A while back I came across a youtube one late night that floored me. Nick Gravenites/John Cippolina Band.
As I mentioned there Nick Gravenites was a ChiTown boy in the midst of the old Butterfield Blues Band/Howlin Wolf days back east, knew every one, played everywhere.
Nick just had that blues voice, played fine harp, git, and more and was always a delight to go see no matter WHO he was giggin with or sitting in with.
On Electric Flag’s album that’s him on top of it vocally doing Killing Floor, n a few others. GREAT Project.
N Don’t get me started about The Flag. Bloomfield, my hero, Barry Goldberg on keys (of the Barry Goldberg Reunion), Nick, Buddy Freakin Miles on stix, Harvey Brooks of Super Session album fame . . .
Oh dayum, WTF here’s The Flag original album track complete with LBJ doing the intro! Lotsa detours on this music ride!
Anyway, there’s lots of youtubes of Nick with lots of folks, so if ya never heard of him, go a browsing . . . he’s one of the most overlooked icons of the 60’s-80’s rock/blues scene from ChiTown to SF.
But what got my motor revved up today was THIS vid (see vid below) of Nic N John Cippollina, at the same gig from the vid I posted a few weeks back.
I have never seen it, or heard this one. Blew me away.
First, Nick G takes the lead on the intro and first break, not Cipollina.
Second, although this is not complicated stuff, rather simplistic for that matter, Nick just tears it up! Makes it sound GRAND!
Third, at about 2:41 Nick finishes his lead and goes into a rhythm that’s just so glorious at setting the stage for Cipollina it’s insane, and he’s grinning like crazy with the fun he’s having.
Fourth the bass player is just insane on these cuts/vids. I never heard of Doug Kilmer so maybe some folks who have can tell me more about him, but man he tears it all up and his solo work is wonderfu!
Now, they’re just bouncing back ‘tween B n A as far as I can tell, with walkup’s to F# . . . like a 1 to 7 repeat then the walk up to F# which is the, uh . . . 5 I think in B? Help me out folks, theory weak here.
Anyways, despite the apparent simplicity of it all with the git work fairly simple (bass player just lights it up IMHO, however), they get this incredible driving sound and feel and it’s TIGHT, start to finish, tight as a drum head. This is as good as music gets when friends are having fun.
As was with all the Butterfield Band music, the way they arrange it all takes it to a higher level, and the end product just rocks yer socks off. Little things in arranging, like the crescendo opening, shifts from rhythm to lead, lead to rhythm . . . it all adds and builds tension.
“Did ya hear that pickin, y’all? That was some hot rockin pickin!”
The comments on all these vids are really worth reading BTW.
Maybe I DID hear this long ago in SF rock halls and ballrooms but I woulda thought I’d a remembered it, it’s epic stuff. It sure has that old QMS sound n feel, don’t it!
Ok, the thread that never stops . . . one more.
Cipollina was in another band called Terry & The Pirates, back in the day.
Got to see them twice at Keystone SF, n Keystone Palo Alto one year.
Terry Dolan n Greg Douglass sangin. John on lead work. But QMS drummer Greg Elmore was on stix, n former Rolling Stone’s keys master and QMS piano wizard Nicky Hopkins helped shape their sound.
Here’s Terry N The Pirates doing two classics, with lots of Nicky Hopkins N John Cipollina.
Make sure you at least check out the second song it’s a QMS classic with Nicky, n Kelly, that keyboard is for you!
What a detour as we ride the music . . . *G*