Readers, I come to you this week with my head hanging low. It appears that through a particularly Kelpian brand of software expertise I have, immediately upon finishing it, somehow deleted this week’s fine kolumn.
I am desolate.
I have heard about this kind of thing happening to other people, but never to me, a super-fine journalist for lo these many years. I must say that I am less than psyched to finally be included in this rarefied group. While I know that if I were a real pro, I would just go back to the grindstone and start over from scratch without even mentioning anything about it, I think it’s important for me to note at this point that I want my mommy.
I had started with a section about how Phoebe Snow should be released from whatever pact she had made with the devil that required her to sing every horrible pop song in history for every commercial on tv. I had pointed out that the latest had been “Summer Breeze” by Seals and Crofts and duly noted how much I’d hated that one in particular, briefly digressing about what a cultural whirlwind I am and about how much I wished my wife, the admittedly adorable Mrs. Kelp, had been (or was still) really rich, and how much fun it might be to marry a rich old broad for her money.
Then I made a number of really incisive comments about a swell new (ten piece) ska band called Skavoovie and the Epitones who are playing at the Beachcomber this Saturday afternoon at 4:30; I covered how surprised I was to hear a new (especially American) ska band that I really liked, especially in view of the fact that as much as I love ska, I really thought there had only been two great ska bands ever -the Skatalites and the Specials (though acknowledging that other great bands like the Clash and the Beatles had used ska as a point of departure).
Then I reported my discovery of the fact that the first true ska record was made in the forties by a bunch of white guys from Indiana called the Hoosier Hot Shots (who apparently featured the only serious concert-quality slide whistle-ist it has ever been my “pleasure” to hear), whose recording of “One-Eyed Sam” had all the specifics of the ska formula down about a decade before ska was thought to have been invented (though apparently it was just a coincidence; they only did one song that sounded like that, and somehow I can’t picture a bunch of Jamaicans in the fifties with an underground fixation for the Hoosier Hot Shots).
I briefly acknowledged the wife’s part in the invention of music in general; and then I got back to Skavoovie and Co., and what made them so much more interesting than the gigantic glut of modern ska bands (particularly domestic ones); which is basically a jazz approach (a la the original Skatalites) instead of a rock approach, and their obvious esteem for the Skatalites’ legendary rhythm section (Lloyds Brevet and Knibbs on bass and drums), nicely exemplified by the work of their drummer Benny Herson on the track “The Plague” from their fine new CD “Ripe” (Moon Ska). I was shocked to be listening to a new ska band and liking it
Of course, I said this all a lot better the first time.
I went on to praise the band’s excellent taste in covers (Ellington’s “Blip Blip” and Joe Liggins’ “Drunk”), the fine detail of their chord voicings and arrangements (especially on “Phobus”, my favorite track), their considerable energy, and their youth and lack of (music) schooling (their oldest -and most recent -member, Dan Neely, is only 23, and most of the band are un-schooled, despite appearances to the contrary); I also marveled at Neely’s patience as he graciously fielded kwery after kwery, maintaining his composure despite his obviously having recently spent too much time in a shark-skin suit on a school bus with bad suspension in Texas and Oklahoma with nine other guys in shark-skin suits.
These guys sound like they’re going to be a lot of fun live, so I’m going this Saturday. I’m trying to talk my wife into it on the grounds that we need to get there early for pianist/singer Marcia Ball, who takes the same stage that night for what I assume is her Cape Cod debut. If you’ve spent a lot of your life in barrooms all across the country, you may’ve noticed that Ms. Ball has become one of the south’s most beloved musical emissaries; then again, you should hear what she says about you.
Another event of interest this weekend is my friend Tim Dickey’s annual concert at the Wellfleet congregational church on Sunday, July 13 at 8pm. This year it’s entitled “Back to Bluegrass”, which Tim tells me is a way of referring to the fact that this year, he will not be performing any Bach. All I can say is, this guy Bach must really be something if Tim’s going that far out of his way not to perform him. He’ll be joined this year by Ed Sheridan, Julie Wanamaker, Chris Miner, Phil Neighbors, Pierre Beauregard, and the Fermatta Opera Group directed by Richard Busch, performing a smorgasbord of bluegrass, jazz, and western swing.