Charlie's Books

Charlie's Books
Buon Giorno, Amici!

Our motto ...

Leave the (political) party. Take the cannoli.

"It always seems impossible until it's done." Nelson Mandela

Right now 6 Stella crime novels are available on Kindle for just $.99 ... Eddie's World has been reprinted and is also available from Stark House Press (Gat Books).

Monday, July 27, 2009

North Carolina … the 2009 Cape Fear Blues Festival …

Another short video of the blues jam is located at the bottom of this post. Guitar & Vocals (Rick Tobey), Keys (Glen Joseph), Harp (Nel Nichols), Bass (Dave Corey), Guitar (Pete Durso), Drums (Charlie Stella).


Day 1: The Principessa Ann Marie forgets EZ Pass 15 minutes into the road trip. The ugly one does an about face and returns to Casa Stella (because our last “directions” dispute cost “us” a windshield and “me” a Jacuzzi. The trip officially (with EZ Pass in hand) begins at 6:30 a.m.

The right knee is arthritic and like clockwork, it turns into pain central every 2 hours while driving and there’s no way to turn off the air conditioner without suffocating. This will slow our trip down considerably but no pain, no gain ... so we were on our way anyway.

It was raining pretty heavy by the time we reached Baltimore and it went by in a blur ... so did Washington, Alexandria and a bunch of other cities.

The traffic breaks up and we’re flying again. Before we know it, we’re close to the Petersburg Civil War Battlefield. Yep, we pull off and visit the park because Knucks loves anything civil war related. At the park we see a movie highlighting what started as a battle and ended as a 292 day siege, eventually leading to Appomattox one week after the siege ended.

There was a lot more to Petersburg than the siege and yous can (and should) read about them here: The Crater, Hatcher’s Run, Fort Stedman, Five Forks … all leading to Lee’s surrender at Appomattox Court House.

Okay, history lesson over ... now we’re in the great sunny and sweltering state of North Carolina ... we’re there a day early and decide to relax at Wrightsville Beach … wow, what a gorgeous beach. The sun was very hot and the pounding surf was very warm (and strong). I lost my bathing suit soon as I dove in, but fortunately spectators were spared that hideousness when the waves rolled me along the bottom long enough to pull it back up. Trying to return to shore was no easy task either. I was in the surf less than five minutes (and that was more than enough for the ugly one). I didn’t go near the water again, except to scout for Jaws when the wife went in.

More importantly, I stayed well away from the parking garage in Wilmington where an 11 foot alligator was found hanging out a few weeks ago (praise be to Bill Crider’s blog for warning me of that particular dinosaur sighting).

Day 2 ... we meet Pete and Karen Durso at the Blues Cruise but not before neither Peter or I can recognize each other. What happened was Karen came over to me and said, “You look like you don’t belong here. Are you Charlie?”

What a sweetheart Karen is ... Pete and I got to hug (not that there’s anything wrong with that) for the first time in 37 years (that's Pete on guitar in the picture at the extreme right) Avi is on bass next to Pete. And we were Arm & Hammer (as I learned once Avi sent me the picture). Pete continues to insist Avi is the best bass he’s ever played with and I insist both are great musicians who let me in the band because of the basement practice space I came with. Anyway, we did some catching up on the blues cruise and learned how Pete and his lovely wife found their way to Wilmington, North Carolina. They are great people, amici ... very kind, generous, warm and all that fuzzy stuff. It was great catching up after sooooo many years.

Day 3 … begins with WAFFLE HOUSE ... (seriously, Tom Waits would love this joint … the best breakfast in the world for just $5.99) ... a few hours later we met up with Nate Parker, his girlfriend Sarah and her daughter (a knockout and a half—super intelligent and a blues fan) at the Cape Fear Blues Festival (Day 2 Festivities) at Greenlawn Lake Park ... the last time I saw Nate he looked he was still playing for Virginia Tech ... he still looks like he’s playing for Virginia Tech. Tall, dark, handsome and built a little like Hulk Hogan (not that that’s a bad thing). Nate is an official lawman in Durham, North Carolina and I can’t imagine anybody ever even thinking about screwing around with this guy (6-5, about 250 and all muscle). Nate’s girlfriend Sarah and her daughter were wonderful accompaniments to the big guy ... they just look right together. Wonderful people, amici, really.

Day 4 ... the day I was most waiting for ... a chance to jam with Pete Durso after so many years (37 to be exact) ... all I can say is wow ... I can’t remember having so much fun (my mistakes and all). I didn’t know what they were going to play, but it sure was fun jumping in and playing it. The band I played with featured an outrageously wonderful pair of guitars (Rick and Pete) with Rick providing vocals. We also had a great bass, an exciting keyboard, and an incredible harp. It was just a bunch of fun and made the trip extra worthwhile.

Guitar & Vocals - Rick Tobey
Keys - Glen Joseph
Harp - Nel Nichols
Bass - Dave Corey
Guitar - Pete Durso
Drums - The ugly one

Mostly, I thank my beautiful wife (who danced with me on the blues cruise) for letting her big guy be a big kid one more time.

If it ain’t easy being me, imagine being her ...

One (of so many) reason(s) I’m so crazy about her.


And the DOC says ...

Hey Chaz,

Sounds like you had a good time. When I saw those documentaries about Monterey Pop and Woodstock they didn't spend much time describing the local waffle houses, much less camera footage. You're one of a kind, my friend.

And what's the story with that little psycho kid spinning around the pole. You didn't have an extra drum stick that you could lob at him?

Regardless, welcome back

Amici: For the record … the wife wanted to strangle that pole dancing brat.

DOC also had this to suggest:

PS: You could copy some moves from the drummer in this video:

Irish, you know.


We're hoping to get some more video out of the camera we bought for this trip. We were experimenting, amici ... seriously ... I didn't get stoned (as in rocks) off the stage.