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Hereís our review of the Elvis Birthday Extravaganza with Kingsized, and final show at Echo Lounge, as well as a swing by Northside Tavernís Elvis Extravaganza with Johnny Knox and Hi-Test:
On the non-live front, a few months back I heard a tune on Album
88 that sounded like a new Ditchdiggers tune. The local punk/country/rockabilly
band had rocked our world many a night at the Star Bar, not to mention their
(literally) explosive performance at one of the Summertime Blasts we used to
organize, but then they broke up. The DJ came on and said it was a new local
band, Motor 76, but I knew it had to be two or more former Ditchdiggers. So when
their CD showed up a week or three ago I was happy to get it.
I gave it a listen, not immediately impressed but I figured maybe it was the cheap headphones I use when at my day job. At home on the stereo it sounded a little better, but still failed to grab me. I've listened to it a half dozen times and I'm just not sold on it.
It's a little less punkabilly, a little more hard/heavy southern rock than their Ditchdigging incarnation. But there's something missing I can't put my finger on. A lot of the Ditchdiggers stuff had a near novelty-song-quality about it, a tongue in cheek approach that allowed you to avoid taking it seriously while the hooks took hold. But Motor 76's tunes seem to take foresake the party vibe for something a little darker, yet not dark enough to hold your attention like, say, Motorhead or local southern hard/heavy hitters Artemus Pyledriver. But maybe my expectations were too high. My memories of The Ditchdiggers are a rose-colored, nostalgic haze. I'm jaded and nothing here is new to me. So it might be new to you, it might impress you, you might love it. And I'm sure these guys still work hard live - they love to play. But somehow I can't help but think of the comparisons between, say, Lynyrd Skynrd and their derivitive decendants like .38 Special.
Complaints aside, there are some punchy tunes here that got my head bopping along. It was recorded at local Snack N' Shack Studios, who always get the mix clean and balanced, so it sounds great. Maybe we'll have the chance to catch them live soon so they can impress us again.
Another CD we got, seemingly months in advance of it's release, is Rosco Gordon, No Dark in America, from Dualtone. Dualtone never fails to send me really interesting stuff. I don't always like it, but it's always interesting.
This one I like.
No, I'm not afraid to say it, this one I LOVE.
Rosco was a somewhat forgotten songwriter for the likes of Jerry Lee Lewis, Jimi Hendrix, and Elvis, amongst others who covered his tunes, according to the bio and liner notes with the CD. But someone tracked him down and bit by bit squeezed a record out of Rosco, singing and playing his own tunes, including the title track, an ode to America post-9/11. The tunes range from heartbreaking blues to soulful R&B to jumpy almost-bar-band-rock. Interesting instrumentation fills the background of some songs, but regardless of what instrument is playing it's the hooks that get you. That, and Rosco's smooth yet smoky voice, perfectly imperfect, with so much emotion it almost doesn't need the lyrics at all, he could jsut hum it and you'd get the picture. Halfway through the CD I was already saying, "SHIT, this is good!"
Then I read the bio to found that Rosco had passed away, with his bags packed for a gig in Wisconsin, back in 2002. "SHIT, this fuckin' SUCKS!" I had to say. The CD ends with "Now You're Gone," a heartbreaking song about a lost love, doubly heartbreaking as you can't help but apply the lyrics to Rosco as well.
I'll never get the chance to see him perform, but at least I have this CD. You can get it yourself starting January 25, or pre-order it (and learn more about Rosco) at www.dualtone.com.
In other news, we have more chatter on Underground:
Let's give underground a chance!!
Thought you might not hear from again, but here I am!! As a native Atlantain i have missed underground and I am glad it is back. I spent most of my years growing up around Atlanta avoiding Buckhead like a plague. The reason for this was because of all the frat, preppy clones that spent thier parents hard earned money there. I detested Buckhaed, matter of fact I hated buckhead..But we do need a place to go in Atlanta especially for out of towners. Further I love downtown Atlanta and I have been sad to see that there is not much ever going on down there, so for Underground to be revised with clubs and such especiallly of the chamber's quality, well that just excites me. I did not go to underground because of the rapper gangsta attitude that was going on, but now maybe it will be more open minded. I know the city owns it and is making a mint and it is not fair because of the hours and such to other places around town. But remember Underground is really for the tourist and for us locals to frequent when we can. And as a musician to hear of bands actually getting guarentees and better service well that really excites me!! But basicall do not boycott Underground because Downtown Atlanta is such a wonderfull place and to see it come back alive would be a wonderfull thing!!! I mean goto other cities that have riverwalks and cool places, that are all basically tourist traps but they are providing jobs and places for entertainers to earn money. They are all cheesy and the too cool locals that frequent places like The Earl, Yacht Club would not be going to any of those places in thier hometowns anyway. But it is nice that now people from all over the world that travel to Atlanta will have a place to go. Call me biased but I was born in Piedmont hospital and to see any life at all downtown is a wonderfull thing. I plan on going down there and more importantly I will stop off at Trader Vic's(corporate owned) more often now that I will have a reason to go downtown again!! So unless your a born and raised Atlantian do not judge Underground and let's hope it makes it, really makes it this time!!
In defense of Underground, maybe those of us who have not tried Underground
should all quit knocking it until we get our butts down there. Okay, I''ll
go along with "it ain't what it used to be" and I can understand where Jim
Stacey is coming from with his comments about it. Most things in life
aren't what they used to be (including my hairline and waistline, ha ha).
I'm sick of hearing how great everything USED to be, and nobody gets off
their ass much to change the dreadful present.
Here's the deal: Underground clubs like The Alley Cat are playing it smart.
$3 to park in a safe, secure garage is very reasonable. They charge NO
COVER, so there's your $3 bucks for parking back in your pocket and then
some. The drinks are not overpriced, they serve good bar food, and the
Alley cat girls are pleasant in demeanor and attentive in service.
Compared to most clubs that book decent music, the bands are being treated
VERY well with a generous food and bar tab plus a considerable guarantee.
So, you know the bands are eager to come back. They are booking bands like
Catfight, Gargantua, Cogburns, Rock City Dropouts and many more familiar
names, so at least some of the L5P/EAV contingent will be seen there, if
they care to admit they've set foot in Underground or not.
Too bad it harbors an unshakeable touristy vibe, that's the drag about it.
It'll never be as cool as EAV or L5P, but fun can be had. I'm not ashamed
to say we had a good time there (in year of our lord 2005 is when I'm
talking about, not 1975, LOL) and will certainly go back. So, to all you
skeptics, I offer this: Definitely keep supporting all the great clubs like
the Star Bar and The EARL, hoist a glass to the "old" Underground while
you're at it, but it ain't gonna kill you to check the Alley Cat out when
one of your favorite bands play there.
They could get the best clubs in town, pack them with naked girls, all my favorite bands and party non-stop until dawn and I still wonít set foot in the place until the city council revokes the earlier closing times for the rest of the fuckiní city. No, it ainít gonna kill me to check out The Alley Cat Ė itís gonna kill Echo Lounge (oh, wait, too late), 9 Lives (umÖ too late), The Star Bar, and every other non-mall-like venue where I like (or liked) to party hardy long after the yuppie scum have driven back to Cobb County. Crap, Iíd sooner move to Decatur and hang with the neo-hippies and lesbians until 4 AM than spend a single dollar helping Underground survive at the cost of the rest of Atlantaís nightlife.
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