Chicago Tribune (3.23.90)

Dave Edmunds will get some help from his friends

By Chris Heim

The stage will be mighty crowded before the show is over. That's because headliner Dave Edmunds decided to bring quite an assortment of friends along on his current tour. The "Dave Edmunds Rock & Roll Revue" features rock veteran Dion ("The Wanderer," "Runaround Sue"); Kim Wilson of the Fabulous Thunderbirds; and Graham Parker, who like Edmunds was one of the finest talents to emerge from the '70s British pub rock scene. All will have solo spots before closing out the show together.

The backup band includes drummer Terry Williams, a member of the old Rockpile lineup that Edmunds co-led with Nick Lowe; bassist Phil Chen and second drummer Dave Charles, who have worked with Edmunds on several projects; guitarist Steve Cropper, from Booker T & the MG's, countless soul and rock sessions and the Blues Brothers' band; and the Miami (formerly the E Street) Horns.

Edmunds could have filled several stages just with performers he has produced in recent years. Besides Dion and the Fabulous Thunderbirds, he produced albums for the Everly Brothers, the Stray Cats, k.d. lang, Status Quo and, most recently, Nick Lowe. The demand for his production skills is perhaps one reason it took Edmunds five years to do a new album for himself. But the recently released "Closer to the Flame" turned out to be one of his strongest solo efforts. As usual, Edmunds includes lots of catchy pop tunes. But this time, he also added a touch of Southern soul to the mix, giving the album a variety and warmth some past projects have lacked.

The Dave Edmunds Rock & Roll Revue appears Saturday at the Riviera.

Other shows of note

Alice Cooper and Danger Danger, Friday at the Riviera: "Shock rock" inventor Cooper made a remarkable comeback with "Trash," a recent album on which he discovered something scarier than monsters - relationships. His shows are reportedly as flamboyant as ever, which could be one reason this date is sold out. Pop-metal band Danger Danger (whose biggest claim to fame is that bassist Bruno Ravel replaced Billy Sheehan in Talas) opens.

Dash Rip Rock, Friday at Lounge Ax: New Orleans rockers have long been overshadowed by the city's phenomenal R&B talent, but this developing trio could help change that. The band has been compared to NRBQ and the Replacements, but its sound also has a dash of country and a rip of rockabilly in it. Its new and third album, "Not of This World," was done with acclaimed Memphis producer Jim Dickinson.

Bob Welch, Friday at Biddy Mulligan's: Welch is probably best known for "Sentimental Lady," a song he wrote and first recorded while in Fleetwood Mac in the early '70s. He also led a moderately successful hard rock band, Paris, and released a few solo albums, one of which featured (aw, you guessed) "Sentimental Lady."

Southern Soul Revue, Friday at FitzGerald's and Saturday at B.L.U.E.S. etcetera: Yet another promising revue featuring three talented soul singers who have made impressive artistic comebacks in recent years - New Orleans legend and vocal acrobat Johnny Adams; Mighty Sam McClain, whose hits include "Sweet Dreams of You" and "Fannie Mae"; and wild showman Nappy Brown, who first recorded "The Night Time Is the Right Time." A fourth headliner, guitarist Wayne Bennett, is no stranger to Chicago, having backed many Chess and Vee-Jay artists (including Buddy Guy, Otis Rush, Jimmy Reed and Jerry Butler) and played numerous jazz and theater gigs around town. Bennett also worked extensively with Bobby Blue Bland and recorded with Tyrone Davis, Percy Sledge and many prominent gospel groups.

Yank Rachell, Friday and Saturday at Rosa's: Mandolin is one of the last instruments people associate with blues, but Yank Rachell carries on the tradition as few can. His distinctive playing style and country-blues sound are a perfect match. Rachell, who worked with early blues legends Sleepy John Estes, Peetie Wheatstraw and the first Sonny Boy Williamson, is celebrating his 80th birthday and will be joined by Jimmy Walker and the Steppin' Out Blues Band.

The Harper Brothers, Friday and Saturday at the Jazz Bulls: Add brothers Philip and Winard Harper to the growing list of well-received hard bop revivalists. After working with Jimmy McGriff and Art Blakey (Philip) and Dexter Gordon, Betty Carter and Johnny Griffin (Winard), they decided to concentrate on their own band. A recently released second album shows them continuing to grow in range and expressiveness.

The Creatures, Saturday at Cabaret Metro: This little side project by Siouxsie Sioux and Budgie from Siousxie and the Banshees has resulted in some of the most exciting music the two have ever done. The recently released "Boomerang" album uses little more than Siouxsie's voice and Budgie's percussion. Yet the set of jazz-, blues- and Caribbean-influenced tunes is consistently fresh, fascinating and, most surprising of all given the glacial air that has surrounded Siouxsie and the Banshees, strikingly warm.

Smokey Robinson, Saturday at Star Plaza: Few artists have a surer touch than Motown legend Smokey Robinson. His latest album, "Love, Smokey," is another impressive blend of classic soul and current sounds welded together by that smooth Smokey style.

The Forester Sisters and Earl Thomas Conley, Sunday at Star Plaza: Sibling acts have become a hot item in country music, and among the hottest are the four Forester Sisters. In five years, they've released seven albums and have had 12 Top 10 singles. Though they lean toward mainstream and pop material, the Foresters never lose sight of their traditional country roots.

The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Wednesday at Park West: New Orleans' premier contemporary brass band mixes classic Crescent City marching music, spunky rhythm and blues and challenging jazz. Look for the band to showcase material from the forthcoming release "The New Orleans Album," which includes guests Elvis Costello and New Orleans legends Dave Bartholomew, Eddie Bo and Danny Barker.

Courtney Pine, Thursday at the Cubby Bear: With his sharp suits, Coltrane and Rollins influences and unwavering allegiance to what he terms "Afro-classical" music (not to mention his continuing associations with Delfeayo and Ellis Marsalis), this young sax phenomenon has been dubbed the British Wynton Marsalis. But his work so far suggests Pine has the talent and commitment to eventually rise above the labels and the hype.

Contributed by Jerry Burch.

Back to Articles