I knew a guy who told me his life plan over whiskey. Well, more than one, actually. But this is the story of Duff Thompson.
Plan: move to the city, get a band together, teach them his songs, and skip town. Then start all over again: new city, new band, another escape. Let his music play on long after he’s gone, and never take the credit. Rinse, wash, repeat.
He was the drummer and I the guitarist/backup singer in a little doo-wop country blues outfit in New Orleans. At the time he was living in his van outside a friend’s house. There’s large grassy area between the house and the levee, semi-protected by the tallest trees around, separated just barely from the moods of the Mississippi. Duff (not his real name—not on the best terms with Homeland Security) and a bunch of other undocumented Canadians camped out there, playing stringed instruments, recording on reel-to-reels, and refusing to eat spicy foods. They called it New Canada. He got a band together and recorded them live.
Well he’s still in New Orleans, so I don’t know how much of anything he said to me was true (sensing a pattern). But in the spirit of Duff’s plan, and because he doesn’t have a cell phone, I’ve chosen to upload a burned CD of 5 songs and publish them here without his permission, so that the wide, wide world of N.S.H. readers can enjoy his beautiful music.
He’s a little bit like a sleepy Elvis Costello who lucid-dreams about mashed potatoes, or a funnier Roy Orbison who wears flip flops and smokes too many cigarettes, or maybe a Canadian Doug Sahm-style spirit guide for country soul children in troubled times.
Whatever it is, it’s one of a kind.
My mashed potatoes fell on the linoleum
And I spilled my water on my last piece of toast
I just want a perfect piece of something
But it’s you I want the most