The Dudes (formerly Subdudes)
B.B. King Blues Club, June 12, 2002:
I take the train into Manhattan for the second time. This is so much easier than trying to find parking anywhere near the club on a weekday evening, quite impossible. Tonight is somewhat quiet at the beginning. I go to the bar downstairs to wait for the doors to open. The staff here at B.B. King’s is always so accommodating and professional toward me. The service at the bar is tremendous, even though I only have coca-cola.
I am fourth in line, when the doors open and I am on the guest list, thanks again to Ariel Publicity. I sit at a table just left of center stage, right in front. I have a long leisurely dinner with great service, as usual, from the staff. Jiffy serves me, as in the peanut butter, my attentive and down to earth hostess. The food is tremendous and the portion, more than generous. I feel a welcome rapport from Jiffy, as she inquires about my writing.
As the crowd builds, I overhear the next table reporting that they had seen The Dudes in New Orleans and they were fabulous. The next table turns out to be a musical group called: Blue Plate Special. They give me their card and invite me to their gig, here in Manhattan at: The Delta Grill, on Saturday June 22, but I am working that night. Thanks anyway boys, knock ‘em dead! A musician from another table queries me on my writing. His name is Don and he’s been playing drums for about 30 years. We immediately strike common ground in that we are both drummers. Don currently resides in Brooklyn, but hails from the Boston suburbs. We have an interesting and animated conversation about music, The Subdudes, and the New York music scene. The Dudes start late and the crowd becomes slightly restless. They are well worth the wait and I remain very calm.
The Dudes take the stage at 8:31 P.M. The Trio of former Subdudes members: Tommy Malone, John Magnie, and Steve Amedee, start the show with an acapella song, “Someday Somehow.” I am immediately reminded of what incredibly exquisite singers, The Dudes are. The harmonic blend of vocal characteristics totally compliments each other in a heavenly way. The second song is called, “Sarita.” This tune is a spirited and strong musical number. This features John on accordion, Tom on telecaster and Steve on percussion. The accordion immediately gives the song that New Orleans flavor. Steve is hitting his tambourine with a gathered brush striker. Three additional new and talented musicians, that make up The Dudes, join them: Tim Cook on vocals, tambourine and mandolin, Jim Messa on bass and Sam Neal on the full trap set (drums).
three is, “Standing Tall.” Steve Amedee switches to a small tabla drum and Tim
Cook switches to mandolin. Tom Malone is featured on tremendous slide guitar,
with strong and soulful lead vocals. This is great new material and well
articulated. Song four is, “Country Time.” This is a tremendously tight shuffle
tempo. John Magnie switches from accordion, to piano and lead vocals. Steve gets
on the small 3-piece drum kit at stage right.
Song five is, “Need Somebody.” The lyrics to this song were written on rocks a long, long, time ago. This song again features the tremendous harmonic vocal collaboration of these amazing singers. Steve is back bashing his tambourine again with that gathered brush stroke. Tom is on the stratocaster and John on the accordion. The next number is called, “Mothers.” This song is slow and moody with tight three part harmonies. This song features soulful and thoughtful vocals with an interesting story telling style: Tom on his gold ‘strat’ and John Magnie on the Baldoni accordion.
The next tune
is titled, “Wishin’.” This is a very soulful tune with a distinct gospel style
sound. John has an exceptionally emotional accordion solo intro. Tom is on
slide Fender Telecaster. The song features sweet three part harmonies.
Song eight is, “The Perfect Marriage.” This song is strong, slow, staccato and deliberate. It employs a rock tempo with a strong downbeat on the ones. Tim Cook has switched from tambourine to mandolin. John and Tom exchange solos on piano and slide guitar. Steve is hitting his tambourine with a cowbell, which has a nice, sharp, well-defined beat. The next song is one I am very familiar with, “Late At Night,” from the Annunciation CD. This is a New Orleans style, staggered, jumpin’, four beat tempo. Tom is featured on the slide guitar, with sweet accordion from John. The three part harmonies send me right out the door. A well thought out answer and response on slide and accordion, with the incredibly talented
The next tune is, “Hey You.” This interesting song features slow and sweet three part harmonies. Steve switches to tabla drum and percussion egg. Song number eleven is, “Tell Me What’s Wrong.” This spirited song features Tom on acoustic guitar with John taking a soulful accordion solo. The next musical entry is, “One Time.” Jim Messa is featured on the bass. This song has a quartet configuration with acoustic guitar, accordion, percussion and bass. Steve is really slappin’ his tambourine with the gathered brush. The three part vocal harmony is very tight and sweet.
The next number is a new tune, “My, My.” This tune features all six musicians. The feel is a quick country rock tempo style. The reverse stick is used on the snare drum with a strong walking bass. Four part vocal harmonies glisten in the stage lights, with Tom Malone on slide acoustic guitar. The song contains a very soothing melody with a sharply contrasting dynamic change to slow half-time tempo. The next song is, “Julianne.” This tune is an upbeat 2/4-country bop number. John is on accordion and lead vocal. This strong and spirited tune features sweet, sweet four part vocal harmonies. Tom Malone rocks, on a fast and clean acoustic guitar break, with a very lively accordion accompaniment from John Magnie. The Dudes vocal superiority is illustrated again with sweet, sweet harmonies.
Song fifteen is, “Too Soon To Tell.” This song was written with Bonnie Raitt. Tom is on slide guitar, John is on piano, Steve is on the small three-piece drum kit. Tim Cook is on tambourine and cowbell, with the full compliment of bass and drums. This song is staggered, swaggered and loosy goosy. Steve does double time brushes on the three-piece drum kit. Excellent ensemble arrangement!! Tom plays excellent slide on his telecaster.
The next song is, “Got All The Time In The World.” This is another great band ensemble tune, with sweet four part harmonies and a nice dynamic change. Tim Cook is a fantastic singer, percussionist and mandolin player who is a special and talented addition to this already amazing group of musicians. This song contains an excellent piano solo by John and another great slide solo by Tom. Steve is slammin’ his tamborine with the gathered brush. Steve Amedee clearly validates all the un-orthodox drum techniques I have used, over the many years, with the gathered brush technique (I used tape), to get a firm but softer slapping sound than a drumstick.
The next tune is, “Oh Baby.” This is a very spirited band tune, with an excellent piano solo. A seventh musician joins the band on percussion. He was never introduced, but he sure was a super talented musician. Here is his picture.
The first encore song after a long, long standing ovation of yelling and ranting is a love song, “Fallin’, Fallin’.” This is a super sincere love sing from John, very heart-felt. It contains a masterful accordion solo from John Magnie, amazingly tasteful!!
The second encore song develops slowly and thoughtfully. Steve Amedee entices the audience to join in a four section sing along, a percussive sing along. The four sections singing four distinctly different parts. I lead one section and I lead strongly. Steve notices, and he directs the spotlight at me, just for a moment. I am thrilled!!! My section of the audience is tremendous, standing and singing in percussive unison. This all leads into the tremendous song, “You’ll Be Satisfied!” Wow, what a tremendous and outstanding ‘live’ version of this amazing song! I am rippin’ and tearin’ into this soulful and extraordinary song, singing my ass off. There is a tremendous stratocaster solo from Tom and drum solo lead by Steve Amedee, with Tim Cook and Sam Neal, fat’ning out the sound.
The very last song starts with a Beatles into, “Within You and Without You.” This leads us into, “Bye, Bye.” This again contains sweet, sweet four part vocal harmonies.
The Dudes put on an amazing show. I am completely blown out. WOW!!!! They are a stupendous group of magnificent musicians. Amazing! I am flying out the club after the show. Wow, wow, wow !!!!!
I want to personally thank my sister-in-law, Cindi Lynch, for turning me on to this amazing band. She gave me the Annunciation CD a few years ago as a Christmas present. Cindi has an amazing appreciation and insight to really good music. Thanks Cindi!
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