I Wasn’t Goin’ Nowhere
A Concert Review of The New 76ers at Bob Night
American Legion Hall – Tallahassee, FL 4.24.09
It was an evening I had looked forward to for a few weeks. Some local Tallahassee performers were going to put on a “Night of Bob Dylan” to coincide, sort of, with the release of Dylan’s latest record Together Through Life (Release date 4.28.09). I had managed to procure, get, bamboozle, an early copy so a plan emerged. Go with a few friends to my favorite place to eat – Decent Pizza – head over to the Legion Hall and catch the show – then head back to my place with a few friends and give the new record a listen.
What I had not anticipated was how fine the show was going to be, in particular The New 76ers.
Drew Tillman had finished a good set mostly peppered with songs from Blood on the Tracks, Drew mentioned how the songs had stayed with him through the years, I knew exactly what he meant. The organizer of the night, Mr. Grant Peeples (thank you Grant) then introduced The New 76ers, emphasizing the fact that they were going to play without amplification.
So walking right down in front of my table were two young men and a young lady that looked kind of like the people I end up behind at the Kentucky Fried Chicken Buffet, regular folks so to speak.
Kelly Goddard (young lady) stood center, flanked by Danny Goddard and Brian Durham (info found at their MySpace page: http://www.myspace.com/thenew76ers )
They said they were gonna do their covers in sort of a chronological order, my inner Dylan nerd already liked them.
First up was Oxford Town a closet favorite of mine off of The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan (1963). Good, clean version, went by fast and I really liked it. So did the crowd.
Boots of Spanish Leather (The Times They Are A Changing – 1964) came next, a real gutsy choice and Kelly Goddard provided the song a soft and building vocal that reminded me a lot of Nanci Griffith’s version on her fantastic record Other Voice’s Other Rooms (and I love that version).
Now I’m thinking to myself boy this is really good. My wife leaned over and said, “This is really good.” It was settled, at least in my marriage, The New 76ers were really good.
A couple of songs later and the crowd was sold. Brian Durham switched off of the stand up bass took hold of the six string and belted out a rollickin’ rollin’ version of The Man in Me.”
Heard quite a few off keyers like myself singing along to this New Morning (1970) track.
“That’s just because he doesn’t wanna turn into some machine!”
There was a real connection shared between the performers and the audience, can’t ask for anything more with live music.
I had immediately, or close to immediately recognized all the songs performed up until that point of Bob Night. Two lines into The New 76ers closing number I was doing an internal search on my brain’s WikiBob page and then it hit me or I mean The New 76ers hit me.
“My God, that’s Lord Protect My Child off the Bootleg Series Volume 3 (1993 – song circa 1983)!”
I was lost in the performance, and man did they really nail it. It sort of says it all about Bob Dylan’s catalog that this song is an outtake. If you were like me and have never heard The New 76ers get yourself over to their MySpace page, find a show date, and enjoy. I can’t wait to hear their originals live.