Tuesday, June 25, 2013

R.I.P. Bobby "Blue" Bland: Plain Sense Reposts His Review of Bland's Last Show in Minneapolis 3 Years Ago This Month

R.I.P. Bobby "Blue" Bland: Plain Sense Reposts His Review of Bland's Last Show in Minneapolis 3 Years Ago This Month

It is with great sadness that I learned of the passing yesterday of one of the truly great talents in all of American music.  Bobby "Blue" Bland was a singer, composer, arranger and band leader.  More than all of that, he was a force of nature, a physical presence and musical influence of such immense proportions that he earned the respect of all those fortunate enough to have attended one of his concerts or listened in awe to one of his many classic LPs on the Duke label.  In honor of this great man, I repost my review of his concert at the Dakota in Minneapolis 3 years ago this month.  R.I.P. Bobby, you have earned it.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Bobby Blue Bland @ the Dakota: "I've Got You Covered, Baby."

Bobby Blue Bland @ the Dakota, March 31, 2010 (photo from somewhere in time).

The warm up act Divina and the Vagabonds: what at first blush is a pretty good Billie Holiday impression gets old quickly. Then again, maybe it wasn't a Billie Holiday impression at all just a bad overbite. Nice material and band, especially trumpet player kinda cool, like if Curtis A played trumpet.

Main Event:

The Man, old (80). The voice, still has it, but the legendary growl a little phlegmy. Incredible band including great 4 piece horn section, great rhythm section and killer guitarist. Bobby was assisted onstage where he performed seated. This put him at eye level with the rich white folks at the expensive tables. As soon as he turned on his mic, he transformed from a frail elderly man into what I call the Black Sinatra, except better band and better material. Talk about presence, and I don't mean the kind under the Christmas tree, he controlled the room, put down boisterous lady fans shouting "I love you Bobby!", to which he would reply in a Barry White baritone, "Bobby's got you covered". He did a little over an hour set hitting most of his big hits, which is saying alot but the best part of the evening is how he, good naturedly, at least outwardly, f**ked with the rich white folks. My peeps did not disappoint and rose to the level, making fools of themselves whether responding to Bobby's passive aggressive line of questioning: "Hey big fella, can you handle it?", "Are you married?" or "You ever get the blues?" or falling over from too many martinis like the rich corporate type sitting in front of me who rolled around on his back like a turtle, to his wife's horror, who quickly escorted the rich lite weight out before the end of the show.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Plain Sense Comments on No Depression Re: Favorite Steve Earle Song and Steve's New Box Set

Asking a Steve Earle fan to pick his favorite song is akin to asking a parent to pick their favorite child but what the hell here goes:   

I am partial to “I Feel Alright”. The opening verse of “…Now some of you would live through me Then lock me up and throw away the key Or just find a place to hide away And hope that I'll just go away Huh…” is autobiographical but also speaks to the generations of incarcerated  in this country for nothing more than a health problem aka drug addiction.  

I saw one of Steve’s last shows before he reported to prison (he warmed up for Los Lobos at First Ave in Mpls) and he was looking and sounding pretty rough and who could blame him.  Which is why Steve is an inspiration to me;  for taking control of his life, learning from his mistakes and for working for unpopular causes.  Truly a great  songwriter and musician but even a better man.

Enter to win a signed copy of 'Steve Earle: The Warner Bros. Years' box set courtesy of 

No Depression, the Americana, alt-country and roots music authority since 1995.

No Depression Americana and Roots Music

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Being Correct Does Not Make You Right, as Neither Being Right Does Not Make You Correct: How the Rejection of Outcome Determinism Makes for Very Strange Bedfellows

If someone were to  have told me that one day I would be an admirer of John Ashcroft or in agreement on anything with Anton Scalia, I would have not so politely suggested that you have your head examined.  Yet both those days have occurred and in some instances, on more than one occasion.  "But how can that be?", you may ask, "Plain Sense, our bastion of liberal virtue and defender of Constitutional Rights on the same side of issues with ultra right-wing, knuckle dragging ignoramus Neanderthals like Ashcroft and Scalia?"

"Well even a blind chicken can find a kernel of corn some days", you may be thinking to yourself, whether you are a supporter of the Ashcroft-Scalia crowd or an intellectual backer of truth, justice and the American way (i.e. Plain Sense supporter) and in either instance you would be wrong.  In this ever increasingly complicated world in which we live in (no as much as I would like  to, I am not going to break into the chorus of a James Bond movie theme from the Seventies) the Constitution sometimes makes for strange bedfellows.  That is if you stick to your beliefs and do not take the cowardly approach of Justice Breyer and run willy nilly hysterically down the road of outcome determinism.

The recent nomination of James Comey to be the next head of the FBI has caused me to again remember my great admiration for former Attorney General John Ashcroft when he called upon every last bit of strength left in his body to rebuke Cheney's henchmen who had invaded his ICU room at Georgetown University Hospital in an attempt to get him to countermand Comey's refusal to sign off on one of the greatest invasions of privacy ever to hit the American Public (i.e. Bush Administration's illegal interception of nearly all electronic communication).

Just yesterday I was again reminded, that as much as I sometimes abhor Justice Scalia's decisions on an individual issue, I grudgingly admire and respect his adherence to principle as he again demonstrated yesterday in the DNA case out of Maryland, albeit, sadly in the minority.  Which just goes to show you how the rejection of outcome determinism can make for very strange bedfellows. 

With that being said, you must excuse me now because I cannot resist in being something of a hypocrite:

When you were young and your heart was an open book
You used to say live and let live
(You know you did, you know you did you know you did)
But if this ever changing world in which we live in
Makes you give in and cry

Say live and let die
(Live and let die)
Live and let die
(Live and let die)

What does it matter to ya
When you got a job to do
You gotta do it well
You gotta give the other fellow hell

You used to say live and let live
(You know you did, you know you did you know you did)
But if this ever changing world in which we live in
Makes you give in and cry.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Early Entry for "Best Put Down in a Music Review" of the Year Award

St. Paul Pioneer Press music critic Ross Raihala hurls this literary incendiary device at the artist formerly known as his Purple Majesty:

"...the show often had the polite, professional, feel of a Sunday afternoon jam session led by bored Guitar Center employees".

Considering the shows initial ticket price of $259 plus Ticketmaster service charge for a total of nearly $300 a pop, faint praise indeed. See Ross Raihala's complete review  of Prince's May 25, 2013 show at the Myth nightclub in Maplewood, MN at  "Prince at the Myth: Not enough grit, sex or passion

*Note:   This was originally  posted by Plain Sense on his page at No Depression on May 27, 2013 at 11:29am but was subsequently taken down.