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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Tiny Purple Fishes

When I hear "Tales of Brave Ulysses," I see in my mind a psychedelic mermaid and lyrics painted on the wall of a chicken house on the property of E. Howard Hunt- a not so imaginary wire tapper. Nope. It's not a drug induced flashback- at least not for me. I wasn't cool enough to have drawn it.  It's just a memory. I was about fourteen and barely aware of who Eric Clapton was, but I was learning fast. The Yardbirds, Cream, Blind Faith. That short lived group produced just six songs, but it's one of my favorite albums ever. What a band!

This Friday, Ron Newmyer, has wrangled up yet another crew of musicians; this time to pay homage to Clapton at Bethesda Blues. Imagine tiny purple fishes...

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Adios For Now

DC ROCKS would be remiss not to note the passing of Evan Johns in Austin last week. Although Evan left Washington many years ago, his name and energy will always live on here in the DC scene- at least for those of us old enough to know better. The name Danny Gatton is on his resume, but he was a force of nature in his own right, and Austin was lucky to have him in the end. A crazy fun guy making crazy good music is hard to forget.

Here's Evan with another man we miss Michael Maye. (Thanks for posting this where I could find it, Linda Parker. )

And one more from the Austin archives with Danny Gatton.

While we are on a nostalgic note, music connoisseur and archivist Robbie White and former 'HFS deejay Weasel have been curating the local scene this past year with a radio show called "Forbidden Alliance" on WOWD. Past shows include members of the Nighthawks, The Slickee Boys and Razz as well as writers, film makers and deejays. The bad news is the show happens live every Sunday morning from 9 until noon which means many a bleary eyed player staggers in. The good news? Robbie has uploaded the shows for posterity so that we, the lazy people, can listen anytime. Here is that link.

WOWD Takoma Park has a very limited range, but it is a great alternative to "normal radio." You can stream it here.

More good news. Robbie's has a new show- just music this time- called "Put a Bullet Thru the Jukebox" on Wednesday mornings 8-10 a.m. Robbie has pretty much dedicated his life to collecting all kinds of music. He plays everything from the recognizable to 11 and 1/2 minutes of psychedelic 80s rock that I guarantee no one else is putting out there. He is knowledgable and eclectic and will share that talent with you which means never having to turn the channel. Again wickedly early, but you know what to do.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

DST and Other Anomalies

What is going on with this winter that never happened? There are things flowering in my yard that are not supposed to start blooming this early. The birds are freaking out. I'm freaking out. And as my friends said at a bonfire last night: What good is there in finding seven new planets if we can't even go there?

My hero back here on Earth, however, is my favorite kind of human- the smart and funny John Oliver.

He deftly sifts through the facts and fictions of our present reality with brilliance and humor. Especially appropriate for watching this weekend: "How Is Daylight Savings Time Still a Thing?" And two of my current favorites: Trump vs Truth and this astounding visit with the Dalai Lama which sheds light on many levels.

Aside from arming ourselves with truth and resisting the trolls, we all need a throw down. My suggestion for this weekend is lose yourself to dance. 

Turn up the decibels with Daft Punk at home and energize to go out. If you are wondering what's so funny 'bout peace love and understanding then head to Wolf Trap for the Elvis Costello tribute. Or (in keeping with the tribute thing) Allman Others play with Steal Your Peach at Gypsy Sally's. For swampy zydeco rockers: The Wild Anacostias are whooping it up at the Takoma VFW. And finally what would an insurgency be without punk rock? Priests at Black Cat.
 All on Saturday because Friday just isn't a thing anymore except for this:

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Glover Park Once Knave's Disappointment

Glover Park is a bit off the beaten path. Just above "upper Georgetown" and below Cathedral Heights,  the neighborhood was first settled in the early 1800s and included a chunk of land called Knave's Disappointment. (I gleaned this fun tidbit from a Brief History of Glover Park for my fellow history geeks.)

GP today remains relatively unaffected by time- perhaps due to the lack of a Metro station. This might be a silver lining considering how much of Washington is raging upscale. The neighborhood still includes the Russian Embassy, a community garden, and good ole Guy Mason Rec Center where the Old Poor House once stood.

Although many of the storefronts have changed, Old Europe and Pearson's are among the living. For those of you who remember blurry nights and a full range of bands from gawdawful to up and coming at "the Grog," the same space is somewhat cleaned up in it's reincarnation as The Mason Inn, where Herschel Hoover will be opening this Saturday for Austin band The Mammoths.

Also on the docket for Saturday, Bill Hanke, local rock connoisseur, tells me it's well worth the drive up to the Music Cafe in Damascus, Maryland. Looking at the stellar line up, I have to agree: Dave Chappell, Anthony Pirog, Jan Zukowski and Pete Ragusa will hit it at 8 p.m.  (Get there early - it's a small joint.)

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Not Just Tuesday

If you are missing a certain town and certainly a different frame of mind today, look for Marcia Ball and The Beat Hotel at the Hamilton or the Little Kings at the Black Rooster Pub this evening to ease your pain.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

All Booked Up

I love libraries thanks to my mother who grew up near the one in Mount Pleasant.  She was around six or seven years old when she first realized she could take her wagon over there and bring home her fill of books every week. 

I remember being that age when she first took me to a book mobile-  a tricked out RV kind of thing which magically appeared on twilit summer evenings. The truck fumes outside were slightly nauseating, but inside the books smelled great. 

As I grew up, the only draw back to the system was the anxiety brought on by overdue fines- never mind the shame and horror of a Lost Book. Well meaning librarians would torment me, encouraging me to search at home one more time. In the car? Under the bed ? Not hardly. I excavated a novel once, years too late. It had landed in a laundry basket in the basement- under that fuzzy orange sweater I never really liked.

But now, I no longer cower beneath the shadow of Library Angst. You can renew a book up to ten times in the District. TEN ! And the book doesn't become overdue for 30 days after that. That adds up to a whopping 240 days. To put things in perspective, a grizzly bear could give birth to a whole new bear in that amount of time. 

Turns out, librarians understand the anxiety thing, and they took away a lot of restrictions to encourage people like me. How cool is that?

The good news/bad news is the MLK Library will be closing for renovations soon and will not reopen until 2010. (Step into that future here.) Meanwhile this Friday, the library will be anything but quiet. (I love the end of this video)

Andras Fekete of Boat Burning gave me the lowdown:

We're terribly flattered to be part of ALB's Rock the Stacks​ as there are many DC legends playing including Fort Knox Five (members of Thievery Corp)​, Super Silver Haze​ (with Fugazi​'s Brendan Canty​), Rob Myers​ of Thievery Corporation​, Benjy Ferree​, Furniteur​, Sitali Siyolwe​ & Juju Julius House​, Warm Sun​, Elmapi​, and Small Doses + the ALB All Stars (Jerry Busher​ & friends).  

It should be mentioned that the ALB All-Stars will be a sort of DC supergroup, with Betsy Wright (EX HEX), Joe Herrera (Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra, Thievery Corp), Matt Rippetoe (The Harry Bells), Artemis"Ardamus” Thompson, Renell “RNL” McEwan, Jerry Busher (Fugazi), and Amy Farina (The EvensThe Warmers). 

So much packed into this one night.

Tickets start at $75, but all proceeds will go to the DC Public Library Foundation.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Start A Love Train

Kennith Gamble and Leon Huff have contributed a lot of love to the world since 1963. They became a driving force behind the Philadelphia Sound producing and writing one hit after another. A traffic jam on the Schuylkill Expressway led to The Soul Survivors' reaching #4 on the pop charts with "Expressway to your Heart."  In 1972 they signed the O'Jays to their label Philadelphia International, and that's when "Love Train" left the station for number one.

This extremely relevant, almost prescient song is my valentine to you this year. Pull up the original video or the Soul Train version and sing it, baby.  Give it up to the dance break:

People all over the world (everybody)
Join hands (join)
Start a love train, love train
People all over the world (all the world, now)
Join hands (love ride)
Start a love train (love ride), love train
The next stop that we make will be soon
Tell all the folks in Russia, and China, too
Don't you know that it's time to get on board
And let this train keep on riding, riding on through
Well, well
People all over the world (you don't need no money)
Join hands (come on)
Start a love train, love train (don't need no ticket, come on)
People all over the world (Join in, ride this train)
Join in (Ride this train, y'all)
Start a love train (Come on, train), love train
All of you brothers over in Africa
Tell all the folks in Egypt, and Israel, too
Please don't miss this train at the station
'Cause if you miss it, I feel sorry, sorry for you
People all over the world (Sisters and brothers)
Join hands (join, come on)
Start a love train (ride this train, y'all), love train (Come on)
People all over the world (Don't need no tickets)
Join hands (come on, ride)
Start a love train, love train
Ride, let it ride
Let it ride
Let it ride
People, ain't no war
People all over the world (on this train)
Join in (ride the train)
Start a love train, love train (ride the train, y'all)
People all over the world (come on)
Join hands (you can ride or stand, yeah)
Start a love train, love train (makin' love)
People all over the world ('round the world, y'all)
Join hands (come on)
Start a love train, love train

Now that you are in a better mood, we can turn to Valentine dances happening over the weekend to get you warmed up for Feb 14.

First off for Friday. If you're feeling swanky,  Billy Price and The Nighthawks will be at Bethesda Blues.  Want to shake things up? Aztec Sun at Rock n Roll Hotel

Just was to lay low? Valentine Slim is at the Takoma VFW.

Saturday....pick your love potion: Eric Felten's Jazz Orchestra Red Dress Dance at Glen Echo or The Beatle's Love Songs Tribute at the Hamilton.

For Dead lovers, The Black Muddy River Band is out at Branded 72, for old school rhythm and blues  Charlie Owen and Pocket Change at Hank Dietle's,  and for hopeless romantics The Vi-Kings of Bethesda will make a rare appearance at JV's.
Why? Because

"Ride the train y'all."