Sam’s Jazzfest Surprise

inUncategorizedon April 24, 2014

Last fall we found out that Ironing Board Sam was invited back to the 2014 New Orleans Jazz Festival; they made a special request for him to come with a big show. Early in Jazzfest’s history Sam played the blues underwater in a huge aquarium, performed while lifted up on a 50-foot cherry picker, floated above Jackson Square in a hot air balloon playing down to his fans, and set his drums on fire. All of his suggestions this year just could not work out with the festival such as skydiving into the festival, walking a tight rope on stage while singing, being sawed in half in a box and still playing the piano, or building a huge juke box for him to perform in. Jazzfest was just a few weeks away when Sam stopped by the office with one last idea. He wanted to bring back his invention of the portable keyboard. Today this is very common but in the early 1960s no one had seen one. He also added that he wanted to us to “bead him up” for New Orleans.


Corn and I got to thinking. We got a mini ironing board, some beads and rhinestones and constructed a prototype for Sam to inspect. Sam loved the idea and gave us some key suggestions. Corn and I took this assignment very seriously. In New Orleans there is a tradition amongst the Mardis Gras Indians, they remove all the beads from their previous year’s costume and use them to design and construct incredible regalia for next year’s Mardis Gras. Corn and I did not have this much time, but if anyone needed Big Chief regalia for New Orleans, it was Sam, who performed in the crescent city for 20 years, was a real music television pioneer and has played with some of the greatest R&B artists of all time. So, we began work “beading him up.”


We found Sam a purple sequined jacket and hat, and then we found a very fine keyboard that ran on batteries. Next step was a trip to Walmart for an ironing board, then to a crafts store to load up with everything shiny we could find. The glue gun was soon heated up and we started our work. At the end of a four-hour session, we congratulated ourselves for a job well started. This went on for five days. We even got Denise involved with the only careful work to be done, to stencil “Ironing Board Sam” on the ironing board.


We also ordered a wireless system so Sam can walk out into the crowd. To hold the microphone, we built a holder that wraps around his neck according to Sam’s design. Upon looking at the creation, Sam was overjoyed. “You all built it, know I am going to take down the house. I’m going to light those drums on fire, I might even light my hat on fire!!” We here at Music Maker were thrilled by his enthusiasm. This outfit will bring Sam’s happiness and joy to audiences around the world.


If you are at Jazz Fest the first weekend do not miss Sam. It will be JOYOUS!

– Tim

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