Saturday, November 27, 2004
The Boys of the LoughThey were the first of the full-time professional Celtic bands to make a name on the international scene. Since their first tour in 1967 the Boys have done fifty-one tours of the U.S., four of Australia and countless more of Europe and Asia. They've also released 18 albums, establishing a reputation for first-rate musicianship and technical brilliance; and at the same time have help to keep the centuries-old music of Ireland and Scotland close to its roots. They play, someone aptly wrote, "music that tastes of itself." An early review from a 1972 Rolling Stone put it about as well as it has been said since: ". . . and a quartet of young British instrumentalists and singers set the Saturday night crowd howling and dancing in the full fury of an August thunderstorm with Gaelic tunes played on fiddle, guitar, flute and bodhran."
Kelley Hunt and BandKelley grew up near Lawrence, Kansas, in the grassland country of the Flint Hills. She took piano lessons in Emporia from a flamboyant woman named Mary Burke Norton, who wore a red wig and generally had a cigarette dangling from her lip; the lady schooled Kelley well in the edgy barroom art of boogie woogie, at the same time insisting she learn to read music. Kelley would later write a song about her, "Queen of the 88s," recorded on her Inspiration album. Her parents had a well-used record library of blues, R & B, jazz and gospel recordings and she learned quickly. By the early nineties she had been filling dance halls for over a decade and had played all the big blues fests from Vancouver to Dallas to New York State. Her audience became world-wide with her first album, Kelley Hunt, released on 88 Records in Los Angeles. Her newest album, just out this summer, is titled New Shade of Blue; it's also doing well, both in sales and critical reviews. After our show she and the band will be at the Cedar Cultural Center, on Cedar Avenue near Riverside, in Minneapolis.
Robin and Linda WilliamsRobin and Linda appeared on our show in 1975, the year they recorded their first album here in town on the Flashlight label; Peter Ostruoshko was on that album, along with Mike Cass and Dave Hull. They've just recorded their 17th album, on Red House and titled Deeper Waters; it has received enthusiastic reviews, like their albums do. One critic called it "nothing short of a masterpiece." Others said, "the real deal," and "shine like diamonds amid rhinestones," and "rich in harmonies, original songs and acoustic brilliance." They aren't from here. Linda is from Anniston, Alabama, and Robin was born in Charlotte, North Carolina; they've made their home in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia for many years. A fine elderly farmhouse, it is, with a driveway that can hold a semi. But they spend so much time on the road every year that we see them about as often as if they lived in South St Paul. Which we think is a very good thing.
Lovingly selected from the earliest archives of A Prairie Home Companion, this heirloom collection represents the music from earliest years of the now legendary show: 1974–1976. With songs and tunes from jazz pianist Butch Thompson, mandolin maestro Peter Ostroushko, Dakota Dave Hull and the first house band, The Powdermilk Biscuit Band (Adam Granger, Bob Douglas and Mary DuShane).