Robert Earl Keen belted out “The Road Goes on Forever and the Party Never Ends” as I looked upon the stage from a rounded second story balcony at New Orleans’ Tipitina’s. The air was crisp and heavy, weighted down by the humidity associated with a waterfront City.
New Orleans carries a banner as a City of Celebration, through the good times and the tough ones, with no pause in cadence to reveal an in between. New Orleans produces fervent adapters, raised to withstand the ripples of the waves that crash against the shores at every changing of the tide. New Orleans’ party never ends partly because, even with earnest investigation, we might not actually ever know if or when times are lean. Residents are quick with a smile and a kind word, generous in spirit and willing to lend a hand to a neighbor in need. Because whether we realize it or not we have all been that neighbor in need at one time or another.
To their credit, in a City of rich music history, architecture, and deep and multifaceted culture, Tipitina’s has been a long well regarded institution for all of the above since it’s inception in 1977. The venue is dedicated to our featured musician and performer, Henry Roeland Byrd (a.k.a. Professor Longhair) who was credited with influencing many other local and widely known artists in the area. Byrd was best known for combining rhumba rhythms with boogie-woogie, along with blues and southern R&B. The venue was named after the featured song presented here today.
I like the song, because it personally makes me smile every time I hear it. It is both a bit irreverent, shuffled into a playlist or two as a way to switch up the mood at random. Byrd rhythmically plays on words as if they were keys on his piano, repetitively at times and then as if alliteration naturally is the only logical. Even the more familiar I become with the song, it surprises me as if it plays the next lyrics close to the vest.
And so is the tradition, of letting the good times roll. Good, bad, or ugly, we are all in this together and so we might as well howl together. Take delight in the human condition, while we are all fortunate to have it.
Take care of each other out there. Wear your masks. I’ll do the same.