Last year when I went to see Greg Brown at Stephen Talkhouse, I was coming straight A er, make that directly A from a brutal workday and was full of alcohol, heroin, nicotine, cocaine, caffeine, and a variety of pills I have no idea what they were and it was a great show anyway. This time I went totally straight, one beer (thanks Paul) during the two-hour, two-set show (plus two multi-song encores and demands for a third; the Radiators were due up next and everyone had to get out of there so they turned the houselights on in the middle of continuing applause). Unlike me, Brown comes up with themes, and this time it was fishing, primarily, with a subtext that reminded me of the fact that, while Brown is undeniably the greatest American singer-songwriter ever, he can play some mighty guitar as well, and the subtext was randiness and romance, adult songs hammed up on wry by a man who last year released one of the few "children's" records (Bath Tub Blues) any adult could enjoy. At Talkhouse, "You Drive Me Crazy" was the culmination, the point where Brown's musical prowess, his personality, and his songwriting came at the same time.
It was a frightening and thought-provoking night. Dark, too. I took no notes (once an editor asked me if I used a taper or a notepad when conducting interviews, to which I responded, "Huh?") and it was a full week ago, but memory and blood tells me it was "Worrisome Years" that gutted me like a trout this time around: "We don't talk no more/About our dreams/We don't have no fun/The way we used to do/Well, don't be disappointed in me, baby/I ain't disappointed in you/It's just the worrisome years/Over the hill/I thought it's supposed to get easier/To pay your bills/I got nothing to show, 'cept a worrisome heart/Can you please tell me/When does the good part start?" I was shocked that, on the night before Easter, he didn't choose (from among his several-hundred-original-song repertoire) "Poor Back Slider," with it's resurrectionist/insurrectionist lyrics: "Preacher told me Jesus/Laid down His life for my sins/Well I'd lay mine down, too/If I could do it like Him/Three days in the grave/That sounds good to me/I just have some problem/With eternity." Everyone said he didn't draw out that one, I had to check 'cause we missed the first couple of songs of the show. We had left home on time, but got stuck in stand-still traffic. Sat for what seemed like an hour without moving on the expressway. Heard my name in the wind, looked next to us where sat my friend B. in his car. Eventually we got through and saw what delayed us: a car wreck that left one vehicle on its side, the other across the median facing the wrong direction, metal and glass and the feel of death everywhere. Things like that don't excite me like they should, they make me sick to my stomach. And desperate to hear Greg Brown. Who woulda thunk it?
Muse will provide an acoustic set to go with FtN's concert at the Talkhouse this Saturday.
Tuen can be seen at 9:00 p.m. tomorrow (Friday) at the Miami Springs Circle.
Trippin' A "Journey to Africa" takes place Tuesday at the Talkhouse, featuring Cedric "IM" Brooks, dancers, drumming. All like that.
I recommend A.J. and the Stick People at Rose's on Saturday. They sell beer there. And I know there's no cover charge.
It's Black Janet tomorrow (Friday) at Squeeze.
Yes, I still think most jazz sounds like a cross between some people tuning up and the Magic City Loungers (although the new Modern Jazz Quartet's album, A 40th Anniversary Celebration, blows me away). But this isn't about me, it's about you. Tomorrow (Friday) evening at Bayfront Park, Airmen of Note and Arturo Sandoval play a free show. Also, Sunday through Friday (which I suppose means any day but Saturday), you can now hear live jazz at Fashion Cafe on South Beach. Wayne Quaroli is the mainstay, Sinatra-izing on piano, but all sorts of folks sit in, including Joe Donato on Tuesdays. Autura and Master Henry Gibson (one of the greatest percussionists I've ever seen live) handle Fridays. Call 674-1330. Also, Bobby Ramirez and Full Power blow into the Talkhouse on Sunday.
Miami Blues Authority spends the weekend at the Taurus in the Grove.
Long-time (since day one) Ramones art director Arturo Vega opens an exhibition at the Raleigh Studios (555 Jefferson Ave. in Miami Beach) this Sunday at 4:00 p.m. Live music comes with.
Spend a Day by the River tonight (Thursday) at the Talkhouse.
Drinking beer, watching teevy, dying...well, enough about me. I'm not sure I'll be able to watch, but this Sunday at 3:30 p.m. WPBT-TV (Channel 2) will rerun the 1990 special Live from Miami Beach, Again!, which was hosted by George Capewell and my friend Bill Cosford, who died at the beginning of this year.
Butthorn of the week: The teevy show 48 Hours for glorifying the sick, ruthless, cruel, demented, vicious, and inhumane (indolphine) practice of imprisoning dolphins (in this case at Dolphins Plus) so land animals can enjoy intercourse with them. Somebody at CBS needs a good editor bad.
The media circus: You've probably seen that primetime teevy commercial for some shoe-selling company or another, the one that "understands" what the hoopsters playing street ball mean when they say things like "milk and honey" or "like rain." I didn't check with Bill Safire, or any editors, but I'm fairly sure this ad marks the entrance into the lexicon of the word "aks" A as in, "If you don't know, you better aks somebody." I think it's about time.