Thursday, February 28, 2008

Live Music - odd connections and coincidences

There are no in store performances this week at Basement Discs, but I am going to a house concert for Danny O’Keefe on Friday evening. I have never been to a private house concert before so I’m interested in how it all works. This concert is by invitation only so will be a small and intimate event.

There’s a bit of a story attached to my invitation to this event...I met the people, Peter and Jane, who are hosting it, at the Northcote Social Club Teddy Thompson concert in November 2006, and we got talking as you do. They provided accommodation for Danny O’Keefe when he last toured here in November 2005 and had maintained contact with him since. I sent Peter some of the photographs I had snapped of Danny at his Basement Discs in store performance and directed him to a review on Nu Country written by an old Danny O’Keefe fan who had attended his show at the Corner Hotel and sent the review to Nu Country.

After that I didn’t run into Peter and Jane until the Mary Gauthier show at Northcote Social Club in January last year and not since.

However Peter knew I was interested in Danny O’Keefe so he invited me to the house concert.

Danny O’Keefe is famous for writing the song “Good Time Charlie’s Got the Blues” which has been covered by many notable singers including Elvis Presley, Willy Nelson and Jerry Lee Lewis. He co-wrote a song with Bob Dylan and has been pursuing a music career for over 40 years. He is a masterful performer in his own right, so it should be a good night’s entertainment on Friday.

Interestingly enough, I received an email from Danny O’Keefe, way back in November 2001, a few months after I had launched the Edward Whittemore site saying:

"I had been speaking with my friend Tom Robbins, another fan of Edward Whittemore's and whom I initially turned on to "Quin's Shanghai Circus", and he wondered what had happened to him. I didn't know either, but today I did a web search and found him, through your grace.

"Quin's Shanghai Circus" was given to me many years ago, in galley form, by a writer friend, Barry Farrell, who I believe had been asked to review it. I fell into the book and was so enthusiastic about it that I tried to option it and get someone interested in it as a film. No one was, but what a wild film it could be.

I had lost touch with Whittemore's writings after reading "Jerusalem Poker" and "Sinai Tapestry" and occasionally wondered about him. I can see his effect on writers like Tom R., especially in his latest book "Fierce Invalids".

I think they would have enjoyed each other and I'm sure I would have enjoyed hearing the conversation.

I hope the reissues will be met with the appreciation they deserve. I have ordered the two books from the quartet I had missed and look forward to reading them.

Thank you for keeping the light.

Peace, in wartime, Danny O'Keefe"
On the subject of interesting emails, there was an email sent to Nu Country earlier this week from Pete Finney, the steel guitar player in the Dixie Chicks band. He was keen to get a copy of one of the photographs I had taken at the Dixie Chicks show in 2006 and had included in my review of the concert on Nu Country, which shows him pictured with the three Chicks. He said it was rare to find such a photo as he’s normally stuck to the side of the stage and seldom gets into the picture. Surprisingly my photo, even though it was shot from a fair distance away from the stage, is quite sharp and faces are distinguishable and not just blurs. I sent him a copy in the original size and he was very grateful for it.

It’s a small world…

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