Saturday, May 25, 2019

Missing Live Music But Buying Records from Jerry (a sort of grumpy rant that ends with a comedian)

I really hate missing shows. Maybe missing out on a night of music is simply a factor in growing older. Life will go on and - as our parents might tell us - there will be other shows. (I'm at that age, so I might as well say it too, though it hurts a little.)

But damn, I've missed some gooders this year. Bob Mould, earlier this year for one.Jonathan Finlayson came back and I missed him. Then this week: Sebadoh on Wednesday; Michael Formanek's new quartet AND, at another venue, local vibraphonist (and drummer and dulcimer maestro) Jeff Berman's trio; then last night New York saxophonist Brian Krock's quartet came to town with the Pittsburgh Saxophone Quartet opening up. I feel especially bad about that one because I tried to get some press for that show but only succeeded in a calendar blurb for Pittsburgh Current which I haven't seen yet because I haven't come across the recent issue and it's also not online. Maybe I shouldn't feel guilty or beholden to any publicists, but there's that part of me that treats this music writing as a crusade that I need to continue.When I drop the ball, I get mad at myself.

And the reason I missed all these shows? Work. I've been on the closing shifts at work pretty much all week. Granted I feel thankful because I requested and received Sunday off to go to a baseball game with my son. But goddamit, I would like to have it both ways, unrealistic as that is. It puts me in a quandary about what to do.

I typically work until 10:00 or 10:30, which really means that by the time I get into the car and head out of the parking lot, it's 10:15 or 10:45. And I work at least 20 minutes away from where all the shows are. Another thing that's become a little more of a trend around Pittsburgh is that shows start and end on the early side these days. Most 50-something guys would really like that, but not this one. Sometimes I can make it to a show in time to catch some of the final songs in the set. But there have been many times where I've gotten there in time for the last verse of the last song. When that happens I feel like I'm better off just skipping the show. One night (when I wasn't working but got out late due to family stuff) I got to a venue at about 10:00 and totally missed the whole thing. I'm not expecting shows to drag on until 2:00 a.m. like the good old bad days, but a happy medium would be nice. Some old guys want to rock. AND still get up on the early side the next day.


For the past week, local Vinyl Man himself Jerry Weber has been selling records at the Irish Center of Pittsburgh. He did this last year and a few years before too. This time he's doing it for eight whole days, today being the last. When I went last year there wasn't a whole lot in the bins that spoke to me. I ended up paying a dollar each for Dave Dudley's Truck Driving Son of a Gun and a Ray Conniff album that I had as a kid.

This year I went on a Tuesday morning when there was hardly anyone there so I had a chance to look without feeling cramped. (That was the other thing about last year - it was wall-to-wall people.) Selection was better this year, with more things in the $3-$7 range. I found a Chris Connor album on original black label Atlantic, and Lenny Bruce's What I Was Arrested For which I have on cassette somewhere but is good to have in the Lenny collection.

And just for the hell of it, I picked up an album by comedian George Gobel. I know him predominantly for his appearances on The Hollywood Squares where he did little to really distinguish himself as a comedian. I remember his knit sweaters and his flattop haircut most of all. But, like radio announcer Harry Von Zell, there's something about Mr. Gobel that just warms my heart, so I had to get the album.

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