Monday, March 28, 2011

Sometimes I'm Up, Sometimes I'm Down

“Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen”— today’s offering: a dangling modifer dropped from the last post. I was looking for Louis Armstrong’s whereabouts in 1958 when I bumped into Louis Armstrong and The Good Book, recorded in New York City on February 4, 6, and 7, 1958.

Gospel recordings in the land of Louis Armstrong? A new piece in the puzzle, but at that moment I was bent on finding where Louis Armstrong was on August 12, 1958, the day of “A Great Day in Harlem” photograph. His absence had me guessing where he was that day, how crazy his life was at that moment. If he recorded that day I’d have my answer. I searched the discography. February—Louis Armstrong and The Good Book; July 6—Newport Jazz Festival; October 3—Monterey Jazz Festival. Nothing in April and very few recordings all year compared to the previous three years. Then I discovered the Louis Armstrong trail in 1958 ran through Saratoga Springs. I jumped on the hometown connection, forsaking my query on Armstrong and the gospel canon.

Why wouldn’t he record gospel music? This was the decade he marched through one genre after another. It’s not much of puzzle but I wondered because I've found no mention on the gospel recordings in writings on Armstrong. Someone surely has examined them and probably at close range. Perhaps I'll find it.

I am familiar with one song on Louis Armstrong and The Good Book—“Shadrack.” He recorded it twenty years earlier on Decca with the Decca Mixed Chorus, Lyn Murray conducting. I’ve heard many times on in various mixes, Essential Louis Armstrong, Disc 1, Ken Burns Collection; another version with the All Stars, a medley with “When the Saints Go Marchin’ In” for the film soundtrack, The Strip, in Los Angelos, December 1950. In fact, Armstrong recorded it fifteen times.[1]

Turns out there are several such recordings backed by a sizeable chorus and Sy Oliver’s orchestra. The gospel business in Armstrong’s recordings is probably just that, business, a good way to reach a new audience as well as something for the devoted. I selected “Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen” for a couple of phrases and the way Louis speaks/sings them—“Yes, lots of troubles floating around these day/Seems like everybody’s sick, sick, sick/And I’m right here with them.”  Fits right well with Louis Armstrong’s 1958.
“Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen”—the first track of twelve. Also on this CD: “Shadrack,” “Go Down Moses,” “Rock My Soul,” “Ezekiel Saw De Wheel,” “On My Way, Down By The Riverside,” “Swing Low Sweet Chariot,” “Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child,” “Jonah and the Whale,” “Didn't It Rain,” “This Train.”

[1] All of Me:The Complete Discography of Louis Armstrong, Jos Willems, Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2006, 415.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

"A Great Day in Harlem"

The most famous American jazz photograph is likely Art Kane’s “A Great Day in Harlem,” shot on August 12, 1958. Esquire's January 1959 issue was to be all jazz. Art Director, Robert Benton, wanted a striking photo. He got it when he hired Art Kane. Jean Bach’s 1994 documentary engages viewers through a series of conversations. Many of the musicians present, plus jazz followers, writers, the Esquire team, and even the kids on the curb, now in their fifties, take turns remembering the event.

How they arrived there sounds like a crapshoot. It’s suggested in the film that invitations were sent to many high profile jazz musicians living in the vicinity. Hearing them chat as they gathered, one gets the impression that no one knew who would show up. Marian McPartland reports in the film that Nat Hentoff went door to door asking invitees to come to 125th Street and Fifth at the appointed time and day “if you want your picture taken.” Maybe it was a bit of a daisy chain, one invited another. The word was out, but the question lingers, how open was the invitation?
Certainly Louis Armstrong was invited. Could there be any doubt? No. But recall that by 1958 many in jazz world were not Louis Armstrong admirers. Into the 1940s he was top dog, but things had shifted. Some allowed that he'd slid over into today's "Easy Listening” genre. Maybe he preferred not to be in the company he imagined would show up.
Louis Armstrong was not present. Neither can any of his band members, the All Stars, be found in the photograph. Louis’s neighbor and good friend, Milt Hinton, is there. He was bassist in the All Stars, but that was five years earlier. 

I did not expect to see him in “Great Day.” My reason? In six months of Louis Armstrong research at least one mention of “A Great Day in Harlem” would have popped up. This led me to reflect on other absentees. No Duke Ellington or Miles Davis or John Coltrane standing on the brownstone's steps on 126th Street between Fifth and Madison. Thelonius Monk was there; someone was in charge of getting him there. It’s entertaining to speculate why some came and others didn’t. Was the idea of this group shot great fun or untenable and intimidating? For those present it was old home week. But then that’s the appeal of reunions—you can’t believe you’ve agreed to party with people you won’t recognize and hardly knew back in the day. Then you have the time of your life.
The logical reason for Louis Armstrong’s absence was that he on the road. He could have been home but too tired to cross over to Manhattan for the photo op. Really, why would he want to go? The great raconteur was often utterly sick of his entertaining self, signing autographs, posing for pictures. If he wanted to see any of these people, he’d make his own arrangements. Or they’d stop by the house, Milt Hinton often did. How did he get around in New York City? Touring, he always had a driver pick him up at home. Did he ever drive anywhere? He’d opt out of the subway. Can you imagine the scene? He could take a cab, but that could also end up a mob scene. Recognizable and sought after by fans, he risked his hide whenever he walked down his front steps. In 1958 he was a captive of his fame.
Placing 1958 between the bookends of 1957 and 1959 may shed light on Louis’s choice to stay home, Corona, Queens, on August 12, 1958. In 1957 his stance against Faubus’s refusal to desegregate Little Rock, Arkansas schools garnered him immense attention. Today he is venerated for this response. Then several African American entertainers spoke out against Armstrong’s challenge to Faubus and scathing words on Eisenhower. Armstrong likely didn’t find much joy in 1957. Skip to 1959, a really bad year. On June 22, 1959 he suffered a severe heart attack in Spoleto, Italy. This put the kibosh on his carefree life style. Over and over 1957 and 1959 appear in the Armstrong canon. In 1958 nothing stands out. It was a blur, road trips and international tours from start to finish. Terry Teachout reports, “At one point in 1958 he played sixty-one college concerts in a row, afterward telling a reporter that ‘I’ve got more alma maters than anybody’.”[1] I don’t know if anyone’s tallied the percentage of Armstrong’s life spent on the road. A much-quoted statement is over 300 nights a year.
Most of my conversations these days revolve around Louis Armstrong. Every day is a hunt to interest people in taking part in Stop-Time on July 6 in downtown Saratoga Springs. I’ve become Ambassador for Satch. I spend more time calling and emailing strangers than I ever imagined possible. I have new respect for every parade and downtown arts festival. This event will not be allowed to just pop up on the streets. A permit must be granted. The trail to the permit taught me a bit about City Hall.
After several attempts to reach Kevin Veitch, Code Administrator, I stopped by his office. He happened to be in and not in the middle of something. He welcomed me to explain Stop-Time. Like most people I talk with, he offered his Armstrong memories, his dad playing Louis’s records on the record player. He asked, “Did Louis Armstrong every play Saratoga Springs?”
I didn’t know but I knew I had to know. One of the people on our committee suggested I visit the Saratoga Room in the Public Library. Today I met Teri Blasko, Local History Librarian. I arrived before public hours, but she opened the door and welcomed me to state my business. I went off on my Louis Armstrong—Stop-Time Celebration Event story. She suggested I come back at 2, opening hour. I arrived right at two and she presented me with the Saratogian news story, “Satchmo’s Trumpet Artistry Thrills Small Spa Crowd.” Louis Armstrong and the All Stars did play Saratoga. Not a huge surprise given that the horse races make Saratoga a popular tourist spot. Satchmo wasn’t here for racing season but in April. The jackpot was the date: April 24, 1958.
For days I’ve been thinking about 1958, where he was at various junctures that year, what his physical and mental states were. I’d already concluded what I’ve written—he was working hard and all the time, basically one-night stands. He was 57 (though he thought he was 58) and he was tired. After the concert, here are the flowers. He didn’t make “A Great Day in Harlem,” but four months previously he made “A Great Night for Saratoga.”
Flowers for Satchmo—Mars. Judy Wolff presents a bouquet of roses to Louis (Satchmo) Armstrong during the trumpet master's performance at Convention Hall last night. Looking on is Al Braim, chairman of the Chamber of commerce entertainment committee.

[1]Terry Teachout, Pops, New York, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009, 337.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Spring Right Around the Corner

Through the snow patches of ground appear. I have no desire to put my knees in the dirt—yet. Louis says it, singing a line in “Azalea”: “I’ve yet to get that same strange feeling.” Gardening begins in remembering the year before and feels its way forward.  The vegetable seeds arrived the other day. Today I dream of flowers, seeds and a few perennial plants. Before I sit down to order seeds and plants, a few varieties that Louis and Lucille might enjoy, I play  “Azalea.”

It is or is about to be azalea time in the south. Living in the Northeast, it’s hard to wax melodic on the pleasures of growing azaleas. They stumble along, scrubby bushes putting out few tight blooms well after the triumphal entry of spring. But in the South, they are magnificent. In Swing That Music Armstrong describes a picnic up river near Baton Rouge. Here azaleas abound:

Our picnic party landed on the low, yellow-mud bank on the other side and very soon we were in pretty country. As I have said, it was spring and the azaleas were blooming, white and pink and red. I spoke before about the magnolias, and the next sweetest, to me at least, are the azaleas…I guess there are hundreds of different kinds of flowers in New Orleans in the spring. Folks who live in the North don’t know what it’s like. Everywhere you go there are flowers…The magnolias come a little later on after most of the others are gone, like a featured actress who’s got to have the stage to herself and can dish it out alone.

The azaleas often grow right up near to a cypress swamp and sometimes, if the swamp isn’t too very wet for them, they grow all on through it. There was a cypress swamp near by the place our picnic stopped to spread the lunch and rest, and I could see the azalea plants were blooming inside.[1]

Though I’ve read most of Armstrong’s second autobiography, Satchmo: My Life in New Orleans, I’ve barely dipped into Swing That Music. Whether or not Armstrong wrote any or all of it has been debated since the first biography, Louis Armstrong American Genius, by James Collier was published in 1976. Subsequent biographies and jazz historians say that Collier got in wrong in calling all of Swing That Music (published 1936) ghost written. This is a complicated tale and it belongs elsewhere. I bring it up only to say that the possibility that it was written by someone other than Armstrong put it way down on my reading list. There is so much authored by him, I figured why go to the possibly unreliable.

Then I came across the song “Azalea,” which makes a direct hit on Swing That Music. Terry Teachout and Laurence Bergreen, in their biographies of Armstrong, mention that Duke Ellington wrote the lyrics for “Azalea.” Both note Ellington’s source is Swing That Music. I’d like to read the new and enormous Ellington biography, Duke Ellington’s America, but so far I’m swamped with reading Armstrong and jazz history books. A big biography on a jazz figure is too much in the present moment, though I’d like the back story on Ellington reading Swing That Music around 1945 and being so taken by Armstrong’s description that he wrote words and music precisely compressing Armstrong’s words.

On April 4, 1961 Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington recorded The Great Summit. They recorded for Roulette Records, a small, not well known label. The company was shady, but the producer, Bob Thiele, was not. He gave his impression of the surroundings in his autobiography, What a Wonderful World, “The miasmal hoodlum atmosphere at Roulette Records was so heavily oppressive that it was often difficult for me to concentrate on the musical matters that were my direct and only responsibilities. Everyone was diligently circumspect about my ‘civilian’ status and left me alone, even though every day I felt I was trapped in a grade B gangster epic.”[2] Ellington and Armstrong were merely acquaintances, so neither felt at ease as they came together to hammer out the record. The result is splendid.

The original plan called for Armstrong performing with the Duke Ellington Orchestra. The way it worked out, Ellington played piano with Armstrong’s All Stars. For “Azalea” the instrumental arrangement is simple, sparse—Ellington, piano;Danny Barcelona, drums; Armstrong;trumpet, vocal. Here are the lyrics:


T’was such a fine spring day
Down Louisiana way
With fragrance divine         oh Baby!
And such magnificent regalia
Oh, so fine                           Azalea
Oh, what a lovely sight
In red and pink and white
Can’t help but believe
That nothing evil can assail ya
So naïve Azalea
You were at ease on the knees
Of the moss covered trees
Whose tops meant to make a high ceiling
In the church-like clump
In a cypress swamp
I’ve yet to get that same strange feeling

I’ve got to go back there
And find that blossom fair
I always dream of
Because with you
Who could ever be a failure?
My first love                  Azalea

I searched online for the lyrics and did not find them. Curious since lyrics can be found for almost any song. I’m not great at these searches, maybe you can find them and let me know if it’s church-like clump or thump. Or perhaps they’re not readily available because this is the only time Armstrong recorded this song. (Again, to my knowledge.) This is rare thing. He almost always recorded songs more than once. 

The significance of these words, given by Armstrong and adapted by Ellington, resonates twice. First, Armstrong captures the beauty and fear held in the cypress swamp. As he continues his picnic story, he details the cypress trees:

The moss hangs down from the trees everywhere and almost reaches the ground and it’s partly the moss and partly the knees, I guess, that makes a cypress swamp so scarey. These knees are the roots of the cypress trees which come up out of the ground like a man’s knee and go back down again. Any good sized cypress tree will swing up twenty or thirty of more knees, so that the swamp is just covered with them. That’s one reason why it’s bad to be caught in a cypress swamp after dark.[3]

He falls asleep, wakes up frightened. It’s late and dark. The ending is quick and smooth, he makes his way out, finds it is still light beyond the swamp and his friends are still there.

Second, Ellington’s music is perfect for his lyrics. Together they fasten on fearsome beauty that Armstrong delivers in his story. And more, Ellington’s allusions, for example, “You were at ease on the knees of the moss covered trees” extend Armstrong’s intended meaning to another place, a place firmly grounded in Armstrong’s observation of the natural world.

[1] Swing That Music, Louis Armstrong, New York, Da Capo Press, 19.
[2] What a Wonderful World: A lifetime of Recordings. Bob Thiele and Bob Golden, New York: Oxford Press, 94.
[3] Swing That Music, Louis Armstrong, New York, Da Capo Press, 20-21.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Louis at the Typewriter

Photos courtesy of the Louis Armstrong House Museum

The typewriter and the tape recorder are Louis’s tools. One can argue they are a close second to his voice and the trumpet. As he aged, he was as busy setting the record straight as he was performing. He started with the typewriter; twenty or so years later when the reel-to-reel tape recorder came on the market, he jumped on it.

Letters of the famous become part of the public record. Armstrong knew that many of his letters would enter the public domain. But that’s not why he wrote them. He typed to keep in contact. His letter to Isidore Barbarin is the earliest known collected letter. Writing from Chicago in 1922, Armstrong referred to their ongoing correspondence. He also mentioned he was waiting for a letter from their mutual friend, Nenest. It’s evident that he was typing and sending letters to a number of people from the moment his career took off and likely even earlier.
Through the years a vivid portrait emerged of Armstrong backstage. Fans and photographers snapped away. The photo: Louis Armstrong typing seemingly oblivious to his surroundings. His dressing room served as his study. As another artist might withdraw to his library or office to compose, Louis detached himself from the backstage bustle and engaged in correspondence.
Louis at the typewriter can be seen as Louis on jazz. His writings extend his speech; his speech extends his music. Thomas Brothers’ Louis Armstrong In His Own Words is the best place to go to get a sampling of Armstrong’s writing—the autobiographies, letters, and published articles. Brothers discusses Armstrong’s idiosyncratic mark making (punctuation, capitalization), spelling, as exactly consistent with his performance. He goes on to note why the way Armstrong physically handled language matters:
The interpretation that seems to hold most consistently is that Armstrong is interested in depicting an oral rendition of his prose; he offers not just written prose but his version of how to hear it. He is especially attentive to emphasis and pace. Given who he was as a musician, this interest is not surprising, for he was a great master of melodic nuance and rhythm. The improvising musician controls time completely; that is the challenge and envy of his profession, since his abilities in performance and composition combine duties that are typically relegated to separate people in Euro-centric musical traditions. The jazz musician, more than any other kind of improviser, makes his reputation through this ability to control time, from the smallest nuance to the most complicated syntactical structure. In the blues tradition that Armstrong learned as a child, mastery of pitch inflection was also highly valued. Armstrong later brought this mastery to performance of all kinds of music.[1]
Brothers’ words express well the intent of Stop-Time. Those stepping up to the microphone on July 6 to perform, musically or in other media, see themselves in Armstrong’s long shadow. A few of the performers are well versed in Armstrong’s music. Some are professional musicians. Others know little about his music, life or jazz, but each participant understands the creative force of improvisation and Armstrong’s role in developing this. All take on the challenge to use improvisation as starting point.
To return to the typewriter. Photos of Louis at the typewriter testify to the iconographic value of Armstrong’s written record. The catalog entry for left photo states: Louis at the typewriter backstage. Armstrong concentrates on what he’s typing; this looks like a candid shot not a set-up. But the surroundings are curious. It looks like a storeroom not a dressing room. Boxes of spotlights could well be stage lights, but the shelves also hold glass jars, maybe candies or olives. Louis is suited up, handkerchief in place, natty shoes, socks rolled down, ready to go. Photo on right is a page from one of Armstrong’s eighty-five scrapbooks in the Louis Armstrong House Museum. Louis is cleaning his typewriter (lower photo on page).

[1] Louis Armstrong In His Own Words, Thomas Brothers, ed. with an Introduction, (Oxford University Press, 1999), xiv-xv.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Louis's Vegetable Garden—original varietals with a few covers

Spring Order—Oliver’s Finest Seeds from the 2011 Catalog
Following Sunday night’s delivery of 11 inches of heavy, heavy snow, I went straight for the seed catalog. It had arrived early January but I paid it no attention for two months, way too soon to entertain the idea that spring might spring. Now nothing else would do but to sit down and make my list. I know that I can’t grow tomatoes from seed, peppers just as foolish, but when I saw these new varieties, I couldn’t resist.

On the Sunny Side of the Street
Early firm red globes, bright clear flavor with a hint of brass
How Long Has This Been Going On?
Spineless plant, likes all soils, nutty, tangy taste makes it a top favorite. Easy to pick, long growing season.
Anybody Want to Try My Cabbage?
A No. 1 red cabbage, mid-late, chops easily, split resistant. Good holding ability.
Stompin’ at the Savoy
Savoy Cabbage
Firm, crinkled heads with tender leaves, sweet as wine, romps to harvest
C’est Si Bon
Best purple, tender, fast maturing, diameter reaches 8” with interior still so sweet, holds well in the field.
I’ve Got a Feeling I’m Falling
Pole Beans
African-Latin heirloom, brown seed with deep brown stripes, retains flavor even when fully mature.
Heebie Jeebies
Swiss Chard
Many colored stems, taste is almost electric, bordering on scat, somewhat vulnerable to cold.
Gully Low Blues
Sweet Pepper
Dark green, shapely fruit tapers to blunt point, ripens glossy red then purple
Hotter Than That
Habanero Pepper
Blow your socks off sting, use fresh or dried, key ingredient in Creole sauces
Potato Head Blues
Russet Potato
Scab-free, cylindrical, loses the blues at maturity, delicious and stores well
Beau Koo Jack
Fingerling Potato
Rose blush, smooth, melt in your mouth flavor, tastes like a million bucks
Cornet Chop Suey
Heirloom Tomato
Mahogany brown shoulders with fleshy green tones, rich flavor, dripping with juice
I’m in the Market for You
Heirloom Tomato
First recorded planting 1930, golden globes marbled interiors, complex regal flavor
King of the Zulus
Heirloom Tomato
Our best black tomato, spirited, withstands drought and excessive moisture, rules the patch

Monday, March 7, 2011

"Hobo, You Can't Ride This Train"

“Hobo, You Can’t Ride the Train” shuffles up while I walk in a stiff wind. Though I like to imagine I’ve worked my way through all the songs Armstrong recorded, I’m probably not even close. Actually, this is good, an opportunity to think and write about a song not endlessly picked apart in readings on jazz history or the Louis Armstrong story.

Hobo conjures the Depression, evoking the deprivation and the romance that remembrance of hard times brings. “The poor thing,” still on my mind, connects historically and psychically. The idea of the hobo suggests a particular type of objects, Tramp Art. At one time I collected these chip carved wooden boxes. Hearing Louis sing "Hobo, You Can't Ride This Train" made me think about them and the stories that grew up around them. Supposedly, itinerant riders of the rails made them, but this is a quarter-truth at best. The moniker Tramp Art is a misnomer; it won’t go away because it works. Romantic, direct, it summons the mythology of the hobo.

Armstrong incorporates this mythology in his lyrics, but instead of casting himself as the hobo, he makes himself the villain:
“Hobo, hobo you know you can’t ride this train
how hobo now listen to me hobo
I told you you can’t ride this train
you done forgot I’m the brakesman on this train boy, I’m awful tough”

Here are the lyrics:
“Hobo, You Can’t Ride This Train” (1932)
whistle (waa waa) bell twice, sound recording of train wheels on track

Boy, listen at that rhythm train,
I been all the hobos in the world on that train
even guy No. One there
old A Number one (ha ha ha ha)

………..and I’m the brakesman too
and I’m put all the cats on that train

yeah man, yeah man,
all abroad for
Pittsburgh, Vicksburg, Hattiesburg, all the burgs get on this train hobo

Instrumental interlude (0.38-1:03)

Oh Hobo, hobo you know you can’t ride this train
how hobo now listen here hobo
I told you you can’t ride this train
you done forgot I’m the brakesman on this train boy, I’m awful tough I’m awful mad
I’m telling you (ha, ha, ha)
you gotta give me some boy oh yeah
hobo you can’t ride this train
as I said before, hobo hobo
you know you can’t ride this train

—trombone, (2:21-2:43) trumpet backed by band

ah hobo hobo you know what big boy I’ll let go
I’ll give you a break, you’re all right
(over sounding recording of train slowing down, bell)

In the sung-spoken-scat passages, Armstrong’s voice has the familiar raspy, a bit gravely sound. When he sings “Oh Hobo, hobo you know you can’t ride this train, how hobo now listen here hobo,” his voice is clear and light, then he quickly drops back into the sing, speak, scat mode.

Some words I could not make out until I listened to the second version, recorded January 28, 1957 in New York, Decca Recording Session, Satchmo: A Musical Autobiography. Then the words A No. One became clear. This album includes an introduction to each song spoken by Louis. In the “Hobo” intro he says: “I had Chick Webb’s band backing me up for the original version [1932]. This is my own composition, “Hobo, You Can’t Ride this train,” and it was my first time to find out that A Number One was the top man in hobos.”

Leave it to Louis to give me a history lesson, one he’d just learned himself. A quick search reveals there are two A No. Ones. One, a man who sees the error of his ways, spends his life educating the young not to follow this path. Two, the more interesting Banksy character, finds fame through illusory actions that promote him to cult status. Naturally, there’s a Hollywood version, Emperor of the North (1973) with Lee Marvin as A No. One, Ernest Borgnine as Shack, the savage railway cop, and Keith Carradine playing Marvin’s unwanted accomplice. It’s remarkably violent, only the scenery and the trains hold the shimmer of romance.

The date 1933 appears in the film, one year after Louis wrote and first recorded his song. The A No. One character that Louis wrote about is the Banksy-type character. If he could have seen Ernest Borgnine in the role, I wonder if he’d have changed his role model. As he finishes the song, he ends as in the first version, softening up the brakeman, a typical Louis move, you rascal you.

Here are the lyrics for the second version:
“Hobo, You Can’t Ride This Train” (1957)
brushes, train whistle-
voice over Louis-
my, my, my listen to that rhythm train
boys, boy I bet all them hobos all sit under them rods
old A Number one and all the cats
all aboard for Pittsburg, Harrisburg, for all the burgs

(00:30-1:09) instrumental
yeah, oh yeah yeah oh sing it ….

(1:10) now hobo, oh, hobo, hobo you can’t ride this train
Now boy I'm the brakesman and I'm a tough man
but I ain’t looking yeah, yeah
now hobo listen here hobo, mmmm
you can’t ride this train
(1:10) clarinet, there’s some other hobos blowing there, Brother Hall
(1:53-2:52) now hobo, hobo, you can’t ride that train
listen to that hobo, Brother Young, trombone,

(2:56) now look here boy
you ain’t so bad after all
guess I’ll let you ride laugh, laugh, laugh

after all, whistle, sssshhhhhhh, ssshhhhhhhh (Armstrong)

Here too, in the end he softens up, slows down, sighs and lets the hobos ride. That’s Louis, straddling both sides, accepting both ways of making it in the world.