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Chandler Travis Philharmonic - Live at the Lizard Lounge - 5​/​21​/​03

from Song of the Weak​!​!​! by Chandler Travis

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Lizard Lounge, May 21, 2003: An entire show!

First thing you'll notice here is, boy, this was recorded way too hot! Yup, it was -and under my supervision, which I guess means it was recorded in new, de-proved, Ultra Horrend-o-phonic! Still sounds great, in a very rustic, manly, some might almost say maniacal way.It was recorded on Wednesday, May 21st, at the closing night of Scara's Night Out, which was a series of twisted musical/vaudeville shows produced at our beloved Lizard Lounge in Cambridge by our good friend Chris Mascara -long may he rave!

We followed the belly dancers, who were wonderful, and pretty, too, but were encouraging a lot of audience participation, which led to the strange sight of the entire Philharmonic cowering backstage, scared to death the girls were going to make us belly dance.

This is the Philharmonic set in its entirety, starting with a song we had never played before (actually, a song most of us had never heard before): "Kramat", originally recorded by Abdullah Ibrahim (aka Dollar Brand, a wonderful pianist with a serious Ellington fixation and an African lilt -please buy all his albums immediately, there's about 130 of them.), which I got off the soundtrack album to a film called "Amandla! A Revolution in Four Part Harmony" on ATO/BMG that has all kinds of great African stuff on it. To say we didn't quite have it down yet is a bit of an understatement, but I still kind of like it (especially fine Rikki Bates's brush work), and I'm sure we'll get better at it.

We had debuted the second song, "Won't You Come Dance at the Midway", the previous week; it's about our old haunt the Midway, which we haven't played for awhile and are hankering to get back to -we miss all dose guys. Notice how much our bassist, John Styklunas, sounds like a tuba -remarkable. Great horn section that night - Steve LeFebvre (tpt.), Bob Pilkington ('bone), and Mark Chenevert (leader, clarinet, tenor sax) -the June Trailer Dancers in all their glory -or at least most of it. Then a little rock'n'roll with "Don't Blame Me." I stole both the title and the opening melody line from a great old Billie Holiday song, but am in no way responsible for the "Proud Mary" quotes from the horn section -in fact, I intend to give them a good talking to about that.The next one's called "Mid-morning in Moscow", a cousin of Kenny Ball's hit "Midnight in Moscow", which we also do now and then; more great horn work (sure wish I could afford these guys on the weekends), plus a nice l'il piano solo from Phil Clements.

Then another joyful swan dive into the abyss with "Fluffy" -man, what a racket! (Some of these songs are included mainly to give our long-suffering fans the gratification of finally being able to turn us down. Well, that, and for historical accuracy of course.) And then, of course, our usual closer, "Bob What's-is-name", which I can't seem to resist playing all the time, featuring once again the fine accordion work and vocal stylings of Dinty Child. Probably there are people who think we play this too much; screw 'em. And there you have it, an entire mini-CTP set (mini, because of the time constraints that evening; usually we go on and on.)

Years and years ago, in Rolling Stone, a guy named Ed Ward wrote one of my favorite pieces of all time, which was a review of a bootleg album of a live show by the Band. I still have the album; there's no writing on it of any kind, and I lost Ward's review a long time ago, so I don't know what it's called, or where or when it was recorded - or didn't until I looked it up on the damn web just now -I can't find the review, but the album is apparently called "Live Band #1" (or, alternately, "Whatcha Want Mama") and was "probably" recorded at the Pasadena Civic Auditoium in 1969; I've got my nephew listening to it as we speak (I'm glad I've got the kind of nephew you can feel good about giving all the albums beginning with A or B in your rock'n'roll section to, secure in the knowledge you'll be able to call him at two in the morning to get information on them if you need to; the same nephew is also the subject of the afore-mentioned "Bob What's-is-name".) I remember it as sounding absolutely dreadful, but that you could still hear that the band was on fire that night, and the fact that it was recorded so terribly somehow made the whole thing more real, more human. Here's hoping that works here, too. (And by the way, if anyone has access to that Ed Ward review, I'd love to see it again someday; I remember it as being funny as hell.)


from Song of the Weak​!​!​!, track released June 3, 2003
Live at the Lizard Lounge, Cambridge, MA, May 21, 2003


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Chandler Travis Philharmonic Massachusetts

THE CHANDLER TRAVIS PHILHARMONIC is a 9-piece technicolor extravaganza from Boston that includes a horn section, string bass, mandocello, guitar, keys, drums, accordion, and valet. George Carlin and NRBQ are among their longtime supporters; others include Bonnie Raitt, Elvis Costello, Bruce Springsteen, Of Montreal, Ween, and yer mother. ... more

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