Sunday, April 15, 2007
Monday, March 19, 2007
Tuesday, January 31, 2006
Much like Atlantis, New Orleans is something of a mythical city. It's got distinctive food, people, smells, and of course, very distinctive language. Or whatever it is they speak down there. Oh sure, it's quaint, in a way. Like "Oh how cute! That waiter just told us the specials but I have no idea what he just said!" But let's just say that if your friend has been stabbed and the only person who can give you directions to the hospital is a cabbie, well things aren't looking too good for you and your buddy.
Don't get me wrong. I love New Orleans. Especially the music. There's clearly something in the air that makes their version of blues slow down to a funky plod. Maybe it's the words that accompanies the music. I mean I've heard "Iko Iko" hundreds of times, yet, not once have I ever gotten an explanation on what the hell "Jock-a-mo" means. Same with "Hey Pocky Way." And the artists who have recorded these songs over the years always have the most unusual names. Nine times out of 10, they'll be called something like Bill Babineuxicaut or Lawrence Goulieuxaux. Or, of course, Mac Rebennack, better known as Dr. John.
"(I Walk On) Guilded Splinters" - Dr. John
I don't know the history of Guilded Splinters, but this dude seems to interpret the song as some sort of drug-induced masochism. I don't know about that, but I guess it doesn't seem to far off. After all, Dr. John recorded the song at the height of "Helter Skelter" and all that. What I do know is that the song is one funky monster, indicative of what bands like The Meters would perfect a few years later.
Of course, Widespread busts this one out pretty regularly, and it was always a nice segue in or out of Drums aka "The Nance Dance" (when they used to do THAT more regularly). Some of the betters ones I've heard have been with the Dirties, but this one here features Dr. John on keys.
"(I Walk On) Guilded Splinters" - Widespread Panic 5/2/99 Atlanta, GA
Finally, here is one more version of the song recorded by a dude who has a much less cooler name than Dr. John, Mac Rabbenack, or JB: Johnny Jenkins. This track has been sampled by Blackalicious and, most famously, on Beck's "Loser," (andother dude with some seriously out there lyrics. "In the time of chimpanzees / I was a monkey"? Rrrrrright.)
"(I Walk On) Guilded Splinters" - Johnny Jenkins
Buy yourself some Dr. John right here.
And good luck finding any Johnny Jenkins. He looks like one elusively bad MF.
Wednesday, January 25, 2006
I have been pretty vocal to people who'll listen to me about Umphrey's McGee. If I had to grade them on a scale from 1 to 10 (with 10 being WSP/Phish and 1 being New Kids On The Block/String Cheese Incident), I'd give them about a 6.5. I'd say about every fourth song/jam I hear them play gets my toes a-tappin'. And 9 times out of 10, that song is a cover. To quote Brian Fontana, "60% of the time, it works EVERY time."
Which brings me to today's post. I gre up in the mean suburbs of Washington, DC where DC Hard Core ruled. Welll, it did if you hung out at surf shops, watched skate videos, and ate Double Stuf Oreos until your blood sugar rose to Richard Simmons-type levels. Now, I'll admit, I was never the biggest DC Hard Core guy, but when a friend of mine played Fugazi for me, I was hooked.
"Waiting Room" - Fugazi
Umphrey's does a pretty good cover of this as usual, although, I'd still prefer Ian McKaye singing it any day over Brendon.
And if you don't have Fugazi's seminal album, "13 Songs," well, shame on you and your jamband-centric mind.
Sunday, January 22, 2006
Welcome To The New Era
I'm back with a new exploration in '06. And while it may not be as exciting as Derek Small's Jazz Odessey, I think it'll be an interesting twist on the jamband music blog. (Justin over at LiveMusicBlog.com has lots of great information, insight, along with links to live audio posts and poscasts, for example.) But I got to thinking about all the obscure covers that we hear jambands do. I mean, along with being some amazing musicians, a lot of the players are veritable encyclopedias music knowledge. The songs they choose to cover oftentimes are ones most of us have never heard of. Sure, "Watchtower" gets covered a ton, but more often than not, it'll be a relatively unknown soul tune that sends us googling "Ya Mar" the next morning.
So without further ado....
"Get Out My Life Woman" - Allen Toussaint
Jerry covered this one on his amazingly, appallingly underrated live album from the early 90s. Both his version and Allen Toussaint's version drip with smirking, bitter emotion. Toussaint is one of those wonderful songwriters who get a far too little recognition for their influence on a wide range of music. He's the kind of artist who would probably be listed on Top Ten lists of guys like Jerry, Trey, and Jojo Herman. And you say to yourself, "Who???" Then you'd go listen to his stuff and you'd say to yourself, "Wow! That sounds just like 'Moma Dance,' except that it was recorded in 1968!"
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
Woo-hoo! Great news! Jazzfest is back! Nothing like wading thru hundreds of yards of filth muck to wait in line for a bowl of Crawfish Monica in 100 degree heat, all the while listening to the sweet sounds of Big Joe Robideaux and the Crescent City Stompers! (And that was BEFORE Katrina came along...HI-OH!!!) Now, don't get me wrong. I am rooting for New Orleans to come back more than anyone. I look forward to Jazzfest with more vigor than the everyday Chelsea resident's countdown to the Tony Awards (once described to me by a gay friend as the "Gay Super Bowl"). But I have just one, tiny question for Jazzfest organizers: Can I crash on your couch? And borrow your canoe? Because something tells me that Afghanistan's French Quarter will be in better shape than New Orleans.
Anyway, a few years ago, a guy I worked with (who I despised) told me about a band here in NYC called Afroskull. He had overheard a friend and I talking about Galactic and thought we'd like them. "They've got the horns, the beat, the whole New Orleans thing going," Satan told us. Now, since I despised this guy with such passion, I literally refused to listen to the band....until now. And damn if he wasn't right. They aren't breaking a whole lot of new ground, but they have a tight, fun sound that makes seeing a show of their's on my To Do list for 2006.
"Space Chicken" - Afroskull, 2/4/05 New York, NY
Download the whole show here.
Friday, November 11, 2005
Did someone say "God Street Wine"???
I figured I'd do a little snooping around to find out a little more about the openers for the World's Most Anticipated Shows next weekend here in El Gran Apple. I came up with this:
"Caffeine Nation" - Dr. Uhall, 7/7/05 New York, NY
And the verdict is....Eh. It appears to me like Umphrey's appearance on the pages of The Rolling Stone is starting to smack bands across the kisser. But it also seems like our little scene is going through some nostaligia of our own. Dr. Uhall sounds to me a little like a band we old-timers used to call "God Street Wine" (who the old-timers before US used to call "Steely Dan.") On top of that, listening to TLG a lot recently has me thinking that at times, those dudes can sound like that old-school Phish that hooked a lot of us in '92-'93. Tell me what you think:
"Zoom Zoom" - Tea Leaf Green, 1/10/04 Tahoe City, CA
Check out more Dr. Uhall here.
And do your ears a favor by downloading the whole TLG show here.