Some (OK, a ton of) background: in college -- actually, I don't remember if it was college or the years shortly thereafter -- I saw the Beat Farmers play at the Lonestar Roadhouse. The Lonestar was a C&W bar /restaurant / venue on 57th Street in Manhattan. It's no longer around. Anyway, I was one of the few people who came around early enough to catch the opening act -- a local country-flavored band called Five Chinese Brothers. They gave me a copy of their single, "Baltimore," which was out on Diesel Only Records. Diesel Only specialized in New York country-flavored singles. Often it was truck driving music. They also provided me some of my earliest experiences with alt-rock. Influenced by the Five Chinese Brothers's single, I eventually bought a copy of each of the brand's singles that were still available. Actually I bought two copies of each -- my Christmas present tro Desmond that year was one copy. One of my favorites was "Two Hearts (Tender Lovin' and True)" by the Twanglers. I wish I could find a Youtube video of it, but I can't. FWIW, here's a video of the Twanglers live doing "My Babe:"
Nearly twenty years later, I was with the family at the Long Island Children's Museum. We were there for a performance by Ken Waldman, Alaska's fiddlin' poet. I should write a post about him. No promises. Anyway, he recites his freeform poetry while playing the fiddle. On this occasion, he had a drummer backing him up. I recognized the drummer. I was sure opf it. But I couldn't quite tell from where. At the end of the show, Ken thanked him by name. It was Charlie Shaw. I knew that name. From somewhere. But I couldn't place it. So I approached him and asked if he had been in any New York area bands that I might have seen him in. Among the many names he reeld off was Five Chinese Brothers. I responded by reciting lyrics from "Baltimore." So we talked music for a while. I mentioned other bands that I liked from Diesel Only. Including the Twanglers. He mentioned that he's in a new band called The Wicked Messengers with a couple of the guys from The Twanglers. Really? So I got the information.
Some time later I went to see them play at Hill Country, a Texas-style barbecue restaurant in Manhattan. I surprised Alan Backer before the show by asking him to autograph my copy of the Twanglers' single. I mentioned that it was one of my favorite songs. I later learned that he wrote it, so I must have sounded like I was just buttering him up, but I was being honest. It was great show. I saw the Messengers play a couple of other times -- they do a great show. But between work and family commitments, I don't get out to see them as much as I'd like. They do a karaoke show at Hill Country on Tuesdays, and I hear that's a great show. It's sort of like karaoke, except instead of having pre-recorded music, you have a live band behind you. Here's a video of someone doing Billy Joel's "You May Be Right:"
Anyway, As I posted yesterday, I almost didbn't make it to see Bobtown. But I'm glad I did. And Alan even gave me a copy of the Wicked Messengers' second album, Livin' Fast
Anyway, I leave you with Bobtown doing "Hell and Gone." I admit that I can't tell if this is the version from before Alan became a member.