Route 66 Song Of The Week:  Dawg Days, plus coming events

Yes indeedy, fellow roadies, the long weekend of the dog days is gone.  August with its humid but confusing weather this year is defunct, only a sleepy memory.  We’ll celebrate that yet with our Song Of The Week below, but for now let’s take a moment to remember what a great weekend it was with the Chicago Jazz Festival on tap!  Buoyed with a little of that leftover energy, we thought we’d update you on what’s ahead in the near future and then throw in an appropriate song, too.

To start, we have two Route 66 car shows coming up in September in Illinois.  First: The Berwyn Route 66 Car Show is this coming weekend, Saturday Sept. 6th, from 10am to 4pm along Ogden Avenue in Berwyn.  It’ll be held between Oak Park Avenue on the west end and Ridgeland Avenue on the east.  Admission is free, but there’s a registration fee for cars that will be exhibited; registrants can get their cars lined up starting at 7am.  Food vendors and live music will be on site, and parking is wherever you can get it, but try the municipal garage on Oak Park Avenue, a few blocks north of Ogden Avenue.  Please DO remember to bring a few dollars for the Berwyn Route 66 Museum’s artifact restoration fund; no doubt museum director Jon fey will have the kitty set up at his usual tent.

Second:  The International Mother Road Festival is at the end of the month, starting at 5pm Friday the 26th through Sunday the 28th, in downtown Springfield, IL.  Admission is free, but there’s a registration fee for cars that will be exhibited.  Food vendors and live music will be on site, and parking will be available in the garage on 7th Street at Washington Street, next to the DoubleTree President Abraham Lincoln Springfield Hotel, or wherever else you can find it in a public lot (the streets nearby will be taken over by the fest all weekend long).

The annual Berwyn Route 66 Car Show along Ogden Avenue

The annual Berwyn Route 66 Car Show along Ogden Avenue  (Photo courtesy Berwyn DevCorp)

Just two days before that (with a bit of overlap at the end), the annual Illinois History Conference will be held September 25-26, 2014 at the  Prairie Capital Convention Center, Springfield, IL – and yours truly will be chairing a panel on Friday afternoon the 26th from 1:45 to 3:15 p.m. on Route 66:  “Historic Route 66 in Illinois: Preserving History by Promoting Tourism.”  If you’re going to the Mother Road Fest and are coming in on Friday anyway, it’s just an extra $55 at the door to hear all of Friday’s sessions at the history conference, which will be sponsored by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation.  Don’t miss an opportunity to see the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum while you’re there, too – it’s THE most visited museum in the state outside of Chicago proper and one of the most visited on all of Route 66 in the U.S., and only a few steps away from both the history conference at the convention center and the Mother Road car show.

Then a few weeks later, on the real Columbus Day, Sunday afternoon, October 12,  I’ll be giving a multimedia presentation at 2pm on “Public Art Along Historic Route 66 in Metro Chicago” for the Fullersburg Historical Society.  The talk will be over at the Oak Brook Public Library, 600 Oak Brook Road (3 blocks east of village hall at 31st Street and Spring Road; look for sign for Polo Road and the polo grounds) in Oak Brook, IL.  If you know where Oakbrook Center shopping mall is over at IL 83 and 22nd Street, figure the library is about a mile south of there and a touch east.  All route roadies, history buffs and art fans are welcome.  You can find a map here.

Leigh Harris

Leigh Harris cover

Finally, we have our Route 66 Song Of The Week to kiss off the last of summer, on a day when it’s still steaming out in most of Illinois (mid-80s and humid) and tomorrow promises the same (a high of 89 or 90 degrees F., so you know it’ll stay humid, too, at least until Friday, when the temp will drop a bit and it’ll be cloudy and stormy to get that water out of the air for a clear, sunny weekend in the mid-70s).  So, to let the last of this heat go, we give you Leigh ‘Li’l Queenie’ Harris – formerly of Li’l Queenie and The Percolators and formerly of New Orleans, before Katrina ruined all that – singing “Dawg Days” as performed on her 2007 album Polychrome Junction, sticking out amid covers of jazz standards (surprisingly, she has a way with ballads), and in Season 1, Episode 3 of HBO’s wonderful recently concluded series Treme.  Please note the track’s spelling:  that’s the correct version on the CD, but Amazon and Louisiana Music Factory both spell it “Dog Days” on their web pages rather than in the vernacular, as Queenie wrote it.

Ms. Harris has been known as a mischievous little bundle of dynamite who belts it like a spitfire.  She’s no longer quite so little (alas, age, cortisol and the sedentary life hit most of us), but she still belts out a song like a Frenchmen Street queen.  She and her old collaborators, The Percolators, are the kind of fantastic musicians that New Orleans and Chicago seem to crank out in droves, without effort – except that in the case of New Orleans, you never hear of most of them because they don’t tour (unlike the Marsalis Family or the Neville Brothers), and the Recording Powers That Be in New York and L.A. aren’t all that keen on jazz or on New Orleans in the first place.  Which means you only get to hear folks like Leigh Harris if someone brings them to your attention.  Well, now I have.  Here you go:

Alas, you won’t find this funky, laid-back track on the first season Treme soundtrack CD, but you will find there another track, the wonderful, jumpin’ “My Dawlin’ New Orleans,” a love-letter to Queenie’s home town, the place to which she couldn’t bear to return to after the flood (she lives and performs in North Carolina now but comes back for the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival now and then).  This first version of “Dawlin'” starts out with a touch of Mardi Gras rap before launching into the song, unlike the prolonged rap she did in the single version that came out in 2008, although that one has a lot more energy to it once you get past the very long, poetic rap.  You can find more of her tracks, including with other folks at the Jazz and Heritage Fest and with or without The Percolators, on YouTube.  I recommend the 2008 version, but skip right to 1:43 to avoid the rap and go right into the gutsier version of the song, as they did on the closing credits of Treme’s Season 1, Episode 1.

As usual, all photos on this page and in this blog (unless otherwise indicated) are copyright 2014 by M.R. Traska; all rights reserved, which means that if you want to use them, even for a tweet, you have to get written permission from yours truly to do so.  No borrowing!  Intellectual property protection; please understand.  Thanks in advance.  And if you enjoy our posts, please rate them with a Like at the end of the posts and use the star-rating system on the home page, which is right under the headline for each individual post.  Also:  Don’t forget to share your favorite posts here using Press This, Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook or any other social media you use – and to follow us on Twitter.  We appreciate the readership!  And we thank you for your support.

Until next time,
your own DJ SweetMarie



2 thoughts on “Route 66 Song Of The Week:  Dawg Days, plus coming events

  1. Now this is a mouth-full, so to speak.  So much information in one message, and all of it worthwhile to know.  Makes me wish I could go spend the entire month of September in the state where the road starts, Illinois.  But alas I will just have to enjoy the few days I do spend there this coming Sunday thru Tuesday.

    And at last I get to spend some time with Maria.  I feel like I am going on a first date as I am looking forward to our visit.  What a way to start off a tour of the old road getting to spend time with my good friend.  Sorry the guys won’t be there but they will the following trip in October. 


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