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The Sweetback Sisters--Wow!

bseed(charleskratz) 21 Jun 10 - 07:16 PM
Desert Dancer 21 Jun 10 - 07:24 PM
bseed(charleskratz) 21 Jun 10 - 07:44 PM
GUEST 21 Jun 10 - 10:29 PM
Nancy King 22 Jun 10 - 12:36 AM
open mike 22 Jun 10 - 12:52 AM
bseed(charleskratz) 22 Jun 10 - 05:45 AM
GUEST,BanjoRay 22 Jun 10 - 05:59 AM
GUEST 22 Jun 10 - 01:51 PM
GUEST,BanjoRay 22 Jun 10 - 03:30 PM
bseed(charleskratz) 22 Jun 10 - 04:30 PM
open mike 23 Jun 10 - 06:59 AM
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Subject: The Sweetwater Sisters--Wow!
From: bseed(charleskratz)
Date: 21 Jun 10 - 07:16 PM

I've started playing at open mikes at the Freight and Salvage in Berkeley, and one of the benefits of partaking and staying through to the end is a free ticket to an upcoming concert, just about anything in the next 10 days or so. Last Tuesday I played and had no difficulty staying until the end since I got there late and ended up the last of 35 acts to take the stage. Because I knew their opening act (Eric and Suzie Thompson), I chose the Sunday night show, the Sweetwater Sisters of whom I had no prior knowledge.

Eric and Suzie were, of course, great as usual, with their eclectic mix of folk and swing and blues and cajun...they played an abbreviated set of six numbers, all to desesvedly rousing applause, then after an intermission, on came the sisters, billed as a Honky Tonk country band. They didn't have much of a Bay Area following, if the house, filled only to about a quarter of capacity, is an indication, but after only a few numbers had got the small audience sounding like a much larger one. The name of the group is a bit misleading: while the two women members, Emily Miller and Zara Bode took on most of the vocal lead and harmony chores, they were backed by an oustanding rhythm section, Stefan Amidon on drums and Peter Bitene on bass, and most instrumental leads and many lead vocals came from monster electric guitarist Ross Bellenoit and fiddler/guitarist Jesse Milnes, a pair who also wrote several of the group's songs. Emily and Zara passed a guitar back and forth between them, the same git that Jesse played when he wasn't playing a fiery fiddle, and Emily joined Jesse for a couple of fiddle duets.

The band was as tight as any I've heard, whether on slow ballads or on barn burners. I hadn't managed to get to the bank before I came to the concert so I was unable to buy any of their music until I got home and ordered their entire catalogue, one and a half CDs.

They're from Brooklyn but are currently on a West Coast tour. I recommend them most
enthusiastically.

Charles


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Subject: RE: The Sweetwater Sisters--Wow!
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 21 Jun 10 - 07:24 PM

I was surprised I couldn't find 'em on Google: it's because they're the "Sweetback Sisters" (not Sweetwater). I recognized one name: Stefan Amidon, who plays great percussion with some contra dance bands and comes from a fine musical family. Will keep an eye out for the group. Unfortunately, they didn't make it to southern California this time.

~ Becky in Long Beach


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Subject: RE: The Sweetback Sisters--Wow!
From: bseed(charleskratz)
Date: 21 Jun 10 - 07:44 PM

Right you are, Becky. Another of my countless mispostings...

Charles

Joe or Clone, could you change the thread name to Sweetback Sisters?


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Subject: RE: The Sweetback Sisters--Wow!
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Jun 10 - 10:29 PM

It's what the Monkees would've sounded like if they'd played old country western radio music.


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Subject: RE: The Sweetback Sisters--Wow!
From: Nancy King
Date: 22 Jun 10 - 12:36 AM

The Sweetback Sisters did a concert for the Folklore Society of Greater Washington a couple of years ago, and they were terrific. I hope to see them again before too long.


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Subject: RE: The Sweetback Sisters--Wow!
From: open mike
Date: 22 Jun 10 - 12:52 AM

great -- thanks for the info

and glad to hear you are playing at the freight, charles@!!


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Subject: RE: The Sweetback Sisters--Wow!
From: bseed(charleskratz)
Date: 22 Jun 10 - 05:45 AM

Beckie, I just checked the Sweetback Sisters' schedule--they'll be back in SoCal--the Blue Ridge Pickin' Parlor in Granada Hills Saturday night then out into the desert to Pappy and Harriet's Pioneertown Palace in Pioneertown Sunday.

and Open Mike, the Sisters were the second show at the Freight for which I got a free ticket for playing in the open mike--first was Ian Tyson, looking old and without much voice left, but still selling the songs, and with a great pair of backup players. It wasn't until he took off his hat for a moment before his encore that I could see how frail he looked.

I'll be back at the Freight for the next open mike a week from tomorrow, and I'll try to make sure I get there in time for an earlier performance.

Charles


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Subject: RE: The Sweetback Sisters--Wow!
From: GUEST,BanjoRay
Date: 22 Jun 10 - 05:59 AM

Emily Miller's the daughter of the great contradance fiddler Rodney Miller. She recently spent a year in York UK and used to bring her fiddle to our session - great player. Jesse Milnes is a superb Old Time fiddler from West Virginia, son of fiddler/banjo player Gerry Milnes who has run the Augusta Heritage workshops at Davis/Elkins College in Elkins WV. Some fine pedigrees in the Sweetback Sisters!
Ray


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Subject: RE: The Sweetback Sisters--Wow!
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Jun 10 - 01:51 PM

No - Emily is not Rodney Miller's daughter. She is the daughter of Valerie Mindel, who I used to play in a band with long ago (Any Old Time) and who teaches singing at lots of different music camps, both here and abroad. Valerie's husband (Emily's dad) is Michael Miller, journalist and guitarist.
Jesse is indeed the son of Gerry Milnes.

We were so glad to get to hear them at the Freight -- if you get the chance, go hear them, you will be glad that you did!! Really fun music -- honky-tonk is a good description, they do Roger Miller songs, Wanda Jackson songs, some old-time and bluegrass songs with souped up arrangements, and their originals are also excellent.

Suzy Thompson


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Subject: RE: The Sweetback Sisters--Wow!
From: GUEST,BanjoRay
Date: 22 Jun 10 - 03:30 PM

Thanks for the correction, Suzy - don't know where I got the mistake from.
Ray


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Subject: RE: The Sweetback Sisters--Wow!
From: bseed(charleskratz)
Date: 22 Jun 10 - 04:30 PM

One other remark I'd like to make about the band: I didn't fully become aware of the rhythm section and particularly bassist Peter Bitene until on one number Jesse, on guitar, moved back and did an extended double break with Peter. This was about halfway through the show and for the rest of the show I spent about half the time focused on the bass, transfixed by Peter's virtuosity. After the show he appeared at the concession stand and I told him that the only other time I had been so blown away by a bass player was a few years back when Suzanne Thomas and Bill Evans had just left the Dry Branch Fire Squad and came to the Freight along with Jim Hurst and Missy Raines--of course the bassist who had earlier so impressed me.


Charles


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Subject: RE: The Sweetback Sisters--Wow!
From: open mike
Date: 23 Jun 10 - 06:59 AM

yes i think Ian Tyson might be 77 years old now. born sept 1933

his back up players are both named Gordon

that big hat (and silk scarf) do make him look larger than life

too bad about his scratchy voice...he has written some wonderful songs!


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