I've had this sitting on my desk for as long as I can remember -- a photo of a bunch of local all-stars taken so long ago it might as well have been made during another lifetime. So, yes, let's see, from left: Rhett Miller, Peter Schmidt, Clark Vogeler (ageless, clearly), Paul Semrad, Matt Kadane, Tench Coxe and Chris Motley (at the time, booking agent for Club Clearview). Otherwise known as, beginning with Peter: Sinead, Shamus, Shite, Sahabda, Finnegan and Rourke. Otherwise known as The O'McClanahans, who, sadly, will not be playing the North Texas Irish Festival this weekend. If memory serves, Rhett wasn't actually a member, except for photo shoots and free beer. Glad to get this off my chest.
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But, speaking of Matt and Tench, let's cut to the chase with a week-ending flashback to April 20, 1998, courtesy Bradley's Almanac, from which this live recording of Bedhead originated. Brad tells the story of a long drive from Burlington to Bennington way back when to catch his heroes -- who had "become near-mythic figures" to a kid living far, far away from Dallas. (I don't know about all that, but Bubba Kadane's a very good cook.) "I was, and still am, deeply in love with their work," Brad wrote one year ago, when posting his treasure.
It's easily the most circulated of the handful of Bedhead boots that exist, but also among the most special: Bubba told me last night their performance in its entirety of the band's farewell, Transaction de Novo, was a rare occasion -- something they only did in intimate settings, such as college campuses, where the audience was "attentive." And even then, he says, maybe they did it twice. There are a few "oldies" in there as well, chief among "Bedside Table," no less powerful today that it was as a Direct Hit single a million years ago.
Bonus No. 1: And while we're on the subject of Peter and Clark, buried on Dr. Schmidt's seldom-if-ever-updated site are two downloadable songs from Funland's unreleased Nashville sessions: "Dump Me" and "Quiet One."
Bonus No. 2: And lest we forget Mr. Semrad's late band, Course of Empire, there are copious freebies available on CoE's site as well -- among them a Cheap Trick cover (from the '92 Heaven on a Stick cassette comp, among the greatest local releases ever) and the band's unreleased version of T. Rex's "Cosmic Dancer." Also available, courtesy the band: every single thing CoE ever officially released, since "Course of Empire's albums have gone out of print and the band members are no longer receiving compensation for these releases." Well, that's awful kind.