MOHEGAN SUN RESORT / CASINO
Friday, August 7th: Uncasville, CT.
Philadelphia's First Rock 'n' Roll Star, CHARLIE GRACIE, joins forces with several legendary peers: THE CADILLACS, THE COMETS, LESLEY GORE, JOEY DEE, SAM THE SHAM AND THE PHARAOHS, LOU CHRISTIE, WANDA JACKSON and JOHNNY FARINA (Santo & Johnny) in BOWZER'S TRIBUTE TO ROCK' N' ROLL CONCERT with the STING RAYS.
-- Charlie Gracie, Jr.
The Chicago Catz were great. (They performed at Bensenville's Music In The Park Series on Wednesday, July 29th) They came out and played for 1/2 an h2ur with non-stop funk before taking a breath. They played for two hours and only played 1 or 2 songs I did not know the words to sing along to. I would recommend them to all! By the way, here is a picture I got of the Cryan' Shames in 1966 at Randhurst when they were singing autographs. (See attached.)
I think even the guys would agree that this was a LIFETIME ago!!! (lol) I first saw The Shames when they were still The Travelers playing in the parking lot of the old Hillside Shopping Center ... even went into their trailer to look at Jim Fairs' Gretch Country Gentleman Guitar ... he was looking to sell it at the time! ALWAYS loved The Shames ... and still do! Glad you had a good time the other night ... hopefully, you'll make it out to Bolingbrook on the 26th to see the official reunion of five of the original guys ... something Fairs promises won't happen again until 2049!!! (kk)
We had the pleasure of catching Dean Torrence and The Surf City All-Stars last Tuesday Night at an outdoor concert gig right here in Elk Grove Village, Illinois. If the band got off to a bit of a rocky start (as suggested by some of the folks we've talked to since), they recovered beautifully and, in fact, seemed to get stronger and stronger as the night wore on. We singled out Philip Bardowell, who absolutely KILLED that night on his rendition of The Beach Boys' classic "Darlin'" ... Frannie even made it a point to tell him (on our way back to the car) not only what a great job he had done, but that Carl Wilson would have been proud. He really seemed to appreciate that!
Here again is the short mini-review we ran the morning after ... followed by a few more of YOUR comments from some of the folks who were there that night:
>>>We caught Dean Torrence and The Surf City All-Stars at their local appearance here last night ... GREAT show and a good-sized crowd on hand. The band performed the best live version of "Darlin'" (the 1968 Beach Boys tune) I've EVER heard ... and that includes seeing The Beach Boys themselves perform it at least a dozen times!!! From here they're off to Texas where former Beach Boys Al Jardine and David Marks join the line-up. (Here in Chicago, Bob Greene took the stage, along with Al's son Matt Jardine, who handled most of the high falsetto vocals.) If you get a chance to see them before the summer's over, do so ... GREAT summertime music and a guaranteed night of Fun Fun Fun! (kk)
Glad you were able to come to the Dean Torrence / Surf City All Stars show. I met up with Philip Bardowell and he gave me full access ... sat with the band before and after. What a hoot! The promoter was telling old Cryan' Shames, Chicago and Buckinghams stories ... I've posted a few photos here:
They gave 110%; each song was true to the original recording (Gary Griffin told me some are actually in a higher key than normal - I had assumed they'd be lowered to help the guys on falsetto!). They had the crowd on their feet for most of the night. And Philip Bardowell's lead on Darlin' would have made Carl proud! Phil
I told the guys that their live rendition of "Darlin'" was the best one I'd ever heard ... and that includes having seen The Beach Boys themselves perform it about a dozen times!!! Yep, DEFINITELY worth checking out if they're out in your area. The band performs in a variety of line-ups ... and I suppose having someone like Dean Torrence or Al Jardine "front" the band DOES help to sell a few more tickets ... but I'll tell you what ... these guys are plenty strong on their own without ANY guest appearance gimmicks. They were all schooled on the road as members of The Beach Boys touring band ... and this apprenticeship has served them well. But they didn't just do Beach Boys, Jan and Dean and Surf Songs ... they got the WHOLE place rockin' with their take on The Beatles' classic "I Saw Her Standing There" and renditions of "Margaritaville" and "Stir It Up" were also highlights of the evening. All-in-all, a VERY strong performance ... we're hoping to catch them again sometime! (kk)
And YOU can, too ... here's a list of upcoming tour dates:
Click here: The Surf City Allstars, World's Greatest Surf and Beach Party Band
>>>The band performed the best live version of "Darlin'" (the 1968 Beach Boys tune) I've EVER heard ... and that includes seeing The Beach Boys themselves perform it at least a dozen times!!! (kk)
Philip Bardowell took the lead in Chicago - Only Carl Wilson could have done it better. Here is his site (with songs he has recorded and released): http://www.philipbardowell.com/fr_index.cfm
Phil / PhilPrayForSurfblog.blogspot.com
Yes, we've been checking out his site and some of his other work. I hope he saw our review ... he DESERVES the recognition for this. (We even stopped by to tell him so on our way back to the car after the show!) Without question, Carl Wilson sang the shit out of this song ... but Phil totally KILLED on it that night! (kk)
I will try to get it to him ...
and then this ...
Got a "Wow" reply from Philip Bardowell - Your note seemed to mean alot to him ...
Then he'll REALLY dig all the gushing we're doing over him today in Forgotten Hits!!! (lol) Thanks for passing our well-wishes along, Phil! (kk)
>>>Speaking of great surf music, we caught Dean Torrence and The Surf City All-Stars at their local appearance here last night ... GREAT show and a good-sized crowd on hand. The band performed the best live version of "Darlin'" (the 1968 Beach Boys tune) I've EVER heard ... and that includes seeing The Beach Boys themselves perform it at least a dozen times!!! From here they're off to Texas where former Beach Boys Al Jardine and David Marks join the line-up. (Here in Chicago, Bob Greene took the stage, along with Al's son Matt Jardine, who handled most of the high falsetto vocals.) If you get a chance to see them before the summer's over, do so ... GREAT summertime music and a guaranteed night of Fun Fun Fun! (kk)
Hi Kent - I was at the merchandise table off to the right of the stage. I am the drummer. Sorry we missed each other. Please put a great review on your website. That was Philip Bardowell who played with me, Matt, Gary, and Chris in the Beach Boys. We are off to Ft. Worth, TX to do a date featuring us, Dean, plus Al Jardine & David Marks.
See you next time ...
The Surf City All Stars
Thanks so much, Kent. You were at the show last night? It would have been good to say hello. Did you talk to Dean or any of the other guys in the band?
I thought that was one of the best shows of all the time I've been traveling with the band -- great setting, great weather, great crowd, great, long set. Maybe it could have benefited by cutting out "Little Honda," but ...
Thank you again, and I'm glad you enjoyed it.
Yes, it would have been nice to say hello and meet ALL the guys in the band ... by the time I made it to the backstage area, it looked like everybody had pretty well cleared out. Hey, your rendition of "Little Honda" might not win you the "Male Vocalist of the Year" Award this year ... but it was a fun night of music ... and it always means SO much more when the band is having as much fun as the audience ... which was clearly the case the other night. Thoroughly enjoyed you guys and hope to catch you again! (kk)
LAST NIGHT MY FAMILY AND I VENTURED OUT TO ELK GROVE VILLAGE, ILLINOIS, NEAR O'HARE AIRPORT IN CHICAGO, TO SEE DEAN TORRANCE AND THIS YEAR'S VERSION OF THE SURF CITY ALLSTARS. THE LAST TIME DEAN WAS IN THE CHICAGO AREA FOR A FREE CONCERT WAS 3 YEARS AGO. THAT CONCERT AND MANY OTHERS WAS CHRONICLED IN THE BOOK "WHEN WE GET TO SURF CITY" WRITTEN BY BOB GREENE. THE BOOK PRETTY MUCH TELLS THE STORY OF BOB GREENE TOURING AROUND THE COUNTRY SINGING AND BEFRIENDING DEAN TORRANCE AND HIS BACKUP GROUP THE SURF CITY ALL STARS. I WAS LUCKY ENOUGH TO HAVE BEEN THERE THAT NIGHT AND I HAD PROMISED THE FAMILY IF HE EVER GOT BACK TO THE WINDY CITY WE WOULD GO AGAIN.
SO OFF WE WENT, LAWN CHAIRS IN HAND, AND GOT THERE AN HOUR AND A HALF EARLY. WE PLACED OUR CHAIRS IN THE 4TH ROW STAGE CENTER AND WATCHED THE GROUP MINUS DEAN RUN THROUGH SOME SOUND CHECKS DOING THE LITTLE OLD LADY FROM PASADENA. IT GOT ME IN THE MOOD FOR WHAT FOLLOWED, A 2 HOURS TRIP DOWN MEMORY LANE THAT MADE ME FEEL LIKE IT WAS THE MID 60S AGAIN.
TO BE SURE MR TORRANCE CAN STILL SING PRETTY GOOD BUT LIKE ALL OF US HE'S NOT QUITE THE SAME AS WE WERE WAY BACK WHEN. THIS YEAR'S VERSION OF THE SURF CITY ALLSTARS MORE THAN MADE UP FOR ANY OF THAT AND DEAN CERTAINLY HASN'T LOST HIS ABILITY TO ENTERTAIN AND HOST AND MAKE THE AUDIENCE FEEL RIGHT AT HOME. OF COURSE IT DIDNT HURT THAT AT THE BEGINNING OF THE SHOW FIVE YOUNG LADIES THREW BEACH BALLS IN THE AUDIENCE AND ONE OF THEM FOUND THEIR WAY INTO MY 15 YEAR OLD DAUGHTER'S ARMS.
THE CROWD WAS TERRIFIC, MAYBE 1500 PEOPLE AT THIS FREE EVENT. THEY HAD LEFT AN AREA IN FRONT OF THE STAGE OPEN AND BEFORE LONG THE CROWD WAS BEING INVITED TO COME UP AND DANCE AND LOOKING AROUND I ACTUALLY FELT I WAS AT A LARGER VERSION OF HUGYFEST LOL.
NOW ON TO THE MUSIC AND A SET LIST OF PRETTY MUCH WHAT THEY PLAYED:
DRAG CITY, THE LITTLE OLD LADY FROM PASADENA, SIDEWALK SURFIN, THE NEW GIRL IN SCHOOL, SURF CITY, LINDA AND, OF COURSE, DEAD MANS CURVE.
THE BACK UP BAND INCLUDED SOME TERRIFIC VOICES INCLUDING MATT JARDINE, THE SON OF BEACH BOY AL JARDINE AND THEY WERE ABLE TO RECREATE THE SOUND OF THE BEACH BOYS WITH CLASSICS LIKE DO IT AGAIN, DARLIN, GOD ONLY KNOWS, GOOD VIBRATIONS, WOULDN'T IT BE NICE, SLOOP JOHN B, LITTLE DUECE COUPE, SURFIN SAFARI, SURFIN USA, 409, KOKOMO, DON'T WORRY BABY, IN MY ROOM, SURFER GIRL, HELP ME RHONDA, CALIFORNIA GIRLS, DANCE DANCE DANCE, DO YOU WANNA DANCE AND LITTLE HONDA (FEATURING BOB GREENE ON LEAD).
THEY THREW IN A FEW MORE POP MUSIC CLASSICS LIKE LET'S DANCE AND MARGARITAVILLE AND THEN CLOSED THE SHOW WITH THE HELP OF THE SHADOWS OF KNIGHT COMING ONSTAGE TO HELP SING FUN FUN FUN AND BARBARA ANN, A BEACH BOYS CLASSIC THAT, BY THE WAY, DEAN TORRANCE SANG LEAD ON.
WHAT A WONDERFUL WAY TO SPEND A SUMMER NIGHT. THE WEATHER WAS PERFECT AND A GOOD TIME WAS HAD BY ALL. IF ANY IF YOU EVER GET THE CHANCE TO SEE THIS SMALL SLICE OF 60S AMERICANA, DONT PASS IT UP.
It really WAS the perfect night for an outdoor concert ... and we haven't had a whole lot of these lately around here!!! (lol) Yeah, Dean's voice was off here and there but the other vocalists more than made up for any of those weaknesses ... these guys can SING!!! (Like I said earlier, their tenure touring with The Beach Boys certainly wasn't wasted!!!) I was a little bit disappointed that Dean DIDN'T sing "Barbara Ann" ... he let the crowd and the rest of the band (along with a wave of "guest vocalists") handle the lead instead. ("Barbara Ann" has become a bit of a Beach Boys Party Anthem these past twenty years or so ... damn those kids on "Full House"!!! lol) The thing is, "Barbara Ann" is as much associated with Dean as it is with The Beach Boys so it was a bit of a shame not to hear him take hold of that one. Other than that, though, I couldn't find much to complain about ... a GREAT show, a GREAT night, a GREAT crowd and some GREAT music. What more do you need??? (kk)
Thanks for that cool review of the Jan & Dean show with the Allstars. We had a great time. Thanks also for mentioning the LEGENDS OF SURF MUSIC line up. I am trying to promote them as much as possible. I am now in Atlanta to perform with David Marks at a club called Mike's Attic. We will have to meet next time I am in the area.
Thanks again -
SURF CITY ALLSTARS
LEGENDS OF SURF MUSIC
Looking forward to it, David! (kk)