There was this one gig in Deep Ellum where a mob strolls in with marching-band gear while we're on break and proceeds to busker in the middle of Deep Ellum Art Company. Called themselves The End of the World Parade. Shelly and Robert joined the fun, caught on video here.
There was this other gig in Deep Ellum where a man hobbled in from the street with his little toy keyboard and joined us for the rest of the set. Turns out, it was the famous Deep Ellum Bob, a legend around those parts, and the stuff of documentary films.
There was another gig in Deep Ellum in which a woman hopped on stage with two spoons and clicked away a rhythm on my head and back, then pulled out a clarinet and blazed out some solos. That's when we met Patti Steel, who proceeded to join us for many more shindigs and become a lifelong friend of ours.
Deep Ellum, if'n ya didn't know, has had a long, sorted history. About a hundred years ago it was predominantly an African-American neighborhood in downtown Dallas that would become the red light district around the 1920s and 30s. The area would thrive and dive throughout the years following. One revival was when it became a sort of Heavy-Metal Mecca in the 1980s and 90s. And more recently it's had a hipster come-back.
Seems like every time The Bodarks have played a gig down there - from Adairs Saloon and Mama Tried to Trees and the Double Wide - it's an adventure. And there's an old folk song that warns about the alluring dangers of that place. "Deep Ellum Blues," has been covered many times over the past century by the likes of Jerry Lee Lewis, Grateful Dead, and my personal favorite, Asylum Street Spankers.
We decided to join the party and cover the tune as well, for our Live Americana album. But we wanted to throw it back to an old ragtime flavor - closer to how we imagine it might have been done a century ago. Here's our version, captured live at Bonnie Wenk for the City of McKinney's concert in the park: "Deep Ellum Blues (Live)."