Pardon for our taking forever to post some more tracks from Saturday night's Reunion Tower Revue at the Sons of Hermann Hall. There have been some technical difficulties on our end; Lord, how, some days, we long for the word processor. Anyway, big thanks to Olospo's Tom Bridwell, who recorded the entirety of the concert and mixed a few of the highlights so we could share them with our good Friends of Unfair Park, many of whom have e-mailed in recent days wondering where the promised goods were. Here, at last.
But first, a few words about the evening itself. As I said Monday, it exceeded my every expectation; how, after one rehearsal, did this astonishing line-up of so many people -- including a horn section and backup singers -- sound like it had been performing together for years? "I'm so nervous, I wanna vomit," said Sorta's Danny Balis, echoing the sentiment -- if not the exact same sentence -- of every other performer on the bill. Well, not every performer: Soul man Bobby Patterson, 40 years into a career that may yet be on the upswing, had the sweet spot of headliner and performed three songs with a band he barely knew, yet he was the very epitome of old-school cool. Then it's easy to be ready-steady when you have a band like Shibboleth there to prop you up.
"They remind me of a this band that plays with a guy in England, Snake Davis. But I can't say their name," said Bobby, a vision in denim. "So I just call 'em Syphilis." It was a joke he would repeat throughout the night. Always got a laugh.
Patterson was in the room when Jen Nabb soared through Bobby's "I Do." He insisted, "She does it better than I do." And he was there when Peter Schmidt paid tribute to Dallas' early punk scene, performing "I Confess" by the Nervebreakers and "I Used to Know You" by N.C.M. "He looks like Steve Martin," Patterson said of the Gentleman Scholar. Also present: Nervebreaker Mike Haskins, who introduced himself to Schmidt only after he got off the stage.
"That was great," Haskins said. "With the horns, it was a little different, but it was great. I wish Barry [Kooda] and Tex [Edwards] had been here to hear it. They would have loved it." Worry not, Mike. It's on tape. They may hear it yet.
Perhaps it was the concert's taking place so close to the holidays, or perhaps it was the great cause (a fundraiser for Family Gateway), or perhaps it was Hal Samples' taking Santa-hat pics of patrons at 10 bucks a pop, but the night was nothing but good vibes. Nabb, Balis and his Sorta bandmates and others hung out with Patterson all night, sharing smokes and stories about the good ol' days -- which took place before all of us were born, more or less. There was much talk of collaborations and new recordings, and phone numbers were exchanged before night's end. "I made a lot of friends here tonight," said Bobby P., who lingered at the Sons bar long after most of the place cleared out.
Shibboleth was extraordinary; guitarist Don Cento, who organized the band, said, "I always wanted our band to be Dallas' M.G.'s," and he exceeded even his own expectations. It felt like 1992 all over again, back when the words "Dallas" and "music scene" fit in the same sentence like cozy life partners. Not only because Vibrolux's Kim Pendleton was there, swimming through T-Bone Walker's "Trinity River Blues," and not only because Schmidt was vibrating through punk oughta-be-standards, but because everyone wanted everyone else to do well. The performers made for great audience members; Balis, Ward Williams, Trey Johnson, Carter Albrecht, Chris Holt, Salim Nourallah, Marc Solomon and everyone else who stormed the stage stood near it all night, bobbing heads and shaking hands and patting backs.
It may have been a night spent paying tribute to old Dallas music, but it felt like the birth of something brand-new. And if you missed Holt and Nabb duking it out over Meat Loaf's "Paradise by the Dashboard Light," with The Ticket's Mike Rhyner calling the play by play, you missed something extraordinary. There's one more song coming on Friday, along with some of Hal Samples' favorite photos from the event. On Monday, the songs will no longer be available. At least, not till a later date. How's that for a tease? --Robert Wilonsky
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Bobby Patterson, "I'm Still in Love with You"
Peter Schmidt, "I Used to Know You" (N.C.M. cover)
Chris Holt and Jen Nabb (featuring Mike Rhyner), "Paradise by the Dashboard Light" (Meat Loaf cover)