It’s A Vintage Weekend: Roy Loney (from the Flamin’ Groovies); The Hesitations

18 01 2011

Roy Loney, former Flamin' Groovies frontman, this Friday

Hello, Cleveland and Parts Beyond!  It’s been a while since we’ve utilized our Beachland blog, as we’ve shifted the heavy online PR lifting to social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.  We’re saving this blog space – and your precious time and attention – to shows we feel are truly special and worth more than a quick post or tweet.  This Friday and Saturday are filled to the brim with great musical acts – Roy Loney, from legendary 70s rockers The Flamin’ Groovies, and Cleveland soul group The Hesitations – that you couldn’t really see anywhere else.  So we’ve taken the time to get you hip to the sounds that are going down this weekend!

In many circles, Mr. Roy Loney needs no introduction. But to many others, he seems like a footnote in the annals of rock and roll.  Fortunately for Loney neophytes, we’ve got some Cleveland friends helping us tell the story of Loney and his band, The Flamin’ Groovies.  Former Mirrors drummer and CLE alum Michael J. Weldon shares his insights into Loney via the site for his shop, Psychotronic and Mia’s Bead Shop, which sells a wide variety of far-out rock and roll collectibles.  Please note that this is a thorough interview with Loney , so make sure to settle in a comfy chair!  http://www.psychotronic.com/psychotronic-interviews/roy-loney

Loney as new waver

For those of you readers pressed for time, here’s a quote from the Flamin’ Groovies’ bio, provided by the ever-essential Trouser Press, that sheds light on these San Francisco forerunners of punk, roots rock, and DIY record labels:

Starting out in San Francisco as early as 1965 (actually predating the Grateful Dead!), the Flamin Groovies were always out of step with the rock world. Ten years before bands routinely released their own independent records, the Groovies issued a 10-inch mini-album, Sneakers; in the ’70s, when that same do-it-yourself spirit was inspiring countless innovative bands to try and challenge the old boundaries, the Groovies retreated to make albums of beat group nostalgia, wearing period clothes and refusing to acknowledge that times had indeed changed.

Always more cult-popular and influential than commercially successful, the Groovies, led by irascible but talented guitarist/singer Cyril Jordan and (until 1971) singer/guitarist Roy A. Loney, always embodied the rebellious, youthful spirit that fueled punk, but held tenuously to their musical roots — ’50s American rock’n’roll and ’60s British pop. In effect, they provided inspiration for countless bands (how many covers of “Slow Death” can you name?) and are legendary for good reason.

So you’ve got your Groovies lesson, then. Let’s fast-forward to 1979, whereupon Mr. Loney solo career boasted a blasting sound akin to punk rock (warning: cute kid alert at the end):

Here’s a 2010 updating of a classic Loney tune, served up for the madwomen and madmen of Madrid, Spain:

Loney plays this Friday, January 21st, backed by former CLE surfoholics The Purple Knifs (Waitresses and Walkin’ Clampetts guys who’ll be playing a set of their own).  Also on the bill are Living Stereo, most recenly remembered for a powerhouse Halloween set covering the Sonics.

The Hesitations in their heyday. Performing 1 / 22.

Saturday night, we’ll have a homecoming of sorts for Cleveland’s very own Hestiations.  This 60s soul group’s brief career got them not only airplay in the States, but in Europe and especially in Great Britain.  That nation’s Northern Soul fans gobbled up singles like “Soul Superman”, “The Impossible Dream”,  “Who Will Answer”, and “You Can’t Bypass Love”:

“….the Hesitations are ready to work again; reunited in 2006 for a show at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, the four singers and five musicians discovered last March that they can indeed draw a crowd, headlining the Northern and Modern Soul Weekender in Prestatyn, North Wales and pulling 3,000 to 4,000.

The Hesitations will perform at the Beachland Ballroom on January 22, helping Beachland manager Mark Leddy celebrate his 51st birthday. A long-time fan of Northern Soul, Leddy says: ‘I generally use my birthday as an excuse to book some kind of show. Often, it’s a soul-oriented show, so it seemed like the thing to do.'” Carlo Wolff’s great, four-page article on The Hesitations on OhioAuthority.com

John Benson, writing for CoolCleveland.com, has also penned a profile of The Hesitations that’s brief and concise.  However, for the purposes of you, The Blog Reader, we’ll go back to YouTube vids that show the Hesitations in front of an enthusiastic UK crowd, having a good bit of cheeky fun with their hit, “Soul Superman”:

The Hesitations will perform on Saturday, January 22nd, with help from DJ Charles McGaw, and DJ Racecard, aka Lawrence Daniel Caswell, one of the voices on local NPR affiliate WCPN, bassist for the bands This Moment In Black History, Vernacular, and National Suicide Day, and all-around polymath.  It’s also the birthday party of Mark Leddy, one of the Beachland’s co-owners. Expect nothing but good tunes and good times.

Tickets are available at http://www.beachlandballroom.com.

EAS

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Soul Legend Melvin Davis @ Mark Leddy’s Birthday Bash January 16th

5 01 2010

Soul Man Melvin Davis @ Beachland January 16

Looking for some hot tunes on a crummily cold Cleveland day? LOOK NO FURTHER, we say.  Ditch the shovel and grab your headphones, True Believers. Dilligent Beachland archivists, fresh from their rejuvenating Christmas vacation, have brought you tunes perfect for an Epiphany: we present to you soul singer Mr. Melvin Davis.  Listen up!

The story of this lanky soul survivor is told by writer Michael Hurtt for MetroTimes.com, Detroit:

The song, pressed on the local Wheel City label, is one of the most obscure in the history of recorded Detroit soul music. Yet when the band breaks into its intro, the packed house of testifying dancers erupts, and when Melvin Davis sings that first line, they’re right there with him. They know every word. It’s uplifting. It’s soulful. It’s downright spiritual.

Thirty-seven years after its 500-copy run sank without a trace in 1965, 5,000 — yes, 5,000 — Melvin Davis fans are flipping Wales’ Prestatyn Soul Weekender on its collective ear. To this throng of music fanatics, DJs and record collectors, the song in question, “Find a Quiet Place (and be Lonely),” is an anthem, and its rarity has only amplified its legend. 

As Hurtt notes, Davis is regarded as a legend in the vaunted UK Northern Soul scene.  Periodically, the small but proud and lovely beach city of Cleethorpes hosts soul music festivals; festival-goers were treated to songs by none other than Mr. Davis himself:

Melvin Davis will perform on Saturday, January 16th, headlining an annual Beachland tradition: co-owner Mark Leddy’s Birthday Bash.  We’ll not only have Davis (backed by Detroit band The Party Stompers), but a rare set by groundbreaking soul-punk duo, The Bassholes.  Unlike rock duos that sport White and Black in their name, Don Howland (now residing in Asheville, NC) and Bim Thomas (from This Moment In Black History) offer face-slapping, cranky blues for binging:

Order your tickets now from the Beachland website, or call 216-383-1124.  Don’t forget to sign up for our mailing list, if you’ve been too frozen and snowblind to do so already.

EAS

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Tonight: live SOUL MUSIC with Charles Walker and the Dynamites

22 09 2009

After a technically-induced hiatus, the Beachland blog has returned to regale you with SOUL MUSIC.  Not in strictly platter’d form, but alive, sweating and breathing and ready to take you ever-higher.

Tonight the Beachland presents The Dynamites featuring Charles Walker, all the way from Nashville, TN.  Let’s cut right to the chase and dig up some live audio/video for your pleasure:

That hot number, “Talkin’ ‘Bout You”, hails from a 60s-era side that Walker cut for Decca Records.  See, this cat’s got a discography.  And from what you can hear, he hasn’t lost an ounce of power as a vocalist or a performer.

A portion of Walker’s bio on Zane Records informs us:

His professional musical journey began in his hometown with his first recording ‘Slave To Love’ released in 1959 on the Nashville ‘Champion’ label. He relocated to New York shortly afterwards and met record entrepreneur Bobby Robinson who cut some demos with Charles for his ‘Fury’ label.

Soon afterwards, a chance meeting with the J.C Davis Band, who had played the famed Apollo Theatre, opening for Jackie Wilson led to Charles becoming their lead singer. During his time with the L.C Davis band he toured the country opening for many of the greats of the era, including Jackie Wilson, James Brown, Etta James, Wilson Pickett, and Little Willie John. With Charles as lead singer they recorded ‘Sweet Sweet Love’ and ‘The Chicken Scratch’ for Chess records. These cuts never become hits at the time, but their quality has ensured that over the years they have become highly collectable.

Later, Walker formed a band called Little Charles and the Sidewinders, whose 45s can still be found online, sought after by soul music collectors and vintage afficionados.  Here’s a tasty cut by the Sidewinders that fits quite nicely with the UK ‘northern soul’ aesthetic, titled “It’s A Heartache”:

But you, the discerning Beachland Listener, are looking for that unique live vibe, aren’t you? So here we leave you with more of Walker and the Dynamites.  All that geeky collector speak is fun to roll around on the tongue, but ultimately doesn’t hold a candle to a killer live band such as the Dynamites. While the dress on this gig is casual, the groove here is definitely not:

We’ll leave with with Mr. Walker and the incomparable Miss Sharon Jones duetting on a sultry classic we can probably still relate to, entitled “Summertime”:

Now, that’s deeper than American debt!  See Charles Walker and the Dynamites tonight, with special openers The Floorwalkers!  For more information, head to www.beachlandballroom.com.

EAS