For Louis Armstrong

[note: historians put Louis' birthday at August 1st, 1901; but Louis celebrated his birthday on July 4th, 1900. I'm going with his feeling!]

July 4th, 1985:

Happy Birthday, Pops!

Louis, you'd a been an 85 year old jazz viper today.

Ding Dong Daddy from Dumas,

You shoulda seen him do his stuff!

Liberator of melody and feeling and love

Happiness, joy, and so hip!

Universally loved,

Even though he was living among the ugly American [remember the "Cold" War?].

And who had the courage,

Who told Uncle Sam to go to hell for not

Letting his people go?

Struttin' with some Barbecue

From way down yonder in New Orleans to St. Louis Blues

And who charmed the husk right off o' the corn, Mame?

Louis Armstrong!

You always sound like heaven,

Blowing your horn,

Blowing our minds,

And blowin' our blues away.

God damn it, Louis, they're still glorifying war,

And on your birthday, too.

Ain't that a damn shame.

Well, Pops, you know we gotta go now and

Remember, I'll have some red beans and ricely yours

A big smile

The bands all here

And ol' sweet Mary Warner [yes indeed]

Well, lots of love to you, soul man #1.

And everyone digs you still whether they know where it came from or not.

And everyone misses you whether they know it or not.

So, Happy Birthday, Louis Armstrong.

Just Gone

Nobody knows the way I feel this morning

Mandy, make up your mind.

SOL Blues!

The Lonesome Road!

Lawd, you made the night too long.

Oh, didn't he ramble!


[c] 1996 Richard Tabnik

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