Friday, May 27, 2011



It's been a long time since I was in an high school art class with Ron Silva, but I remember one moment well. I had been painting a portrait of Johnny Winter, and I passed by his desk. He was painting the early Beatles. I was a bit bewildered, because the Beatles had lost any semblance of contemporary relevance, but here was this guy, who looked a little like Paul McCartney, painting their portrait. In the ensuing years, after I met him, I learned that his grandmother sewed buttons on his collars, because he was unable to find button downs. (Keep in mind that the style of the day was Hang Ten shirts, flannel shirts, and the odd Mexican wedding shirt. No one wore button down collars.) A few years later, when I worked in a ma and pa market, he'd come in to buy Cokes, because it was one of the few places that still sold Coke in six ounce bottles, which was part of completing the picture. And a picture it was. Walking down the street with his pal, Steve Potterf, both with Brian Jones cuts, looking like they were transported from 1965 London. I had to admire his dedication. He was a fiend.

A very early Crawdaddys clip, around '78-'79

We eventually became casual friends, when he was the guitarist for the Hitmakers. In 1978, the Hitmakers split up, and Silva started the Crawdaddys. I was putting on shows with some friends at the time and one bill found them opening for the Avengers and the Last (in a club with a capacity of less than a hundred, with the admission only two or three bucks!) That was a long time ago, and Silva has been playing in bands ever since; a bunch of bands, beginning with about half a dozen different incarnations of the Crawdaddys, each with a slightly different sound; followed by the Black Diamonds, the Monarchs, the Nashville Ramblers, and others. (Note: those are not in chronological order. I lost track long ago.)

Ron Silva & the Monarchs, 2010

The Crawdaddys' 1981 line-up has recently reconvened, and are preparing for a tour of Spain. As a warm-up gig, they're playing at Rhino Records in L.A. this Sunday, May 29 (6/1/11 update: video links added below). Admission is free. If you're in the general, or not so general, vicinity, just go. I've never seen a bad show, or heard a bad record, with Silva stink on it. His track record is pretty spotless. Taken as a whole, he's got just about every shade of 60's R & B covered, from the early Stones, to Stax sounding stuff, and on top of that, Merseybeat type pop harmonies (in the Nashville Ramblers). As different as all the sounds are, they're all Silva. The guy has always been inseparable from his music. That's not to say his band mates over the years should go without praise. Silva has surrounded himself with like minded, ridiculously good, musicians. His whole crowd is a fucking A-list.

The Nashville Ramblers, 80's

This is really just a small sampling of what's online. One thing: don't pass by the Nashville Ramblers' "The Trains," considered, by many informed folks, the best song to come out of San Diego ever. (I'm not exaggerating.) It's just been released for the first time on vinyl, as a 45 on Ugly Things. There were only 1000 pressed, so sleepers be warned. Get it here.

See the Crawdaddys LIVE (free!)
Sunday May 29, 2011 at 7:00 p.m.
Rhino Records
10952 Santa Monica Blvd.
(One door east of Veteran Ave.)
Los Angeles, CA 90025.

ADDED 6/1/11:
Three videos from Rhino Records 5/29/11 In-Store:
The Crawdaddys - You Got What I Want
at YouTube
The Crawdaddys -You Can't Judge A Book By Looking At the Cover & You Must Believe
at YouTube
The Crawdaddys - I Can Never Tell
at YouTube

The Crawdaddys - Oh Baby Doll mp3 at Che Underground
The Crawdaddys - I'm Dissatisfied mp3 at Che Underground
The Crawdaddys - I Just Don't Understand mp3 at Che Underground
The Nashville Ramblers - The Trains mp3 at Che Underground
The Nashville Ramblers - Ain't That Her (live) at YouTube
The Nashville Ramblers - Recent (2010/11) live clip at YouTube
The Crawdaddys profile by Ray Brandes at Che Underground
The Nashvilles Ramblers profile by Ray Brandes at Che Underground

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