Friday, April 24, 2009

Eddie Bo 1930 - 2009

The New Orleans Jazz Fest begins today, and Eddie Bo’s name will be spoken often in these two weeks to come. At last year’s Jazz Fest, Bo had a joyous evening with Marcia Ball and others at the WWOZ Piano Night, and a return was planned for this year. Sadly, Eddie Bo died of heart failure on March 18, at 79. But it's New Orleans, of course, and any sad talk of Bo’s passing will quickly turn to happy celebration of a good man who left a great legacy.

Eddie Bo was one of those “most influential/least known” artist types. He grew up in NOLA’s Ninth Ward, with Fats Domino and Professor Longhair as neighbors, and eventually performed and recorded for some fifty years, working with at least a dozen labels. His musical interests crossed genres, and he was a master at weaving all those interests into a music that was always textured, colorful and grooving. His late sixties and early seventies funk was some of the best ever to come out of New Orleans.

For an excellent two-part blog on Eddie Bo's music, with sound files, check out Dan Phillip's very cool Home of the Groove:

AND, we thank Chas Lewis for beginning his March 27 tribute to Eddie Bo with our version of Bo’s “Hook and Sling.” We’re honored.

Check out The South Side with Chas Lewis, Fridays 7-10pm PST, on KHUM 104.3 FM and 104.7 FM, In Humboldt County, CA. Find Chas on MySpace:

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Slacks at the 6th Annual Boston Cares Awards Reception

It was a perfect day for an awards ceremony, I tell ya!
The Slacks' jazz cocktail crew was up for playing at the Boston Cares 6th Annual Awards Reception at Nixon Peabody LLP in downtown Boston; come rain, come shine!
It was the former, by the way...
This was by far one of the smoothest, easiest gigs I've played in some time. We all had such a great time!
So, the Sox were rained out, but the Slacks were cool and dry like a martini. The show must go on!
A special thanks goes out to Lynn Weisel for helping us with this and for her warm welcome. As well as, a big Thanks to the catering staff for filling us full of tasty treats. We look forward to seein' ya next year. Or, even sooner than that!!!
To find out more about Boston Cares, Click here

Monday, April 13, 2009

Johnny Blue Horn in the Patriot Ledger!

Who's your favorite Chicken Slack? If, like so many of you, it's Johnny Blue Horn, today is your lucky day! The South Shore's daily newspaper The Patriot Ledger recently interviewed the Quincy on for all things Johnny:

nny Blue Horn couldn’t be happier
Jay Miller - The Patriot Ledger (Quincy, MA)
Friday, February 20, 2009

Quincy’s John Moriconi has followed his love of rhythm and blues and soul to many interesting places. But he’s seldom been happier than when he’s performing as a trumpeter and secondary vocalist for The Chicken Slacks.
The septet, which plays every Thursday night at The Cantab Lounge in Cambridge’s Central Square, has just released an album entitled “Can You Dig It?,” a baker’s dozen of incendiary soul and R&B tracks, including four originals.
The band is a featured attraction at tonight’s Mardi Gras Ball at Johnny D’s in Somerville.
Most South Shore fans will recall Moriconi - also known as Johnny Blue Horn - as the multi-talented frontman for Mission Of Blues for more than a dozen years. That band, led by guitarist Steve Todesco of Roslindale, also includes Rockland drummer Gary MacDonald. But Moriconi, who held down a day job in an administrative office for all of that run, eventually grew restless and wanted to explore other options.
“I had been with Mission Of Blues about 11 or 12 years, and I loved the band,” said Moriconi. “But it was staying where it was. I just felt I needed a different path. Rhythm & Blues and soul music had always been my first love, and Mission did some of that, but mostly blues covers. I made a decision in about mid-2006 to leave that band, simply because I wanted to go in a different direction.”
Word soon worked its way through the Boston-area music scene, and before long Moriconi had a new offer.
“That summer…The Chicken Slacks told me they were looking for a trumpet player,” said Moriconi. “I had never even seen the band before, but I went to one of their shows and I knew this was a good fit.”
Moriconi is a native of Colchester, CT, who began playing trumpet when he was eight years old. From school bands he soon gravitated to garage bands, listening all the while to the variety of tunes FM radio offered in the 1970s.
“It’s not easy to be in a garage band when you play trumpet, and all the music is made for guitars,” Moriconi said.
After high school, Moriconi joined the Air Force, where he tried out unsuccessfully for the Air Force band and worked on expanding his collection of cassette tapes.
“I developed a knack of invading people’s record collections,” Moriconi said. “Whenever someone new arrived on the base, I’d ask if I could check out their record collection and I’d make my own cassettes. I ended up with about 400 tapes of all kinds of music.”
When he finished his tour with the Air Force, he came to Boston to team up with a friend who was a drummer studying at Berklee College of Music. Moriconi landed a spot in a band called Drive All Night soon thereafter. In 1992, Moriconi answered a newspaper ad for a blues band and became one of the Roadhouse Sheiks, a band best remembered for hosting the weekly blues jams at the Days Inn in Brighton for a time. Around ’95, Moriconi spotted another ad, this time for a singer/harmonica player. It turned out to be Mission Of Blues, and Moriconi convinced them his trumpet was just as good as a blues harp, and undoubtedly more unique.
Mission Of Blues spent a few years developing its sound, and by 1999 shocked many Beantown hipsters by winning the Battle of the Boston Blues Bands at Harper’s Ferry in Allston.
“We came out of nowhere that year,” Moriconi said.
But the time had come to forge new territory, and that was with The Chicken Slacks. He said it’s been a kick from the first notes they played together.
“What I like most about The Chicken Slacks is that their repertoire is not the same standard tunes that 50 other bands around town are playing,” he said. “On this album we have four originals, but some really obscure songs from other artists, too. Everyone in this band is a really good student of music, so we have a lot of great input. The first tune on the CD is actually a Captain Beefheart song - he’s best known for his satirical music, but he also wrote some really good soul music, too.”
Besides Moriconi, The Chicken Slacks include Durand Wilkerson on lead vocals, Jeremy Valadez on sax, Curtis Jerome Haynes on keyboards, Mike Null on guitar, Rick Rosco on bass and Justin Berthiaume on drums.
The weekly sessions at the Cantab have been a godsend for the band, offering exposure and a great venue to unveil new material.
“The Cantab residency is a true rarity, a long-term gig at such a legendary spot,” Moriconi said.
Jay N. Miller covers popular music on the South Shore and in the Boston area.

Metronome Review

Boston's Metronome Magazine published another great review of Can You Dig It? Here it is:

The Chicken Slacks have been evolving steadily over the years and their new album Can You Dig It? finds them sounding better than ever. With the additions of singer "Diamond" Durand Wilkerson and guitarist Mike Null, The Chicken Slacks have found a solid residence in the world of soul and R&B.
The group has been holding a residency at Cambridge's Cantab Lounge for several years now and it really shows in their tightness, funky interplay and spot-on dynamics. Boasting grooves that smolder slow and sure from this savvy septet, the songs of "Too Much Time," "On A Saturday Night," "I Wanna Take A Shower With You," John Fogerty's "Long As I Can See The Light," and the Curtis Mayfield inspired "Tragedy," signify that The Chicken Slacks have arrived in style. -Douglas Sloan

Friday, April 3, 2009

Brother Wayne

A couple weeks ago, D burned two CD's for me of a recent Brother Wayne "Lost and Found" program for my long drive to a Vermont Slacks gig. Thanks D, and thanks Brother Wayne.

Brother Wayne, a world-reknown collector of rare 60's and 70's funk and soul singles, is a deep treasure for the Slacks, not only by dropping by The Cantab every Thursday, but also by turning us on to some very hip music. One of my favorites from the March 25 show was "Somebody Got to Love You," by Don Covay and The Good Timers. Nice push-ahead gospel feel.

Brother Wayne hosts WMBR's "Lost and Found" every Wednesday, 12:00 - 2:00 PM, playing vinyl singles from his warehouse-sized collection. Check out and click on "Wednesday" for a link to Wayne's playlist and archives.

This goes straight to Wayne's blog:

It doesn't get any better.

Big shout out to Brother Wayne.