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Keep on Moving: Blunt Narratives: Rock photographer makes it look like child’s play

Richard’s Rock & Roll Alphabet 

Like most good and bad ideas, the genesis of the new book Richard’s Rock & Roll Alphabet happened in a bar — Patrick’s Pub to be exact. It was there that Robert Blunt asked renowned photographer Richard McCaffrey if he had photographs of musicians that spanned the entire alphabet  Blunt’s idea was to use the photographs as a teaching tool for his young niece, Isabelle, to learn the alphabet and associate letters with amazing artists. One drink led to another photograph and the next thing you know, Blunt and McCaffrey had the ingredients to compile a pretty sweet book. Blunt designed and wrote the descriptions while McCaffrey unearthed the goods taken from his years freelancing for Rolling Stone, Billboard, Creem and others outlets in the 1970s and ’80s. The photos appear alphabetically in the book with a few different artists for each letter. Some of my favorite photos in the book are Stevie Nicks in 1976, B.B. King at San Quentin Prison with a guard patrolling the prison wall in the background, The Kinks in 1976, Thin Lizzy in 1977, Sly Stone at the then Palace Theater (now Providence Performing Arts Center) in 1973 and the Ramones in 1978. There are some serious gems here, and the music historian in me appreciates Blunt’s narratives.   

The book is out now as a limited edition release. Blunt and McCaffrey are having a couple of book signings where you can get your signed copy and ask McCaffrey what it was like seeing Aerosmith in Newport in 1973 or about the last “ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated” Sex Pistols show at Winterland in 1978.  Here are those deets!    

July 8: Muldowney’s Pub, 121 Empire St, PVD. 7 – 9pm

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July 9: Patrick’s Pub, 381 Smith St, PVD. 7 – 9pm 

July 10: Round Again Records, 278 Wickenden St, PVD. 2 – 4pm

July 10: POP Emporium of Popular Culture, 219 W Park St, PVD. 5 – 7pm

Healing Arts in the Park: Making Music with Mark Cutler

Rhode Island Music Hall of Famer Mark Cutler is hosting a free collaborative songwriting project throughout July and August at 7pm. Much like Cutler’s The Same Thing Project, this is open to all. People are encouraged to bring instruments, but it is by no means required. The July sessions will take place on Thursdays at Roger Williams National Memorial, 282 N. Main St, in downtown Providence. Register by emailing sparkle_bryant@nps.cov or visit www.thesamethingproject.com for more information. In August the sessions will remain on Thursdays at 7pm, but will move to Slater Mill, 67 Roosevelt Ave, in Pawtucket. I’m excited to give this a try!

Upcoming Rockers:

The Autocrats bring the funk-fueled dance party every Wednesday till the apocalypse and/or the next plague at Askew in Providence.  

The McGunks Album Release Show at Alchemy featuring sets by The McGunks, Stubborn Hearts, COB and The Paraplegics on July 9. Doors are at 8pm, post-plague new location is 171 Chestnut St, PVD.

Electric Six, Volk, & The Smoke Breaks will rock Alchemy on July 15 — holy shit it’s like a second Bastille Day!  Doors are at 7pm.

Deer Tick and Ravi Shavi will rock the Ocean Mist on July 16 & 17. Doors are at 8pm.

Scurvy Dog Mega Parking Lot Mega Show will take place (shockingly) in the parking lot of the Scurvy Dog in PVD on July 18. The fun kicks off at 1pm and runs until all 11 bands play or the cops shut it down. Some of the acts I’m stoked to see on this bill include Pony Boy, Midnight Creeps, Gamma Rage and The David Tessier All-Star Stars (A.S.S.).

Record Review Mailbag:

Kris Hansen’s Viking Jesus — Before The Mutation

It may have taken 15 years or so of reviewing Kris Hansen’s releases, but I finally found one that I love! That’s not to say the previous ones sucked, there were cool songs sprinkled here and there. I just never felt like the rawness of Hansen’s best live performances was ever captured. Before The Mutation showcases the rock, funk, folk and electro atoms that Viking Jesus fuse together to construct their wall of sound. “Hideaway Boxes” reminds me of The Police with the harmonies of the early Pixies as Hansen duets with his wife Tara Hansen. Tara takes the lead vocal on “For A Dying Scene,” which just floats into a sphere of haunted wistfulness. “Same Killer,” on the other hand, kicks somewhere between post-punk and mid-’90s rock ‘n’ roll. I’m guessing “Boston Marathon ” is about the bombing in 2013, but I don’t have the lyric sheets. What I do know is the way the song goes from the jazzy funk of the verse to the roll in the chorus is just damn hypnotizing. Before The Mutation is available now! It’s on the internet, kid! 

Bill Bartholomew — Bats

What I like about this three song EP is the imagery of bats on the highway in the title track because it reminds me of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. I also dig the spacey parts on “(A Lot To Be) Free For,” but the rest of it is annoying as the title. The musicianship is certainly competent and I like the lo-fi clarity in the production, but I have no desire to ever listen to this again. Maybe that’s just me, though, so check it out on the streaming service of your choice.  

Email music news, records, and night swimming spots to mclarkin33@gmail.com

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