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By Dallas Embry
It was a great idea! March is National Women's Month, so we'll have a showcase featuring all women performers.
Lined up for the show were Becky & Kelly, Londa Crenshaw, Sheila Joyce and Susanne Wood, and everything was fine right up to show time.
Then Londa had to cancel because she was deathly ill (or at least sounded like it), and all these men showed up as back-ups for some of the other performers.
Disaster, right? Wrong! Luckily, Marie Augustine was on hand to replace Londa, and we arbitrarily made all the men Honorary Women (HW) for the evening, so it all worked out just fine and even maintained the integrity of the original concept.
This was the first show where we relaxed our rigid standard of allowing only original material to be performed, and we were better off for it.
Now, to the music.
Sheila Joyce, accompanied by Marie Augustine, performed a selection of her songs beginning with "Leavin' Out In the Mornin'," after saying "leavin' out seems so much more like bein' gone, than just leavin'."
With "Almost Home" she sang of returning to husband Ken's hometown in Texas where "When you can buy your first Pearl beer/You'll know you're almost home," then in "Pearl From San Antone," she did a tribute to the Texas brew -- "The only girl I can call my own/Is Pearl, sweet Pearl, from San Antone."
In honor of National Women's Week, she did "Some Other Time," then she sang of a weary road person in "The Hitchhiker," who, when asked if he wants to sleep, replies, "I've been gone so long and so far/I'll just sit here and look out of your car/And watch myself come home."
Sheila concluded her set with "Molly Henry," a tale of a big-time performer neglecting his daughter, and "Sweet Evening Breeze."
Becky & Kelly, accompanied by HW Mike Ballard on electric guitar, began with Joann Hatcher's third-place winner in the last L.A.S.C. Songwriting Competition, "Since You're Tired Of Lovin' Me," then performed the Paul Moffett/Gardner Barger/Debi Knight "Steal This Heart," before doing the Dishman/Ballard tune "Letting Go" in which a woman travels on the wheel of life from youth to old age, and letting go is the hardest thing to do.
After a rousing rendition of Alan Rhody's "Train Wreck Of Emotion," for which Mike played guitar and Becky played tambourine, they performed "Until I Stop Dancing to the Music In Me," and "Gotta Get Away," both of which were hits for Sweethearts of the Rodeo.
Becky & Kelly ended their set with a nice arrangement of Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup's "That's All Right Mama," made famous by Elvis in his early days.
Marie Augustine (replacing Londa on five minutes notice), accompanied by HW John Thornberry on electric bass, played her standard repertoire, including "The Excellence Experience," "Just A Little Foolin' Around," "Goodtime Gambler," "Where Has All the Magic Gone?," "One Dish From Your Smorgasbord Is Gone" and "Satisfied Me, I'm Free."
Her selection of material may have been standard, but her performance was not.
I've seen Marie perform many times over the years, but I have never seen her better than she was here -- she shone. Her stellar performance was no doubt helped by some subtle effects employed by sound man Tom Scoggins, but the way her voice rang clear and pure, and the energy she radiated was pure Marie, and it was wonderful.
Susanne Wood, accompanied by HW Bob Bush on guitar, started off with Bill Ede's "I've Just Seen Too Many Good Things Slip Away" and her own "Drink," before doing Janis Joplin's "Take A Little Piece Of My Heart."
Susanne is one of my favorite musicians, not only because of the quality of her performance, but because she also has the same eclectic/esoteric tastes in music that I have, as she proved when she sang Bruce Coburn's "If I Had A Rocket Launcher," Tracy Chapman's "Sorry" and the songs of Ferron.
She also sent me mind-tripping to Paradise Beach on the island of Mykonos, Greece when she sang Leonard Cohen's "Suzanne," one of my favorite songs.