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Homefront Celebrates 10th Anniversary with a Four-Banger
By Paul Moffett
Homefront Performances held its 10th Anniversary show a few months late, but it was worth the wait.
The real anniversary shows have been in March, but the lineup of Tom Flood and the Memphis Six, er, Four, Bodeco, Rusty Spoon Blues Band and Yer Girlfriend symbolized almost everything that Homefront has tried to stand for – except for the fiddle and ﬂannel that most people seem to associate with Homefront.
Tom Flood and the Memphis Four opened the show with a set of smooth, America-style tunes. "Fool's Paradise," written by former Memphis Four member John Goodin, was the stand-out number. Assisting Flood were Doug Denton, drums; Larry Davenport, bass; Jimmy Steilberg, guitar; Pat Hawley, vocals; Scott Snyder, violin; and Ray Major, harmonica.
Flood and Hawley combined for an a cappella version of "Children, Go Where I Send Thee" that was daring for its simplicity, but they pulled it off.
Then came Bodeco, Louisville's rocka-swamp boogie champs. Imagine Carl Perkins playing with a really good garage band. Think of Ersel Hickey dancing to "Dumas Walker."
Bodeco is Ricky Feather on guitar and vocals; Wink O'Bannon, guitar; Jimmy Brown, bass; Gary Stillwell, percussion; and Brian Burckett, drums. Wink O'Bannon has collected his share of kudos for his guitar work with brother Michael in Eleventh Dream Day. Gary Stillwell dresses high stage cowboy – embroidered roses on his jacket and matching red shirt under it – and shakes his maracas like a fiend.
Bodeco jumped on stage without a sound check, but since they market "raw" as an integral part of their sound, it could be that no one really paid any notice. Each tune seemed built around Feather's rockabilly guitar licks, straight out of Gene Vincent and the Blue Caps.
They finished with a tune appropriately entitled "Dead Broke and Dirty."
After the intermission, the Rusty Spoon Blues Band, featuring Tanita Gaines, took the show into the blues. Presenting material from their new Rollin' & Tumblin' release, Rusty Spoon was a serious contrast to Bodeco, with Tanita Gaines in the role of powerhouse R&B chanteuse. Dave Witherspoon's quicksilver guitar solos did not obscure the solid rhythm work of Rusty Ends on guitar, Fred Kaiser handling bass chores and Danny Kelly on drums.
The Rusty Spoon Blues Band has been getting some notice amongst blues fans for their latest recording. If the Homefront show was an indication of their ability, they deserve to be noticed.
Last month's LMN cover subject, Yer Girlfriend, closed out the evening's music. A large section of the crowd had come for this band and they demonstrated their loyalty by applauding and cheering each tune enthusiastically.
Their political and occasionally humorous messages actually could be heard over the music, thanks to some strong vocal work by Laura Shine. The rest of the band provided the solid musical foundation a group such as this needs to promote a political agenda – or a musical one, for that matter.
Next month, Homefront will present Jim Boklage, Jon Kay and Patrick Fitzgerald & Lumpy Muffins.