Wednesday, May 20, 2015

recommended gigs

Thursday May 21 - the Delta Bombers at Triple B with Big Sandy and Doug C and the Blacklisted

Friday May 22 - the Humpers and the Hangmen at the Beauty Bar
Friday May 22 - Maxies, Darlington, Time Crashers and lots more at OMD
Friday May 22 - Swamp Pussy and bipolar at Babes

Friday May 29 - Super Zeros, O's of Presidential, Radio Silence - Double Down
Friday May 29 - the Unwieldies, Part Time Criminals and Sarah Patterson Band at the Hard Hat

Saturday May 30 - Eddy Bear and the Cubs and Cashed Out at the Beauty Bar
Saturday May 30 - All Togethers at the Pioneer Saloon

Sunday May 31 - the Astaires with Sharks From Mars at the Double Down

Wednesday June 3 - Dick Dale at the Hard Rock on the Strip

Friday June 5 - the Legendary Boilermakers - the Dive Bar
Friday June 5 - Brandon Madejek and Duane Mark at the Gold Mine Tavern

Saturday June 6 - Shanda and the Howlers, Pussyrammers and Bargain DJ Collective at the Double Down 

Friday June 12 - Thee Swank Bastards at the Double Down with the Swamp Gospel and the Gentlemen of Four Outs

Sunday June 14 - The Gentlemen of Four Outs at the Huntridge Tavern with the Peculiar Pretzelmen

Friday June 19 - Slaughter and the Dogs at the Dive Bar

Saturday June 27 - The Swamp Gospel with the Time Crashers at the Double Down
Saturday June 27 - the All Togethers at the Pioneer Saloon

Wednesday July 17 - Adolescents and Weirdos at the Dive Bar

Saturday August 29 - the All Togethers at the Pioneer Saloon

What have I forgotten? Lemme know!

Monday, May 18, 2015

RIP Eric Caidin

The Owner of Hollywood’s Clubhouse for Horror Film Lovers Has Died 


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Hollywood Book and Poster was a regular stop for any rock'n'roller who cared about pop culture, horror, camp, b-movies, etc. Eric also regularly promoted r'n'r shows and was an all-around good guy. Very sad to see him go so young.

Friday, May 15, 2015

so sad, but what a life!

Blues legend B.B. King dies at age 89 in Las Vegas 
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Thursday, May 14, 2015

Shanda and the Howlers at the Griffin May 13, 2015



This evening was the debut for this combo, featuring vocalist Shanda Cisneros (Shandaleers, guest vocalist with the Lucky Cheats), bassist Luke Metz (Lucky Cheats/Holy Smokes), guitarist Trevor Johnson, Keith Alcantara on drums and Micah Lapping-Carr on sax.  Self described as a soul revivalist band, they cover a variety of early r'n'r/r'n'b/rockabilly and soul styles that got the jam-packed crowd (I have never seen more people packed into the small band room at the Griffin before) dancin'n'screamin'n'shoutin'.



Shanda's powerful voice - she's a blues belter in the vein of 50's singers like Big Maybelle and Ruth Brown (they covered her "As Long As I'm Moving") - led the group through a number of covers as well as some classic-sounding originals. Every one of the members are pretty stellar on their instruments - Luke manages wild runs on his bass even while it is hung as low as Dee Dee's, Trevor got excellent tones from his old Harmony and Telecasters guitars, Micah's sax ran the gamut of 50's r'n'r yakety sax to soulful trumpet sounds and Keith's drumming is super solid and in the pocket and pretty damn amazing tonally - he really filled the room with his sound.



Most of the songs I was not familiar with, but they surprised some with the Raconteurs "Many Shades of Black" (though not that surprising considering that Shanda is a big Jack White fan, and it did not feel out of place at all), they pulled out the Coasters' wonderful "Down in Mexico" and James Brown's "I'll Go Crazy" as well as a soul ballad that reminded me of Otis Redding and a stompin' soul original for their closer.

There's a heckuva lot of talent on one stage with these cats'n'kitten, so check 'em out for your dose of solid early r'n'r/r'n'b and soul!

recommended gigs

Friday May 15 - Wayne Hancock, Clydesdale, All Togethers - Beauty Bar
Friday May 15 - The Super Zeroes at Legends Sports Bar

Saturday May 16 - Chicken Shack at the Bunkhouse with No Tides
Saturday May 16 - Water Landing and Cosmic Beasts at the Double Down
Saturday May 16 - Dillinger Block Party with the All Togethers, Clydesdale, Same Sex Mary and mroe
Saturday May 16 - O's of Presidential - Triple B

Thursday May 21 - the Delta Bombers at Triple B with Big Sandy and Doug C and the Blacklisted

Friday May 22 - the Humpers and the Hangmen at the Beauty Bar
Friday May 22 - Maxies, Darlington, Time Crashers and lots more at OMD
Friday May 22 - Swamp Pussy and bipolar at Babes

Friday May 29 - Super Zeros, O's of Presidential, Radio Silence - Double Down
Friday May 29 - the Unwieldies, Part Time Criminals and Sarah Patterson Band at the Hard Hat

Saturday May 30 - Eddy Bear and the Cubs and Cashed Out at the Beauty Bar
Saturday May 30 - All Togethers at the Pioneer Saloon

Sunday May 31 - the Astaires with Sharks From Mars at the Double Down

Wednesday June 3 - Dick Dale at the Hard Rock on the Strip

Friday June 5 - the Legendary Boilermakers - the Dive Bar
Friday June 5 - Brandon Madejek and Duane Mark at the Gold Mine Tavern

Friday June 12 - Thee Swank Bastards at the Double Down with the Swamp Gospel and the Gentlemen of Four Outs

Sunday June 14 - The Gentlemen of Four Outs at the Huntridge Tavern with the Peculiar Pretzelmen

Friday June 19 - Slaughter and the Dogs at the Dive Bar

Saturday June 27 - The Swamp Gospel with the Time Crashers at the Double Down
Saturday June 27 - the All Togethers at the Pioneer Saloon

Wednesday July 17 - Adolescents and Weirdos at the Dive Bar

Saturday August 29 - the All Togethers at the Pioneer Saloon

What have I forgotten? Lemme know!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Tampa Red - You Can't Get That Stuff No More

Hudson Woodbridge, sometimes Whittaker, better known in the music world as Tampa Red, was an
accomplished and influential blues slide guitar player, who became known as "The Man With the Gold Guitar" due to his National steel resonator instrument. While mostly concentrating on blues music, the man was first and foremost an entertainer and delved into many styles, particularly the early "hokum"/minstrel/ almost slapstick type of bawdy tunes, along with Dixieland-influenced numbers, pop and R&B. He became popular through some of his work with Georgia Tom ("It's Tight Like That" being their first big hit) as well as his solo career.

This CD collects 24 tracks, mostly written by Red, and showing his versatility and variety of styles. The accompanying booklet gives you a brief description of his career but not much detail on the songs. Opening with "Uncle Bud", we hear Red's slide work immediately in this rather silly hokum piece, presumably done with Georgia Tom, as is "But They Got It Fixed Right On". I really enjoy the guitar work and interplay with piano on "Grievin' and Worryin' Blues" and his "Turpentine Blues". He claims credit for the oft-covered "Let Me Play With Your Poodle" and who am I to argue with his authorship? In this version we get some boogie-woogie piano and a kazoo solo! The solo guitar "Hard Road Blues" obviously influenced many bluesmen to come - although the kazoo would later be replaced with instruments like a harmonica. "Boogie Woogie Dance" is appropriately titled and highlights Tampa's finger-picking combined with slide while "Voice of the Blues" is a blues led by Georgia Tom.

More hokum in "Give It Up Buddy" (nice slide work), nice slide blues in "This Ain't No Place For Me", "You Got to Reap What You Sow", "Seminole Blues" before we get more bouncy hokum in "I'll Kill Your Soul" (similar to "You Rascal You") and Dixieland stylings in "She Said It", with clarinet and kazoo dueting. Some lascivious lyrics in the bluesy "She Loves Just Right" and fine guitar playing in his cover of "Bumble Bee".  More great blues in "Taking It and Make My Getaway", "Travel On", "Moanin' Heart Blues", a bit more jazz influence in "I Want to Swing" and "The Way to Get the Low Down", back to the slide for "Prison Bound Blues", more hokum in "Mean Old Tom Cat" before closing with another classic blues in "Western Bound Blues".

Excellent playing and singing and fine songs in a multitude of styles here - another new fave!


Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Guess Who - Canned Wheat

I've always been a fan of the Guess Who's brand of powerful pop/rock'n'roll, although I don't have many of their actual albums - mostly hits packages. So, this is an interesting artifact.

Opening with one of their big hits, "No Time", we can see how this was edited down to be a Top Forty tune, deleting some of Randy Bachman's tough, fuzzed-out, feedback/sustained solos. It's a terrific tune either way, but nice to hear Randy's classics riffs expanded to their full length. They follow that bit of majesty with a little pop ditty, "Minstrel Boy" before producing another hit, "Laughing" - more keys/string-laden/vocal-harmonies than guitar-riffin' here but still a solidly catchy tune. Not letting up on the hits, we get "Undun", this one with Bachman giving us some jazzier chords while Burton Cummings gets to stretch his fine vocals (and I think he might play the flute here, as well).

"6 A.M. or Nearer", a Bachman composition, opens with some nice guitar noodling from him before morphing into a good, though not overly memorable psych-pop number. Cummings "Old Joe" also isn't particularly strong, though not bad, but it gets a bit better when they collaborate again on the oddly-titled "Of A Dropping Pin", not least of all cuz Randy gets a nice solo. The longest track by far is "Key", filled with Biblical references in a light, mid-tempo piece of pop. Randy gets to riff some before they delve into a bit of psychedelic rambling and a drum solo! The record officially closed with Burton quietly rantin' about the music business against some light jazz backing, but the CD adds two bonus tracks - "Species Hawk", a rocker with a great, biting guitar lick and "Silver Bird", a singer/songwriter kinda ballad - nothing overly special.

Their hits really are their strong points, but this is a good 70's pop record, overall.

Little Brother Montgomery's State Street Swingers - Goodbye Mr. Blues

While generally considered a blues pianist, Little Brother Montgomery actually worked in many
styles, and had a strong jazz influence. On this CD, most of the music is - to my ears, anyway - in the Dixieland/swing/jazz style of blues, with a healthy dose of horns dominating the proceedings. The majority of tunes are instrumentals, with the horns taking the melody, although Montgomery does take a couple of lead vocals on bluesier numbers like "Old Maid Blues".

We get a couple of rare 4-string (!) guitar solos on "Saturday Night Function" and the alternative take of "Goodbye Mr. Blues" and Montgomery's piano pops out now and again, although he doesn't usually use it as a solo instrument - he leads in the literal sense of the word and allows the others to perform the majority of the breaks.

I do enjoy listening to jazz and jazz-influenced work but I admit that I am not very knowledgeable in that field so I can't talk about it as intellectually as I might like. But, this is enjoyable pop/jazz/blues performed by some talented players. Not high energy or gritty, but nice stuff.


Seasick Steve - Walkin' Man

I stumbled across Seasick Steve via Facebook and dug his clever and catchy slide-blues tune "I Started Out With Nothin' (And Still Have Most of It)". He was living mainly by busking in Paris for a time until he was championed by fans in the radio and TV world and suddenly his fame exploded. Some of his work is still stripped down and sounds like it might be similar to what he was doing on his own, but some has been slicked up a bit with a full band and backing singers - not bad, but more like Watermelon Slim than Hound Dog Taylor or some such.

Still, interesting stuff overall on this Best Of CD and a nice distorted sound on his slide guitar (some are homemade), cool, growly vocals and a heavy blues influence throughout. He has the right influences, stealing from Bo Diddley for his song about homemade guitars, "Diddley Bo", for instance. "Thunderbird" is a bit of a stomper, while he gets quiet and acoustic in "Happy Man", with some female vocals helping him out. Some foot-stampin' solo slide-boogie in "Cut My Wings" and returns to acoustic (with violin) for "Treasures". I'm hearing some Captain Beefheart bluesiness ("Floppy Boot Stomp") in "St. Louis Slim", a bit of Slim Harpo in "8-Ball", some more "rock" touches here (I prefer when he steers away from this, as it leans towards cliched, uninteresting blues-rock, though not terrible), more acoustic there and parts that are really good and some so-so. The self-explanatory-titled "The Banjo Song" is a nice change of pace, and there's a couple more cool, acoustic numbers towards the end, as well.

All in all, good but not great and I can't necessarily pin down the things that I don't care for - he's coming from the right places but sometimes misses the mark in my ears. Worth checking out to decide for yourself.

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Jack Owens and Bud Spires - It Must Have Been the Devil

Per the liner notes by David Evans, the man who recorded Jack and Bud, this recording came about purely by happenstance and luck. Evans had interviewed Skip James about music in his hometown of Bentonia, Mississippi and James recommended Cornelius Bright, who introduced Evans to Owens. This is quite fitting as Owens' style, musically (he even uses the same open Em tuning), lyrically and vocally, is very similar to Skip's, owing to local traditions and songs. Evans claims that Owens is an even better player and singer than James, and while that is hard to say, if you put this CD on, most listeners would think that it was Skip.

There are a couple of differences, of course - Jack owned his own juke joint, where he would regularly play, and so he was tangentially more interested in rhythm for dancing (though that is not always apparently in these selections) and Owens would regularly work with harmonica player Benjamin "Bud" Spires. Spires would be more of a rhythm man than a lead player, letting Owens handle that duty, but he does work around the guitar and vocal melodies and adds a nice touch to everything.

Some of the selections are songs that James played, as well, adding more similarities (even though the arrangements do differ), but there are some more well known numbers such as "Good Morning, Little Schoolgirl".

This is another CD that I chanced upon and got at a discount rate and I'm certainly glad that I did. Excellent country blues by a generally unknown master. Well worth the search!

recommended gigs

Thursday May 7 - The All Togethers at the Beauty Bar

Friday May 8 - Midnight Clover - Triple B

Saturday May 9 - HiFlyers at the Double Down

Wednesday May 13 - Shanda and the Howlers with the Royal Hounds at the Griffin

Friday May 15 - Wayne Hancock, Clydesdale, All Togethers - Beauty Bar
Friday May 15 - The Super Zeroes at the Double Down

Saturday May 16 - Chicken Shack at the Bunkhouse with No Tides
Saturday May 16 - Water Landing and Cosmic Beasts at the Double Down
Saturday May 16 - Dillinger Block Party with the All Togethers, Clydesdale, Same Sex Mary and mroe
Saturday May 16 - O's of Presidential - Triple B

Thursday May 21 - the Delta Bombers at Triple B with Big Sandy and Doug C and the Blacklisted

Friday May 22 - the Humpers and the Hangmen at the Beauty Bar
Friday May 22 - Maxies, Darlington, Time Crashers and lots more at OMD

Friday May 29 - Super Zeros, O's of Presidential, Radio Silence - Double Down
Friday May 29 - the Unwieldies, Part Time Criminals and Sarah Patterson Band at the Hard Hat

Saturday May 30 - Eddy Bear and the Cubs and Cashed Out at the Beauty Bar
Saturday May 30 - All Togethers at the Pioneer Saloon

Sunday May 31 - the Astaires with Sharks From Mars at the Double Down

Wednesday June 3 - Dick Dale at the Hard Rock on the Strip

Friday June 5 - the Legendary Boilermakers - the Dive Bar
Friday June 5 - Brandon Madejek and Duane Mark at the Gold Mine Tavern

Friday June 12 - Thee Swank Bastards at the Double Down with the Swamp Gospel and the Gentlemen of Four Outs

Sunday June 14 - The Gentlemen of Four Outs at the Velveteen Rabbit with the Peculiar Pretzelmen

Friday June 19 - Slaughter and the Dogs at the Dive Bar

Saturday June 27 - The Swamp Gospel with the Time Crashers at the Double Down
Saturday June 27 - the All Togethers at the Pioneer Saloon

Wednesday July 17 - Adolescents and Weirdos at the Dive Bar

Saturday August 29 - the All Togethers at the Pioneer Saloon

What have I forgotten? Lemme know!

H-Bomb Ferguson - Big City Blues 1951-54

This was a random purchase while perusing Amoeba Records in LA a couple of weeks ago. I was not familiar with Ferguson, but dug his name and the cover and gave it a chance. This is a wild, rompin' bunch of sax-driven jump blues shouters in the manner of Big Joe Turner or Wynonie Harris ("Good Rockin' Tonight"), who some accused Ferguson of ripping off.

Pretty much everything here is high energy jumpin'n'jivin' and truly fun stuff, mostly written by H-Bomb himself. No, it ain't very original, and it tends to get a bit samey after a while, but it moves and grooves, has some funny and entertaining lyrics, and if it don't get ya bouncin', then you've already been hit by the proverbial H-Bomb!

Dig this one a lot - truly good time music and a nice, though smallish, booklet with some ultra-cool pix!

Sugar Pie DeSanto - Go Go Power - The Complete Chess Singles 1961 - 1966

I'm not sure where I first discovered Sugar Pie - whether it was from someone's Facebook post or due to her hot numbers on one of the American Folk Blues DVDs - but I was captivated immediately by her soulfullness and sexiness. This CD of her Chess output has some terrific tunes, but apparently is not her whole story since she had hits before moving to Chess. Still, a fine compilation.

This young, tiny spitfire was blatantly raucous and sensual - lyrically as well as visually, as the accompanying booklet shows - while possessing a powerful yet sweet voice and a talent for songwriting - not very common for a young woman at the time.

Right from the start in the r'n'b dance number "Soulful Dress" she self-confidently talks about how she's going to be the life of the party and will steal any man she wants since she'll be "at her best in her soulful dress"! I love the groovy growl she has in her voice while she warns the other woman of her prowess. This edge continues in "I Don't Wanna Fuss" (sounds like the Rolling Stones grabbed some ideas from this one) and the party tune, "In the Basement" (where she duets with Etta James). She revs up the energy even more for the horn-driven "Witch For a Night" then slows it down a bit to be even more sultry and sassy for "Slip-In Mules", where she boasts about her dress - "it ain't the back that's cut too low"! There's an Ike and Tina, "Think It's Gonna Turn Out Fine" feel to "Mama Didn't Raise No Fools" and the title track, "Go Go Power" has plenty of swingin' go-go power to spare!

From here we get plenty more soul and r'n'b goodness, though it gets a little less raunchy (until the hot'n'nasty blues in "Use What You Got") and a little slicker and Motown-ish (though in no way bad) as the years go on. There's an extensive booklet (that I haven't had time to peruse in detail yet) and lots of fantastic music. You definitely want this one!