Erin the FedEx guy came in Friday around 2 and we handed him a package containing 3 DVDs of our book, Builders of the Pacific Coast, along with inkjet proofs of the 256 pages. We’ve gone through a long, complex production process; the book contains over 1200 images, and we were changing and adding things right up to the last few hours.
These days I listen mostly to blues, real country, bluegrass, KPIG FM, the KPFA (Berkeley FM) station’s great Sunday lineup. But I was just reminded last week that there’s a special place in my heart of hearts for rock and roll. Heading home around midnight a week ago, I passed by the 4th Street Tavern in San Rafael and heard the music out in the street. Whoa! This was good, whatever it was. It turned out to be Honey Dust, a local Marin County band, and true rock and roll, and reminded me of Marin bands of the ’60s like The Quicksilver Messenger Service, Big Brother, The Sons of Champlin, etc.
I love music but have a hard time these days knowing who’s hot, what bands are in the zone…so I randomly venture out and sometimes strike gold. I just got reminded of the power of rock and roll. I went back to see the band Friday night and there were moments in their music when the room lit up, when the connection of musicians and audience was complete. If you live in the Bay Area, check out Honey Dust. Another local band: Swamp Thang.
CD: Legends of Falsetto: lovely singing, going back to the ’20s, remastered an restored. I wonder if the cowboys got their steel guitars and yodeling from Hawaii.
The Last Waltz: In the rock n roll mood I put on an old VHS of this film while working on the book’s cover. It holds up well, it’s a masterpiece (which Scorcese’s latest on the Stones isn’t). After Robbie Robertson telling a story about the band meeting blues legend Sonny Boy Williamson and his death, we’re back at the Fillmore, with Paul Butterfield and Levon Helm singing:
rollin round the bend
Well it took my baby
away from me again
Next an interview with Levon Helm:
Levon: “Memphis, you know, cotton and rice…Carl Perkins, Muddy Waters, Elvis, Johnny Cash, Bo Diddley. That’s kind of the middle of the country, you know, and when blue grass and country come down to that area, they mix there with rhythm and it dances, then you’ve got a combination of country, blue grass, blues music…”
Interviewer: “The melting pot.”
Interviewer: “What’s it called?”
Levon: with a big smile: “Rock ‘n roll!”
Cut to the stage and Muddy Waters, “When I was young boy at the age of 5…” A beautiful performance, the band is delirious to be playing with him; Robbie is in heaven. The band’s perfect, Muddy’s regal. Man!
Great new blues album: Eden Brent: Mississippi Number One.
Cosmic event of the week: As I typed the word “Mississippi,” the song playing on The Last Waltz was The Band and Emmylu Dickinson doing “Evangeline,” (“…cursing the soul of a Mississippi queen:”… and as I typed in Mississippi, Emmylu sang the word “Mississippi.”
Shining Darkness, new CD by The Crooked Jades, a wonderful and unique band