The word around the room was that SWAMP DOGG hadn’t played in these parts since the Lowell Folk Fest of 2010. Before that, no one could remember how long. Born Jerry Williams Jr. in Portsmouth, Virginia, Swamp Dogg recorded some R&B singles in the ’60s and broke through, as it were, with the 1970 LP Total Destruction to Your Mind.
The English Beat peppered their two-hour-plus show with
comments about the ’80s at Johnny D’s Tuesday night, but you wouldn’t call what
they had to say about Margaret Thatcher nostalgic, exactly, though references to
Boston’s late Channel nightclub were. And it was a Channel crowd — both age-wise and in
alcohol consumption (a friend said that a waitress had commented, “It’s like
New Year’s Eve in here”).
It’s a funny thing about live music. Where’s the added value
over a recording? Sometimes it’s being in the physical presence of a hero.
Sometimes what you’re seeing helps you hear — the instruments and gestures that
create the sound. And sometimes it’s the thrill of being part of an audience.
Certainly in pop and jazz, where
just about everything comes through an amplifier and PA, you can’t beat the
purity of sound and the controlled environment of recordings.
and to hell with Mariah Carey’s frontal massage therapist. If I could switch
places with anyone on earth it would be esteemed reggae photographer and king Trustafarian
But while I’m
clearly jealous of the man, I have no resentment. Just because Simon (as in
Simon & Schuster) was born into opulence doesn’t mean I hate him.