CAPRICORN RHYTHM SECTION
Alive at 2nd Street Music Hall
This guy I know, ecstatic over the roots-driven success of the Drive By Truckers, swears the South is rising again. The signs are everywhere, I suppose, and whereas being amongst a thousand old farts holding lighters for rejuvenated old-timers like Lynyrd Skynyrd and Marshall Tucker is not my first choice, I understand it because in spirit I was there the two nights the Capricorn Rhythm Section took the stage to record this album (No lighter, though. Not my style). Truth be told, Cowboy holds a special place in my heart and two key members of Cowboy front CRS. I would almost kill to see Scott Boyer and Tommy Talton together again, but it's a long ride from Oregon and with gas prices these days....
So I invested a few gallons of gas in this CD instead. Good choice. The gas would be long gone by now, but the music keeps on playin', alive. Music of not only Boyer and Talton, but Johnny Sandlin, Paul Hornsby, and Bill Stewart as well, with the added bonus of seamless newcomer Lee Roy Parnell who sounds like he grew up in Macon during the Glory Years. Now, a handful of people will suggest that this isn't “Southern” rock and that's fine. I would agree. But the South is there nonetheless, if for no other reason than that these guys were there.
They were at the 2nd Street Music Hall in Gadsden, Alabama as well, at least on the two nights this was laid down. Before that, the building served as bordello, the business home of Jim and Tammy Baker and a stronghold of the Republican Party before receiving an Extreme Makeover, courtesy of the TV program. With a past like that (well, the bordello was cool), even Extreme Makeover could not exorcize the ghosts. But the music could and has done it. The people who were there on October 28th and December 30th of 2005 are convinced. I'm sure every one will pick up a copy of this CD as a memento, if they haven't already.
The kickoff track is a little known track outside Cowboy-dom. Originally recorded and released on “The Gregg Allman Tour” LP, Time Will Take Us is presented here bare-butt. No 11-piece band . No horns. No Chuck Leavell pounding out great electric piano or Randall Bramblett saxifyin'. I mean, it was a helluva a track on the tour. It still is. Instead of electric piano, Hornsby turns to the Hammond B-3 and the song doesn't miss a beat. And the horns? Didn't really need them, I guess.
There is obviously a lot of love for Eddie Hinton amongst the members of this band, thus the inclusion of three Hinton related songs, all worthy. Everybody Needs Love has just enough soul to make it work and maybe the vocals are strained here and there, but it actually adds to the feel of a live recording. Play it loud. You'll hear what I mean. A number of tracks later, 300 Pounds makes the same point. A little southern R&B, if you please, and a side of greens. And I do remember hearing Bonnie Bramlett's version of Where You Come From and never knowing where IT came from, but Hinton was there too. It has Bonnie's rhythm and the band, for good reason, has Hinton's back. He must have been quite the guy.
Scott Boyer has never really been comfortable hogging the stage, but he must be given his due as well. Here, he presents himself in a very out-of-the-Cowboy mold--- more R&B, less country rock, if you will. The band plays Please Be With Me and All My Friends, of course, they of hit status, but the bar side of Boyer is there as well. Fed by years of cigarettes and whiskey, Boyer's demeanor shoves Cowboy to the background and gives a more throaty voice to She Cranks My Tractor and Don't Hit Me No More, songs which fit well within the boundaries of the various bands he has worked with over the years(The Convertibles, The Decoys and now, CRS).
Two more Talton tracks are here also. Again, fans will remember Where Can You Go from Allman's Tour LP. Watch Out Baby is new, though, at least to recording. Decent stuff, but I would expect nothing less from Talton.
I guess at every live performance, a band has to have a closer. CRS chose Shout Bamalama and, while it doesn't plant you against the wall the way Wet Willie used to, it does just fine.
Now, let us talk about Lee Roy Parnell. If you think he doesn't belong, just listen to Ought To Be a Law, a great pop track written by Gary Nicholson and, who else, Dan Penn. (Penn is a character worthy of legend status according to Cargoe's Bill Phillips who remembers Penn during all-night writing sessions laying large quantities of speed on the table to, shall we say, aid in the creativity?) Not only does Parnell have just the right vocal timbre, he smokes the place with his slide. Catchy tune written in typical Dan Penn style, Parnell and CRS nails it.
big question for fans will be, will CRS continue and maybe even do a
studio album? Probably depends on the reaction they get from this
one. And it will be hard to judge that, even. A live bar performance
is hardly something the masses will go for. Cowboy fans should,
though, and those who loved the Capricorn label--- the whole shebang
and not just the Allmans. Maybe there are enough of us to turn the
trick. Hey, there were enough of us Notary Sojac fans to force a
release of some of THEIR music (live, of course) and they never even
had an album. Weirder things HAVE happened, haven't they?
In the meantime, you might want to check out their live album on CDbaby. There should be samples available and it's only a couple of minutes of your time. Treat yourself.
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More Finds of the Future, Today:
SCOTT BOYER/Talks About the Capricorn Rhythm Section
GABRIELLE GEWIRTZ/Great Music, Wonderful Voice
GILEAH/Chaos of Love, Fury of Life (Breathtaking!)
THE GRIP WEEDS/Updated '60s-style psych pop of the best variety... a great album!
(Perry Jordan &) HEARTSFIELD/Guitars a-Blazin' Country Rock!
GREG LASWELL/Taking One For the Cause
JENN LINDSAY/This Is Your Brain On Power Pop
MAGGI, PIERCE & EJ/Dog Bites Band! (Phenomenal!!)
AUDREY MARTELL/Great Indie R&B, Pop--- Five Stars!
BILL PILLMORE/Former Cowboy Returns to the Studio
JESS PILLMORE/Dancing On the Edge
EMILY WELLS/The Yaks Are Laughing
STEVE YOUNG/Songlines--- A Fortuitous Return to the Past
Gems From the Past:
SETTING THE RECORD(s) STRAIGHT/Correcting Injustices of Rock Music's Past
SCOTT BOYER & THE DECOYS/All My Friends
CARGOE/Tulsa to Memphis
CHRISTIAN ROCK/The Early Years
Ardent's JOHN FRY/A 1975 Interview
NOTARY SOJAC/A '70s Pacific Northwest Rock Legend
WHITE ELEPHANT/Jazz Had Hippies, Too!!!
STEVE YOUNG/Rock Alt. & Nails