Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Of course, I've rarely been posting album reviews lately, but I intend to pay more attention to that in the future. We all know what the road to hell is paved with, don't we?

In any event, a favorite album of mine is Albert King's Born Under A Bad Sign. Released in 1967 and recorded by an all star band, the title song soon became a classic and was covered by Cream a year later to great success. See below for a great and informative wiki post on the album.

Along with Albert's stellar guitar playing, the band featured soon to become legends Steve Cropper, Donald "Duck" Dunn, Al Jackson and Booker T. Jones, collectively known as Booker T. and the M.G.'s.

So right away, with part of the band composed of a serious STAX recording session band that was also a great band in their own right, you know that Albert is gonna get serious on this record. But that's not the only stars on this record.

You've got the guy who in a few years would create the soul music masterpiece SHAFT, Issac Hayes, AND THE MEMPHIS HORNS, who have pretty much played on most of the R&B and Soul records of any significance during the 60's and for decades thereafter.

So there's not a much better band available to a singing, guitar playing star like Albert King in 1967. I mean, if the DNA was analyzed of the band, they would all have heavy groove genes in common.

Like most other white folks my age, I discovered Born Under A Bad Sign via Clapton and Cream a few years after it's release. At some point in the early 80's when Little Screamin' Kenny or in the late-80's through the 90's, Dogman Miller, Teri Greene and Skiles Kelly all guided my knowledge of the blues, exposing me to all kinds of stuff I had never heard or played before. Numerous other folks did also, but not to the extend of these Houston Blues Guitar Greats.

But for some reason, Crosscut Saw and Laundromat Blues, which are blues classics from this album, never hit my listening or playing lists. Part of that might be due to the fact I have a pretty wide range of musical taste and in the 80's was listening to everything current as well as rock music from the 60's and 70's and trying to catch up on the incredible amount of cool blues music that was out there.

But then many years later, taking the stage with a put together blues trio at the 311 Club on East Sixth Street in Austin, a late 20's kid named like played those two numbers with *almost* as much soul as old Albert himself. And that's not something I say lightly and it's said with all due respect to one of the "Three Kings of the Blues Guitar" (Albert, B.B. and Freddy). I had never played the numbers or even heard the songs, but it was no problem playing and I was later pleased when I heard the original that I had the same ideas as Al Jackson and that I came out pretty close to what he originally did. (I record gigs digitally (since 1992) and analog (1982-1992) and listen to them afterwards).

Since then, I actually bought this CD, and now it's one of my favorites. Although many stars would hire part or parts of the great backing band he had on this album, and although many of those acts were fabulously successful, in my opinion few come close to the high energy of this band.

And that's saying something, considering the successful career of The Memphis Horns and Issac Hayes, or the seriously hot Booker T. and the M.G.'s, or even the Blues Brothers with Cropper and the Duck.

Here's a great wiki post:

Born Under a Bad Sign is a blues album by Albert King, recorded between 1966 and 1967, and released in 1967 by Stax Records. This was the first album Albert King recorded on Stax, and the title song became a blues standard. King played a Gibson Flying V through a solid-state Acoustic amplifier; his tone on the second song, "Crosscut Saw," was hailed in 2004 by Guitar Player as one of the "50 Greatest Tones of All Time."[1]

Eric Clapton closely imitated the solo of "Crosscut Saw" for Cream's song "Strange Brew" and the band covered the title song for their 1968 album Wheels of Fire. British band Free covered "The Hunter" on their 1968 debut album Tons Of Sobs, and it was a concert staple of theirs, as seen on their 1971 album Free Live!. In addition, Led Zeppelin incorporated elements of "The Hunter" into "How Many More Times" from their self-titled 1969 debut album. The vocal melody from "As The Years Go Passing By" inspired Duane Allman's composition of the main riff from "Layla" from Derek and the Dominos' Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs.[citation needed] Glenn Danzig covered "The Hunter" on Danzig.

In 2003, the album was ranked number 499 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.[2]

Track listing

Original release

Side one
Born Under a Bad Sign" (William Bell, Booker T. Jones) – 2:47
Crosscut Saw" (R.G. Ford) – 2:35
Kansas City" (Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller) – 2:33
"Oh, Pretty Woman" (A.C. Williams) – 2:48
"Down Don't Bother Me" (Albert King) – 2:10
"The Hunter" (
Steve Cropper, Donald "Duck" Dunn, Al Jackson, Jr, Booker T. Jones) – 2:45

Side two
I Almost Lost My Mind" (Ivory Joe Hunter) – 3:30
"Personal Manager" (Albert King,
David Porter) – 4:31
"Laundromat Blues" (Sandie Jones) – 3:21
As the Years Go Passing By" (Deadric Malone) – 3:48
The Very Thought of You" (Ray Noble) – 3:46

Vinyl re-issue
In 1998
Sundazed Records reissued the album with two additional bonus tracks, namely the rare mono single sides "Funk-Shun" and "Overall Junction", both written by Albert King. This expanded edition of the album—also featuring original liner notes by Deanie Parker and a new annotation by music critic Bill Dahl—was never released on CD and is available on LP only.

Side one
"Born Under a Bad Sign" (William Bell, Booker T. Jones) – 2:46
"Crosscut Saw" (R.G. Ford) – 2:33
"Kansas City" (Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller) – 2:31
"Oh, Pretty Woman" (A.C. Williams) – 2:48
"Down Don't Bother Me" (Albert King) – 2:09
"The Hunter" (Steve Cropper, Donald "Duck" Dunn, Al Jackson, Jr, Booker T. Jones) – 2:43
"Funk-Shun" (Albert King) - 2:30

Side two
"I Almost Lost My Mind" (Ivory Joe Hunter) – 3:28
"Personal Manager" (Albert King, David Porter) – 4:27
"Laundromat Blues" (Sandie Jones) – 3:18
"As The Years Go Passing By" (Deadric Malone) – 3:47
"The Very Thought of You" (Ray Noble) – 3:46
"Overall Junction" (Albert King) - 2:19

Albert KingElectric guitar and vocals
Steve Cropper – Electric guitar
Booker T. JonesPiano
Isaac Hayes – Piano
Donald "Duck" DunnBass
Al Jackson, Jr.drums
The Memphis HornsHorns


The new look and functions of Google images has greatly stifled my ability to hardly post a picture at all. I really don't care to save useable pictures on my computer just to post them, as this annoys Mrs. El Fisho greatly. We try to avoid annoying Mrs. El Fisho whenever possible as it makes our life much simpler and for a happier Mrs. El Fisho, and after years of marriage to me, the least she deserves is some happiness.

So I apologize for the format and sometimes when the paragraphs merge together and I am unable to separate them into proper style.

I suppose I could spend hours learning how to fix these problems but that would take away from my writing and web surfing.

Oh well. Sorry.

Sunday, August 29, 2010


A friend and I were discussing the various merits of an automobile defensive weapon for the driver to be able to use. If there is a passenger who can shoot well, and you are attacked, so much the better. But I think the driver in any high risk area should be prepared to defend against several forms of possible attack, both urban and rural and both stationary and mobile.

Ideally it would be a weapon you could carry concealed, easily or otherwise, on your person, but certainly carried concealed in a small purse sized bag with lots of extra magazines. You'd want a laser, and perhaps a flashlight on it as well. I suggested the Glock 26, the subcompact Glock 9mm that regularly holds 10 rounds, but will accept the larger capacity mags including the 33 round mags that fit the Glock 17 and 19 models. You can lay down a pretty good field of fire with 34 rounds, and if laser guided, a fairly effective field of fire. A Glock 17 or a 19 are also a very viable alternative to the 26, but I was thinking about a gun that would fit in a small bag under the drivers seat with a bunch of extra 33 round mags.
There is some excellent information and ideas about Glocks, as well as pics and vids, at http://www.sal2009.com/index.php?key=glock+26. That's where the top picture comes from, exactly what I'm talking about. Micro Glock with 33 round magazine.

Certainly, a sawed off shotgun or short barreled assault rifle would be an ideal car defense weapon, but I'd worry too much about theft of these far more expensive weapons. Besides, a Glock would be far easier to maneuver than either a short rifle or a sawed off shotgun. A lot of folks I know carry the Taurus Judge in their car, loaded with shot, in case they are attacked on the road. I think the Taurus is a great option and a great gun.

My friend suggested the CZ/USA Scorpion .32 caliber semi-automatic version of the famous machine pistol. They go for about $700 with a couple of mags. I saw one the other day, and was very surprised at their tiny size. Tiny. There is a major coolness factor in the appearance of the gun, but it handles well and feels well in the hand. I have not shot one, but suspect it would be highly superior to the numerous cheap and crappy semi-auto machine pistol replicas and adaptations that were prevalent in the 80's and 90's, such as the semi-auto mac replicas.

For the entry price of the Scorpion with two mags, one could score a new Model 26, fit it with a nice small but powerful tac rail laser, and a handful of 33 round mags. Maybe two handfuls of mags. Of course, 9mm ammo is tons cheaper than .32 ammo and is a far better defensive round. But for me, the 9mm clearly beats the .32 as a defensive round, particularly if that could involve shooting through car doors and glass.

I know some of my non-gun toting readers are saying, why do you need a gun like that in your car in the first place? Well, lets go back again to high risk areas.

What's a high risk area, you say? Well, in this day and age, any area in Texas can be, particularly in the larger cities. We have bad bad bad gang and cartel troubles raging just across the border, and cities like Houston, Beaumont, San Antonio, Corpus Christi, Austin and DFW are awash in the gang members of the various groups doing business in Mexico.

Because they also do business in America.

We have our own home grown gangsters and cartels and other forms of organized crime operating here locally and internationally and in cities like Houston, all kinds of organized crime and terrorist activity could be expected to occur and the highest levels due to the diversity of the population and the relative transient nature of Houston as a city.

During my lifetime, arguably the rise and fall and rise and fall and rise and fall and so on of Houston, The rises are accompanied by mass influx of folks from elsewhere, either domestic or foreign. We have a large illegal alien population and are a major drug and human trafficking area.

Many of these gang types rent condos, properties and homes to transact their business. You occasionally hear of a raid at one but figure for every one caught there are 100 or more not being caught that day.

So if you're driving around the urban or rural areas that encompass Harris County, Texas, (which is larger than Rhode Island, btw), there is all sorts of trouble you might stumble across. In this day and age, in pretty much any modern city in the world, you're likely to run into the same problems as here. Armed bandits. Kidnappings. Random violent crimes like car/atm jacking, hijackers and just your run of the mill "wrong place at the right time" where some mental patient is going off and you're in the line of fire.

Happened to a very good friend of mine a couple of years ago. Going into the same grocery store my family frequents on a Sunday evening about 6 p.m., my friend encounters a meth-head who is absolutely schizo out of his mind, running around with a double ended knife, a cheap gas station $10 knife from China with double blades, one on each end, and the blades are particuarly wicked and serrated.

My poor friend and his date are confronted by said psycho at the door of the store, where employees have just locked the door to keep him from coming back into the store. My friend didn't then carry a gun or a knife, but does now. The meth head, who later said he'd been on a three day "meth run", fought with my friend, who defended his date and then himself with a nearby chair, until my friend fell.

My friend got stabbed in the back, and the docs said if the knife had gone 1" deeper it would have been in his heart. It wasn't for lack of trying, but my friend's girlfriend came running back and started kicking the attacker and a crowd of onlookers jumped onto the freak and subdued he and his knife until police arrived.

This is really the kind of stuff that can happen to you. A car gun like a Scorpion .32 wouldn't have helped my friend, but a Glock or S&W sure would have, as would any kind of knife he might have been able to use. Me myself, I'm going with the gun in the knife attack, in spite of the close quarters of the combat. I practice point shooting from serveral positions, including from the waist level with the arm drawn in close to the body. I am confident at my ability to defend myself point shooting from the waist at a 5 to 7 foot distance.

But back to high risk areas. If you break down in the middle of nowhere, even on an interstate, day or night, you never know who might come along. What if you're out of cell range (not uncommon in many parts of hilly or mountainous remote West Texas)? What if it is a couple of broke and strung out meth heads, both freshly paroled from some sort of prison stint, who see you with your car and clothes and family and think you much be rich and they will be both Robin Hood and the poor at the same time.

On a freeway in a large city like Houston in the middle of the night. Traversing any freeway, what if a carload of gangmembers want to steal your car or atm kidnap you? Can you defend against this situation.

Yes, your normal CHL weapon would be handy, but would you rather have a five shot J frame or a 34 round Glock with a laser? The Subcompact Glocks look awesome with a 33 round mag sticking out, like a mini-machine pistol. Trust me, you can shoot it as fast as you need to in a mobile situation even being a semi-auto weapon. If the intimidating look of the weapon didn't deter a load of car jackers, then hitting one of them in the face with the laser might.

If it comes to Dodge City time, then you've got 34 rounds of reliable 9mm ammo, backed by several other 33 round magazines, in a package much easier to wield in a mobile situation than an AK or AR pistol.

No matter how high the coolness factor of the Scorpion .32 semi-auto, for me the Glock is a easy winner over the Scorpion for an auto defense weapon. Another excellent pistol with hi cap mags available is the Browning Hi Power and it's many clones, which take 30 something round magazines as well. You'd have to fit it with laser grips, but that's an easy addition.

Saturday, August 28, 2010


Billy Ray has this extraordinairy program and mini-speaker/amp device. He's got it installed on a high end Windows computer, and any thoughts I had of getting one anytime soon were modified after reading the system requirements for Macs. We do have a powerful windows computer as the main family computer, but I was wanting to have the JAMVOX set up in my drumroom, and be able to use it with Garageband in my Mac.

I have the minimum required RAM, so I need to add at least another gb of RAM to make it run fast. Billy Ray says it's a memory monster, so I''ll just have to resolve to add some ram to the laptop. Actually, it's a recent model and it is a lot more powerful than I thought it was.

It is a fine program and no wonder it takes so much RAM to run it. For about $150, you get the software and a speaker/amp box that gets hi fi sound and great guitar reproduction for home recording, practice and playing along. There are all kind of "music minus one" functions where you can eliminate a guitar part in a song so you can play along, but to me the coolest feature is to be able to scroll through lists of songs, which are being continuously updated, and when you select a song the proper effects and amps and settings are right there and all of a sudden, you sound like The Eagles, Pearl Jam, Led Zeppelin and so on.

It's just amazing. Yes, there are other devices and programs that do this but the sound on this marvel is just amazing. My Pocket Pod does the same thing, more or less, but the JAMVOX sounds like the real deal all the time, whereas the Pocket Pod makes it about 85% of the time, which is damn good for a handheld effect.

The ability to see every effect and instantly and easily tweek them on the computer screen is something most other effects and PODS and the like don't have. Much more complicated to tweek the real thing, and far more time consuming. For example, if getting the sound from Sweet Home Alabama using traditional effects and maybe some PODS and the like, it might take 5 or 10 minutes if you know what you're doing. Hours if you, like me, don't.

So the coolness factor is high as far as playability is concerned. For a mediocre guitarist like me, it lifts me leaps and bounds above my normal and inspires me because THE SOUND is there already. There's all kinds of other things you can do with the JAMVOX, but even if it was only a play along emulator/effects unit, that would be well worth the pricetag.

You could easily gig with one of these and a laptop and a lightweight digital amp and high output speaker. You could sound like anyone, and the tubey sounds on this product are perhaps the best I've ever heard. Or you can use the very cool desktop sized speaker/amp and it is plenty sufficient for any home use or recording. For those of you whose significant others do not appreciate your devotion to "tube amp tone" and the fact you have to "crank" your tube amp to get "that tone", you should check out the JAMVOX. It might bring peace to the household. You can get "that tone" in a very low volume.

Of course, it's made by VOX and some of the coolest setups involve the venerable AC-30 emulation. Billy Ray gives it five stars, and he is sort of a technophobe when it comes to having too many multi-function knobs on effects and electronics, much less a multi-choice computer based system. I myself like a dedicated knob for a dedicated purpure, and one purpose only. Even though this is a computer based effect module, it is so easily and instintually adjustable that it feels almost like you have a dedicated one knob for one function type of device. It's real easy to operate and mess with.

I had no problem jumping right in without having read a manual and with no instruction from Billy Ray, and manipulate the effects and sounds and change songs and various parameters like tempo and keys. Super simple and really it's nice to see a product with such an instinctive user interface, at least in the functions I was using.

I'll add that Billy Ray has it on a super huge monitor and it's easy to read and see everything. That makes a big difference too. Still, I think with practice and a setlist programmed into it, for live gigging on a dark stage it would be very viable even out of a 12" laptop screen.


It's a double barrel sawed off shot gun, y'all. Sicilian style. You can start your journey to knowledge about double barreled SXS (Side by Side) here at The Lupara http://stephiblog.wordpress.com/2010/01/22/the-lupara/#comment-19152, a great short history by Rob over at Stefi's of the use of this fine weapon in Italy and Sicily.

All of this is more relevant because my buddy Max is VERY INTERESTED in getting a Double barrel SBS. Like me, he grew up watching characters that were sidekicks to John Wayne in movies like BIG JAKE who carried a sawed off double barrel in addition to or instead of a Colt .45. During my police days, I arrested several folks who were true fugitives who were armed with (both in fact carrying them on their person) sawed off 12 gauges ( "A GAUGE" as they are referred to in certain parts of the 'hood). Both had been home modified and one was a clunker that even the armorer ws afraid to test and the other was made from a high quality Beretta, an old one.
As I understand it, a "Lupara" has external hammers, but for the purpose of this post, I'll refer to any sawed off, whether internal or external hammers, as a Lupara.
Here's a brief article about The Lupara. http://www.gunshopfinder.com/articles/buildingalupara.html. Here's a much better one: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/SawedOffShotgun. They say it's called the Hillbilly Dueling Pistol. I can see that.

I shot the Beretta, and it was a nice shooting gun. In America, if you obtain the proper license from the ATF and pay a $200 transfer fee on a sawed off shotgun, you can legally own it. Max is really thinking seriously about getting one for "home defense". And not just any modified sawed off shotgun, but a custom gunsmithed one.

So being the obsessive compulsive type of person I am when it comes to tools of the trade and toys (I smugly catagorize this as both, although Mrs. El Fisho would undoubtedly say only the latter, and an unnecessary one at that).

I can devise all sorts of justifications, need and want for a sawed off shotgun. I'm as attracted to the factory made Remington 870 14" barrel pistol grip (or even fully stocked) shotgun as well as the double barreled pistol. I've seen a few over-under sawed offs, and I actually think this would be a more concealable weapon that could be carried in a large Bianchi X-15 shoulder holster or perhaps a bit large custom made version of that holster or a holster made for an AutoMag or a Desert Eagle.

But right now, I'm thinking the side by side (SXS) as yet another "home defense weapon". Mrs. El Fisho says we don't need anymore home defense weapons, and of course I heartily disagree. I have no doubt reason will prevail in the end.

I'd like to have a cowboy rig leather holster rig, perhaps made my El Paso Saddlery or a custom maker. That would be a great rig when I'm fishing at the place or at a friend's place, where I can carry a pistol openly. Great snake gun and a great hog gun, although I prefer a good .30-.30 scoped lever action for hogs. Go for the long gun when you can.

It would also be a fun blow the hell out of stuff gun, and I wouldn't want to underestimate the theraputic value of making things like watermelons and water jugs simply vanish into thin air. For fun and snakes, shoot it with birdshot. For defense, buckshot. And you've always got the option of a reload with slugs in case buckshot is not doing the trick.

Wild hogs of various types, in most of the parts of Texas that I fish, continue to be a big problem. They are destructive and overpopulated. The decimate game animals and can ruin many months of a farmer's work in several hours. Most of my friends, even us, grow food in small gardens for personal consumption, and those who live on acreage tend to have large plots of veggies and the like for eating and trading for other organic or natural homegrown foods. A herd of hogs can just destroy a sizeable garden food plot of an acre or two in less than an hour, ruining a seasons food. Fencing is rarely an affective deterrent, unless a very solid rock or wood fence.

So most of my friends shoot hogs, both for damage control and when smaller and younger hogs are available, for food. The older and larger hogs tend to be tough and gristley. Hogs can also attack domesticated ranch animals like chickens and goats and sheep. Wolves and more likely, coyotes are always a problem for stockmen in many parts of Texas.

So a Lupara would be a great gun to take out after a large hog with, whether on horseback like my friend COWBOY does or in an ATV in a style reminiscent of Chuck Conner's sixties TV show "Cowboy In Africa" or the John Wayne movie "Hitari!". Or if one was "riding the early morning fog that often engulfs rural Texas humid summer areas at dawn", you'd be likely to see a coyote pack heading pack to their den for the day.

With both barrels at one, you might be able to take out a buzzard. I've been encountering some pretty damn bold buzzards over the past ten years. At out last home, near a huge nature preserve, there were some particularly bold buzzards that would have huge buzzard fights in the street over a squirrel or possum or armadillo that had been run over by a car. Lots of these fights were taking place in front yards or on neighborhood streets, with lots of kids nearby. Finally, our local cops just blasted into them with an 870 one day when they were at the playground with the nearby levee as a backdrop bullet stop, and took care of business that way.

A Luparo is probably a great buzzard gun.

Max is enamored with guns made by the Hatcher Gun Company, and frankly, so am I. http://www.hatchergun.com/sbs.htm I'm hoping he will get his in the next few months so that I'll be spurred on to ask Santa for one. I'd like to shoot the Hatcher, double trigger and no external hammers, the cheapest of the guns, which is made from a Remington I believe.

And you know, if you were able to buy a Hatcher SXS and get a nice western cowboy rig from El Paso to carry it, you'd really HAVE to get a nice Bowie knife in some classic design to carry on the other side, just to finish off the outfit.

I have to note that GATOR, from which both Bert Reynolds and the late great Jerry Reed are pictured above with SXS's, is a great white trash movie and Reed does an excellent job as a real bad guy. Of course, Resident Evil chick knows the value of a pair of sawed offs (one was cut out) and I think that really says it all.

In a self defense situation, or just having fun on the farm or shooting range, one could do a lot worse than a SXS in the weak hand and a high capacity 9mm (say, a Glock or Browning Hi Power with a 33 round mag) in the strong hand. Or vice versa. Or have the handgun as immediate backup to the Lupara, but with the laser sights available today, anyone with a moderate amount of coordination and shooting ability should be able to blast the hell out of a close quarters combat target with a Luparo in one hand and a laser sighted hi cap 9mm in the other. And of course, if you've got the kind of place where you can practice shooting like that, such as private land, then it would be a lot of fun shooting that particular combo.

Thursday, August 26, 2010


A really nice man has passed on, living a full life of 92 years and being just a truly excellent person. I'm talking about James W. "Jimbo" Fawcett, a great Houstonian for a big portion of his life. He was a good friend to me for many years, particularly in my young 20's, and some years later became breakfast eating buddies with my father. I feared that the death of his famous actress daughter Farrah last year would be too much to bear for the poor man, because he always worried about her being in Hollywood.

The picture above shows Jimbo last year at Farrah's funeral. I thought he looked dang good for a 91 year old man. The picture is from

"It's fast living out there, my boy" he'd say. "Been that way for years and that's just the way the entertainment business is."

I wrote a post about Farrah and my friendship with her most excellent dad, "Call me Jimbo" Fawcett. That post from last year is better than what I was writing here, and I think it shows well just what a great guy he was. God Bless, Farrah

I've written elsewhere about knowing him since I was a young man and he in his late 50's. It seemed we just ran into each other everywhere. Getting coffee or gas in the morning, eating at area restaurants and shopping in various stores. Jimbo was everywhere, smiling the smile I'll always remember. I worked in lots of places in our "hood" as a youngster and so just saw him every couple of days or so it seemed. He'd often address me by my full name, which he once asked me about, and I'd always feel special when his made for tv narration voice spoke to you.

Jimbo was one of those folks who had the proverbial twinkle in his eye and the lilt of a Santa Clause in his voice. Mischievious, yet highly sincere.

I always took something away from the talks we had about life. He had lived a hard scrabble life early on and had worked hard for what he had in the South Texas oilfields around Corpus Christi, and that made him appreciate it even more. I have no idea what he was worth financially, but the gossip was that he was worth as much or more than his starlet daughter Farrah.

You'd never know it by talking to him or looking at how he lived his life, though. And it tickled him I think when people assumed he was some run of the mill guy who supervised a janitorial company at the bank and the golf club. He often dressed unassuming, in his trademark Keds slip on tennis shoes, pressed khaki slacks and white short sleeve collared dress shirt.

Whether he was hanging out at the bank that he owned a large portion of (and also ran the janitorial company that cleaned the bank), or at Champions Golf Club (where again he wasn't hanging with the scenesters but supervising the cleaning company he owned as they cleaned the restaurant and the rest of the premises.

Oh, I'd see him in a suit or a tux every now and then, and I mean to tell you he wore it like James Bond, like he was born to wear that suit. But deep down, I bet he wished he was wearing his Keds slip on tennis shoes.

But the thing I always remember most was that smile when he'd see you. I remember countless times of getting gas at the local Texaco station or coffee at the nearby 7-11, and he'd already be there when I pulled up. When he'd recognize me, he'd break into a big grin like you were his biggest long lost friend ever. And he meant it. He made no bones telling folks what he thought of them if he didn't like them. But rarely did he bother with that. He was the kind of fellow who made you feel special and that if you had his approval, you were indeed, cool.

I won't be able to make his funeral unfortunately, but it's funny because I was thinking about Jimbo earlier this week, the same day he passed on. I was thinking how it would be great to see him and his smile again.

Doesn't matter. I'll always remember the time in my life when I got the share his friendship and kindness, and then thinking how cool it was that some years later, my dad and he became buddies independent of me, just on a chance meeting.


I found a great bargain Fobus paddle holster today for my Glock 36 for a mere pittance in a bargin barrel at a Houston gun shop. I've patronized this gun shop for years, and bought many a gun there. For some reason, today I got my first fellow in there who DID NOT know as much as me about guns. Usually, the fellows they've had in their employ the past 4 decades are EXPERTS on many weapons.


I'm no slouch of a weaponologist myself. I began reading in earnest about handguns, and to some degree shotguns and rifles, back in my pre-teens. I began buying "real" guns like the Walther PPK/S in .22 caliber, the Colt Python and Colt 1911's by the time I was 16. Actually, I paid for them from part time work but Dad had to do the paperwork as I was under 18.

But you'd think a guy that had worked there a couple of years would know maybe a little about Glock pistols, since they have a HUGE selection of Glocks and I know they sell tons of them. Here's how the conversation went.

*(ME) Sir, do you have a Glock Model 36 in stock so I can see if it fits this bargain bin fobus holster?

*Glock doesn't make a Model 36.

*Well, yes they do and in fact, there one is right there. It's the single stack .45 subcompact model, and it's the only single stack Glock currently made.

*Hmmm, it must be a new model. I've been working here two years and I've never heard of it.

*Well, they started making the M36 in the late 90's, and they have made it continuously since then. I've had mine for years. In any event, can I see that one right there?

*Are you sure this is a Model 36?

*It says Model 36 right there on the slide. See, the magazine is a single stack, not double like all other Glocks. The grip is a tad bit thinner than all other Glocks. Here, hand me that Model 19 and I'll show you.

And so on. Finally he was convinced that there actually is a Model 36 Glock. Then I asked him to hand me a Hi Power, any Hi Power (and boy, they had some nice ones there with gold plated levers, hammer and trigger) because I had found an Uncle Mike plastic belt holster that obviously was for a 1911. In fact, it says "1911" on it. But I know that often a Hi Power will fit into a 1911 holster (the converse is not true, however), and lo and behold, after he kept telling me how it wasn't going to fit and lock into the plastic holster, lo and behold (yes, I'm saying that again) it fit like the holster was made for it.

I asked how much for both, he said $10 and I said $5 including tax and the older manager behind him who had been watching our interaction said "Sold for $5." I guess he felt sorry for me having to teach his young salesman that a gun did indeed exist.

By the time I was 21, I had quite a few guns and was a lawman in Houston. We were limited by departmental policy as rookies to duty carry of a 4" barrel .38 Special/.357 Magnum Double action revolver for the first two years of service. Most officers I knew opted for S&W revolvers like the Models 19, 66 and 67. After that first two years of employment, you were allowed to move to certain approved other handguns for uniform duty use, meaning DA revolvers by Smith, Colt or Ruger or to a select few autoloaders like the 1911 (including Commanders, very popular back in the day), the Browning Hi-Power, Heckler and Koch P7(13)/PSP and P9's, Smith and Wesson Model 39 and 59.

For off duty carry, anything above and including a .380 was approved, and we were free to use whatever weapons we picked. A few cowboys carried Single Action Colt Peacemakers off duty. I usually carried a snubnose Colt or S&W or some kind of .45 automatic (Colt Commander, Star P.D. and several Detonics models) and for awhile packed one of several P7's. I always felt absolutely safe carrying the P7, but for some reason HK stopped making this fine gun.

As a graduation from the police academy present to myself, I bought a nickle plated Colt Cobra 2", which sort of went with my duty weapon, a nickle plated Colt Python 4". At the time I bought that gun, which was coincidentally at the same store I found the Fobus bargain holster at today. Back when I bought the Cobra, I bought an assortment of Bianchi holsters which are still in active use today by me with that same gun. I bought an upside down shoulder holster, a Model 6 ultra thin IWB holster, a very nice sheepskin padded ankle holster that was used as the backup rig with this gun for years when I was on duty, and a Model 56 paddle holster.

I still use the Bianchi Model 56 paddle holster for my Cobra, and I'm on the lookout for a 1911 and a Glock 19 model. I've recently let a couple of nice 1911 ones slip through my hands due to inattentiveness. I'm not sure if the Bianchi 56 was ever made for the Glock, but if it was I really really (no REALLY) need one. They've been a discontinuted item for years. The beauty of the Model 56 was not only a great holster and thumb break, but the paddle was extraordinary. The paddle went low enough to give stability to the lower part of the holster and thus the top (or grip and cylinder and frame area) of the handgun hugs the body, and is not "tippy" or "wobbly" or the dreaded "loosey goosey".

Several years ago I bought a Galco Speed Paddle holster for my J frames. I've owned Galco and it's predecessor Jackass Leather Company holsters for thirty years now, and every holster is really exemplary in design and function.

Except for the Galco Speed Paddle. It is loosey goosey and tippy. It is not stable, with an airweight J frame or with an all steel variety. The paddle sticks too far out from the holster and the holster is not very concealable compared to the Bianchi Model 56 or this new/used Fobus I just got today. The paddle on the Galco goes to the bottom of the holster, as does the hallowed Bianchi M56 that I so like. The paddle on the Fobus goes about an inch below the bottom of the holster proper.

I wrote to Galco and they were not very happy with my opinion regarding the apparently sanctified Speed Paddle Holster. Apparently, it is held to the same status by their company as are various sacred artifacts in Egyptian tombs or relics within the Catholic Church. I simply asked if they made a LONGER paddle for that holster, as the paddle is removeable from the holster proper. I figured for sure that bigger guns like the 1911 or Sigs or Glocks HAD TO HAVE larger paddles, but apparently every Galco gun paddle is the same size, unless I misunderstand.

Even with a proper double thick 1.5" gunbelt, the holster had little stability. I found this amazing. I could see how a heavy 1911 or N frame S&W weighing 40 or more ounces could be tippy and unstable in the Speed Paddle, but a 14.5 ounce J frame with the stock small wood "old school" grips? I have just not used it since buying it and really need to send it to an auction site and buy a good holster to replace it.

I think the Galco Speed Paddle is a horrible holster, at least for me. It's not padded, meaning the bare plastic ("el plastico" in the part of Texas where I live) sticks to your skin when it is humid and gets wet with sweat. Admittedly, the interior of the Fobus paddle also sticks to the skin, but in a less annoying way because it has some very thin neophrene rubber type materal that makes a small liner in the middle 2/3'rds of the Fobus paddle.

I think I'm going to order some very thin and rough out suede and cut it to fit the interior of the Fobus paddle and determine an appropriate adhesive (any suggestions welcome) to bond the suede to the inside portion of the Fobus paddle. I think that would make it nice and cozy and would eliminate the sticking to the skin problem, which is going to be an issue anytime the temperature is over 85 degrees or so.

UPDATE: Two days later, I'm really liking the way this holster wears. Under a sorta loose shirt, it's no problem to conceal, and that's saying something for a paddle holster in general. In my experience, they all tend to stick out a bit further than a good belt holster. But this Fobus hugs the body like my favorite Bianchi Askin's Avenger line of holsters does. The Fobus rides at a 15 degree forward cant, it pulls the top part of the rear of the slide into the body as well as pulling the butt end of the grip into the body. Pulling a gun close to the body for concealment IN BOTH WAYS is very rare. Usually, the front sticks out if the butt is tucked in, or the butt sticks out if the front is pulled close to the body. So the Fobus gets high marks.

It weighs nothing. Even when I had the suede liner, it'll still weigh nothing. It holds the gun securely, even with a thin, single layer "non-gunbelt" belt. In fact, I've yet to try it with a real double thickness leather "gun" dress belt, but suspect it will pull closer to my body still due to the added rigidity of the "made for gun totin" dress belts, or gun belts as we generally call all belts that hold a pistola in my part of Texas.

The one I have is the entry level model, the cheapest one and I'll be ordering the exact same rig for a 1911, the PX4 Storm Subcompact and a J frame. I'll also be getting a double mag carrier for the Glock and maybe a belt holster for the PX4 as well. I can order all of those and get a bulk discount and free shipping and still get some change back from a hundred.

Great holster. Very secure. VERY CONCEALABLE, in fact, having never tried one of these, I'm amazed at the the highly concealability that this paddle holster has with my Glock M36. It just disappears under a Polo or the right tshirt.

I love leather holsters and they'll always be my favorite, but I have to give it to Fobus. They've made a hella holster here for a very cheap price ($20 new, give or take a few bucks) and they've been around long enough it's easy to find bargains like I did. It distributes the weight of the gun excellently and really is a nice holster to wear. The edges of the plastic are well rounded and don't poke or pinch me in any position. There's also the obligatory belt clip indention on the paddle that keeps the holster paired to your belt when you draw. Because it's a rigid holster, reholstering is a no brainer.

For the CHL totin man or woman looking for a good paddle that will conceal in minimal clothing, look no further than the Fobus. I'll keep you posted on what adhesive works best to absolutely bond the suede liner I'll add to the inside of the Fobus paddle itself.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


As I posted here a year ago, I often use a fishing lanyard, especially when wading. Even when shore or boat fishing, it's a handy thing to have around. My Fishing Lanyard

Here's a link to a good picture:


I've added a new piece of hardware to my landyard. A lightweight Leatherman Squirt P4 micro pliers and knife/utility knife set. I've attached it to the lanyard with one of those two-part snap apart car key holders that splits into two keychains. One end mounded to the landyard and the other to the Squirt. I'm gonna have to add some kind of lanyard to the Squirt (possibly one off of the old school cell phones that I kept) as I could see fumbling with it and dropping it into the water.

It'll be perfect for dehooking fish. The pliers also have a line cutter that works well with braided lines, so that's a plus for wade fishing with braided line bait casting reels. I got mine used for just a few bucks on Ebay. They are in great condition. Mine are blue, and red might have been better for finding if dropped in the water, but a screaming deal they were.


As an anonymous poster asked in a comment on a previous post, it brings to mind that I need a search function for readers to look through the site for arcane lore about fishing and guns and knives and gun parts and music and musicians and musical instruments and movies and the like.

But yes, Anonymous, I've made some postings before andif you look through the past months of postings, you'll see some topics on revolver holsters. I can tell you that, as I've mentioned many times, I often carry a Model 38 Bodyguard Airweight.

I like a lot of old holsters. I like custom made holsters. I abhor nylon holsters, except for fishing or hunting adventures on a hunting belt in case snakes or hogs are a problem while hunting, fishing, boating or just wandering the woods. There are lots of cool holsters. I have a great Askins Avenger type holster from Rafter S Leather for an auto that just rocks, but it is huge and is a winter concealment item or field carry only. But it's a dandy holster and very, very well made.

I'm a big fan of the leather Bianchi holsters, made long prior to their merger with Safariland. Lots of those can be found on ebay. For example, the upside down snubnose shoulder holster can be found by both Safariland and Bianchi as well as other makers. I wore one of these many years as an officer, and in colder weather with a jacket, it's a great holster.

You can find cool shoulder holsters from the old days at the auction sites I mention in this post. Better yet, go to a gun show with your gun and look in the used holster bins. Or a local gun shop where the owner hits gun shows and gets holsters to sell.

I like the old school vertical shoulder holsters, usually in black, that had the spring mechanism on the holster to retain the gun, and sometimes a strap. An elastic strap went to the non-gun arm, and these holsters were pretty concealable. Bianchi a few years ago made a bare bones single layer leather but very sturdy and cool horizontal shoulder holster for the PPK/S and the J frame that was highly concealable, but the model name/number escapes me. My freind Woody Oaks bought mine from me, after I vowed never to carry anything smaller than a .38 Special years ago and sold him my PPK/S and that holster.

Some of the coolest holsters I have came from gun shop bargain bins. I used to travel to a small town down 59 from Houston a ways just to hit this small gun store whose owner worked the gun shows and always had killer deals on great used or NOS holsters. I once scored a complete custom basketweave competition .45 rig with belt, mag holders and holster from him for under $30. It was like new, and was worth about $300 new.

I've gotten several revolver holsters for literally a dollar each that have been great holsters for field carry or for holding the guns in the range bag. I have some really cool "old school" holsters that are 50 or more years old that always attract attention at the ranges.

The Safariland stuff from the 70's and the 80's, as well as the Jackass Leather Company (now Galco) from the late 70's and 8o's are excellent holsters.

Here's a rule of thumb about snubbie holsters. A J frame or Taurus J frame five shot clone WILL FIT into a holster designed for the six shot Colt D frame (Detective Special and Cobra). But rarely if ever will a Colt Cobra or DS fit into a holster for a J frame. My Chief's Special and 70's all steel Taurus J frame clone fit just fine in most of my Colt snubbie holsters, although the Taurus clones are a bit taller and fit a smidge better than the J frames. But they can work.

Look on Ebay, Guns America, Auction Arms and the other gun auction sites out there. Do searches for the holsters you want, often they are listed in gun forum classified ads, but you may have the peruse the individual forums to hit their classifieds. I've gotten screaming deals on new and used Galco, Bell Charter Oak, High Noon and Bianchi in the recent past on ebay. If you spend a little time online you can save 30% to 75% or find discontinued models either from discount dealers, manufacturers (don't forget seconds and blems) and regular sellers.


There are lots of custom holster makers out there, many who turn out masterful work. You just have to find them. Ken Null and lots of other custom makers. Bell Charter Oak is one such legendary company.

Many of the designs of BCO are inspired by classic Chic Gaylord designs. Look at some of my earlier posts about Chic and his innovative holsters. I particularly like the IWB models that have an offset belt clip, that is the clip is over the trigger and not the cylinder = much less bulk. I have a BCO IWB holster, and it rocks. Again, found it barely used for less than half price on ebay.

I think that BCO now has some stocking items as well, and J frames are sort of their stock in trade. They make holsters for other handguns, but primarily they are a revolver holster company. Old School design with new school quality.

I have about three BCO holsters that I MUST HAVE in the future, and although it's not on the list because of practicality concerns, you must admit that the New York Reload is a hella holster.


My favorite IWB holster is the Bianchi Model 6. I am using mine from 1981 and I have used it equally much with a larger Colt Cobra. I have used this particular holster A LOT, more than any other that I own, for concealed and off duty carry for many years.

The Model 6 Bianchi is a single layer suede out holster with a very reinforced clip. It absorbs sweat well, and has no retention strap. I'll mention I've never felt the need for any sort of strap for this holster, as it molds to the side of your body aound the gun and your body and pants and your belt holds the clip firm. I've never had a problem of the holster drawing when this pistol was drawn, it always stayed in place.

Reholstering while wearing the holster is virtually impossible since the holster is so thin. Much easier to slide it out, reholster and slide it back in.

It's cheap and it should be your first concealment holster. Plenty on ebay used as well as new ones. Might as well get a new one because it is pretty cheap.

I can carry a Bodyguard Airweight with Pachmayr COMPAC grips on it in this holster under a regular sized t-shirt with shorts and IT DISAPPEARS. This is my go to hot weather rig. Additionally, I usually keep an all Steel vintage Taurus copy of a Chief's Special in one of these in my glove box when traveling. One of many backups.


This model came with and without a paddle. The belt holster version hugs tight to the body for excellent concealment, and while the paddle holster is one I wear often in outdoors adventures or when concealment is not an issue, it sticks out a big much to use any time except in cold weather where larger garments can cover it. It's an excellently designed holster and works for J frames with hammers.

Close in design to the Model 56 is the Bianchi Lightning, but it is belt worn and does not come with a paddle. It is still currently in production. If you have a Centennial hammerless variety or a bodyguard style of concealed hammer, you need the Bianchi Lightning holster which has the thumb-break (an excellent one on all Bianchi holsters, I might add) at the rear of the trigger guard.


This is a high ride belt holster that provides excellent coverage for the gun with a hammer. It is a snug fit and hugs the body well. It is far more comfortable than the IWB Bianchi Model 6 since the Galco is a belt holster, but alas the Galco is not as concealable as the Bianchi. But the Galco need only an open dress shirt over a t shirt and it's a hidden gun.

Galco quality is excellent throughout their line, and their site deserves a look. Their paddle holster rides a bit high for me, but the holster is just excellent. It's just the paddle is a bit low for my liking.


High Noon makes a great line of custom and "ready to order" items. I favor the IWB pair of the Mr. Softy and the Bare Asset. They're under $40 each shipped to the USA and are high quality and are the most comfortable and the best riding autoloader IWB concealment holster I have ever used, bar none. They have what they call "stocking items", meaning they're in stock for all guns listed and they have lots of models listed. I don't have a revolver one (I have the Bianchi Model 6, remember), but several of my friends do and swear by them just as I do for mine.

My friend Max was so impressed with my first High Noon that he ordered several more, including a belt slide with thumb break affair that really hugs the body with his seven shot S&W .357 snubbie inside. Great holster and also a stocking item. They have lots of custom items as well but these take a while as they are built to order.


I've only tried the Fobus ankle holster for my J frame, but it's spot on and highly secure. I'd like to try out a Fobus belt holster and a paddle holster, as this is the only Fobus I've ever dealt with. It's not quite as comfy as my 1982 Bianchi sheepskin lined snubby ankle holster, but it's every bit as durable and the Fobus holster is, well, highly cool. I can't wait to try the belt and paddle holsters, but I also think a Fobus would be a perfect under dash or under seat holster for the car. It would provide a secure hold.

Max is a big fan of El Paso Saddlery holsters, which I admit are great handmade quality and in most cases, made to order. I would like a Patton rig, a western rig and some of their Tortilla concealment holsters. There is lots to check at that is cool at El Paso. Takes a few weeks, although Max says they always say 8 weeks but it's always less.

The best thing to do is go to some gun shops and try on some holsters. When you find some you like, ask for a gun to try out the holster. I'd recommend a Bianchi Model 6 to start, easily found new and used on ebay, amazon and the usual suspects. It's a great holster and a great place to start. Once you see how you like this one, it'll give you tips on what else you might want in a J frame concealment holster.

Let us know what you get or if you find anything really cool that I have not mentioned.

Saturday, August 21, 2010


First thing off, I'm going to develop an acronym for the Beretta PX4 Storm Subcompact 9mm for my postings here. So it will be BPSC from here on out.

I'm hoping some of those folks surfing the net will make some good suggestions about holster options for this fine gun. I am aware of several friends who have bought this great pistol as well as several in the blogosphere who also use it.

SO please tell me what holsters sized for what gun and what model number you are using for your BPSC.

A lot of holster makers don't list holsters for the BPSC, but have them for the full size and the compact models. Upon looking at them, some of them (belt slides and abbreviated length type IWB and belt holsters look like they would fit it well,

I myself favor the High Noon Holster Company Bare Asset and Mr. Softy for this gun for IWB carry. The Mr. Softy is much more concealable, yet the slightly higher rise and 15 degree cant of the Bare Asset still conceal well with shorts and a larger T-shirt or Polo.

Likewise, the Tagua Holster company makes a belt slide specifically for this gun. My Tague came from a bargain bin in a small town gun store and was made for the Beretta 92. I had read that the PX4 would fit into most holsters for the 92, and at least in terms of the Tagua, it fits perfectly and very tight yet easy to draw. It tucks the butt into the body for maximum concealment, and even new it's a very reasonably priced holster.

So I'm also looking for a Bianchi Askins Avenger for the Beretta 92 to use on the BPSC. If you've got one to get rid of, email me at the profile address. I have an Askins for a smaller Beretta Cheetah, which I used to have (great gun as well!) and I'd love to have another Cheetah, particularly in .22 caliber.

Even if I had to have one of my holstersmith friends cut down an Askins for a full size 92 or the clones and variants in the barrel length portion of the holster, it'd still be a bargain. There simply is no other belt concealment holsters that equal the real Bianchi Askins Avenger. The placement of the belt loop and slot are perfect, and for me it fits my body extremely well.

I'd like to get one the nylon belt/clip holsters that features the extra magazine holder on the front of the holster for carrying the gun in the car. You see a lot of them on ebay but you never know the quality, thickness or firmness of the holster, much less the stitching and the security of the mounting system for the clip. I'd like to see some in person. I'm not a big fan of nylon holsters but would like to have one for taking fishing, since most of my outdoor trips revolve around fishing at some point in the adventure.

Bianchi used to make a great horizontal hold shoulder holster for small compact autos like the PPK/S. It was lightweight and thin leather and concealed well and is probably the most comfortable shoulder holster I have ever worn, including several Jackass Holsters from the early 80's and other great shoulder holsters. It had elastic for the opposite holster side, which is far more comfortable to me than leather that carries extra ammo.

I'm kinda looking for a couple of "old timey" shoulder holsters from anywhere from the 50's to the 70's. These types of holsters, mostly for revolvers, had strong spring retention systems and the bottom of the holster looped through the pants belt, so it kind of rode like a high ride crossdraw holster. Of course, no crossdraw holster could ride that high with a butt heavy gun like the BPSC. Althought the weight of the BPSC is well distributed and it has a heavy slide which seems to compenste for the weight of the high capacity magazine loaded with bullets, to me in certain high ride holsters it is butt heavy. Not unlike I have found the HK P7 and especially the P13 pistols to be. I always felt the P7 to be a bit floppy on the top end in an Askins Avenger holster with a properly stiff pistolbelt underneath.

Pistols like the Browning Hi Power and various high capacity Para-Ordinance and even the Glock Model 21 pistols have some weight at the slide and barrel end of the gun that seems to allow them to carry well in the Askins and various high ride belt holsters despite the weight of their hi capacity magazines. Again, as always, your milage may vary.

I think the Fobus paddle and belt holsters for the PX4 compact would fit the BPSC, but I'd prefer a holster as short as the gun instead of having an extra half inch or more of space of empty holster at the bottom. Concealment means concealment, and every little bit helps in Texas, where's it's been very hot lately. Still, a Fobus would be nice to have for a field holster for fishing. I have several Fobus holsters, and although different, I do like them and they are secure.

I'd be very interested to see what some holster makers in other parts of the world are making that I have not come across. High Noon Holsters has other designs for this weapon, and although I have not tried them, I am impressed with the products of theirs that I have purchased.


I heard lately in previous posts from those of you who know that Rod De'Ath is a great drummer who once drummed for the late guitar legend Rory Gallagher. More about drummer Rod De'Ath and Rod D'ath: My Favorite Rory Gallagher drummer. Yes, I know that I mispelled one of the versions of his name, but I've encountered both in my research of him. I believe that "De'Ath" is the proper version.

Like many other drummers, he was a profound influence on my playing, and although I can't hold a candle to his drumming from back then, I did learn a lot about groovin' on the drums to blues and blues rock music. I learned about making my drumming as much about FEEL as about TIME, and that may have been the most profound result of my studies of Rod's drumming.

When I "discovered" the blues thanks to guitarist/bassist Little Screamin' Kenny Blanchet out of Houston about 1982 or 1983, I began going through all of my seventies blues rock greats like Al Jackson, Led Zeppelin, Clapton, The Stones and Rory and "re-listening" for the things I missed in the drumming of these great drummers in my teen years.

Recent posters in the above linked posts have indicated that he is alive and well and possibly frequenting a certain London pub. I don't want to go stalking him, the man certainly deserves his privacy. But some part of me would love to go jump on a plane, find him, buy him a drink and thank him sincerely for the influence he's had on my playing for over 30 years.

Since my early teens, his drumming was instructional as well as entertaining. For many and many hours I played drum set along with recordings of Rory and Rod, trying to cop the feel that Rod had on the kit. I listened to many other drummers of course, but Rod was always one of my favorites. Rod was somewhere between Mitch Mitchell and Ringo and Charlie Watts in his playing, and I still hear new things in recordings I've listened to for decades

So from Rod, I learned that sometimes less is more but that there is a time and place for a killer fill. I also learned about "trademark" riffs used to transition or segue back in forth in blues rock music, particularly slower and more emotionally intense tune with heavily emotional and moving guitar solos. Less is more, and guys like Al Jackson, Bonzo, Jim Gordon, Charlie Watts and Rod learned that a long time before I did, but you can hear it in nearly everything and everyone they play with.

So I'd love to hop a plane and take Billy Ray on a fact-finding mission. I do have some friends who live "somewhat" near London, but if the research was to take place in pubs and bars looking for Rod, we would be best served at a "in town" hotel or lodging.


Of course, if we were already in London, Billy Ray and I would have to travel to Rory's homeland in Ireland, and if we were headed to Ireland, we'd have to stop in Belfast and visit some very good friends of mine.

So as you can see, the potential "I wonder if we could find Rod in a pub in the UK" trip just turns into an ugly monster of fun that surely the womenfolk in our homes would not readily approve of. EL Fisho and Billy Ray unsupervised in London and Belfast and assorted Irish Rory locales for a week or more? Preposterous. Spending all of your time in bars and pubs? You must be out of your everyloving minds!

Of course, all we'd like to do is politely ask him if we could buy him a drink and perhaps have the privilege of having a photo taken with him. I'd want to tell him of the influence of his playing on many Austin and Houston drummers I've known over the decades, and of how he is still highly relevant in terms of his innovative playing and the fact that kids are still learning to play blues and blues rock from his recordings. I'd just like to tell him how much I appreciate what I learned from him.

If he was willing, a traditional or video interview would be great for posting here, or even some email stories about his life so that his many fans and admirers could know a little more about his history and playing since leaving Rory. And of his life in general the past few decades. But I wouldn't want to bug him or mess with his place that he hangs at.

If nothing else, I would be happy to catch his tab for an evening. It'd be the right thing to do. Payment for the lessons of the past decades.

Thursday, August 19, 2010


A friend gave me one of these last year. I liked it right away. The flippers are plenty long enough to act as a flipper to get the blade moving, but also the larger flipper makes a much mo' bettah handguard.

Read about the history of Jim Bowie and why he incorporated a handguard into the later designs of the knife design he worked on since childhood. I read he carved his first version of the infamous Bowie Knife when he was a young teen, out of a piece of wood, a solid limb of some kind of hard wood. One of his early versions of the Bowie Knife sans handguard slipped in his hand and sliced his palm open. Or as I recall from various Texas history courses and readings over the years.

So I was visiting a friend who is a knife collector and he had a variety of knives on his coffee table and the Camillus Wildfire caught my eye. I liked the blade, it is wide and I like the design on it. It was plenty razor sharp and looked sturdy. It has large flippers to actuate the blade into opening and once the blade is opening, the flippers become handguards of sufficient size with which to keep a hand from sliding into the blade.

So my friend of more than 20 years, Senor El Bar, gave me the knife. It was new, although he didn't have the box. He told me it cost $30 or $40 bucks new and was made in China. He told me that the original Camillus knife company was in operation for decades and made great knives here in America. They went bankrupt and in 2009 a new knife company emerged using their name.

I try not to buy Chinese products. My family actually makes an effort to do that, as do many families I know. Even when it means paying a little more for the product to get American made stuff. But as this knife was *gifted* to me by my longtime friend, it of course has some friendship value as well. But I've truly come to like the knife, and it's certainly become my daily carrier since I've gotten it.

In the past 8 months I've had the knife, it's hacked medium size vines and branches, making short work of both. It will slice an aluminum can all up, as well as shred paper. I've hacked rubber and frozen shrimp and mullet with it and even though I have the plain and not (partially?) serrated blade, it makes small work out of chopping frozen mullet into useable bait sized chunks.

Of course, it has no problem opening packages or slicing through the Pentagon level of security bindings and flex ties and wire ties and other anti-theft packaging that toys are currently sold in. Likewise, some of the anti-theft plastic enclosures that cover certain products is almost impossible to cut even with a good pair of scissors, but this knife slices through it like warm butter.

I've cut some rope of varying expense and density and it's held up well. It can cut through most any plastic or metal or organic materials that I've cut with it, so it's pretty darn impressive. I plan to get another one soon, as well as one of the slightly smaller Sizzler models.

Made in China or not, the Camillus Wildfire is a strong folder. It's not the same kind of sturdy as my 80's Cold Steel tanto folder, or the several Buck Hunter 110's that I own, which are SERIOUS lockback 4" folders with some serious strength in construction.

But the Wildfire is much more sturdy and better constructed with a superior blade to lots of the so-called name brand "defensive knives" that are on the market right now.
My Wildfire has had some rough and tumble use since I got it. It's been fishing at the beach 3 times cutting through frozen mullet with a fair amount of ease, several other freshwater fishing trips, numerous home construction and package opening chores, hacked various vines and bushes and branches from paths around a friend's lake, whittled kindling wood and bunch of other chores.

It may not be a $500 tactical folder, but for my needs, it's a great everyday pocket knife to carry and excellent back up defense weapon to whatever handgun I am carrying.

It's a big knife. It's also a heavy knife, by today's folder standards. The Benchmade I carried for years before getting the Camillus weighs 1/2 as much as the Camillus, and it's not much smaller and is an excellent blade. The Spyderco Delica I carried years before that weighed probably 1/3 as much as the Camillus. Before the Delica, I carried a Cold Steel tanto folder for many years, again weighing less than the Camillus. All three are fantastic knives, but I like the Camillus now.

As I said, I plan to get another one. It's literally the best large folder I've ever handled.