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Frank Allison & Goober: Dance-crazy Roots Music of the 90's

December 12, 2007

In the 1980's-90's Ann Arbor had the rock-steady sensation of "Frank Allison & the Odd Sox." Frank wrote boppy, bouncy, cheery-yet-still-gritty songs about bluecollar life and a few times a week around the region he and his band would play and a hundred fans would show up and get sweaty for a couple hours.

Perhaps a teeny bit later Detroit produced "Goober & the Peas"---a rockin' hillbilly band. They'd kick a bale of hay all over the stage. It was a goofy thing, but it DROVE HARD. And, again, everywhere they went a hundred fans would show up and get sweaty.

There's a big local-roots music scene here in Michigan today, too---the scenes seem somewhat related. But there's no dancing. I wonder why?

Similarly, we have a local classic bar that hosted a rhythm'n'blues band all during the 80's---every week it would pack solid and promptly with dancers---anyone could dance with anyone. It was social dance. Lots of traveling musicians sat in. They did Xmas and New Years, too. Never missed a beat or a gig, I heard---I mean they had a good 10-15 year streak. But they finally got old. There's a new, much more popular blues-roots band at that bar now. A good crowd every time. But no dancing. Weird. To me.

There are dance scenes out there for sure---but my hunch is that the music involves very little of what one might call content. It's about the beats. Which is fine---beats is cool. Still, I hope I'm wrong! Of course I'm jealous that I missed out (mostly) on the freakstyle. Even so, if the right band came around...!

Actually, there are surely power-bop dance bands out there. Bumpus out of Chicago was one that made me go nuts not too long ago---full brass section to go with some huge FUNK. But that's downtown---they always get down. www.myspace.com/bumpus ...Chilipeppers with BRASS!

Well, enough trend-guessing. This blurb is a tribute to the content-rich power-pop of FRANK ALLISON. I just love his songs about lunchboxes and post-hole digging and cars that won't start. All his songs saw the good, or at least the hope, in all that.

And here's to the good cheer of GOOBER! Kick that hay! Jump straight up and don't quit for an hour!

Hey! Here's a website for Goober: gooberandthepeas.net/ ...Sweet videos! gooberandthepeas.net/videos.htm. (Totally pro funny vid for HOT WOMEN COLD BEER!)

And holy smokes, Frank didn't have a website the last I checked but now HE'S IN FULL GEAR! Check out frankallisonmusic.com. And he has CD's up at CDBaby! Glory be! cdbaby.com/cd/faoddsox1 Ya gotta check out "Athletic Dan" and "Crediting Men's Hayride." Yeehaw! Now I'm happy. : )

[A few days later...] Um, I'm still not up to speed with this Web stuff... That's a problem of being old and of being in on something at the start. I'd probably still be comfy with Mosaic 1.0. Ahem. Sigh. Anyway, OBVIOUSLY, there are sweet vids of these guys over at YouTube. So here's one of Goober's:

...And here's a couple of Frank. He has some new ones up, too, but I confess that I'm stuck in the past. His new work might be even better for all I know. I have a lot of orders to pack and so can only do so much.

Now, the Interview segment below has a literalistic presentation in the music portions which might not be for everyone but it also offers a key idea that shows the depth of the Frank Thing. That is: the fans created lots of particular dances for his songs. It was interactive music. Really! And the fans were wildly loyal. It was something...

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