Old blues and more from living rooms in the Chicagoland area!
Author: Dr. Scott Cashman
Dr. Scott leads Dr. Scott's Moonshine Band along with his accomplice Sesu Tramp of the Magic Tramps. Scott also plays with the Chicagoland Irish band Another Pint with Kelly Griner, Dan Heinz, Dorothy Shaw and Eric Bushman. Lest you think the Dr. title is strictly about music, Scott has a Ph.D in Cultural Anthropology.
Pass Around the Jimmy-John may take its name from a jug of moonshine, but the truth is it’s a perfect blend of back-country blues that soaks you like a smooth sour mash. Scott’s rich vocals power the selection of classic blues, and lead picking by Joel and Aidan would make Leadbelly proud. Round out the sound with strong support from Sesu, et. al., and you’ve got the recipe for an earful of enjoyment — that you’ll want to come back to again and again.
Carlos Harrison, April 19, 2017
Carlos Harrison is a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and author (and a musician in his living room). His most recently book The Ghosts of Hero Street: How One Small Mexican-American Community Gave So Much in World War II and Korea was published by Berkley Caliber. You can find out more about Carlos on his web site.
Pass Around the Jimmy-Johnis available from Whiplash Records by Credit Card or PayPal.
In early October Sesu, Aidan and I went into the studio to record 3 songs for special projects. For the first time we had Aidan focus exclusively on electric guitar and Sesu on the drum kit in addition to the Ashiko. The result was much more rock than you are used to hearing from us but that was entirely appropriate given what we were recording.
Up first was a cover of the Rolling Stones’ Dead Flowers which is slated for inclusion on the Whiplash Records tribute to the Stones.I told Aidan to “think Mick Taylor.” He accomplished it. After you hear the track sit back and remember that he is 14 as we are doing this. What a kick it was having Sesu playing a kit. He sounded so good in the earphones that I had to look over and was a bit awestruck by the historical figure I was playing next to. Really, it’s a joy to play with those 2 musicians.
As is generally our practice in the studio we do the basic track live. This time it was Aidan’s electric rhythm guitar, Sesu on the kit and my vocals and acoustic guitar. Aidan then recorded his leads and fills and added the bass. His leads are complete takes! Sesu then recorded an Ashiko track and I put on a second unison vocal and that was it. I like the energy that we achieved. I like the propulsive power of Sesu’s drumming. I like the fills and the leads. Overall, I’m just really happy with this recording.
Dead Flowers will be on a Whiplash Records compilation that is coming out in late April 2017. I’m really looking forward to this one. I can imagine that the Stones are a sweet spot for a lot of the bands on this compilation. With roots that go back to the early CBGBs era of NYC and the New York Dolls (original guitarist Rick Rivets plays on all these compilations) it’s a natural. We are already on the Whiplash compilation of The Who and this one has me even more excited (and that’s a good one).
Next up, was an up-tempo version of the Grateful Dead’s Friend of the Devil. This was released on this year’s Whiplash Halloween IV. Each time we are included on these compilations it is really an honor. The music on this one is really outstanding! It doesn’t have to be Halloween for you to enjoy it so get a jump on next year’s Halloween party and get it now!! I had the same kind of experience with this track as Dead Flowers and again really ended up liking the energy in this recording. Aidan plays two really good solos. He’s really got a feel for how to introduce himself and make a statement and these too are complete takes. I’ve been playing Friend of the Devil and Dead Flowers for many years and with this band for a while too. It makes things easy when we have that much history behind a performance.
For many reasons, The Grateful Dead are a significant source for me not the least of which is that I consider them the ultimate group of modern songsters. In traditional terms a songster is someone who travelled around collecting songs to add to their repertoire and spreading them around by playing. They might be playing at a dance or on a street corner or in a bar or a juke joint but the point was the songs were getting passed around in ways that sheet music or later recordings didn’t. It’s the oral tradition really. The Dead, of course, recorded almost everything that they did so there is a new element to their work and its distribution. The point is, they were collectors. You will hear traditional blues, Chicago blues, old time string band, early country, Irish, New Orleans funk, traditional tunes from the Bahamas and a whole lot more. Jerry Garcia was a student of these musics but it wasn’t just him. The whole band was like this (Weir is no slouch). So it has always been important to me to play some songs that they collected and passed on in addition to the originals. We started with the Hunter/Garcia, Friend of the Devil in which I include the final verse that Hunter wrote but Garcia never sang. To me it finishes the story, so I include it. You can expect more of their traditional tunes from us in the future. I’ve Been All Around This World (1944: Grandpa Jones) is in our set list. Deep Elum Blues (1930s: Lone Star Cowboys and The Shelton Brothers) is a likely candidate. We’ve been playing it at jam sessions recently (Here are Aidan and I doing it at home 2016. This was recorded moments after I took my new $69 uke out of the box. He’s playing a $40 acoustic he bought in the Wisconsin Dells a year ago. So that’s a grand total of $109 for the instruments in this video! Not bad.). Anyway, I think Sesu suggested that Friend of the Devil would make a good addition to the 2016 Whiplash Halloween compilation. It is!
Finally, my friend Ursula Bielski, at the urging of our friend Clarence Goodman, offered to include a song on her upcoming compilation CD for Chicago Hauntings. Ursula owns the tour company and is THE expert on Chicago ghostlore. She’ll be playing the disc on the tour buses so lots of people will get to hear it.
I told Aidan and Sesu that I wanted a slow and swampy version of Friend of the Devil for this one and off we went with no real rehearsal. I really like how it came out. I’ve played if for some people and have gotten a great response. We play it pretty slow and spooky but not slow like the later day Grateful Dead arrangements. You should be hearing it in the coming year! We’ll pass on more information as we get it. If you find yourself in Chicago look up Chicago Hauntings and go on a tour! You’ll be glad you did.
We didn’t do a Christmas song this year but we have one ready for next year and Another Pint already has one recorded for next year! Meanwhile Whiplash included Black Diamond Strings from our first album on the 2016 Christmas collection – A Whiplash Christmas IV – as a special gift. We are really happy about that! Again, Christmas might be over this year but get this now so you are ready for next year!
One of the things that I like best about working on a college campus, and this is true at Harper College, is the interesting and creative people that I work with every day. We have some great musicians on this campus. Edgar Gabriel teaches in our Continuing Education program and he’s really a good teacher. But, he’s also a great artist.
Edgar Gabriel’s StringFusion has released a Christmas album called Tidings of Groove. While so many in this genre lack any sort of inspiration String Fusion has recorded a set of songs infused with energy and spirit. You’ll hear them move stylistically from swing to smooth jazz to funk and all of it is well played by the musicians on the recording. My particular favorite is “Jolly Old Canon” which rather than being presented as a medley actually laces the melodies of Pachelbel’s Canon and Jolly Old St. Nicholas together in a haunting piece that is addicting. By the time the electric guitar enters you’ll be hooked on the rhythm and melodies. You’ll be able to sing along with a few of the classic songs that are included but there are also some lesser heard pieces, a “Dreidel Hoe Down” and even a song to “Boogie in the New Year.” This one is worth the price. Every year I buy some new Christmas music and most years I end up being disappointed. Not so this year. I recommend Tidings of Groove.
Comment on Dr. Scott’s Moonshine Band CD – Pass Around the Jimmy-John
May 19, 2016
“Loved your CD. Played it twice on my way too and from Missouri. Many thanks!”
“It exceeded my expectations, and please don’t take that as an insult. I thought the production value was excellent, and the music was very soulful, sincere and well presented.
I am not a musician by any stretch, but I really enjoyed it from start to finish, and had I not known you I still would have given it the same review. That’s the ultimate test for all of our work. Friends support, but strangers are brutally honest. Nothing brutal from me, I liked it a lot.
I will keep it in rotation for future road trips.” – Dobie Maxwell (Dobie is a nationally touring comedian. He has also done extensive work in radio and has appeared on television including on the The Late Late Show’ with Craig Ferguson. Visit his website.
To buy your copy of Pass Around the Jimmy-John click the cover!
The Chicago World Music Ensemble has formed under the direction of Issa Boulos as part of Harper College’s Community Music and Arts Center (CMAC). I’m happy to be playing an African drum in the ensemble and singing a tune or two. You’ll hear a version of Sylvie in this video of our first full concert. I Hop you enjoy it.
Our Irish band – Another Pint – lead by my good friend Kelly Griner, is in full swing for St. Patrick’s Day 2016. Gigs are starting to fall in place. We’ll be in Milwaukee for Parade Day, March 12 at Mo’s Irish Pub. On St. Patrick’s Day itself we’ll be in Milwaukee for a 6am (not a typo) gig at Mo’s. Then it looks like we’ll be heading to Chicago to do some more playing that day.
Saturday, March 5 9:00 PM 1:00 AM Brian’s American Grill 2009 Ogden Ave, Downers Grove, IL 60515
Saturday, March 12 11:45 AM 3:00 PM Mo’s Irish Pub, 142 W. Wisconsin Avenue, Milwaukee, WI 53203
Saturday, March 12 8:30 PM 10:30PM Talley’s Kitchen & Bar, 31 S Prospect Ave, Clanendon Hill, IL
St. Patrick’s Day, Thursday March 17 6:00 AM 9:30 AM Mo’s Irish Pub, 143 W. Wisconsin Avenue, Milwaukee, WI 53203
St. Patrick’s Day, Thursday March 17 8:00 PM 11:00 PM Connolly’s Public House, 1109 South Blvd, Oak Park, IL
Friday, March 18 2:00 PM 6:00 PM Mo’s Irish Pub 144 W. Wisconsin Avenue, Milwaukee, WI 53203
Saturday, March 19 12:00 PM 2:00 PM Half Day Brewing Co 200 Village Green, Lincolnshire IL 60069
The Another Pint facebook page has been revitalized! Please visit and like it. All of our gigs will be posted there. Come to see us and have a pint. Another Pint on Facebook.
2015 October – A couple years ago Sesu brought up the possibility of Dr. Scott’s Moonshine Band doing a version of Fire and Brimstone by Link Wray. I had owned that album for many years.
I never knew exactly what to make of it though. Link Wray was a pioneering Rockabilly guitarist. His raw guitar sound was full of energy. Rumble and Rawhide and his other songs set standards for Rockabilly guitar and influenced all the Rock guitar that followed. His short collaboration with Robert Gordon resulted in 2 essential albums (my opinion). Interestingly, Link Wray was probably the first Native American Rock Star so Sesu has that connection with him as well. Now, the album that Sesu was drawing on wasn’t Rockabilly at all. It was really more of a backwoods country album. No hint of Nashville really, not commercial but authentic (whatever that means). Fire and Brimstone is certainly the standout track on the album. The rhythm is predominant and makes it a good choice for our band.
So I started working it up and really couldn’t get the right feel. Aidan and I tried it a couple of times and it was bad. Sesu and I jammed on it and I just wasn’t feeling it. So off it went to the back of my mind to ferment or distill or something and it was back in there for maybe a couple of years. Then Sesu revived it, “How about Fire and Brimstone for the Halloween album?” I heard myself saying “yup” even as I was thinking that I’d never really got the necessary feeling figured out. So, back to Link’s vinyl, over and over and then the ideas came.
I never did try to play along with the record. I made up some weird chord changes which eventually got thrown out. Planting it firmly in the key of “E” with kind of a Bo Diddley beat, I thought about morphing it into Sympathy For the Devil, so I used the chord changes and feel from the Stones’ Get Your Ya Ya’s Out version for Aidan’s solo near the end. Then I thought about a little guitar lick that Alvin Lee used in the Ten Years After song Love Like A Man (from the LP Cricklewood Green) and had Aidan use that to transition into Sympathy. But would anyone even know it was Sympathy? So I thought I’d add the phrase about Lucifer. (Kelly mixed it down and turned it into a growl – perfect. Get the headphones out.) The ideas flowed and we never really rehearsed the song. We just started recording and it came out.
The other big decision was to let electric guitar in. Second time for everything (the first time was the Dr. Scott version of Mental Rover) and it worked out great with all those elements coming together. So, now you can hear it on A Whiplash Halloween III alongside a lot of other great bands. We’ll let you hear it on SoundCloud too if you follow this link – Fire and Brimstone.
2015 December – Here is the lineup for a Whiplash Christmas III.
“A Whiplash Christmas III” is now available – and we apologize for being soooo late this year. Great bands: Dia Tribe, Sweet Tarts, Zoul, Corpse Grinders, Joe Vicas, Orphans, Malcolm Tent, Slugs,
Dr Scott’s Moonshine Band, Poseidon’s Kiss, Sonic Supercharger 66…plus Christmas greetings & messages from: Keith West (Brats), Deb Verno (Dia Tribe), Rick Rivets, Bill Knapp & Joe Vicas (Poseidon’s Kiss), Diane Rodriguez (Sweet Tarts), Zoul, Dr Scott,
Harold C Black, Steve Schroeder (Rehab Refugees), Sesu Coleman (Magic Tramps), Andy Doback, and Santa & one of the elves, too. And, of course, our lovely cover model, Angie Pontani.
MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM ALL OF US !!!