Archive for waterfront

Wendy DeWitt and Joe Tate at the No Name Bar

Posted in Bay Area Music, Night Beat, Sausalito After Dark, Sausalito night life, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on February 21, 2011 by joetatesblog

Wendy DeWitt has an unbelievable left hand for the piano. While the left is playing a driving bass line, the right is drawing out a melody. All the while, the voice is singing and sometimes shouting. With Joe Tate laying down some guitar riffs, Lonnie Walter mends it all together with a rhythmic tattoo. Also sitting in was Kurt Harwood who brought his congo drums. These added a nice bass spectrum to the percussion. He also doubled on tamborine and some other small gadgets.

Wendy and Joe took turns on vocals every two songs. Starting off with some New Orleans sounds, the genre drifts to rock, country and a little Hawaiian. Joe sang “Over The Rainbow” while Wendy peeked over his shoulder at the chart. For this, Betty the bartender came out and stuffed money in the tip jar. Others followed her, though it’s not clear why except it’s clear people love this song.

It was a cold and rainy night and the tourists came in shivering. Quite a few Irish Coffees disappeared and there was quite a bit of merriment. There may have been some intoxication too. In spite of this the mood was upbeat with plenty of laughter.

DeWitt’s playing was spectacular as usual. Lonnie Walter played a few bongo solos that were extraordinary. Tate held the middle together as well as possible between the staccato drums and the piano orchestrations.

The evening ended with Joe’s rendition of Minnie The Moocher to which the audience sang along.

Myron Mu was there to pick up Lonnie and he told us that Johnny Nitro had died about an hour earlier. Lonnie, who was really upset, told us we would have to find someone else for March 19 when Nitro was schedule to play at the No Name bar.

Check out Joe Tate’s “Ukulele Baby Songbook” at

http://www.theredlegs.com/JoeTate.html

You can also download a PDF of “Last Voyage Of The Redlegs” from this site.

The Gaters at the No Name Bar

Posted in Bay Area Music, Night Beat, Sausalito After Dark, Sausalito night life, ukulele music with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 13, 2011 by joetatesblog

NIGHT BEAT on Rhythm Street

The Gaters consist of some left over Redlegs including Joe Tate,  Maggie Catfish and Jeff Costello. They are joined by Lonnie Walter on Bongos. The name has nothing to do with alligators but rather with the fact they are all from the Gates, an area of the  Sausalito  waterfront where Liberty ships were built in WWII. There still exists three distinct areas that still have their WWII names; Gate 3, Gate 5 and Gate 6. There is also another section referred to as Gate 6 1/2 but, this is not historic nomenclature, just a convenient name for what would be an extension of Gate 6.

Anyway, Joe Tate plays the No Name Bar every Saturday with various artists. The Gaters are a special feature for Joe because of their long history together with the Redlegs.

On this night, they played some of the old Redlegs numbers along with some standard rock and blues. Maggie did a wonderful rendition of “What A Difference A Day Makes” as well as some very appealing songs like “Smokey Places.”

Jeff Costello maintained excellent work on the guitar, providing brilliant solos as needed. Jeff also helped out with some vocals and, as always, Lonnie Walter held it all together with the bongos.

Joe covered all his usual basses, singing in a strong baritone voice. While narrating the early history of the No Name bar, he does a little Name dropping about the various celebrities who have hung out there over the years.

There was a nice crowd of friends who attended along with many unsuspecting passersby who just popped in when they heard the music.

The flyer features a picture of Maggie and Joe taken at the drydocks of Richardson Bay many years ago.

For more information about Maggie and Joe go to

http://www.theredlegs.com/JoeTate.html

or

http://xrl.in/4y57

There is also a nice clip of the Redlegs playing at

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fS1ZOiyK06o


Tom Bowers and Curtis Lawson

Posted in Bay Area Music, Night Beat, Sausalito After Dark, Sausalito night life, ukulele music with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 10, 2011 by joetatesblog

NIGHT BEAT on Rhythm  Street      Joe Tate

Saturday

This evening, I’m back at the Sausalito Cruising Club to hear the Tom Bowers Boogie Band. Tom Bowers is the fine bass player who also sings with Billy Dunn  at the Blue Monday jam sessions that are held here. Tonight, he is backed by Dennis Geyer and Pierre LeTor on guitar with Randy Hayes on drums. The admission is $10 which includes the buffet dinner. Tonight’s buffet has salads, pasta, bread and chicken plus some dessert goodies.

Starting off with the Kenny Burrell classic, “Chitlins Con Carne,” the groove is set for low key, low volume with lots of chatter filling up the spaces between notes. With the sun sinking low over the panoramic view of Richardson Bay, it couldn’t be better. Our plates are full and with any drink you want, the music is just right.

This is a two-guitar band, which is to my liking. This used to be standard, but has become less common. These guys use their guitars like a kind of duet. The effect is created by trading licks in a call and response pattern. One guitar calls out a short phrase and the other answers with a complement. It’s a little different than the more common “taking fours” in which each instrument alternately plays four bars.

Tom sings a couple B.B. King songs and follows with T-Bone Walker’s  “Times Is Hard.”  When Dennis Geyer sings “Don’t Have To Worry Bout A Thing” with a mambo beat, people start to dance. Next is an original treatment of Jimmy Reed’s “Big Boss Man.”  All I can tell you is that it was a refreshing departure from the original style.

The set finishes with Albert Collins “Frosty,” after which I head for the Presidio Yacht Club to check out the Blues Explosion featuring Curtis Lawson, Lisa Kindred and Eugene Huggins.

The Sausalito Cruising Club is located at Dunphy Park, near the intersection of Bridgeway and Nap Street. Call 332 9349 for information or go to http://www.sausalitocruisingclub.com/.

The Presidio Yacht Club is a short distance away at Fort Baker near the North Tower of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Curtis, dressed in a red suit with blue sequined cape and hat, is backed by the Eugene Huggins Blues Band with Gabe Navarre on guitar, David Kemp on Bass, Jake Baker on drums and Eugene assisting on harmonica and vocals. Lisa Kindred, the Down Home Girl, is also here to entertain us with her brand of homey blues.

The band warms up the room with a few songs sung by Eugene, which are infused with strong harmonica and guitar solos. Eugene introduces Curtis, who makes a grand entrance with a swirl of his cape.

Curtis gets the room moving with “Shake, Rattle And Roll”. Without stopping they segue to “Flip Flop And Fly.”  The whole dance floor fills up right away. The room comes to fever pitch when Eugene’s harmonica cuts in.

It has been a hot day. Now the fog is coming in thru the Golden Gate Bridge. It is a spectacular sight from the clubhouse window and it is cooling everyone off.

Curtis gives us “Stagger Lee” and there is no holding back. The dance floor is no longer big enough. There’s dancing at the bar and all around the tables. Curtis has ditched the cape and is now running back and forth in front of the band. There is no stage, so he is right in there with the dancers.

Now that I think about it, the stage creates a barrier between the performer and the audience that is often needed. But here? What the heck, this is really fun and, because everyone is keeping their cool, no stage is needed.

One of Curtis Lawson’s great songs is “My Woman, My Girl, My Wife.”  It’s a slow tune, dedicated to his wife, Linda. This eases the room back from early exhaustion. Just in time too, because a bunch more people are streaming in.

The door is open and the fog is blowing in, making all the burgees flutter along the ceiling. The room is plenty warm from body heat though.

Now we get a string of rockers from, Chuck Berry’s “No Particular Place to Go,” to Jimmy Reed’s “Ain’t That Lovin You Baby”. Then it’s “Walkin The Dog”, “Early In The Mornin” and “What You Gonna Do?” After “Johnny Be Good” the set finishes out with “Dock Of The Bay” which morphs into “Fa Fa Fa Fa Fa Fa.”

Lisa Kindred Comes to the stage and picks up where Curtis left off, launching into “Let The Good Times Roll,” followed by a few selections of a similar bag.  The place is packed now and the vibe is right.

Soon we are informed that Miss Boudeeka O’Conner is going to sing. She is known for her work with the Unauthorized Rolling Stones. She also is a cast member of the Summer Of Love Revue in which she sings both Janis Joplin and Grace Slick.

Boudeeka serves up “Blue Bayou” and “Chain Of Fools” with her sultry soprano voice. The band chimes in with the “chain, chain, chain” responses, giving it an authentic Aretha sound.

Lisa and Curtis finish the evening with a rousing blues duet that is made up of traded lines taken from several different songs that are improvised together in a very coherent and listenable way.

Curtis Lawson has been singing blues in the Bay Area for more than 50 years. He has three CDs: “Live At The Saloon,” “Ain’t No Cure For The Blues”  and “Legend In My Own Time.”  He was recently honored by the City Of San Francisco for his cultural contributions. Go to http://www.curtislawson.net/music.html. to learn more.

Lisa Kindred has a CD called “Steppin Up In Class.” She also made an LP with Vanguard records in 1965. She sang with the Jim Kweskin Jug Band, Bob  Dylan, David Crosby and many others.   Go to http://www.sfblues.net/LisaKindred.html for more information.

To contact the Presidio Yacht Club call 332 2319 or go to http://www.presidioyachtclub.org/

Sunday at the Sausalito Cruising Club

Posted in Bay Area Music, Night Beat, Sausalito After Dark, Sausalito night life, ukulele music with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 10, 2011 by joetatesblog

NIGHT BEAT on Rhythm Street              Joe Tatedsc01097

Sunday

The Sausalito Cruising Club hosts the Medicine Ball Band Sunday afternoons from 5-9:30 PM. This group must be one of the best-kept secrets in the Bay Area music scene. Their excellent music far exceeds the notoriety they have been accorded.

Led by guitarist David Sturdevant, who moved here from upstate New York 38 years ago, MBB delivers a versatile repertoire with everything from swing standards to R&B with a distinct New Orleans flavor. If you ask, they will even play Dixieland. They were kind enough to play dinner music for a while so everyone could enjoy the buffet.

Founded in 1971 by Sturdevant, the group started by playing in the street for tips at Union Square in San Francisco. Along with Sturdevant was a pair of banjos played by Dave Marty and Abe Van Der Meulen. The late Amanda Hughes started singing with them later as they moved on to clubs. Their first bass player was Randy Jackson, the world famous producer and arranger who is now a judge on American Idol.

Today the band is a very tight ensemble with Charley Hickock on keyboards, bill Belasco on drums, John Hunt on trombone and Curtis Lindberg on trombone. Lindberg is substituting for Yolanda Nickell tonight. Nickell usually plays alto saxophone for the group. Bass is also supplied by Hickock who plays it left handed on a separate keyboard. Sturdevant doubles on chromatic and blues harmonica.

A small retinue of singers, all members of the choir at Plymouth Church in Oakland, are also present. These include: Steve Randolph, Yvonne Dawes, and Mwanza Furaha. Vocals are also provided by Sturdevant, Hunt, Hickock and Lindberg.

Hickock, from Cleveland Ohio, joined the group in 1980 when they had a steady gig at Clancy’s Irish Pub in San Francisco. It was here that the main repertoire was worked out between Sturdevant and Hickock.

Herb Caen was a patron at Clancy’s where he often sat in with MBB on drums. Though occasionally mentioned in Caen’s column, MBB has never been reviewed. At this time, the situation will be corrected.

Bill Belasco, who handles the drums, has been with the group on and off since the 80’s. He also played many years with the Pickle Family Circus. He is a native San Franciscan.

John Hunt, the full time trombone, is from Baytown, Texas and has been a member of MBB since 1982.

Lindberg, tonight’s special guest, has had a long career playing with the likes of Dr. John, Dave Bromberg, Lou Rawls, The Beach Boys and even Tommy Dorsey.

The program starts with Honeysuckle Rose with Hunt on vocals. This rendition is mostly instrumental with interesting trombone harmonies that are interspersed with groups of “fours,” little sections where each member plays four bars. This gives each instrument a little showcase that lends variety to the overall sound.

Next is “Sunny Side of the street,” with Hickock on vocals. This old standard really comes to life when Sturdevant plays a solo on chromatic harmonica. The sweet harmonica strains give this an old world flavor that is at once sophisticated and continental.

Sturdevant next treats us to his version of Fats Domino’s “My Blue Heaven.”  The trombones let loose on this one with a little Dixieland fervor. One realizes, this isn’t your average club band.

Sturdevant and Hickock harmonize on George Jones’ ”The Race Is On,” before calling up the singers.

First up is Steve Randolph with “Satin Doll.” Randolph, who has over six years with the band, has a smooth tenor voice that drips with professionalism. Sturdevant assist on this one with his melodic harmonica to provide a truly enchanting effect.

Yvonne Dawes steps up with “Bye Bye Blackbird,” the Ray Henderson mystical standard that has delighted audiences for more than 80 years. Dawes voice is made for this song, which she delivers with seemingly no effort.

The band gives us an instrumental groove with “Rosetta” before bringing up the heavy hitting, Mwanza Furaha.

Furaha, formerly with Pharaoh Saunders, has been with MBB for about four years. She sings with a powerful yet sublime voice that lifts each song above the ordinary. Her laconic improvisations give “Georgia On My Mind” a Cab Calloway feeling which blends with the mood here as the sun sets over the bay.  She sings “My Funny Valentine,” with a samba beat, adding little scat sections that are applauded by the audience.

Many other exciting things happened including when Hickock picked up the melodion, a small breath powered keyboard, and marched through the audience with the rest of the band following. The drummer switched to tambourine for this. The electric guitar is hooked up wireless so Sturdevant was also in the parade.

For more information about the Medicine Ball Band go to http://www.medicineballband.com/

The Sausalito Cruising Club can be reached at 332 9349 or go to http://www.sausalitocruisingclub.com/