Happy Halloween to all CF Lifers everywhere, and to all the ships at sea. Buck Throckmorton posts up a good ‘un in celebration of the day.
Now, one from my dear departed friend Ronnie Dawson.
Though they share the same title, near as I can tell the two songs have no connection with one another: not chord progressions, not tempo or rhythm, not lyrics, not nothin’. But now that I brought up Uncle Ronnie (that’s what I called him, at his insistence, which I found quite flattering), no way am I gonna pass up the opportunity to post this one.
Now as fate would have it, I attended the Conyne taping along with a large contingent of the NYC-RAB scenesters, and a good time was had by all, believe you me. Backing Ronnie up is the absolute best rockabilly combo I’ve ever seen or heard tell of: High Noon, a trio from Austin Texas, with the welcome addition of the brilliant and drop-dead gorgeous Lisa Pankratz pounding the skins.
Ronnie always gave a good, energetic performance onstage, but out of a thousand and one Dawson shows I either saw or played on, I never, ever saw him as charged up as he was that incredible night. Not just Ronnie, but the whole band was very nearly sending sparks flying off their bodies, they were all so excited and exhilarated. The audience was, too, even Conan himself. Take especial note of what Ronnie does at 3:34 in the vid: he’s waving his arm around over his head at the NYC-RAB crew. We were all up dancing in the aisles, and he was beckoning us to come right down front to dance closer to him nearer to the stage.
After the performance, when he got over to sit on the couch and chat a bit with Conan, first thing out of O’Brien’s mouth was a stunned but amused “My GOD, what have you DONE to these people?” Watch the vid again, you can just about see the sheet-lightning emanating from Ronnie and the band. It was fucking shit-hot, that’s what. I’ve never seen anything remotely like it, in all my years of rockin’ and rollin’.
When the taping was done, me and my gf at the time met Ronnie, Lisa, and the High Noon crew up at their Midtown hotel and went out bar-hopping to celebrate this historic triumph for real rock and roll. We hit several Midtown dive bars—yes, there are a few, but you gotta look for ’em—until airtime for the Conan show started getting close (the taping was at 5:30). Then we began to ask each bartender at wherever we were at the time if they would pretty please turn the TV to the right channel so we could watch the show, since several of us were gonna be on it. After being turned down by three (3) assholes who preferred watching some goddamned sportsball event instead, somebody (wasn’t me) suggested that we all go downtown to cram ourselves into my apartment to watch.
And so we did. Mine and Jen’s less-than-palatial crib was more crowded and smoky even than it usually was, which is saying something; the drinks were flowing freely, we had the TV cranked to window-rattling volume, and the laughter, shouting, and general hullaboo was boisterous enough to almost drown THAT out.
We celebrated for a few more hours, watching the show over and over on the VCR, and then everyone piled into my rattletrap E350 van for the drive back uptown to drop the band off at their hotel. As we jounced and shook up the perpetually-under-construction FDR drive at a leisurely 80mph, a fear-stricken Lisa shouted from the back, “Mike, I think you’ve been in New York too long!”
It was without a doubt the most wonderful night of my entire life, and I wasn’t even onstage.