Archive for November, 2010

Morris Ardoin & Dennis Stroughmatt in Chicago, December 5

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

I mentioned previously that the Midway Ramblers were ending their regular “First Friday” Cajun dances in Chicago. Alas, their final “First Friday” dance is this Sunday, December 5, with special guests the Morris Ardoin Creole Quartet with special guest Dennis Stroughmatt. (There is no dance on Friday, December 3.)

The dance is at the usual location, at the Irish American Heritage Center at 4626 N. Knox in Chicago, IL. Dance instruction is offered from 5:15 to 6:00 pm, followed by the actual dance from 6:00 to 9:00 pm (Chicago time, of course). Admission is $12. For more info call 630-833-3515 or email

Louisiana Dance Party–Report

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

Well, 18 folks paid to get in to the Louisiana Dance Party on November 19 at the Pittsfield Grange, so I covered the hall rent, although it didn’t fully cover the cost of refreshments. Quel dommage! It seems most folks had fun dancing, though.

Dancers at the Louisiana Dance Party

Dancers at the Louisiana Dance Party, November 19

Cyndy Cleveland was kind enough to drop by and give some basic Cajun two-step and waltz dance lessons, and we even had special guests Chuck and Lorraine (formerly of Chuck’s on the Boulevard) drop by to say hi. Even better, and unexpectedly, Chuck and Lorraine brought a pot of jambalaya to share with everyone! Lagniappe!

Lorraine plays the frottoir

Lorraine plays the frottoir

Chuck, at home in the Grange's kitchen

Chuck, at home in the Grange's kitchen

I had promised cake in celebration of 10 years of Maison Bleue being together as a band, and it was a very nice marble cake from Heritage Bakery of Livonia, MI. We also had ice cream, and had a toast of 10 years down, and many more to come. Oh, yeah, did I mention Chuck and Lorraine’s delicious jambalaya? I should probably plug their excellent cookbook, n’est-pas!?

Maison Bleue's cake

Maison Bleue's 10th anniversary cake

After the intermission, we let Jeff Boerger’s “other” band, Cracklin’, take over on stage. Jeff plays guitar and fiddle in Maison Bleue, he also plays those and accordion in Cracklin’.


Cracklin' plays at the Pittsfield Grange

Of course. with Cracklin’ playing the music, some members of Maison Bleue (and Cyndy) were able to “get down” with playing Maison Bleue’s extra “noise-maker” instruments.


Kip, Cyndy, Bill, and Nina make some noise

All in all, it was a fun time. Although it is a lot of work putting on a dance at the Grange, it was nice to see several faces of folks who used to come to the Louisiana Dance Parties when we held them monthly in the early 2000s. A few of those folks admitted they missed the regular dances, so I said I will try to have them annually, perhaps every November.

(All pictures by Patricia F. Anderson. See all her pix from the Louisiana Dance Party.)

Return of the Louisiana Dance Party, November 19!

Monday, November 15th, 2010

Aiyeeeeeeee! A few folks may remember when Maison Bleue played for a monthly “Louisiana Dance Party” at the Pittsfield Union Grange Hall just south of Ann Arbor, Michigan, in the early 2000s. Well, in honor of the fact that Maison Bleue played their first Cajun/zydeco dance at the Grange in November of 2000, they deemed it necessary to celebrate that 10th anniversary with another Louisiana Dance Party!

Maison Bleue from 2001

Maison Bleue plays at the Pittsfield Grange on January 19, 2001

The dance is Friday, November 19 (2010), with dance lessons starting at 7:00 pm (we’ll teach you how to do a basic Cajun two-step and waltz, and a basic zydeco step–it’s easy and fun!), then Maison Bleue will play live music starting at 8:00 pm. The event runs until 11:00 pm or so. Watch for other guest musicians (and maybe local bands) to also play during the evening. There will be an intermission around 9:30 pm with (non-alcoholic) refreshments served, and yes, there will be cake! (Hopefully, with 10 candles on it.)

Fake alligators

Pet Maison Bleue's pet 'gators!

The Pittsfield Union Grange Hall is at 3337 Ann Arbor-Saline Road, about 1/2 mile south of I-94. Heading south from I-94, when you cross Oak Valley Drive, the road you’re on will narrow down to two lanes. The Grange is immediately on your left. It looks sort of like an old-fashioned school house. Once you pass Oak Valley Drive, if you seem to be in open country, you’ve probably gone past it. Try to find a driveway to turn around, then head back to the Grange. (Note: The Pittsfield Grange Hall is NOT to be confused with the Pittsfield Township Hall, in case you’re looking it up online!)

Garry lying down on the job

Garry at the last Louisiana Dance Party on April 16, 2004

To celebrate the 10 years of being together as a band, Maison Bleue is charging admission based on the prices from 2000. They are $6 for adults (20 years and older), $3 for teens (ages 13 to 19), and kids 12 and younger are free when accompanied by an adult. Please bring clean soft-soled shoes to change into for dancing to help protect the nice wooden dance floor from grit that gets tracked in with street shoes. Wear loose, comfortable clothing, and prepare to have fun!

Get the flyer.

Myrick “Freeze” Guillory at The Ark, November 13

Friday, November 12th, 2010

Does anyone remember the Frog Island Music Festivals that used to happen in Frog Island park in Ypsilanti, Michigan? Does anyone remember Queen Ida? Well, if you do, there’s an event this Friday, November 13, that’s right up your bayou! The Ark in Ann Arbor, MI, is having a “Frog Island Festival Revival” featuring Myrick “Freeze” Guillory, and Myrick just happens to be the son of famous zydeco accordionist Queen Ida, so he learned his craft from a master of the zydeco craft. Also appearing is former local Ann Arbor bluesman Al Hill, who has now relocated to Nashville.

This event is a fundraiser for The Ark, and tickets are priced accordingly: $500, $250, $125, and $45. The Ark also suggests you wear your vintage Frog Island T-shirt (if you have one). For more info, call The Ark at 734-761-1800 (days) or 734-761-1818 (evenings). The Ark is located in downtown Ann Arbor at 316 S. Main St.

Swamperella – Cajun music in Toronto, November 13

Friday, November 12th, 2010

Perhaps you’re somewhere near Toronto, Ontario, this coming Saturday night, November 13. Why not go and check out Swamperella at the Silver Dollar Room? Swamperella plays solid traditional Cajun music, primarily from the fiddle of Soozi Schlanger and the squeezebox of Peter Jellard. They play starting at 7:00 pm, and the Silver Dollar is at 486 Spadina Ave. in Toronto. There is a $10 cover.

As I used to say when I DJed the old Michigumbo show, check out Swamperella‘s web site to see the best picture of a dancing couple ever! The guy has an alligator head, and the gal has a crawfish head. Gee, I sure hope that was a Photoshop job! :-)

Midway Ramblers last “First Friday” dance on November 5

Thursday, November 4th, 2010

Y’all have heard of “the announcer’s jinx”? You know, when a sports announcer on radio or TV says something along the lines of “this kicker has been perfect on extra points this season” then immediately afterwards the kicker will shank an extra point so he’s not perfect any more? I feel like I recently made a “blogger’s jinx” when I blogged about the First Friday dances in Chicago with the Midway Ramblers. The Ramblers have a dance this Friday, November 5, then a dance on Sunday, December 5 (with Morris Ardoin), and then will not have any more regular dances (at least for a while).

I received this email from Denise Thompson of the Midway Ramblers:

Hello everyone

I’ve been thinking for awhile about ending the dances and have decided that the December dance (with the Morris Ardoin Creole Quartet and Dennis Stroughmatt) will be the last regular dance for us, at least for awhile. We might schedule one dance in the spring and we’ll certainly manage any guest bands that come our way. There is no one reason for wanting a break, just a feeling that this is the right time to move on. We’ve been at it for ten years and will have left the dance scene in much better shape than when we started when there was no cohesive dance scene at all

I know that many of you started your “careers” in Cajun with our dances and that some of you go at least as far back in decades as we do with our love of Cajun dance music. I thank you all for attending our dances over the last ten years.  We certainly grew as a band and many of you made new friends.

The early part of the year will be taken up with a long Mardi Gras season and perhaps we’ll play a dance in April.  After that, the summer season begins so there will be plenty of Cajun goings on in Chicago

We hope to see you on November 5th for the regular dance and on December 5th for the wonderful Morris Ardoin Creole Quartet.

A bientot….


Quel dommage! But I understand how hard it is to manage a regular monthly dance, and I can also understand why the Ramblers might feel they need to take a break from those dances for a while.

So, if you can possibly make it to the November 5 or December 5 dances, do so!

As a reminder, the November 5th dance is at the Irish American Heritage Center, 4626 N. Knox (at Wilson), Chicago, IL. The dance is in the Shanachie Room and starts at 8:00 pm, some dance instruction is given around 8:45 pm. Admission is $8. Info: 630-833-3515.