Whitey Morgan Rocks, um, if it’s Country to Rock

We’ve been spinning a few of our favorite local albums this week, and we’ll have one more tomorrow – Today I wanted to write a little about Whitey Morgan and the 78s, who played here at the shop last night before going to Lee’s for a set.  We’ve been looking forward to having these guys visit the shop for a while and the wait was totally worth it.

There was a pretty healthy turnout, especially considering the short notice.  A few people had even come across town just to see these guys, so Whitey Morgan’s got a real following here in the Cities!

Unfortunately, a technical problem came up – Yeah, and it was completely our fault – so after a rockin’ opener (“Bad News”, what else?) the band had to play without vocals.  Whitey and the band were cool with everything, just like you’d expect.  They were just happy to play for a room full of fans so everyone at Hymie’s was treated to a great set of honky tonk jammin’!

When I talked to everyone while they were loading gear I was told they felt like it was a little off because they haven’t tried it before. Judging by the applause they got from everyone in the shop, and the smiles I saw all around, I think they couldn’t have possibly made the situation any better. These guys (And gal) can really play!

You know, the country instrumental album is not without precedent – Sure, there’s lots of easy listening stuff like good ol’ Floyd Cramer’s country piano and there’s guitar pickers like the great Chet Atkins and Grady Martin (Check out his version of “El Paso” on Instrumentally Yours if you come across it) but what I’m talking about is honky tonk music. I have an album by pedal steel great Sneaky Pete that really swings…And then there’s the Strangers’ albums, especially this one:

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That track is Merle Haggard’s Strangers performing “Mama Tried” without Merle. This record also has a bunch of Strangers originals with really funny names like “Whooper Snooper”. Its pretty good, being Merle Haggard’s band and all, although I’ve always thought “Mama Tried” should have a little more oomph (Probably because of Bobby Weir). All in all the Strangers’ record is pretty good, but nothing like the instrumental album Whitey Morgan and the 78s could make.

Here’s another short video clip – Its Gus and Cadence dancing to “Where Do You Want It”.

A couple things about that video (Besides the fact that Gus and Cadence are super sweet little dancers): That’s local drummer Ryan Lovan (Roma di Luna) standing behind the kids. You’ll see a post about him here sometime in the next couple weeks. The lady in the blue dress who Gus crashes into is Jezebel Jones, who will be playing a 7″ release show here at Hymie’s in August. One side of her single is a Tex Ritter cover!

Okay, and Gus and Cadence are awesome. Gus is our boy (With the blonde hair and wearing the blue shirt and black pants) and Cadence is Ryan and Sarah’s boy (With the blonde hair and wearing the blue shirt and black pants). The best part of their dance is the hip shakes, which they do in such hilarious but different ways – Cadence rocks the “up and down” and Gus rocks the “side to side”. Kids dancing are funny, funny, funny!

So we’re thrilled. Sure, we screwed up Whitey’s mike and we were pretty lucky he didn’t stomp on us (Well, he looks mean even if he isn’t) but it was a great start to a summer full of fun in store performances. Its too late to tell you to catch Whitey and the 78s at Lee’s but its not too late to remind you to pick up the album. Bloodshot only made 500 copies and we’re down to a few – If there was any doubt these guys were a genuinely great classic country act it was blown away last night!

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