Archive for July, 2008

Two more Naptown classics for race weekend

Friday, July 25th, 2008

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Here are a couple more Indianapolis tributes I’ve gotten my hands on thanks to my friend Kyle, a true blue native. The first one’s by Bill Gaither, also known as “Little Bill” or Leroy’s Buddy (as in Leroy Carr). (And this is not the same Gaither - needless to say - 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 true 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.

Happy race weekend, everyone. I know some may wrinkle their noses over the fact that it’s Nascar (unhappily dominated by the upstart Kyle Busch of late) and not proper Indy racing. As for me, if it’s racing, and it’s happening at the Brickyard, it’s A-OK.

[I'm off to Alaska, folks, where, as Johnny Horton once informed us, it's forty below in the springtime. Hoping it's warmer now. In any case, things will be quiet around here for a week or so. Ciao.]

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

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

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posted by Kim Simpson

More from Kendell Kardt’s L.A. years: “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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The Grass Roots scene from With Six You Get Eggroll (1966)

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2008

This was Doris Day’s final flick, and the Grass Roots, taking their cues from the Stones’ “Under My Thumb,” never sounded better.

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.

posted by Kim Simpson

Naptown classics: The Lovemeknots and Leroy Carr

Tuesday, July 8th, 2008

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Some time ago I posted a great cut from the Lovemeknots, a proudly Indianapolis-centric “indie” rock band (never truer), who worked the downtown club scene inside and out 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 in no small degree 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, as you may know, 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. As the Allstate 400 approaches in a couple of weeks, and I really start wishing I was there, I’ll likely post a few more Indiana classics Kyle has gotten me hip to.

Leroy Carr - “Naptown Blues” (1929)

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The Lovemeknots - “Naptown Blues” (2006)

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posted by Kim Simpson

Happy 4th from all of us and our special guests…

Friday, July 4th, 2008

…Paul Revere and the Raiders!

The New Colony Six!

And Gary Puckett and the Union Gap!

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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