Do you take requests?
When you’re reading this, I must confess, I’m lying on the beach in Huatulco Mexico. The place where this story began. It was an annual trip to Mexico with some close friends and the tale ends up with a string band that doesn’t play requests. Let me explain.
Every year for about 16 years we gathered some friends together for a winter getaway to Mexico. We soaked up the sun for a week and recharged the batteries after a busy Christmas season.
Each night at the resort, the group would get together in the outside bar, and being music lovers, someone would invariably start to sing a song. Usually a classic song from the ’60s. We would all join in and often get through the first verse, and the chorus, but then we would struggle to remember the following verses and the song would sputter to a finish. This seemed to happen all the time.
One year I decided to write out the lyrics to a bunch of old songs, and I took them along on the holiday. After dinner, in the bar, I passed the song sheets out, and it became almost like a caroling choir, but instead of Christmas songs, it was old favourites. And it was fun. The songs started and finished, not always in key, but at least we could get through the entire song.
That worked well, and then one year, one of the members of the group, who was a Country music singer, songwriter, and recording artist by the name of Michael Booth Palmer, brought his guitar along on the trip so he could practice some classical guitar lessons he was taking back home. Well, that added a whole new element to the singalong sessions. Musical accompaniment! In the years to follow, more guitars showed up on the scene, including an acoustic bass guitar brought along by Ralph Lee Taylor, the former bass player for the 60’s rock band, Papa Bear’s Medicine Show.
Now we had laid down a foundation of 2 real players who could carry the weight of the band on their shoulders! So, with those two cornerstones, the rest of us, who could hack out a few chords, made up quite a formidable little string band.
One year, former news anchor, Deb Hope, who had a singing voice of an angel, joined our traveling band, along with her husband Roger, who is also a singer-songwriter, and guitar player.
At the pinnacle of our performances, we probably numbered 10 players in the band. Obviously, it was time for merchandise, so T-shirts were ordered! Only enough for our traveling group of friends though. We weren’t so delusional as to think anyone outside our group would buy them!
But, one day while walking the beach at the resort, a woman came up to me and asked where she could get a shirt like mine because her husband collected Rock Band T-shirts! If we had an extra shirt available, it would have been our first sale!
As you might be able to tell, this singalong in the bar after dinner was starting to get out of hand! We never took ourselves too seriously, we were just having fun. But one night, an off night for the resort’s productions, we used the theatre space for our little band concert. As we were playing, some resort guests wandered in, thinking we were the entertainment for the night. After settling in for a few songs, they soon realized otherwise. But, they enjoyed some tunes, had a few drinks, and moved on. Our first official audience!
We had dubbed ourselves the Requesto Brothers and played for many years almost every time we’d get together. A smaller version of the band played at a friend’s daughter’s engagement party, and we had a command performance at a song festival dubbed, “Woodpile” a take-off on Woodstock, at our bass player’s ranch in the Chilcotin. We also played at a huge birthday bash in the Cariboo, where News Anchor, Tony Parsons joined the group for a couple of songs! I think he was featured in a rendition of Sweet Caroline, but I could be wrong about that.
As I said before, we were only in it for fun, and to have a good time. And isn’t that what music should be? A good time that brings friends together for an evening of enjoyment. So, should you ever stumble in on a Requesto Brothers concert, feel free to sing along. If you sing a little off-key, we won’t mind, because chances are we’ll be a little off-key too!
And to this day, the Requesto Brothers will take requests, but we won’t necessarily play them!
Until next week ...
1 // The Requesto Brothers in one of their concerts in Huatulco, Mexico, circa 2010
2 // Wayne & Jeri Cox enjoying Huatulco, Mexico - Jan. 2023
🎵 Duke Robillard performing with Blue Moon Marquee
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1 // Congratulations to Blue Moon Marquee for taking home four awards at the 2023 Maple Blues Awards.
2 // The 2023 Summer Festival cancellations continue with the Merritt Rockin’ River Festival being the latest casualty of economic woes.
3 // Grammy Award Winner Juice Newton performed two sold-out shows at Blue Frog in October 2015. Remembering her hits like “Playing with the Queen of Hearts”, “Love’s Been a Little Bit Hard on Me”, and “Angel in the Morning”.
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White Rock, BC • Canada V4B 3Z2