history as the oldest established community in Kansas City. More than 150 years ago, Westport marked the passage into the Western Frontier and set the foundation for what it is today. The neighborhood’s historic past is fused with creative individuals, quaint houses, thriving shops, fashionable boutiques, local eateries, and hot night-spots.

Bob Simons, is the current owner of the saloon built-in 1853 that served early Westport and the Santa Fe trail. It has been rebuilt to accommodate the practice of law, music, and art-all at the same time.

Bob is an attorney at law. He has practiced criminal defense and family law in Kansas City, MO for more than 40 years. He is also a fantastic guitar player who has appeared many times at Starlight Theater, the Uptown, and similar venues with B.B King, Ray Charles, the Romantics, and the like. Presently, he plays pedal steel guitar with Max Groove, New Age Jazz and R&B keyboardist.

He also regards himself an artist. He has shown painting, photography, and sculpture from time to time in Kansas City, Santa Fe, Sedona, and Denver. He receives royalties for his photographs displayed in art textbooks written by professor Stone. Students at the Kansas City Art Institute are sometimes introduced to Bob’s interior design style on their spring field trip to our house. At present, Bob finds it more fun to make dollhouses for me and our grandson.

I’m goin’ to Kansas City, Kansas City, Kansas City here I come.

I’m goin’ to Kansas City, Kansas City, Kansas City here I come.

They got a crazy way of lovin’ there and I’m gonna’ get me some. I’m gonna’ be stand in’ on the corner Twelfth Street and Vine.

I’m goin’ to be stand in’ on the corner Twelfth Street and Vine, With my Kansas City baby and a bottle of Kansas City wine.

Well I might take a train, I might take a plane,

but if I have to walk, I’m gonna’ just the same.  I’m goin’ to Kansa City, Kansas City here I come.

They got a crazy way of lovin’ there and I’m gonna get me some…

Everybody in Kansas City has heard that tune. The song was written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller (1952) It tends to be a requirement for local musical bands to be able to play.

This past summer (2013) I enjoyed listening to a band play in Danny Cox’s backyard, over on the Kansas City, Kansas, side. Danny, who’s voice can be recognized singing the catchy, Grass Pad Gingle, “…The Grass Pad’s high on grass…” was a Woodstock musician, and is a local t.v. and theater actor. He hosted a house-warming party, after a long remodeling project.

A bandstand was built out of planks of wood, and power cords ran the length of Danny’s yard. The vacant lot between Danny’s house and the boarded up house, next door, started filling up with people shortly after, four o-clock in the afternoon. The homes in the neighborhood were built around 1910. Across the street, three small homes with new roofs had residents who were just getting home.

A Kansas City treat, to be invited to a house-warming party and get treated to a concert. A group of men from Australia stepped up onto the hand-constructed stage. Their instruments were already on stage. The guitar player slipped the strap of his instrument around his neck. The drummer stepped across the stool with one leg and picked the sticks up off the drums as he sat. A large man stepped in front of the microphone. Soon music was filling the air. The crowd was still growing as guest continued to drive up in decorative Chevrolets, Fords, and Buick low-riders, and parked them in another vacant lot.

The Australian band played a good set of Kansas City style blues, with a nice rock beat. However, once the guest band took a break, the crowd went wild when a group of Danny and his friends took stage and warmed up their instruments playing the tune, “Kansas City.” Their next tune was,  “La Bamba,” in honor of the hard-working neighbors, who lived across the street, just getting home from work.  Kansas City is rich in history, good people, and talent.

Bob playing pedal steel guitar
Bob playing pedal steel guitar.
Standard