Friday, July 21, 2006

The Section Quartet with Sam Phillips

I knew it was going to be one of those evenings, highs and lows, good and bad, when the asshole, I mean doorman at Largo informed us that Jessie, being underage would not be allowed to sit at the bar and that we would have to sit at a dinner table. “Since when”, I asked. “Uhmmm, since always”. Asshole. But he gave us a nice table that we shared with a very interesting couple. She was originally from Arkansas but now lives in L.A. He is a resident of New Zealand and a piano player making a CD. We had some great conversations about producers and music and… It was fun. After dinner I asked how they met. We got that immediate “looking at each other” bit, that couples sometimes do, and I knew it was going to be a cute story. They met… years ago in Yahoo’s Adrian Belew room and fell in love. How romantic is that? But talk about a long distance relationship.

Okay so after our second dinner of the night (did I mention that the doorman is an asshole?) Sam comes out with Eric (the leader of the Section Quartet) and starts to sing. I can’t believe it! I can’t believe it! I still can’t believe it! She sang… You all know that I’ve been asking Sam to play it for the last two years. I even asked Eric to convince Sam to play it. And if you read my post from Sam’s last performance with her band a couple of years ago, you may remember that she had it on her set list that night and didn’t play it. Well tonight she opened with it. It being, “I Need Love”! I don’t believe she has performed it live in 10 years (someone correct me if I’m wrong). Now, back to the good and bad. Part way through the first chorus, she stopped singing and apologized. She found it foolish (I can’t remember the exact word she used) for her to be up there singing to us words like, “I need love”. And maybe that is why she hasn’t song the song in so long. Or maybe it is because she doesn’t sing notes that high anymore and she had a little trouble with them. Nevertheless, she finished up the song, which had a nice mid tempo beat and beautiful violin (it actually is that other violin like instrument that Eric plays) behind it. The song, which originally was so upbeat, still works at a slower pace. I was a very very happy camper. My daughter kept looking up at me as she was singing. She could see the big smile on my face. Jess did some great sketches of Sam and the Quartet. I will post some when she gets them scanned or redrawn for me. Sam was in a very happy/funny mood, telling a story about a woman driving with a hairdo that looked like she had a candle on her head and just basically joking around throughout the short set. The rest of her 5 song set is a blur. I was just so happy. And I swear as she started to sing “I Need Love” she looked at me and smiled. Okay, so I was just at that point where the artist may or may not be able to see me, but… The other highlight of this 5 song set was “Sister Rosetta Comes Before Us” (I may have screwed up the title… sorry). I remember hearing that one last year and it sounded good. It seems to be a bit more upbeat now and, well, it is getting me so excited about the upcoming release (it’s going to be a long wait).

As the Section Quartet was setting up on the stage, someone yelled out to the owner of Largo (who was about to introduce them), “We want more Sam”. And he says, “Stranger things have happened”. And sure enough, about half way through their set, Sam returned to perform 3 more songs. The most interesting of which was “When You’re Down”, mainly because it was now only backed with strings. The last band version of that song was so rockin’. This version was more subdued but still excellent.

The Section Quartet put on another amazing show. One of the highlights of the show was the Sex Pistols, “God Save The Queen”. When they do songs like this or “London Calling” or songs by Tool or Muse or even Iron Maiden (they did all of these last night), they rock better than most bands out there today. I’ve talked about the Section Quartet many times and I never get tired of seeing them in concert.

Sam left early so I didn’t get to talk to her, but Eric and Daphne hung around, as they always do. Eric took credit for “I Need Love”, telling me he pushed Sam into playing it. Thank you Eric! The Section have just signed with Decca and are going to put together a new CD. Meanwhile, they have released an EP on ITunes. The current work load caused Daphne to have to say “No” to Alejandro Escovedo, who asked her to join his tour. I’m sure that doesn’t happen to him a lot. Otherwise no new news from Sam. Hopefully she’ll keep playing live throughout the year.

Monday, July 17, 2006

July 17th Play List

Aya Peard – Aya Peard (2006)
Her dreamy voice makes you want more than the three songs here. And her eclectic version of “Running with the Devil”, shows you that there is more here than a pretty voice and good production. Aya has a myspace page at http://www.myspace/ayapeard .

Dave Manning – Mobile Home Girl (2002)
His voice may remind you of Tom Waits and his main instrument is a piano, so the comparison gets even deeper. But Dave’s music is much more homespun. Bouncing between humorous stories and more straightforward songs about small town life, Dave brings his strong song making craft to a style that would probably be called country had he switched to guitar. The piano, though, gives the music a more emotional, personal ring. And something tells me he is a lot of fun in concert. You can buy his CDs at CDBaby; http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/davemanning .

Grant-Lee Phillips – nineteeneighties (2006)
Unlike Mathew Sweet’s latest tribute to the 60’s, Grant’s tribute to the 80’s really works. He has taken all of these great songs and slowed them down and then stripped them down. What you have left are… the songs. And they do work. This CD will take you back, but you won’t feel like you’re rehashing the 80’s. Instead you are seeing it in a new light. http://www.grantleephillips.com/

Richard Butler – Richard Butler (2006)
This is a nice way to segue: From Grant’s interpretation of the 80’s, to the first solo CD from the leader of the 80’s Psychedelic Furs. I first started hearing this CD on XM’s The Loft. It didn’t really grab me. But when I sat down with the whole CD, it seemed to make sense. You can hear some of the darkness from the early days, but it is not overwhelming. I found myself drawn into this CD. It doesn’t happen often enough these days.

Tina Dico – Live Session (2006)
If you read my review of her live show several months back, http://thepromiselive.blogspot.com/2006/03/tina-dico-at-hotel-cafe.html , you know where this review is going… Her solo versions of songs from “In The Red” and “Far” are worth the few bucks (You can only get this at ITunes). They’re worth much more than that actually. These 6 songs leave you wanting to hear everything she’s done, solo. She is touring right now. Do not miss her!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

July 4th Play List

Wild Colonials – Life As We Know It (2006)
It has been so long: Just way too long for this new Wild Colonial music to finally appear. The 5 song (if you buy it on ITunes) EP is the first of 4 EPs that will ultimately make up the “Life As We Know It” CD. This first set tells us nothing about the current WC sound. I believe I’ve heard all of these songs in concert (and it has been something like 5 years since they have graced the Southland with a concert). Nevertheless, it is great music that I’ve already listened to over and over and… well you get the idea. For those of you who have no idea who The Wild Colonials are, imagine this: Irish vocalist with the lead instrument being the violin, but with a strong rhythm guitar, a healthy dose of, well, most everything and finish it off with sad sad songs that will tear your heart out. Angela can bend a note like Billie Holiday. Actually, I’ve seen a jazz version of WC and it is scary how good she is in this genre; better than her rock and techno work. Check them out at: http://www.wildcolonials.com/ .

Jen Chapin – Ready (2006)
Jen not only has a gift for songwriting, like her dad Harry, but has his desire to make the world a better place. This is a good CD and deserves your attention. For all the info go to her site at http://www.jenchapin.com .

Allison Moorer – Getting Somewhere (2006)
One of the great voices in alt-country, Allison is back with a CD produced by new hubby, Steve Earle. Not as guitar laden as her previous effort, this CD still rocks when it needs to and the softer songs will send shivers up your spine. The CD opens with Allison singing, “I’ve got a lot of work to do” and ends with her hoping that it is worthwhile, singing, “I have to believe I’m getting somewhere”. I think she is.

The Raconteurs – Broken Boy Soldiers (2006)
This is Jack White’s little super group adventure. And… It is a good CD. Had this occurred before the White Stripes, it would have done well, but wouldn’t have created the critical stir that Jack and his sister have. As is typical with WS, the music wanders around different styles, but overall is classic rock and roll. I’m glad I listened.

Elvis Costello and Allen Toussaint – The River in Reverse (2006)
Elvis and a horn section. Need I say more? Another good CD from one of the best.

C.C. Adcock – Lafayette Marquis (2004)
I saw C.C. open for Lucinda Williams last year and just loved the show. I really didn’t expect much from this CD and it actually ended up in the “to listen” pile for some time. Big mistake. This is an excellent CD, filled with the energy of the Violent Femmes done New Orleans style.

WDST – 25 th Anniversary (2006)
A very nice collection from a station I had never heard of until recently. There are so many AAA hits on this CD, it was hard not to buy. You can get it online at ITunes or go to the station web site and order it.

Music Hall Link - Cowboy Junkies 4-1-1996 listen