Jim Duffy wants you to listen to The Black Hollies
The more you find out about someone, the more interesting that person turns out to be. Jim Duffy is a perfect example of that axiom. I met him when he was an ace copyeditor for The Industry Standard and begged him to join us on our quixotic post-Standard attempt at independent publishing.
But that’s only part of what he can do. He’s a smart, swinging, surprising pianist, bandleader, and songwriter. He’s recorded two records, the fine Side One and the new, even better Mood Lit. He was kind enough to contribute a smashing version of Mose Allison’s “Look Here” to The Sandinista Project, a great performance also included on Mood Lit if you’re one of the billions on the planet who has yet to buy or steal The Sandinista Project.
As you’d suspect from such a tasteful player and writer, he has great taste in other people’s music too. He was the first person to direct me to Dengue Fever, a band who longtime readers know I rave about, and he has another recommendation, The Black Hollies. Let’s let Jim make the case:
The Black Hollies, from Jersey City, may have a misleading name. They don’t sound like the Hollies, but they do sound like the Yardbirds, or the early Kinks, or the pre-Tommy Who. They stepped out of a time machine, from the era when bands had long hair but still wore suits — 1965 or ’66, but not ’67. They’re young-ish guys, too, playing vintage gear. My girlfriend Amy and I first saw them as an opening act, and they were way better than the headliner.
We’ve gone back to see them a couple of times, and they put on a tight, well-put-together show, one song right into another, and they have a lot of good tunes. In fact, on their first album, Casting Shadows, I like every single track.
So, first of all, check out the Black Hollies. Second, even in this era when so much music is available for free, if I like a band, I want to buy something, and I don’t think I’m alone.
A couple of weeks ago, we saw them play an early set, and the cover charge was very low. And they wailed. They played a set that gets you rocking and puts a smile on your face. When the set was over, I wanted to buy something. So I’m at the merch table, talking to the guitar player (I don’t know these guys at all), and he, very wisely, starts talking and talking about the band’s wares, how they make their records and so on. So I buy the band’s new album, Softly Towards the Light, on vinyl, for $10. And it’s a fine record.
What’s the point? In this day and age when music is given away for free, and when there’s so much of it that you can’t possibly get to it all, then when you find something you like, you don’t mind paying. Or at least I don’t. I’d rather pay for something, to feel like I’m supporting it or participating in making it happen, in some small way.
Not a very original observation, but a data point, at least.
Keep ’em comin’, Jim.