The Two Guys Live Shakedance...
A couple of years ago thanks to Facebook, my brother was reconnected with an old high school chum from the big brain set. Jim was also an enthusiastic music aficionado and guitar player who I’d bump into from time to time at some of our post high school heavy metal vomit jams in my friend Brian’s basement. Solid chops, always quiet, but a true gentlemen long before any of us every knew what the word meant. At some point in the mid eighties, both my brother and I lost touch with Jim as he headed down to study engineering, or math or something, at Georgia Tech we would discover following our reconnection.
Apparently that wasn’t the only thing he studied. Turns out Jim immersed himself way deep into traditional blues guitar. I don’t know how well he did with fluid dynamics, or numerical methods, but the man certainly mastered Mississippi John Hurt and Lightnin' Hopkins at the post doc level during his tenure as a Yellow Jacket undergrad.
As we were also to discover, Jim cofounded his post college band The Urban Shakedancers, an almost signed/missed it by that much, popular local band whom I had the pleasure of hearing countless times following my recent arrival to Atlanta in the spring of 1991 and on visits prior. My newly minted friends would take me to see these guys whenever we could since their own high school friends were band members as well. The thing is… I had no idea that was Jim playing guitar and was stunned to realize that the two of us were in the same room MANY times during that era and never managed to reconnect. My buds and I were pretty big Shakedancer fans to be sure.
My brother and I find all this out while attending our first show by Jim’s current band The Breeze Kings. The two of us sat there in awe while the crowd was up on their feet dancing like 50 years had not passed. I’m telling you the joint was jumping. Guys twirling girls around their waists, throwing them into the air, etc… it was a sublime moment. And Jim’s band? Two words: Fucking SWINGIN’ Jack!!! (okay that’s three words). My brother and I immediately picked up both of the BK’s CD’s and they’ve been in heavy rotation since in both our households.
A few months later, I mentioned to Jim in passing that one of my old friends owned a club down in Five Points that had a good vibe and decent house system. I thought it might be a good place for the Breeze Kings to play. It was summertime and with school out, Five Points retreats into a much mellower scene than it has during the semesters as club owners leave the doors open to air their places out from nine months of merriment that are stuck to the floors. Jim thought that perhaps it might be a good opportunity to work on their duo act (him and Carlos) that they were tuning up for gigs where the bread wasn’t sufficient to justify the whole band. During my reconnection with my old club owning friend, I discovered he had an old long unused 16 bit ADAT recorder stuffed in the house systems rack that he swore ‘worked’. I tossed out the idea to Jim of recording the performance which was met by a sort of “What the hell…” response.
It took some doing to get it all to work that night (the ADAT actually had dried vomit on the transport, I kid you not!), but I managed to capture two long sets of The Breeze Kings Lite that night. The next order of business was to dump it up to the hard drive in the studio and make thumbnail mixes for Jim and Carlos. I had the discs lying around waiting to drop in the mail when my brother next came to visit from Ashville. He and I typically stay up into the wee hours playing and rapping about music, so I tossed the BK demo into the player for him to taste. After three or four tunes he said, “Ya know what? That sounds like a record, can you burn me a copy without Jim getting pissed?” I listened to it a couple more times in the following weeks and came to the same conclusion myself. Turns out Jim and Carlos thought the same as well. Thus, this whimsical little tune up session on a hot summer weeknight in Five Points Atlanta (with the aid of Jeff Bakos mix and Chris Griffin mastering job) became the Veritone Records release “Two Guys Live”.
This record stands as one of my proudest accomplishments as a behind the board wannabe dude. I’ve worked on countless projects in my studio and others and this one simple truth always manages to prove itself: The best moments captured on tape come when you’re not even trying.
The Breeze Kings ‘Two Guys Live’ is a collection of some mighty fine moments. Take the chance, go to their website and pick up a copy. If you wanna get off your feet, pick up a copy of “You Got To Bring Some to Get Some” too. You will not be disappointed.