Sunday, December 28, 2008

Time Passages

Perusing through the Projo today, I started taking note of the folks who died in 2008 of special significance for many of us Narrows folks.

Here's a quick list.

Odetta--We did a show or two with her over the years. Very classy to work with. It was an honor for many of us at the Narrows to meet her.

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi--The Beatles' guru for a time, and the alleged inspiration for several songs.

Comediens Dick Martin and George Carlin--nothing says 1960s and rock 'n' roll more than "Rowan and Martin's Laugh In" and George Carlin. Say goodnight, Dick (that was part of Laugh In's sign off, to which Dick Martin would say "Goodnight Dick!")

Bo Diddley--In my view, this important founder of rock 'n' roll got more press when he died than in his music career.

Larry Harmon--the guy who made "Bozo" a household name.

Isaac Hayes--The voice. The songwriter. The soul man.

Levi Stubbs--Four Tops front guy. You might not have heard of him, but you heard his music.

Bob Enos--"Roomful of Blues" trumpeter. Unexpected loss to the local music community.

Jerry Reed--Guitar man who made a name with the "Smokey and the Bandit" movies and hits
"Amos Moses" and "When You're Hot You're Hot."

Jeff Healey--I didn't see his name on the Projo's end of the year lists (there were actually two in today's paper), but he was known for "Angel Eyes" and the odd way he played guitar. If memory serves, Coco Montoya talked about his passing during his show at the Narrows.

Roy Scheider--The actor who played the lead in the "Jaws" movies. I threw him on the list because your humble blogger loves the first "Jaws" movie.

Studs Terkel--Radio host based in Chicago. Might be described as left-wing. Wrote the book "Working" which was an influence on your humble blogger.

Harvey Korman--Loved the movie "Blazing Saddles" and therefore loved Harvey.

Suzanne Pleshette--Bob Newhart's TV wife on his first show, before he ended up in Vermont.

Miriam Makeba--South African singer who fought apartheid in that country and beyond.

Mike Smith--the voice of "The Dave Clark Five." Snappy records that out Beatle'd the Beatles.

Nick Reynolds and John Stewart--Members at one time or another of "The Kingston Trio," the group that helped launch the folk movement in the 1960s. John Stewart worked with Fleetwood Mac members to score a solo hit "Gold" in the late 1970s.

Eartha Kitt--The original "Santa Baby" and much, much more.

Mitch Mitchell--One of Jimi's drummers.

Buddy Miles--Another one of Jimi's drummers. (Info courtesy of Rolling Stone magazine).

Ivan Dixon--Played "Kinch" on "Hogan's Heroes." Loved that show.

Dave McKenna--Jazz cat out of Woonsocket.

Danny Federici--Springsteen's keyboard guy right from the start.

Leroi Moore--Sax man for Dave Matthews.

Dennis Yost--Voice of the group "Classics IV." Did the original version of "Spooky."

Please add anybody I've missed.

One name fortunately not on the list is local musician Jeff Olson, who damn near didn't pull through after getting hit over the summer with Legionnaires' disease. But the music community pulled together and sent him good thoughts and prayers, and held a benefit concert for him and his family. Jeff is much better these days (though still a little shaky) and recently went back to work after months of often painful recovery. Jeff--you've got a lot more music to make!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Favorite Fotos of 2008--Parte Trois

Justin Townes Earle, that's right Steve Earle's son, played a great show at the Narrows in 2008. When I was walking into the Narrows I spotted a rather intense-looking young man drinking coffee and smoking just outside the door.

I asked him if he was Justin, and he said yes. So I asked if I could take several shots of him on the street.

Justin has wrestled some of the demons his father wrestled with, and I think this photo suggests that.

Favorite Fotos of 2008--Parte Deux

Eilen Jewell continues to be one of the hottest new performers on the circuit. I missed her recent visit, but I heard she's incorporated more variety into her performance. She's continuing to evolve as an artist, and that's wonderful to see.

I did catch her when she visited earlier in 2008. She was "backstage" near the old timely looking mirror when I had an inspiration and took the above photo. Since she has an old timey voice I thought the photo captured a bit of what she's all about.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Favorite Fotos of 2008 Parte Une

Your humble blogger takes photos with a modest digital camera--fairly low tech.  The photos are "worked on" a bit after I take 'em, but there's not a heck of a lot I know how to do.

On top of that, whether they're too bright or too dark is really subject to how you set your browser.

That said--I tried to take some interesting shots during the year.  Over the next few days I'll display a few of my favorites.

Above, the photo is Maura Kennedy of The Kennedys as shot through another camera.  I was just walking by and snapped it quickly.  I like the effect.  Hope you do too.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Top Shows of 2008

Your humble blogger saw most, but not all, the shows of 2008.  So my top concerts may be missing some of those I missed (e.g. Dar Williams, Johnny Winter).  But of those I saw, here are the tops in no particular order (leave your list in "comments").

Shelby Lynne--absolutely fab.  Great songs.  Great energy.  Great showmanship.

Los Strait Jackets--A load of fun from these masked masters of surf.

Jake Shimabukuro--Ukelele cat brought new respect for the instrument.  His version of "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" is worth the price of admission.

Lil' Ed--Loved the "blues ballet."  Check his entry in this blog and you'll see why.

Sometymes Why--A super group of top female roots artists.  Loved the hand clapping part.

Samuel James--great, scratching blues dude.  He opened for Sonny Landreth.  You probably weren't paying attention.  I was.

Leo Kottke--Light-hearted class all the way.

Beppe Gambetta--Italian guitarist who didn't take himself too seriously.  Fun.

Pierre Bensusan--A classic.

Eric Lindell--A Springsteen for the new millennium.

Bettye LaVette--Soul for the ages.

Judith Owen--Funny, fairly unknown jazz pianist.  Very entertaining. 

Friday, December 12, 2008

Step Into Christmas!

Celtic cats Coyote Run brought glad tidings--and kilts--to the Narrows Friday night, along with step students from the Dunleavy Shaffer school of Irish dance.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Flying Burrito Brothers--Chris Hillman Speaks Out

Narrows alum--and a Byrds and Flying Burrito Brothers founder--Chris Hillman tells his story in a new book about the Burritos.

More info here.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

The Subdudes Sell Out

The Subdudes, sort of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band meets The Temptations, sold out the Narrows Friday night.  It was their first visit.

Opener Jen Murdza, whose Elvis influence was evident, opened the show.  That's her below.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Narrows Alum Odetta Passes

Civil rights folk singer, and Narrows alum, Odetta, has died.

A write up from Rolling Stone here.