Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Top this!

NASHVILLE -- Just like the year when they rocked out a tiny basement club, the Hacienda Brothers set a pretty high bar.

Even before I knew there was an official connection between the wonderful songwriter Dan Penn and the Hacienda Brothers, I had noticed their affectionate, yet original, takes on some of his songs.

Now it's apparent the California band members are truly protégées of Penn's, even as they have pioneered what they call Western soul. The music, pushed by accordion and steel and guitar, can swing like Western, but the lyrics and the vocals are throwback soul.

NPR recently interviewed Dan Penn, and he mentions the guys.

Last night at the club 3rd and Lindsley, Penn sang a line or two and led standing ovation.

If you don't know Penn, you -- if you're of a certain age -- know his hits for others. "I'm Your Puppet." "Do Right Woman, Do Right Man." "Sweet Inspiration." "Cry Like a Baby." And perhaps the best, "The Dark End of the Street," with the best version, as Penn says on his live CD "Moments From This Theatre, done by James Carr. The CD, recorded in Dublin, recently was released in the States.

I later find out that the song's also been covered by Dolly Parton, Wilson Pickett and -- these guys were Americana before it existed -- The Flying Burrito Brothers.

Anyway, The Hacienda Brothers are led by Chris "Gaff" Gaffney on guitar, vocals and accordion; the ever-smiling Dave Gonzalez on guitar and vocals; and the pedal steel of David "DB" Berzanski.

In addition to tearing up "Cry Like a Baby" and other Penn songs, they also did a great version of Gamble and Huff's soul classic "Cowboys to Girls." Many are on the new CD, What's Wrong With Right?

If you missed them when they played for WMNF in our area recently, don't miss them again. We need to get them back, maybe with Dan Penn?

– Michael K, TBPAC

No comments: