Friday MOLD columnist and occasional emcee Larry Carlin
Friday, March 6th, 2015
“Odor in the court,” said the judge, “let’s take a short recess
Open up the windows and turn on the fan, yes!
Somebody’s guilty, and it wasn’t me, and my temper’s running short
I’m am goin’ where I can get some air, there’s odor in the court”
From “Odor in the Court,” a song by Ron DeLacy and Dave Cavanagh, otherwise known as Doo Doo Wah
If you think the justice system in this country stinks, then you've probably heard Doo Doo Wah’s malodorous ditty “Odor in the Court.” This wacky duo was from the Sonora area, and sadly, former newspaper reporter Ron DeLacy died two years ago from cancer. But their legacy lives on, in other songs such as “Hanky Panky in the White House,” “Dr. Kevorkian,” “The Men’s Crisis Clinic," and “Long-a-Sing.” But it was “Odor” that first brought them to my attention way back in the early ‘90s. The song is based on a true story when DeLacy was covering a trial in Modesto where one of the lawyers was using a near-lethal technique to distract the jurors from the case at hand. The reason I bring all of this up is that today I have to do jury duty, and every time I get a summons in the mail, the first thing I think of is this song…
Bluegrass at the Beach. While the rest of the country is going through a horrific winter, folks in sunny CA and AZ are headed to Bluegrass on the Beach in Lake Havasu, AZ, on the 6th-8th, to see great bands such as Blue Highway, Junior Sisk & Ramblers Choice, The Spinney Brothers, Larry Efaw & the Bluegrass Mountaineers, Karl Shiflett & Big Country, and Adkins & Loudermilk play.
Sebastopol is the place to be next weekend. Yours truly, along with Kevin Russell, will be emceeing The 14th Annual Sonoma Folk and Bluegrass Festival in Sebastopol on the 14th. See Crary, Evans & Spurgin, Pete & Anne Sibley, Si Kahn, The Kathy Kallick Band, Steep Ravine, and Bean Creek.
Old and in the gray. At least, he would be gray if he didn’t die his hair. The Birkenstock-wearing, Earl-Grey-tea-drinking senior set may not want to accept it, but Bob Dylan will turn 74 this May. And since he has a new recording out of, all things, American Standards a la Frank Sinatra, he is doing the media blitz, and what better way to reach his fan base than to do an interview with AARP The Magazine? That’s right. Not Rolling Stone or MTV. You can read the entire thing at the above link. Kudos to Linda Rust for sending this along.
Use an accordion, go to jail! These words have been spotted on the occasional bumper sticker, but for a guy in Santa Rosa, CA, he is literally going to jail. Not for playing one, but for also dealing cocaine on the side. Scott Paul Goree, the longtime producer of the Cotati Accordion Festival, was sentenced on the 3rd to one year in jail for dealing cocaine. He was accused of “leading a double life, working at the Cotati Accordion Festival while at the same time he was a major distributor of controlled substances in Sonoma County.” He won’t be making many friends in the slammer if he brings his squeeze box with him…
Old-time is not a crime! At least, it isn’t in Tennessee, as far as we know. Keep your eyes and ears open for an exciting trio from Nashville called ChessBoxer. You can check a montage of their performances here. Thanks to Maria Nadauld for this one.
Just for the heck of it. The Dillards playing three songs on the Playboy After Dark show from 1970 (hosted by Hugh Hefner and Barbi Benton), with Herb Pedersen on banjer, and folks dancing. Pretty far out! Thanks to Randog for this tip.
Life’s railway to heaven. Four-time Grammy winner Orrin Keepnews, renowned jazz producer of artists such as Thelonious Monk, Bill Evans and Sonny Rollins, died on the 1st in El Cerrito, CA. He was 91. Ariel Camacho, the lead singer of the popular norteño group Los Plebes del Rancho, died in a car accident on February 25th in the Mexican state of Sinaloa. He was 22.
Lead Belly at 125. No, Huddie William Ledbetter – better known as Lead Belly – is not still alive. But he will be celebrated on the anniversary of his 125th birthday on April 25th at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, in an event called Lead Belly at 125: A Tribute to an American Songster. Headlining the show will be Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, with other performances by Buddy Miller with Viktor Krauss, as well as Lucinda Williams, Dan Zanes, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Billy Hector, Valerie June, Shannon McNally and Josh White Jr. Another shout out to Randog for this item.
New tunes. Bay Area natives and bluegrass legends Sandy Rothman and Brian Godchaux recently finished a new CD titled The Red Fiddle and the Silver Banjo. It’s an all-instrumental, all fiddle & banjo recording with 13 tracks of traditional fiddle tunes, including breakdowns, old-time melodies, a waltz, and a spontaneous blues for good measure. Keep your eyes peeled here for info about a CD release show or two down the road.
Some hot pickin’. Check out fiddler Stuart Duncan and banjoist Noam Pikelny here effortlessly playing “Wheel Hoss.” This will get your heart pumping!
Bay Area treasure. That is what some are calling Oakland singer/songwriter/bandleader Kathy Kallick who, with her Kathy Kallick Band – recently returned from the Joe Val Festival in Boston – will be on tour in the Bay Area next week. On the 12th they will be playing aboard the USS Potomac at Jack London Square in Oakland, on the 13th it will be the Woodshed Concert Series at St. James Church in San Jose, and on the 14th they’ll play at 6:30 p.m. at the aformentioned Sonoma County Bluegrass & Folk Festival in Sebastopol.
The Jaybirds have landed. Having come down from Vancouver, Canada, John Reischman and The Jaybirds are here this week, playing a few dates in Northern California. You can see them at The Dance Palace in Pt. Reyes Station on the 6th, at the Arcata Playhouse on the 7th, and at the Little River Inn in Mendocino on the 8th.
Clair in CA. Three-time IBMA Female Vocalist of the Year Clair Lynch is spending a bit of time in the state this week, as she has eight dates on her calendar. She will be in Del Mar on the 6th, Northridge on the 7th, Santa Cruz on the 8th, Chico on the 9th, Winters on the 12th, Berkeley on the 13th, and in Palo Alto on the 14th.
Turn your radio on. If you are looking for some bluegrass or many other kinds of acoustic music this weekend, just go to KALW (91.7 FM) bluegrass radio show host Peter Thompson’s Bluegrass Signal web site and you will have no trouble filling your social calendar. Be sure to tune in on Saturday the 7th from 6:30-8 p.m. for a show titled Radio Roundup, featuring new releases and musical previews of upcoming events.
Music calendars. There are a handful of shows listed in this column today, but if you want to find out what kind of music is going on in your area, as stated above, look at Peter Thompson’s calendar or also check out the CBA or the Northern California Bluegrass Society events listings. Also, buy a Sunday SF Chronicle and hold on to the Pink Section all week.
Coming attractions. Don’t miss The Claire Lynch Band on March 14th at the Redwood Bluegrass Associates in Palo Alto. WinterWonderGrass in Squaw Valley on March 20th-22nd will have The Infamous Stringdusters, Greensky Bluegrass, Brothers Comatose, Front Country, The T Sisters, and more. The Cloverdale Old-Time Fiddle Contest will be held on April 11th. Redwood Bluegrass Associates of the season will feature Crary, Evans and Spurgin on April 11th. The CBA Spring Campout in Turlock from April 13th-19th is not to be missed. The final Redwood Bluegrass Associates of the season will feature Della Mae on May 2nd. The Strawberry Music Festival will be returning to Grass Valley on May 21st-25th. The Huck Finn Jubilee has an all-star lineup of acts set for Ontario, CA, on June 12th-14th. Everyone is going to the 40th Annual CBA Father’s Day Festival in Grass Valley on June 18th-21st. Go to all of the links for complete info listings.
Man in the know from Music Row. Raconteur and music maven Randy Pitts of Nashville is this column’s frequent and knowledgeable commentator and CD reviewer. Here are two album reviews.
Randog's Daily Pick 2/27/2015
Various Artists Tragic Songs of Death and Sorrow
Starday LP SLP 168
This is one of those seemingly omnipresent Starday compilations of my generation's youth, combining the overly familiar, the obscure, the remake, the novelty and the occasionally mind blowing. "Pinball Machine," by Lonnie Irving, for instance, is here and fits the latter category. These songs are always bound loosely together thematically; in this case the title tells all. Subtitled A Notable Collection of 16 Authentic Recordings – a sop to the burgeoning folkadoke nation of the time – this one also contains some fine music, including "Mary Dear" and "Springhill Disaster" by Bill Clifton, "Come All You Tenderhearted" by The Stanley Brothers, “A Rose From Mother's Wreath" and “The Little Paper Boy" by Jimmy Williams and Red Ellis, as well as Archie Campbell's version of the recitation "Trouble In the Amen Corner," the bathetic "Mommy, Will My Doggie Understand" by Darnell Miller, and "Oh, Death," by the unheralded "Joh" Reedy...really John Reedy (the proofreader had a hangover that day, I guess) and "Just Before the Battle, Mother," by Carter Family sound-alikes The Phipps Family, including someone aping AP's querulous baritone. Also present is Cowboy Copas' version of “Tragic Romance," and Moon Mullican's "Sweeter Than the Flowers." And I would be remiss if I didn't mention Red Sovine's "Little Rosa," which would have drawn the ire of the Italian Anti-Defamation League even then, had any of its members ever heard it. Don Pierce, the majordomo of Starday, was a fascinating fellow, and compilations such as these were a major part of his marketing plan. To learn more about the man and the label, I strongly recommend "The Starday Story: The House That Country Music Built" by Nate Gibson, published by The University of Mississippi Press in 2012.
Randog's Daily Pick 3/4/2015
John Duffey A Collection
In the liner notes to this compilation of John Duffey's (whose birthday was on the 4th) Greatest Hits (sort of), while mostly with The Country Gentlemen, Dave Freeman notes that that "in an illustrious recording career that spanned almost 40 years, [Duffey] never cut a solo album," going on to say that he rather regarded himself as a member of a team and took his satisfaction from that, finding good material, and arranging those songs and tunes, taking special care with the vocals. "It's the harmonies that fascinate me," Freeman says he told him more than once. Nonetheless, John's unique talents deserve showcases such as this one and a similar compilation that showcases his lead (AND harmony) vocals with The Seldom Scene on the Sugar Hill label (Sugar Hill CD 3926) – as well as his mandolin and occasional guitar playing. John also played Dobro on some early Gentlemen recordings, but pretty much gave that up, in the studio, at least, when Mike Auldridge showed up. Both these albums are essential for any Duffey fan, or fan of The Country Gentlemen or Seldom Scene, the two Hall of Fame bluegrass groups with whom John spent the bulk of his career. John possessed a tenor that soared to heights rarely heard on bluegrass stages, and prided himself on his range, remarking at least once that he had never found it necessary to resort to falsetto to hit a note. His tenor voice was rich and powerful, but it was also capable of a delicacy rare in bluegrass, as well as a quivery vibrato that made his vocals distinctive. It's a matter of personal preference, I suppose, whether one likes the earlier Rebel album or the later Sugar Hill. I guess I like the Country Gentlemen material most because I was a teenager when The Country Gentlemen were a major force in bringing bluegrass to new audiences, both through their inventive arrangements and giving the bluegrass treatment to songs outside the general run of band repertoires back then. It is their music that is mostly featured here, although there are five Seldom Scene numbers as well, fourteen in all. Check out the great Bob Dylan song, "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue," for instance, or Jimmie Rodgers’ "Blue Yodel #3,” replete with Duffey's yodeling technique. Needless to say, there's plenty of classic material from The Country Gentlemen catalog here as well, from "This Morning at Nine," "The Young Fisherwoman," "My Little Georgia Rose," "Bringing Mary Home," "500 Miles," "I Haven't Got the Right to Love You," and more. Possibly my favorite cut is the oft performed – and recorded – "Falling Leaves," a signature Grandpa Jones composition that Duffey does proud, to close out the album. He sings both a lot of lead and tenor on the album, sometimes switching from one to the other from verse to chorus (just like Big Mon), and Charlie Waller and John Starling are also featured lead vocalists. Naturally, other members of each band – Waller, Adcock, Tom Gray, Mike Auldridge –and others, are featured both vocally and instrumentally throughout.
Comments, questions, quips and tips? Send an email to email@example.com. For more info than you need to know about Friday MOLD columnist Larry Carlin, go to his Carltone web site. Missed a Friday MOLD? Don’t fret, just click here to read past columns.