Sunday, February 12, 2012

Pheaturing Shakey Vick

Hello, everybody, and welcome to another entry of the Phile on 2/12/2012. Here in Florida where it's bloody cold. It's 54 and gloomy here in Clermont, Florida today... 54 and gloomy, like Tom Brady.  Well, because of large crowds at his campaign events, Mitt Romney will now receive protection from the Secret Service. Not to be outdone, Ron Paul will now receive protection from a mall cop on a Segway.  A recent study found that people lie more when they are texting. Yeah, especially that one lie: “Sorry, just got your text!”  Kodak recently filed for bankruptcy after 130 years in business. Yeah, I’d tell you more, but more on the story as it develops.  So, do you kids like that Rick Santorum? Part of me thinks that Rick Santorum is running for president just to show his high school crush she should have gone to the prom with him. He even called global warming a hoax, which is no surprise, coming from a guy who is clearly in the pocket of big sweater vests. There's really no reason for anyone to drop out of the race. If you wind up in fourth place, you become a regular contributor on Fox News. You come in third, you get your own show on Fox News.  According to new research, playing iPhone games like "Angry Birds" and "Words With Friends" can improve your memory. Yeah, it can help you remember distant events like the last time you actually talked to a person. Those are the only two games I play and my memory is getting worse with age.  Police in New York are looking for a bald man who stole three boxes of Rogaine. Yeah, he's bald and doesn't have the money to buy Rogaine, which explains who's not looking for him... women. Speaking of police, police in Kentucky arrested a naked man covered in chocolate and peanut butter after he broke into a grocery store. So I guess there is a wrong way to eat a Reese's.  A new survey found that the average guy will spend about $200 on Valentine's Day this year. Yep, that's 20 bucks for flowers and 180 bucks for last-minute delivery of flowers.  It's been a sad week for fans of the show "House" like me. This is gonan eb the last season of "House". He is not one of the regular TV doctors. He's mean, doesn't respect authority, and takes drugs. Personally, I'm comfortable with a doctor addicted to drugs. It means he's given them a test drive. He'll know which cartoons match up best with each drug. The show "House" proves that some doctors aren't always kind. Just like Dr. Phil proves that some doctors aren't even doctors. That’s when you know things are bad... when even the show "House" is being foreclosed on.  Gary Busey filed for bankruptcy this week. He only has $50,000 in personal assets and $500,000 in personal debt. What is he spending so much money on? Not haircuts, that's for sure. Busey may be forced to sell advertising space on his teeth.  I saw this picture online yesterday.

It's Arnold Schwarzeneggerand Sylvester Stallone in the hospital together. Hopefully he's in there getting a vasectomy. The truth is, Schwarzenegger asked  Stallone to be there in case Maria showed up with a scalpel.  Apple is facing a $38 million fine in China because the word "iPad" is trademarked by a Chinese company. Apple was nervous about owing money to China... but then Obama was like, "Ah, you get used to it.”  Today is the drawing for one of the biggest Powerball jackpots in history, which means one lucky winner could be worth $300 million. Or as Mitt Romney calls that, "middle class.”  A Waffle House in Georgia is offering a romantic Valentine’s Day dinner with alcohol-free champagne. That makes sense — I mean, if you take your girlfriend to a Waffle House on Valentine's Day, you're probably drunk already.  well, last night Logan and I went to see Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace in 3D. More on that in a minute. I was so excited when I saw they had a Darth Maul inspirational poster. 

Darth Maul... bridging the gap between a bad ass and douche bag.  As I said, I am a big fan of the show "House" and will be sad when it's gone. But, I was happy to see there's a "House" inspirational poster.

Well, it's Black History Month and it look like Disney, the greatest company to work for ever, has found a way to cash in. Those Disney marketing kids are smart. Take a look at this, this is 100% real.

Okay, now for some sad news...

Whitney Houston
Aug 9, 1963 - Feb 11, 2012
Houston, we have a problem.

And now, from the home office in Phulfortha City, here is this week's...

Top Ten Signs You're Watching A Bad Super Bowl Halftime Show
10. 50 dancers, 0 nipples. 
9. Even the performers are taking bathroom breaks. 
8. You're scanning the channel directory for "Cajun Pawn Stars". 
7. The Marching Band spells out "WHATEVER" on the field. 
6. The fans are switching from "Kill the quarterback" to "Kill the producer". 
5. "And now, the Master of the Pan Flute..."
4. Fans are asked to step outside and turn their car radios to the same station. 
3. Roseanne Barr grabs a microphone and heads for the stage. 
2. Instead of singing, Madonna performs her favorite scenes from Swept Away.
And the numbe rone sign you're watching a bad Super Bowl halftime show...
1. The theme: Decision 2012. 

Remember how it was back in '99? The lines around the block, the new action figures we had to have even before knowing how each one would fit into the larger narrative, and that radical, futuristic innovation known as "digital projection." If you're reading this and you don't remember where you were when Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace hit theaters, you probably weren't born yet. For those who were there, we remember many fan questions afterward. Would Darth Sidious turn out to be an evil clone of the benevolent Palpatine? Why don't all Jedi disappear when they die? How can Obi-Wan say there's no such thing as luck if he knew how Jar Jar won the Battle of Theed? Now that we have all the answers, another large-scale look at how the seeds were sown is just what 2-1B ordered. And look you will, all around you, in fact, as Episode I is but the first of all six to be released in 3D. It's been 13 years, so you know this is no cheap rush-job. Lucasfilm is the company that brought you THX sound, so when it comes to making the visuals similarly surround you, you'd best believe they took time to get it right. I already own it on DVD, blu-ray and everything and it gets a 10. Yes, and I even like Jar Jar. 

Speaking of movies, I thought it would be fun to invite my good friend Jeff Trelewicz back to the Phile so we can talk Oscars and do some Oscar picks. So, please welcome Jeff in a pheature I will call...

Me: Hey, Jeff. Welcome back, my friend. 

Jeff: Great to be back on the Phile. Congratulations on winning in phootball season
one. But I will have my revenge! Hahaha.

Me: We'll see. Okay, let's talk Oscars. So, what do you think of Billy Crystal being the host of the Oscars again? I like it when he hosts myself.

Jeff: I like Billy Crystal as a host. He is always funny and very old school. Plus after the debacle of the dueling hosts last year he is a safe pick.

Me: Okay, I say we both pick who we will think will win best movie, director, actor and actress. I say for movie The Artist. By the way, the only movie I saw in this category is Hugo. Have you seen any and what do you say for best movie?

Jeff: The only movie I've seen was Money Ball. I agree that The Artist will win. It takes major guts to make a silent movie in this era. It deserves to to win on principal alone.

Me: I agree. For actor I say Brad Pitt. Who do you say?

Jeff: For best actor I say it's George Clooney for Descendants.

Me: Good choice. The Flutterbies, whose lead singer Maureen Davis was on the Phile, has two songs in that movie. Alright, for actress I say Viola Davis for The Help. Is she the black one or white one? I don't even know.

Jeff: For best actress I am going with Meryl Streep. Viola Davis is the black one. Emma Stone and Jessica Chastain are the white girls in it.

Me: Oh, yeah, Emma Stone... she's freakin' hot. Best Director goes to Michael Hazen... Whatever his name is. The guy that directed The Artist. Scorsese should get it though. I don't think he has ever won an Oscar.

Jeff: For director it is going to be Marty Scorsese.
Me: I have to mention the best song category as this is primarily a music blog... Ha! There's only two songs up for that award this year. Why do you think that is? Anyway, I hope the song from The Muppets win. It better.

Jeff: I agree I'm pulling for the Muppet song. It's so strange only two songs were worthy both from kiddie movies too. See you after the Oscars. 
Me: Thanks again, Jeff, and I will see you back here after the Oscars.

Well, last week I invited another friend onto the Phile to talk about his passion, which is comic books. I thought I would invite him again to give a review of something he's reading. So, please welcome back to the Phile, my friend Jim Mello, in a pheature I call...

This Comic Will Make You Stronger:

At this point, "DMZ" is rounding out its fifty issue run, and as the end comes up it would be a great time to start from the beginning. "DMZ" follows Matty Roth, a lowly photojournalist intern after he’s been shot in a helicopter over Manhattan, which has become a demilitarized zone (DMZ) between the United States of America and the Free States during the Second American Civil War.  There’s a weight to this book that only comes from reading something you know is important. It may be fictional, but the stories of the people caught in the warzone reverberate truthfully with echoes of the real voices it draws from. That combines itself with some tight, dynamic writing from Brian Wood make it such a kinetic read, it’s hard not to tear through the collected volumes that have been released like a pissed off mongoose through a paper bag.  Riccardo Burchelli is the only week point. He straddles the line between beautiful panels, exploding with detail, and very bland, lazy art. Denizens of NY, or close affiliates will probably be taken aback by his detail in the reconstruction of the beloved city. History fans will love the political, social, and wartime details of the universe Wood creates. This is definitely worth the pick up if just to see the execution of such an interesting concept. It’s worth continuing the pick up because it’s just damn good. Read this and other reviews and suggestions on Comics Make You Stronger on

The 12th artist to be pheatured in the P.P.A.G. is a guy who calls himself The Stray. Here is one of his pieces.

Man, he sure likes "Adventure Time". The Stray will be a guest on the Phile in a week or so.

Today's guest is a British blues musician who has been playing for about fifty years. His new CD "100 Club Boogie" is now availabke on his website as well as his latest studio CD "got blues if you wannit". This is a huge honor to have him here on the Phile. Please welcome the one and only... Shakey Vick.

Me: Hello, sir, welcome to the Phile. It's a huge honor to have you here, sir. We met a few years ago when you played with Rod Price in Melbourne, Florida, and you got to share some history. I have a picture I took of you and Rod at that show.

Me: Anyway, I didn't have the Phile then, so it's cool I get to interview you now. Anyway, I have to ask you about the name Shakey. Where did that name originate from, sir?

Shakey: I used the name Shakey after hearing two harp players from the States, Big Walter Horton (who was known as Shakey Horton) and another one called Shakey Jake. I thought people would realise that my band was a harp-led band. They didn’t, so I now say that shakey concerns my relationship with my bank manager.

Me: You are an amazing harmonica player, or harp I guess it is called. How old were you when you first started to play harp?

Shakey: I was given a harp for my ninth birthday and taught myself to play straight harp. I later used second position harp when I got into blues.

Me: I tried to learn it about 20 years ago, but gave up. I was way too lazy. I do play a mean kazoo though. Who were your favorite harp players growing up, sir?

Shakey: My first influence was Larry Adler. My blues influences were initially Sonny Terry and Jesse Fuller until I heard amplified harp by Jimmy Cotton at a concert playing with the Chris Barber band. The sound blew my head in. Other influences followed: both Sonny Boy Williams, Little Walter, Big Walter and Slim Harpo among others.

Me: Two of the most famous harp players are Huey Lewis and John Popper. What do you think of them music wise?

Shakey: Though I’ve heard of Huey Lewis and John Popper, I’ve never actually heard them playing so I can’t comment on them.

Me: You first started playing and performing with Chris Youlden in the early sixties. Where did you know Chris from originally, sir?

Shakey: Chris Youlden and I met in London via an ad in a music magazine. We got a band together and did gigs as The Downhome Blues Band. We met Dave Peverett just by being around the emerging London blues scene. We did gigs with Dave around South London under the Lonesome Jax banner. One place I remember was called Stormy Monday Blues Club around Brockley or Lewisham. Though both Chris and I were writing our own stuff we also did standards. I wasn’t singing then so it was Dave and Chris on vocals. Chris and I also did a few duo gigs mostly in folk or jazz clubs. We called ourselves Buck and Wing after an old style dance. 

Me: Did you dance? LOL.

Shakey: No, we didn’t dance!

Me: A few years later both my dad and Chris joined Savoy Brown. You were invited to play in Savoy Brown as well, but declined, right?

Shakey: I was invited by Harry Simmonds to join Savoy Brown after their harp player John O’Leary left. Harry only offered half the wage I needed to live on as I had a family to support by then. I agreed to do a few gigs with them until they had a day off when they could rehearse without a harp player. Chris and Dave weren’t in Savoy at that time. I still see John O’Leary around.

Me: Your first band was Shakey Vick Big City Blues Band, am I right? Who was in that band with you? I have to mention this, Shakey. Your first album "Little Woman You're So Sweet" was recorded live on November 23rd, 1968. Do you know what else happened on that same day? I was born! Can you believe that?

Shakey: I carried on with my own Big-City Blues Band. This line-up was me on harp and vocals, Ron Skinner on bass and vocals, Rod Price on guitar and Mel Wright on drums. Again we all met through a music magazine ad. This band split from me after a while and formed Dynaflow. They were replaced in my band by Bruce Langsman, Nigel Tickler and Ned Balen, who all did the live recording the day you were born.

Q: Anyway, is "Little Woman..." available on CD? Where was the album recorded, sir, and how did that name get to be the album title?

Shakey: It was recorded at gig in Birmingham, U.K. The album was named after one of the tracks. I think a German label released it a few years ago on CD format.

Me: I mentioned Rod Price at the start of the interview. Where and how did you first get to meet Rod? When Rod joined Foghat after my dad and Roger Earl and Tony Stevens left Savoy, were you surprised that Rod joined Foghat?

Shakey: It was interesting to learn that Rod had joined Foghat, but not surprising. I also lost touch with Rod until he turned up in London and we got together with Mel and Ron. I was playing with my band at the Station Tavern and I got the guys together for an interval set which went down well. This eventually led to us going to the States. Rod and Mel were the instigators in that.

Me: Rod and my dad had a falling out big time for a lot if years before Foghat reunited in 1993. Did you keep in touch with my dad all those years?

Shakey: I lost touch with your dad but did follow his career.

Me: You should've been on Foghat's "Return of the Boogie Men" album, not John Popper. Anyway, where were you and how did you find out and learn both my dad and Rod had passed?

Shakey: When I got to the States we did our first gig in New Hampshire. Rod told me that Dave wanted to get in touch but I phoned only to find that he was in hospital, so we never got to hook up again. I was back in England when I heard the bad news. I was also in the U.K. when Rod died. Ironically, Bruce Langsman who replaced Rod in my band, died a week later.

Me: That's eerie. Well, as well as playing the blues you were an editor for the British Blues Review magazine. That must've been a fun thing to do. Did you found the magazine?

Shakey: It was also fun editing the British Blues Review. I founded it with the manager of the Station Tavern and a few musicians. My partner did the graphic design. She also designed the logo for the Station Tavern which had by then changed to Bob’s Goodtime Blues.

Me: Is it still going on?

Shakey: Unfortunately, the bank pulled the plug on our obverdraft so the magazine folded.

Me: You also started your own label, Vicksboro Records. Was that hard to set up, and do you release your own music on that label or other bands and acts as well?

Shakey: Setting up the Vicksboro label wasn’t difficult as it was only meant for my own recordings. The first album was a vinyl LP "Night After Night".

Me: For awhile you were a tour manager for some blues acts. How did that happen, and was that a lot of fun?

Shakey: I roadied for a while for Jim Simpson’s Big Bear record company with American blues artists such as Billy Boy Arnold, Homesick James, Tommy Tucker, Big John Wrencher, Little Joe Blue and Cousin Joe Pleasance among others. We toured Britain and Europe a few times and it was great fun.

Me: I bet you have some good stories. Were the guys well behaved?

Shakey: You’ve probably heard that at one time Tommy Tucker and I shared the same hotel room after Tommy got fed up sharing with Homesick The next morning one of the guys asked Tommy what it was like sharing with a honky. "I slept with one eye open" said Tommy. "I slept with both eyes open" was my response. I think it went down well.

Me: Okay, let's talk about your new music. You released an EP under the band name Maxwell Street. Where did that band name come from? Maxwell Street is in Chicago, right?

Shakey: The second release was the four track CD with Chris "Maxwell Street" and then the Waydown CD "Greek Street". All the tracks but one were written by me. The odd track was an instrumental, "Bernie’s Bounce" which was Bernie Pallo’s piece. We actually played this at Bernie’s funeral service as Bernie recently died.

Me: You're back with Chris again, but who else is in the band?

Shakey: The line-up was Chris Youlden guitar and vocals, myself on harp and vocals, Bernie Pallo on guitar, Mel Wright on drums and Pete Moody or Andy Cleveland on bass.

Me: The band changed it's name to Waydown, right? Why the name change?

Shakey: We called the band Waydown on Bernie’s suggestion after we heard that there were at least two other band‘s called after Chicago‘s Maxwell Street. It started out as Maxwell Street but we liked it so much we decided to record more tracks under the Waydown name.

Me: Where did "Greek Street" get it's name from? You sure like street names. Maybe you could do a cover of "Street Corner Talking".

Shakey: The album was called "Greek Street" because that‘s where Mel and I met to discuss the idea in a pub called the Coach and Horses. The band continued to meet there afterwards. 

Me: How is it working with Chris after all these years? It's like fifty years when you started playing together, Shakey.

Shakey: Chris and I had always stayed in touch and he would occasionally sit in with my band, so it was no problem to get together for the recording after Mel Wright suggested it.

Me: Since the Waydown project you released an album called "go blues if you wannit!" Who plays on that album with you, sir?

Shakey: The "got blues if you wannit" was released on drummer Dino Coccia’s own label Widespace. Dino plays drums, Jim Mercer vocals and bass, Al Vincent guitar and myself on harp and vocals. Chris plays on four tracks and other guests sit in on various tracks.

Me: Last year you released an album called "100 Club Boogie" under the name Shakey Vickey Vick and the Blueshawks. Who were the Blueshawk and when was that concert recorded?

Shakey: The “100 Club Boogie" CD was put together by Mel Wright and myself from an old four track recording live ot the 100 Club in London’s Oxford Street and released on my Vicksboro label. It was recorded about twenty years ago when I was promoting gigs at the club. I got together Mel Wright, Ron Skinner, Bruce Langsman and Wolfie Witcher and promoted them as The Blueshawks. I sat in with them on the night for part of the set.

Me: Shakey, what is next for you? Are you gonna be recording a new album? Please come back to the Phile and tell Mel and Chris I would love to have them on the Phile here. Go ahead and mention your website and I hope I can interview you again sometime. We only scratched the surface, sir. All the best and take care.

Shakey: I have no immediate plans for another album, but who knows? Hope this answers most of your questions. Good luck to you.

Me: Thanks, Shakey, it's been truly an honor to have you here on the Phile.

Well, that about does it for another entry of the Phile. Thanks to my guests Jeff Trelewicz, Jim Mello and of course Shakey Vick. Theres's no entry tomorrow as we will be at LEGOland all day, but on Wednesday the Phile will be back with singer Jenny Dee from Jenny Dee and the Deelinquents. Next Sunday I will be at MegaCon so there won't be an entry that day, but next Monday it's Tony Braunagel from The Robert Cray Band and The Phantom Blues Band. Thanks for reading, spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye.

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