The Ruck in Troy was rockin’ – and jam-packed – on a Friday night last month in conjunction with the monthly Troy Night Out arts walk.
With guitarslinger superb Graham Tichy and hot-wired vocalist Ian Carlton at the helm once again, it was a thrill to witness another reunion of Cropseyville’s rollickin’ rockabilly cats, Rocky Velvet.
Adding to the fun and frenzy this time around, they bolstered their sound with the surprise addition of keyboardist Mike Kelley, whose resume includes stints with the Sharks, the Ernie Williams Band, Blotto, the Lustre Kings and many more Local 518 faves.
Allegedly, Shakespeare wrote 37 plays in his career; compellingly, Rocky Velvet performed 37 songs in a night with – by their own admission – largely beer-induced rehearsals. The Bard remains a man of mystery; in contrast, the reunited quartet was as open as a slide guitar tuning, sharing jokes, exercising a hilarious feng shui moment and thanking their friends, literally, by name at a packed Ale House in Troy on a recent Saturday night.
Rockabilly, early blues and garage-rock informed two sets that left a throng of Ale House dancers sweating and thirsty and the local live music scene’s ultimate fan, Dick Quinn (name-checked by singer Ian Carlton to great applause) smiling and ecstatic. Ike Turner’s “You’ve Got to Lose” (performed as “You’ve Got to Move”), the Elvis Presley hit “Wear My Ring around Your Neck,” and “King Kong”, a primo cut from the band’s classic album It Came from Cropseyville, established that this was not going to be a sit-and-drink-a-beer kind of night. It made sense that the band dipped heavily into the Presley cannon – after all, his visage overlooks the small stage. “Just Because” got a light polka treatment, but it soon took off with two scorching solos from Graham Tichy, who was sporting a pink Fender Jazz Master. “Trouble,” full of Memphis swagger, got the crowd hooting and hollering. Todd Bradley, guest bassist on loan from the Hi-Risers, stepped to the microphone for an angsty “It’s Now or Never”; in the second set, he put a serious Fender bass groove to “One Night with You” and “King Creole.”
There are a pair of very notable Local 518 band reunions on tap for this weekend:
9pm tonight (Friday, October 19), $10
at Daisy Baker’s, Troy
Led by the mindboggling guitar work of Graham Tichy and the hot-wired antics of frontman Ian Carlton, one of Nippertown’s finest and most beloved rockabilly combos step back into the spotlight for their only show of 2012. NOTE: The theme for the Rocky Velvet reunion bash is Tiki so wear your best Hawaiian outfit. And be prepared to party and dance…
9pm on Saturday (October 20), $5
at Pauly’s Hotel, Albany Diva & the Dirty Boys are headlining the evening, but you’ll want to get there early to catch the openers, a very special reunion of Urban Gumbo. As drummer Bob Girouard (also a regular writer for Modern Drummer) notes, “The original five of us (Gary Butts, Joe Quandt, BJ French, Rob Piorkowski and myself) haven’t been on-stage together for about a decade. But even more so, the gig takes on a special meaning primarily because both BJ and I have undergone multiple brain surgeries, mine as recent as September.” It certainly will be great to see Girouard back in the saddle again… NOTE:Metroland founder Peter Iselin will be sitting in at the keyboards with Diva & the Dirty Boys. ALSO NOTE: The show wraps up a busy weekend for Dirty Boys’ bassist Nick Bisanz, who is also playing with the Last Conspirators tonight (October 18) at Valentine’s Music Hall, as well as with the classic British rock band Mods & Rockers at Pauly’s Hotel on Friday.
The latest single by Boston-based veteran soul-rocker Barrence Whitfield and his band, the Monkey Hips, features not one, but TWO covers of songs by the late, great Cropseyville rockabilly rebels, Rocky Velvet.
The brand new single – featuring the tunes “Built Like a Rock” and “I Love Her So” – has been pressed in a limited, individually numbered edition of 500 on yellow vinyl by the fine folks at Q Division’s Q-Dee Records. The tracks were produced by Ed Valauskas, and the seven-inch single was released two weeks ago.
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