taj mahal caught my ear years ago when he updated irving taylor's gem of a song, "ain't nobody's business but my own", and made it HIS own, albeit by borrowing yet more from the genius who is ogden nash and elsewhere, but who's counting. ("candy is dandy but liquor is quicker"). it's what genius does. (ella fitzgerald used to refer to taj's dad as "the genius", so the apple didn't fall far). henry saint clair fredericks, as taj was born, had the same dairy farm bug many in my family have indulged, and i respect fully, but he chose to follow music from his dorm room at umass, and i respect that fully, too, because he's that good. so good. taj has always said he prefers to play outdoors, and boardinghouse park is a little slice of heaven with him in it, so that's great for all of us. if you like blues, r&b, country blues, calypso, reggae, a little gospel, african rhythms or any and all of the above mixed together in a beautiful musical salad, you'll love taj. i do. CAN'T WAIT!!!
cake is one of those acts that many adore, many others can't understand, (or can't stand), but i can't listen to "short skirt / long jacket" and not want to BE THERE when a stageful of wise guys let it rip. i missed the show they put on at the auditorium awhile back, but i'm not gonna miss this one. looking forward.
indigo girls, i suppose, aren't much different from cake in terms of can or can't adore/understand/stand, but i balanced my karma last time around by doing the dropkick murphys (and the mighty mighty bosstones, YEAH) outdoors at lalacheur the day before, so maybe that's why i can be so positive about this next opportunity. or maybe it's just the incredibly long list of great songs they've recorded, and the fact that they'll cover hendrix live ("all along the watchtower", or was that dylan?) and a host of other stuff that just makes you sit back and say WOW. it's a good time if you like to look at women in summer sundresses, too, who make up 80% of any indigo girls crowd. what's not to like?
as for suzanne vega, well, if you don't already have a musical crush on suzanne vega, there's just not much more i can do for you. from "marlene on the wall", to "99.9 fahrenheit degrees, and everything between and since, (just close your eyes and try to resist the jazz coolness of "caramel", or try to tell someone that "tom's diner" isn't kick-ass), she embarasses every other little waif/songstress that ever tried to do the female singer/songwriter thing. none better. and patty larkin, midwestern and singer/songwriter as she is, bases herself in boston, which is way cool, and keeps up pretty well, even if she'll never be suzanne. again, what's not to like?
but the outdoor concert cream of this crop has to be southside johnny and his asbury jukes. was just discussing the lameness of "born to run" last night, as a matter of fact, and though we didn't get further into the discussion in order to talk about the real rockers of asbury park, nj, it would have been an easy segue. yeah, they grew out of a mishmash of springsteen's guitar player writing r&b staples with the boss himself, and didn't come first, but if you like stax-sensible party music, then these are your guys. don't know if little stevie will be making this trip, or which or any of the other guys who wound up part of max weinberg's seven on conan, or backed robert cray, graham parker, or willie deville, might show, but you know it's gonna be good. cuz it's GOOD.
ps, to the show organizers: melvern taylor and his fabulous meltones NEED to be one of your opening acts this year. i'm just sayin'. you've had frank morey, jen kearney, and a whole bunch of the others, who would all also make GREAT returning openers, but, seriously, melvern taylor is someone who is going to make the stage for the right headliner, and you gotta get listenin' so you can see it, too.
can't wait to be out under and in front of the stars again at boardinghouse park.