Monday, March 16, 2009
Topically I should have saved this one for tomorrow night (St. Paddy’s Day), but I can’t wait. New capacities here. Morphed again--alleluyah!
Tonight we hear Funhouse, recorded November 1, 1985, playing live at Pat O’Shea’s--a strictly Irish bar out on Geary Street, in the city of San Francisco. Scot had lived in San Francisco for three or four years before he ever made it to North Beach. (I took him there.) He frequented the beach, the Sunset district, the Richmond district, Golden Gate Park; the furthest he came into the City was the Haight. Definitely all the fog belt. He mistrusted being too close to the City.
This gig was at the new Pat O’Shea’s, moved up Geary Street, some ten or fifteen blocks. The original Pat O’Shea’s was a cave of a landmark, where they’d line up the Guiness’ twelve at a time at the bar, so there'd be time for the foam to go down. The former guitar player from the Beau Brummels had a regular weekly gig there. To hear him tell it, that's where Scot spent many a Friday night.
Funhouse was Scot's citified Rockabilly outfit. When we returned to San Francisco, late in the summer of 1981, Scot immediately reconnected with our friends Ed Bachmann and Judy Tampa (a million stories here). For these purposes, they were making their own move from art/new wave to roots. When we got back into town, Ed and Judy were busy orchestrating eight-part harmony for a gig they’d booked for Hank Ballard (of “Work with Me Annie” fame--and so many more…) Hank came out and did his first gig in many years at the Mabuhey Gardens--a key venue of the San Francisco punk rock scene and former Phillipeno night clu--just down from the strip clubs on Broadway. This concert was exquisite. I have a tape. The key bit of info here is that Judy could really harmonize, and her voice slotted right in with Scot’s.
The regular Funhouse drummer, Leland Monagle, was not available for this gig. He was probably off looking at some European cathedrals, or something. Playing here tonight is the drummer from Translater, a successful (at the time) San Francisco band . They had a record deal and a hit! Scot enjoyed playing with this guy (I’ll track down his name). Scot thought he was versatile, tasteful and solid. Plus, he played this well without a rehearsal!
I’m way over-long tonight, but let me just direct your attention to the guitar work here. WOW. Scot was playing this beautiful, amazing Kay hollow-body guitar we’d bought in Iowa City. I kick myself for letting him give that guitar to someone to sell when we moved to Indiana. Scot didn't have to put a lot of notes into his solos to make them dynamic. When he first started fronting T. Scot Bottom and the Rockabilly Funhouse, he did a lot of one note solos.
There were a lot of friends in the audience the night this recording was made. I ask you, do you hear yourself? Do you remember rocking this hard? Sorry about the fidelity issues on this track. It was recorded on a $15 tape player and a .25 tape. I’ll I can say is I’m glad I brought it along. Funhouse line-up: Judy Tampa-rhythm guitar and harmony, Edward Bachmann-bass, Scot Halpin-guitar and lead vocals. Drummer yet to be determined. Song: "All Over Now," written by Bobby and Shirley Womack, for recorded by The Valentines--featuring Bobby Womack. The song was also The Rolling Stones first #1 hit, released in 1964.