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Parrot Beach Cafe – My new local!

The Parrot welcomes you.....

Miki and I searched the  newspapers and the internet looking for somewhere serving up good music on Saturday and discovered a place North of the river and West of Little Rock called The Parrot Beach Cafe.  It advertised a Hope for Haiti benefit concert, raising money for Doctors without Borders, with a number of bands  performing, starting at 3 pm.

Parking at the Parrot Beach cafe is creative....

When we finally found the place, it didn’t look like much was going on, and although it was 3 o’clock, it didn’t look like anyone would be playing anytime soon.  But we were assured music would start around 4, and we left, promising to return later. I’m glad we did.  

The five and a half hours following our return at 5pm were filled with great, honest and expertly delivered music from a variety of local performers, including “MC by default” Jawbone, who, as his name might suggest, plays a mean blues harp, and is possessed of a gravel rasp voice that delivers the songs in some style. His first set was with his wife Jolene accompanying him on guitar. Next on stage was The Swamp Donkey. He attacked his old National with a slide and a mean sense of humour delivering a great songs, abetted towards the end of his set by Jawbone.  These guys were keeping it real. 

Jawbone and Swamp makin' it happen

A mention must also got to Vanessa and the staff at Parrot Beach. She had cooked up a great bowl of chilli and was giving out chilli dogs for all, not to mention hot popcorn.  Not the biggest drinkers, we were installed at the bar alternating between endless cups of coffee and iced glasses of bud light. I guess we were the only non-locals there, but by the end of the night, we felt like we belonged, their hospitality was fantastic.  A band featuring guitarist Gil Franklin took to the stage next, initially  sporting the most beatifully aged Gibson 335 I’ve ever seen, but when he put his Strat through a Peavey Classic combo, he had a tone to die for.   He sang a mean blues too, and I was pleased when he later got up with the Port Arthur Band – the house band at Parrot beach, for their set which followed. A special mention must also go to the drummer, who, dressed in a Led Zep ’71 tour shirt, played the kit in a distinctive and highly watchable style, totally into the gig, and right on the money.

Port Arthur Band, with (far left) Gil Franklin

The closing act was Big Red and the Soul Benders, as defined by their Big, red-haired singer. Their bass player kept the theme going , dressed head to toe in a bright red zoot suit, complete with red hat.  He also played a graphite grey Fender precision lyte bass, which gave me pangs of regret for the identical one I’d had stolen many years before! Big Red herself was possessed of consummate professionalism, and more importantly, a helluva voice. Backed by a solid band, and once again Jawbone on blues harp, she was a fine closer for the show. At least, I think she closed the show, but we were flagging and left before the end, but it was no reflection on the performance.  My guess is they jammed on into the night.  We were so pleased to have happened upon this great venue full of warm, music-loving, generous people, who in the process of having a damn good time raised a very worthy sum for their cause.

Big Red and the Soul Benders giving it large

The House band appear there every Thursday. If you ever have the good fortune to be in Little Rock, get yourself across the Arkansas river, head North on MacArthur, and prepare to be entertained.

Links you might enjoy:  Parrot Beach Cafe

                                                  Port Arthur Band

                                                  Big Red

                                                  Jawbone & Jolene

Parrot Beach Cafe - House Rules

Kev Moore

February 28, 2010 Posted by | Music, Rock, Writing | , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments