Eric Shea with Sweet Chariot
Eric Shea looks like the nicest Hells Angel, or so declared Jill Olson. Jill played twice on Saturday. She kicked off the evening alongside Paula Frazer, and returned to the stage later with Red Meat. Red Meat’s Smelley Kelley replied that if he was a woman, he would have sex with Shea. Eric is a long time fixture on the Bay Area music scene, a true soldier in the fight to keep live music alive. He currently plays with Sweet Chariot, but I first saw him at the Ivy Room in Albany with Mover long ago. Those were magic years for the Ivy Room where Red Meat and Dave Gleason also played regular honky tonk blowouts.
Shea began the Gram Parsons tribute shows 12 years ago. This year the proceeds support the South SF School District music program! Eric invites many under-sung local heroes to the stage to play a few originals and a few covers paying tribute to the man, the myth Gram Parsons. Gram is appropriately credited with the development of Cosmic American Music. Gram’s music, his work with Emmylou Harris, The Byrds, and Rolling Stones forged a new path where the music of the Louvin Brothers could be tweaked via LSD, Joshua Trees and pure passion.
Jill Olson with Paula Frazer
Paula Frazer, best known for fronting ’90s 4AD band Tarnation, has played with a mess of other bands in the area.
“Dark End of the Street” from the 1st Flying Burrito Brothers record, Guilded Palace of Sin, written by Dan Penn
“You’re Still On My Mind” from The Byrds 1968 pivotal Sweetheart of The Rodeo (henceforth referred to as Sweetheart)
Red Meat’s Smelley Kelley
Red Meat haven’t changed a bit in their long tenure. Thank god! Killer guitar work from Michael Montalto, multiple vocal talents and Smelley’s bug-eyed, dirty jokes.
“Still Feeling Blue” from Gram’s first solo album, GP, 1973
“Christian Life” from Sweetheart and written by The Louvin Brothers
“100 Years From Now” from Sweetheart and written by Gram
“Kiss The Children” also from GP and sung perfectly by Scott Young
“I Can’t Dance” from Grievous Angel, Gram’s 2nd solo record, 1974
Sonny & The Fuckaroos
Best known for Sonny and the Sunsets, The Fuckaroos were represented on his 100 Records project, where artists created 100 album covers and Sonny wrote the music with ‘fictitious’ band names. Looking like Alex Chilton and sounding like Doug Sahm, Sonny won me.
“How Much I’ve Lied” not memorized but beautiful, also from GP!
“Be Real” from the Sir Douglas Quintet, memorized, gorgeous.
“Kelly’s banjo travelled with her across South America and to Boulder, CO, but it wasn’t until she landed in the Bay Area that she finally stepped onto a stage. ‘I started going to the open mic at the Hotel Utah, mostly as an experiment and to force myself to write songs, which at that point I’d never done.’ Many who witnessed those first performances reported that they thought McFarling had been performing her songs on stage all of her life. She was so well received that she put together a band in short order and they started playing regular shows…” – from the artist’s website
“You Got A Reputation” from Sweetheart, written by Tim Hardin
“Wild Horses” a crowd favorite and a taste of the Gram-Keith Richards magic. Appeared on the Flying Burrito Brothers’ Burrito Deluxe, 1970
“Song For You” from GP
Certainly the best dressed, Sour Flower had what looked like a home made Nudie Suit! Nudie would be proud.
“2 More Bottles Of Wine” from Emmylou Harris’s 1978 Quarter Moon in a 10 cent Town, written by Delbert McClinton
“Hot Burrito #2” from The Gilded Palace of Sin
“Tried So Hard” from the 3rd, self-titled LP, Flying Burrito Brothers, written by Gene Clark
“Look Out, Cleveland” from The Band
You can check out some of the intriguing story of Grahame Lesh (yep, son of Phil) via Russell’s great write up from a few months ago.
“Return of the Grievous Angel” from Grievous Angel
“We’ll Sweep Out The Ashes in the Morning” from GP
“Do Right Woman, Do Right Man” from Guilded Palace of Sin, written by Dan Penn, made famous by Aretha in 1967.
“Staying Single, Drinking Doubles” which must have been chopped off the Gary Stewart masterwerk “She’s Actin’ Single, I’m Drinkin’ Doubles”
I don’t think Sweet Felony played any Gram songs. They did play an Emmylou cover!
Sweetheart was mentioned quite a few times above. It will be played in it’s entirety on February 1st at The Plough & Stars by Misisipi Mike Wolf & The Midnight Gamblers! The show is part of Hillbilly Robot – An Urban Americana Music Fest, taking over several venues every weekend in February!!
If you’re still with me, check out Hicks with Sticks or like ’em on Facebook for lots more local hick music.