Sunday, December 16, 2007

More Bands, Some MP3s and more Fun with Wordz

Rebecca StoutThe Reverend has been hard at work, day and night, finishing up the Nashville rock discography and writing material for The Other Side Of Nashville book...

...that's what I'd say if I wasn't such a lazy slug. Truthfully, work on the book has slowed as I trudge my way through the local discography. I've worked my way through five of six shelves filled with CDs of Nashville bands, all of the cassettes that I have in hand, and have begun digging through the stack o' vinyl that I need to document to complete the discography. I didn't really think that this would be as big a chore as it has become, but there has been a hell of a lot of good – and very good – music released by Nashville bands over the last 30 years.

Not that I've been sitting around here in WNY, just sipping on gin-and-juice and laughing at YouTube videos of dogs doing funny tricks. Nosirree! The Reverend has also been digging through the vaults and has found close to 50 record reviews of discs that will be included in the book. I've found more than a few interviews as well from back in the days of The Metro that might be polished off and placed in the book. I plan on getting back to working on the discography in earnest this week and hope to have it entirely done by the end of the month (gee, where have I heard that before?).

So, how about I distract you remaining readers with some shiny, bouncy mp3 files? I promised you all some new tunes some time ago, so here we go with a handful of some of Nashville's best, past and present. I'll get this party started with a song by A.K.A: Rudie, the Music City's resident reggae/ska band. A few of the guys in A.K.A: Rudie came over from Freedom Of Expression, one of the fave local bands of the '80s that pursued a similar reggae-influenced sound, and neither band received any sort of love from the mainstream local media during their tenure (tho' I did write a piece on Freedom Of Expression for The Metro back in the day). Regardless, Nashville's rude boys have been playing around town consistently for over a decade now, and this song – a spry cover of Elvis Costello's "Oliver's Army" – is from the band's 2001 Trouble Clef album.

A.K.A: Rudie - "Oliver's Army"

Another local outfit that has never received its fair share of respect from the Nashville press is Spider Virus. Although the band's sound is definitely metal-oriented, there is more than a little punkish intensity and subversive pop influence at work in their music. Formed by vocalist/guitarist Jerry Cambell and drummer Tracy Coss back in 1992, the band's early singles came to the attention of noted producer/engineer Steve Albini, who subsequently produced the band's self-titled 1997 debut album. Although Spider Virus stirred up a little buzz on the underground metal scene during its time, they never managed to land on any of the larger indie labels or grab a major label deal. This eclectic cover of the Rod Stewart hit "Young Turks" is from the band's 2001 album Radio Invaders.

Spider Virus - "Young Turks"

Finally, to further promote Nashville's great funk-and-soul outfit the Dynamites, here are a couple of tunes from the band's killer 2007 disc Kaboom! I could fill your head with stories about Dynamites' frontman Charlie Walker, an old-school soul shouter with a voice that's smoother than aged whiskey, but this recent article on the band by Andy Tennille, published in the November issue of Harp Magazine [link], tells the band's entire groovy story better than I ever could, so check it out. Meanwhile, if you dig the following songs, get thee hence down to Grimey's and grab yourself a copy of Kaboom! – you'll be glad you did!

The Dynamites - "Killin' It"
The Dynamites - "Way Down South"

(As always, right click on the mp3 link and choose "save as" to download to your computer)

I also promised you all some new bands for the list, so here we go! First of all, Danny Dickerson emailed me and reminded me of his band, the Mercenaries, a very cool local outfit that released a 45rpm single with two songs – "Oh, Sally!" b/w "You Better Surrender" – back in the day. I seem to remember the Mercenaries receiving some airplay for these songs on 91 Rock, and after seeing the 45's picture sleeve, I remember seeing this advertised in some local music zines.

Mark "Smiley" Shenkel, a longtime mainstay of the Murfreesboro music scene, sent me a package with a bunch of cool stuff to copy for the book, like photos and show posters and, since he's a member of the band, the aforementioned A.K.A: Rudie CD. Mark was also a member of Freedom Of Expression and Facsimile with sadly-departed guitarist Don Mooney. A former student at MTSU and a writer for a handful of local publications, the stuff that Mark sent provided invaluable information on bands like Deacon Fields, Blind Farmers From Hell and Hank Flamingo, among others.

I've also spoken with former Bone Music Magazine editor Daryl Sanders a few times lately. Daryl has a pretty exciting new project that's about to launch, about which I've been sworn to secrecy, but I'll let all of you know about it when I get the green light from D.S. Daryl sent me some materials on Rebecca Stout & the Circus Inebrius, an avant-garde art-rock outfit that makes some interesting and intriguing music. Stout, of course, was a member of both the Shakers and Baby Stout, and has been a longtime part of the local music scene. That's Rebecca's alluring photo at the top of this post.

Daryl also recommended adding Tim Carroll to the list, and I concur, especially since Carrol's cool song "Good Rock From Bad" is used as the theme song for Colin Wade Monk's weekly Nashville Scene podcast. Daryl also brought up Adrian Belew, which is a honest addition to the list – Belew got his big break when Frank Zappa "discovered" him playing guitar with the cover band Streetheart at Fanny's back in '74. Belew has traveled around a bit since then, but he landed back in Nashville in 1994 and has performed around town numerous times since, and has recorded several imaginative albums while residing in the Music City.

A bunch of other people have emailed me with other band names that I had forgotten, and I'll include them all here on the "official" project band list. With the addition of these new bands, I think that this takes us up to 495 total on the list. When I get to 500, I'm stopping...

Thanks to everybody for your emails!


As always, if you have any information on any of the bands on the list, new bands that we might have overlooked, or materials like photos, etc that you'd like to loan the project (we send 'em back in one piece - promise), email the Reverend through the email link in the column to the right. Thanx!

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Rev. -- Speaking of funk bands,I ran across an album in my
stacks from a band named "Autumn".
Pretty slick stuff from 1983 or 84.
I think they were mostly guys from
over at Fisk University. Speaking
of Fisk, WFSK used to be a cool
spot on the dial back in the day.

Speaking of Adrian Belew, as I
recall the cover band he was
discovered playing in was actually
called "Sweetheart" rather than
"Streetheart". For reasons
unknown, I still recall the radio
spots for the club they played at,
and the tag-line "Sweetheart -- say
it like Bogie did". As in

So, are you doing cover bands now?
What about the Mercy Blues, who
played at some long-gone club down
on 3rd or 4th Ave. called "Backstage"? They had a guitarist
who could play with his teeth and
behind his head... all those
Hendrix tricks. Used to pack the
place out all the time...

Take care!

7:04 PM  
Blogger Rev. Keith A. Gordon said...

Hey Ralph! You're right...checking on Belew's web site I see that his early band name was, indeed, "Sweetheart" so I'll change it on the list. I seem to remember a band called "Streetheart" that played around town, but I'll have to check my notes to be sure. I have Autumn on the list but have very little info on them other than a couple of tracks here and there on comp albums.

No, we won't be including cover bands, but Sweetheart deserves mention if only because of Belew's subsequent contributions to rock music (and his Nashville connections). Funny, but I seem to remember seeing Mercy Blues at some time back in the day. In the early-70s there were a number of decent cover bands that played in the Lower Broad area, in Hillsboro Village bars and in a couple of places in Antioch. They're beyond the scope of the book though, except maybe to mention in passing.

9:43 AM  

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