Mud Bug Boogie
Author: Robert Force
Date/Studio: 2003 Dragonspan, Tulsa, OK
Engineer: Quintin Stephens
Producer: Robert Force, Quintin Stephens
Original Release: Under the Porch Light (BSR304)
Current Release: The Complete Recordings (BSR 158)
Two cuts of this “jumpy” tune of mine were recorded. One was done in 2003 as a duo with Quintin Stephens at his studio outside of Tulsa, OK and appears on his Under the Porchlight cd. A solo version was recorded for my 2013 cd release, Did You. Please see the webnotes under The Mudbug Boogie to get more of the story behind the song. It has different names so the music 'bots don't get confused.
In the winter of 1999 I was sicker than a dog, a deep cold was not letting go. My friend, Joe Breskin, convinced me that a few days spent at the Puget Sound Guitar Workshop retreat was just the ticket I needed to perk up. Off we went, me triple-wrapped. We pulled up, piled out and were immediately greeted by our long-time friend, Eric Steese, who diagnosed my malady and its cure. I needed cold whisky and hot music, the former which he supplied from his tote-bag apothecary. Properly dosed with a serum level of custom-prescribed remedy, I sought out the only sunbeam in the place.
The camp being situated among tall fir trees, it really was the only sunbeam. That single shaft of sun was enough, though. I began playing the fastest Latino-beat music I could muster, improvising as I went along. I would burn out that cold! Before long, guitar players had gathered around me and we all started cooking on the tune. The Mud Bug Boogie was born out of that session but it wasn't to get either its name or its final form until I got a call from the Princess Cha Cha, Robin Mohun.
“Hey, there is a real fun festival my friends Paul and Dee put on outside of New Orleans and it looks like it's their last. Y'otta come!” I called Paul and he extended an invite. I had a grand time at the fest. There was lots of good music, good friends and topped off with my first crawfish feast-- mudbugs as they are called down there. Paul showed me how to eat fast, worry the tail loose with my teeth, suck the juices out of the head and guard my pile in case faster eaters started eyeing them. All this was done while quaffing tasty Abita beer. It was a good way to ring in the millennium and name a new song.
Three years later I found myself in Tulsa, Oklahoma recording the tune with Quintin Stephens. Not since Albert died had I encountered a person with the technical chops and versatility as I found when I met Quintin ten years before at a Kindred Gathering in southern Washington. His father, Ed, had quite a musical family. Each of the kids played something. Quintin was good on both guitar and dulcimer. As Quintin related to me, “My dad came home one day with one of your records and said I should learn to play the dulcimer like those guys do.”
And he did. Boy howdy! When I met him he knew tunes of Al's and mine that I had practically forgotten how to play. We literally bumped into each other in a hallway at the KG festival. He was playing standing up and doing d'Ossché licks I had not heard in years. I jumped right in. Still playing, we edged into the concrete block locker room of the camp's shower room and the dulcimers rang out with no small amount of ebullience in the unbridled, mutual joy of discovery.
We have been fast friends ever since. He is one of the most knowledgeable musicians I have ever had the pleasure to know. Over the years he has taken on the transcribing of tunes Al and I recorded that never were tabbed out-- from easy ones like, Saturday Night, to the incredibly complicated, Moon Void.
To be able to again hear the music that Al and I made together faithfully reproduced by Quintin is a joy I can hardly describe. To be asked to play on a cd of mostly his own originals was an equal delight.
During the sessions for Under the Porchlight the idea came up that we might also collaborate on one of my compositions. I taught him Mudbug. He quickly assimilated the tune and made it his own. That's why two equally fine recorded versions now exist. Thank you Quintin. Thank you, Ed.