Northern soul, deep funk, and fine living in Pittsburgh. You are what you dance to.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Martha Reeves

Two weekends ago brought Martha and the Vandellas to Pittsburgh for the PCA's annual house party fund-raiser. I'll just hit a few pertinent points:

How disorganized can an event be? Consider such a question answered... hundreds if not 1000+ people paying large to find a single bar manned by two overwhelmed dudes, their shirts stained with blood and whiskey, trying to find one last sliver of gin so as not to face my wrath. A friend who came to meet us there walked around the entrance holding $30 cash aloft, desperately seeking someone to take it off his hands - he was eventually forced to "sneak" in without paying, for want of someone to pay. There was no contingency for rain - who knew it'd rain in Pittsburgh in September? - and after Martha finished, the 200-odd remaining ticket-buyers were told to go back to the PCA building where she'd be signing autographs: It was closed and locked.

But sweet Martha Reeves and her alleged sisters (are they really all Reeves? You tell me) sounded glorious, despite some touch and go moments with the pick-up band and the PA. (The only thing thin on that stage was the sound...) Finest moments: Kris and I demanding "One Way Out," and Martha singing it accapella, just like at the Wigan Casino anniversary so many years ago... The ladies recreating their back-up parts from Marvin's "Hitch-Hike" - no music, no lead, just pitch- and rhythm-perfect backing vox... doing the funky chicken with a Vandella... Was it all worth it? Hell yeah.

Final unrelated note: if you're going to Cleveland for Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings on Sunday, lemme know!

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Wrap-up/N.O.L.A./Martha Reeves

G. Davis and R. Tyler released "Hold On Help Is On The Way" as an Aaron Neville single - he was, after all, the name in New Orleans music; they, just the Parlo label owners. I think it was when Des Parker played "Hold On..." - one of my all-time favorite northern soul records - and I drained a yearning Straub in order to rush out and muss up the dance floor, that I picked Friday as Soulcialism's best-yet installment.

Be proud, Pittsburgh: Despite the Eagle's rep for cheapness, and the Soulcialism crowd's adoration of said low-cost lovin', we raised over $450 for the Tipitina's Foundation - the venerable N'Awlins' club's non-profit group now focusing its attentions on housing and other help for members of the Big Easy musicians' diaspora. (A portion of donations will also go to WWOZ Radio, America's best radio station, decimated by the flooding, yet still on the air, cuz that's how they roll.) That's slightly more than I had dreamt we'd do, $$-wise, and loot's still coming in - the CD your Soulcialist Party Workers concocted of N.O. northern and funk is still churning up the odd donation, so watch that number rise!

Des and Paul Cross brought in a box of rarities - including some Pittsburgh stuff, like the Dell-Vikings' "Finger Poppin' Woman" on local Fee Bee Records - and launched the local career for at least one new bona fide Soulcialism mega-hit. I've got a couple photos from Friday on their way, so watch this spot for those, too.

This coming weekend brings Martha Reeves and the Vandellas to the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts House Party on Friday night. (Check out tickets HERE.)Been swooning to the Watchout! album by Ms. Reeves, and lemme tell ya - if I could, I'd vote her into office just on the basis of "One Way Out".

Thanks again - we'll see ya next time On the Real Side.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Soulcialism FRIDAY

10 pm THIS Friday, Sept. 9
at the White Eagle, 11th & Freyburg, South Side
NO Cover, NO Membership required, 21+
Click here for a MAP TO CLUB

Soulcialism’s monthly installment of ’60s/Motown and Northern Soul comes early in September, with some special bonus features!

First off, this time around your resident deejays from the Soulcialist Party Workers, Johnno and Juddy, will be joined behind the decks for a cameo appearance by Des Parker and Paul Cross, two Northern Soul scene stalwarts from the UK. These guys will bring a li’l taste of what the UK 60s rare-soul scene is dancing to these days, but more than that, they’re going to drink bottled beer by the gallon and have y’all show them a luvly time!

Secondly, as always, there’s NO COVER CHARGE for Soulcialism at the Iggle. However, this time around we’ll be collecting voluntary donations at the door, with all proceeds from the evening going to charities such as WWOZ Radio, the Tipitina’s Foundation and the N.O. Musician’s Clinic set up specifically to help New Orleans music people rendered homeless, workless and worse by hurricane Katrina. In addition, for a li’l bit more of a donation, you can pick up a special CD-r comp of New Orleans- and Gulf Coast-based northern soul tracks and related sounds – pretty sweet, eh?

But most importantly, it’s time to come out and DANCE and DRINK and FALL OVER to big ole hits by STEVIE WONDER, JACKIE WILSON, CURTIS MAYFIELD, THE DELLS, the JACKSONS, FELICE TAYLOR, WAYNE GIBSON, and tons of other soul favorites – with the odd li’l lick of funk and R&B for good measure!!

Pass the word along to your friends, enemies, bartenders… we gon’ have a good time. Mmm. Hmm.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

New Orleans

A horrible, horrible scenario is laid out by this article from Fox News.

Apparently Fats Domino, Irma Thomas and Antoinette K-Doe are all missing in the wake of Katrina. Allen Toussaint is in the SuperDome waiting to be evacuated - he managed to get a message out to his daughter. The Nevilles are safe and dry, though the family may have lost absolutely everything.

After the lives lost, the economic impact, the crime, the displacement, the absolute disruption in the lives of such a large segment of our nation's population - after that's all totted up, we'll have to start looking at the cultural and historical impact of this damned event. An entire generation of a vibrant locality's musicians and artists who, by ALL rights, should be living out their golden years in the glow of recognition may be wiped out - either literally or financially. Not to mention everything they had to tell us and pass on.

This shit can make you a praying man.