“Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent”
“I’ve been making a list of the things they don’t teach you at school. They don’t teach you how to love somebody. They don’t teach you how to be famous. They don’t teach you how to be rich or how to be poor. They don’t teach you how to walk away from someone you don’t love any longer. They don’t teach you how to know what’s going on in someone else’s mind. They don’t teach you what to say to someone who’s dying. They don’t teach you anything worth knowing.”
Light the candle
Put the lock upon the door
You have sent the maid home early
Like a thousand times before
Like the castle in its corner
In a medieval game
I foresee terrible trouble
And I stay here just the same
—-Steely Dan, Dirty Work
Time flies – it was six years ago that I wrote about Naked Lunch – the Steely Dan Cover Band at Lee Harvey’s. We saw them a time or too there after that, but the last time, two years ago, they said they couldn’t play at Lee Harvey’s anymore. They simply didn’t make enough money to pay all those musicians (it takes about a dozen to do Steely Dan justice).
But, wonder of wonders, they are back. Lee Harvey’s never used to charge a cover, but now, sometimes, they do. It was only ten bucks to see greatness, so we went. As always Naked Lunch sounds more like Steely Dan than Steely Dan does. Awesome.
“If at first you don’t succeed, kep on suckin’ til you do suck seed!”
A while back we were driving down to the Cedars with a couple friends in the car, looking for something to do. We thought we’d stop by Lee Harvey’s for a beer and maybe a burger, but when we arrived there wasn’t a parking spot in blocks and the beer garden was packed. We weren’t looking for that kind of a crowd – we wanted more of a mellow scene – so we passed by. I was wondering what had attracted that many people so I looked it up later. It was a band called Naked Lunch – a Steely Dan tribute band.
Over time I kept hearing, here and there, how good Naked Lunch was. They were scheduled to play Friday Evening and I thought about going, but the week had been brutal, I was feeling my age, and decided I needed to stay home. Luckily, powerful thunderstorms tore through the Metroplex and the show (semi outdoors) was moved to Sunday afternoon.
I was checking the time out on Lee Harvey’s Facebook Page – and noticed their free food contest. Most days, the fifth commenter on their daily post gets a free drink and entree. I usually never paid attention, but this time I couldn’t help but notice that the post only had two comments. I counted to thirty… then typed “Can’t Buy A Thrill” into the comment line and was surprised to find out I had timed it right and was the winner.
So now we had to go.
Which was extra good because the weather was beautiful (there is no better weather… not even California weather… than late-summer Texas a day or two after a big storm) and the band was most excellent.
Naked Lunch has been playing Steely Dan for fifteen years now… and they have got it about figured out. At one point I was sitting at a picnic table, eating a bit and had my back turned to the band. I remember thinking, “If I didn’t know that was a tribute band playing, I would think someone was spinning some Steely Dan vinyl behind me.”
Of course, to put on a Steely Dan show you need a whale of a band (a lot more than you need for, say, Simon and Garfunkel). Three piece sax/horn section, two guitars, base, drums, xylophone/percussion, keyboards, and a couple of female backup singers. It makes for a big sound.
Since it was a rescheduled afternoon show it wasn’t quite as big a crowd as the time we had driven by. Still, there were a lot of folks, a very diverse crowd, and everybody had a great time.
At a show like this, with so much music over so long of a time, you have to think about what your favorite Steely Dan song is. For someone my age, “Reeling in the Years,” has to be the iconic piece of music, with its rambunctious guitars… or is it “Do it Again”? – man that one brings back memories, but in this, the second decade of the twenty-first century, neither are my favorite. The one I like best is “My Old School” and that amazing horn line. I’ve always had a weakness for instrumentals.
The only downside is that they didn’t do “Dirty Work” – Candy’s favorite.
Another reason we like to go to Lee Harvey’s on Sundays is that they usually hold benefits for animal rescue groups and there are a lot of dogs in the garden. Candy likes that. Today, Dallas Pets Alive was having their anniversary party. They were selling raffle tickets and Candy, to support the group, bought a handful. Our luck held and we won a 50 buck gift certificate for Lee Harvey’s.
So I guess we’ll be back.
“‘Twas in another lifetime
One of toil and blood
When blackness was a virtue
The road was full of mud
I came in from the wilderness
A creature void of form
Come in she said I’ll give ya
Shelter from the storm.”
—- Bob Dylan, Shelter From The Storm
A week ago, we found that there was a party honoring the Lakewood Brewing Company‘s one year anniversary – held at the Goodfriend Beer Garden and Burger House in East Dallas. This was a must-go. Lakewood has great beers and there would be music. Every hour they would be tapping special kegs and casks.
We arrived at about one-thirty, only a half-hour after the festivities started, and found the place already more than packed. It was tough to get to the bar for a beer – it took almost an hour for our first fill. But it was worth the wait – they had a small keg of the French Quarter Temptress on tap. I had tried this before – it’s the great Lakewood Temptress, “cask conditioned with chicory root and bourbon soaked Noble Coyote Papau New Guinea coffee.” I love that beer.
Temptress – black as death, thick as sin, sweet as tomorrow morning’s regret…. the French Quarter Temptress is all that… plus coffee and bourbon.
Then, wonder of wonders, we were able to snag half of a table right in front of the band. The first group was packing it up and the second starting to bring in their instruments. I should have been prepared… copied down a list of the music for the afternoon, and, especially, a list of the hourly tappings. But I didn’t… and that was cool too. I didn’t really want anything other than that French Quarter Temptress and it was fine to not know what music was on the way.
As the band set up I recognized Chad Stockslager. He plays in several local bands and I had seen him with Chris Holt as Holt and Stockslager… a Simon and Garfunkel tribute band, three times – first at the Patio Sessions in the Arts District, then at the Foundry and the Dallas Zoo. They put on a great show – a really fun and mellow evening. I recognized a couple other local musicians, but couldn’t place the lead singer… though he looked familiar and his voice, especially, I knew I had heard before.
Then they started playing and we discovered that the band was The Buick 6, a Bob Dylan tribute band. The singer was Mike Rhyner, best known as a DJ on 1310 The Ticket. No wonder his voice was familiar.
We really enjoyed the show. Afterward, we talked to Billy Bones, one of the guitar players, and he said they would be at Lee Harvey’s in The Cedars that upcoming Friday. Lee Harvey’s is a great place – a combination beer garden and dive bar – a great place to hear music. It’s a dog-friendly place and Candy loves that so many people bring their mutts along.
“You used to laugh about
Everybody that was hangin’ out
Now you don’t talk so loud
Now you don’t seem so proud
About having to be scrounging
for your next meal.”
—-Bob Dylan, Like a Rolling Stone
I had an awfully tough week at work and when Friday came along it was really difficult for me to drag myself up and out and drive down for the show. I didn’t want to go – but I knew I would change my mind once I was actually there. I didn’t even have the energy to change clothes – so it was right in the car and out and down through the big evil city to the Southside.
It was a late show and we wanted to get there early so we could get something to eat. The fish tacos were great, and we settled in and waited for the festivities.
Storms were predicted – lightning shattered the horizon, someone held up a smartphone with an app that predicted heavy rainfall, but we didn’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.
Lee Harvey’s always has an amazing diverse crowd. A lot of different folks are there. Some are mathematicians, some are carpenter’s wives. A lot of pooches. The ages are all over – hipsters – college kids – some families with children…. all the way to people teetering on geezerdom.
Still a little stunned from the week I did manage to enjoy the music. A little food, a little beer, and I felt better. The Buick 6 do a great show. One nice touch is that they don’t try too hard to be absolutely accurate – staying in the spirit of Dylan more than the slavishly correct. A nice setlist selection too – there is so much to choose from. I guess it’s not surprising that the tune I liked the most had some sweet fiddle playing (Hurricane).
Everyone has their favorite Dylan tune – and there are so many of them. When faced with an oeuvre as vast as his it’s important to simply relax and let the band play what they want. Near the end of the second set, some young drunk blonde stumbled up to the stage and demanded the band play, “some of their own music.” I guess she doesn’t understand the idea of a tribute band… or much of anything else. Then her boyfriend loudly requested “Lay Lady Lay” – which is, I guess, a good enough song – but not… well, simply not a good idea. At least the two of them seemed well-matched.
Well, she don’t make me nervous, she don’t talk too much
She walks like Bo Diddley and she don’t need no crutch
She keeps this four-ten all loaded with lead
Well, if I go down dyin’ you know she bound to put a blanket on my bed.
—-Bob Dylan, From A Buick 6
So, despite my worn-out and beaten-down state that evening, we made it through the late set and, after petting the yellow Labrador Retriever sitting next to us one last time, headed for home. It was fun.
The festival was over and the boys were all planning for a fall
The cabaret was quiet except for the drilling in the wall
The curfew had been lifted and the gambling wheel shut down
Anyone with any sense had already left town
He was standing in the doorway looking like the Jack of Hearts.
—- Bob Dylan, “Lily, Rosemary And The Jack Of Hearts”
“Yes, to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free,
Silhouetted by the sea, circled by the circus sands,
With all memory and fate driven deep beneath the waves,
Let me forget about today until tomorrow.”
—-Bob Dylan, ‘Mr. Tambourine Man’
“And she takes just like a woman
And she aches just like a woman
And she wakes just like a woman
Yeah, but she breaks just like a little girl.”
—-Bob Dylan, Just Like A Woman
Oh, if you were wondering what my favorite Bob Dylan song is – it’s “Isis”, from Desire. The band didn’t play it – which is cool, because it isn’t really that kind of tune. I like it because it tells a story – and I’m all about story. It’s also about redemption and I’m a sucker for redemption. Most importantly, I bought that album (on Vinyl, of course) right after I graduated from college and started my first real job – and would listen to it in the evenings until is sank in… and it’s still in there. I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now.
She was there in the meadow where the creek used to rise
Blinded by sleep and in need of a bed
I came in from the East with the sun in my eyes
I cursed her one time then I rode on ahead.
She said “Where ya been ?” I said “No place special ?”
She said “You look different” I said “Well I guess”
She said “You been gone” I said “That’s only natural”
She said “You gonna stay ?” I said “If you want me to, Yeah “.
Isis oh Isis you mystical child
What drives me to you is what drives me insane
I still can remember the way that you smiled
On the fifth day of May in the drizzling rain.
—-Bob Dylan, Isis
“Information is the oxygen of the modern age. It seeps through the walls topped by barbed wire, it wafts across the electrified borders.”
“All anyone really needs to know about barbed wire is that it can tear the arse out of your trousers, give a cow a good fright, entangle a Yorkshire terrier for life, and is nasty stuff made by greedy men.”
― Billy Connolly