Welcome back to the real world! Last week’s rip-“Snort”-in column WAS a bit longwinded, eh? Well, just as Shakespeare manages to tame the shrew over and over again lo these 500 years hence, I manage now and again to tame myself. A docile, housebroken column awaits you this time: no need for those old Flagpoles on the floor this week, folks.
It is Monday night as I write… mighty late this week, but better than never. Tonight at the Downstairs, I saw Lisa Majersky perform for the first real time. She has the voice of an angel, and is as good a writer as a singer. Why she isn’t famous I’ll never know. She ventured for the first time to our Classic City with her parents: they were impressed, too. Returning to Levittown-On-The-Delaware, they all thought it over and decided that retiring to Athens might not be so bad an idea, after all. Lisa in town, they are here now and assumably making themselves useful and welcome: I know Lisa sure is. She goes out to see acts at clubs practically as often as I do, and has become a very visible supporter of the music scene in town as well as a part of it. My advice is simple, should you choose to take it: go see her play. Lisa Majersky. Don’t forget that name. She is really one talented cookie, this one… and I for one am mighty glad she talked her folks into moving here instead of Lehigh Acres, Florida. As far as I know, her next gig is again at The Downstairs on April 25th with Cicada Sings, so I’ll just tell you here and now.
Several weeks ago, I happened in on a double whammy at The Downstairs: The Fools and Rivers Been. I’ve already told you, I think, that The Fools only need Polly Bolton and a mandolin and Ted Kays on congas to be another Dando Shaft. I do not expect that to register. Onward. Rivers Been deserves another paragraph, so here’s one.
Rivers Been. What a name—for what a band!! They are electric, but they don’t trade on it. What they are busy doing is putting MUSIC back into music. You can easily converse as they play, but who’d want to? Who could possibly want to miss a single note? Like floating downriver on a raft, every bend is a new experience—I honestly cannot recall ever being surprised this many times by one band in one night anytime before, and I’ve been listening critically since the likes of 1966. What they are budding into doing is Impressionistic Folk of a vein that borrows a teaspoon of sugar for the cake from the like of R.E.M., The Indigo Girls, Pentangle, Claude Debussy, Fairport Convention, Maurice Ravel (hold “The Bolero”), and — wait!!!QUIET!!!— I think I hear Magister Ludi in there, too. Teaspoon for teaspoon, measure for measure, they are one of the best new bands I’ve heard this year—or ever—and the recipe remains their own. Do not miss an opportunity to hear them, for they are extraordinary. The Downstairs this Thursday the 11th they play as part of the Bike Benefit: we’re bound to have something else somewhere in this issue, and these folks alone are worth going to see.
Changes occur: the last program of WRFC Remembers (What The Others Forget) aired on WFRC (AM 960) on Saturday night-Sunday morning 3/23 and 3/24/91. Kurt has been a fixture of the Athens airwaves since he came here to school in 1975, working first as a staff announcer and later Music Director of WUOG. He then did fill-in work at WGAU (AM 1340), where he played Robert Goulet singing “Come Back To Me” practically every Saturday night for a year. I’d crack up laughing week after week as Goulet would drone on about “dates waiting for Godot” and “bathtubs overflowing” and “dogs walking alone” —the lyrics were hilarious. After that, WRFC hired him for weekend fill-in work, culminating in the birth of WRFC Remembers on 10/18/81. Kurt would spend the first couple of hours playing requests and major hits, then begin drifting off into obscurity after midnight. of late, obscurity had been coming earlier and earlier, culminating with this last show, where he only played two chart records in 3-1/2 hours, mostly delving instead into insane punk classics, such as “Horror Asparagus Stories” by The Driving Stupid; risky blues, like “Big Ten-Inch Record” by Bull Moose Jackson; weird instrumentals along the lines of, but not including “Chicken Stuff” by Hop Wilson & His Chickens; almost-hits like “I’m Not A Fool Anymore” by T.K. Hulin; and nuts rockabilly, such as BOTH sides of two records back-to-back: “My Pink Cadillac”/”Bop-A-Dee, Bop-A-Doo” by Hal Willis and “Hot Lips Baby”/”My Little Angel” as performed by the inimitable Herbie Duncan. I mean, I’ll miss the show something fierce, but then again, Kurt’s the drummer for The Woggles, as his musical work takes precedence now. It, like the passing of the old 40 Watt, marks The End Of An Era.
Speaking of which, The New 40 Watt opened on Thursday, April 4th. You know that. Loads of you were there to know. Finally, a club big enough that nobody can accuse it of being an envelope that books bands!!! That Pylon show was one of the best two hours I’ve ever spent in my life, and you can quote me on that. Bill Berry’s words rang repeatedly in my ears: “Listen, we can’t be the best rock & roll band in the world —Pylon already is,” I believe he said. As you likely know, Pylon was one of the first big bands to come out of Athens, and then called it quits. Various reasons were given, but everyone stayed in touch with each other and went back to normal jobs and families and such. I don’t know whose lightbulb came back on first, but a reunion went well and the band reformed. I cried when I read the info sheet prepared by Michael Lachowski: “the lineup remains intact.” As for me, I hope it remains intact for many years to come: Pylon remains A Band To Be Reckoned With; Important Beyond Important; A Band To Be Viewed With Nothing Short Of AWE. They are not a working museum, though: their newest original material retains the fire of favorites penned ten years ago. They are the pinnacle of Naive Art to me, the purest distillation of True Native Genius in music since the likes of Charles Ives or Harry Partch or maybe Moondog. Seeing Pylon is spending money well, and I recommend you do it whenever you can so you will be able to tell your grandchildren about something other than R.E.M. and/or Toxic Cocktail.
Widespread Panic must play because they love to. They start before virtually anybody else would and play until after the most demanding dancers are drained dry. Like the Klezmer musicians of Eastern Europe years ago, their inner fires must burn brightly enough to warm cossacks on cold Siberian nights. Just as the addition of Sunny Ortiz on congas added depth, so does their new keyboardist “T.” He played with The Dregs and quite a few other folks, and is a welcome add-on to Panic. Their new album will be out soon on cassette and c.d. —the vinyl will have to be imported, if they issue it overseas… I’ll keep you posted.
Speaking of “posted,” one more thing. The new Postal Facility on Olympic Drive just east of the East Bypass is superb! It serves 77 city routes in Athens plus 14 rural routes around here, not to mention its 57 associate offices in places like Dewy Rose, GA. 30634; Buckhead, GA. 30625; Tignall, GA. 30668; White Plains, GA. 30678; Arnoldsville, GA. 30619; Bethlehem, GA. 30620; and the last part-time office in the 306-area, Sharon, GA. 30664, which is open 6 hours a day: a class 4E office by the old system. I can only wish there were still offices at Vanna, GA. 30672; Apalachee, GA. 30618; Penfield, GA. 30658; and Robinson, GA. 30661… I’ll tell you more about Robinson, GA. 30661 another time.
And, like that, I’m done. Steve is back and needs the keyboard at this late date, so I
(30) myself for another week.
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