LIVE: Deke Dickerson @ the Hangar on the Hudson, 11/22/17
Review and photographs by Ed Conway
A hot night for music got quite a bit hotter as Deke Dickerson & the Ecco-Fonics made a stop at The Hangar on Thanksgiving eve. Despite the musical choices available all around Greater Nippertown, a good crowd showed up for some burning rockabilly/roots music. Sadly, Ecco-Fonics bassist James Henry had to step away from the tour for a few days due to a family emergency. But luckily, Bloodshot Bill – who also served as the opening act – was available to step in to handle bass duties for a few days until Henry could rejoin the tour in Toronto.
A late announcement to the show, due to a double-header a couple of weeks earlier at the River Street Beat Shop and the Savoy Tap Room, Bloodshot Bill brought the rest of the Hick-Ups with him. Bill frequently performs his unique brand of rockabilly as a solo act with guitar, bass drum and hi-hat cymbal, but having Andrew on rhythm guitar and Dave on bass allowed Williams a great deal of freedom to explore more of his lead guitarist side.
As always, as much fun as the audience had – and we had a lot – Bill always looks like he is having even more fun. There is a wonderful impish quality to all of his performances. This and his devilish smile makes it impossible not to become thoroughly enmeshed in the show. And what he can do with his voice is truly amazing. He can switch from a fully raspy voice to yodeling without ever losing the respect for the songs he is performing, whether an original or an original interpretation of a cover.
Up next was guitar virtuoso, Deke Dickerson. Strapping on his prototype signature model Hallmark guitar, Dickerson and the rest of the Ecco-Fonics kept up the momentum reached by the Hick-Ups. With drummer Teddy Fury and, as stated above, Bloodshot Bill on bass (at one point, Bill even played the drums), the music was even pushed to the next level, no small feat, considering how high the Hick-Ups lifted it.
Opening with the Jack Tenney/Helen Stone penned “Mexicali Rose,” Dickerson set the tone for the rest of the night as an upbeat rockin’ eve. Dickerson’s own “Snatch It and Grab It” kept the momentum rolling along in high gear, and the rest of the evening followed suit, featuring lesser known covers such as Johnny Cash’s “Luther’s Boogie,” Link Wray’s “Run Chicken Run” and the Larry Collins/Joe Maphis gem “Rockin Gypsy,” as well as originals such as “Nightmare of a Woman.” Dickerson even played a request for Eddie Noack’s “Psycho,” about a serial killer ala Norman Bates.
A couple of guest performers highlighted the evening. Although Bill was part of the proceedings on bass, he and Dickerson switched for a few songs. After opening with an instrumental, Dickerson asked him to sing one, to which Bill walked into the evening’s only faux pas. Of all the songs he could have picked, he chose the song that Dickerson had asked the next guest, local fave Johnny Rabb to sing. A quick rethink ensued as they belted out Jimmy Reed’s “Ain’t That Loving You Baby” and Gene Vincent’s “Right Now.”
As noted, the next guest, Rabb, stepped up to the mic and followed with rousing rendition of Jerry Lee Lewis’ “High School Confidential,” which got the crowd even more energized. Finishing off the set was the Jimmie Rodgers/George Vaughan penned “Mule Skinner Blues,” complete with a demonstration of some hillbilly beat-boxing called “eefing,” which you would have to hear to understand.
Although the evening was cover heavy, Dickerson’s guitar skills and his uncanny ability to inject humor makes for a fresh take, making them his own. Hopefully, it won’t be another six or seven years before he makes a return visit to the area, and, based on the audience reaction, they would agree with me on that.
DEKE DICKERSON’S SET LIST
Snatch It and Grab It
Luther Plays the Boogie
I Might Not Come Home at All
Run Chicken Run
End of the Road
Real Gone Daddy
Let Us Rock Tonight
Ain’t That Lovin You Baby
High School Confidential
Nightmare of a Woman
I’m All Dressed Up and I Ain’t Got No Place to Go
I Never Cared for You
Beat Out My Love
Mule Skinner Blues
A sensational show at The Hangar from beginning to end! The first of the two unidentified songs on your set list was a frantic rocker called “Bip Bop Bip” which was written and sung by r&b kingpin Don Covay but issued under the name Pretty Boy on Atlantic in 1957.
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