In case you missed it, The Ponderosa Stomp threw a doozy of party the other night. It was up at Lincoln Center and everyone was invited. This year the Stomp and the Lincoln Center Out of Doors crew presented possibly their most ambitious and rockin' show yet: The She's Got The Power! Girl Group Extravaganza--the third year up at Damrosch Park and the third year we were lucky enough to be able to be there and broadcast it.
A brief recap for those that are joining us late:
The Mystic Knights of the Mau Maus aka The Ponderosa Stomp are on a mission that cuts to the core of American musical history: to recognize and celebrate the unsung heroes of swamp, pop, jazz, country, soul, blues, rock & roll and to salute its living architects. Through oral histories, conferences and performances, they pool their knowledge and expertise with other like-minded non-profits and as a result our country's musical heritage has a chance of being recorded accurately. What separates this 501 © 3 organization from others is that the Stomp brings on the fun like Godzilla in hot pants.
The 10th Anniversary Stomp is in a few weeks in New Orleans an it looks like a humdinger. Featured artists include Allen Toussaint, Eddie Floyd, Big Jay McNeely, Dave Bartholomew and a zillion others. Info here.
For the past three years the Stomp has partnered with Lincoln Center Out of Doors to present free admission "theme" Stomps in New York City's Damrosch Park. The 2009 edition (listen here) featured vintage rockabilly and soul performers (Collins Kids, Harvey Scales, William Bell, The Bobbettes, The Bo-Keys, Carl Mann, Joe Clay) capped off by a stunning tribute to "the Creole Beethoven" Wardell Quezergue in Alice Tully Hall. He was feted by his musical pals Mac Rebennack, The Dixie Cups, Robert Parker, Jean Knight and many other luminaries. The Detroit Sound (listen here and here) took the stage last year: Flying in from the Motor City to rock our collective worlds were Melvin Davis, The Velvettes, Dennis Coffey, Eddie Kirkland, Spyder Turner, Mitch Ryder, Death, The Gories and Question Mark and the Mysterians.
The other night the Stomp and Lincoln Center did the unthinkable--they topped themselves.
The She's Got The Power! Girl Group Extravaganza took off like a rocket and didn't let up steam for a minute. Under the musical direction of Jeremy Chatzky, back-up band The Boyfriends fit the girl group harmonies like a silk glove while the veteran (many original!) back-up singers soulfully reached new heights of greatness.
First up on the program was a musical revue featuring 1950s and 60s chart-toppers of the female persuasion: Peggy Santigila Davison and Jiggs Sirico of The Angels, Nanette Licari from Reparata and the Delrons, Arlene Smith from The Chantells, Barbara Harris of The Toys, Brenda Reid and Lillian Walker of The Exciters, Louise Murray of The Jaynetts, Beverly Warren, Baby Washington and Maxine Brown. All performances were sublime with the passing decades only adding to the passion of their voices. After an intermission, La La Brooks (lead singer of The Crystals!), Lesley Gore and the inimitable Ronnie Spector walloped the crowd into a frenzy that left the dazed throng screaming for more. The evening ended poigantly with an all-star tribute to Brill Building legend Ellie Greenwich which hit just the right note.
This was an incredible show and if you don't believe me, then listen for yourself. Also check out the amazing interviews host Gaylord Fields scored with Susan Collins, Toni Wine, Gene Cornish of The Rascals, Louise Murray and many others. More photos here and here.
Events like this don't happen by themselves and this is as good a place as any to call out the usual suspects:
Thanks and congratulations to Dr. Ike and the Mystic Knights of the Mau Mau for the hard work and dedication in putting together another top-notch show (see you in September!). Lincoln Center Out of Doors saints Bill Bragin and Jill Strenheimer--they worked their asses off to help make it possible for WFMU to be able to broadcast the show live. We are indebted to them for their professionalism and perseverance. Also thanks to publicist Heather West and everyone on-site and back at the station: Brian, Scott, Liz, Ken, Ernie, Chris T, DA the DJ, Mary Wing, Kurt Gottschalk, PGB, Terre T, Rob Weisberg, Daniel Blumin, Rex, Debbie D, Gaylord Fields and if I missed anybody then you can meet me out by the monkey bars at 3:30. Thanks to the listeners for floating us the dough to be able to pay for broadcasting and archiving shows like this (jackets not included). Huge kudos, naturally and a great big kiss to the She's Got the Power! Girl Group performers and their talented band. They were the ones that really showed us how it's done.