Rodriguez Coming to the Ludlow Garage

The Ludlow Garage has a storied history that goes back to its first incarnation, with musicians like the Allman Brothers, Santana, and BB King performing there.
Far from resting on its laurels, however, the new Ludlow Garage has been very ambitious in its booking. We’re lucky to be able to see artists like Rickie Lee Jones, Macy Gray, Jonathan Richman, and Adrian Belew in such an intimate space.
The venue should also be commended for hosting such interesting, forward-thinking bands as New Mastersounds, the Levin Brothers (they’re coming on Saturday, January 18th!), and Nektar. Suddenly music that usually skips over Cincinnati appears right in the center of town.
And this morning’s newsflash tells us that  the Ludlow Garage is going to host Rodriguez. That’s right, the legend whose story you may have seen on 60 Minutes or in the movie, Searching for Sugar Man. The concert will take on Valentine’s Day, which, better yet, is on a Friday this year. I have a strong hunch that many people’s Valentine’s Day plans just got a lot simpler. Tickets for the show go on sale at 10am on Friday, January 14. To order tickets, click this link. See you at the show!

 

 

Nektar Coming to the Ludlow Garage

Once upon a time, when you flipped through albums in record stores, you saw LPs by bands you never heard of with strange names and bizarre-looking album covers. Gong, Fireballet, Hawkwind, Kraftwerk, Can, Magma, Audience, PFM, and Caravan I’m played experimental and colorful music that bore resemblance to more well-known bands like Genesis, ELP, and Yes but was even less likely to get radio play. All the bands mentioned here were from Europe, but similar groups started to form in America .  The music was deemed “progressive rock,” and new bands continue to emerge eager to take us to that musical dreamworld.

And some of the old bands are still active after all these years. On top of that, some of them are touring, including the German-then-English band Nektar. I clearly remember reading about Nektar for the first time in Rolling Stone in the mid-70s. A full-page article had a picture of the band performing in front of a light show that looked a lot like the cover of the album Remember the Future, which appears at the top of this blog entry. That album, released in 1973, was their most well-known record, and it has come to be seen as classic Nektar. A few years later the group took an extended break (almost two decades), but they’re not only active again, they have a new album coming out on January 24, 2020. The Other Side is coming out on a label called Esoteric Recordings, and it actually consists of material that was conceived in the 1970s but wasn’t fleshed out until recently.

And it gets more interesting: Nektar is going to perform in Cincinnati, at the Ludlow Garage. The concert will take place on February 28. The newly revived venue has been pulling in interesting bands that normally come to Cleveland to Chicago, but nowhere closer, and because of that the Ludlow Garage has made Cincinnati  a more interesting concert city . If you like experimental music that blends genres and pushes the envelope – and has a very interesting history – take a listen to Nektar. Here’s the first half of Remember the Future:

 

Guess Who’s Coming to the Ludlow Garage?

The Ludlow Garage has reopened after remodeling that includes a new bar in the basement and removable chairs that allow for both sit-down shows and general admission concerts where the audience would prefer to stand. Dozens of shows have already been booked, and it struck me, after a friend asked me to recommend some of the upcoming artists, that I should do a one-song sampling of some (but not all) of the artists coming the next few weeks. Before I go there, though, I should mention the cover bands.  There are plenty of them – tributes to Eric Clapton, Bob Seger, the Doors, Fleetwood Mac, Cream, and Billy Joel are already scheduled – and those shows are always popular. Now to some of the other artists:

Adrian Belew has a musical resume second to none, including extensive work with Frank Zappa and King Crimson and a distinguished solo career. His solo tours have included some King Crimson songs, and here’s a live performance of a real gem:

Adrian plays Friday, October 4. On Friday, October 10, Michael Martin Murphey will perform at the Ludlow Garage. He’s an excellent folksy/country singer-songwriter who became a well-known name after his lush, dreamy single “Wildfire” became a radio hit:

On Tuesday, October 15 Macy Gray will take the stage. Macy is one of the most soulful singers you’ll ever hear. Many music fans first caught wind of her when she released “I Try.” But check out her cover of “With a Little Help from My Friends”:

What a cool lady! I hope to meet her after the show.
Talking about soulful, Rickie Lee Jones will play the Garage on Saturday, October 19. How blessed we are to see artists of her stature play such an intimate venue. Here’s the song that started it all:

Man, does that song have a sound! No wonder she was 1979’s breakout artist.
A very special show is coming on Wednesday, October 16. The New Mastersounds are a British four-piece who go in all directions as along as there’s some funk involved. They know how to get a  groove going and they make people dance. This show will be a real treat; we’re lucky to get them here. Here’s a lip of the New Mastersounds a great Billy Preston hit from the 70s, “Will It Go ‘Round In Circles”:

Other recommendations include John Pizarelli’s tribute to Nat King Cole (!), John Sebastian, and Marcia Griffiths – more on those later.  Here’s a link to the Ludlow Garage Facebook page and its website. See you at the show!

 

 

 

Jim Tarbell’s 50th Anniversary Reunion of the Ludlow Garage


On Saturday, August 17, Jim Tarbell will host a concert celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Ludlow Garage. The event will take place at Seasongood Pavilion in Eden Park. Admission is free, and here are some of the highlights:

At noon the event kicks off with a performance by Rob Fetters, a veteran of the Raisins, the Pschodots, and the Bears.

Don’t miss a rare performance by Sanday Nassan, a guitarist who attended Walnut Hills High School and played the original Ludlow Garage; that set starts at 1: 50 pm. Sandy recorded a couple fine albums back in the day, including a direct-to-disc LP and a record on the Embryo label formed by Herbie Mann.

And don’t overlook Haymarket Riot, a Cincinnati rock band that formed in 1965, continued into the 70s, and recently resurfaced.

A longstanding Cincinnati blues band, the Bluebirds will, after playing a set of their own music, be joined at 6: 15 p.m. by Tracy Nelson, who performed with Mother Earth at the Ludlow Garage during its original incarnation.

Then – and how cool is this? – Rick Derringer will close the concert. Born in Celina, Ohio, Derringer grew up in Fort Recovery. He was all of 17 when he sang “Hang on Sloopy” for the McCoys. That song has become a staple for home games of the Ohio State Buckeyes football team, and the Rolling Stones even performed it the last time they played Columbus!

It only makes sense that this show would be the handiwork of Jim Tarbell, who, after all, ran the Ludlow Garage during its first incarnation.

And the Seasongood Pavilion, well, that has some history too. That amphitheater hosted many rock concerts in the late 60s, with such bands as the James Gang, Grand Funk Railroad, and the Grateful Dead performing there. And Janice Joplin was driving her chopper around Eden Park one day, as this album cover testifies:

Here’s the full lineup for the event:

  • Noon Rob Fetters
  • 12:55 p.m. Sonny Moorman Trio
  • 1:50 p.m. Sandy Nassan
  • 2:35 p.m. Robin Lacy & DeZydeco
  • 3:30 p.m. Haymarket Riot 
  • 4:25 p.m. Warsaw Falcons,
  • 5:20 p.m. Bluebirds
  • 6:15 p.m. Tracy Nelson with Bluebirds 
  • 7:15 p.m. Jeffrey Seeman of Wheels 
  • 8 p.m. Rick Derringer Band 

Blues Shows Coming to the Ludlow Garage

Two blues shows are right around the corner for the Ludlow Garage. On Thursday, November 29, the venue will host Savoy Brown, a British blues-rock group that, like John Mayall’s Blues Breakers, features one permanent member (Kim Simmonds) and a long list of sidemen with impressive blues creds. Savoy Brown received a lot of FM-radio airplay in the 1970s due to solid musicianship and songwriting, and “Tell Mama,” from 1971, is one of their signature songs:

That same weekend, on Saturday, December 1, the Ludlow Garage will host Canned Heat, who played Woodstock and also recorded an album with blues legend John Lee Hooker. Special guest artist that evening will be Sonny Moorman, a fine blues artist and a true entertainer. It will be a great, blues-drenched evening! Here’s one of Canned Heat’s biggest hits, “On the Road Again”:

For more information on these shows and others – including the reggae show by The Meditations that takes place on Friday of that week – click the link below and add it to your bookmarks. See you at the Garage!

https://www.ludlowgaragecincinnati.com/

 

 

Blood, Sweat & Tears Coming to the Ludlow Garage

Blood Sweat & Tears is coming to the Ludlow Garage for two shows on Friday, October 12. No history of late 60s and early 70s rock is complete without Blood Sweat & Tears. Their second LP was the #1 album for seven weeks, and it produced three top 5 singles. The album received a Grammy Award for Album of the Year, and it has been certified quadruple platinum, with sales of more than four million units in the U.S. Blood, Sweat & Tears also played Woodstock and, along with Chicago, who also added horns to their sound, helped create jazz rock. Here is You’ve Made Me So Very Happy,” the lead-off single from BS&T’s #1 album:

And here’s the second single from the album, “Spinning Wheel”:

Here’s the third single from that album that managed to crack the top five, a song Laura Nyro wrote, “And When I Die”:

This will be a great night of music – classic songs and first-rate musicians. Here’s a link to Ludlow Garage’s website, where you can buy tickets for this and all other Ludlow Garage shows:

https://www.ludlowgaragecincinnati.com/

 

 

 

Ricky Skaggs Performing at Ludlow Garage This Saturday

Ricky SkaggsRicky Skaggs has headlined music festivals and sold millions of records. This Saturday, May 14, the country and bluegrass musician will be performing to about 160 people at the Ludlow Garage. The person who Chet Atkins credited with single-handedly saving country music and who, after he returned to his bluegrass roots, helped spark a revival that is still flowering today, seldom plays such small venues. Musicians enjoy these small shows as much as the audience does, as it’s a rare opportunity to get up close and personal. There are two shows on Saturday—one at 7:15, the other at 10:15—for Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder with special guests Hoot & Holler. If you haven’t been to Live at the Ludlow Garage yet, this would be a great excuse to check it out, and if you have been to the Garage, you know that you can count on good sound, an intimate concert experience, and food and drinks before or after the show. Throw some smoking bluegrass into the mix and you have what should be a great evening! Here’s Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder performing “Get Up John”:

 

 

Happy Hour at the Ludlow Garage

Happy Hour Ludlow GarageLive at the Ludlow Garage is now running full steam, with concerts every week from national performers in an intimate setting. As the crowds last night (see below) made clear, the Ludlow Garage is also a great place to eat a modestly-priced meal, have a drink, and experience the ambiance of the street in a unique way now that, with the warm weather, the doors have opened. Regarding the drinking part…well, Ludlow Garage recently revealed the details of its happy hour. From 4 to 6pm it offers:

  • Tuesdays through Fridays – 1/2 off on appetizers
  • Tuesdays – $2 off any draft beer
  • Wednesdays – $2 off glasses of selected red & white wines
  • Thursdays – $5 martinis
  • Fridays –  $2 off house cocktails

Invariably beer lovers will wonder what kind of beer Ludlow Garage on tap, and for that reason I took a photo last night. Note, on the right, that Stella Artois is now part of their arsenal, along with Guiness way on the left and various craft beers in between.

Martini Ludlow Garage 003

 

Martini Ludlow Garage 001

Martini Ludlow Garage 002

 

And don’t overlook the cocktail specials on Thursdays and Fridays. Although I’ve sipped a couple cocktails at the Ludlow Garage, this warrants some in-depth investigative journalism; I’ll take careful notes in case I forget something.

Steve Katz Plays the Ludlow Garage on April 9

blood sweat tears

The next time you’re playing the music edition of Trivial Pursuit, prepare yourself for this question: What member of Blood, Sweat & Tears collaborated with musicians from the Velvet Underground?

The answer is Steve Katz, who will be performing at Live at the Ludlow Garage on Saturday, April 9. If you sift through his discography you’ll find a sweet spot where it seemed like all he could do was contribute to classic albums.

After leaving the Blues Project, Katz was the guitarist (and sometimes vocalist and songwriter) for the early jazz-rock band Blood, Sweat & Tears. Their first album, Child is Father to the Man, impressed the critics while their eponymous second album was a commercial success and then some.

About the time BS&T was losing steam Katz collaborated with Lou Reed, producing Reed’s great live album Rock ’N’ Roll Animal and the studio follow-up Sally Can’t Dance. Suddenly Lou Reed was a commercial success instead of a genius who deserved a larger audience.

In the 70s Katz also formed the band American Flyer with Doug Yule from a later incarnation of the Velvet Underground.

More evidence that Katz had a habit of being in the right place at the right time: he also performed at the two most famous music festivals from the 1960s, Monterey Pop (as part of the Blues Project) and Woodstock (with BS&T).

On April 9 Katz will be performing in a venue that’s much more intimate but that also has a rich history, the Ludlow Garage. It’s a good bet that you know some of the songs Katz has either played on or produced, and if you’re familiar with the second album by Blood, Sweat & Tears—the really famous one, that sold millions of copies and won three Grammy Awards—then you’ve heard this song that Katz wrote and sang, complete with a haunting melody, melancholy lyrics, and luscious harmonies:

Jim Tarbell at Motr Pub

 

In spite of the fact that when I walk in there Motr Pub is often packed, I still run into people who have no idea that it exists, so let’s start at the beginning: Motr Pub is a new bar (it opened in September 2010) located at 1345 Main Street in Over the Rhine, and it’s a great place to hear local, regional and national bands. The cover is zero dollars, but I suspect they make a buck or two with their great (and changing) selection of draft and bottle beers, other liquids as well as a menu that includes their much-loved Motr Burgers.  The artists I’ve seen perform there include Akron/Family and Richard Buckner, and I feel fortunate to be able to drive just a couple miles to see artists of that stature. Continue reading “Jim Tarbell at Motr Pub”