so james hinkle
roadtested his new ceedee blues now jazz later
last night at j&j's blues bar
, and man, if you weren't there, you sure missed some goings-on. james, who was there with the avowed intention of selling 30 discs at the special foat wuth price of a ten spot ("next weekend in dallas, it'll probably be 15 or 20 bucks!"), thoughtfully ran through the tracks in order up to a point, which allowed me to make the following observations:
1) his solo on "i hear stories," on which he had lyrical assistance from his wife betsy, is prolly the hottest he's every played on rekkid, which made it frustrating that j&j's soundman (who groused at opening act homer henderson for being too loud when you could _talk_ over the music during his set) appeared to be turning james' gtr _down_ when he soloed (he got it together in the second set, altho i believe it took drummer austin allen's between-set prompting to do it).
2) i can easily imagine toons like "ain't gonna make that call" and "things change" going over big with festival crowds. somebody oughtta pitch 'em to b.b. king's label, too -- assuming (knock on wood) that b. stays healthy long enough to record 'em. at the same time, james has never been so fort worth proud on rekkid, namechecking miss kim and her uncle ray reed on "funky town," a toon on which james' tasty soloing is highly reminiscent of c.l. dupree, a gtr slinger who left the fort for noo yawk in 1962 and subsequently made his mark on sides he cut with king curtis and aretha franklin (both of whose live at the fillmore
albs, featuring cornell's telecaster styllings, are essential).
3) bassist daniel stone, whom i've seen in more contexts in the last yr than you can shake a stick at (jhon kahsen
's quintet at the green party benefit, the monk tribute at arts fifth avenue, the avant-garde evenings at sardines) has definitely done his homework since the blues now jazz later
sessions and is now playing the parts that jay dronge did on the records, on a fender, with aplomb. nice to see young cats like daniel and austin getting schooled in the blues by a veteran like james -- same way james his own self was schooled by freddie cisneros, sumter bruton
, and robert ealey
back in the day. (the other night at the wreck room, where he'd stopped in to vocalize with the wednesday night jam cats 'n' chixxx, i had an interesting convo with james on the subject of how "we're not teaching our children what _cool_ is anymore").
4) with every passing year, james' playing reminds me more of sumter bruton's -- a good thing. gettin' jazzier, i suppose, but beyond that, in his maturity (on his last two rekkids and every time he hits the boards), james seems like the inheritor of cowtown's blues tradition (along with kim and ray with the b.t.a. band). his 15th annual "krewe of kowtown" mardi gras shindig will be downtown at embargo on tuesday, february 20th. it was going to be at the black dog, but the day james got the posters back from the printer, tad gaither called him to let him know the dog was cashing in. c'est la vie, c'est la guerre
for his part, homer henderson did his one-man band thang as documented on his boss live from the city of hate
ceedee (if you see homer, ask him -- he'll prolly give you one), joined onstage by his lovely accomplice miss donna pearl on maracas 'n' vocalismo. always good to hear toons like the old kingsmen b-side "death of an angel," homer's down 'n' dirty take on slim harpo's "i'm a king bee," and his melodramatic medley of "pig hammer" and the elvis chestnut "baby you're so square," altho it woulda sounded better _louder_. (prolly have to get him back to the wreck room for that, tho.) offstage, homer regaled us with tales of his buddy 'n' greatest-'meercun-author-of-his-generation nick tosches, as well as high times at the holiday roller rink in haltom city back in the '60s (whence, he says, the best garage-punk combos of the day hailed: the no-names, who were "8th grade dropouts and glue-sniffers;" the barons, fronted by future bloodrock tunesmith johnny nitzinger; the rocks and their predecessors the nomads of "be nice" fame). he says jeff smith of the hickoids
wants to release a "dirty" homer henderson rekkid on his san antonio-based label. sounds like a good idea to me.
also in the house: blues scribe-poet-rekkid producer (hinkle's straight ahead blues?
, robin sylar's bust out
-- which if you don't own, go immediately to the montgomery st. antique mall and find "rockin' robin," the shop operated by robin's former wife carol, to obtain you a copy) wes race, who's celebrating his 60th b-day in june by taking a band of "texas blues rockers" that'll include hinkle on gtr, homer on bass, mike buck
on drums, lewis cowdrey on harp, and ponty bone
on accordion to chicago to open for magic slim & his teardrops. wes' son was in town from wichita, kansas, and wes the elder presented me with a cd-r of some of his newest spoken word gems, entitled by him cryptic whalin'
and featuring performances by homer henderson, robin sylar, blues now jazz later
producer jim colegrove's band lost country
, and austin bluesman johnny moeller
, among others. pert neat stuff, which might conjure memories of readings wes usedta do at the dog star on berry street for them that was there. wes is a treasure, the fort's very own answer to john sinclair
(and yes, we need one). a most immaculately hip aristocrat indeed.
as blues dumps go, j&j's has always seemed just a tad less _authentic_ to my mind than the keys
, to say nothing of the bluebird
or the swing club (r.i.p.), but nevermind -- gotta take these moments where you find 'em. es verdad