When I first encountered Tomás and Derrick, the duo that would later add a few rotating members to their lineup and perform as Damn Girl!, they insisted that they were only passing through town. Perhaps a month passed, and by that point they’d become as established as any local band in the Asheville busking scene. I was hardly surprised. Even in early spring, there are plenty of tip-wielding tourists for buskers to perform to, and, as a rule of thumb, loud buskers do better than quiet ones. This is true even when the songs being played aren’t even in English.
In this video, resonator guitar-player Clarence Gallagher, jug player Antone Costa and washtub bassist Alex Brady perform Blind Boy Fuller’s tune “Jitterbug Rag” near Pritchard Park. You may know Costa and Brady from Blind Boy Chocolate & The Milk Sheiks, which have expanded their range well beyond the limits of the Asheville area. The trio only performed in this line up a few times, but gave a truly memorable performance. (Even if the camera was only rolling for a small portion of it.)
With their high-voltage style, musical saw and general whimsy, novelty jazz band Blind Boy Chocolate and the Milk Sheiks may be one of the most easily recognized bands in Asheville’s street music scene. Here, the group perform their version of the Mississippi Mud Steppers’ tune “Jackson Stomp.”
This video also shows the value of checking your battery before you start recording. Approximately 30 seconds into filming, my camera stopped recording due to a low charge. As a result, there isn’t a video of this memorable performance. Instead, we’re setting the separately recorded audio to a funny cartoon from yesteryear called “Accidents Don’t Just Happen,” courtesy of the public domain Prelinger Archives.