Boneyard Media


Archive for July, 2008

Song IDs: Two “Naptown” classics

Friday, July 25th, 2008

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Here are a couple more Indianapolis tributes I’ve gotten my hands on thanks to Lovemeknot Kyle, a native who first told me about the city’s “Naptown” nickname. The first one’s by Bill Gaither, also known as “Little Bill” or Leroy’s Buddy (as in Leroy Carr). (This is not the same Gaither as the contemporary gospel singer.) His own Naptown tribute came out some six years after Carr’s.

The other one is by Sid “Hardrock” Gunter, a national treasure who’s still at it. A proto-rocker if there ever was one, he was rockabilly before it existed, crossed over into R&B territory with his cover of Billy Ward and the Dominoes’ steamy “Sixty Minute Man,” and got signed to the forward-thinking, country/R&B mishmash label Sun Records two years before Elvis did.

Bill Gaither (Leroy’s Buddy) – “Naptown Stomp” (1935)

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Hardrock Gunter – “Naptown, Ind.” (1953)

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Song ID: Kendell Kardt – “Tutu and the Cannibals” (1973)

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2008

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While Kendell was staying with a Hawaiian family that included 10 children during his time in L.A., he was able to meet the family’s grandmother, who was known affectionately – as many Hawaiian grandmothers are – as “Tutu.” This particular Tutu was the widow of a Catholic missionary who’d served on a South Sea island inhabited by cannibals. The revered matriarch’s visits from Hawaii were “anticipated with great delight,” and when she came, the children would traditionally gather at her feet and ask her to repeat once more the story of how she lived in the jungle with the cannibals. Kendell found this little ritual “both charming and amusing,” given the fact that he felt like he too was “living in the ‘jungle’ – right there in LA,” where the “‘natives’ were as exotic and perplexing” as any that Tutu had encountered. His tongue-in-cheek “Tutu and the Cannibals” would become a popular staple of Kendell’s live performances.

Kendell Kardt – “Tutu and the Cannibals”

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Song ID: The Grass Roots – “Feelings” (1966)

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2008

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In With Six You Get Egg Roll, Doris Day’s final film, the Grass Roots show up and, taking their cues from the Stones’ “Under My Thumb,” sound more weirdly alluring than they ever would again. Curiously, Arthur Lee’s Love, who used to be called the Grass Roots but had to change it thanks to these LA rivals, toyed with the melody line from the verses of “Feelings” for their verses in “A House Is Not a Motel.”

The Grass Roots play “Feelings” in With Six You Get Eggroll

Love – “A House Is Not a Motel” (1967)

Red Buttons on the Jerry Lewis Telethon, 2003

Thursday, July 17th, 2008

This is Red Buttons’s last high profile performance before he passed away in July 2006. I saw it when it aired and laughed my head off, and now some modern day St. Francis (who I’m certain is no sissy) has gone and posted it.

Naptown classics: The Lovemeknots and Leroy Carr

Tuesday, July 8th, 2008

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Some time ago I posted a track by the Lovemeknots, a proudly Indianapolis-centric “indie” rock band (never truer) who worked the downtown club scene during the 90’s before calling it good at the end of the decade. The band’s been back on its feet of late, thanks to the relocation of one of the band’s key members – Kyle Barnett – to Louisville, KY, right down the street. They’ve recently posted four songs from their ‘06 Live at Zanie’s Too EP on their MySpace page, including a spirited, Velvet Underground treatment of fellow hoosier Leroy Carr’s “Naptown Blues.”

Carr was a smooth crooner who was wildly popular during the late 20’s and early 30’s. By the time he was thirty, the bluesman/boozeman’s life had careened to an unceremonious halt, but his records had a far-reaching influence long after he was gone, informing a range of legendary performers from Count Basie to Nat King Cole. Carr’s “Naptown Blues”, which showcases the local pet name for that Indiana capital, has the Lovemeknots written all over it (“nobody knows old Naptown like I do,” goes the opening refrain), and while the two versions come from pretty disparate musical approaches, I can’t think of a band more worthy of taking it on.

Leroy Carr – “Naptown Blues” (1929)

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The Lovemeknots – “Naptown Blues” (2006)

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posted by Kim Simpson

Song ID: Kendell Kardt – “Get in a Groove” (1971 live demo)

Tuesday, July 1st, 2008

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Here’s another live demo from the same 1971 session that brought us Kendell’s “Walk on the Water” and “Have a Cigar”, among others. This one was written during his time in San Anselmo, where he lived just up the hill from a popular club called “The Lion’s Share.” The club hosted all manner of bay area notables like the relocated Van Morrison, the Grateful Dead, Quicksilver Messenger Service, and the Sons of Champlin. When Kendell wasn’t gigging there himself, he’d frequently hang out until closing time. Kendell characterizes “Get in a Groove” as being among his “barroom ballads,” although it will probably lift your spirits a bit more than that category might suggest.

Kendell Kardt – “Get in a Groove”

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