Sunday, May 25, 2008

Episode Eight (Bob Dylan Vol. 1)

I am actually a day late with this episode, which I meant to have posted on May 24th. The fact is, when the semester ends, I stop looking at calendars for a while, and the day slipped past. Sorry about that... But here it is, a "jumbo big" Bob Dylan birthday episode.

Most fans noticed long ago that Chuck's songwriting was heavily influenced by the Bard of Hibbing, and so early in the band's history, the group started doing an annual Bob Dylan birthday show. This tradition began long before I joined and continued onwards after I left. Each spring we'd shut down for a month and learn about 40 Dylan songs, rehearsing many with guest artists. On the Saturday night closest to his birthday, we'd play through the whole gamut, nothing but an entire evening of Dylan. Over the years they gained in popularity, and former band members carry on the tradition to this day. We also occasionally did an Elvis birthday show and I remember us having conversations about doing ones for Van Morrison and Hank Williams. But the Dylan show was the only one that we did without fail, year after year.

This podcast is comprised of songs that were all taken from a single show, the Bob Dylan birthday show of 1992. This was in fact, my last performance as a member of the band. Joe "The Bone" Colombo had moved on by then (somewhere during our "long nap" through the winter of '92) and Chuck recruited Reece Campbell of the New Dylans to play keyboards with us for the show. This was a pretty good night for us, and the recording is a board tape made by Mike Rae, who recorded many of our shows. The venue was the Country Warehouse in Rochester, and I remember there being a sizeable audience that evening. I've included a number of songs featuring our guests, along with the band by ourselves.

here's the songlist:

From a Buick Six
Most Likely You Go Your Way and I'll Go Mine
This Wheel's On Fire (w/ former and future CbJE member G. Elwyn Meixner, gtr/voc)*
Everything Is Broken (w/ Bill Lambert, gtr/voc)
Dear Landlord (w/ Carol Heveron, voc)
Dark Eyes (w/ Brian Horton, gtr/voc)
Solid Rock

As noted in the heading, this is Volume 1 of at least two Dylan show podcasts. Depending on how much good material I uncover, there may be one or two more. I played on five of these as a band member, but I only have tapes for '88, '91 and '92. And '92 has the best sound by far. Hope you enjoy it.

*I meant this in the sense that Gary had been a member before I joined the group, and he rejoined it after I left it. I realized later that the way I phrased that might not make sense to some folks...

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Episode Seven

Here is a brace of five songs all from a single gig in 1987. At this point, the new version of the band had been rehearsing for about six months. As you'll hear, the group was still honing its sound and we compensated for any lack of refinement with sheer raw energy. Sound quality is not great, but listenable. My clarinet is barely audible most of the time--you'll have to strain your ears a bit. On the last track "The Pin-Boy's Life," it's hard to hear me at all, but I take a solo trying channel the spirit of Albert Ayler through my clarinet. I almost make it, too... This track is notable to my ears for its ferocious groove and just plain weirdness; I'd also point out that the band's aggressiveness on this and other tracks could hold its own with just about any punk group of the era. (Note: on this track there was a substantial dropout on the tape. I did my best to make a smooth edit, but it's not very smooth...) We often played Willy Dixon's "Spoonful," and it was usually a powerful standout of our live shows. My tenor solo here is not me at my best, but I did get better, I can say that. Still, it's a song we played a lot that some might not have heard before. "Why Should I Stand Up?" has different lyrics than those on the studio album, and most subsequent performances. Chuck rewrote one of the interior verses, and the arrangement hadn't quite settled into its permanent form.

The songs are:

Why Should I Stand Up?
That's Entertainment
Why'd the Boy Throw the Clock Out the Window?
The Pin-Boy's Life

Here's the link:

Special thanks to Don Argus for sending me the tape of this show.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Coming Soon!

Hello everyone. Here's a quick note to wish you all a Happy Buster Cornelius Day! And to let you know that there are new podcast episodes in the works, even as I type. Stay tuned!

("And that is why on the Third of May/We celebrate Buster Cornelius Day")