Sunday, March 30, 2008

More tramping through Dixie

We covered some serious miles on the road this month, with our first destination being the gorgeous Emerald Coast of the Florida Panhandle to visit with old friends and get my inaugural sunburn. After a week of sun, sand and barbecue ribs we scooted on up to Tennessee and then headed back home by way of Georgia.

It is always a happy time when I am traveling the byways of the Old Confederacy. Here are some pictures from our most recent journey. Enjoy-----I sure did.

Florida State Capitol in Tallahassee

Seaside, FL

Frost Bites in downtown Seaside

Tire swings at the cemetery
Parrott, GA

Easter treats at church
Seagrove Beach, FL

Sunset in Seaside

Richland, GA

Dixie County, FL

Porcelain dogs
Parrott, GA

Camp Creek empties into the Gulf of Mexico
Walton County, FL

Sasser, GA

Fanning Springs, FL

Friday, March 14, 2008

Springing forward into barbecue time

Spring has almost sprung and it's time for y'all to get outside and start grilling in the balmy sunshine. Fresh corn and pork spare ribs have been on sale here in the Sunshine State over the past few weeks, so that's what I've been preparing.

My neighbors don't seem to mind that our street often smells like a southern rib shack. I don't think it's hurt property values. At least not yet.

Always soak the corn for at least 20 minutes

Have the patience to grill the ribs for at least 2 hours (or more)

A good homemade sauce is always very important

Grill the corn in the husks

Friday, March 07, 2008

Gator tails

While on our way to visit a remote nature preserve down in Okeechobee County we encountered a stretch of road that reminded us of the bayous of Louisiana. The highway was distinctly elevated above the surrounding swamp land and there were many old houses and ancient live oaks draped with Spanish moss that conjured up images of the bayou country.

Who could resist?

We stopped for a spell in the tiny hamlet of Lorida to stretch our legs and poke around a bit. I went into a little market that sold local swamp delicacies and inquired about the availability of gator tails. The lady in charge went into the back of the store and returned with a bag of frozen tails for me to inspect.

Gator tails.....mmmmm boy!

I was told that they were delicious when lightly breaded and deep fried like fish and that they would be glad to sell me a bag of Everglades spices that would complement the meat most favorably. She said that the best thing about alligator meat was that it really didn't taste like anything else; not chicken or fish or snake or turtle but was uniquely a meat with a mild and mellow flavor all its own.

The next time I'm down that way I plan to bring a cooler with dry ice and tote a bag or two home. I'll be sure to invite y'all over to try some with me.

Yup it sure looks like Louisiana

Backyard on the bayou
Lorida, FL

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Lynyrd Skynyrd: Second Helping

The next record album in my series on enduringly great discs from the early seventies is Second Helping by Lynyrd Skynyrd. This album along with their first record Pronounced pretty much defined the sound of this exciting and original rock n' roll band from Florida.

Lynyrd Skynyrd started out as a local bar band in Jacksonville that were brought into the national limelight by Bob Dylan's former keyboardist Al Kooper who first discovered them and then produced their first three albums on MCA.

Second Helping
introduced some of their most famous concert anthems including the sarcastically toned paean to Southern headneckery "Sweet Home Alabama" as well as "Don't Ask Me No Questions" and "They Call Me the Breeze".

My two favorite songs are "Swamp Music" and "The Ballad of Curtis Loew", both of which show Skynyrd to be a deeply Southern band that owes much of their identity and sound to "the black man's blues" as well the rich cultural roots of their home region. Their three lead guitar attack was unequaled by any other band before or since. I sure do miss 'em.

Going down to the swamp
Gonna watch me a hound dog catch a 'coon

Well, I'm going down to the swamp

Gonna watch me a hound dog catch a 'coon

You know the hound dog make a music

On a summer night under a full moon

Fetch my cane pole mama

Gonna catch a bream or maybe two

Fetch my cane pole mama

Gonna catch a bream or maybe two

And when the hound dog starts barkin'
Sounds like ol' Son House singin' the blues

This was one of my favorite albums in high school and I still like it just as much today. It just plain rocks. What more could you want from a head-banging rock record?

The boys in the band on the curb in Jacksonville (1972).

Next record: Mott by Mott the Hoople. Stay tuned.

Wise words from Uncle Joe

Uncle Joe

"Those who cast the votes decide nothing. Those who count the votes decide everything." ---- Joseph Stalin

You've got to admit that this mass murdering monster had a pretty keen wit and an extremely penetrating understanding of the fundamental truth that underlies modern democracy.