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The Seattle Times | Pacific Northwest

Portraits Rebecca Teagarden

The Midnight Ramblers | Banded together, as friends who play

Glances and smiles.

A little blues. A little jazz. Country. Robert Johnson. Taj Mahal.

Old friends. Friends who are old.

Good music.

Cold rosé.

Nine harmonicas and a cell phone laid out on the coffee table.

Sweet tunes from the houseboat at the end of the dock.

A women's crew team rows past.

Seems like they're workin' way too hard.

There's an easier groove inside.


Norman's harmonica cries with joy.

Shoes lined up at the door.

White athletic socks tap out the beat on an Oriental rug.

Dave's bass sings low. Real low.

A thumb drums on the arm of the couch.

Lem takes it on the guitar. His braid overlaps the guitar strap.

"Lem, nice solo on that."

Wood roasts in the stove. It smells delicious.

"J'ai Deux Amours" for Anne-Emilie to sing.

She's French. Song sounds like a Western. Tender, gentle and sweet.

She flirts with the guitar player. He's her husband.

"I can never remember how I played it last time, so it has to be different," Norman says.

He whistles the opening to "Fishin' Blues." His solo.

Nothing rowdy here. Two guitars, a bass, a harmonica, the rattley thing. Melodies and harmonies.

Steve sings lead, tall and lean, throaty and pure.

Five old friends playing together.

More come to hear, and they sit on the floor. They bring wine. Set out crackers and dips.

Never a crescendo to bother the neighbors.

Yeah, OK, sometimes they get a gig. A friend knows somebody who knows somebody who's got a restaurant and . . .

There's a CD, for friends.

The sky is powder blue and gray and yellow. Gives way to gold and navy.

The rowers give it up.

Friends play on.