Friday, July 29, 2011

That old steel guitar rag

Ed Sparks, Larry Wheeldon and Pat Sparks

Well, we served all the ice cream and cookies we had as well as lots of ice water --- and lost count at somewhere in excess of 100 --- but Al Risbeck and friends were the coolest part of Thursday evening’s LCHS ice cream social on the patio and inside the barn on the museum campus. We were really pleased with the turnout and doubly pleased by the music.

Al Risbeck on steel guitar.
Al, who has played steel guitar for more than 40 years, is professionally good although he had another career. And the same can be said for the friends who joined him, Ed and Pat Sparks of Liberty Center with vocals and on guitar and Chariton’s Larry Wheeldon, also vocals and guitar. Jean Wheeldon joined her husband on vocals, too.

The mix was country classic, which works well in a place that is classic country.

Everyone involved had a great time, I think, and the weather cooperated. Although it was hot it also was a little cloudy headed into the evening so what breeze there was kept the audience on the patio reasonably cool. Fans helped out inside the barn.

All of the musicians are regulars on the jam circuit that’s one of the attractions in this part of southern Iowa, including Al --- a Lucas County native who lives most of the year in Colorado but comes home to Chariton during the summer in part because of the music.

If you’ve not heard these folks, you should. I know for sure they’ll be playing and singing at Woodburn Saturday night.

LCHS board members Frank Mitchell and Ilene Church, as well as myself, were especially gratified because Al Risbeck, too, is part of the vast Redlingshafer conspiracy. His ancestors were John L. and Anna (Redlingshafer) Risbeck (because she died young there are differences of opinion about exactly what her given name was). John Risbeck came to Lucas County about 1850, then went back to Pennsylvania after his wife’s death, and it probably was on his recommendation that John G. Redlingshafer, ancestor to Ilene and myself, decided to scout the county out in the mid-1850s and settle here in 1856. The alternate Frank’s ancestor, Anna Margaret (Redlingshafer) Rosa/Wulf --- sister to John G. --- arrived in the 1860s.


Also this week, I’ve reclaimed a blog called “The Mallory Castle Log” that I started six years ago, then neglected after becoming preoccupied with a whole lot of other stuff. It was started at a time when a friend, Nick Cattell, and I were hot on the trail of all things Mallory, including the “Castle” --- its real name was the Ilion, a legendary estate on Chariton’s north edge that was the centerpiece of the 1,000-acre Brook Farm.

At some point, however, I lost track of exactly how to access my own blog --- carelessness. But I recently found the notes I’d made, including the user name and password, that allowed me to reclaim the blog.

Because the Log hadn’t been updated in so long, however, it no longer is possible to modify the template on which it is based and that template is hopelessly outdated. Because there aren’t that many entries any way, I’ve decided to recreate the whole thing as “Mallory’s Castle” and get back to work.

That will take a while and the Log still is linked in the sidebar to this blog under “Lucas County Links” as “Mallory Castle (The Ilion).” As time passes, the old blog will disappear and the new blog will take its place. That will help keep me, and perhaps some others, amused.

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