Perspectives of a Writer and Musician

Issues related to writing, publishing and playing jazz music: One man's muse.
by Al Stevens

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Location: Florida, United States

Sunday, May 01, 2011

It's Mayday. Every year on this day I think about the leader of this band.

Wild Bill Whelan is the cornet player. I knew him from 1958 when I was a senior in high school trying to play Dixieland jazz. Years later I played in many bands with him. I'm the piano player in this video, made in 1975.

Why does today make me think about Wild Bill Whelan? Every year since I knew him until he died in 2003 he'd call me up on May 1st and recite a simple 2-line poem. Then he'd hang up. The poem?

Hooray, hooray for the first of May,
Outdoor fucking starts today.

I sure do miss him. I'll be outdoors a lot today in remembrance.


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