Christian Serpas And Ghost Town at Ruby'sDan was sleeping on the couch at 7:00 Saturday night. He just can't hang with me on a Saturday night when he golfs on Saturday morning. I have a long time sulk going on about his Golf playing because it is always more important than my wants. It leaves me either watching him sleep on the couch all Saturday night or I can go out with friends. Problem is, at our age, no one wants to go out on a Saturday night to see music but me, so I find myself off into clubs alone.
That usually presents few problems but it does limit where I will go. For instance, I just won't go to The Marigny alone. Hammond is close but there is only two music clubs-one with too much cigarette smoke for me and the other a trendy College bar with high cover charges for bands. Tommy's Pizza Parlor has Patrick Catania and Chris Zimmer there on Thursdays. They are wonderful to go watch, but alas, they are sandwiched in between the bar and a table section making it awkward to position oneself to listen.
That leaves Ruby's. It is a 30 minute drive away in Mandeville, La. It is a funky down to earth bar with a great sound system, a patio for smokers, and a staff that does not put up with nonsense from patrons. I feel safe there and usually have a great time.
So, Saturday Dan slipped off to go play golf and by 7:30 was cutting z's on the sofa. I was about as stir crazy as could be. I left in time to arrive there at 9:30 To see Christian Serpas and Ghost Town. The band was hanging around with friends cutting up and enjoying themselves. They are a very uplifting group of guys.
The show was solid and fun. I especially like their selection of covers of Rockabilly and vintage Country sprinkled with a few special songs on the verge of what I would call Folk music. ("Kocking on Heaven's Door," written by Bob Dylan.) They do a killer version of Bobby Fuller's "I fought the Law." George Neyrey made his guitar sound like a steel pedal guitar on this one somehow.They performed "Little Sister," a song made famous by Elvis - written originally by Jerome "Doc" Pomus and Mort Shuman, members of the Songwriter's Hall of Fame. This night, Christian sang it less stylized and with less of a nasal tone than he has in the past. I like the new way a lot better.
A few Johnny Cash covers, a few Buck Owens songs later, they did a couple of songs Christian wrote. My favorite is "Read them and weep." George Neyrey plays very sweet guitar licks on this song and they are his own......Christian's lyrics are wonderful. I love the way he writes songs. He always tells a sweet story. If it was up to me, I would like them to do a whole set of songs Christian wrote. "Nothing ain't worth nothin" was especially touching to me that night. I think my favorite cover they do is "Brand New Cadillac," a tune written by Vince Taylor, recorded in 1958. (covered by the Clash in the 1970's.) Somewhere in my vinyl records I had a LP of Vince Taylor with a cover written in French. I think my cousin has it now, over in Mandeville. I got it at Record Ron's in the French Quarter in the 70's when I saw the cover picturing a girl in a 50's style party dress hanging on leather clad Vince. Very campy stuff. I never even played it - had no turntable at the time and my cousin "stole" it from me when she was visiting. She claimed she would put it on cassette for me. I am still waiting.
They ended the night playing "Sleepwalk," a tune written by Santo and Johnny Farina. It was originally recorded in 1958. I am very familiar with this song as it is the favorite song that Paul Lil' Buck Sinegal loves to open and close his gigs with. Now, after hearing both guitar players play this song, it is hard for me to chose who does it better: Lil' Buck or George Neyrey, Lil' Buck or George Neyrey, Lil' Buck or George Neyrey, ????? IT is a toss up to me. How either of them can make a guitar sound like a pedal steel guitar - I don't know. And, Paul Lil' Buck Sinegal is a legend, so that should tell you a thing or two about George Neyrey's ability. Behind all of this is two other solid wonderful performers that provide a foundation for Ghost Town: Brent Roser on Bass and Jeff Oteri on drums. Jeff is a driving force in Ghost Town. Brent is solid and fun to watch. Ghost Town will be performing at The Rock N Bowl in NOLA on Tuesday , July 21st. Check them out.
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