Yesterday evening, we took a trip to Bavaria to hear a British musician. Aschaffenburg is less than an hour from Frankfurt, just over the border to Bavaria. There are no border controls, but the Aschaffenburg police did stop our friends and make them open their trunk and display their first aid kits, just to remind them that they were no longer in Hessen. In spite of the less-than-friendly greeting at the city limits, we were in for a real treat. Our friend is a jazz buff and keeps his eye out for interesting opportunities to hear good music at reasonable prices. The concert took place at a club named Colos-Saal, a play on the word Saal, which means (concert) hall in this context. The musician was Brian Auger ("The man who said 'no' to Jimi Hendrix") with his band, Trinity, including his son as drummer, his daughter as singer, and a bass player from Chicago and LA named Les King. I was familiar with Auger's name and may even have heard some of his music over the years, but this was the first time that I had devoted much time to the man. The club was mostly standing room, typical beer joint, and there were only about 100 guests. The group adapted its music to the setting and played hard-edged, bluesy versions of some of Auger's most famous songs. Two sets of about one hour each and then two encore pieces. The last song was a fantastic, driving display of all four musicians' talent, really the best song all evening. Hard to believe that Auger, at 72, still has the juice to pour his soul out in stifling heat at the end of a long evening, but that's what he did, and it certainly was a highlight of my summer to hear him play. Here is a dreamier version of Road to Cairo that I found on You-Tube, with Auger's daughter singing and son on drums:
Road to Cairo
Between sets, we had a bite to eat at the adjoining Jazzküche. The Alsatian Flammkuchen had plenty of ham chunks and, at EUR 6, was a good value. Drinks from beer to ginger ale were EUR 2.50 for a 0.3 liter soft drink or a 0.4 liter beer -- by Frankfurt standards downright cheap. We'll certainly be back.
Auger used to play with the singer Julie Driscoll. Here is a sample of one of their most famous songs, Season of the Witch, written by Donovan, also performed last night.
Another song covered last night was Compared to What, a song that I first heard performed by Les McCann and that has an interesting history.
Compared to What: Les McCann & Eddie Harris 1969 in Montreux
Eugene McDaniels Discusses "Compared to What"
You know, listening to those lyrics from 1969, they still resonate forty years later.
Compared to What
Slaughterhouse is killin’ hogs
Twisted children killin’ frogs
Poor dumb rednecks rollin’ logs
Tired old lady kissin’ dogs
I hate the human love of that stinking mutt (I can’t use it!)
Try to make it real — compared to what? C’mon baby now!
The President, he’s got his war
Folks don’t know just what it’s for
Nobody gives us rhyme or reason
Have one doubt, they call it treason
We’re chicken-feathers, all without one nut. God damn it!
Tryin’ to make it real — compared to what? (Sock it to me)
Church on Sunday, sleep and nod
Tryin’ to duck the wrath of God
Preacher’s fillin’ us with fright
They all tryin’ to teach us what they think is right
They really got to be some kind of nut (I can’t use it!)
Tryin’ to make it real — compared to what?
Where’s that bee and where’s that honey?
Where’s my God and where’s my money?
Unreal values, crass distortion
Unwed mothers need abortion
Kind of brings to mind ol’ young King Tut (He did it now)
Tried to make it real — compared to what?!
Finally, here is a video of Donovan singing his own song, Season of the Witch: