Shot Of Rhythm

[ Saturday, August 16, 2003 ]


Today I ended up listening to my uncle's bluegrass band at something called Fudd Fest. I left before - I'm not kidding - the Fudd Fest Players put on a production called - again, I'm not kidding - "The Beverly Hillbillies Meet Smokey And The Bandit." I'm sure it was great...

I said something yesterday that seems destined for my business card: "Don't like it? Write your own damn ballad."

On the box right now: Arthur Alexander, THE MONUMENT YEARS.


Dove With Claws [7:24 PM]

[ Friday, August 15, 2003 ]


Sorry I haven't blogged since Monday, but I've really got nothing to report this week...except a couple things...

-I got a "for hire" gig working on a hip-hop project for the Madison Civic Center. And, no, before you snicker, it's not connected with SHOWTIME AT THE APOLLO...

-Saw James Brown last night. Really impressed, except for some dumb-ass white woman (who I think is JB's wife) who came out on stage halfway through and proceeded to ruin "Try (Just A Little Bit Harder)," "At Last" and "Can't Turn You Loose." How bad was this woman? She killed a REALLY hot crowd, and she made James' band - which was blasting right funky all night - sound like a bad covers band. This is the same "let's-bring-out-the-younger-woman-to-sing-a-couple-bad-covers-in-the-middle-of-the-show" dynamic that damn near killed the crowd heat when I saw George Clinton. I guess it's sort of an epidemic among the kings of funk...

-I've decided I'm not running for governor of California. But I may put in my application to be the new leader of Liberia. (Or maybe not.)

-Funny thing: Just now, when I typed Liberia, I accidentally typed "the new leader of Liberal." Please, dear God, don't make me the new leader of Liberal. I'll be the new leader of Progressive, or Radical, any day of the week, but the last thing I need to do is be the jefe of a bunch of wishy-washy morons who can't even figure out how to beat a moron president who's killed the economy and keeps sinking us deeper into a war we'll seemingly never get out of.

-Anybody see the review of Ann Coulter's new book in the Washington Post last week? It was a great dissection of a truly evil idiot and her drivel.

-That's about it. I'll be back soon, with hopefully more to report.

On the box right now: Various Artists, THE BEST OF NASHBORO GOSPEL.


Dove With Claws [9:45 AM]

[ Monday, August 11, 2003 ]


Oh, by the way, the U.S. government admitted a couple interesting things over the past week...

1)They've been dropping napalm firebombs on Iraq.

2)They've been using a secret list of anti-war activists to detain said activists at our nation's airports.

Fuck fascism...

Dove With Claws [7:17 PM]


Just got back from Memphis a few hours ago. Absolutely unbelievable experience, in a bunch of ways. Here are some highlights:
-Perhaps first and foremost, somehow me and my crew ended up at Sam Phillips' memorial service. It was open to the public, but it's still a pretty incredible aligning of the stars that found the four of us seated in a room while Marty Stuart, Jack Clement, Peter Guralnick, "Little" Milton Campbell and Dr. Benjamin Hooks (among others) paid tribute to Mr. Phillips. (Taped tributes were sent in from Jerry Wexler, B.B. King and - especially emotional - Johnny Cash.) Marty and Jack also played a three-song mini set made up of Marty's "Country Soul," the Johnny Cash Sun chestnut "Ballad of a Teenage Queen," which Clement wanted to play because Sam always hated it (a pretty good indicator of the light-hearted tone of the event), and a spirited version of the Rolling Stones' "No Expectations." It was a great experience, and I'm still amazed we were there. (Later that night, we also ran into Marty Stuart and his guitar player at a restaurant. Yes, the hair is just as impressive in person.)
-On another day, on recommendation from fellow traveler and rockin' artiste Mike Cepress, we all met Bernard Lansky, who outfitted Elvis Presley and the other Sun rockabillies (as well as Booker T. and the MGs). Lansky - like Dickinson - is one of those cool Memphis white guys that, I humbly believe, allowed what happened there to go down the way it did. The highlight of that encounter was when we asked Mr. Lansky if he'd ever clothed Jerry Lee Lewis. He just sighed, shook his head, and described The Killer as able to "give aspirin a headache."
-Had two great interviews for my soul project, with Jim Dickinson and Deanie Parker. Both interviews were great, and I'll be happy to tell anybody more details should they so desire.
-Went to the new Stax museum. Fabulous (if a little sterile); what a great story the development of this place is.
-Went to Clarksdale that weekend for our annual pilgrimage to the Sunflower River Blues and Gospel Festival. Another weekend of great stuff. A few highlights: a truly acoustic (as in no microphones) performance on the Acoustic Stage by Muddy Waters Band alumni Bob Margolin, Carey Bell and the legitimately legendary Hubert Sumlin; similarly excellent acoustic sets from Willie King, James "Super Chikan" Johnson and Robert Belfour (speaking of Willie King, he was the only person at the festival to sing songs about police harassment and to liberally flash the peace sign); house-rocking boogie from James Mathus and the Knockdown Society, who did their own set and then were joined by Cedell Davis, who lived up to his billing as one of the most unique and compelling performers in modern blues; a performance by 88-year-old Robert Johnson contemporary Honeyboy Edwards; finally, a fully electric revue from Margolin, Bell, Sumlin and - as an added attraction - piano great Pinetop Per
-Capped it all off with another Sunday morning with Rev. Al Green. Not the best service I've been to at the Full Gospel Tabernacle (I've been there four times, and the congregation seems to shrink every time), but there were moments during it when the Reverend was as intense as I've ever seen him, seemingly about to literally spill his soul all over the pulpit. He also did a spot-on Elvis impersonation. (The only dark spot of the service was when he turned over the mic to 91-year-old Bishop Reed of the Church Of God In Christ. I felt like standing up and asking the Bishop why exactly his Church bought the Stax building for 10 dollars and then could find no greater purpose for it then to tear it down.)

Add up everything else (great food, great music, and a nice chance to hang out with my good buddy John Floyd) and it was a pretty amazing experience. I've been there 5 times now, and I can't wait to go back...

More info upon request. Good to be back...

Dove With Claws [7:16 PM]