Bill Small’s Tall Brothers

Flash had just left Marc Emery’s Festive Christmas Fete and was still reeling from the effects of copious amounts of some of the best bud in the world from Jordan of The Islands which’s genetics “God Bud” even took first place Indica at the High Times sponsored Cannabis Cup in Dam this year after having always placed so well locally at the
Flash had secured a hefty bit in his glad press and seal container to share with his friends whom he was to meet at this prestigious event the Tall Brothers Cannabis Cup Victory Bash with a cover of only $5.00 sponsored by Exhale Entertainment on a Friday night in “the city that likes to sleep-in” beautiful Lotus Land B.C.

Bill Smalls, of the Tall Brothers Reefer Jazz band has supplied the BC Compassion Club and Hilary Black in the early days, even volunteering his time to administer free Reiki massage.

Bill has beaten the charges on his club grow on the basis it was being used exclusively for patients and he gained no great profit from it and was harming no one. It was a relief to the cannabis community when he was given only an Absolute Discharge.

Bill also had been the one to stand up for Renee Boje and be her Bail Bondsman taking responsibility if she were forced to flea the country or violate her bail conditions during her drug war refugee claim. There’s even tales of Bill standing up to police taking responsibility for found pot that was not his to liberate others.

The reefer blues trio promised to instantly fill the atmosphere at the New Amsterdam Cafe, 300 West Hastings, with “sweet smelling strains of acoustic reefer jazz”, and came through. The crowd of mostly young people who usually thrive on Hip Hop and Rap were gripped and entranced by this original extraction of ’30’s and 40’s marijuana songs as used to be sung by Nat King Cole, who was a puffer; Ella Fitzgerald and Django.

Flash first met the ‘Too Tall Brothers’ Smalls brothers, the original trio, at Chris Bennett and Rene Boje’s wedding reception in Gibbsons B.C., Roberts creek hall. They reminded Flash of the Smuthers Brothers by their quick wit and banter. The band is a trio “Too Tall” refers to 30’s jazz reference to “High.”

Although the band started with the three original Smalls brothers commitments has kept one away, so now Bill plays with one of his brothers and a third musician which they need to hire on.

Although it is traditionally hard to remain gainfully employed in jazz this particular trio with its prohibition times; ‘speak easy’ cafes and ‘bathtub gin,’ references which seem appropriate as we struggle to shake off Reefer Madness Prohibition here in Canada.

It reminds people of ‘Gangsterism’ as guests come costumed in Neon Zoot suits and tuxedos or Betty Boop flapper skirts. We remember the coppers were most vicious in the final dawning of alcohol prohibition; raiding cafes and smashing Ma & Pa stills leaving nothing behind but glass and malice. The Tall Brothers have been able to keep themselves in gigs extraordinarily well mostly due to Bill Smalls tireless promotion and devotion to the Cannabis community. All the good Karma and energy he has created is returning to him tenfold as people show their appreciation for his contributions and for the originality,humour and unique; much called for, ‘style’ of he and his brothers music.

The Tall Brothers, of course have been featured on as well as Watermelon’s Baked and baking DVD, and performed annually for the exclusive judges. This year they performed in Amsterdam at the 17th annual High Times Cannabis Cup that B.C. Ruled.

Francouver was just exiting the main gated door with Harvey in tow that does the artistic nude calendars some of which were shot around BCMP HQ, in the Zen Garden out back, and at Pot-TV studios. His specialty is photographing public nudity as a form of protest. Nudity if there are no children about to be traumatized or people whose sensibilities it will offend to no end, like Cannabis use, is ‘a victimless crime’ and has more to do with your ownership over your own body.

Francouver and Harvey were starved and heading across the street to health food restaurant for some vegan delicacies. Inside The New Amsterdam caf? it was crowded and Smokey on the main floor. The smoking by law inspectors had gone home to their beds and their wives this late in the evening so tea lights and ash trays were placed at every rolling station table or ledge. Tobacco smoking, unless from a blunt or blunt paper, was confined to the glassed in area usually reserved during the day for toking.

Flash was glad to see some of the ‘Sunday Club” crew. Cynthia had snagged a booth Cynn is one of Flash’s Favourite lady’s because when ‘Merican’s and even sometimes local BC ‘ers will pass on a toke, especially if it gets down to the end.Flash, coming from a culture of poverty and having a Father who was Scotch is always irked by this.Then, it is a great relief when Cynthia is never too shy to accept the burning offering and even to pass it back, coming from around the same high school Era as Flash.Somehow even Flash’s stocking-hoard of chocolates disappeared fast around the table.

Friendly Dave dropped by their booth to say “High.” X-head, journalist ‘nouveaux extraordinaire’ on the cannabis scene, greeted them at their booth and snuggled in next to JR Tolkien, or Kat as they call him. The professorial cat luver and photographer. X-head discussed a make-over when the gurls from The Green Tide Forums get together just to trim his locks. He seemed undecided and was sort of a ‘sour puss’ about letting the womyn go wild on his doo but soon lightened up as more were lit up and passed around .

Fran missed our little girlfriend from New Zealand and remembered her as she brought out the smoking device the girl had left behind for the Sunday Club and tourist’s occasional use. The ‘slinky device’ involved a rather dexterously demanding ritual which involved lighting it while letting the accordion breath, like an iron lung, and draw the smoke into the slinky like flew then remove the bowl and (without squeezing the accordion) just inhale and let the slinky rise and fall, doing its own thing, while you take as much as your pink, over- exercised brave lungs can handle without too much embarrassment. Finally passing on to your neighbour , who is probably on the edge of their seat already gesturing wildly at you .Cheering you on and grabbing at it as you to pass it round.

Damn the greedy ones that insist on squeezing the accordion to get every last drop. Orion, one of flash’s housemates who came dressed in a tuxedo shirt could not grasp the concept (DON’T SQUEEZE) at all, exasperating Flash further.

As cozy as the booth was, they were here to see a Show.They sit around the booths more often than the regulars on “Friends” or “Seinfield.” It was time to abandon the bunker and descend down the twisty stairwell to the regions beneath the Cafe once used in days of old by the Chinese for smuggling many of the older buildings are connected by cellars and boarded over doorways. The space below was long and wide enough to hold up to 200 people toe to toe. There was not a space to sit or way to wade further into the crowd as it swayed and some sang along to the sultry tunes.

Another of Flash’s roommates Dianne was with him as well and she needed a good place to sit. There next to the door was ‘the Tall Texan from Seattle’ a really funny charming ‘Merican . His bushy grey moustache put him around the same generation as the native woman Dianne in her new leather motorcycle jacket as she made herself comfortable on the bench beside him. He seemed in the habit of compulsively refilling his pipe which made it a perfect place to abide.

Francouver was inextricably deep in the crowd. Flash squinted to see the band. He could see a spot light on someone in a tuxedo shirt on other side of the room. He knew Bill Smalls and the rest of the Trio were dressed formally so Flash focused his eyes and attention more intently. There on the far side of the stage was not Bill Smalls or a band member but, Orion and Steve Payne! They weren’t playing a piccolo put passing between them a Chong size joint! Later they said they had no idea they were under a spot light and wondered why no one else had chosen the choice vantage?

Flash had to stretch his neck around the corner from the door way he was standing in to see the band perform some of what has become everyone’s latest favorites like “Hit that jive jack” “Save the Roach for Me” “Have you ever met that funny reefer man” and the one Flash cant stop jiving to “Coca Cola, Coca Cola and Gin…” every time he pours himself the Real Thing. From their disc Reefer Blues.

They have to watch, as all professional musicians do, that they don’t infringe on the intellectual property rights of the original jazz musicians or labels but have done a good job to adopt the work and personalize, even update it, to be more relevant to modern times.

Even famous Comedienne-Cannabis-Divas have to go to the washroom once in a while and our own Watermelon is no exception. When she appeared around the corner Flash, like anyone else would do under the circumstances, could not help but exclaim, however quietly, “There’s Watermelon…” The Seattle Texan, as any red blooded man would do, lurched around waved and cried out: “Hi, Watermelon!”

His only faux pas was she was at that time just making her entrance into the washroom leaving him rather with egg on his face. He tried to reintroduce himself as she was making her exit from the facilities but somehow outside washroom doors seems not the best place to make an acquaintance. Flash and his ‘Merican buddy did get a good roar out of their red faced pathos at least.

Fran said Flash had looked ‘weary.’ He had not said “No” to a toke since 6pm although he had ate and drank, at least, a pot of coffee. To his rescue and at his side appeared flash’s long time pal from High School daze, Rob, whom since his recent marriage and baby child has sworn off the bar scene and was more than happy to take in the excitement and the nightlife of the cafe and sweet herb without the temptation of alcohol or annoyance of alcoholics.( Not that there wasn’t hemp beer available at the bar sometimes.) The theme was not one of “let’s get as drunk as we can” but people were definitely trying to smoke their own weight if they could.

Rob was not averse to taxiing Flash home at midnight lest he turn into a rather seedy pumpkin. Orion, Steve, Dianne and Francouver stayed though, as did the tall ‘Merican. Both Fran and our visitor raved next day about the Railroad Band that followed in the Tall Brothers wake that evening. The Railway Band seemed to care not how long they continued their set keeping many there till the wee hours playing one classic rock song after another including, Led Zep, Pink Floyd, J.J. Cale and Rush even in addition to their jazz sets and extended sax solos for all those Lisa Simpson wanna-bes out there.

Steve and Orion were not content to sit still for the second set they ventured off to explore the neighbourhood and found the Ethiopian Restaurant around the corner open with the music playing, jerk chicken and pizza on the menu.

As they sat they saw elegant and beautiful woman pass one after another down the stairs to basement below where music emanated from. Steve minded his business, but Orion was just high enough to float down the stairs his head a balloon. When he got to the bottom of the stairs he wondered why every man on earth was not down there? Two guys were dancing with 6 woman of exotic description ; he claims they were “gyrating and formage-ing.” The only thing that brought him back guiltily to the New Amsterdam Cafe was knowing he had left Dianne and Fran behind with promises to escort them home.

People are also invited to participate in Tall Brothers Reefer Blues CD release, to be distributed by Universal Records, by buying publishing shares. By purchasing a five percent share in the publishing for one thousand dollars and receive publishing royalties perpetually, as well, as the return of your initial investment.

They will recapture your initial investment of one thousand dollars once the sales receipts are returned by Universal Records, which is done bi-annually.

All net profits from sales of Tall Brothers Reefer Blues CD will be paid out to all shareholders equally until they have recouped their investment. They will receive a five percent publishing share on two original compositions by Tom Small, as well, as a five percent publishing share on three public domain compositions arranged by Tall Brothers.

Accrued publishing income, which is taxed at source, is remitted directly to each share holder by SOCAN quarterly. Each shareholder will then receive one option on publishing shares on all future Tall Brothers releases.

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