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Bebop Spoken There

Danny Gatton: "I was tired of playing in beer joints. I wanted to do something tangible like building cars. But once you do music it gets into your blood. You can get away from it for awhile but sooner or later it comes back to you." - (Down Beat April 1991).

Tal Farlow: "There were times when I would stop [playing guitar] and do sign painting." - (Downbeat December 5, 1963)

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Today Tuesday August 22

Afternoon
??????
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Evening
Charles Gordon (solo piano) - Redwood Bar, Vermont Hotel, Newcastle. 10pm - midnight. Free.
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To the best of our knowledge, details of the above events are correct but may be subject to alteration.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Tony Joe White @Sage Gateshead October 28

Tony Joe White – vocal, guitar, harmonica. Drummer unknown.
(Review by Steve T)
I had it in my head that Tony Joe White recorded at Muscle Shoals, not that it would have made any difference to me, but the legendary studio was, with Memphis and Nashville, part of that southern triangle, the melting pot at the intersection between black and white music and culture which created such legendary, important, and sometimes fantastic music.
I must have been going to lots of Jazz gigs because I thought I could just turn up on the night and choose my seat. Luckily, I checked earlier in the week to find my choice limited to five tickets behind the stage on level two or eleven standing on level three.

I should have expected it; he’s a legend, an icon, the sort of artist who sells out Sage One on Saturday night at the Americana Festival. Like his peers, but even more so, he’s tough to pigeon-hole: country, blues, rock and roll, soul, funk, pop. Just prefix any or all of the above with ‘swamp’.
Popped in for the support, Jack Broadbent, who looked the part in big hair, big beard, cowboy boots and two big guitars that FDT would sell his dad for, but betrayed by local accent and charisma.
He turned one on its side to the delight of the full house. Some Delta Blues, he claimed, and played with a hip flask, though I was thinking his ancestors would have been at the other end of the whip, and very few have successfully breached the cultural divide (except in Jazz). The big question would be how well the headliner managed.
'Some Little Feat' and the audience were ecstatic. One lady asked who they are, and somebody asked her if she was in the right place. I wondered whether I was in the right place until he dedicated it to Lowell George, the ex-Mother who created Little Feat, and St Frank, who created the Mothers.
Big rock star entrance in hat, harmonica attachment, cowboy boots and, once seated, shades. I imagined some cultural discourse which had him as Neil Young for the thinking man or Bob Dylan for people who wanted to dig deeper.      
After the first song, he was joined by a drummer and I was troubled by the absence of any bass, particularly as the drummer seemed so pedestrian. The balance was only really redressed when his beaten up Fender Strat went into overdrive, his playing rough and raw, charged with energy and some serious feedback, wah wah and other effects. Thankfully, harmonica was kept to a minimum. His voice was low and gruff and, particularly when talking in his southern drawl, almost inaudible, so apologies to the drummer for failing to catch his name.
Couldn’t really make out any of the songs but vaguely recognised his biggest hit Polk Salad Annie and Even Trolls Love Rock and Roll, but that really wasn’t the point. Gradually the relentless, repetitive drumming, the course guitar, his fingers never far up the neck, his deep monotone voice, and the sheer power of the whole had a hypnotic effect which put huge grins on the faces of middle-aged men who should have grown up by now.
Georgia somebody shouted as he returned for an encore, referring to the rainy night of his most famous song, which presumably pays the bills, but in hindsight he was never going to play.
Did he successfully cross the cultural divide still so divisive when he started out in the late sixties and still unresolved today? Between black and white, underdog and privileged, oppressed and oppressor, outsider and insider, art and populism. The asking of the question is perhaps more important than the answer. 
Was mine one of the middle-aged faces with a perpetual grin? I definitely had my move on, that’s usual, but I didn’t make last lattes at the Jazz Caff.

Steve H.

1 comment :

  1. Apparently the Sage had a number of people wanting their money back because he was drunk. I couldn't possibly comment though he drank water during the gig and only turned it into wine for the encore.
    It's ironic how the Gallagher Brothers and the like boast about their 'rock and roll' credentials and here's the genuine article, with warts to prove it, and people still aren't happy.

    ReplyDelete

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About this blog - contact details.

Bebop Spoken Here -- Here, being the north-east of England -- centred in the blues heartland of Newcastle and reaching down to the Tees Delta and looking upwards to the Land of the Kilt.
Not a very original title, I know; not even an accurate one as my taste, whilst centred around the music of Bird and Diz, extends in many directions and I listen to everything from King Oliver to Chick Corea and beyond. Not forgetting the Great American Songbook the contents of which has provided the inspiration for much great jazz and quality popular singing for round about a century.
The idea of this blog is for you to share your thoughts and pass on your comments on discs, gigs, jazz - music in general. If you've been to a gig/concert or heard a CD that knocked you sideways please share your views with us. Tell us about your favourites, your memories, your dislikes.
Lance (Who wishes it to be known that he is not responsible for postings other than his own and that he's not always responsible for them.)
Contact: lanceliddle@gmail.com I look forward to hearing from you.

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