El Rascacielos (The High-rise)


San Diego, even more than many cities, is prone to wide swings in the real estate market. The crash of 2008 was not the first time we’ve seen developers build condo high-rises only to find they got in too late. No one would buy them. So the idea of a large, completed condo project with no one in it isn’t one I made up. It’s happened more than once in San Diego.

Apocryphal or not, I remember a story of a man who purchased a place in the newly constructed Harbor Club during the 1991 real-estate crash. He was the only buyer who didn’t back out. For a year or so he was the only occupant in the luxury towers.

The Roberto’s Jimmy refers to is well known to any taco shop habitue in San Diego. They’re the most succesful chain of taco shops in town, and we have a lot of taco shops. Spin-off variations include Alberto’s, Aiberto’s, Royberto’s, etc. A recommended dining experience for any out-of-town visitors.

Pelican’s nightclub was inspired by any number of beach neighborhood bars I’ve played, from Mary’s on the Pier in Pacific Beach to Winston’s in Ocean Beach. Not sure why Blues bars and beach clubs go together, but they do. During my driving-around research I came across “The Old Plank Inn” next to the beach in Imperial Beach, further confirming my idea.

Photo by Bruce Fayman, Creative Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0 US)
Photo by Robert Drake, Creative Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0 US)

James “Big Jimmy” Bodeans name comes from combining soul-brother #1 James Brown with roots rockers The Bodeans. The “Big Jimmy” idea came from Top Jimmy and the Rhythm Pigs, a greasy 1980s LA R&B Revivalist Band made semi-famous in the Van Halen song “Top Jimmy”. Top Jimmy was way more hip than Big Jimmy.

Pantera was a successful heavy metal act in the 1990s. So I made it the name of Jimmy’s employer.

There really isn’t a category you could call straight blues, but Rolly’s probably thinking of Delta Blues, one of the earliest forms of blues along the lines of Robert Johnson, Son House and Charley Patton

Country Swing mixes country and jazz swing, the seminal band being Bob Wills and The Texas Playboys. A more current version is played by Asleep at the Wheel

New Orleans second-line I’m using as general term for the cross-rhythms associated with much of New Orleans music. Second line gets its name from the “second line” of horn and brass musicians associated with New Orleans funeral parades.

Contest Alert
It’s a song-writing contest this time. Write a song after Rolly’s Sad-Eyed Madonna and be sure to include the lines Jimmy quotes him in this chapter. Go to www.borderfieldblues/contests for more information.



One thought on “El Rascacielos (The High-rise)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *