A TWANGING REVIEW OF 2010

Jose Segue January 6, 2011 1

Kicking off our 2010 review, Hicks with Sticks along with Larry Carlin (Keystone Station) and Peter Thompson (Bluegrass Signal on KALW) made this list of, count ’em, 43 CD releases by bands of one twanging sort or another.

49 SPECIAL: 49 Special (self)
THE B STARS: Behind the Barn (N/A)
BROTHERS COMATOSE: Songs From the Stoop (self)
BIG B AND HIS SNAKEOIL SAVIORS: Big B And His Snakeoil Saviors (A’Okay)
DALTON MOUNTAIN GANG: Dalton Mountain Gang (self)
DAN HICKS: Crazy f0r Christmas (Surf Dog)
DARK HOLLOW: We’ll Meet Again Sweetheart (demo – self)
DAVE CRIMMEN: Full Circle (self)
DOUG ADAMZ: Bernardo’s Seranade (Magi Productions)
DOUG BLUMER: Sounds Like This (Ethic)
DR. ELMO: Bluegrass Christmas (Time-Life)
EARL BROTHERS: Earl Brothers (Big Hen)
ERIC THOMPSON: Kleptograss (Herringbone)
EVIE LADIN: Float Downstream (self)
THE FANCY DAN BAND: Sing to Survive (self)
FRANCESCA NAGEL: Everything Must Change (self)
FRANK SOLIVAN & DIRTY KITCHEN: Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen (Fiddlemon)
GOLDDIGGERS: GoldDiggers (Self)
HI-RHYTHM HUSTLERS: Across the Dial (self)
JERRY GARCIA ACOUSTIC BAND: Ragged But Right, Almost Acoustic (jerrygarcia.com)
JINX JONES: Rip and Run (Home Brand Records)
JODY STECHER & KATE BRISLIN: Return (self)
KATHY KALLICK BAND: Between the Hollow & the High-Rise (Live Oak)
KITCHEN HELP: Kitchen Help (self)
KNUCKLE KNOCKERS: The Knuckle Knockers (Yodel-ay-hee)
LARIATS OF FIRE: Jack Jenkins’ Last Ride (self)
LUKE ABBOTT: Take Me Home (Tone Way)
MARIA MULDAR: Christmas At The Oasis (Stony Plain?)
THE MEN OF LA MANCHA: Misisipi Rider Presents… (self)
THE MISSION THREE: Big Time (self)
NELL ROBINSON: Nell Robinson in… Loango (Red Level Records)
OAK GROVE:  Family Bluegrass Band (self)OMGG: Obviously Minor Guys and a Girl (self)
PETER ROWAN BLUEGRASS BAND: Legacy (Compass)
PLAIN HIGH DRIFTERS: Plain High Drifters (self)
PURVIS & THE STRAY DOGS: Rock the Dog Park (Special Projects)
RAGTIME SKEDADDLERS: Ragtime Skedaddlers (Mandophone)
RED MEAT: Live at the World’s Smallest Honky Tonk (Ranchero Records)
SUZY THOMPSON & DEL RAY: Hen Party (Hobemian)
TAMARA LITTLE: Coming Up For Air (Magic Wheel)
TUTTLES with A.J. LEE: Introducing … (Back Studio)
WEST COAST RAMBLERS: West Coast Ramblers EP (self)
WHISKY RICHARDS: No. 1 (self)
WRONGLERS: Jamming For Faint Praise (self)

Plus two more honorable mentions from the not-so-Bay-Area town of Oakdale due east:

GOOD LUCK THRIFT STORE OUTFIT: The Ghost of Good Manners (Heckabad)
TOM VANDENAVOND WITH LARRY AND HIS FLASK: You Outta Know by Now (Hillgrass Bluebilly)

2010 was a good year for swing and jump blues, but not so good for rockabilly bands as their shows tended to fade from the clubs.  Arguably, the local car clubs hosted more rockabilly in 2010 than the nightclubs.  Some rockabilly bands like Texas Steve and the Git Gone Trio just faded away while others like the Blue Diamond Fillups talked their way onto swing venues and others like the Mighty Slim Pickins and the RevTones took time to retool their line-ups.

The coming of age of the Hi-Rhythm Hustlers, Slim Jenkins and Lost Dog Found has breathed new life into the swing and bop scene.  Kat’s Corner, the regular Wednesday night lesson and dance event at Savannah Lounge continued to prosper under Nathan Diaz who didn’t miss a beat after Kat herself moved to the Caribbean.  The Rockit Room (formerly the Last Day Saloon) in SF’s Inner Sunset neighborhood started offering swing dancing and lessons every Sunday, and the Burrit Room at SF’s Crescent Hotel is now booking dance-oriented swing and country bands including the newest western swing kids on the block, the West Coast RamblersLe Colonial on Cosmo Alley in SF’s Tender Nob has been swinging with The Martini Brothers every Thursday and now they’ve added the new and very boppin’ Cosmo Alley Cats on Wednesday nights.

New George’s in San Rafael is another new/old club that’s back on the radar.  Fourth Street Tavern used to book a band or two from the HWS Bands page each month, but that disappeared in 2010.  Nearby New George’s stopped booking bands in ’03 when it became a restaurant, but now it has a new owner who has remade it as a 1940’s era establishment with live music four nights/week.

The SF anti-fun police shut down the regular Friday night all-vinyl old-school R&B record hop at the Jay ‘n’ Bee Club because that venue didn’t have an entertainment license.  After a few months of silence, this event found new life at ReTox on 20th near 3rd in Dogpatch.  El Rio in SF became the new home for Swing Goth, an edgy lesson and DJed dance event that had been going, somewhat irregularly, at other locations in recent years.  It’s unusual in that the mix is mainly alt-rock and, yes, goth with little if any actual swing music, yet people continue to fill this niche that few imagined existed.

Hicks with Sticks expanded its radio presence with Meaty Paws on KALX‘s Why Baby, Why where we’ll be on every month that has a fifth Tuesday; the next will be announced this March.  And finally, Hicks with Sticks celebrated its 11th anniversary in November 2010.  Who would have imagined that back in 1999?

One Comment »

  1. Swing Goth January 7, 2011 at 7:23 pm -

    Thanks for the shout-out! We actually have a bunch of things coming up, including a show with Slim Jenkins in February and an event in March that you all would be might interested in… not to mention The Mint regulars The Tiger Club are opening up our 2nd Annual Burton Ball (http://lb.vg/r0299).

    – Catch videos of our past events here: http://www.youtube.com/swinggoth – Join us here: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=2313526820
    – AND buy tickets to our future events here: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/producer/18434

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