I met a fellow wanderer named Jack, and we wandered together for part of a day through the Gretna Heritage festival (highlights being a 4-trombone rock group called Bonerama, and the Temptations resplendent in blue sequined suits). Then we came across the fair tagged on to the festival. I went on my first circus ride, and don’t have to do that again for another 25 years. But the track below is full of bells and whistles and happy circus-goers as Jack and I walked around the site.
I could hear the whistle half a mile away. I expected to find some flautists playing through stereo system on steroids. I eventually reached the river in front of the “Natchez” steamboat loading up with tourists. On the top near the stern was an older white-haired lady standing at a metal box that obviously had a keyboard in it. Beside her were the pipes, brass and shining, and each note she played made steam shoot out of individual pipes. The performance was nonstop; the songs didn’t end, they morphed into the next without letting the steam organ take a breath. It was background music at 86 dB and I’m sure it drew people to the attraction as it drew me. Happy ragtime, traditional American songbook tunes, it was a bright, riverside sound that match the sunny day.