Anyone whose been following this blog knows how much I love that good old whorehouse style piano playing…When I lived in New Orleans I was lucky enough to have seen Katie Webster several times. Katie comes from Lake Charles, Louisiana, but moved to California and fortunately for us music lovers she would show up in the Big Easy from time to time.
One of the greatest radio stations I’ve ever been around was Radio Baie des Anges out of Nice, France. The station played a lot of good honky-tonk piano numbers, the only problem was they didn’t have what we think of as dee jays except for someone called Jacquesno (spelling?) who had a show at eight in the evenings. He was great. Mondays were, of course, called Blue Monday and Fridays were country and western nights. This man really knew his music. Lots of evenings he would devote his hour to one special musician and often it would be some unknown studio musician and Jacques would play cuts that musician had played behind other featured players.
Except for Jacques you never knew the names of the songs or the musicians who were playing them. All you got on Baie des Anges was music, news, more music, advertising, and even more music. I would put a 90 minute cassette in my boom box, hit record and then go about the business of the day. Later in the evening I would edit the tape picking out the songs I liked and eventually accumulated around 80 hours of music I enjoyed most of which was hard-pounding piano.
We moved the boat over to Marbella, Spain, for several months prior to making the big leap across the pond. One day my French girlfriend, Florence, and I took a trip up through the mountians to town of Ronda. As we were wandering through the ancient streets we were passing by a music store and out of the corner of my eye I saw a cassette in the window featuring Katie Webster. Now, she’s not a big name around the world and it’s even hard to find any of her recorded music in New Orleans so I immediately went in and bought the album. When we returned to the boat late that evening I popped the tape into the player and the big surprise was that all but two of the songs on it I’d already pirated off of Radio Baie des Anges!