Sunday, February 17, 2008

Good Old Days Picnic 2007


The Good Old Days Picnic at Kennedy Park in Somers Point is always held on the Saturday after Labor Day, and with the end of the summer season, it brings out the locals who can finally break out of their lame summer season routine.

Now in its 27th years, the Good Old Days is day-long family affair at a great location - at High Banks overlooking Great Egg Harbor Bay, where the native Americans used to gather for their own seasonal festivities before embarking on their winter hunting excursions.

As with the Indian's clam bakes, the Good Old Days has food, with local vendors providing the goods, but the main item on the agenda is music, and as with previous GODays, there will be plenty of great music.

Billy Walton, who has already played JR's and a Friday night beach concert, will open the proceedings at an early 10 am, sparking things off with some rock & roll featuring his electic guitar and fine back up band - complete with soaring sax and a heavy back beat.

From the Asbury Park School of Jersey Shore rock & roll, Billy Walton has been making a lot of waves lately, showcasing his hot band and drawing raves as a young Boss. Billy will be doing more than one set so if you miss the first one you can still come late and catch a second act at 3 pm.

After noon you can drop the kids off in the children's area, where they will be entertained by Chad Juros - Magic Chad - [ ], whose show (1:30-2:15 & 4:15-5)is said to be mesmorizing for the kids. Assisting Chad in keeping the kids occupied is Chris Clayton, a stalkwalker and magician who you won't be able to miss from 3-4 pm.

Over on the Main Shore Memorial Stage - Jacque Major & Friends will play from 1 to 3pm, doing a mix of her own classic rock & roll mixed with some free form flowing jazz.

Jacque's Friends include Tim Lekan on bass, her cousin Wayne Scheller on piano, Seth Johnson on drums, John Prewett on keys and a horn section with Steve Moore on sax and Joe Breidensine on trumpet. Local guitar wiz and hard core rocker Danny Eyer will join the proceedings at some point and make sure it flys.

Jacque, who finished up a summer long late Sunday afternoon gig at JR's on Route 9, said that she will start of with some of her regular rock & roll tunes, but slip into some jazzy Steely Dan and Van Morrision numbers that lend themselves to some ripe improvisation.

Jacque's Jazz vocals can also be heard on the late Brian Trainer's new CD "Why Try to Change Me Now," which also includes local gospel jazz singer Lois Smith of Cape May.

Jazz is said to have originated in New Orleans, which is where Zydeco master Terrance Simian hails from. Simian will play his "Zydeco Experience" from 4-6pm, a show you can't miss.

Zydeco is a unique, uplifting and danceable jazz that exploits the cajun accordian, and since sprouting from New Orleans, has taken hold in mainstream jazz as a fun loving folkish offshott of traditional horn heavy Dixieland jazz.

Some basic background:

"Terrance Simien, born Sept. 3, 1965 grew up at the crossroads of State Highway 190 and Rural Route 103 in Mallet, Louisiana in St. Landry Parish, the heart of French speaking Creole country. He hails from one of the earliest families documented to have settled that rural area of South Louisiana. At the crossroads where he grew up sits the building that anchors the small parish community, St. Ann's Roman Catholic Church. Inside that church Terrance learned to love the spiritual side of making music. Today he still lends that soulful voice and his deep spirituality to St. Ann's for an funeral of a family member or friend from that same prairie village."

While we don't expect TS to put on a New Orleans style wake, you are probably already familiar with Terrance Simien if you saw "The Big Easy" movie from 1987, when Dannis Quaid takes Ellen Barkin to a porch party where TS and his band play for a Cajun style Good Old Boys Picnic. If they look like they're having a good time in the movie, you can get an idea of what to expect at the picnic.

Terrance Simien's new CD - "The Zydeco Experience" includes Paul Simon, David Hidalgo, Marcia ball, who played at Kennedy Park a few years ago, and former Band members Garth Hudson and the late Rick Danko, who also played a past Good Old Days.

Simien can also be heard on Paul Simon's "Graceland Basement Tapes" whenever that gets released. For more on TS you can check him out and get some sample tunes at:

Without a doubt, the music lineup for this and recent past Good Old Days, like the free Friday night beach concerts, were arranged by former Somers Point Councilman Carman Marotta, whose family owned the legendary Tony Marts nightclub in Somers Point. After Tony Marts went the way of the buffalo, Carmen went down to New Orleans and opened Levon Helm's Classic American Cafe, where he met all the local talent. And now he's been bringing them to the Point, for our own musical appreciation.

After the Point gig, Jacque and some of her band will head down to Sea Isle City and play at the Carousel lounge on the prominade there, while others will head over to Stumpo's for a Tony Marts Reunion with John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band of Eddie & the Cruisers fame.

During the last summer of Tony Marts, before it was sold and razed, they used the old club to make the film "Eddie & the Cruisers," which included the music of the Beaver Brown Band.

I said in an earlier column that Beaver Brown was from New Hampshire, but I have been corrected by some readers, who let me know that at least somebody out there is reading this stuff. John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band are from Rhode Island, and take their name from the Beaver Brown paint cans they sat on in the garage where they first practiced. Cafferty is still the lead singer and the band still includes "Tunes" on sax, who gets knocked off in the movie.

But they are best known for their three hit songs that came out of the film, "Wild Summer Nights," "On the Darkside" and the sad but true, "Tender Years" that we all remember from our formative days, and sometimes yearn for, but are gone forever, like Tony Marts and the buffalo.

Bill Kelly

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