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Home plate juke joint

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Call me a heretic. Call me a heathen. But I've never been a huge Bob Dylan fan. (I'm not wild about The Beatles either, but that's another battle.) I have always admired him lyrically and actually consider a couple of his tunes in my list of all-time favorites ("Leopard Skin Pillbox Hat," "Sweetheart Like You"), but generally he doesn't do it for me. Regardless, the man's power is undeniable. Before 5,500 fans at Frontier Field last Wednesday night, Dylan Dylan'd for close to two hours before an incredible band --- especially that pedal steel player --- goddamn. The Stetsoned Dylan remained parked behind the keyboards the whole set barking hoarsely through the melodies. Then again lyrics don't seem as poignant when delivered in a bell tone.

Honestly, I was there to see Jimmie Vaughn --- one of my heroes (both guitar and haircut) that I have never gotten to see. Vaughn shuffled and twanged like all the Kings (Freddie and Albert anyway), summoning that burning Texas twang that has become synonymous with him and his late brother. Blues belter Lou Ann Barton joined Vaughn for a handful of numbers straight outta the juke joint and yet capably rocked the joint from home plate to outfield.

I had rolled into the joint while guit-steel wizard Junior Brown was on stage. I've seen this guy so many times now, it's actually more fun to watch the audience watch him, their jaws hitting the ground as Brown serves up his fiery collision of Hendrix and Bob Wills.

Saturday night I got to catch Texas Son woodshed at Rab's Woodshed. Sometimes when the band ain't the priority and folks are more about drinkin' up and hookin' up, you can hear a band really retreat into the music and push it a little. That's exactly what Tex and his band did with "Peter Gunn." The bass and drums chugged the recognizable stroll while the guitar flanged and swirled in a progression that seemed even more minor than minor. The drinkers drank, the cruisers cruised, and I got to dig a cool musical moment in time in a tiny joint on Lake Avenue. You shoulda been there.

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