Saturday, September 08, 2007
The Perennial Peter Case
The man motion in the photo above is Peter Case, the band - The Plimsouls, the year - probably 1980...
...and in 1984, The Plimsouls didn't exist as a band anymore - although they still do play together as the Plimsouls because fans demand it. But what that all really means is that Peter Case has been a solo artist, a troubadour with an acoustic preference but all the same rebellious, thoughtful and promising stories, lyrics and delivery as his punk rock self...Peter Case has been this solo artist for longer than he was a Plimsoul, and by my calculations, for the majority of his life.
Last night, Peter Case had a CD release party at McCabe's in Santa Monica, CA.
His new record (somehow "new CD" just doesn't cut it for this analog gal!) Let Us Now Praise Sleepy John has already racked up a pile of critical acclaim from both sides of the media (meaning mainstream and hipster/niche/indie) as well as almost unanimously from his peer group. One of my favorite artists of all time, regardless of genre, Richard Thompson makes a guest appearance on Peter's record on the track Every 24 Hours, fellow punk rocker, Carlos Guitarlos joins his lifelong friend on Underneath the Stars. And for my money, Million Dollars Bail is a punk rock song performed like a folk one. And for just two cents more, can I just say that in many ways, my old friend and fellow April fool, Peter Case has a touch of Woody Guthrie in his songcraft.
The real life Sleepy John was a fellow born as John Adam Estes and lived from 1904 - 1977. During his lifetime, he made some recordings in Memphis at the behest of music industry visionary Ralph Peer for Victor Records. He made more recordings in Memphis (which I always credit because it is the home of rock n roll AND recording the music that inspired all the music that I love) at Sun Studios. Peter Case has said that Estes' recording Broke and Hungry has been an inspiration for him since he started playing. Since he passed on in 1977, this Sleepy John didn't really get to know punk rock at all, but he made an impression on the then-punk rocker, Peter Case. The two men share common ground in terms of the course their musical steps - as troubadours. As travelers, where Estes hopped a freight train, Peter would have hitch-hiked. You could of course, learn precisely how Peter's musical adventures played out by reading his autobiography, As Far As You Can Get Without A Passport.
Ever the troubadour, Peter Case is on the road right now, and you can catch him by checking out these here tour dates.