Wednesday, August 31, 2005


Landlord Won't Renew Lease for CBGB Club
By LARRY McSHANE, Associated Press Writer

NEW YORK - As several hundred enthusiastic supporters rallied to keep CBGB's open, the landlord of the venerable punk club announced Wednesday that the lease on the 32-year-old landmark will not be renewed. The Bowery Residents' Committee, landlord of the building on the Bowery, "believes it is in the best interest of our clients — the homeless and neediest New Yorkers — to sever this relationship," BRC executive director Muzzy Rosenblatt said.

The existing lease was to expire at midnight Wednesday. The statement from Rosenblatt called for CBGB's to "vacate the premises both voluntarily and expeditiously" — a scenario that appeared unlikely, given the promises of Little Steven Van Zandt and others to wage a battle to the end on behalf of the bar that launched punk rock. "We're not going without a fight," said Van Zandt, who was joined at the rally by "Sopranos" co-stars Tony Sirico and Joe Pantoliano. "If the eviction proceedings start tomorrow, which I hope it doesn't, we'll fight it in the courts." - complete story

Deadline Looms for Famous New York Club
By LARRY McSHANE, Associated Press Writer

NEW YORK - Hilly Kristal opened CBGB's in December 1973, envisioning a home on the Bowery for country music. And then the punks took over. The Ramones. Blondie. Talking Heads. Television. They all launched their careers on the cramped stage at Kristal's low-maintenance club, which became the mid-1970s epicenter for a musical revolution and still rocks on three decades later.

But it may be time for the last (slam) dance at the storefront bar with its familiar white awning. The club's lease expires on Aug. 31; a longstanding rent dispute could persuade the landlord, the Bowery Residents' Committee, to shut down the venerable birthplace of punk and find a new tenant. - complete article

Judge Says CBGB's Can't Be Evicted
By ELIZABETH LeSURE, Associated Press Writer

NEW YORK - A civil court judge ruled Wednesday that the landmark punk club CBGB's can't be evicted from its Bowery location, saying it shouldn't be punished for not noticing it owed its landlord money. The ruling was a victory for the club where groups like the Ramones and Blondie defined the punk scene in the 1970s, but CBGB's future is still uncertain.

Its lease with the Bowery Residents' Committee expires on Aug. 31, and a renewal remains up in the air. The executive director of the Bowery Residents' Committee, Muzzy Rosenblatt, said he had not seen the ruling so he could not comment on it. "All we're looking for is a responsible tenant," he said of his group, which provides shelter for homeless people in the building that houses the club.

The dispute involved about $100,000 in rent increases, interest and fees. The club says the increases went unpaid for four years because of a bookkeeping mix-up. CBGB's said it wasn't billed for the increases, but Rosenblatt said the increases were clearly stated in the lease. CBGB's rent is $19,000 a month. - complete article

Friday, August 26, 2005

Young Pays Tribute to Nashville Country

By JOHN GEROME, Associated Press Writer

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Neil Young stood on stage at the mother church of country music and wondered aloud what Hank Williams might think if he were to walk outside and see the gleaming new sports arena across the street. Such thoughts about change and the passage of time are central to Young's latest project, a rootsy, country-tinged record called "Prairie Wind" and a related concert film shot here this month over two nights at the storied Ryman Auditorium.

The performances were the 59-year-old singer-songwriter's first full-length shows since undergoing surgery for a brain aneurysm last spring and the first since the June death of his father, Canadian sportswriter and author Scott Young. Footage from the concerts will anchor the film, which is directed by Young's friend Jonathan Demme ("The Silence of the Lambs," "Philadelphia") and scheduled for release in February. The album is due out Sept. 27. complete article

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Revisiting the Iguanas at Cafe Nine

This is my second trip to Cafe Nine in a week, having come down last Wednesday night to see Holly Golightly (however, Ms. Golightly was reportedly stuck in I95 traffic en route from NYC and I was too tired to wait for her). Johnny Gumbo and I stroll into the familiar little corner tavern and spot Mark wolfing down a piping bowl of chili at the bar. It is the first time I've seen Mark since NOLA, where Gumbo and I kicked his ass in pool, but Mark seems not to hold a grudge.

We are now adept at spotting celebrities (having spotted Teri Hatcher and Susan Sarandon at JazzFest) and we quickly find Bianca Jagger and a young Joan Crawford amongst the crowd. Mariano Rivera is blowing a game on one tv and the SOX are winning on another as we watch some Iguanas file in and begin the sound check.

The Iguanas (Rene Coman, bass; Derek Huston, tenor sax; Rod Hodges, vocals/guitar/accordian; Doug Garrison, drums; Joe Cabral, vocals/sax/guitar) are joined tonight by a Zappa-esque young trumpet player. Spokesman Hodges thanks us'all for coming out tonight and Cafe Nine for keeping the faith with live music and then they launch into an extended version of "Oye Isabel" from NUEVO BOOGALOO (1994):
Oye, Isabel, don't listen to the things your papa say
Oye, Isabel, don't listen to the things your papa say

Your daddy don't like me
I could tell from the very first day
Yeah but Isabel I want you
Gonna love you anyway
That's why I'm singing

Oye, Isabel, don't listen to the things your papa say
Oye, Isabel, don't listen to the things your papa say

Tu dices que es muy terco y tiene su
Opinion yo soy terco tambien
Y te compuse esta cancion
Para ti vidita mia

Oye, Isabel, don't listen to the things your papa say
Oye, Isabel, don't listen to the things your papa say

As you can see, some of the Iguanas' lyrics are in Spanish, who, like the French, have a different word for EVERYTHING! But not to worry, we all sing the Spanish verses like we know what we're doing, sort of like "...there's a bathroom on the right". And we're dynamite on the chorus. OYE, ISABEL! The trumpet player's solos are tasty, the crowd is singing and swaying, and Johnny Gumbo has worked his was up to the front of the stage and is dancing next to (against?) Bianca. Now, if they only play "My Girlfriend Is a Waitress" (also from Nuevo Boogaloo) this time. The set is packed with a nice mix of old favorites and material from their most recent Plastic Silver 9 Volt Heart.

I glance at Jack Kerouac up on the wall, guessing he's wondering how he's going to get residuals from the screen version of "On the Road" and I notice that it's almost midnight. The band has been coaxed up to do an encore (no, it's not 'Waitress"). We applaud our appreciation for a job well done, say our goodbyes and drift into the New Haven night. If you have not been there, please do check out Cafe Nine.....and The Iguanas.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes at the Milford Oyster Festival

Looking at Southside Johnny (John Lyon) having a blast up on stage, you can just imagine him playing the Jersey Shore bars on hot, sweaty summer nights in the late 60's/early 70's, trading licks with Springsteen and Clarence and Little Steven. And while 'The Boss' is busy making trillions playing the BIG stages and writing important songs about important issues in very important albums, Johnny is playing free shows at the Mohegan Sun's Wolf Den and the Milford Oyster Festival - and seems to be having a hellava time doing it. Lucky us!

I Don't want To Go Home is in my album collection, but I never play vinyl these days so Johnny has been relegated to the back of the line. But mention of him stirs fond memories of his R&B style, his cool duet with Ronny Spector on the Springsteen-penned "You Mean So Much to Me" and the other two hits - "Fever" (also written by Bruce) and the title cut.

After sitting through entertaining sets by Big Fuzz and Darik & the Funbags and browsing the arts/crafts/food/drink/talent, we were ready for some Jukes - and so was the rest of the sizable crowd at the Milford Athletic Complex softball outfield (bet you can't get that close to Mick and Keith at Fenway).

The back of Johnny's shirt is soaked with sweat and he hasn't even started! He's got the sunglasses working even though it is overcast and the bass player shows up after the first song. But First Bass is covered by 'some young guy', who is urged by Johnny to "take five bucks from petty cash" for his efforts as he exits to appreciative cheers. There's lots of Jukes to go around. Two saxes, trombone and trumpet make up a competent and very theatrical horn section. Love these guys! The lead guitar guy croons the backup vocals (and apparently gets all the babes). Rounding out the Jukes is the drummer (no solo, thank God!), a very good keyboardist and the late bass player. No Ronny Spector appearance, dammit. Oh yeah, and Johnny plays a pretty nice blues harmonica.

Johnny and the Jukes work their way through his catalog during the hour and a half show, leaving "I Don't Want To Go Home" until the end and closing with Sam Cooke's "Having a Party". And they seem to be having a party as much as their fans. The only negative is a beachball blitz near the end of the concert that smells of being staged; it gets distracting (and Johnny can't dribble the ball, though he tries again and again and....). Lose it, Johnny. But I nitpik, and Johnny promises to return next year and we're holding him to it.

A good day indeed. If only Ronny had stopped by. Oh well, maybe next year.
Messin' With the Blues

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Rockabilly Riot, Vol. 1: A Tribute to Sun Records

Just bought this latest Brian Setzer project (along with Dressed in Black: A tribute to Johnny Cash). I know rockabilly is seen as old and out of touch, but a listen to this CD might change your opinion. How can you not like "Peroxide Blonde in a Hopped Up Model Ford"!

Setzer's Sun Records tribute strikes a chord by Melinda Newman - Much of Brian Setzer's music has been rooted in rockabilly, so it only makes sense that his latest album is a salute to Sun Records. But even he is surprised by the reaction it is receiving. "Rockabilly Riot! Vol. One: A Tribute to Sun Records" (Surfdog Records) was just released July 26 in the United States, but it has already landed in the top 20 in Finland and Germany. - complete article

All Music Guide review - The concept is stated in the title and the execution is about what you'd expect from one of the most popular rockabilly revivalists in contemporary music. It's not much of a stretch for Stray Cat Brian Setzer to take a break from writing his own rockabilly tunes that often sound like classic Sun material anyway, but by narrowing his focus roughly from 1954 to early 1957 and sticking with music produced by the king of country music record labels, he scores credibility points. The 23-track set is peppered with obvious choices like Carl Perkins' "Blue Suede Shoes" and "Boppin' the Blues" and Johnny Cash's "Get Rhythm," but dominated by more obscure fare from lesser-known acts such as Kenny Parchman, Ernie Barton, and Tommy Blake. - complete review

Rolling Stone Magazine review - Brian Setzer has been paying loving tribute to Sun Records since he formed the Stray Cats, so it's no surprise that the man can play rockabilly with panache. By ripping it up authentically on twenty-three highlights of Sun in the Fifties, Setzer has done the expected top-notch job of uncovering his own roots. Standouts include his winning takes on not only early rockin' standards like "Blue Suede Shoes" and "Get Rhythm" but also on more obscure gems like "Put Your Cat Clothes On" and "Peroxide Blonde (In a Hopped Up Model Ford)." Between his work on his Gretsch duo-jet guitar and his crack band, you may find yourself hoping he leaves that swing thing behind altogether. DAVID WILD

Some rockabilly links:
..some history
wanda jackson/rosie flores at cafe nine
Rockabilly Central
Rockabilly Hall of Fame

CMT 40 Greatest Road Songs

From CMT website.....No road trip is complete without a song blaring out the window, so CMT hits the highway and counts down the best cruisin' music of all time in CMT 40 Greatest Road Songs. Country hitmaker Dierks Bentley is at the wheel as host of this new two-hour CMT special.

CMT 40 Greatest Road Songs explores the romance of the open road with America's favorite touring tunes including Alan Jackson's "Drive," Keith Urban's "Where the Blacktop Ends," George Strait's "Amarillo by Morning" and Roger Miller's "King of the Road." CMT 40 Greatest Road Songs includes interviews with artists whose livelihoods are centered around life on the road including Urban, Rascal Flatts, Brooks & Dunn, Montgomery Gentry, Tanya Tucker, Blake Shelton, Julie Roberts, Glen Campbell, Radney Foster, Lee Ann Womack, Brad Cotter, Katrina Elam and the Mavericks' Robert Reynolds.

Talking about constant touring in the early days of her career, country dynamite Tucker says, "I remember sometimes my dad would let me drive our old bus. So boy I'd get up there and I'd be driving, just rocking along about 85 mph and pass these truckers, you know. Looking back I can't believe he [father] let me do it. I'd be driving along and I'd hear the truckers on the radio, because the CB was the big thing back then. They'd say, 'Breaker, breaker. Hey, did you see what just passed you?' And another trucker would come in and say, 'Did you see who just passed you!' I'd talk to the truckers -- it was a way of life."

  1. On the Road Again - Willie Nelson
  2. King of the Road - Roger Miller
  3. Ramblin' Man - Allman Brothers Band
  4. Take Me Home, Country Roads - John Denver
  5. I've Been Everywhere - Johnny Cash
  6. Route 66 - Asleep at the Wheel
  7. Lost Highway - Hank Williams
  8. Eighteen Wheels and a Dozen Roses - Kathy Mattea
  9. Drive (For Daddy Gene) - Alan Jackson
  10. Red Dirt Road - Brooks & Dunn - complete listing