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Thursday, December 18, 2008

Wild Woodys at Jukes 12/20

It's hard to believe that the Wild Woodys have been around since 1984. But that is indeed their inception date, according to their My Space page. Founder/guitarist/singer Scotty Spears has also done time with Detroit's own Twistin' Tarantulas. With such pedigree it should not be wondered why the Woody's have survived this long in a music scene dominated by trends and fads. But they have. You can see for yourself just why they might be around for another twenty years when the Wild Woodys play Jukes Bar on the west side of Grand Rapids on Saturday Dec. 20. On display that night will be their own take on classic roots music, more true to the rockabilly genre than either Rev. Horton Heat or the Tarantulas with less punk attitude. More like Big Sandy & his Fly-Rite Boys, if you will. For this Christmas extravaganza at Jukes, the Wild Woodys feature "D.J" Dan 'Bones' McCoy on the drums.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Reverend Horton Heat at The Intersection 12/7

The Intersection in Grand Rapids on Sunday wrapped up a full weekend of quality roots music with a performance by the Reverend Horton Heat. Again wielding his trademark hollow-body Gretsch guitar, the good Reverend proceeded to enthrall the faithful with his own fire-brand gospel psycho-billy. After a seemingly slow start, the Rev. (Jim Heath) got things going with the title track from "It's Martini Time." It wasn't long before the Rev. was dispensing the Christmas cheer with "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" and other seasonal gems. There was even a punk rendition of Black Sabbath's "Paranoid" which only served as more fuel for the semi-crazed dancers (read moshers) down front. Speaking of down front, there was this guy who kept doing the lateral drill yelling for his favorite song, "Mar-i-juana!" until he finally got his wish about half way through. Other seasonal tidbits were in store, like "she took my sh*t in the divorce" marital bliss fodder, and "where in the hell did you go with my toothbrush" lament. The tune "Wigglestick" showed off Heat's guitar techniques, playing both lead and rhythm at the same time. With the Donna the Buffalo show on Friday at The Intersection, this weekend turned out like an early Christmas present for local roots music lovers.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Hank Mowery & The Hawktones at Billy's 12/12

As mentioned in the very first post on TMGR, you can't be quite sure of who Hank Mowery will have in tow for his appearances at Billy's. It could be Doug Deming from Detroit, Lil' Frank and company from Indiana(and acquired associates from Chicago), or rockabilly genius George Bedard. And it even could be local luminary Junior Valentine; or (on rare occasions) it might be Kim Wilson, with Steve Nardella, of Fabulous Thunderbirds fame. Up until about a year ago it could have even been the Gary Primich band from Austin TX. But one thing is almost nearly certain: no matter who Hank picks to back him up, it's going to be about as good as it gets around here. With that said, this Friday Dec. 12 at Billy's Lounge in Eastown proves no exception to the quality control rule when Mowery welcomes the jump blues stylings of Count Bracey and the Pleasuretones. The Pleasuretones features Troy Amaro on guitar, who can be seen locally playing with James Reeser. Chris "Count" Bracey (drums) has gigged with the aforementioned Deming and Wilson to name but a few. Be sure to catch this every-other-month occasion to treat yourself to some of the Midwest's best jump blues. www.hawktones.com

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Blues Nazi's Among Us

From the liner notes of the Gary Primich release Company Man (Black Top 1997) written by the late Cub Koda, who couldn't be more correct all these years later:
I figure it this way: There's blues people, and then there's blues Nazi's. Blues Nazi's-the ones who always act like they're superior to everyone else because they know two more facts about Howlin' Wolf and bought their copy of The Best of Little Walter two years before everyone else did-are a most odious lot, divided into two distinct camps. In Column A, we have the ones who listen to it and write about it, who generally have that Charles Emerson Winchester on M.A.S.H air about them that makes you want to strangle their pear shaped asses. These are the doorknobs who think that everyone playing blues with white skin is some kind of sleazeball carpetbagger, utterly devoid of talent. In Column B, the ones who actually play it, like to keep the music totally mummified and preserved, regurgitating their record collection note for note, lick for lick, never advancing their conceptions any further until a new CD of Muddy Waters out-takes gets released. And if you think heavy metal bands dissing each other is just some genre folly of misinformed youth, just get a bunch of Nazi combos together and listen to them rip each other apart like a bunch of high school kiddies with more jealousy than talent going for them. You'll change your tune right quick.
Mem Shannon of New Orleans can't get gigs sponsored by the Blues Nazi's, often associated with blues society groups across this fair land, because he doesn't do shuffles or Sweet Home Chicago.