it's the exact way i feel when i have an evening like last evening, and the stars align (did you SEE the stars last night?) for downtown lowell to be abuzz with the sound of it. it's both a celebration and a demand for more, that's what it is, and there's no better way to express both at the same time than to screw your larynx up in your own little homage to frankie o. and add your own voice to the communal requesting reply. MUSIC!
first of all, the lowell summer music series kicked itself off last night with a great star-shined set by taj mahal, whose vocal enthusiasm is something not to be missed. there's no one who can sing the blues as he can, who can also pour out the vocal gravy to sauce simple country blues swinging gems like "fishing blues" and corinna and make them take over the night and your feet like that. add something southern africa madagascarian carribean calypso like zanzibar that doesn't even have to have any words to make you want to sway and sing, and you have the perfect summer evening out in the perfect summer weather enjoying the perfect summer music.
"but", in the words of tv greats like ron popeil and billy mays, "wait! there's more!"
fortunato's gave nothing away to taj mahal last night, because into it's intimate little bar area was cossetted "ed and me", aka ed newton and nicole ribaudo (backed up by stephen clements, which i guess would make it ed and steve and me but you know how the drummers always seem to be happy sitting in the back, and you could tell steve was, as he always is, happy to be there sitting in the back, so it's all good), to where the energy from the crowd, energized by the can't say it any other way than BEAUTIFUL voice of nicole ribaudo was resounding and uplifting and a joy to be a part. the moment of the show, (during which there were literally dozens, but it just wasn't possible to count), was to hear literally EVERY woman in the place (and there were a TON of, let's also just say it, BEAUTIFUL women all over fortunato's last night to the point where a guy has to sit back and think to himself that, gee, the world is a downright mother beautiful place) sing along with nikky as she poured out the vocals on one of those songs to which every woman in the world knows the words (and doesn't it say something that i'm unable to put my mental finger on the name of the song right now) and, oh, but don't they all love to sing it together. (you know the song, and i know i know the song, but GEEZ i just can't pull it from the ether right now). can anybody who was there last night help me out here???
the lasting effect of the night was to marvel that musicians who have been doing it for decades (i first saw taj mahal at harvard stadium back in 1978 i think with joan armitrading and james taylor, including waddy wachtel, danny kortchmar, russel kunkel and leland sklar) have nothing on others who have done it now just for their very first night (you heard it here first in lowell, everybody, because nicole is the real deal). the way the music can fill you up and make you both sit forward and lean back at the same time is something that nothing else in the world can do in quite the same way, unless it's being in love, which is, after all, what sharing ones music with an audience really is when it is what it is supposed to be.
boardinghouse park had it last night, and the bar at fortunato's, too.
you really gotta get yourself down here, people!