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I've got apples on my table, got food on my shelf. You wanna hear the blues baby, you sure gotta sing 'em yourself - Honeyboy Edwards, Water Coast Blues

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  • Joe B, L-Bros, Pat C@Jalopy: February 28, 2010

Author Topic: Feb 28 - Joe Bellulovich and The Little Brothers with Pat Conte @ Jalopy  (Read 3661 times)

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Offline Mr.OMuck

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Re: Feb 28 - Joe Bellulovich and The Little Brothers with Pat Conte @ Jalopy
« Reply #15 on: February 28, 2010, 09:59:04 AM »
Amen re. Joe Bellulovitch.
My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
Vladimir Nabokov (1899 - 1977)

http://www.youtube.com/user/MuckOVision

Offline Mr.OMuck

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Re: Feb 28 - Joe Bellulovich and The Little Brothers with Pat Conte @ Jalopy
« Reply #16 on: February 28, 2010, 10:54:41 PM »
Just home from the show and it was an extraordinarily rich evening. Last night I heard Andras Schiff, his violinist wife and a superb Hungarian cellist doing Hadyn trios. Schiff's playing is outrageously good, technically perfect and the pieces are beautiful and sometimes moving, but I can't honestly describe the experience as fun. The tension on stage and in the hall when the violinist made a mistake was excruciating. Then there's our music which is probably ALL mistakes! :P The show opened with Joe Bellulovitch playing guitar and harmonica in a rack, then solo harp and then some pieces with Pat Conte. Not only is Joe the best living Harp player I've heard, but his singing is fantastically good as well. His voice, a rich baritone is full of resonance and tight, controlled vibrato that imparts great depth of feeling to his singing. His repertoire is more 30's and 40's than twenties though there were some earlier pieces in his solo Harp performances. These were positively stunning! His guitar work is very good as well, rhythmically on target, and convincingly of the period. In fact convincing is one word that comes to the fore strongly in thinking about his set. There is something about the way Joe inhabits this music that is extremely rare. It doesn't sound like a middle aged white guy who can sound just like an old black guy, it sounds and feels like you're listening to the genuine post racial article. This is not due to his ability to capture and imitate the sound of the old timers, its something from inside of him that speaks from an equivalent kind of experience or emotion, what exactly that is or was I can't say. Joe is a very humble fellow (maybe thats his secret) and this was the first time he's done a solo set. He has no idea how good he is. I hope you all have the experience of hearing him someday.
Kim & Frank, as might be expected were just great. Their set was a eclectic mix of Blues and old timey pieces that
wove an interesting picture of the inter relatedness of those styles. Frank's singing was strong and remarkably able to sound right in all the variety of tunes they did, no small feat. His playing as you know is unstrained, fluid, and presented with an uncanny yet natural verisimilitude that is just amazing. Nobody does Lemon like Frank. His lonesome Jailhouse Blues on Pat Conte's new Fraulini 12 string was terrific. Kim's playing was hotter 'n that! As the woman exclaims on one of Big Bill's early sides.Plus she told some good jokes and succumbed to funny hat Blues player syndrome. They are quite wonderful sounding together.
Pat Conte is almost like a conceptual musician. His voice is adequate, but his ability to hear and reproduce the most subtle shadings of the vocal's in the songs he performs is something very special and more than makes up for his lack of tone and range. As with his voice his playing is soft, effortless seeming but completely on the money. It almost seems that playing music remains a private affair for him even in front of an audience. In a way its a kind of anti-performance that ends up serving the music very well. He carries such a depth of knowledge to his playing that there is a sense of hearing things for the first time that can't fail to impress anyone concerned with this music. His mandolin playing on the ensemble pieces was excellent as was Franks.
Listening to the four of them combining forces on songs like Ax Sweet Mama, I closed my eyes and let the music wash over me, just like I did with the Haydn trios and was startled at how much was going on, the complexity, richness of sound types, rhythmic contractions and releases. I found it every bit as interesting as many sections of the Haydn, and the atmosphere far more conducive to something like enjoyment or creativity though that doesn't really nail what I mean.
My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
Vladimir Nabokov (1899 - 1977)

http://www.youtube.com/user/MuckOVision

Offline Johnm

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Thanks very much, O'Muck, for the thoughtful and in-depth review of the concert last night.  I wish that I could have attended, but you've described the music and approaches of the different players so well, that I feel you've put an idea of the sound of their music in the readers' ears, and no music reviewer can do better than that.  Congratulations to the players for what sounds like a very special evening of music.
all best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: March 01, 2010, 11:37:33 AM by Johnm »

Offline uncle bud

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Yes, thanks for the detailed review, M. OMuck. I likewise wish I coulda been there, but visitors and distance conspired against me.

Count me as a fan of Pat Conte's singing, and mandolin playing, and pretty much everything (which often seems like what he plays - everything).


Offline frankie

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Thanks for the well written and thoughtful review, Mr O'Muck!  I felt like Joe's set in the beginning set the bar at a very high level...  I just could not believe some of the things I was hearing, and I've seen Joe play plenty of times before this!  He was totally on fire!

One thing that bears mentioning is that Pat is given to taking some very strange (and usually very rare) instruments to gigs.  This was no exception...  the guitar for this gig was a guitar made personally by Fred Gretsch.  It defies description, really, but saying that it is quite asymmetrical in some respects would come close to the mark.  I don't think that he had played the guitar much before that night, and his first song was really an exercise in trying to figure out how to get best right hand touch in order to get the most out of the instrument.  Pat is the most adaptable guy I know when it comes to addressing the idiosyncrasies of a nutball instrument.  The guitar in question turned out to have action that was much lower than he anticipated, and it forced him to adopt a picking approach that was lighter than is usual for him.  You can see some of what I'm talking about in this video of two tunes - 61 Highway/Son House's Pony Blues.  The private nature of Pat's relationship with the music is right on the money, Mr. O'muck - thanks for expressing that so well!



Offline Mr.OMuck

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The first time I went to visit Pat in '78 at his parents house in Howard Beach, Queens, we went up to what I took to be a dedicated music room. All guitars and other instruments covering every inch of wall, and a lot of the floor. There were a couple of chairs. It turned out that this was in fact Pat's bedroom. The bed was taking too much space away from the instruments so he got rid of it and slept on the floor. The bridge of that guitar is carved into the shape of a mermaid and the body reminds me of one of Dali's melting watches.
Thanks for posting those videos Frank. John Hennigan of the East River String Band was there videoing all night so I assume we'll be seeing more excerpts from the show on youtube? Where should we look?
« Last Edit: March 02, 2010, 04:12:33 AM by Mr.OMuck »
My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
Vladimir Nabokov (1899 - 1977)

http://www.youtube.com/user/MuckOVision

Offline frankie

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It turned out that this was in fact Pat's bedroom.

Hah!  fantastic!

Here's Joe's Unknown Blues...  electric!


Offline Mr.OMuck

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The stuff's right there! :D
My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
Vladimir Nabokov (1899 - 1977)

http://www.youtube.com/user/MuckOVision

Offline Mr.OMuck

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BTW I listened twice through to Kim & Frank's new CD Walked All The Way From Home and its definitely one all Weenies will want to own and keep in the player for quite a while.
« Last Edit: March 02, 2010, 12:41:20 PM by Mr.OMuck »
My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
Vladimir Nabokov (1899 - 1977)

http://www.youtube.com/user/MuckOVision

Offline Mr.OMuck

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Videos from this show can be found on the est River String Band's Youtube Channel:

http://www.youtube.com/user/suprovalco#p/u/19/UWSTcO5v-ls
My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
Vladimir Nabokov (1899 - 1977)

http://www.youtube.com/user/MuckOVision

Offline uncle bud

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Thanks for these. Joe can sure play!

Pat's guitar looks like a butternut squash.

Offline Parlor Picker

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We Weenies over the Pond are especially grateful for those videos. Some lovely stuff in there - which keeps stopping me from working.
"I ain't good looking, teeth don't shine like pearls,
So glad good looks don't take you through this world."
Barbecue Bob

Offline Slack

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Frankie has put even more videos up on his site http://donegone.net - make sure you check those out too.  Wow, Joe is an amazing harmonica player alright!

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