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    Friday MOLD columnist Larry Carlin all gussied-up as a banjo player for Halloween


    Friday, October 24, 2014


    Losing a step. There used to be time when I could stay out late for a show during the week and still get up (way too) early for work the next morning and think nothing of it. But not anymore. Last night I emceed a great show called The Britgrass Invasion at Slim’s in SF that featured hot sets by Belle Monroe & Her Brewglass Boys, The T Sisters, The Beauty Operators, Rusty Stringfield, American Nomad, Emily Yates, The Sedgwick Brothers, and the Love Pump Stringband, all playing bluegrass versions of songs by Led Zeppelin, The Who, Pink Floyd, David Bowie, Spinal Tap, Queen, The Clash and The Stones. It was an action-packed, amazing night of music that, for the third time in the past year, Matt Lauer and Ted Kuster put together. It was an honor to part of the event, and a huge crowd enjoyed it all. But man, I am paying for it now. My head didn’t hit the pillow until 12:30 a.m., and then the alarm went off at 6 this morning. For 19 years at the old Sweetwater in Mill Valley, CA, I hosted at least one night of music a month at the club (songwriter open mic from 1989-98, a songwriter show from 1993-98, and a bluegrass show from 1999-2008), and then bounced back the next day with ease of, apparently, a much younger man. Year number 60 arrived some months back, and staying out late on a week night, we have only now found out, is something we have to reconsider from here on out…

    Orange and black. Halloween is just one week away, and everywhere you look in and around the MOLD Annex at Carltone World Headquarters in downtown San Francisco there is a plethora of orange and black being worn, thanks to the fact that the World Series is here for the third time in the past five years. With the Giants and Royals getting ready for a three-game set starting tonight, the entire Bay Area will be glued to their TV sets this weekend. CBA good luck charms Brooks Judd and his newly-elected-CBA-Board-Member-sister Maria Nadauld will be at the game tonight. See if you can spot them in the crowd.

    Bluegrass wins big at the IMEA Awards. CBA member and performer Kathy Boyd sent along this news. “It was a big night for bluegrass at the International Music & Entertainment Awards in Ashland, KY, on October 4th, as Ned Crisp and Bottomline walked away with the first ever Bluegrass Group of the Year award. In a multi-genre category, Kathy Boyd & Phoenix Rising took home the award for Holiday Song of the Year. As Ned Crisp so enthusiastically stated, ‘A win in a multi-genre category is a win for the entire bluegrass family!’ Based out of Ashland, Kentucky, Ned Crisp & Bottomline have been winning fans over all over the United States and Canada with their traditional sound and gospel sensibilities. Kathy Boyd & Phoenix Rising are based out of the Willamette Valley in Oregon. Their last three CDs have done extremely well on radio airplay charts worldwide and they continue to expand their performance area as they draw the attention of event promoters with their original music, high energy entertainment style and audience interactions. The International Music and Entertainment Association is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting and serving as an advocate to individuals and organizations within the performing arts and entertainment industries. While supporting the arts, IMEA is one of the fastest growing organizations in the industry.” Congrats to both bands!

    Stairway to millions. It only took 41 years, but the heirs to the late musician Randy Craig Wolfe (he of the 1960s band Spirit) are suing the rock band Led Zeppelin for ripping off Wolfe’s song “Taurus” with their monster hit “Stairway to Heaven.” You can read about the lawsuit here, and then listen to “Taurus” here and make your own conclusion.

    She would have been one heck of a bluegrass singer. With an official publishing date of Tuesday, October 27th, I am in the process of reading an advance copy of On The Road With Janis Joplin, by my good friend John Byrne Cooke, which is his account of his days of road managing the rock icon, and it is fabulous. You can read an interview with the author by Paul Liberatore in today's Marin Independent Journal.

    Real musicians have day jobs. This is pretty much a given for most of us. Turns out that a good many of them work in libraries! Read this cover story from the Pink Section in a recent San Francisco Chronicle. Speaking of libraries, there is a Kickstarter campaign underway to make a film titled Free for All: Inside the Public Library, which is “is the first major documentary project about our nation’s most beloved and most threatened public institution. It captures dramatic personal stories from library users across America, highlighting the diverse communities that depend on public libraries and the surprising ways libraries are reinventing themselves to serve more people than ever.” Please consider contributing to this worthwhile cause.

    Waylon and Willie and the boys. Last week in this column there was a segment about about singer Glen Campbell’s sad battle with Alzheimer’s disease. He cannot play or tour anymore, and he has made what is being billed as his final recording, which is this song to his wife titled I’m Not Gonna Miss You. In November there will be a documentary coming out titled Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me, which chronicles his farewell tour from two years ago. And just the other day the staff here at Carltone World Headquarters stumbled across this little gem of a video that features the late Waylon Jennings giving a tribute to Glen while on some show that was hosted by Ralph Emory. It is pretty moving, considering how many of the people on the stage are no longer with us and the fact the state of mind that Glen is in these days…

    Life’s railway to heaven. Legendary Nashville Hall of Fame songwriter Paul Craft, who wrote such gems as "Through the Bottom of the Glass," "Hank Williams, You Wrote My Life," "Dropkick Me, Jesus (Through the Goalposts of Life)," "Brother Jukebox," "Blue Heartache,” "Midnight Flyer,” and "Keep Me From Blowing Away,” died in Nashville last week at age 76.

    Marty is still here. For two more shows, anyway. Marty Stuart and The Fabulous Superlatives have already played a gaggle of dates in California these past two weeks, and you can still see them in Modesto on the 24th and Bakersfield on the 25th.

    Song takes on a new meaning 50 years later. In 1964 singer Leslie Gore had a hit with a song titled “You Don’t Own Me,” which at the time was one woman’s plaint against a possessive boyfriend. Five decades later, in this version, the song takes on an entirely different meaning when it comes to the rights of women.

    K-Bar in West Marin. Based in Grass Valley, Kathy Barwick & Pete Siegfried will be playing at Paul Knight's music series at the Station House Cafe in Point Reyes in West Marin on the 26th from 5-9 p.m. They play folk/bluegrass/country duet stuff (guitar and mandolin) and will be joined by Paul on bass and whoever else Paul's got lined up.

    Starting the party early. Halloween is not for another week, but the party will be getting started early this weekend at the Hangtown Halloween Ball in Placerville on the 24th-26th at the El Dorado County Fairgrounds, with Front Country, Paige Anderson & The Fearless Kin, Railroad Earth, Leftover Salmon, Poor Man’s Whiskey, Brothers Comatose, New Monsoon, and others.

    Coming attractions. On November 7th-9th the Band Sessions series at the Yosemite Bug will feature Laurie Lewis & The Right Hands. The California Banjo Extravaganza, hosted by Bill Evans, will be happening from November 13th-16th at four NorCal venues. West Marin banjo and guitar player Tim Weed and his band will play the Throckmorton Theatre in Mill Valley on November 15th. Also on the 15th, Front Country and Steep Ravine will be playing a show at Slim’s in SF, with this being a CD release party for the former. Rob Ickes and Trey Hensley in Little River, CA, on December 7th, in Upper Lake on the 9th, in Felton on the 11th, Culver City on the 12th, Del Mar on the 13th, and Sonora on the 14th. The CBA’s Great 48 jam in Bakersfield is set for January 8-11th in 2015. Go to all of the links for complete info.

    On-Air Folk Festival. Radio station KALW (91.7 FM) in San Francisco is having a five-hour on-air folk festival on the 25th that you can listen to on your old-fashioned radio or on your new-fashioned computer. Hosted by JoAnn Mar, Kevin Vance, and Peter Thompson, they'll be showcasing some of the Bay Area's finest local talent from 3-8 p.m. Some of the featured acts will be Linsey Aitken & Ken Campbell, Jeffrie Givens & Marty Nemko, True Life Trio & Gari Hegedus, Quiles & Cloud, Legends of the Celtic Harp with Lisa Lynne and Aryeh Frankfurter. For more info about Peter’s segment scroll down to the next section.

    Turn your radio on. If you are looking for some bluegrass or many other kinds of acoustic music this weekend, just go to KALW (91.7 FM) bluegrass radio show host Peter Thompson’s Bluegrass Signal web site and you will have no trouble filling your social calendar. Be sure to tune in on Saturday the 25th from 6:30-8 p.m. This week’s show is titled Live On Arrival. As part of KALW’s bi-annual On-Air Folk Festival, there will be live recordings from the recent Strawberry Festival, with selections from the Kathy Kallick Band, Steep Ravine, the (Keith) Little Band, and American Nomad.

    Music calendars. There are a handful of shows listed in this column today, but if you want to find out what kind of music is going on in your area, as stated above, look at Peter Thompson’s calendar or also check out the CBA or the Northern California Bluegrass Society event listings. Also, buy a Sunday SF Chronicle and hold on to the Pink Section all week.

    Man in the know from Music Row. Raconteur and music maven Randy Pitts of Nashville is this column’s frequent and knowledgeable commentator and CD reviewer. He is making up for lost time (he was traveling last week so there was very little Randog news last Friday) this week, offering a band recommendation, his take on some Dylan song recordings, and two CD reviews.

    To all my California friends: you haven't lived until you've rocked out to "Friend Of The Devil" played by Rob Ickes, Trey Hensley, Aubrey Haynie, Mike Bub, and John Alvey, as we did last night, at The Station Inn. Only lumbago prevented a full hippie twirl dance breaking out at our table. And they're coming your way in December! Rob and Trey are, anyway, and you'd better get in on the ground floor and go see 'em. From Bob Wills to Billie Jack Wills to Ray Charles to Bill Monroe to Stevie Ray Vaughan, they've got it covered, and covered good!! They must be Americana!!!

    Randog's Daily Pick 10/23/2014
    "Where Have You Gone, My Blue Eyed Young Son?"

    In spite of an almost complete lack of clamor (well, there IS this one guy) for this, I've decided to list my ten favorite recordings of Bob Dylan songs; some are by Bob, some by other artists, and needless to say, I like each of them for different reasons. Here goes:

    1. "Tomorrow Is a Long Time" by Elvis Presley. Bob told Jann Wenner that it was his favorite recording of a song he'd written. Elvis reportedly learned it from Odetta's version; he probably got her album of Dylan's songs free, since they were both on RCA at the time. Odetta's album is really good as well.
    2. "Don't Think Twice, That's All Right" by The Wonder Who (really Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons). Sucks really bad, everybody knew who it was at the time...still, probably better than "Eve Of Destruction," the only more naked attempt at exploitation of the folk song movement.
    3. "The Walls of Redwing" by Joan Baez. A song about a Minnesota reformatory for wayward boys from Joan's all-Dylan album, this is a very moving song. Jack Elliott recorded it as well, within the last ten years.
    4. "Walkin' Down The Line" by The Dillards.
    5. "Walk Out in the Rain" by The Del McCoury Band.
    6. "One Two Many Mornings" by Jerry Jeff Walker.
    7. "Girl From The North Country" by The Hutchison Brothers. From a very entertaining Takoma LP from the famous Winfield, Kansas festival. This is a unique interpretation, to say the least.
    8. "This Wheel's On Fire," a co-write with Rick Danko of The Band, and one of their best recordings.
    9. "I Don't Believe You (You Act Like We Never Have Met)" by Glen Campbell. A quite powerful reading of this underrated classic.
    10 "John Brown" by The Staples Singers. The most powerful anti-war statement I've ever heard, and this is the most powerful version. I was made aware of this song by Maria Muldaur, who played it on one of those "These Are My Favorite Records" radio shows back when I lived in the Bay Area, twenty or more years ago.

    Thank you very much for your kind attention. Hmmm...turns out none of these are by Bob after all...sorry, Bob.

    Randog's Daily Pick 10/24/2014
    Carl Story & The Rambling Mountaineers
    Collector's Classics LP 15

    I'm pretty sure I haven't featured this album before, and if I have, I'm pretty sure I'll say different stuff this time. This is one of a series of very well done bootlegs of early classic bluegrass originally recorded in one form or the other by major labels of the '40s and '50s and which had gone out of print. Notes were always minimal to non-existent and what information there was quite often was wrong or misleading. This was, however, the only way to hear a lot of classic stuff in the '70s and beyond, and if I see one of these in good shape I always grab it. The bulk of these recordings seem to come from Carl Story's Columbia material, which came before his Mercury and Starday stuff, but it is equally classic. There is a note on the back indicating that the band consists of Fred Smith, Red Rector, Carl Story, Claude Boone, and Cotton Gaylon, and I have a Bear Family CD of Carl's Columbia stuff on which this is the band on the bulk of the stuff. But there is a further note here mentioning that the great banjo player Bobby Thompson is featured on “Fire On The Banjo,” “Banjo On The Mountain,” “Banjolina,” and “Mocking Banjo” (now better known as “Dueling Banjos”). Bobby was featured on a lot of Carl's Mercury/Starday material, and he is unquestionably the player on the pieces attributed to him. The bulk of the album is made up of the hard core, old time religion gospel bluegrass on which Carl Story's reputation is based, sixteen cuts in all. "Light at the River," "Gone Home," "Love Me Like You Used To Do," (woops! a ringer),"If You Don't Love your Neighbor," "Waiting For Me," "Follow Him," "Saviour's Love," "Are You Afraid to Die," "On The Other Shore," “Four Books In The Bible," "Family Reunion," and "Land Of Eternal Peace." Most tunes feature the great bawling trios that made Story's early bluegrass so powerful, and Carl's famous soaring falsetto is much in evidence as well...killer stuff. I do not know the original source or personalities behind the country classics bootleg enterprise. That was before my time in the record business. But I'd love to hear from anyone who does. I'm almost certain that Story never had a legitimately issued album of his Columbia stuff.

    Randog's Daily Pick 10/24/2014
    Shawn Camp & Billy Burnette The Bluegrass Elvises, Vol. 1
    American Roots CD1236536

    Shawn Camp was recently described vocally as "the love child of Hank Williams and Lester Flatt" vocally by no less than Jerry Douglas – but is equally capable of attacking the vocal style of another country boy with a curled upper lip, The King himself, Mr. Elvis Presley – and Billy Burnette, whose father Dorsey and uncle Johnny were in the front rank of the music from Memphis that came to be known as rockabilly right along with Elvis, is a more than capable cohort on this unusual but uniquely satisfying recording. Billy has worked with everyone from Fleetwood Mac to John Fogerty, and he and Shawn are frequent co-writers – they wrote "My Love Will Not Change" together for Del McCoury. At least partially the brainchild of the notorious engineer Dave Ferguson, who produced the album and was also Jack Clement's engineer for many years (and Jack was Sun Records majordomo Sam Phillips' right hand man for years during the early years of rockabilly), this album brings these disparate elements together to spawn a wonderful hybrid of rockin' country bluegrass unlike anything most of us have ever heard. 13 of The King's best are here, mostly from his early, rockin' days. Shawn's heartfelt – and sincere, you bet – rendition of "Are You Lonesome Tonight" is a notable exception, on which Shawn and Billy swap vocal leads and rock out to the strains of some of bluegrass' best. Billy plays guitar as well, and Shawn plays either guitar or mandolin, while either Mike Bub or Terry Eldridge plays bass, Chris Henry adds mandolin, Scott Vestal or Dave Talbot play banjo, and the great Aubrey Haynie lays down some of the most hellacious fiddle you've ever heard. "Don't Be Cruel," "All Shook Up," "Little Sister," "Jailhouse Rock," "Good Rockin' Tonight," "Burnin' Love," "A Big Hunk Of Love," "Mystery Train," “That's All Right Mama," "Hound Dog," and "Blue Suede Shoes." Inexplicably, "Blue Moon of Kentucky" is missing. Oh well, Vol. 2 awaits.

    Comments, questions, quips and tips? Send an email to l_carlin@hotmail.com. For more info than you need to know about Friday MOLD columnist Larry Carlin, go to his Carltone web site. Missed a Friday MOLD? Don’t fret, just click here to read past columns.
     
     


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      Doin’ it up right, playing all night long
    Guest column from Peter Thompson
    Friday, October 24, 2014


    Doin’ it up right, playing all night long
    Tryin’ to think of something else to make a bluegrass song
    You can hear it on the radio and also on TV
    As far as music is concerned, there’s nothin’ else for me.

    - “Blue Grass Style” - Vern & Ray -> Laurie & Kathy


    About a year ago, Travers Chandler brought his brand of "bark left on" traditional bluegrass to the Bay Area. He played one show in a SF bar with lousy sound, splitting the bill with a local band, then was featured at the Redwood Bluegrass Associates concert in Mountain View.

    He was accompanied by two members of his band -- banjo picker Hunter Webber and bassist/vocalist Steve Block -- along with Bay Area musicians Annie Staninec (fiddle) and David Thom (guitar, vocals). Travers played his sizzling old-school style of mandolin, and his powerhouse vocals led the group through a terrific collection of songs from the likes of Red Allen, Buzz Busby, Charlie Moore, and other less familiar bluegrass pioneers.

    It was a great show, full of fire and drive and passion and humor, and refreshing to experience Travers' philosophy that interpreting the classics, especially ones that are not part of a typical jam, is an important and worthwhile aspect of contemporary bluegrass. There were very few "originals," but he has an original approach to the music.

    Travers gave lots of room to Annie and Hunter, had Steve do a couple songs, sang some killer duets with David, and welcomed guests like Paul Shelasky (twin fiddle) and Kathy Kallick (soulful duet on "Could You Love Me One More Time") to the band. But Travers' playing and singing dominated the proceedings, and it had been a while since we've seen such a force of nature on a Bay Area stage.

    The fact that he showed up at all was astounding.

        Continue...



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