The Mekons The current boomlet in traditional country music has seen the Mekons, a seminal English punk band, improbably reborn as honky-tonk anglers.
Not that these Leeds eccentrics have embraced national purism; at the East Side Sunday, the good-natured sextet blended songs by the likes of Hank Williams and Don Gibson with traditional English folk music, noisy thrash guitar and leftist politics.
The set drew chiefly on the band's last three releases but also offered gently countrified versions of earlier songs like the classic "Where Were You?"
The country-swing lilt of Susie Honeyman's violin and Rico Bell's accordion meshed remarkably well with the harder edge of drummer Steve Goulding and guitarist Jon Langford, an exceptionally winning performer who is also one of the exemplary Three Johns.
The results were sloppy, amiable and enormously fun; the Mekons' punk attitude seems to have found a perfect home on Williams' "Lost Highway." -- Mark Jenkins Paris Reunion Band
It ld,10 has been some years since a lineup as impressive as that boasted by the Paris Reunion Band graced the bandstand of a Washington club.
The eight-member combo, which played Blues Alley Tuesday night, is a touring unit of present or former expatriate Americans.
Working with charts that provided the signposts for originals like "Klook's Theme" and "Waltz," the five-horn front line opened and closed the tunes with ensemble passages that both stated the theme and allowed individual variations to rise to prominence.
The impression left was of a group of players well-suited to truly collective effort.
Solo highlights displayed the contrasting trumpets of Woody Shaw and Benny Bailey, the one with its somber hues, the other in a brighter mode, Slide Hampton's marvelously facile trombone; and the stylistic compendium that was pianist Kenny Drew's "Stella by Starlight."
Saxophonists Joe Henderson and Nathan Davis, bassist Jimmy Wood and drummer Idris Muhammad made equally strong contributions. -- W. Royal Stokes