Monday, March 1, 2010

Levon Headlines Atlantic City

When Levon Helm first came to town, as the inherited leader of the Hawks, formerly fronted by Rockabilly Ronnie Hawkins (still kickin'), the summer of '65 was just getting underway and Levon & the Hawks were the house band at Tony Marts.

From the second floor roof, outside the rooms where the band lived for the first few weeks at the Shore, you can see the Atlantic City skyline across Great Egg and Lake's Bay.

Last year Levon came back to town to open for the Black Crowes, who recorded a live album at Levon's barn in Woodstock, New York. It was a nice payback, and though Levon didn't sing that time around, he's been singing up a storm on back to back successful albums, Grammys and belated recognition.

So now he came back - Saturday, February 27, as a bonified headliner on a slow Saturday night in the Winter of 2010.

It really wasn't a slow night in Atlantic City, since in live musical terms it was really hot, not only because Levon was headlining, but the Deadheads were in town with the Further tour making a pit stop at the Taj.

Ken Kesey's named his bus FURTHER, because that's where he wanted to go, always taking it further, and while he's gone, God Bless him, and the bus sits rotting away in field behind the barn in Oregon, the music goes on, and the Further Tour is a great example of the continuation of spirit.

I'm waiting on an on scene report from Tim & Robyn, who made it an overnighter (Smart guys), and may even have some phone pix and most definately a CD live recording, sneaker-legged by his pals. That's a new word I just made up - Sneaker-legged, as opposed to Boot-legged, which would be an approved taping rathern than an unapproved one. Quote me on it. And let's hear from you if you have any pix or tapes.

I know Kevin was there. Kevin, the former pizza deliver guy from the pizza shop on the corner of 8th & Wesley in Ocean City, my old hood, has the latest tech and is the best tape-er I know, with an incredible archive of every show I've been in the last few years, as he is undoubtedly there at every show. Now share Kevin, G-Force George will play your stuff on his radio show on WLFR - at Lake Fred.

I'd also like to get some photos and tapes of Levon's show in AC if anybody has them. Let's hear from you.

Since you can't be at two places at one time let alone three, we'll also have to hear from somebody who was at the Marti Gras party in Ventnor sponsored by Carmen and Nancy Marotta, of Tony Marts, where Levon got his local start.

Levon and Carmen were partners for awhile in Levon's Classic American Cafe in New Orleans, which was just off the Quarter, but not quite Storyville. As Rich Spurlock has reported, the club was the place where all the musicians ended up and jammed for fun 'till the sun came up. Just like the Dunes.

So it wasn't surprising that Carmen brought in a Neville to play their Marti Gras party, and officialy inagurate the Bay Rats Krewe, and what a crew they are. There are so many Neville's I don't even know which one came to town, but I know they're all real good, and got that post-Katrina Who Dat? spirit that's contageous. Who Dat Neville? The one who can sing, that's the one.

I guess we'll have to get a full report from Spurlock and some photos from Nancy.

Usually the Billy Walton Band will play a Tony Marts gig, as they have done every one for the past few years, along with Good Old Days picnic and Friday night concerts at the beach, but the Waltons are playing in Europe this week, and entertaining the blokes in the Celler in Liverpool and other such dives. I told my friends Mick, Eric, Van and Ringo to check them out, as they're doing the British Invasion routine backwards, and we can't wait for them to get home and tell us how it went.

I got a copy of their latest CD and promised I'd review it before they got back, so look out. Do you think I'll like it?

I would have hooked Billy Walton up with Paddy Mahoney, who I met in Berlin when the wall came down. Paddy has a pub in Ireland where his band the Chieftons jam when they're not on tour, as they are at the moment, with March Madness upon us, and Mahoney and the Chieftons playing the Kimmell Center? Jesus Christ Paddy, are you bringing the Dublin Philmarhoic orchestra with ya?

It would be a lot more cozy if you played at Dirty Franks, the Kyber or Kathy Burke's Pub on Chestnut Street, but the Kimmill?

Is it a black tie?

Do I have to get my tux out of the cleaners?

And Levon was with us in Berlin! Do you remember Paddy?

With Garth, Rick and Ronnie Hawkins, all together again. What a grand time it was.

And now you're taking it too far Paddy, the Kimmill isn't FURTHER, it's down the friggen' alley at Dirty Franks that's FURTHER.

And I'll be seeing you there after your gig, and you can buy me the pint you owe me from the bet we had.

And bring some photos and a CD from the soundboard, will ya?