Sunday, June 29, 2008

Don Gardner Dig's Deeper at the 5 Spot

Don Gardner, known for his infectious vocal workout "I Need Your Lovin'" and the obscure but highly sought 45 "My Baby Likes to Boogaloo" made a rare appearance at the 5 Spot Soul Food Supper Club in Ft. Greene, Brooklyn. He hadn't played a show in New York since 1969!

Party organizers Mr. Robinson and DJ Honky brought Mr. Gardner in from Philly for the first night of 'Dig Deeper', a monthly party that combines soul DJ-ing with performances from the over-looked artists who recorded the music originally.

Don Gardner had a musical background in gospel, jazz and blues and had a top 20 hit with "I Need Your Loving" , a duet with Dee Dee Ford, on the influential New York label Fire. Fire was one of several important labels founded by Bobby Robinson, a recording pioneer that helped transition blues and R&B into Soul and continued innovating into the Hip Hop era.

Don Gardner's company in the Fire/Fury/Enjoy roster includes Lee Dorsey, Elmore James, Gladys Knight, King Curtis and many many others. Respect your elders!

Next month's Dig Deeper features the inimitable Tami Lynn.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Vampire Weekend Kid Sister SummerStage

full photo gallery here

Live from Central Park - It was beyond wet! Rain came down in two separate downpours, photographers scrambled to keep under cover and stage workers squeegeed water off the stage by the gallon. Lightning almost shut the whole thing down as organizers stood on the stage wringing thier hands and contemplating whether or not a field of soaked teens were capable of a riot.

I didn't get to the park in time to see Born Ruffians who according to taste-makers are worthy of a listen. A group of young folk standing in the front row told me they had lined up at 5AM to the see the darling (and talented) Vampire Weekend.

After a tense delay, the clouds finally broke and A-Track came out to warm up the drenched crowd. Shortly after, Kid Sister pranced out with a can of Coors and a pair of Mad Max Teletubbie backup dancers.

And then finally, we photogs were herded like livestock into the 'pit' for our 3-song feeding. Ezra thanked the crowd for staying and told us we looked more beautiful as drowned rats. (not in those words, he was being sweet)

About 10 minutes after we were cleared, the rain came back with a vengeance and VW huddled closer from the edge of the stage to finish their set which included a couple songs not on the album (very Gracelandy) and a cover of Tom Petty's 'Don't Come Around Here No More'

Despite the 'union house' rules 'strictly banning' photography of people in a public place dealing with an act of God, I had the stubbornness to shoot a bit more while my D3 absorbed the rain.
I was like: who gives a fuck about an oxford comma?

full photo gallery here

Friday, June 13, 2008

Mighty Hannibal Portrait Shoot

On Memorial Day I had the opportunity to travel to the Bronx with Mr. Fine Wine to visit his good friend and ward James Shaw, aka the Mighty Hannibal. Hannibal made many good soul records including the national hit 'Hymn No. 5' and had been brought back into the scene through Matt's knowledge and guidance. Filmmaker Ezra Bookstien was also there to document another moment of daily life, keep your eyes peeled for the upcoming film.

Norton Records recently released the excellent compilation 'Hannibalism' - a wise purchase both for the music (much of if hard to find as 45's) and the autobiographical liner notes. Hannibal also made a triumphant appearance at this year's Ponderosa Stomp.

We ate curried chicken prepared by his health aide and grabbed shaved ices on the way back on the train. A good Memorial Day.

Oh yes, and as Matt points out, we had about 30 mugs of McSorleys on top of the hamburgers we ate at the Corner Bistro when we got back to the city.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Bo Diddley Dies at 79

Who, or what, is Bo Diddley? He was black, he came from Mississippi, he married a 15 year old white woman as his third wife. He was banned from the Ed Sullivan show cause he played his song and not the one Ed told him to. (Maybe Elvis Costello was thinking about this when he played ‘Radio’ on SNL) His pompadour could take Little Richard’s in an alley fight. He took blues and noise and church and bad dreams and mutated it into rock and roll before anyone knew what to call it. He made guitar pedals out of car parts, he made a guitars out of a box of wood and invented sounds that had never existed before. His rock and roll sounds more like rock and roll than Elvis and came two tears earlier. He was a natural man, a strange man and a strange and natural genius of music.

Bo Diddley was the first Black musician on the Ed Sullivan Show

listen to the nonsense vaguely racist introduction from Mr. Fathead... Dr. Jive carries himself with infinitely more dignity.