Review by Joel Patterson and Denise Borden
Video by Joel Patterson
In the spirit of cover versions that meet or exceed the original, better put another notch in your lipstick case for the Chandler Travis Philharmonette’s “Cry Baby Cry.” The CTP’ette has championed this obscure late-’60s tune from the all-but-unknown duo of Van & Titus ever since longtime friend/musician Christine Ohlman, the “Saturday Night Live” beehive queen singer, played it for him after she uncovered it while rummaging through boxes of records at a yard sale. Christine, like Chandler, adored the song from first listen. So much so that she went on to record it in a powerful performance with her guest singer Dion on her most recent album “The Deep End.”
And as Travis explains, Van & Titus “only did two singles, ever, in their whole lives. When you think about it – this is only one of four songs these guys put out – it just breaks your heart.” Heartbreak never felt so good. They performed at the Peint O Gwrw under the adoring gaze of owners Tom and Lynne Hope. Sound reinforcement by Rob Caldwell. Often hosting music on Friday nights and some Saturdays, Peint o Gwrw is a Welsh pub on Main Street in Chatham, proudly sporting an eclectic pub menu and an extensive beer list, to drown your sorrows…
The Chandler Travis Philharmonette made their triumphant return to Caffe Lena for a blow-out birthday bash in honor of both Chandler Travis and drummer Rikki Bates (it was Rikki’s Lena debut, as the Philharmonette does not normally include drums). Also sharing the birthday bill was Lena soundman extraordinaire Joe Deuel. Due to the small intimate atmosphere, this incarnation of the band was pared down from the nine-piece band that makes up the full Philharmonic line-up (this was explained as a couple of guys fell off the cart).
Woodwind player Burke McKelvey, who along with trombonist John Wolf made up the June Trailer Dancers, had to do double and sometimes triple duty to fill in for the missing pieces. During one song, “Grand Route St. John”, Burke switched between soprano sax, clarinet and piano. A lot of musicians claim to be the hardest working men in show business, but they have nothing on him.
NAME: Chandler Travis
BAND AFFILIATION: The Chandler Travis Philharmonette, the Chandler Travis Philharmonic, the Incredible Casuals
1. THE FIRST ALBUM I EVER BOUGHT WAS … First album I ever bought was Chuck Berry’s “One Dozen Berries”. The first record I ever managed to capture on my own was a square green and white record I got for free in a hardware store about how to lay linoleum floor tile. Singles, many singles, too: “The Witch Doctor Song”, “The Little Blue Man”, Chuck, Elvis, Jerry Lee… Early on, I stole so many singles from the record section of my local grocery store that they closed the record section entirely.
2. THE FIRST CONCERT I EVER SAW WAS … I saw Leon Bibb, Dionne Warwick and the Dave Brubeck Quartet on three separate occasions at Darien High School (Dionne was late and drunk, but I still love her); later on, happened to catch a bill with the Blues Magoos, the Youngbloods and the Left Banke at a roller skating rink in Westport, CT. (The Left Banke killed, with a bashing drummer in green sweat pants named George something-or-other and a gum chewing lead singer named Steve Martin – not that one. They were way tougher than I would’ve expected.)
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