The Flu Pandemic

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Many, many years ago my good friend (and fellow Flying Fish Sailor) Greg Henkel wrote a song about the 1918 Flu Pandemic that killed over 20 million people worldwide.

The Flu Pandemic song became one of our most popular performance pieces. Despite the grim subject matter, the song is often referred to as “a happy little ditty about death” and brings smiles and laughter to those who hear it.

The current swine flu outbreak has generated a lot of interest in the song and is driving a lot of traffic to the band web site.

The song is available on our Loch Ness Monster CD which is available @ amazon.com or from us directly.

Interestingly enough, there is a live version of the song that was recorded at Rockefeller’s during Son Of Blarneyfest in 1996 that I almost forgot existed. It predates the Loch Ness Monster studio recording by several years.

You can listen to it here:

The Flu Pandemic

Copyright 1999 Topmast Production and the Flying Fish Sailors

Chorus: It was the Flu pandemic
And it swept the whole world wide
It caught soldiers and civilians
And they died, died, died!
Whether they’re lying in the trenches
Or lying in their beds
Twenty million of them got it
And they’re dead, dead, dead!

There was a soldier on the battleground in 1917
He turned there to his buddy with his face a ghastly green
He said “We made it both through Passchendaele, the Somme, and Flanders too
But now my number’s up my lad for I’ve gone and caught the flu”

chorus

Well a nurse was in the hospital when Tommy was brought in
When he sneezed she caught a face full that was flying in the wind
She wrote a letter home to England to tell them of her plight
But the letter never got there ’cause the postman too had died

chorus

From the meadow-lands of Somerset and o’er the bounding main
To the shores of old Americay they sung the same refrain
Mothers, fathers, uncles and aunts as well as the odd nephew
Brothers and sisters and bosses and lovers were all got by the flu

chorus

Well a farmer out in China watched his family dropping down
And a businessman in Cairo hit the street without a sound
And an eager little Bolshevik in old Sevastopol couldn’t keep up his grinnin’ at Lenin as Comrade Virus took its toll

Houston International Festival – 2009

The Flying Fish Sailors performed at the Houston International Festival this past weekend. The weather held and we were not washed away in a deluge like the performers on the previous Saturday. Thanks to Elaine Mesker-Garcia (aka @cybertoad) of Fresh Photography for these wonderful shots:

Fish @ IFest

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Fish @ IFest

Fish @ IFest

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Fish @ IFest

We have the rest of Elaine’s shots in the Flying Fish Sailors Photo Gallery.

And thanks to Sandy Grimm for this exceptionally linear photograph of the entire band!

Fish @ IFest

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Fish @ IFest

FFS @ Discovery Green – Earth Day 2009

FFS @ Discovery Green
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FFS @ Discovery Green

The Flying Fish Sailors played at the 2009 Earth Day Festival @ Discovery Green. I’ve seen and photographed a number of bands on that stage, but this was the first time I’ve had the opportunity to perform on it. It was a great deal of fun. Thanks to the lovely and talented Cynthia we have photographic evidence of the event.

FFS @ Discovery Green
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FFS @ Discovery Green

FFS @ Discovery Green

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FFS @ Discovery Green

FFS @ Discovery Green

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FFS @ Discovery Green

FFS @ Discovery Green

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FFS @ Discovery Green

Additional photos from the event in the Flying Fish Sailors Gallery

Houston Press Music Awards 2008 – The Results

HPMA 2008

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HPMA 2008

After receiving 2 e-mails and one phone call from the folks at The Houston Press that indicated they would REALLY like to see us at the award ceremony on Wednesday I had a strong suspicion that my band may have actually won this year.

At the risk of fatal disappointment, I asked my co-hosts on Technology Bytes to cover for me while I attended the award ceremony just to be on the safe side

There was a lot of buzz about The Tontons who were nominated for Best New Act. They even performed during one of the intermissions.

HPMA 2008

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HPMA 2008

The Tontons did, in fact, win Best New Act

some of the other winners that evening:

Best Neo-Folk: Sideshow Tramps
Best Miscellaneous Instrument: Geoffrey Muller (Sideshow Tramps, Umbrella Man, Pistoleros de Tejas)

Medicine Show

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Medicine Show

Best Bassist: Nick Gaitan (Umbrella Man, Billy Joe Shaver)

Nick Gaitan and Roberto Rodriguez

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Nick Gaitan and Roberto Rodriguez

Best Punk: Los Skarnales
Best Rock en Espanol: Los Skarnales
Best Male Vocalist: Felipe Galvan (Los Skarnales)

Felipe and Los Skarnales

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Felipe and Los Skarnales

And did I make the right choice abandoning my cohorts to attend the ceremony?

Jay Lee, Felipe Galvan and Mykel Foster

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Jay Lee, Felipe Galvan and Mykel Foster

I can has Houston Press Music Award!

Unfortunately my bandmates could not attend the event so I celebrated for the five of us.

The complete winner’s list can be found here.

The rest of the pics are in the 2008 Houston Press Music Awards Gallery.

Basking In The Afterglow


Flying Fish Sailors/photo by Brigitte B. Zabak

Excerpt from HPMA Aftermath: Flying Fish Sailors, Umbrella Man, Wayside Drive, Born Liars, Poor Dumb Bastards and Young Mammals:

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Folk music might be an acquired taste for some, but Flying Fish Sailors have found a way to bring that traditional sound to the masses, with lively melodies and clean, unencumbered harmonies. No subject is too small for the likable quintet, whose songs Sunday touched on themes ranging from death and war (“The Flu Pandemic”) to cats (“My Big Cat”).

The Sailors’ songwriting is very witty and smart; it’s not easy to write about things like mythical creatures and have it appeal widely to an adult audience. The band’s showcase performance drew a sizeable number of people, equal parts devoted fans and newcomers. The group’s commitment to its music really came through onstage, especially during “Loch Ness Monster.” The set was instantly contagious, and by the end, there wasn’t a non-smiling face in the crowd.

2008 Houston Press Music Awards

My band, The Flying Fish Sailors, has been nominated in the category “Best Traditional Folk Band” so please take time to go vote for us. You can find the ballot online at houstonpress.com/polls/musicawards08

We’ll be playing at the Awards showcase on July 27th from 4:00-4:45 pm at Dean’s Credit Clothing located at 316 Main St. in downtown Houston if you want to come see us play live.

Haul U-Haul Haul

Check out this recent news story from local ABC affiliate Channel 13:


U-Haul chase ends in Brays Bayou

Anyone familiar with my band, The Flying Fish Sailors, has likely heard the song Greg wrote called Haul U-Haul Haul which is a spoof of a sailor’s hauling shanty and is about moving domiciles using a dilapidated U-Haul truck.

The similarities between the song and the news story are eerie…

So an officer came in a great big cruiser
The aquarium tipped and we started to lose her
Then I saw me a sight that made me shiver
As the truck dove nose first into the river
When I got to shore I was damn near drowned
As I watched that truck floating right out of town
So I sat in jail “˜til the very next day Sir
With the mileage fee just a’tickin’ away Sir
But from all this pain one thing I’ve learned Sir
Well the next time I move I’ll just buy new furniture

For those unfamiliar with the song I have added it to this post for your listening enjoyment.