Greater Nippertown LGBT community celebrated Pride Month with its annual Capital Pride Parade and a free, day-long fest in Albany’s Washington Park. Hitmaker Dev and American Idol finalist David Hernandez headlined the celebration, with additional performance by Local 518 favorites Bell’s Roar, Macero and Taina Asili y La Banda Rebelde.
If you listen to the music of Ralph Stanley, from his first recordings with his brother Carter in the 1950s to those made after the film “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” introduced him to a larger audience, it is unchanged – essential, no frills, old time country and sacred music.
The story of the song was foremost, and the instrumental breaks were in the service of the melody and not the aggrandizement of the player. He was faithful to this ideal his whole life, and with the Biblical authority acquired over the course of his long career, he was a true legend.
Of course, there will never be anyone like him again as he came out of a time and place that doesn’t exist anymore. As he enjoyed renewed success in his late career, he certainly enjoyed remembering tghose early years of touring, playing high school auditoriums and 5am radio shows and selling albums out of the trunk of the car.
And that haunting voice, he sounded like an old man when he was in his twenties… and it just got better.
Among fans of traditional music he was known simply as Ralph. There was only one.
Just so you know where our ears have been at, here’s a rundown of what we’ve been spinning at Nippertown HQ this past week (CDs, vinyl, streaming and maybe even a cassette or two):
Ravi Shankar & Philip Glass: Passages (Private Music, 1980) Jaco Pastorius: Jaco (Columbia, 1976) Stephen Steinbrink: Anagrams (Melodic, 2016) The Last Conspirators: Acoustic Radio Sessions (Driving Rain Music, 2016) Alison Krauss & Union Station: New Favorite (Rounder, 2001) Free: Fire & Water: Deluxe Edition (Island, 2008) Gillian Welch: Soul Journey (Acony, 2003) The Avett Brothers: True Sadness (Republic, 2016) Edgar Meyer & Chris Thile: Edgar Meyer & Chris Thile (Nonesuch, 2008) Lucius: Good Grief (Dine Alone, 2016) Wussy: Forever Sounds (Shake It, 2016) Jamison Ross: Jamison (Concord Jazz, 2015) Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah: Stretch Music (Stretch Music, 2015) Eggs Over Easy: Good ‘N’ Cheap (A&M, 2015) Rockpile: Live at My Father’s Place (Rockbeat, 20014) The Felice Brothers: Life in the Dark (Yep Roc, 2016) Bat for Lashes: The Bride (Echo Label Limited, 2016) DJ Shadow: The Mountain Will Fall (Mass Appeal, 2016) Jon Cleary: Moonburn (Point Blank, 2000) Elio Villafranca & the Jass Syncopators: Caribbean Tinge: Live from Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola (Motema Music, 2014) DakhaBrakha: Light (DakhaBrakha, 2014) Joan Sutherland, Luciano Pavarotti, more: Donizetti’s “L’Elisir d’Amore” (Decca, 1971) The Shadows: The Shadows Are Go! (Scamp, 1996) Bjork: Debut Live (One Little Indian, 2004)
Chelsea Groen and Dan Cassin in “Fiorello!” (photo: Emma Rothenberg-Ware)
Theater review by Larry Murray
Back in 1959, Fiorello! was the hit show that scooped up a Pulitzer Prize for best drama, and tied with the The Sound of Music for the Tony as best musical, leaving Gypsy in the dust. Tom Bosley, as Fiorello LaGuardia, won best actor.
As delivered by a youthful cast, Fiorello! moves right along with a breezy score by Jerry Bock, clever lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, and this is a good thing because the weak link is a thin, choppy book which has undergone various revisions over the years. The program credits Jerome Weidman and George Abbott for the version currently on stage at the Unicorn Theatre in Stockbridge. It seems close (if not identical) to the original, which I saw some 56 years ago. Memories fade, though I remember how much I enjoyed songs like “Politics and Poker,” “Little Tin Box” and “Till Tomorrow.”
The cast of Fiorello! is uniformly excellent, a parade of characters and caricatures that easily delight today’s audiences just as they did those a half century ago. Who doesn’t love to watch love blossom on stage between a policeman – a sturdy Dan Cassin – and the radical striker, Dora (Chelsea Groen).
Acclaimed blues singer Shemekia Copeland turned in a blow-torch performance on Saturday (June 25) at Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival, burning through a batch of tunes from her latest album, Outskirts of Love, as well as incendiary takes of “Married to the Blues” and her dad Johnny Copeland’s classic “Ghetto Child.”
If you missed her, well, it looks like you’ve got another chance…
Shemekia Copeland and her band have been added to the concert calendar of The Egg in Albany at 8pm on Friday, September 2, as the opening act for the Robert Cray Band. Tickets are on sale now, priced at $29.50, $34.50 & $44.50.
Here’s are the details from FoS bassist Steve Cohen:
“Val [Haynes] fractured her foot; it’s a stress fracture, but the doctor told her that she has to stay off it for 6 weeks or it’ll result in complications. Therefore we have to postpone our show. We’re going to try to find a date in the fall that works for all of us. Obviously this really sucks but there’s no other choice. Val’s not the kind of performer who’s going to sing sitting down, after all. That just wouldn’t work on several levels. We’ve all been putting a lot of work into this and we’re all tremendously disappointed, but health comes first and doctors’ orders rule.”
MUSIC: Voodoo North Orchestra @ Club Helsinki, Hudson. Jazz drummer Bobby Previte once again leads his band of improvisers – Michael Kammers on keyboards and tenor sax; Tyler Wood on Hammond organ and Moog synthesizer; Jonathan Talbott on violin and electronics; and Marcus DeGrazia on soprano and baritone saxophones and electronics – in an exploration of the music of Miles Davis’s eternal electric jazz-funk masterpiece, Bitches Brew. 8pm. $10.
CABARET: “The unCivil War” @ the Wood Theater, Glens Falls. The Adirondack Theatre Festival welcomes a special concert performance. This special event will feature an updated script and score, with changes made based on reactions of ATF audiences from last summer’s performance, complete with multiple new songs and scenes. 7:30pm. Also at 7:30pm on Monday. GO HERE for more info…
MUSIC: We Were Promised Jetpacks @ Pearl Street Clubroom, Northampton. Half bracing post-punk and half tuneful indie pop, the Glasgow-based band features vocalist/guitarist Adam Thompson, guitarist Michael Palmer, bassist Sean Smith and drummer Darren Lackie. With Prism Tats. 8pm. $18.
THEATER: “Fiorello!” @ the Unicorn Theatre, Stockbridge. What is a progressive politician? Look no further than Pulitzer and Tony Award-winning musical “Fiorello!,” a big-hearted look at Mayor LaGuardia and his battle for the people of New York City. Directed by Bob Moss. 7pm. $60. Through Saturday, July 23.