Squeeze the Day for Feb. 3

The Pinstripes, George Clinton and Today In Music with Pixies and Johnny "Guitar" Watson

Music Tonight: It's a big night for local Reggae/Ska band The Pinstripes as the group celebrates the release of its phenomenal new full-length, I. CityBeat's Brian Baker and I both saw fit to profusely gush about the new release (Brian loves 'em so much, he also did the liner notes). In this week's installment of Brian's weekly review column, I Shall Be Released, he says the record "finds The Pinstripes at the pinnacle of their Studio One power, blowing through the 13-song set with a razor-sharp precision that could shave structural steel like a deli salami. My review of I is largely found in the album’s notes, so you can (and should) read that as an adjunct. But to reiterate, The Pinstripes’ most potent advantage over most other straight-up Reggae shufflers is their use of Soul." —-

In my review, I also noted the band's attention to Soul: "One of the key details the band homes in on this time around is the influence of early American Soul music on Ska and Reggae’s development. Tracks like 'I’ll Be Waiting' and 'The Wokkabout' are primarily Soul/Funk workouts, adding to the fluid dynamics of I’s tracklisting. And, as they do on the more directly Ska or Reggae-inspired tracks, the ’Stripes never sound like fourth-generation copies of the real deals. The band’s stunning work on I is indicative of a collection of musicians that understands that there are some forms of music that can’t be learned in music school. The Pinstripes wear their love for Reggae like a giant, glorious back tattoo where other musicians opt for something much smaller and, just in case, temporary."

Can two CityBeat music reviewers be wrong? Probably, but in this case, I think we nailed it.

The Pinstripes perform at Bangarang's of Covington tonight for the release party. The group is joined by powerhouse Chicago Soul/Funk band JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound, plus locals SHADOWRAPTR and Sassafraz. Here's a live clip of the ’Stripes in Chicago performing the new album's "Give Some Love," followed by JC Brooks and Co.'s entertaining music video for "Everything Will Be Fine." This one has "Club Gig of the Year" potential written all over it.

George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic are at Bogart's in Corryville tonight for an all-ages, 9 p.m. show. What to say about George other than he is the living embodiment of Funk. (Click here for a more effusive preview.) Clinton recently stopped by Indy on his way to Cincinnati to partake in some of the pre-Super Bowl activities. Check out his very recent interview with MTV's Sway where he talks about Don Cornelius, the late founder of Soul Train. (Tickets for tonight's show are $30, plus fees.)

Momentous Happenings in Music History for February 3
On this day in 2004, 11 years after breaking up, Alternative Rock pioneers Pixies announced they would do a full-scale reunion tour. Though successful during its initial late ’80s/early ’90s run, the band's legacy grew outrageously after splitting, so it seemed only fair that Pixies members would reap some riches from their posthumous fame and enduring influence. But after reportedly raking in $14 million on that first jaunt, the band doesn't seem to be able to stop reunion-touring, doing consistent jaunts ever since. In 2009, Pixies did numerous dates in honor of the 20th anniversary of their Doolittle album. Last fall, the tour was still going as the band performed a month's worth of U.S. dates on its Doolittle/Lost Cities tour (celebrating Doolittle's 22nd anniversary, I suppose).

All the while, the band has (mostly) expressed no desire to record a new album. In the seven years Pixies have been a band again, they've released a total of two new songs — the Kim Deal-sung "Bam Thwok" and the below cover of Warren Zevon's "Ain't That Pretty At All," for the Zevon tribute album, Enjoy Every Sandwich.

Born This Day: Musical movers and shakers born Feb. 3 include: The Kinks' guitar-playing Davies brother, Dave Davies (1947); Sonic Youth guitarist/occasional vocalist Lee Renaldo (1956); on-again/off-again member of Alt music icons The Cure, Lol Tolhurst (1959); Reggaeton star Daddy Yankee (1977); Jamaican-American Pop star Sean Kingston (1990); and Blues/R&B/Funk singer/songwriter/guitarist Johnny "Guitar" Watson (1935).

Watson's name popped up recently in the obituaries of Etta James and musician/talent scout Johnny Otis (who discovered James and died three days before the legendary vocalist). Otis had worked with Watson, but his relationship with James was especially poignant. Etta had said of Watson (also a huge influence on Frank Zappa), "My whole ballad style comes from my imitating Johnny's style" and "He was the baddest and the best." She also said, "Johnny Guitar Watson was not just a guitarist: the man was a master musician. He could call out charts. He could write a beautiful melody or a nasty groove at the drop of a hat. He could lay on the harmonies and he could come up with a whole sound. They call Elvis 'The King,' but the sure-enough king was Johnny 'Guitar' Watson."

Watson also had ties to Cincinnati, releasing his early recordings through the local King/Federal imprints. (Otis backed Watson on some of those King sessions and was also at one time an A&R man for the label, discovering Hank Ballard and Little Willie John, among others.) Watson's 1953 instrumental single "Space Jam" on Federal was downright futuristic in its use of reverb and feedback and he had a 1962 R&B hit with "Cuttin' In" on King. But his more influential work was of the "Funk" variety; in his early 40s, Watson made a major comeback with several successful Funk releases in the ’70s, which later became widely sampled by Hip Hop artists (particularly Gangsta Rap performers in the ’90s).

Watson had a heart attack and died onstage in 1996 just as he was beginning a concert in Japan.

Here's Watson's King hit, "Cuttin' In":

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