Know what? We don’t need to worry so much about robots taking over; we’ve already ceded much of our mental territory to cal cal cal cal calculators & computers, so the next step’s easy. Used to be we remembered stuff; not anymore. Now everything is on our i-device or ‘droid and soon we ourselves shall be replaced by androids. Hey, ‘s cool; think about drifting into your golden years being served by elegant but practical machines. No worries, everything’s automatic and everyone knows they never make misteaks. The guy who did maybe the most important work in the ﬁeld of making computers mimic humans died some 60 years ago. British computer scientist Alan Turing, who proposed the so-called Turing test, got the last laugh. One of his robots recently fooled 33% of a panel of experts into accepting that it was human. I mentioned the passing of Sid Caesar some time ago, I think. He was a comic genius who could mimic almost any language while speaking gibberish. He was also a supreme ironist and the thing I missed when I heard of Sid’s passing was something he would have used as fodder for sure. Within a week of Sid’s demise, a snake-handling preacher in Kentucky died from a rattler’s bite during a service (Jamie Coots was 42). Lauren (The Look) Bacall (originally Betty) was 89 when she passed recently. The look thing came from a photo when she was a teen model showing her looking up at the camera from under her brows. She was 19 when she made her ﬁlm debut in “To Have And Have Not” with Humphrey Bogart, whom she promptly married even though he was in his forties. And already married. Shazbot! Robin Williams is gone, an apparent suicide at 63. Funny guy. Funny woman Joan Rivers has passed her last mordant quip at 81. Johnny Winter died, man, and he was a couple years younger than I am. First time I saw him play was at Fillmore West, summer of 1969; last time was at one of the local blues festivals some twenty years later. He rocked the house both times. Singer Elaine Stritch passed on at 89. She had an unforgettable voice and, if you ever got to see her in live performance, a persona to match. She was still performing right up ‘til the end. Tom Erdelyi has gone on at 65. Oh wait, you probably know him as Tommy Ramone, drummer, main songwriter, and last surviving member of the original Ramones. Howard Baker was 88 when he passed recently. He was a canny U.S. Senator who understood the importance of a bipartisan effort to solve our problems. Wish we had a few more like him over there in D.C. right now. James Baker was Ronald Reagan’s press secretary when both men were shot by a crazy man who still managed to buy a gun and ﬂy to DC with it, barely wounding the President, but leaving Baker a braindamaged paralytic, leading to stricter gun-control laws in his name. He was 73. Another old pol has left the world stage: Eduard Shevardnadze was the Soviet Foreign Minister who eased the Soviet Union into the end of the cold war (except it seems to be coming back) and went on to be elected President of his homeland, Georgia. He was 86. And speaking of 86, that’s how old actor James Garner was when he died t’other day. What a great guy he was, not only an accomplished artist, but by all accounts just a caring individual. Another actor who passed recently was Ann B. Davis. You might recall her
as Alice, the housekeeper on “The Brady Bunch” but I remember her as Schultzy, the smitten gal who was always chasing the handsome photographer Bob Cummings on “The Bob Cummings Show” (I know; never even heard of it, right?) Ann B. Davis was 88. Locally, Gerald Johnson signed off for good at 56. He was a well-renowned saxophone player and longtime DJ at KABF. Another Gerald, composer and band leader Gerald Wilson has also passed, although with thirty-some more years in harness.
THE MALIBU SESSIONS The Cate Brothers Band Swingin’ Door Oh man, what a deal. We get to go back in time with one of the best and most famous acts out of Arkansas ever. Earl and Ernie had Ron Eoff and Terry Cagle with them when they did this recording at Shangri-La Studios in California back some thirty years ago, with a little help from Bonnie Raitt and Garth Hudson, and it still sounds fresh and rockin’ (well, at least mellowly rockin’ – they were never a heavy metal group, y’know). No, seriously, these guys made some very good music back then and here’s a sample: just rustle the paper and you can hear ‘em, I swear; it’s like scratch and sniff, except you employ a different sense; hear that? See? And they have continued to make good music. In fact, we recently reviewed an excellent contemporary album by the Bros & friends and it kicked ass. But this is vintage Cate Bros, back when they had that urge to get on a major label and tour nationally. They were as good as anybody out there, but somehow they failed to catch on with a national audience, more’s the pity. But then maybe that’s the best for us, y’know? They still hang out in Arkansas and make music and speak with fans as if we were regular people. (Note: Treadway has been regular for most of his life. Ed) BONNIE MONTGOMERY Bonnie Montgomery Fast Weapons Much has been said and written about Bonnie Montgomery lately. She’s at her best when doing pure country, sort of like Emmylou Harris. She’ll go more mainstream pop or rock and do it as well as any, but she just has that extra oomph when it comes to originals such as “Black County” or “Nashville.” Reckon she was raised on country sunshine. Bonnie begins this set with a search for her soul and the realization that you don’t have to go all around the world to fulﬁll your
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dreams and ends with the very cleverly caustic “But I Won’t” and you won’t want to miss that. She was aided and abetted by the guitars of Nathan Howdeshell and Alex Piazza (on steel), the upright bass of Jimmy Young, drumming of Paul Grifﬁth, and a whole host of others, including piano, violin, ﬁddle (there is a difference, you know, not so much in the instrument, but the attack), banjo, even a cello. Oh yeah, mustn’t forget to mention supporting vocals by Rachel Paige Geroy. One might make contact at BONNIEMONTGOMERYMUSIC.COM (that’s the way it’s presented on the album cover). THE WHITE ALBUM PROJECT II Various Artists indie Here’s another oldie but goodie, recorded at Juanita’s Cantina Ballroom over three sessions from twenty-some years ago. It’s mostly an homage to the Beatles back when they decided to get really heavy, so you know there are some good tunes, even great ones, done with the talent these folks bring together: Lee Tomboulian, vocals and keys; Marc Turner, vocals and bass; Betty Elkins, vocals; Bonnie Turner, vocals, keys, and ukelele; Mike Thomas, guitar; Ross Hurley, lead guitar; Jason Adams, drums. How about that for a lineup? I don’t see information for ordering.
SHAPE UP Essie The Blues Lady Think Memphis This lady can ﬂat play the guitar and can she sing, not just the blues, but smooth soul too. She also wrote or co-wrote (with M. Stuckey) all thirteen songs on the disc. William Stuckey is credited as producer, engineer, and musician on all but two tracks, which are credited to Richard Neal, who is listed as producer, engineer, and musician on those. Recorded at Think Memphis Recording, this is a wonderful collection. The musicianship is excellent and the songs work wonders. “Memphis Fever” is an instrumental but other than that, Ms. Essie sings her heart out on cut after cut. “Gold Diggin’ Friends” is my favorite. See www. myspace.com/essietheblueslady for more info. T.G.I.F Mike Goudreau indie Mike, or Michel, is another of those guys who writes, arranges, produces, and even mixes his own music. The album was recorded and engineered by Jean Custeau at Studio Bleuciel in Stanstead, Quebec and mastered by Steve Corrao at Sage Audio in Nashville, Tennesse. Mike plays guitars, bass, and banjos, as well as sings. Stephane Jette is the drummer; Nino Fabi plays organ and electric piano and Dany Roy plays sax. Maxine Ste Pierre trumpets, while Serge Arsenault handles his ‘bone. Good stuff, especially the bluesier
2014 Out House Reading