Monday, September 26, 2022

A Forgotten Gem From Johnny Adams

 



A few weeks back, the Tipitina's Record Club announced their September release, Johnny Adams' "After All The Good Is Gone" and there was a brief discussion in the chat box about it. Our friend Troy asked what we thought of the record. New Orleans native and friend of Burning Wood pmac and I agreed that there were better Johnny Adams records to release and we proceeded to offer alternatives.

I got my copy this weekend and I must admit, this is a far better record than I remember. I still say there are better records from Adams, but "After All The Good Is Gone" is a keeper, and honestly, it's one of the more consistent long players in Adams catalogue.

The secret weapon to any Johnny Adams record is his voice. As the liner notes point out, his shift from full voice to falsetto is magical. They called him "The Tan Canary," an unfortunate sobriquet, for sure. But it's damn accurate.

Produced by Senator Jones, with some arrangements by another New Orleans legend Wardell Quezergue, this record is the perfect combination of country and soul, with no less than three Conway Twitty covers, as well as unique and somewhat dramatic readings of Leonard Bernstein's "Somewhere" and Carole King's "One Fine Day." 

I won't deny that my low expectations worked in this record's favor, but who really cares? "After The Good Is Gone" is a worthy addition to anyone's catalogue of music and if you've got little to no Johnny Adams in your library, there is absolutely nothing wrong with starting here. I should have put a little more faith in Tipitina's curators, even if the last release, a very weak live recording from Etta James, left me cold. They can't all be winners. But ten releases into the club and I have loved just about all of them.

You can access the club here.

As far as record clubs go, Tip's is leading the pack. Beautiful pressings, each with a surprise lagniappe, like a one of a kind slipmat or for this release, a Johnny Adams key chain.

Next month, a rare live Fats Domino performance. But for now, give these Johnny Adams cuts a spin and maybe even join the club.







Sunday, September 25, 2022

Songs Of The Week, 2022: 9/17-9/23

 


 

Your Eyes- Ian Hunter
Reva's House- Los Lobos
Love Sunshine, Blue Sky- Lee "Scratch" Perry
A Brand New Me- Aretha Franklin
It's The Music That Makes me- Southern Culture On The Skids
When I'm With You- The London Souls
Everything You're Breathing For- The Parlor Mob

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Your Eyes- Ian Hunter
The iPod surprised the hell out of me with this one. At first, I thought it was one of those lost Stones songs that popped up a few years ago. Then I recognized the voice as Ian Hunter. I caved and looked at the screen. This is a bonus track from "Shrunken Heads." If I had ever heard it before, I'd have remembered it. What a rocker!

Reva's House- Los Lobos
One of the greatest hooks in rock and roll, courtesy of a baritone sax.

Love Sunshine, Blue Sky- Lee "Scratch" Perry
I discovered this track soon after getting through that fantastic "King Scratch" box. This is from the "Jamaican E.T." album. It's basically Perry messin' around with The Temptations' "I Wish It Would Rain" and it made me very happy this week. 

A Brand New Me- Aretha Franklin
I once read that Aretha's "Young, Gifted & Black" was Daryl Hall's favorite album of all time. It's a great one, for sure. Love the horns on this track.

It's The Music That Makes Me- Southern Culture On The Skids
Still have SCOTS in the system. This one from Mary could have crossed over. It should have been a hit.

When I'm With You- The London Souls
Everything You're Breathing For- The Parlor Mob

 

Some of what follows is from a 2011 post:


In 2007, a friend at a major label suggested I check out a New York quartet called The London Souls. He sent me their album which they recorded with the producers Ray Bardani and Leo Sacks and I couldn't believe my ears. What I heard was the perfect combination of hit singles, musicianship and live energy. Think of the Jimi Hendrix Experience, with Beatlesque harmonies, and the funk and soul of Sly & The Family Stone.

My next move was to see them live. And I did. It was, at least for those 45 minutes, life-altering. They were kids. No longer a quartet, but a power trio--Tash, Kyoshi and Chris-- with an African-American lead singer/lead guitar player, sporting a big Afro and a bigger Gretsch guitar, a skinny Asian kid on bass, and a skinnier white kid also with an Afro, behind the drum kit, looking a little too much like Mitch Mitchell. AND...they all sang. What had knocked my socks off on record, happened right before my very eyes. The London Souls brought me back to the Fillmore, 1969, even though I had never been to the Fillmore in 1969.

I waited for what seemed like an eternity for this record to drop. It never did. The band decided not to release the record, opting instead to make a new record, this time as a trio. That record, the "official," Ethan Johns-produced London Souls debut finally hit digitally in 2011. It was nothing like the original Bardani/Sacks record. 

That same night The London Souls knocked me out with their live set, another band on the bill, did the same for different reasons. The Parlor Mob were larger than life, like watching Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and Deep Purple on a small stage before they all took off for the arenas.

I thought for sure these two bands would end up playing Madison Square Garden and collecting gold records for a living. It never happened.

If you are still reading, bless you.

I have never been able to share the tracks from the unreleased London Souls record, though I wish I could. I promised I wouldn't. They've released some great tracks since, like the one I am sharing here. But nothing was like that initial recording. As for The Parlor Mob, their debut, 2008's "And You Were A Crow" didn't quite slay me the way their live set did, but some tracks, including the one here, still get heavy rotation.
 

Saturday, September 24, 2022

Friday, September 23, 2022

Frantic City

 


 

Coming up this Saturday, September 24th, is the inaugural Frantic City Festival taking place at the OLA Amphitheatre in Atlantic City. I have watched this festival grow from an idea to a full grown live event. It was a concept created by my friends Joe Holdfast of HoldFast Records and WFMU's  "Todd-A-Phonic Todd" Abramson and I am both extremely proud of them and their dedication, not to mention being jazzed about the whole damn thing.

Both Joe and Todd have worked tirelessly this year, fine tuning the logistics, securing the acts and creating something more than a roster of live music. There will be arts and crafts, vintage clothing, vinyl vendors, jewelry and of course, food and beverage. And also, if it's your thing, axe throwing!

There will be revolving stages allowing continuous music from start to finish and the weather is looking like a winner.

Hope some of you within driving distance can make it. If you can't, WFMU will be broadcasting live from 11:AM.




Thursday, September 22, 2022

A Well Spent Life

 

 

I watched "A Well Spent Life" yet again last night. This is Les Blank's beautiful and brilliant documentary on Texas bluesman Mance Lipscomb.  This, like every last one of Les Blank's films, is something to behold. I wrote about Les Blank and the must have Criterion Blu Ray boxed set that has all of his films back in February of 2020. I said this:

 

"This insanely good Criterion box is everything and more, all of Blank's films, with new transfers and remastered audio and a ton of extras.  I’ve seen about half of the films at least once. A few, like the Hopkins and the Mance Lipscomb short "A Well Spent Life" and the title film, "Always For Pleasure," I watch over and over. Every film is unique. The images and sounds are nothing short of miraculous and I find it hard to take my eyes off the screen. You will go nuts in the best possible way watching “Garlic Is As Good As Ten Mothers.” Trust me. If you love food, music and culture, there are no better films than those included in "Les Blank: Always For Pleasure."  

The clip above is mesmerizing. It's not from the film, but I was reminded again watching the film of Lipscomb's effortless picking, something that is both taken for granted and underappreciated by those with no particular feeling for the blues. I can't stress enough just how important all of Blank's documentaries are. I don't believe you need to have an investment in any of his subjects--Lightning Hopkins, Mardi Gras, Garlic, Cajuns or Mance Lipscomb--to appreciate what he has captured. If you don't want to shell out the bucks for the box, track down one film at a time. Start with "A Well Spent Life." It's only 45 minutes long, but it conveys a lifetime.






Wednesday, September 21, 2022


 

Monday, September 19, 2022

Southern Culture On The Skids Kicking Ass & Taking Names In Brooklyn

I've seen Southern Culture On The Skids a number of times over the years, as far back as when they'd still be tossing fried chicken out of their 8-piece boxes into the audience. 

One of the more memorable shows was not long after 9/11 on a booze cruise around Manhattan. The band always gives 100%, but this particular performance was different, especially as the boat sailed pass the Statue Of Liberty and all three band members, Rick, Mary and Dave stopped and took it all in.

Last Friday at The Bell House in Brooklyn might have been the best yet. 

I have this tendency to assume people are just as excited as I am about seeing certain bands play live, so I had a bit of anxiety heading over to the club, assuming since this was SCOTS first time back in NYC in almost five years, that the place would be mobbed. I was both disappointed (for the band) and delighted (for me) that there were only about 50 people there, and that might be pushing it.

Still, this band revved it up as if they were playing to a packed arena. Much of the "white trash/red neck" shtick is gone from their sets, but they have upped their live game tremendously, at times extending guitarist/singer Rick Miller's solos into jam band territory. Mary Huff's bass playing and vocals, especially her close harmony with Miller, sounded better than ever. And of course, the groovemaker Dave Hartman, standing up with his floor tom acting as a bass drum, was never out of the pocket.

It's Monday, and I am still reeling from this show, not to mention being in the midst of a mini-binge on SCOTS records.

Here's a little six pack soundtrack to go along with my photos, for those who are unfamiliar with this American treasure from North Carolina, Southern Culture On The Skids.






 


TRACKLIST
Soul City
Come As You Are/Lucifer Sam
Just How Lonely
Rumours Of Surf
Tombstone Shadow
Highlife

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