Burleith Blues Band

Burleith Blues Band members Mark Snyder, Linda Brooks, Patterson Clark (leader), Marilyn Bennett, Lenore Rubino, and Dwane Starlin. Not pictured: Linda and Dick Hall. Photo by Linda Brooks.

Burleith Blues Band members Mark Snyder, Linda Brooks, Patterson Clark (leader), Marilyn Bennett, Lenore Rubino, and Dwane Starlin. Not pictured: Linda and Dick Hall. Photo by Linda Brooks.

By Patterson Clark

The Burleith Blues Band—the latest special interest group available to BCA members—began in January and continues to develop, with singers, several instrumentalists, and a song writer contributing to the effort. Sessions happen now and then on Sunday afternoons, with breakout sessions on week nights for those interested in exploring 12-bar blues progressions in a variety of keys. The band was conceived to foster musical improvisation, which can flow easily through blues chords and scales—easy to learn for beginners and for those who haven’t picked up their instruments for years. The band provides a relaxed environment where one can explore his or her own musical voice while collaborating with others.

I typically lead the band, but I encourage others to step up and lead if they wish. The group has met at my house four or five times as a group, but larger accommodations are available should the band grow. If you’re interested in joining, please email membership@burleith.org to receive notifications about group sessions. We look forward to hearing from you.


BURLEITH PARKING BLUES
I’ve got the low-down dirty Burleith parking blues.
Mm-mmm, I’ve got the wicked, the worrisome Burleith parking blues.
Such a situation, why, it beats all this “Shutdown” news!

Every day, the city sends me word of something new,
“Do this, . . . No, not that” — seems every day, something new!
That’s the reason I’ve got the Burleith parking blues.

They grind up my alley, saying, “No you can’t park here!”
Jack-hammer, back-hoe saying, “Don’t even think of coming back here!”
And then, “Why, we’ll be finished in just about a couple of years!”
Now all our trashcans must move ‘round to the front,
The blue ones the green ones, they’ve got to all come up to the front!
Just making more trouble for my daily parking-place hunt!

Car-shares are taking my share of the spaces at the curb,
I’m saying, those car-share interlopers, they’re taking my space at the curb!
Am I wrong now, Burleith? I think that’s just flat absurd!

Ah, the good folks at Georgetown, they want to take care of us —
Which I appreciate: they’re building so they can take better care of us!
Ah, but, right now, seems to me, they’re just adding to the fuss!

I’ve got the low-down dirty Burleith parking blues.
Mm-mmm, I’ve got the wicked, the worrisome Burleith parking blues.
Such a situation, why, it beats all this “Shutdown” news!

By Dick Hall

I was born in DC and spent my childhood on 39th Street in Cathedral Heights, attending Stoddert School. From late childhood, I lived, earned degrees, and taught in Florida and Georgia. Five years ago I returned to Burleith’s 39th Street to marry Linda. Each and every day, I am happy in that homecoming!

My interest in the blues comes from my love of music and poetry of all kinds, my career as a high school teacher of American Studies, and my interest in finding ways to connect our rich, home-grown traditions with present-day life. I have every respect for the blues as a unique genre emerging from African-American history and culture. It's a living tradition, broad enough to include humor and commentary on all facets of life. That is the sense in which I share these verses. These were penned in the midst of the government shutdown earlier this winter.