Monthly Archives: July 2012

The Right Now, right here, right on

Last Saturday night, my friend Mike and I plopped ourselves into lawn chairs on the 400 Block, the downtown square in our hometown of Wausau, Wisconsin. We cracked open a couple of Point beers and kicked back to listen to some tunes.

We have been friends for 40 years. Back then, we spent a fair amount of time with a radio nearby, either for Brewers baseball or simply for tunes. Not much has changed for either of us.

It was a delightful evening at WhyNotWausau, made even more so by great friends, great weather and a tremendous performance by The Right Now, a Chicago pop-soul-R&B group that’s on its way up.

Ever since my friend Heavy Soul Brutha Dave tipped me to The Right Now two years ago. I’d been hoping for a chance to see what Dave described as their “old-skool Memphis feel” and “neo-soul vibe.” Couldn’t make their Summerfest gigs in Milwaukee. Couldn’t make a couple of Madison club dates.

It was well worth the wait. Nothing written here will adequately convey the energy and the bigger-than-expected sound of The Right Now’s live show, from lead singer Stefanie Berecz to all the gents in the band. I have both of The Right Now’s albums, and it was as if my records exploded.

I can’t embed the video, but here’s a snippet of the blistering “I Can’t Speak For You” from Saturday night’s show via the band’s Facebook page. The sun went down and a dance party broke out. (Please be assured that Mike and I are not among the dancers. As Mike said, we might have brought the show to a dead halt had we gone up there.)

A most pleasant surprise after the show was having guitarist Chris Corsale come up and introduce himself as we waited in line to say hello. That never happens. I’d exchanged notes with the band on Facebook, and Chris recognized me from there. He introduced us to Stefanie, who is as genuinely nice off stage as she is scorching on stage, and to Brendan O’Connell, who plays keyboards and guitar.

Now we just gotta figure out a way to get them to play Green Bay, which does not have a cool venue like the 400 Block or a cool club that would be suitable.

Until then …

“Half As Much,” The Right Now, from “Gets Over You,” 2012. Head over to their website and grab the free download of the song.

Also please enjoy the video for “He Used To Be,” which was a Record Store Day single but is not on the LP.

If you dig this tune, I have an extra copy of the 45. Hit me up with an email if you’d like it. First come, first served.

Please visit our other blog, The Midnight Tracker, for vintage vinyl, one side at a time.


Filed under July 2012, Sounds

Shadoobie, sizzling, sizzling

This was one of the stops on the Great Heat Wave Road Trip earlier this month.

That day, July 5, brought plenty of sun and temperatures in the 90s. It didn’t seem all that different from 34 summers before, when I’d walk to that park, set my AM/FM radio at the base of that pole, flip it on and start shooting baskets.

In the summer of 1978, I was 21 and lived a couple of blocks away at a place we called Beaver Lodge. It was a three-bedroom cement-block house in a gritty, seen-better-days business district just off Highway 53 in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.

All the fuss over the Rolling Stones’ 50th anniversary brings me back to this place. That summer, the “Some Girls” LP came out. Starting with “Miss You,” its songs lit up the radio that sat at the base of that basket.

I picked up “Some Girls” so quickly that my copy has this early version of the original — and quickly withdrawn — die-cut cover. It featured several celebrities who hadn’t approved of the use of their image.

That’s Marilyn Monroe and Lucille Ball in the top row, Jayne Mansfield and Brigitte Bardot in the second row, Farrah Fawcett in the third row and Raquel Welch in the fourth row.

The songs, of course, are what I remember most. Rocking out to “Respectable.” Digging the laid-back cover of the Temptations’ “Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me).”

And on that basketball court at Highland Park, getting into a groove to the background vocals of “Shattered.” They got into my head and stayed there. They’re still there.

“Shadoobie, shattered … shadoobie, shattered, shattered.”

It is by far my favorite Stones record. Any one of its 10 cuts takes me right back to that hot summer of 1978, to that basketball court at that park. Yet as I listened to it again the other night, a most unexpected cut jumped out at me. Either I didn’t appreciate it much at the time or I’d forgotten how much fun it was.

“Far Away Eyes,” the Rolling Stones, from “Some Girls,” 1978. (The buy link is to a deluxe edition released in 2011.)

In which the boys go country, taking a road trip through Bakersfield and listening to the radio. Mick Jagger’s twang is not at all convincing but I dig it nonetheless. Ron Wood’s pedal steel guitar is much more authentic.

Please visit our other blog, The Midnight Tracker, for more vintage vinyl, one side at a time.


Filed under July 2012, Sounds