Daily Archives: November 3, 2014


Ray Skjelbred’s birthday was yesterday, celebrated [although inadequately]         here.  I think there should have been dancing in the streets, children strewing flowers, people handing out RS pinback buttons at commuter rail stations, and more.

But it also made me ask, “Why should a birthday celebration quietly steal away after twenty-four hours?  We’re still rejoicing that Ray has landed among us and persists in his generous dispensing of joy.”

So even though I think the birthday dinner may have been eaten, the socks unwrapped and worn, the book begun, and the like, I would like to celebrate Captain Skjelbred with three more video performances — these captured at Rossmoor in Walnut Creek, California (thanks to Robert Burch and the Dixieland Jazz Club there) with Ray and his Cubs: Katie Cavera, guitar; Kim Cusack, clarinet and vocal; Clint Baker, string bass; Jeff Hamilton, drums.

THREE LITTLE WORDS (nice ones for sure):

BASIN STREET BLUES (at the Louis 1928 tempo):

NOBODY’S SWEETHEART NOW (with vocal chorus by the Swing Swain of the Airwaves, Kim Cusack.  A word about that vocal.  Kim is a superb singer perhaps because he doesn’t take singing all that seriously, which lends his vocals a casual stylish authority.  Connoisseurs of Cusack vocalizing — and I know many — are especially fond of his singing this tune, which he ends on “Naaaaooooow!” an extended dipthong that resembles the annoyed wail of a large menacing Siamese cat.  Try it at home!):

Dear Captain Skjelbred.  Happy birthday again.  Happy birthday still.  And thanks so much to you and your Cubs.

May your happiness increase!