Thursday, December 07, 2006


Cuba's paramount activity during the World War [ed:1] revolved about the sugar crop, its production and marketing. Sugar being an indispensable product for the allies, the Cuban output was vastly increased. This world demand for sugar opened a new period in Cuban history. In the generation from 1834 to 1867, just preceding the Ten Years' War, the sugar industry had come largely to dominate the island. During that period Cuba had flowered into the richest colony in the world, and in many factors of material and artistic culture had surpassed the Mother Country. Such another period, on a more extravagant scale, had its beginnings in Menocal's first term and reached dizzy heights in his second. It came, however, with such meteoric swiftness that it proved little more than a money-mad debauch."The Dance of the Millions" this flush period in Cuba was called. If money did not actually grow on trees, the silver-green leaves of sugar cane fluttering in fields held a strong figurative resemblance to bank notes.

As the price of sugar soared from three to five, to ten, to twenty-two and a half cents (in 1920), people lost all sense of proportion. Bank deposits increased a thousand per cent. Expenditures became fantastic. Fabulous prices were paid for gew-gaws without a breath of haggling. Luxuries became necessities. Narrow little Obispo Street became Rue de la Paix of the Western Hemisphere. Prosperity cried out rapaciously for supplies. Foreign trade with the United States alone passed the billion mark in 1920. To facilitate trade, the United States established many and varied new businesses in Cuba.

A new self-conscious society was inaugurated in which American winter residents were invited to mingle with Cubans. The Havana Yacht Club, The Country Club, the Havana Biltmore Club, and the more exclusive Vedado Tennis Club became focal points for fashionable society. The Gran Casino Nacional, the Jockey Club, and a prodigious number of gambling rendezvous sprang up to satisfy gaming instincts, and to provide outlets for new minted gold that burned pockets. In efforts to spend money fast enough Cubans became a nation of show-offs. Private marble palaces, as well as elaborate office buildings, were reared on city streets; extensive subdivisions were opened in the suburbs. Real estate values increased ten-, twenty- , fifty-fold. Building sites in former ill-considered outlying districts sold for $100,000. The vast scraggly Vedado section became many-mansioned. Like an Aladdin's Lamp story, great houses of pink, azure, buff and mauve arose, drenched with violet bougainvillea, surrounded by clipped lawns, ornamented with parterres of flowering shrubs, and protected by wrought-iron fences twice as high as a man. Here from the city moved the society (or would-be society) set to be nearer those pleasure clubs and exclusive bathing beaches, which were reached by a parked avenue seven miles long, adorned with marble, luxuriant with brilliant flowers, blossoming trees, and immaculate green turf. In the late afternoons, folk from the new villas would descend on the admiring city. With the coming of six o'clock, motors poured into the Malecon, superb with its sweep of paving, its stretch of royal palms, its flanking of glittering marble houses on one side and the eternal blue sea on the other. Like flooding tributaries seeking an already swollen river, the broad white surface of pavement became darkened richly with limousines: Rolls-Royces, Hispano-Suizas, Minervas, Isotta-Fraschinis, and occasional less impressive Packards and Cadillacs. The cars were filled with the ladies of Havana, opulently beautiful with luminous dark eyes and shining hair. They wore semi-evening dresses designed in Paris and many billowy scarves of chiffon or lace, which made those who were not already a little plump look as if they might be by next season. Jewels sparkled, as the gleaming ladies flashed by with amiable set expressions of beauties on parade.

Besides the chaffeur, in each car with the ladies, invariably sat one proud-looking male: a father, a brother, or a son, the head of the house or his representative. Cuban family life appeared very uncomplex on the surface. The ladies stepped from the seclusion of the patio to the semi-seclusion of the closed motor. An hour's daily outing with a male of the family, where all might be seen and see- down the Malecon, around the bandstand, and up the Prado; down the Prado, around the bandstand, and up the Malecon- this same routine repeated and repeated again seemed cause enough for calling forth those spots of joy that dimpled the rosebloom cheeks of the ladies of Havana. The bland expressions on the bronzed faces of males among the pink-and white enameled females were amusing in their paradeful respectability. The gentlemen were so ostentatiously doing their family duty, as was every Cuban of position at that same hour. After the drive they would all most likely dine at home, but shortly following the serving of coffee they would make their polite "adios" and depart to their respective clubs and/or mistresses. If the evening were an especial occasion, these husbands or fathers or brothers might take their womenkind to the opera or to a ball. But although a few advanced ladies played golf at the Country Club and bathed on the coral beaches of the Yacht Club, the essential life of the Cuban woman in 1920 still belonged as definitely behind high walls and slatted jalousies as in the days when the grace of the mantilla stirred the air romantically about a high-hanging balcony.

But American women in plenty cluttered the golf links, dotted the club buildings' terraces at cocktail hours, and danced tangos deliriously with sleek young men who looked like gigolos but who carried wads of hundred-dollar bills for pocket change. For the fashionable and sporting world of the United States and South America, a winter season in Havana became the vogue. The Ward Line and the United Fruit Company built luxurious new passenger ships to accommodate the tourist trade. Magnificent hotels were erected to cater to the foreign guests and they charged colossal prices: forty cents for a demi-tasse, forty dollars a day for a room. Houses of sin were decorated with the golden lavishness of sultanic opulence. The most famous opera stars sang in Havana, world-champion boxers fought there, record-breaking horses ran for staggering purses, jai-alai players became social lions. Continental countesses and Brooklyn demimondaines sat thigh to thigh at the crowded roulette-tables. Cuban music, Cuban food, and especially Cuban drinks, were the rage. Greek Pete "Sazarac," who invented the Sazarac cocktail, moved from Prohibition-dampered New Orleans to achieve new fame in Havana. German Otto Precht, with his winning personality, arrived from New York to assume charge of the Sevilla-Biltmore wine cellars.Sloppy Joe's became the international by-word. Honeymooners spent the price of a suburban home for a fortnight's Cuban gayety. Doddering multi-millionaires came for a last fling before the grave. Spinster schoolmarms, trembling and giggling, came for a first fling, and ecstatically threw away a life's savings. To visit Cuba in the dazzling winter and spring of 1920 was to have memories of extravagance and daring to sigh over forever.


Wednesday, December 06, 2006

B.J. Thomas & His Backup Band
Photo taken in front of the Bitter End in New York City
Left to right: Rodney Justo, David Adkins, John Rainey Adkins,B.J. Thomas, Jimmy Dean, Charlie Silva, Jon Stroll

From Jimmy Dean:

Hey Robert----Regarding Jim Hodges' post to you---we were on Midnight Special backing up BJ in I think 1975. The show was taped at the University of Chicago campus. Charlie Daniels was also on the show as well as others who I can't remember. It was after the release of BJ's tune "Hey Won't You Play Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song" which he had recently done in Nashville with Chips Moman. Beaverteeth was made up of Charlie Silva, John Rainey Adkins, David Adkins, and me. Rodney Justo had stopped working with BJ around that time, so I don't recall if he was on the show with us or not. We had a keyboardist who came on stage with us when BJ came on stage. It may have been Jon Stroll, but I think it was more likely Rod Erhousen at that time.

We also did DINAH! (Dinah Shore's show) about the same time. We taped that show at CBS's Television City in Los Angeles. On that show was Radar from MASH and Sammy Davis Jr., who I had met previously with Billy Joe Royal in Las Vegas. As you can imagine, if a DVD of either of those appearances is ever released, I would love to be able to get a copy and would appreciate any more info about it.

Thanks to Jim Hodges for letting me know about this----
Jimmy Dean

Hey Jimmy:

Last Thursday I was talking the Johnny Sisty, the owner of WTBC. He was talking about witnessing B.J. cut "Hey, Won't You Play...." in Chips Moman's studio in Nashville.

He said two of his strongest memories of that session was how all the musicians took off their shoes before entering the recording studio and how B.J. would sing a few lines, break away, go outside the recording booth and fight with his wife and then calmly return to cut more of the song.

Thanks for responding.


from Rodney "The Rocker" Justo:

Your viewer is correct.
I however, was not on the show.
It was David and John Rainey Adkins, Jimmy Dean, and Charlie Silva.
B.J. did in fact mention David Adkins. I think it was after the guitar solo on Hooked on a Feelin'


From Jon Stroll:

Hey Roberto:

Nice to hear from you and thanks for forwarding my web site to James Hodges. I was just down in Florida with my songwriting and recording partner Bobby Weinstein. Bobby and I recorded with Chips Moman at American Recording with the legendary Memphis Boys:Reggie Young on guitar, Bobby Wood on piano, Bobby Emmons on keyboards, Gene Chrisman on drums, and Mike Leech on bass. We also wrote songs for Petula Clark, Brenda Lee, Ronnie Milsap, and Len Barry, among others, while we were down there.

Our album,"Cook Me Up Your Taste" by Weinstein and Stroll, is still a favorite among many people and there has been some recent interest in it from Japan. We're trying to have it re-released. Akihide Nakamura, a music critic and record reviewer in Japan, described our album as "an unknown masterpiece".

I have been in touch with Chips, and Bobby was just at Chip's horse ranch in Georgia. Chips just produced an album with Willie Nelson. I was in Nashville and saw Mike Leech, Bobby Wood, and Bobby Emmons.

I don't know if I had mentioned it to you, but Bobby and I wrote the hit song for the Boxtops, "Sweet Cream Ladies". It was a pretty revolutionary lyric at the time!

Talk to you soon,
Jon Stroll

From cindy a. reilly:

My Xhusband, Jack Lane played bass with Beaverteeth in 1975 & 1976, they played the local clubs in Dothan (the Oasis), and Montgomery, Birmingham, Atlanta .. The Late & Great Charlie Silva was the Drummer!! Thanks for the memories...

Tuesday, December 05, 2006
Please check out this film called LOVE & SUICIDE.
I haven't even seen the film and it has already caused me to reconsider all of my opinions on the current state of Cuban affairs.


The Cuban insurrection of 1895 was made in the United States. It began precisely when it did, not because of any freshly resented oppressive act of Spain nor specifically because of the world depression of 1893 with the consequent economic distress to Cuba following the drop in the price of sugar, but because a Cuban living in New York named Jose Julian Marti decided the time was ripe. Marti was a remarkable little man, internationally known, and on the whole internationally admired. Anyone who knew anything of Cuba knew of Marti- he had lived in Europe, up and down South America, all about the Caribbean, in the United States. He wrote for foreign journals in countries his feet had not penetrated. When a half-grown boy he had dedicated his life to the cause of Cuban liberty, astounding his mother by the maturity of his words,"To many generations of slaves must succeed one generation of martyrs." Like the youthful poet Heredia, he was an exile;and more, he had the authority of the martyr to back him. For in the first year of the Ten Years' War, Marti, a frail fifteen-year-old youngster, was arrested in Havana for composing seditious poetry. His sentence was six years' hard labor in the quarries, to work shackled with chain and ball. Influence got the sentence lightened, and in 1871 he was deported to Spain, where he was permitted to study at the University of Madrid. He made a name for himself pleading the cause of Cuba in speech and writing. He did not return to Cuba until after the Pact of Zanjon. Nor was he allowed then to remain long. Captain-General Blanco regarded him as a crazy man, but a highly dangerous one, and sent him once again a prisoner to Spain in September 1879. Marti did not see his native soil for sixteen years. Shortly at liberty, he lived in South America for a space of years, served Uruguay and the Argentina as consul in the United States, and then for many years made his headquarters in New York, continuing zealously to agitate sympathy for his country's struggle for freedom. His quiet magnetism and sincerity commanded attention and confidence. Every where he was hospitably received and honored. From 1891 to 1895 he labored superhumanly "forging the Cuban colonies into a single effective instrument for revolution." He reorganized the dubious Cuban junta in New York with Estrada Palma as its president and bound it together in a remarkably efficient unanimity. He collected money and gifts of ammunition.

Marti had something of the power of a great evangelist. The Cuban cigar-makers in Tampa and Key West worshipped him. He was called The Master,
and as if Jesus had spoken, saying,"Sell all thou hast and give," Marti's words stirred them to sacrifice for the cause everything but the barest necessities of life. Men gave up smoking and turned their watches into ka$h; women proffered their gold baubles and feast-day mantillas. Even wedding rings went on the altar. Such was the gentle persuasion of The Master.

By the end of 1894 all was in readiness for active revolt, when the three ships outfitted by the junta were seized by the American government in observation of neutrality laws. Disappointed, but not shaken in resolve, Marti went on with fresh plans and operations. On February twenty-fourth, 1895, in the village of Baire near Santiago, the new cry of freedom, the Grito de Baire,
was launched. On April 1st, the fighting mulatto, Antonio Maceo, bearing scars of twenty-five wounds received in the Ten Years' War, arrived from exile. Ten days later, on a black tempestuous night, Marti himself touched his native soil for the first time in sixteen years, when his little boat was tossed onto the Playitas beach. Accompanying him was seventy-two-year-old General Maximo Gomez, the Santo Domingan commander-in-chief of the last war. Together the two foremost heroes of the Cuban people dropped to their knees on the sands in sacramental resolution. Marti, having proceeded from New York to Santo Domingo, had called at the cottage of Gomez in Monte Cristo and tendered him command of the army. Abandoning his family, "in whose company he was living calmly and happily," the old veteran set off with the poet-liberator and four followers, declaring,"We will conquer and be free, cost what it may, or happen what will, and though we have to raise a hospital in each corner and a tomb in each home."

Marti had never been a soldier; and because of the greater service he could render in foreign countries, it was not intended the he should remain in Cuba. But he knew that a taste of fire would prevent enemies from calling him "rice powder patriot." Within six weeks of his landing, Marti was dead- shot from his white horse on May nineteenth, after having been betrayed by a guide.


Sunday, December 03, 2006

If you wanna crash course in Delta Country Blues,check out R.Crumb's comic book at


you truly are evil. I love you more than ever now.

Joe Rudd & THE DISTORTIONS at Tuscaloosa's Ft. Brandon Armory courtesy of

Will Rudd, Joe's brother, called to tell me Joe passed away last night about 10:30 P.M. at the V.A. Hospital.

Will said that Joe appeared to suffer very little and just went to sleep and didn't wake up. Joe required very little pain medication during his hospital stay and every visit or phone call from his old gang really brought back his mental powers. Joe shared memories and joked with visitors till the very end.

Will is finalizing plans for a memorial service which will probably occur next Saturday. I feel that all the details will be worked out by this time tomorrow. Joe is survived by his 99 year old mother and her condition will dictate that the service be short.

Will told me that one of the things that he will carry away from the ordeal of the past three weeks will be an undying love for the preservation of Southern music.

I replied that we have two options:

We can let all our memories dissolve into oblivion or we can preserve all that we have left.

Will is not the only one who is making a commitment to remember our musical heritage. Many of the people who came to The Heeey Baby Days of Beach Music
book signing with Greg Haynes last night will take a little more time to preserve that old concert poster or to scan those old photos or email us about their memories of the music and the men and women who entertain us.

I know Joe's ears were burning last night about 7 o'clock because everyone in the old Tuscaloosa crowd at Chuck's Fish
were talking about Joe Rudd as we hustled autographs from Greg Haynes, Nora Haynes, Tiger Jack Garrett, Bill Connell and Bennie Deer.

Connell had a really cool portrait of Gregg Allman and him taken recently when Bill and his wife, Laura, stayed at Gregg and his wife's house on a bayou near Savannah. Gregg was wearing a Chuck's Fish cap so maybe Bill can get him over to T-town for a little jam session at the restaurant. Gregg also told Bill that he had contacted Polydor to have them send Bill the four gold records that he is owed.

Thanks to everyone who had a hand in making last night's event a success and I'm sure I'll
see some of you at Joe Rudd's memorial service next Saturday.

Robert Register

P.S. I'll send out more details on the Old Musician's Reunion and Super Jam Thursday night at Rhythm & Brews but I received this email from Jerry Henry:

I want you to help me get the word out about Thursday night. The Musicians Reunion and Super Jam at Rhythm and Brews
beginning at 8:00. Us old guys still know how to party. Great seeing everybody at Chuck's last weekend. Bill Connell coming in while I was there was a God send.

Subject :
Something About Gitmo Yo' Hardheaded Prankster Ass May Not Have Considered!


I swear to God you Yankees are so ANTI-AMERICAN it's made you retarded!

Ever thought that our work in Gitmo fits in with God's divine purpose and that the divive purpose is TO KICK SOME FUCKIN' MOSLEM ASS.

My Jesus, my friend, will take his belt off and whip some anarchist HIPPIE BUTT!

You Yankees may give up and throw in the towel but the South will never surrender to a bunch of worthless homicidal Arab shitheads and their Black Muslim allies and other domestic enemies of this country.

Columbus was with Isabel and Ferdinand on January 2, 1492 at the capitulation of Granada.
Abu Abdullah handed the keys to Isabel and the last mosque in Europe closed it's doors and Abdullah hauled his worthless ass over the Strait of Gibraltar back to Fez where the Moslem moron belonged.

Columbus used this opportunity to pitch his western voyage to The Far East. He proposed to pay for his voyage with the gold he would bring back from Japan. He also promised the royal couple enough gold SO THAT THE CHRISTIANS COULD CONQUER JERUSALEM.

Columbus missed Japan but he found Cuba.

Because of American intervention, Independence Day in Cuba finally occurred on May 20, 1902.

President Reagan said it best on May 20, 1988 on the 86th anniversary of Cuban Independence:

Speaking for myself, and I think speaking for the Vice President also, it gives us great pleasure to join with the Cuban-American community in commemorating the anniversary of a great day in the cause of a free Cuba: the establishment of the Cuban Republic 86 years ago. On that day, May 20, 1902, the bonds of friendship between the peoples of Cuba and of the United States were reaffirmed. The birth of the Cuban Republic was the culmination of a long and arduous struggle, of revolts, political imprisonment, executions, and exile. Today that passion for a free Cuba remains alive in the hearts of thousands of Cubans everywhere. Cuban-Americans have demonstrated what a free people can accomplish unencumbered by tyranny, and I am confident that the time will come when the spirit of freedom will reign in Cuba itself.

From Stode's pageant of Cuba:

The date set for the formal raising of the Lone Star Flag of Cuba Libre was May twentieth, Ascension Day, the anniversary of that miraculous day in which Our Lord rose straight from earth to heaven. It was doubly significant in that it was also the anniversary of a later day when the indominable soul of Cuba's discoverer, Cristobal Colon, at length broke from the moorings of its pain-racked body and drifted beyond the mortality of temporal disappointments into Paradise- or, if it were forbidden that opiate place, into some dream-created province of its own, ineffably more glorious that Kubla Khan's fabulous city, which the Admiral had missed, or that "most lovely land ever human eyes beheld"- this Cuba, which he had seen and smelt and heard and savored and set possessive feet upon. Now for the first time in four centuries and a decade, since 1492, when Columbus planted the banners of Aragon and Castile on Cuban soil, the lovely land was free again. It was such a day as rarely comes more than once in a country's chronicle, and the Cubans were by nature equipped to make the most of it. For in the phrase of Heine, Liberty is something the Latin loves as his bride. "He burns for her; he is a flame; he casts himself at her feet with the most extravagant protestations; he will fight for her to the death; and he commits for her sake a thousand follies."

Why in the fuck are you Lefties so goddamned concerned about a group of murderers who ought to be taken out and shot to death tomorrow morning?


Gotcha didn't I because your brain drew a blank.