In a teenaged 1966, my guy friends had the best high school band ever. Really. For in a young America bestrewn with surf, post-British Invasion, Top 40, blooze, dance, folkrock or even nascient psychedelia-flavored bands, my chums, belying their rarified prep school status, just leapfrogged imitative dross and aimed straight for the top. They wanted to perform like the Funk Brothers session players, Steve Cropper, Duck Dunn, Booker T. Jones, Eddie Floyd, Otis Redding, Sam and Dave, Edwin Starr, Ray Charles, Sly Stone, Marvin Gaye, Wilson Pickett, James Jamerson, Smokey Robinson, Rufus Thomas, Jr. Walker and the whole pantheon of Stax/Motown legends they heard on the galaxy-spanning airwaves of Wolfman Jack's pirate radio-esque XERB.
And so they did, for they were preppies not only imbued with great musical taste, the pedigrees to appreciate same (sons of famous musicians, actors and radio stars that they were,) plus the financial means to acquire the best pro equipment, but also most importantly of all, off the charts genuine devotion to the soul and rhythm and blues music of their heroes. Their love translated to drive, to mastery and then to genuine soul for covers of the material.*
John Belushi and Dan Ackroyd's Blues Brothers Revue with its actual Stax personnel reintroduced this concept of celebrating legendary music by doing, same, caucasian epidermis notwithstanding a few decades ago. Now we can welcome The Blue-Eyed Devils to this stratum in the present tense.
Pictured above are the Blue-Eyed Devils in their second gig ever at Molly Malone's, 12.10.12. Comprised of rock stars, studio/music label owners and session player/producers, they are Rob Klonel, Kevin Laurence, Joey Malone, Bruce Witkin and Ron Young, the astonishing voiced singer of Little Caesar (who now no doubt empathizes more with Caesar guitarist Loren Molinare who does double duty in the latter's other great band, The Dogs.) See LINK for history of Little Caesar.
The Blue-Eyed Devils are starting to make the club rounds, and the secret word is FUN. Go dance up a storm to music that does all the work for you, regardless of whether these cover songs are old favorites or new discoveries to you.
Then make sure you catch Little Caesar itself (or The Dogs for that matter, due to tour Japan and play Los Angeles shortly) as Caesar embarks on assorted European or domestic tours in 2013. Below are my photos from the most recent Caesar gig I caught, 9.21.12 at Brixtons, Redondo Beach, California.
Little Caesar -- Ron Young vocals; Fidel Paniaqua bass; Loren Molinare and Joey Brasler guitars; Tom Morris drums -- take flight and soar through hardest rock and soul/glam/blues/metal/R&B favorites from their newest release "American Dream."
Directly above, Ron struts his Jagger moves for their atypical cover of the Rolling Stones' "Happy."
below, set list of Little Caesar and Soul favorites
*and for the record, the name of my teenaged chums' band was
the Otis Redding Memorial Rock And Soul Band.