Friday, August 29, 2008

Waylon Jennings- Just Watch Your Mama and Me

Lights out.

Fred Wickham of alt-country band Hadacol bought Waylon Jennings' old tour bus on eBay. How cool is that! The new issue of the Pitch has a great story about how it happened. I was raised on Honky Tonk Heroes, Ol' Waylon and Wanted! The Outlaws, so I intend to reach out to Fred about getting on that bus. Closing In On the Fire, one of Waylon's last albums, is burdened by too many unfortunate guest appearances to be considered a classic. Yet it does contain several excellent performances, including a definitive cover of the Stones' "No Expectations." Even so, it's this uncharacteristically gentle love song that moves me most. Here's Hadacol covering Waylon at Davey's Uptown.

I took no pleasure in writing an unflattering review of a Sheryl Crow concert several weeks ago. So I was somewhat relieved to find that her appearance at Invesco Field last night was every bit as tepid.

Kansas City Click: It's another festival weekend. KC Irish Fest is always wild. Rock the Light offers a different type of celebration at Starlight. This year's Santa-Cali-Gon-Days is awash in cover bands, but country star Lorrie Morgan performs on the main stage Sunday.

Tech N9ne returns to Sandstone Saturday.

Kenny Neal, the subject of the previous post, is at Knuckleheads on Sunday.

Oldies but goodies The Krazy Kats perform Monday afternoon at the Legends shopping district.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Kenny Neal- Let Love Flow

Flowed away.

The son of swamp blues master Raful Neal, Kenny Neal obviously knows his blues history.

Echoes of Solomon Burke, Little Milton and Bobby "Blue" Bland abound on Let Life Flow. Too often, however, the production of the new release evokes the meticulously processed style of post-Nick of Time Bonnie Raitt.

The Slim Harpo-style shuffle of "Starlight Diamond" is typical. The performance is solid, but the woozy grit that makes Harpo's hits so wonderful is entirely absent. Still, Let Life Flow contains flashes of brilliance. "You've Got To Hurt Before You Heal," for example, shares the hard-won conviction of the Band's best ballads.

The 50-year-old's distinctive voice, remarkable musicianship and inspired songwriting could have combined to create a great album. As a result of its smooth production, however, Let Life Flow is merely good.

Something tells me that the cautious sheen of Let Life Flow evaporates on Neal's current tour. He's in Chicago on Friday, St. Louis on Saturday and at Kansas City's Knuckleheads on Sunday. And get this- he plays Moscow in September- Russia, not Idaho.

Did you catch Leavenworth native Melissa Etheridge's medley of "God Bless America"/"The Times They Are A-Changin'"/"Give Peace a Chance"/"Born In the U.S.A." last night? It made for good music, but I'm not sure if it translates into solid political policy...

Here's a decent video documenting the best moment of Bruce Springsteen's Kansas City show. The same bootlegger also posted a nice compilation of Sunday's concert.

Kansas City Click: I need a miracle! Bob Dylan is at the Uptown Theater tonight and I don't have a ticket.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Phil Guy, 1940-2008


On 1999's Say What You Mean, Phil Guy laments that "I'm the last of the blues singers- everyone else is gone." If the situation was bleak then, it just got worse. Guy died August 20. Comparisons to his brother Buddy are inevitable. On this fine disc, Phil sounds rawer and more down to earth than Buddy. I'm not a fan of counterproductive slaps at other forms of music ("This here rap music, Lord it ain't no song"), but Guy's uncompromising attitude is representative of his tough, burly music. This vital footage from Theresa's Lounge is essential viewing for blues fans.

Hard core rhythm and blues fans in Kansas City will face a dilemma on October 8. Tina Turner is at the Sprint Center and Nikka Costa is at The Record Bar. I'm one of the guys who loses sleep wondering why Costa isn't already today's Tina Turner, or at least a Lenny Kravitz or a Joan Osborne. Maybe part of the problem is that the best Costa video on YouTube is a thirty-second commercial for the Gap.

Kansas City Click: Victory Records' 1997 headline at the Main Street Cafe.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Sliccs Gotcha- Off Da Chain


Just try getting this hook out of your head. With a few minor tweaks, "Off Da Chain," available as a free download at Sliccs Gotcha's MySpace, could break out of Kansas City to become a national hit. Additional material is available at Sliccs Gotcha's site. And this no budget video has a certain homemade charm.

I really shouldn't tease Sliccs Gotcha about his video; I didn't even bother editing the footage I shot at yesterday's Charlie Parker memorial service.

Bruce Springsteen reads There Stands the Glass! He fulfilled the request I made in the previous post by playing "4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)" last night. He last performed the song on July 15. It was one of only a handful of selections that really connected with me. The others were "Out In the Street," "Candy's Room" and "Devils & Dust." I love you, Bruce, but I'm kind of disappointed by last night's middling concert.

I caught Bernard Allison, Shemekia Copeland and Tommy Castro at the Roots Festival in Paola, Kansas, on Friday night. Here's my review.

Kansas City Click: The Jazz Disciples lead a jam session at the Blue Room tonight.

(Image from Sliccs Gotcha's MySpace.)

Friday, August 22, 2008

Norma Jenkins- Me Myself and I

All alone.

I understand that the E Street Band is fielding requests on their current tour. So how about it, fellas- could you play this Norma Jenkins nugget for me Sunday night? "Me Myself and I" is sort of a scuffed-up reworking of "Tears of a Clown." It's just one of 24 absolutely indispensable songs on this compilation of vintage soul from the Carnival label.

My most recent musical epiphany arrived earlier this week when I heard this version of Louis Vierne's "Toccata" as I was surrounded by wheat fields.

Kansas City Click: Lisa Henry sings at the Blue Room tonight.

Saturday's Soul Food Festival at Parade Park features Silk, Troop, Angela Winbush, Ronnie Laws, Dru Hill and the eternal Bar-Kays.

Do you suppose I'll hear my favorite Bruce Springsteen song at the Sprint Center Sunday?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Review: Ice Cube's Raw Footage

Ice Cube- "Do Ya Thang" (video stream)

Ice Cube suggests that he might run for President on Raw Footage. The lyrical content of his new release suggests that he'd be an ideal candidate for the Libertarian Party.

He promotes self-reliance ("don't let your m*therf*cking talent go to waste"), encourages a strong work ethic ("man up"), decries the failed educational system ("they trying to dumb us down"), lobbies for free speech, mocks rampant materialism, rails against pointless black-on-black violence, mocks the established African American power structure and questions the motivation of younger rappers.

In short, he sounds like a cranky, short-tempered reactionary. Raw Footage is the gangsta rap equivalent of "Get off my lawn, you damn kids!" And I respect Ice Cube all the more for it.

The focus is squarely on the veteran's booming delivery; Ice Cube's authoritative flow is second only to Chuck D's. Raw Footage may not be Straight Outta Compton, but my generational affinity with Ice Cube contributes to my deep affection for the release.

(Don't let the video mislead you; "Do Ya Thang" is perhaps Raw Footage's weakest track.)

Similarly, Tim Finn composed a remarkable essay about the relationship between aging and rock'n'roll.

Kansas City Click: The North Vs. South Music Festival begins tonight.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Ron Ron- Mr. Know It All

Mr. Expired.

Landmark this! Landmark that!

I don't know the status of the KC Landmarks crew within the Kansas City hip hop community. Their MySpace plays are dwarfed by the mighty Rich the Factor and they don't have the KPRS support enjoyed by Cash Image.

I certainly have no regrets about spending $10.97 on this CD-R by Ron Ron at 7th Heaven even though it's also available at the free mixtape download sites. And I continue to insist that Donta Slusha's "Check My Posture" is one of the best songs of 2008. The Slusha is among the guests on the mixtape, which I assume was produced by The Popper.

As with many mixtapes, Mr. Know It All liberally reappropriates contemporary hits. The title track improves on the incredibly irritating lyrics of Ray J's hit "Sexy Can I". What Ron Ron's mixtape lacks in originality, it makes up for in lovable grit and sheer entertainment value.

I might have to hit this August 29 show at the Emerald House to get a better read on this scene.

The Pitch offers an interview with the Egyptian Lover. I smile every time I recall his opening set for M.I.A. in May.

A variation on one of my mottos is, "The band with the saxophone wins." LeRoi Moore died yesterday.

Kansas City Click: David Basse has a weekly Wednesday night gig on the roof of Bice Bistro in the Power and Light District.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Lou Ann Barton- Maybe

No more maybes.

Big Joe Turner. Ruth Brown. Don Covay. The Drifters. Solomon Burke. Ray Charles. Aretha Franklin. Wilson Pickett. Doug Sahm. Bob Dylan. Willie Nelson. The careers of these giants were in ways big and small guided, at least in part, by Jerry Wexler. The man credited with coining the term "rhythm and blues" died today. Wexler must have loved the way Texas siren Lou Ann Barton recalled masters like Brown and LaVern Baker. This oft-reissued 1992 release was co-produced by Wexler and Glenn Frey.

I'm as surprised as anyone by just how much I enjoyed Amos Lee's performance Wednesday night at the Uptown Theater. He'd even fit in on the Bobby "Blue" Bland, Latimore and Bobby Rush package tour I caught back in March. Here's my review. Security near the stage didn't do me any favors; my live shots weren't very good. I did take this fine photograph of the lovely Priscilla Ahn at the merch booth. She's going to be a star.

Straight outta of Denzel, Washington, The Saturday Knights are assured of a spot on my year-end best-of list.

Lee Young died recently. It's hard to believe that Lester Young had a brother still living in 2008. (Tip via BGO.)

I'm still waiting for the official release of the "Calm Down Baby" video premiered at the Riot Room several months ago. Instead, a new video for Mac Lethal's "Black Widow Spider" was posted today.

Kansas City Click: Joe Moss and John Nemeth are among the acts entertaining Kansas City's steadfast blues community tonight at Knuckleheads.

D/Will, There Stands the Glass subject Stik Figa, Miles Bonny and other members of the area's hip hop community meet up Saturday at Crossroads Station.

I plan on attending the Pitch Music Awards at the Uptown on Sunday even though I didn't rate a proper invite this year.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Southern Sons- Above My Head, I Hear Music In the Air

No more music.

Apropos of absolutely nothing other than my desire to hear America's greatest sounds, here's a song recorded 67 years and twenty days ago. The Southern Sons are largely forgotten today. This vital compilation is out of print, but a handful of Southern Sons songs are available as MP3s here.

There's all kinds of exciting rock action from Kansas City:

*"Any Moment Now," the new single from Koufax, is a marvel. They deliberately evoke Morphine (the "cure for pain" lyric is no accident) while exhibiting Spoon-style ambition. Fantastic!

*The new video by Reggie and the Full Effect amuses me.

*As disclosed by my pals at the Pitch, the new Architects video is now available for public viewing.

*Kansas City, Kansas, native Janelle Monae is confusing me. Is her new release the first in a series of EPs? Is the "special edition" with a bonus CD worth the extra money? Should I wait for a proper full length? So complicated...

Kansas City Click: Southerly and Antennas Up are among the artists joining There Stands the Glass interview victim Adam Marsland at the Record Bar this evening.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Adam Marsland: Exclusive Interview

Thanks, Adam!

You probably haven't heard of Adam Marsland. The journeyman rock'n'roller has been a victim of the usual suspects- record label meltdowns, bad timing and the like.

Aficionados of the intelligent power pop of Freedy Johnston, Paul Westerberg and early Who, however, are missing out on a musician who's potentially one of their favorite artists.

A new budget priced compilation, Daylight Kissing Night: Adam Marsland's Greatest Hits, provides a 74-minute crash course on a career that merits further attention. Marsland is touring behind the project- this week finds him in Denver (8/11), Omaha 8/12-13), Kansas City (8/14 at the Record Bar) and Lexington (8/16).

A completely unedited email interview follows. I've highlighted a few of Marsland's more interesting quotes in bold.

There Stands the Glass: Do you, in fact, have a kick-ass life?

Adam Marsland: I just got done spending a few days in Utah and it really forcibly reminded me of growing up in a small town, knowing you're not like everybody else, and knowing you're not going to be satisfied with a normal life.  

Living where I did and knowing what I didn't the odds were not good that I would get out, have the experiences I did and become the kind of person i wanted to be...but I did.  So that is a kickass life no matter what else happens.

Like everybody, I have challenges and most of the time, nobody but you really understands what it's like to be you, to go through the things you do.  That gap of understanding might be more for me than some people, but I'm not stuck in a tank in Iraq, I'm not in a wheelchair, and I'm not hearing voices in my head. Those people really have it hard.  I have some hard things.  It's different.

TSTG: Exactly how ironic is the album subtitle "Greatest Hits"?  I suspect you've written a handful of songs that you just know deserve to be universal smash hits.  And if so, which songs are they?

AM: The whole "Greatest Hits" idea was Ben Zimmerman's, a fan and would-be backer who conceptualized the whole idea.  I probably wouldn't have had the balls to say Greatest Hits -- seems a little arrogant, right? -- but he insisted on coming on strong like that and I think he was probably right.  He also insisted that the songs weren't just good songs but had commercial potential, which I didn't myself hear until the masters had been cleaned up and sequenced and I was like, huh, when you lay it all end to end like that and put the extra shine on it, it really does sound almost hit-like.  Which was part of the point, but you never know if it's going to work until you hear it.

My personal opinion is that I only ever wrote two hit songs:  "At the Bookstore" and "How Can You Stand It."  They sound like the radio to me. And possibly "My Kickass Life." I think the rest of the songs are poppy but too individual or quirky to be hits.  But what do I know?  I suppose part of me hopes someone will cover one of 'em and buy me a house!

That's the nice thing about songwriting if you stay with it.  You can always hope the roulette wheel will land on you!  But that's not why I do it.

TSTG: Would you agree that if any number of your songs had been released under a different name- say, Paul Westerberg or Pete Townshend- they would have received the attention they merit?

AM: There's no question that presentation is everything, and it isn't even just a matter of whose name is on the disc but even when I was making these albums, with each one I was less and less interested in playing whatever industry game was underway and more about being a working musician, establishing connections with fans, and improving myself.  I benefited from that, but there's a price to be paid as can't just say, well, I'm going to go on the road and just sell CDs out of my car and not send any promos to anybody and then expect writers or indie labels to fall all over you, because you're not doing what's expected. So I take responsibility for that, though I don't regret it.
Music is really about identity, and the Pete Townsends and Paul Westerbergs of the world have a much clearer path for a certain audience to relate to them than I have had up until now.  So yeah, if they'd written my songs, the songs would be better known, but that's also because they did a better job articulating who they are and how they relate to the listener than I have up until now.  Lyrically, I'm like the one guy at a party who's not afraid to call attention to the fact that someone farted. Everyone might secretly admire you for saying what they're thinking but people are more likely to urge you to walk the plank on their behalf, than walk down it with you.  Many people look up to bravery, but far fewer relate to it, and to have someone buy into you as an artist, they usually have to relate to you.

TSTG: "Ginna Ling" is an uncommon song.  Do you have anything to add about it that isn't already contained on the recording?

AM: It was the one song on LUDLOW 6:18 I wasn't satisfied with.  I was like, "dammit, I was trying to convey this particular thing and I didn't quite get it."  I thought it was the worst song on the album.  But sometimes, what you consider is 80% of the way there still gets the job done.  And sometimes 100% is too much.  It's probably the song of mine that has moved the most people, and I don't argue with that at all.

It was really important on that song, and that whole album, to get emotional honesty without overstating it.  That one line in the song where the whole thing pivots, I probably did it about 20 times, because I just wanted to say it, not emote it.  Like Johnny Cash would have.

Are you carrying a band with you on your current tour?  What's your preferred performance format?  When people leave the club after one of your shows on this tour, what should they expect to feel?

AM: It's mostly solo, though my bassist Teresa is coming out for several shows, starting in Kansas City, and we're having a few friends join us on the midwest swing, so we'll have this weird semi-solo, semi-band thing going on.  John Evans who used to be in FamousFM is spearheading the Kansas City band. He's an old friend.  This tour I've been inviting musicians onstage with me which I never had the balls to try before. It'll probably be a giant clusterfuck, but I didn't just want to do the same old thing I did five years ago.

I probably prefer being with a band to being solo, though I'm a better singer and player than I was when I used to tour solo so I'm happier with the results now than I was then. Mostly, you just want to have the consmic handshake happen between the artist and performer.  What kind of a handshake depends on the people, the venue, the vibe...however it happens is OK with me.  When it doesn't happen, I'm bummed.

So people should expect the handshake to happen.  If it didn't , I blew it.

TSTG: While all of the songs on Daylight Kissing Night share the same sensibility, it's also true that they represent a remarkable range of styles.  It's almost as if you deliberately set out to create songs in a certain style- say Alex Chilton, Electric Light Orchestra, or the Replacements.  Is that true?

AM:  I'm sort of over the pastiche thing.  I do try to vary the presentation, though....I get bored when bands sound the same all the time so I might go, OK, this is going to be more of a roots thing, or this is going to be that Beatles 4/4 piano pop vibe.  But I'm not trying to sound like anybody.  I figure I'm such a pop whore it'll just come out naturally, and if I try to sound like someone, it'll be forced.

There are exceptions...the beginning of "Portland" was a bit of my good natured nose-thumb to all the bands that want to sound like the Beach Boys out there, because it was like "OK, if I TRIED to do that, here's how good I could be at it."  Because again, I think it's lame to try to sound like PET SOUNDS and then ignore the emotional content that those sounds are supposed to convey.  But that said, hey, it's a cool harmony, innit?

So I'm just a big hypocrite, really.

I do get a little grumpy because there are more records to be sold if you try to ape a certain's easy to go "Oh, this band sounds like Portishead, and I like Portishead," and then all the Portishead fans show up to that band's show and buy their CD, and the band is never encouraged to try to find out who they are on their own.  But then again, I love garage rock.  Play an E minor chord on a guitar with tremelo and a lot of reverb and I'm there. There's nothing original about that, but the sound makes me happy, so again, I'm a hypocrite.  People like the sounds they like, and what are you going to do?  So if people relate what I do specifically to someone else, it's probably a good thing for me.  Just as long as I'm not trying to lead them there too hard.

TSTG: How did your collaboration with Evie Sands come about?

AM: As all the best things do, just randomly.  She was out and about around that time, and kept saying that she wanted to do a show sometime.  I was doing a lot more promoting then, and finally I came up with this idea for a show with a lot of guests...I was just starting to switch out of touring mode and (I) saw myself as becoming kind of a punk Paul Schafer bandleader kind of guy.  So I invited Evie to do a song, and then she brought her guitar, and our guitarist was gone, so I was like "can you just play this other thing?"  and she just stuck around.  We all got along so well and had a very similar ethic about music.  She's all about busting boundaries and constantly challenging yourself, which I relate to a lot.  She's a real inspiration.  She is so much more than those Blue Cat records.

With my band, for example, she winds up playing a lot of punk rock.  Sex Pistols, Husker Du, stuff like that.  She loves it.  She loves just being the guitar player.

TSTG: On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being a creepy obsessive, just how important are the Beach Boys in your life?  What's your take on the 2004 version of Smile?

AM: I think Darian Sahanaja deserves a medal, and I told him so, because nobody else could have seen the project to fruition. He had the unique combination of knowledge, musical ability and political skills to make sure it didn't go off the rails and as a result, Brian's complete life story has been rewritten.  I think the 2004 SMiLE was the happy ending that could not have happened in 1967.  It's not perfect, but what it is is the best case scenario, and in the Beach Boys world, you rarely ever get that.

Maybe a 7?  The Beach Boys are pretty important in my life, but I've probably crossed over from fanboy to someone who's got more of a personal view of it.  I've just wound up either encountering, befriending or working with so many people that are part of that whole history.  Like, one show I was talking about how great I thought one of the Dennis songs was and afterwards Marilyn (Brian's ex-wife) comes up out of the audience and starts totally disagreeing with me, and I'm like, ah, I'm in a whole new world now!  I don't kiss ass or bullshit people but I'm aware that now some of these people are acquaintances, and sometimes friends or associates, and you need to respect that.

I do still post a lot on message boards though!  There's a part of me that's very, very wonky.  I like the details of the details of the details of certain things, and I get obsessive whether it's studying old auto trails or the Amelia Earhart disappearance.  I will say that the Carl and Dennis album got a whole bunch of fans into my music, and I was surprised how many of them accepted it given how un-Wilsonlike it often is.

TSTG: Do you have any specific memories or connections to Kansas City?

AM: You know, I don't, and I feel bad about that....I'm not helping promote my show very well!  It's always just been a pleasant stop on the road. Which means, law of averages being what they are, that the city will loom up and surprise me this time, and it'll be the best show on the tour....

(Images pilfered from Marsland's MySpace account.)

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Isaac Hayes, 1942-2008


Isaac Hayes did not look well when he performed in Kansas City nine months ago. I wrote the following in my review of his VooDoo Lounge show: While he made a valiant effort and provided many wonderful moments, the 65-year-old soul legend seemed distressingly frail. I'm deeply saddened- but not surprised- that one of my musical heroes died today. Rather than posting one of Hayes' familiar Stax hits, I've selected the spoken word opening track from 1995's fine Branded as a fitting sendoff. Thanks, Ike.

(Original images by There Stands the Glass. Additional pictures are posted with the linked review.)

Friday, August 08, 2008

C.E.S. Cru- Shame

No more shame.

I may have missed SXSW for the second straight year, but at least I have the Pitch Music Showcase to fall back on. Last night was ridiculously fun. Fourth of July performed my favorite set at the mini-festival, but the most enthusiastic crowd I witnessed belonged to C.E.S. Cru. The duo's core fans practically lost their minds with communal joy. "Shame" isn't C.E.S. Cru's best song; that would be "The Block", a collaboration with Joe Good that all too accurately reflects Kansas City's rampant crime problem.

I find it absolutely adorable that aspiring stars post their American Idol cattle call auditions as if they were actual shows at MySpace. Here's one such hopeful.

Until I was reminded of it earlier this week, it'd been a decade since I'd heard the Modern Lovers' "I'm Straight". In its own bizarre way, it's absolutely perfect.

Kansas City Click: Noel Gourdin, the subject of an exclusive There Stands the Glass interview in April, returns to Kansas City tonight with a gig at Longview Mansion.

You'll have to go to church on Saturday to catch Jabbar Wesley Da Profit.

Beatbox flautist Greg Patillo is in town for the National Flute Association Convention. He performs Sunday.

(Original image of C.E.S. Cru by There Stands the Glass.)

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Katy Hudson- Last Call

Closing time.

OMG! I was reading a magazine article about Katy Perry last night when I realized that I met the pop superstar in 2001.

As Katy Hudson, she was working as a Christian rock hopeful. I was employed as a sales rep for an independent record label distributor. Katy performed an exceedingly awkward showcase at our company's annual convention.

As the token Christian among my sales brethren, management had encouraged me to drum up enthusiasm for Katy among my colleagues. It was a lost cause. Had attendance not been mandatory, almost all of the 75 people in the room would have fled for the bar.

It's not that Katy was bad when she sang over prerecorded backing tracks. As "Last Call" demonstrates, her sound was actually pretty compelling. (The out-of-print album can be purchased here.)

Rather, it was the judgmental eyes of Katy's Christian label staff that made our sales staff squirm. Additionally, Katy seemed timid and uncertain of herself. She bore absolutely no resemblance to the saucy siren I adored at Warped Tour last month.

Kansas City Click: The Pitch Music Showcase is tonight. Here's a cheat sheet for A&R types: The acts with the most potential commercial upside are the Abracadabras, the ACB's, Beautiful Bodies, Fourth of July and Barclay Martin.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Beres Hammond- One Dance

The dance has ended.

Aside from their similar capacities, Kansas City's Beaumont Club and San Diego's Wavehouse share almost no resemblance.

The Wavehouse features artificial surfing waves. The Beaumont has a broken mechanical bull. The open-air Wavehouse is twenty yards from the beach. Beer signs depicting country singers and NASCAR drivers adorn The Beaumont. Each venue, however, afforded me recent opportunities to witness tremendous reggae shows.

Luciano was great at the Beaumont at April. Beres Hammond's performance at the Wavehouse last week was even better. Both men carried full bands and were clearly delighted to sing for devoted fans who knew every word. "One Dance" is contained on this 2002 compilation.

Folkie Erik Darling died Saturday. (Tip via BGO.)

Kansas City Click: Is any hit of 2008 more infuriating than "Handlebars"? I hear the blasted thing in my sleep. The Flobots perform tonight on the Power & Light District stage.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Steddy P.- Fish Bowl

Gone fishing.

"I'm old school Missouri like Mark Twain and Tom Sawyer," Steddy P. asserts on "Fish Bowl." Elsewhere on his new release, Steady P. namechecks Michael Eric Dyson and Charles Bukowski. The Columbia-based artist inhabits the rewarding, seldom-traveled terrain between the two provocative intellectuals. It helps that Steady P. and his producers follow George Clinton's vision of creative funk. He also reminds listeners that his backpack contains more than De La Soul and KRS-One CDs- he packs an aluminum baseball bat. Even in a banner year for Show Me State hip hop, Dear Columbia is a standout.

The Pitch mocks an admittedly wacky press release about the restoration of the El Torreon. Wind turbines and other green initiatives are fine; I'd be satisfied with running water at the historic venue.

Kansas City Click: Australian Missy Higgins visits the Record Bar tonight.

(Image by Shannan Marie.)

Monday, August 04, 2008

Johnny Griffin, 1928-2008


Introducing Johnny Griffin was the first Blue Note album I purchased. I was smitten as a young teen by the saxophonist's overtly masculine attack. I was second chair in the sax section of a middling middle school band; Griffin demonstrated that the instrument need not be mild and meek. My friend BGO informed me of Griffin's passing as I was packing my bags about ten days ago. I've since learned of the deaths of Yusuf Salim, Ronnie Matthews and Hiram Bullock. I can't stand it. This closing theme is taken from the most obscure Griffin title I own, the out-of-print second volume of a 1967 live date in Sweden. Here's a video of Griffin with Matthews.

I just returned from a week in San Diego. When I wasn't goofing around at the beach, I stuck to mainstream jazz, hip hop and reggae.

Kansas City Click: Try the Blue Room's Monday night jam session.