Lofgrin Makes Me Smile


I have a nice collections of lps by Nils Lofgrin – some are lp to cd transfers & others downloaded. In the 70s he made some of the sweetest pop/rock around but never hit superstardom – perhaps by choice. I have Nils; Cry Tough; I Came To Dance; No Mercy; Night Fades Away; The Loner. Rounding out one of the mp3 collections is Al Kooper: I Stand Alone; Steve Miller Band: Your Saving Grace, The Joker; Johnny Winter: Second Winter; Matt Hryhorsky: Hardest Last Name.

Nils has a pleasant voice, great song writing & a likeable springing bouncy guitar style that makes me want to dance. This is happy music without being corny or cloying. He’s played with Neil Young, he was a Bruce Springsteen Band member for decades too. The lps are full of great originals & lots of sweet covers of unexpected songs. The Loner are all covers of Neil Young songs. If you are unfamiliar start with I Came To Dance.

 

Al Kooper’s I Stand Alone is his first lp after leaving Blood, Sweat & Tears. It could be an extension of that lp in fact – similar experimental sound less horns. It was a disappointment at the time as fans expected it to duplicate BS&T. Steve Miller Band: Your Saving Grace, The Joker – lps from different decades of the band. Grace is more soulful while Joker is out & out commercial brilliance. Miller’s guitar work drives both but on Grace has more laidback context.

Now for some local CanCon Matt Hryhorsky: Hardest Last Name. This is an ep I bought years ago at some place like The Central of the Supermarket when Matt featured at an event. The sound quality is excellent, the songs are good & his guitar playing is superb. Finally here is the amazing Johnny Winter’s Second Winter – I remember think – three sides! when this lp was first released. Winter is a guitar genius blues & rock with a touch of soul. This is a stunning set that is merciless in energy & attack. If you haven’t heard it do so asap.

The Bill

Joe was feeling pretty good. Better than he had felt in several weeks. Better than he had felt when he finally broke off with the guy he’d met on line who turned out to be a physically abusive drunk. Better no love than a bruise he had to explain.

Today he felt specially good because he had gotten through to his cable provider on the first phone call. No waiting and waiting and even better the service representative spoke without an accent. Not that he was racist but sometimes side had to know what was exactly being said. Joe felt good about that and also because the cable provider upgraded his cell phone for free with no activation charge just to get him to renew his contract. It was always good to know who to ask for someone in customer retention. So simple.

Yes, Joe was feeling very good as he entered his favorite restaurant. His favorite booth was free – one of the few that only sat two people. He had a book he was enjoying and he couldn’t wait to tell his favorite waiter about his success with the cable company.

Joe sat at the booth. Ken came over and put a bill on the table and walked away.

Joe looked at the bill. It was over two hundred dollars with several entrees. He figured Ken had made a mistake.

“Ken!” he waved the waiter over. “This isn’t my bill. I haven’t even ordered anything yet.”

“Are you refusing to pay?” Ken glared him.

“This isn’t my bill.” Loe’s heart began to beat faster. “I just got here. I haven’t had time to order anything. See the table is clear.”

Ken glanced at the table. “The table looks clean to me. Even if it wasn’t that’s no reason not to pay your bill. We get enough assholes in here.”

“But … but …”

“Young man,” an older lady at a nearby table glared at him. “Don’t give the waiter such a hard time. Pay him so we can get some service too.”

“But I haven’t ordered anything. I certainly didn’t order all this or have time to order it. Fried chicken, roast beef dinner,’ He began to read the items off the bill.

“Let me see that,” the maître d’ snapped the bill out of his hand. “What seems to be the problem Ken.”

“This guy refused to pay his bill.”

“This isn’t my bill.” Joe took a deep breath and kept his hands relaxed. 

The maître d’ glanced at the bill. “Of course if sir is contesting the total, we will add it up again.”

“I am not contesting the total …”

“He said his table wasn’t clean enough so he’s not paying it.’ Someone from another table added their two cents worth. “The tables here are always spotless.”

“Oh, we get your type in here far too often. Order a meal eat it then find some petty thing to complain about.” The maître d’ sneered.

“I have been coming in here for year and have never complained about anything.” Joe’s voice rose.

“No need to shout, sir.” The owner came from behind the front counter. “This is a respectable family restaurant. We can’t have that kind of language.”

“Here! Here!” Cheered the old lady from the nearby table. “Let me eat in peace.”

“But I didn’t say anything offensive.”

“Then just pay up like a good guy.” The owner patted Joe on the shoulder.

“But this isn’t my bill. I didn’t order any of this. I didn’t have any of these drinks. Apple screwdriver. Kafka flip. What ever that is.”

“Oh so your are saying this isn’t your bill. Is that what you are saying.” One of the cooks had come out of the kitchen and picked up the bill.”

“Yes that’s what I’m saying.”

“He’s right. Ken this isn’t this man’s bill. He is at table 12 the bill is for table 21.”

They all looked over to table 21 and a large gentleman grinned and waved at them. “I say, can we pay up and get out of here. I’m in a frightful hurry.”

Nils, Lofgrin, Al Kooper, Steve Miller Band, Johnny Winter, Matt Hryhorsky

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April
– April 5 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Season 6 finales – online

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June

travel restrictions means no 😦

Capturing Fire 2020 – Wooly Mammoth Theatre -Washington D.C.
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July

All’s Well That Ends Well – Stratford Festival

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If 

I bought a cassette of If I at the Radio Shack in the Zeller’s Mall (now the Sydney Shopping Centre) when I was living in Cape Breton. In fact that is where I bought my first stereo system. They had a rack of discontinued, discounted cassettes from which I bought music that never showed up at the local record shop. We’re talking early 70’s.

 

This British band has a great jazz sound – a British Blood, Sweat & Tears. I loved that cassette. Each track is sweet & still contemporary – it could be released this week & sound fresh. Dockland is brilliantly moody. The horn work is superb, as are the lyrics, the singing.

I kept my eye out for more by them for decades. Nothing else by them reached Cape Breton. None of my music buddies ever heard of them. They got reviewed by the US rock press: ie Rolling Stone. As far I know they never had a hit song. When I upgraded from cassette to CD this was one cassette I wanted to replace before the tension was shot but I could find nothing. It was as if they disappeared. Then in I found a 2008 CD compilation ‘What Did I Say About The Box Jack’ of tracks from heir first albums. I was happy to hear those songs I knew & some that I had never heard. The booklet was excellent too.

When I finally upgraded my internet to high speed I did a search & downloaded mp3 version of their first two lps & a live concert from 1972. If you are unfamiliar with If, that first lp is worth tracking down. Or if it’s still around the 2008 compilation.

Care

‘You’re nothing but trouble.’ Drak resisted the temptation to hit. He knew hitting would get some response but would also slow things down. And things were going badly enough as it was. ‘You hear me? Trouble.’

‘Yes,’ Steve stepped back. ‘Sorry. I’m …’

‘I know what you are trying to do.’ Drak lost control and the back of his hand smacked Steve across the cheek before he could stop himself. Struck Steve twice more and was stopped on the third blow by a hand that clenched his wrist. Hurt it.

‘Enough of this. There’s too much at stake for you two to be playing at enemy with each other.’

‘Sorry Sis Care’

‘Sorry Sis Care.’

The two men were ashamed.

‘But he …’

‘Drak,’ Sis Care stood firmly before them. ‘I don’t want explanations or excuses. I want action. Not infighting. You know that.’

‘Yes.’ Drak answered.

‘You both understand that?’

‘Yes,’ Steven muttered.

‘Drak, you understand that don’t you?’ Her face was inches from his interface.

‘Yes, Sis Care. It’s just that …’

‘I said, no explanations and no excuses. This one is the last one.’ She tapped the laser pistol at her side. ‘I don’t need much to make me use this. You both know that.’

‘Yes,’ they replied.

‘Okay. Now we have less than ten minutes before we rejoin Group R. Have you laid all the trip wires?’

‘Three to go but Steve here was …’

‘Drak, cut the crap. Three to go and they take five minutes each to set. We have ten. Get your asses in gear.’

The three of them laid the trrace2 wire filaments along the base of the copter pad and over the catwalk entries. Once all of these optic paths where broken the blast would be set off..

‘Hurry up,’ Sis found herself impatient with Steve. ‘What are you fumbling with there anyway?’

‘Sorry, I get …’ Steve reddened as the ply slipped from his hands.

‘Give it to me.’ She snatched it up. ‘I’ll finish this off.’

As she picked it up Steve stepped on her hand.

‘Not so fast, Sis.’

She had her laser in her hand before he could react. A blast ripped through his arm and sent him sprawling ten feet away from her.

‘What …’ Drak raced over.

‘I guess he wasn’t your fault after all. Okay we’re done here. Let’s go.’

‘What about?’ Drak nodded at Steve.

‘Leave him. He’s not one of ours.’

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every Tuesday 2019


June  – Capturing Fire 2019 – Washington D.C.  capfireslam.org 

August 2-13: getting back to my roots in Cape Breton 
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