Friday, September 27

Syd Straw, Peter H (etc) – McCabe’s 1987

Santa Monica, CA
July 10, 1987

acoustic show

audience recording (sound quality VG+; low-generation tape source with good acoustics, marred only by occasional taper-adjusting-his-equipment noises)

SPECIAL THANKS to the taper and to dB’s Fan for sharing

HIGHLIGHTS: unique show, with covers galore and generous helpings of songs from Syd Straw, Peter Holsapple, The dB's & Golden Palominos

McCabe's Guitar Shop in Santa Monica has hosted numerous cool shows through the years

SAMPLE: "Think Too Hard" (McCabe's)

01 intro & Winnie the Pooh reading
Syd Straw (photo by Jeff Wong)
02 The Way of Love
03 Losing My Grip
04 Unsatisfied (Replacements cover)
05 Girlfriend
06 Looked at the Sun Too Long
07 Think Too Hard
08 In the Middle of It All
09 Keep Up With You
10 You and Your Sister (Chris Bell / Big Star cover)
11 It Tears Me Up
12 The First One
13 (I'm Always Touched By) Your Presence, Dear
14 Jerking Around
15 Today Could Be the Day
16 I’m Looking for a Home
17 Two By Two
18 Never Before and Never Again
19 Lonely Is as Lonely Does
20 Next to the Last Waltz
21 Nothing Is Wrong
22 Mr. Control
Peter Holsapple: man with a guitar and a song
23 I Can’t Win
24 (Kind of) True
25 Angels
26 I Apologize (Hüsker Dü cover)
27 All the Way
28 Buenos Aires

NOTE: other song composers are identified in the comments section of the MP3 files

TT: 1:44:50

Syd Straw – vocals
Peter Holsapple – guitar, vocals
Jody Harris – guitar
Frank Valentine – guitar

Find another Syd Straw/Peter Holsapple show HERE. Learn more about the music of Syd Straw at AllMusic and/or 
John Relph's excellent discography     

Wednesday, September 25

Videos new & old (worth watching)


"Waterloo Sunset" by Ray Davie of The Kinks
Sung by The Chorus Project
Played by The dB's
July 2013

More info about The Chorus Project at THIS web site and THIS FaceBook page
BIG THANKS to Z for the hot tip...
"Living a Lie" by The dB's
Dude, check out the "green screen" malfunction with Will's shirt starting at 1:48...

Friday, September 20

September is Will Rigby month at the blog...

... in case you hadn't noticed.
Another photo of Will Rigby (drumming for Steve Earle in 2013)
by Lewis J. Tezak Jr. for Upstate Live.
Will has been a champion of musical discovery via the Internet, going back (I suppose) to his finding a news & discussion group devoted to Bob Dylan (read what he says about this and his song "Leanin' On Bob" in last week's post).

Some time thereafter, Will wrote the bio for The dB's that was published on the band's official site. He's been a strong supporter of this blog since I started it last year. For that reason — and since the guy is also one of the most enjoyable and fascinating musicians I've encountered — I've been wanting to feature him and his music here for some time.

Great place to catch a show: The Orange Peel in Asheville, N.C.
I finally got my chance when the Steve Earle & The Dukes tour came close enough for me to catch them live recently in Asheville, N.C. Not only did I get to see and hear Will do his masterly thing on the drums during the show, he also was gracious enough to sit for an hour-long Q & A, which became the basis for the two-part interview I posted last week and the week before.

This week, I close out Will Rigby Month with two posts. The first is a recent Steve Earle & The Dukes show from Dublin, Ireland. I've enhanced it with two bonus tracks: a cover of The Stones' "Mother's Little Helper", live in London on this tour with Will on backing vocals, and Will's own "Ricky Skaggs Tonite" from a recent show in Canada. Will is the longest-standing (?"longest-sitting"?) drummer that Steve Earle's Dukes has ever had. Give this show a listen, and you'll hear why.

The second post is a multimedia feast of Will Rigby's best/favorite drumming performances, courtesy of the artist himself. I recommend you explore it with the aim of discovering great music. A noteworthy f'rinstance: Cheri Knight's The Northeast Kingdom (produced by Steve Earle), which Will says is one of the all-around best projects he's ever been involved in. I'd never heard of the album or the artist. After giving it just one listen, however, I was very glad to get the tip from Will.

He's got a bunch more for you, so have a look and —

P.S. - On top of everything else, Will also writes the occasional piece about music. His latest appears on Ted Barron's blog Boogie Woogie Flu. It's a remembrance of discovering The Velvet Underground and the peculiar joy of finding an elusive musical grail. Read it HERE.

Steve Earle, Will Rigby & The Dukes - Dublin, Ireland 2013

Vicar Street 
Dublin, Ireland
June 1, 2013

audience recording (sound quality Ex--; I almost never give this high a grade to an audie; it’s a pretty impressive recording)

MEGA THANKS to Kagee1 for recording and sharing this awesome show!

Men (and woman) in black: Steve Earle and the fabulous Dukes
SAMPLE: "You're Still Standing There" (Vicar Street 2013) 

01 The Low Highway
Catch 'em live if you can...
02 21st Century Blues
03 Calico County
04 Taneytown
05 Hard-Core Troubabour
06 I Thought You Should Know
07 banter 1 + intro to That All You Got?
08 That All You Got?
09 Love’s Gonna Blow My Way / 
         After Mardi Gras
10 banter 2
11 Pocketful of Rain
12 This City
13 Ben McCulloch
14 You’re Still Standing There
15 Invisible / Burnin’ It Down
16 Guitar Town
17 Copperhead Road
18 banter 3 + band Intros
19 Free Men (Kelly Looney tune)
20 banter 4 + intro to Warren Hellman’s Banjo
21 Warren Hellman’s Banjo
22 Little Emperor
Steve Earle, Will Rigby, Kelly Looney
("best darn lineup" of The Dukes)

23 Billy and Bonnie
24 Mystery Train, Part 2
25 Galway Girl
26 Down the Road, Part 2
27 Down the Road
28 encore break 1 + intro to Remember Me
29 Remember Me
30 My Old Friend the Blues
31 Dixieland
32 encore break 2
33 Wild Thing (Troggs cover)
34 Continental Trailways Blues
35 The Revolution Starts Now

*36 Mother’s Little Helper (Rolling Stones cover)
^37 Ricky Skaggs Tonite (Will Rigby)

*Royal Festival Hall, London, UK 2013-05-21 (aud)
^Moncton, NB, Canada 2013-08-12 (aud)

TT: 2:15:10
suggested disc split for burning: between tracks 22 & 23

Band in motion: SE & The Dukes, live in 2011 (photo by
Steve Earle & The Dukes:
Steve Earle - guitar, mandolin, banjo, keyboard, vocals 
Chris Masterson - pedal steel, guitars, B bender, vocals 
Eleanor Whitmore - fiddle, guitar, mandolin, keyboard, vocals 
Kelly Looney - bass guitar, double bass, guitar, vocals 
Will Rigby – drums!


Will Rigby - favorite songs & performances

WR, himself
A man of many talents, faces, hair styles.
Here's a compendium of some of Will's favorite recordings by other artists, on which he plays (and occasionally sings). For the most part, this collection was compiled by Will, but I threw in a small handful of picks.

*except Mojo Nixon, whose stuff is usually in bad taste — but in a really good way...

CLICK ON THE LINKS: many will take you to YouTube, while others will take you to artists' web sites, and still others will open iTunes links whereupon you can sample and/or purchase some of the music. A few are MP3s that were either free to begin with or authorized by the recording artist.


Cheri Knight, "All Blue" (live performance video, Mercury Lounge, NYC in 1998): WR on drums & backing vocals

"Black Eyed Susie" (live video, Mercury Lounge, NYC in 1998): WR on drums

"If Wishes Were Horses" (live video, Mercury Lounge, NYC in 1998): WR on drums

Kelly Willis, "That's how I Got to Memphis" (audio only YouTube clip; album cut from Tom T. Hall tribute): WR on drums

Laura Cantrell, "Little Bit of You" (audio only YouTube clip; album cut from Not the Tremblin' Kind): WR on drums

"Do You Ever Think of Me?" (audio only YouTube clip; album cut from Not the Tremblin' Kind): WR on drums  

"Pile of Woe" (audio only YouTube clip; album cut from Not the Tremblin' Kind): WR on drums

"Big Wheel" (audio only YouTube clip; album cut from Not the Tremblin' Kind): WR on drums

Matthew Sweet, "The Ugly Truth" (live TV performance video, MTV's "120 Minutes" in 1993): WR on drums

"Someone to Pull the Trigger" (live video, MTV's "120 Minutes" in 1993): WR on drums

"Devil With the Green Eyes" (live video, MTV's "120 Minutes" in 1993): WR on drums

"Time Capsule" (live performance video, "Conan O'Brien", 1993): WR on drums

(all 4 of the above videos feature the great Richard Lloyd on guitar) 

Jill Sobule, "I Kissed a Girl" (live TV performance video, "The Tonight Show", 1995): WR on drums

"I Kissed a Girl" (live video, "The Daily Show", 1995): WR on drums

Steve Earle, "Invisible" (official video, single from The Low Anthem): WR on drums

"Jerusalem" (official video, single from Jerusalem): WR on drums

"Some Dreams" (official video for the movie "The Rookie" + album cut from Sidetracks): WR drum miming (Will did not actually play on the album track)

"Lonelier Than This" (live, Toronto, Canada, 2000 on MP3): WR on drums 

"I Can Wait" (audio only YouTube clip, album cut from Transcendental Blues): WR on drums
"The Revolution Starts Now" (live, The Late Show with Craig Ferguson): WR slammin the drums!

"Invisible" (live on Letterman 2013): WR on drums

Complete 2011 live concert, Steve Earle & The Dukes (& Duchesses), multi-part YouTube videos [audience-shot, but quite well done]: WR on drums

Tim Lee, "Whistling Thru a Graveyard" (Free Friday download MP3): WR on drums

The Pussywillows, "Vindaloo" (audio only YouTube clip; album cut from the movie soundtrack Kill the Moonlight]): WR on drums

Mojo Nixon, "Gotta Be Free" (audio only YouTube clip; album cut from Whereabouts Unknown [a song about ... err, um ... penis enlargement; a fitting musical companion to "Tie My Pecker to My Leg"]): WR on drums

Faye Hunter, "Blinded" (audio only YouTube clip; album cut from Water Music Compilation by various artists): WR on drums

Chris Erikson, "Ear to the Ground" (album cut from Lost Track of the Time in MP3, courtesy of Chris Erikson): WR on drums 

That's Will at far right
others L-R: Tony Maimone, Chris Nelson, Phil Dray, Dick Champ
The Scene Is Now (most album cuts from Tonight We Ride [MySpace stream]): WR on drums

Friday, September 13

WIll Rigby's Paradoxaholic (Interview Part 2)

Music geeks of the world, I have a question for you: 

Is there anything more satisfying than sharing your nomination for Best Album Most People Have Never Heard?

Nope; I think not.

This and other drawings by Michael McMahon
If we narrow the parameters just a bit — as in, “Best Americana Album Most People Have Never Heard” — then I have an album for your consideration: I nominate Will Rigby’s 2002’s album, Paradoxaholic.

If you’ve heard a funnier (yet also profound), catchier (yet not simplistic), more musically enjoyable album, please leave a comment at the bottom of this post — ‘cuz I intend to track it down and listen to it. But don’t just take my word for how good Paradoxaholic is. Scroll to the bottom of this post for some reviews, including a no-kidding endorsement by Peter Holsapple.

Since it’s Will’s only “proper” album (ie, one you can buy on CD), I spent a good bit of time asking about Paradoxaholic during my recent interview with him.  

Photo and design by Stephanie Chernikowski
One of the first things Will talked about was the name of the album: 

The whole reason I made the album title Paradoxaholic is that I had some songs that were rather humorous and I had some miserable, sad songs and I was trying to think of a word that expressed the fact that there was two very different things going on, and that was the closest I could come.

I'd imagine you would be proud of the album. True?

Yeah, I’m proud of it. But when you write humorous songs, people don’t take them very seriously. You kind of damn yourself to being [seen as] superficial…. When I write a song with humor in it, I aspire for it to be funny and serious at the same time. But it’s disconcerting to people; people don’t really go for it. It’s a very small group of people who go for serious and funny at the same time.

Tell me about the first track, "Got You Up My Sleeve". Your daughter Hazel got a co-writing credit on that, but I assume she was really young when it was recorded.

She was 4 or 5 at the time. I was kind of messing around and I jokingly said, “Let’s write a song.” One line she said made it into the song, “You seem to be with me”. [Unfortunately, Hazel cried when she heard the finished song because it differed from the version her father had first sung for her!].

I love "Leanin' On Bob"; it cracks me up. Is there an autobiographical moment somewhere in there? And what the heck does the subtitle mean ("The r.m.d Song")?

You betray your lack of Dylan knowledge! r.m.d are the initials of the Dylan newsgroup, which was way ahead of the curve on the Internet. I’m a pretty big fan, and it’s partly a song about the discovery of the Internet. They [the r.m.d newsgroup users] were way far along when I found it.

In December of 1995, I went to see Dylan in concert. It was Patti Smith’s big comeback, too, and she was opening, with Tom Verlaine was on guitar. [After a period of disillusionment with Dylan,] I was more excited about seeing Patti. So, she’s up there, she does all right, but Bob comes on and he was great. I think it’s my favorite time seeing him, partly because it was a time of re-discovery. It was kind of a small crowd, but he was giving it his all. He did “Obviously Five Believers” — just all this obscure shit, and it was really great, so I got all into him again.

I was also just starting to use the Internet, so I started looking him up and found this discussion group. Day in and day out, the same people would say, “Yeah, I went to the show last night.” And they would be travelling thousands of miles, in a week or two, just following the tour around. I was like, “Who are all these people? Don’t these people have jobs? How do they afford this?” It was a bunch of people who would go to show after show. I was an intense fan at that point, but the lines about following him around are talking about those real super fans — who were putting me to shame. And they are legion!

Just after interviewing him, I witnessed Will drumming for a great Steve Earle and The Dukes concert. During the show, Will sang “Ricky Skaggs Tonite” (an unlisted track on the CD version of Paradoxaholic). He seems bemused the song turned out to be unintentionally prophetic.

I wrote that in 1987, and it came out [as a single] in ’92. From what I understand — unbeknownst to itself — it has become kinda prophetic about what Ricky Skaggs has become. It talks about the Apocrypha, the “lost gospels” — and, according to Steve Earle, that’s what he [Skaggs] is into now. That’s bizarre. I don’t know that, but that’s what Steve says. I think he underwent some sort of revelation … struck by lightning, or something. I actually have it on fairly good authority from the bluegrass community that Ricky Skaggs has heard the song.

BUY PARADOXAHOLIC AT WILL'S BANDCAMP SITE in lossless or high-quality MP3 formats — for cheap!
Want it on disc? Try here.

(these are excerpts; click the link to see the whole thing)

Will Rigby, once the drummer for the dB’s, currently toiling in Steve Earle’s band (among other paying gigs), writes the kind of songs that should be gathered under a title like “Paradoxaholic.” Clever, smart-assed, funny lyrics get wedded to catchy, spritely little tunes. His stuff sounds like it could be sold to NRBQ or the Morells, and that’s a compliment in my book.... Songs like “Leanin’ On Bob,” in which Rigby assumes the persona of a life-long Dylan fanatic, or “The Jerks at Work,” in which he becomes the most beleaguered co-worker ever, deserve a wide hearing.

The onetime dB's drummer also plays keys as he sings over his guitar buddies in a quavery drawl that knows the difference between funny-eccentric and eccentric-affected; his changeable band clangs and twangs, more Big Pink than dB's. He also knows the difference between a solid tune and a generic one. And he writes lyrics too. Sometimes they're as simply nutty as " . . . Wheelchair, Drunk," but usually they're also pointed—at Dylan worship, the eschatology of Ricky Skaggs, "The Jerks at Work." [Rating: A minus] 

AllMusic Guide review by Michael Berick 
Paradoxaholic marks a rare move to the front of the stage for Rigby. It is only his second solo full-length, coming some 17 years after his debut, Sidekick Phenomenon. What is also rare is that this disc avoids being simply a sidekick vanity piece. "Got You up My Sleeve" kicks things off in rollicking, NRBQ-esque style, and that seminal roots rock band serves as a touchstone for Rigby's music. Both "The Jerks at Work" and "If I Can't Be King," for example, sound like long-lost NRBQ gems. Like NRBQ, Rigby's songs frequently mix sarcastic humor with rootsy hooks…. Rigby utilizes his many years as a musician in his songwriting. "Leanin' on Bob" stands as a hilarious (and knowing) look at being a Bob Dylan disciple and the hidden track, "Ricky Skaggs Tonite," is an odd tale starring the Nashville star…. Although he turns to such old pals as his ex-dB's mate Gene Holder, guitarist Dave Schramm, and Mark Spencer for backing support, Rigby also demonstrates his versatility on this disc by playing keyboards, bass, and guitar besides the drums. But more impressively, he displays his generally hidden skill as a witty songwriter. His sense of humor, coupled with his sense for hooks, makes Paradoxaholic a lively and always entertaining listen. Hopefully, it won't take him more than 15 years to create his next album. [RATING: 4 out of 5 stars]

Q: Will Rigby‘s “Write Back” is a really strong tune, really endearing. So if you and Chris are Edmunds and Lowe, or Difford and Tilbrook, or Lennon and McCartney, then he’s George Harrison, right?

PETER HOLSAPPLE: I would say George Gershwin. I think he may actually be the best songwriter in the band. Paradoxaholic, the last record that he put out, …gosh, it’s good. Really, really excellent songwriting.


1) Major profile of Will in Nashville Scene by Bill Friskics-Warren, published May 2002.

2) Interview with John Fortunato at BeerMelodies.Com ("For Beer Geeks and Rock Freaks"), published soon after Paradoxaholic was released.

3) No Depression feature story (with lots of quotes from Will) by Rick Cornell, published in 2002.