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a local legend!

it really does just say 'Vincent'

Vincent’s* is a hole-in-the-wall in Worcester, perched on one of the city’s seven hills.  This would have afforded them a great view, if 1) there were any windows to speak of and 2) there wasn’t a warehouse directly across the street.

Believe the sign, though: this is the place!  Last night it was, anyway.  A local network of Worcester/Westborough musicians had tipped us off that Dave Kenney had been persuaded to join an impromptu band (The Black Cats) and do a gig at Vincent’s.  We dropped everything to go see him.

Dave has been friends with Jef for almost 40 years, since high school days when Dave was in a jug band and Jef “forced” him to listen to great old Blues recordings.  Dave expanded his repertoire in other directions too, and the resulting bands were well received at gigs all over the state.

Flash forward:

yup, I love their name

Everyone is still playing, to one degree or another (see jam session entries here and here), but Dave Kenney had drifted away from the scene, as life and physical distance took over.  In the meantime, Jef met and married me, but the chance to meet Dave has eluded me for seven years now.  I’ve testified to the talents of the other old-crowd members I’ve met, and I’ve lamented that no one recorded the audio, that day in August.  I’ve also had difficulty imagining anyone living up to Jef’s assessment of Dave Kenney’s skills on guitar.

It’s all true.

his mike was set too soft, though

Please excuse the rotten exposures here (it’s atmospheric!  Right?  Right?) – the ambient light amounted to about 2½ lumens, but I only took the pictures as a souvenir of having met Dave at last.  This is the clearest shot of Dave, and I didn’t want my leaky memory to fade his face away.  I really didn’t want direct-flash pictures…. or to startle the band… or to call attention to myself.

From the left, below: the blur that is Chip Smith (vocals, harmonica, rhythm guitar – although he can do so much more); Brian Rost on bass; and Dave Kenney.  Billy Nadeau, the drummer, was out of my sight line but never far from anyone’s consciousness; his quips were hilarious, and his New Orleans-trained percussion just killed on “Iko-Iko”.

looks like Dave is eating Brian's headstock

In my picture above, the blur seems to give Brian blonde braids, so here’s the best I caught of him:

cameras add 10 pounds? this shot adds 20 years

Jef says this is the recognizeable shot of Dave on vocals.  He leans in and rarely gives the genial shout apparent in my first picture (I’m still learning to go for “guitar face” in concert photography).

earlier, his lead on Sportin' Life brought tears to my eyes

That’s a 12-string Rickenbacker, but Dave could play a cardboard box with clothesline nailed on.

Proof?  You want proof?  Okay – if you’ve read this far, and if you have QuickTime, I’ve got two video clips for you!  They’re criminally short, because I do not deserve this camera – I had not a) remembered that it takes video until The Black Cats’ second set and b) cleared enough room on the chip to fit a decent video in.

The first is just over a minute.  The bad news: I only caught the end of Dave’s solo, and someone else’s amp definitely goes to 11.  The good news: the video ran through the end of the song, and Billy’s remarks at the end make me giggle.  The Canon’s memory promptly ran out… but that’s entirely my fault.  (I also didn’t remember until we got home that my camera bag had another chip in it!)

During the next song I feverishly deleted old photos, gaining some (but not nearly enough) space for the second clip.  At least this time I waited for a verse to end and got Dave doing his thing!  It’s only 21 seconds long, but I’m knocked out by the bit at around the 10-second mark.

I’d give up Clapton for Dave Kenney.  Dave: fer chrissake, get over to Roger’s and burn us some CDs!  Jef was right.  Chip was right.  And David Ritchie knows what band to book for a Saturday night :-)

*(By the way, GG: Guinness on tap!)

6 Responses to “a local legend!”

  1. jonniker Says:

    There is such a thing as a jug band? What is that? I picture giant jugs, like in the muppets. That can’t be it…can it?

  2. Yez Says:

    Yes Virginia, there is such a thing as a jug band :-D just like Emmet Otter’s.  There’s always at least one band member blowing into a moonshine-type jug :> and there’s usually a bunch of old-timey instruments like a washboard, banjo, fiddle, mandolin, a washtub bass, a kazoo… really!  Damn good music, too – not my #1 genre of choice, but not last on my list, either.

    The Lovin’ Spoonful had a song called “Jug Band Music”.  Oh wait – that group is also way before your time  ]:>

  3. jonniker Says:

    What’s last? :-D

    (Emmett Otter’s! That’s what it is! Heh.)

  4. Yez Says:

    Dave K., if you’re reading this, cover your eyes!

    Okay, Jonniker: COUNTRY MUSIC!  The “Right or Left at Oak Street” type – the kind where if you play it backwards, the wife comes home, the truck starts working and the dog comes back to life :>

    I like Bluegrass, though.

  5. FrannyCats Says:

    Yez, you mean to say you don’t just LOVE “I’ve Got Tears in my Ears from lying on my Back in my Bed as I CRYYYYY over you?”

    Hank Williams, eat your heart out!

  6. Yez Says:

    BWAAAAhahaha!  Uncle!  I relent!  I do love those over-the-top CW songs :>  I also love Tex Ritter, although I stubbornly categorize his work as “Cowboy songs” and don’t denigrate classify them as being under the umbrella of Country.  (And also: still crying over the loss of John Ritter.)

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