Posts Tagged ‘Fred Rudofsky’

BEST OF 2014: Fred Rudofsky’s Top 21 Albums

Wednesday, January 7th, 2015

happiest

By Fred Rudofsky

1.) Hamell on Trial: The Happiest Man in the World

2.) Ian McLagan & the Bump Band: United States

3.) Phil & Dave Alvin: Common Ground: Play and Sing the Songs of Big Bill Broonzy

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LIVE: Nick Lowe’s Quality Holiday Revue @ The Egg, 12/19/14

Tuesday, January 6th, 2015
Nick Lowe and Los Straitjackets (photo by Ed Conway)

Nick Lowe and Los Straitjackets (photo by Ed Conway)

Review by Fred Rudofsky
Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk, Ed Conway

Fittingly, the concert of 2014 – Nick Lowe’s Quality Holiday Revue – closed out a year filled with tremendous live music events in Nippertown. The sold-out night was tinged with a bittersweet vibe, though.

The gregarious spirit of Ian McLagan, who passed away on the eve of the tour earlier in the month, was present in conversations in The Egg’s lobby. (In October, McLagan told me after his remarkable set at The Linda about how much he was looking forward to a tour with his Yep Roc label mates: “Can you believe it? Nick Lowe! Los Straitjackets! Me! What a revue it’ll be! Albany’s in for a treat!”).

Minutes before the show, Eddie Angel lamented, “I never got a chance to meet Mac, but I loved his music and what he meant to so many bands.”

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LIVE: Peter Case @ the Low Beat, 9/12/14

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014
Peter Case

Peter Case

Review by Fred Rudofsky
Photographs by Al Goldberg

Peter Case wowed a small but fervent crowd on a recent Friday night at the Low Beat in Albany, but you weren’t there. What gives?!

In a 100-minute performance, Case would have weened you from a pathetic addiction to an iPhone and/or reality television, cured your blues, and whet your thirst for the many robust beverages the intimate Low Beat offers that put your squeaky clean fridge-full of light beers to shame. You, however, chose a night in. (And it wasn’t even a school night, which is, by the way, the ultimate cliched cop-out for not going out to support live music). You should have sprinted over to this one, because, as Case put it so well in his opening song, “Who’s gonna walk your crooked mile?”

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LIVE: Hamell On Trial @ the Low Beat, 9/6/14

Tuesday, September 16th, 2014

Review by Fred Rudofsky

Armed with a trove of songs, paintings for sale, and bawdy jokes (including a couple told by his son, Detroit) unlike those of anyone else on the planet, Hamell On Trial put on a dynamic Saturday night show at the Low Beat.

An extended break-neck rhythm pattern established the tension of a shaken universe in “A Little Concerned, That’s All,” a key song from Tough Love. Next, Hamell joked that he would be featuring a 45-minute interpretive dance number, but chose instead to sing off-microphone the bizarre yet true trio of drug-related tales of “When You Are Young,” set to an indelibly bouncy Yiddish folk melody. “Seven Seas,” a staple of his live show for many years, offered newcomers to Hamell On Trial a chance to hear the story of the vintage acoustic guitar he bought one day from Buzzy on Lark Street. Some of Hamell’s most beloved songs -”Blood of the Wolf,” “Hail,” “Inquiring Minds” and “Bill Hicks” (the latter by request, thank you) were written on it and featured in the set.

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LIVE: Jeffery Broussard & the Creole Cowboys @ the Music Haven, 8/3/14

Friday, August 15th, 2014
Jeffrey Broussard & The Creole Cowboys

Jeffery Broussard (photo by Stanley Johnson)

Review by Fred Rudofsky
Photographs by Rudy Lu and Stanley Johnson

A recent Sunday evening crowd with an affinity for roots music got a double-dose of the good stuff at the Music Haven in Schenectady’s Central Park.

Ramblin Jug Stompers, local heroes of traditional jug-band music, got the feet tapping and hands clapping with their fine opener, “Mountain Dew.” Mister Eck’s lively mandolin propelled “Jug Band Music,” coaxing percussionist Will Bill to sing (and even whisper) like a mercurial carnival barker. Bowtie and Mister Eck played five-string and four-string banjos (“a patented duel banjo attack,” mused the latter) for a spirited “Pistol Packin’ Mama,” which was followed by guitarist Cousin Clyde’s mournful “A Man of Constant Sorrow.”

A delicate, swinging instrumental, “Frypan Jack Enters into Heaven” (from Hobo Nickel) was a fine showcase for Bowtie’s banjo and Cousin Clyde’s synchrony. Will Bill put aside his various percussion instruments for some soulful country harmonica during “Blues in the Bottle,” a showcase as well for Mister Eck’s robust vocals and resonator ukelele playing. No doubt hearing the freight train to their next destination, RJS closed their set with tight harmonies on crowd-pleaser “Old Plank Road,” a touchstone of the band’s live performances since its formation in 2006.

Jeffery Broussard & the Creole Cowboys brought the exuberant sounds and rhythms of zydeco from Louisiana for over an hour and a half. With a toothpick lodged in the right corner of his mouth, Broussard sang with a hearty voice in English and French and played his blue, white and red accordion masterfully. The crowd’s lack of familiarity with many of the songs – very few titles were announced – did not matter given the energy levels on the faster ones and the glorious ache of romance on the slow waltzes and two-steps. People young and old began dancing; by the end of the show, the area in front of the stage was crowded with happy dancers. Good will and good times never sounded so natural.

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LIVE: The Split Squad @ River Street Pub, 8/3/14

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014
The Split Squad

The Split Squad

Review by Fred Rudofsky
Photographs by Kirsten Ferguson

Three men in horizontally striped shirts are referring to each other as “Jackson”; their instruments are buzzing with volumes atypical of a mellow mid-summer, mid-afternoon in the middle of Troy. It’s Sunday, it’s the Knyghts of Fuzz, and they are only just getting warmed up.

The River Street Pub has its AC set for polar, but the frenzied heat of the garage rock has been winning out since Ian Carlton (guitar), Frank Novko (bass) and Brian Goodman (drums) opened with the blues stomper “I’m Not Talking” and a full-tilt “Hide and Seek” that features all three on vocals. Goodman’s eyes bug out as he pounds the skins and sings his guts out during a cool cover of the Jefferson Airplane’s “3/5′s of a Mile in 10 Seconds” and the original composition “Genny.” Carlton’s a live wire on the Electric Prunes’ “Get Me to the World on Time,” singing and playing at a tempo that leaves him drenched in sweat and the growing crowd howling for more. Novko’s bass rumbles like a D & H freight train during his take on “Hey Sha Lo Ney”; Carlton breaks two strings in the process, “a first” he declares while retrieving his spare guitar.

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LIVE: Green River Festival @ Greenfield Community College, 7/12/14 (Day One)

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014
Trombone Shorty And New Orleans Avenue

Trombone Shorty And Orleans Avenue

Review by Fred Rudofsky
Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

This year marked the 28th anniversary of the Green River Festival. Held in mid-July at the picturesque grounds of the Greenfield Community College – a two-hour drive from Albany – it featured more than 30 bands drawn from an array of genres worldwide.

Whereas other outdoor music events generate false hype, book predictable bands and/or cater to the lowest common denominator – the semi-coherent twentysomething who views the world through a selfie lens – the Green River Festival remains an eclectic, cordial, downright fun and affordable two-day gathering ($70 for the weekend!) that you could take your kids or grandparents to without hesitation. It is also a place of progressive ideas – throughout the site there are vendors promoting the arts, education, grass-roots causes concerning the environment (easy to use recycling bins did abound), etc. Add an eclectic choice of foods, hot air balloon rides, rock climbing walls, second-line parades, and new this year a fine selection of craft beers, and it is obvious why the festival sold out quickly.

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LIVE: Kim Lenz & the Jaguars @ the Ale House, 5/19/14

Monday, June 2nd, 2014
Kim Lenz

Kim Lenz

Review by Fred Rudofsky
Photographs by Ed Conway

It may have been a Monday night in Troy, but it sure sounded like a Saturday night was brewing when Kim Lenz & the Jaguars played a raucously fun 80-minute set of rockabilly tunes at the Ale House.

Backed by four exceptional musicians, Lenz made quite an impression in her Nippertown debut. If Poison Ivy and Lux Interior of the Cramps had had a daughter, and raised her on Sun Records platters and bordertown honky tonk 45s, and perhaps named Janis Martin the girl’s godmother, she would have grown up to be Lenz. With her fiery red hair and vintage dress and high heels, the LA-based singer had everybody’s attention as she strolled out into the audience to say hello.

With a road-tested acoustic guitar in hand, Lenz opened with a “Saturday Jump” that featured guitarists Ramon Espinoza and Joel Morin trading some scorching solos over a swinging rhythm by Santos de Leon on drums and Shorty Poole on upright bass. Her vocal prowess was undeniable, as was her sense of humor. “Thanks for being part of that sound check!” cracked Lenz after taking a sip of red wine.

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