Sunday, October 06, 2013

Blasts from the past rock the Stomp

The second and final day of the Ponderosa Stomp lived up to its billing as ''a night of insane rock and roll' with some brilliant acts and some rather more banal relics from the sixties garage rock era. It was a long night, with final act the legendary Eddie Daniels not coming on stage until 2.30am, but a highly enjoyable one for the most part.
After a warm up by an all star backing band which included Scott Bomar of the Bo-Keys, guitarist Irving Bannister, Michael Hurtt and David Battiste, the wonderful Spencer Wiggins came on stage to provide some deep Memphis soul with Lonely Man, That's How Much I Love You, The Kind Of Woman Who's Got No Heart, Uptight Good Woman (with numerous false endings), the uptempo Soul City USA, finishing off with Sweet Sixteen and I Never Loved A Woman. A great soul man who is still at the top of his game.
One of this years highlights came next - Kent Harris, aka Boogaloo, - who recorded briefly in LA nearly 60 years ago and wrote some classic R and B numbers. His all too short set included early recording Big Fat Lie, She Put Me In The Doghouse Again, Clothesline (later a hit for the Coasters), Big Chief Hug and Kiss, Cops And Robbers (made famous by Bo Diddley) and Talk About A Party. Pity about the low sound volume on Boogaloo's vocals for part of the set but amazing to see him perform.
Next on were the Gaunga Dins, an obscure sixties New Orleans beat group, recently reformed after 47 years, who were adequate on mostly covers, including I Gotta Get Out Of This Place, Jezebel, Now She's Gone and Just Like Me.
Things really hotted up though with the next act Charlie Gracie, whose excellent guitar playing, vocals and personality demonstrated why he still has plenty of work 56 years after hitting number one with Butterfly. He was polished and also amusing as he performed Just Lookin', Rock A Beating Boogie, his Eddie Cochran tribute I'm Alright, Butterfly, 99Ways, Just A Gigolo, Cool Baby,  Fabulous and Heart Like A Rock, finishing off with What'd I Say. Great entertaining stuff.
Surprise hit of the night, and one of the highlights for me, was Chris Montez, who performed a rock and roll set based around his Monogram recordings from the early sixties. Backed by Deke Dickerson's excellent band, and joined, later on by Cyril Jordan of the Flaming Groovies, Chris began  with Some Kinda Fun. This was followed by Hey Baby, She's My Rocking Baby, You're The One and Shoot That Curve and finished, inevitably, with not one, but two renditions of his smash Let's Dance. This was a highly enjoyable set, I thought, and much better than I expected.
The next two sets - long ones at that - we're taken up with sixties garage sounds, much loved by Dr Ike, which were, on the whole very loud and somewhat lacking in finesse. First on we're the Standells, famed for Dirty Water, whose numbers included There's Going To Be a Riot, Hungry For Your Love, Sometimes Good Guys Don't Wear White and Pushing Too Hard. Fine if you like your music grungy, but I'm afraid I don't. The same applied to next act the Sloths, whose energetic lead singer did a quite convincing Mick Jagger impersonation. Their set was mostly covers, including Reeling And Rocking, Everybody Needs Somebody, Here Comes The Night and their own 1965 recording Making Love (very collectable apparently). Towards the end of their seemingly interminable set they brought on Ty Wagner, who had easily the worst voice of anyone I've heard on stage.
And so at last it was the turn of Ebb recording artist, the multi talented 75 year old Eddie Daniels, dazzling in a red suit, dripping in jewellery and carrying a silver cane, who blasted his way through some rockabilly flavoured numbers including I Wanna Know, Hurry Baby, the Everlies flavoured Opportunity, which he recorded as one half of Jewel (Akens) and Eddie, and Little Lou, a song he wrote for Eddie Cochran, before turning to the keyboard and hammering out Going To The Mardi Gras, Lucille and What'd I Say. A great end to what has been another brilliant Stomp.
Nick Cobban.


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