LIVE: Marty Wendell @ WAMC-FM’s The Linda, 6/20/14
Review and photographs by Stanley Johnson
The concert began with a solo set by Jefferson Thomas, originally a member of Marty’s band during the ’80s and now the producer of Wendell’s new work-in-progress. Thomas played a song about his late father for his mother who was in the audience, as well as other original songs including “Are We Growing Up Or Growing Old” and “She Don’t Like It When It Rains.” A fine guitarist, Thomas also delivered several covers such as “Get Back” and “Ode To Billy Joe.”
Thomas then introduced Marty Wendell and his band, which included, Marty’s son Sean on guitar and daughter Hilary on vocals. Guest artist Kelly Bird added backing vocals, as well as solo turn on “Walking After Midnight” and a duet with Marty on “My Blue Heaven.”
Wendell’s set read like a listing of Sun Records artists, including himself, having recorded at the legendary Memphis studio where Rock and Roll was first documented: Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Little Richard (whom Marty called “the architect”), Roy Orbison and his friend Johnny Cash. Wendell talked about being on the Cash tour which resulted in the album Live at Folsom Prison, and then played a version of “Ring of Fire.”
The band really hit their stride in the second set and cooked through many rock and roll songs, including his classics “’57 Chevy” and “Rock and Roll Dreams,” as well as several new songs from the forthcoming disc, such as “Where Did the Rock and Roll Go?”
Currently a Schaghticoke resident, Marty, his wife Judy and their son and daughter make road trips a family adventure. He currently has a dozen more dates booked in and around Nippertown and upstate New York, including the Little Theater On the Farm in Ft. Edward at 7pm on Saturday (June 28).