SUMMERTIME AND THE MUSIC IS POPPIN’
Here are some suggestions.
BLIND BOYS OF ALABAMA, Paul Thorn opening (how many groups, especially with a founding member still up there on stage, can say they will be celebrating their 80th anniversary, next year? yeah, that’s right, eighty-th, been touring for seven decades but hear this, they’re as good as they are old, they take you to church because they’ve spent their whole gospel-shoutin’ lives there, but largely thanks to former McCabe’s booker John Chelew, who went on to produce their albums, they won Grammys for three successive discs and the rest of the world finally took notice, and here’s some advice for these great free concerts all summer long at MacArthur Park, based on the brilliant Fishbone concert I saw there recently: this show will probably be well-attended but there is lots of outdoor area for seeing and listening and there is a long lead-in with DJs and crowd-hype chatter, so bring a picnic dinner and blankets and relax because the Blind Boys, well worth the wait, won’t be taking the stage till way past their bedtimes, but God willin’ they will wear you out with a performance you won’t forget), Sat 7 p.m., Levitt Pavilion, MacArthur Park, downtown LA, no cover.
TONIGHT! — Marina del Rey Symphony: OPERA BY THE SHORE (emerging opera stars from a national vocal competition perform along the water, arias and ensembles from best-loved operas), 7 p.m., Burton Chace Park, no cover.
TONIGHT! — THE RECORD COMPANY (I love this LA bluesy rock trio, I love their funky slidey playing and spare arrangements, I like their songs, their vocals, their attitude — thank you, again, to 88.5 FM for yet another valued stuck-in-Santa Monica-traffic discovery — and apparently so do B.B. King, Grace Potter, Trombone Shorty, Buddy Guy and Robert Randolph who have toured with them, but if you want to see them at Amoeba’s music heaven in Hollyweird you will have to get there way, way early but you will also have plenty to look at while you’re waiting and while I’ve not yet seen them live they have a reputation for killing it on stage, guitarist-harpist-lead singer Chris Vos declaring, “nobody can say how many shows you get to play in your life so we try to play our guts out, leave it all on the table”), 6 p.m., Amoeba Music, Hollywood, no cover.
BOB NEUWIRTH with Tony Gilkyson, David Mansfield, J. Steven Soles, Bob Thiele Jr. plus DON HEFFINGTON opening (the new booking team at McCabe’s have done it again with two promising shows this weekend and continuing their string of folk-rock legends you gotta see — Kinky Friedman with Jack Elliott ramblin’ around, Tom Paxton, Jim Kweskin, does Henry Rollins count? great performance! who am I forgetting? — even if the atist may not be a household name, like Neuwirth, he of Dylan’s renowned Rolling Thunder tour in ‘75, Dylan’s Don’t Look Back film, the Cambridge folk scene, co-wrote “Mercedes Benz,” and he’s got a great band, the elusive legendary Alpha Band minus T Bone Burnett, plus the superlative local sometimes-X guitar slinger-singer Tony Gilkyson and the son of the legendary jazz producer Bob Thiele, I can’t wait, plus drummer Heffington should be fascinating, he of recordings with Bob Dylan, Lowell George, Big Joe Turner, Rickie Lee Jones, Percy Sledge, Big Mama Thornton, Lucinda Williams and Dwight Yoakam), Sat 8 p.m., McCabe’s, Santa Monica, $25.
THE BANGLES, Best Coast (not a huge fan of either band but hey, Bangles, El Lay, you should know about this free show, entertaining even for non-devotees I imagine, and once again you should get there early if you expect to see anything), Sat 7 p.m., Pershing Square, downtown LA, no cover.
ORCHESTRA SANTA MONICA (and now for something completely different, but music and movies do go together, don’t they, chamber music from the OSM’s clarinet quintet playing Krein and Brahms), Sun 11 a.m., Laemmle Monica Theater, Santa Monica, no cover.
JAMES “SLIM” HAND (I got sucked into this one, glad I did, I usually don’t have the time to research people I’m not already familiar with but the McCabe’s bookers, especially Koko, broke into such grins when mentioning him and how he’s all they’ve been listening to lately and with the way they described his music and singing it sounded right up my alley and by golly he is, the absolute real deal in ‘50s-style country, he could’ve walked right up on stage with Hank or any of the legends and held his own), Sun 8 p.m., McCabe’s, $20.
BAND NAMES OF THE WEEK: Yawning Man, We Are Scientists, Potty Mouth, Albatross Overdrive, Body/Head, Nostradumbass, Bitsy la Bourboun, Freekey Zekey, H.P. Loveshaft, the San Andreas Sisters.
LYRIC OF THE WEEK:
“When I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Mary comes to me, speaking words of wisdom, let it be, and in my hour of darkness she is standing right in front of me, speaking words of wisdom, let it be. Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be, whisper words of wisdom, let it be. And when the broken hearted people living in the world agree, there will be an answer, let it be, for though they may be parted, there is still a chance that they will see, there will be an answer, let it be. Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be, there will be an answer, let it be. Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be, whisper words of wisdom, let it be. And when the night is cloudy there is still a light that shines on me, shine until tomorrow, let it be. I wake up to the sound of music, Mother Mary comes to me, speaking words of wisdom, let it be. Let it be, let it be, let it be, yeah, let it be, there will be an answer, let it be, whisper words of wisdom, let it be.” — Paul McCartney, John Lennon (released 1970, recorded 1969, written 1968).
Sometimes I post lyrics of obscure songs I feel deserve some props, sometimes, like today, a very well-known song that maybe, with all the singing along to it for half a century, we may no longer really be listening to the words. I slightly rearrange the punctuation to make it seem more like prose and a little less like the song you think you know. And I try to add some context, which I think is always helpful.
Paul says he wrote this classic during the recording of the landmark, brilliant White Album, as he could see the writing on the wall for the demise of the Beatles. He says his long-dead mother Mary McCarney (he was 14) appeared to him — “I felt very blessed to have that dream” — and that “let it be” may or may not have been her exact words, but that was the message. It will all be okay, Pauly, just let it be. It seems to have found resonance for many, for many times of man and many personal or global circumstances, for 50 years now.
The single was scheduled for release, and McCartney announced his official departure from the band the day before. It did not find universal critical favor, being chided as a simple tune with too much repetition (Hey Jude much?). But that usually indicates a stream of consciousness writing, such as that which might come from a dream visit with your beloved mother.
Have you seen the Carpool Karaoke he did with late night host James Corden recently? It is just too marvelous, too marvelous for words. Special for me because I took the Beatles tour in Liddypool and visited all those places.
Charles Andrews has listened to a lot of music of all kinds, including more than 2,000 live shows. He has lived in Santa Monica for 32 years and wouldn’t live anywhere else in the world. Really. Send love and/or rebuke to him at email@example.com