I've known Jerry Dugger since the late 1980's.
Jono Manson had a band called the Mighty Sweetones that would play at the Nightingale Bar on 2nd Avenue in New York City. Jono is the kind of guy how you would swear was born with a guitar in hand. There are a lot of great guitar players who have learned their craft. They know what to play. With Jono, there was no thought process. What he was thinking is what he played. There was no need to change the thought. He achieved this by playing all the time. He was in a band called Joey Miserable and the Worms, which became just The Worms, and finally The Mighty Sweetones. He was extremely popular as New York's favorite non-stop party experience. Jono kept it lively and movin' for hours. I have seen a picture of Jono playing and Carole King dancing wildly four or five feet away. They played a lot. But, when the band would have the night off Jono would come out and play with other bands like Les Ismore and the Excess Express, Ron Sunshine, his solo gigs out in Brooklyn where he would get a bar hopping all night long with just an acoustic guitar and a mic through a little amp, or with my band, the Flyboys.
The Flyboys played at the Nightingale Bar every Monday for a little over a year. Jono was the guitar player, George Vahamonde was the drummer, Alex Quinlan played bass, and I pretended to sing. After playing for that year, I figured it was time to go back to C.B.G.B.'s. I had played there as a bass player for my first original band, The Rips. It was so much fun that when I finally got around to forming my own band, I didn't want to return to that stage until I felt I would give them a show they were glad they booked.
One of the great things about setting out to put a band together in New York is the depth of the talent pool. The guys I have played with have been some of the greatest. That Flyboy band could lay it down. I always had the best view. Hanging out on stage watching these guys. George was always kicking it. Alex, who is one of my favorite songwriters, is a monster funky bass player. And of course, Jono's spontaneous style of guitar is an experience every single time. I definitely felt ready to return to C.B.G.B. I set up an audition for December 3.
Around November 11, something incapacitated Alex and having not played my own bass in over a year, I did not feel I would do the songs justice to try. Jono suggested that Jerry Dugger would probably do it. Sure enough three weeks later, Jerry was on stage with us at C.B.'s delivering a masterful performance. For those of you who have followed the Bossa Nova Beatniks know that Jerry is always welcome at a Beatnik recording session.
Jerry, in his own write, is a renowned figure on the Blues Scene, who recently garnered a standing ovation at the Toronto Blues Festival last summer when the band he was sitting in on, on bass, let him have the mic for one song. Jerry's version of Caldonia brought the crowd to its feet. You can find Jerry's "Guardian Angel" CD on his own CDBaby page.
Jerry is a good soul. When you hear his vocal performances and are impressed with the deep rich soul of his voice, you can be assured that it is good soul. Fortunately, Jerry and I had free spots on our calendar last summer to get together and sing on these tracks. The project started out as one thing (which will be out before too long) but along the way it took a life of its own and I fortunately had enough available tracks to complete the journey. Funny how this process works. We set out do a fix up job on a CD while in the middle of doing another Bossa Nova Beatnik disc and wind up with a Jerry Dugger CD out on its own volition.
Oh, by the way, The Nightingale Bar has been completely changed since then. That is the way of clubs in New York City. That's why C.B.G.B.'s is such a remarkable place. 30 years as THE place in New York. Thanks to the wisdom of Hilly Kristal. He always made the sound coming from his stage the number one priority. That's why we could have bookings like a Flyboy show we did with Jerry on Bass where we were on right after a band from Liverpool and right before a band from Moscow. I remember showing up for sound checks to find some band that had driven from L.A. just to play C.B.'s, were all sprawled out around the club. That sound system never disappoints.
Jerry brings all that to these songs. He understands where the words are coming from and sings them as if they are his own. It was great fun recording these tracks. You will hear the fun in the performances. I must mention the guitar of Mike Bifulco on many of these tracks. I have had guitar players who have heard these tracks ask me what kind of effects he uses to get all those different sounds. Their jaws always drop when I tell them that Mike doesn't use any effects. Its just a little reverb on the amp and he always records his tracks with a mic on the amp. I forgot to put in the credits that Tim Stapleton plays Bongos and sticks on "Malinda." His picture and name is on the CD as a singer. I also forgot to put in that I wrote the songs. Oh well, maybe next pressing.
This CD is so much fun to listen to that you have to let it roll around again after the last song. Tom Gould