Doc Watson passed away in North Carolina on May 29th, 2012 at the age of 89.
Arthel Watson was born in Deep Gap North Carolina in 1923. An eye infection caused him to lose his vision before he reached the age of one. Despite his handicap he was taught to work hard and as a boy his brother and he were told if they chopped down some old, dead chestnut trees on their property they could sell the wood to the local tannery. With his profits, Arthel bought a Stella guitar for ten dollars and a career was born. While doing a radio show , the announcer mentioned that Arthel was a difficult name to pronounce and perhaps Watson should come up with a simple nickname. An audience member yelled out “ Call him Doc.” And Doc he was for the rest of his life.
Robin Gibb one third of the brotherly trio, The Bee Gees, passed away last week at the age of 62, after a long battle with cancer. That leaves only Barry left alive with Maurice having predeceased twin brother Robin. Tributes poured in from around the globe and because Disco Queen Donna Summer had passed away a few days earlier, the two were tied together, exalting their contributions to the disco era. But there was much more to singer Robin Gibb than just the disco music that propelled the Brothers Gibb to superstardom.
Although big brother Barry Gibb was the voice of the “Jive Talkin’”, “Stayin’ Alive”, Bee Gees Robin’s sensitive quaver was the signature voice of the group’s monster hits of the sixties. Starting with the icebreaker charttopper “1941 New York Mining Disaster”, followed by “Words” , “Massachusetts”, “To Love Somebody” “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart?”and “I’ve Gotta Get A Message To You”, there was a rivalry between who was the true star of the group big brother Barry or Robin. Robin’s twin brother Maurice wisely stuck to bass and keyboards and background vocals. This rivalry would eventually result in Robin leaving the band to start a solo career. His first solo album ‘Robin’s Reign’, released in 1970, didn’t do very much so he reunited with his brothers, who had flopped with their album as a duo, ‘Cucumber Castle’. Nothing much was happening so they looked for ways to reinvent themselves.
When the industry moans and groans about the fact that the current music scene has no talent they should hang out at some of the all ages shows booked around town. There you are bound to find some of the best bands going right now. It is refreshing to hear these young, talented up & comers do covers of songs like Nancy Sinatra’s “These Boots Are Made For Walking”, The Clover’s (and Searchers) “Love Potion #9”, and weirdest of weird, the 1962 Joannie Sommer hit “Johnny Get Angry.”
Sunday, May 20 of the Victoria Day weekend, a CD Launch party in Toronto was held in the unique 2nd floor downtown venue, Hard Luck Bar, where a few hundred young revellers came to party to Free Criminals, Stranded Cruiser and the unique Swamp Yankees.
The crowd was movin’ and groovin’ along and the party seemed set to coast into an easy close when the headliner band, Ruthless Ones hit the stage. The dance floor was immediately overtaken with an instant mosh pit, and Ruthless Ones kicked into high gear. The scene was instantly explosive and it was obvious this band had true, faithful followers.
The canny folk at Lula Lounge placed this heavyweight double bill on a weeknight, confident of a full house and the fans didn’t disappoint. Good for the watchers, not so much for the dancers, as the dance floor is sacrificed to table seating when the joint’s this packed.
This said something about the divide on the evening's bill of Perez and Berroa. It was split along generational lines, which also lined up with the danceable and the listenable, the contemporary and the classical.
Cuban-born multi-instrumentalist Perez, 29, now lives in Spain and is a major figure on the European Latin scene, known for his fearless explorations in forging a new direction.
On this occasion, his instrument was the melodic bass and abely assisted by fiery pianist Robi Botos and the percussive drive of Mario Allende, both T.Dot indie stars, Perez put on a bass clinic that was at once brain tickling and ass-shaking, if the booties at the bar aching to get on the floor were any indication. Working an evocative and rich tenor, the boy’s a fluid performer and a charismatic babe magnet. He’s also a crafter of complex, contrapuntal and catchy tunes like “Sabor de mi Rumba” which exemplified Perez’s emerging sound and brought his showmanship to the fore as he departed from the recorded version by turning the choruses into an audience singalong Perez left to a storm of applause and there wasn’t a one of us barbirds that didn’t want to hear more. Be nice if next time he came around there was a dance floor to get down to the sound.
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