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Rick's Rap   - July 2004


      The folks from the upcomming wedding gig contacted us and they would like us to open with an acoustic set. As luck would have it, last night Bob broke my acoustic guitar. If I can't get it repaired in time, I'll borrow one from Fido. Fido said he wouldn't mind bringing his stand up bass ... might be cool. We added Moondance to the unplugged ready list.

      I've got yet another new toy, an SG knock off with a Bigsby style vibrato. It sounds really good (and looks really cool), but I'm having problems keeping it in tune. I just put a new set of decent strings on it, and hopefully that'll help. I'll find out tonight, when I attempt to use it at the Crossfire gig at the College Park American Legion.


      The new strings did the trick. I played it all night, and it stayed in tune just fine. I left it in the van overnight (pure laziness on my part, not a recommend thing to do), and this morning it was still in tune. Outstanding!!

      I loved the tones it has, but it's going to take me a little more time to get used to the way it feels. When I jump to a new place on the neck, the notes aren't where I expect them to be. Also it's a bit unbalanced because of where the strap connections are. When I take my hands off it, the neck tends to droop.

      I posted the set lists for the Star Diner and the Wedding Reception. Text files only, I haven't made up the large font zipped lists yet.

      Barb and I went to a little pub in Arlington called The Forest Inn to hear some friends of ours play. While we were there I spoke with the owner about booking RCB. He said he didn't hire full bands, but when he had an opening, he'd give me a call about RCB unplugged. I thanked him, and carefully didn't mention that we only have 2 sets at the moment. If he calls, I'll take the job, and we'll fake it ("By special request, we're going to repeat the first two sets").


      Made up large font word docs of the sets for the next 2 gigs, and posted them.


      (mostly) Dead Gig #14

      Star Diner, Gaithersburg, MD - 7/16/04

Set 1         Set 2         Set 3
1. Round & Round
2. Big River
3. Dark Hollow
4. Friend of the Devil
5. Candy Man
6. Franklin's Tower
7. You Win Again
8. Bertha
9. Alabama Get Away
        1. Me and My Uncle
2. Next Time You See Me
4. Don't Ease Me In
5. Missippi Half Step
6. Good Lovin'
7. Jack Straw
8. U.S. Blues
        1. Iko Iko
2. Evangeline
3. Its All Over Now
5. Big Boss Man
6. Eyes of the World
7. Sugar Magnolia
8. Promised Land
9. Ripple

      Big Railroad Blues

      It was out best crowd ever. Pretty much everyone that drifted by, stayed 'til the end. There was lot's of dancing goin' on, and between sets a number of people came up to the band to tell us how much they were enjoying the show. One guy told me he was at a bar across the street with some friends, when he heard a Dead tune in the background, and said "It's about time they played something good on the jukebox." One of his friends said "No, that's a band in the plaza." A little later one of them said "Hey, they've played five Dead songs in a row." So they paid their tab and came on over. I didn't get his name, but if you check out the pics link, he's the one with the sub-title "groovin'".

      A bunch of folks took cards, and this morning there were a couple of emails from the web site "send us a message" link. One of them said they were going to pass our card along to some folks that might be able to get us some bookings. The other was a request to play a private party in August. We replied that we'd do it, and we're waiting for confirmation.

      I played my new toy for most of tunes, although Barb didn't happen to get a picture of it. In addition to it's great tones, it's also the lightest guitar I own, and at my age that's a significant plus. It held it's tuning just fine during the 1st set. After that I started playing a little more aggressively, and I noticed that whenever I was fanning chords, or doing some severe bending, I knocked it out of tune. I'm going to go ahead and order a set of locking tuners and put them on, and see if that helps. One way or another I'm going to get it usable, 'cos I definitely want it to be included in my collection of workin' axes.

      Bob was playing his vintage SG, and he really nailed that early 70's Bob Weir sound. As a matter of fact, performance wise, he seemed to be having a good night all around. Eric was getting a really nice organ sound from his keyboards. Of course Lukas and Steve were solid and consistent, although I do recall Steve whinning a bit about things not being at the right speed. Kavetch, kavetch, kavetch.

      I think we were having some problems with the primary power, because the PA, my amp and effects, and Lukas' amp, all experienced a few random jumps in volume and tone. None the less, we made it all the way through using just one outlet and a long extension cord, while playing about as loud as I ever want to play. That would be a good thing, especially since we seem to be playing more and more outdoor gigs.

      Barb brought Smokie to the gig, and he was a big hit, especially with the really young kids. At one point a number of young women were gathered around him making cooing sounds, and Lukas remarked "Man, Smokie is really kicking ass, and taking names!"

      Barb took some pics, and I've just posted them.


      My locking tuners showed up and I installed them today. I had done a fair amount of web surfing to check out the features and dimensions of various models to try and get something that wouldn't require too much skill to install, and I really got lucky. I got the Grover Mini Locking Guitar Machines (part #0875 from, and they were a drop-in fit. No filling, drilling, reaming, aligning, or measuring required. The whole job took less than a half hour, and required a small Phillips screwdriver, a small adjustable wrench, and no particular mechanical or wood working ability. Yes lord, my kind of job.

      As luck would have it, I got a last minute fill-in job with some guys doing a lot of old country, country rock, classic rock, and rock-a-billy, so I had a chance to see if the tuners were going to do the trick almost immediately. I played reasonably agressively (well, for me anyway) for the whole night, and I had to retune once. This is certainly useable, even without a backup guitar, and I suspect that it's probably about the best I'm going to be able to do without messing with the vibrato assembly.

      I'm looking forward to seeing how the axe behaves tomorrow at the outdoor gig.


      (mostly) Dead Gig #15

      Wedding Party, Cambridge MD - 7/24/04

Set 1 - Acoustic         Set 2         Set 3         Set 4
1. Ripple
2. Truck Drivin' Man
3. Candyman
4. Tequila Sunrise
5. Dark Hollow
6. Lodi
7. Moondance
8. Honky Tonk Song
9. Dire Wolf
8. Glendale Train
10. Knockin' On
      Heaven's Door
11. Witchy Woman
12. Must Have
      Been The Roses
        1. Mississippi 1/2 Step
2. Eyes Of The World
3. Big Railroad Blues
4. Jack Straw
5. Next Time U See Me
6. Evangeline
7. Way U Do The Things U Do
8. Bertha
        1. Franklins Tower
2. Don't Ease Me In
3. Fennario
4. Big River
5. Iko Iko
6. It's All Over Now
7. Deal
8. Johnny B. Goode
        1. Truckin'
2.   NFA
    / IKYR
    / GDTRFB
3. It Hurt's Me Too
4. Good Lovin'
5. Promised Land
6. You Win Again
7. Around & Around
8. U.S. Blues

      Alabama Getaway

      I believe this was our first bona-fide adventure since the reformation of the Rock Creek Band (... or would that more appropriately be Rock Creak Band...), and it was a whole lot of fun. Eric showed up at our house at about 9:15 and we all went over to Phideaux's, loaded his stuff into our van, and set off for the eastern shore. Shortly after we got on Rt. 50 we joined up with Steve (totally unplanned, pure serendipity) and caravaned to Easton, where we stopped for refreshments. As a consequence, Bob got to where the gig was going to be about 40 minutes before we did, and was sitting on his car, playing his acoustic guitar when we arrived.

      Our destination turned out to be a University of Maryland Environmental Reasearch Lab Facility right on the Choptank river ... very nice indeed. It had rained a bit on the drive over, but the rain stopped just when we arrived (yet more serendipity). We backed our vehicles right up to the pavillion and unloaded our equipment. Just about that time the caterers showed up and unloaded their equipment. The setup (both ours and theirs) went very smoothly.

      While the guests were arriving, we started the acoustic set. Phideaux was playing his big stand up bass, and it sounded really cool. After a few tunes someone, possibly the best man, came up to the band area, borrowed one of the mics, offered a blessing, and announced that food was ready. While the guests were getting their food we continued the set, and when we finished we took a break and helped ourselves to refreshment.

      The electric sets went very well indeed. There were a few individual clunkers, especially from your's truely, but the blend was good, and we were really meshing well musically. I was quite happy because I was playing both of my new toys (the acoustic, and the electric with new tuners), and they worked perfectly and sounded great. Certainly can't ask for more than that.

      After we finished playing and had packed up our equipment, we hung around for a bit and chatted with our hosts and a number of the guests. They all told us they really enjoyed us. We got a number of inquiries about our availability for more work, and we handed out a number of cards. All in all, this was a perfect example of why we do this for a hobby instead of, oh say, ... jogging.


      Posted the pics from the wedding party gig.


      Stay tuned,


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