Marty Stuart and his Fabulous Superlatives

25 years ago I had a pair girlfriends, back-to-back, named Debbie, whom, in retrospect, I refer to as the “Deb-aucle.”

I guess the best way to describe the sensitivities of Debbie I, would be this little tale. I liked this woman, who was quite pretty, and who never seemed to feel acknowledged. So, I wrote a couplet for her that read:

“She is not the Deb you taunt,
That would not be fair.
She is just the Deb you want,
She’s so “Deb-o-nair.”

My beloved’s response to this epithet? “What in the hell is that supposed to mean?”

Well, Debbie I was a Top 40 girl of the highest order, although when we went together–and ashamedly I admit I endured a year with her–Debbie was seriously into country music. And, the worst shit in my view: Reba McIntire and Toby Keith and those kind of flag waving Jesus loving knuckleheads.

But, during that time, Marty Stuart released his album, This One’s Gonna Hurt You, and I bought that album and have kind of followed the fine guitarist (who began his career as a teenage guitar player with Lester Flatt’s band) and a guy I just liked.

Marty is now on tour supporting his latest album, Way Out West, and his band was set to play a wonderful little 400-seat venue called The Freight and Salvage in Berkeley. This is not a little dump either, but a cool downtown non-profit community supported venue that is modern, has wonderful sound, and killer acoustics.

So, I hit my friends and musicians Steve Gibson and Stephen Clayton up and we toddled off to see Marty and his band Monday night, and all I can say is they were one of the two best live bands I have ever seen.

This statement is kind of bombastic, going back to 1968, and including seeing acts like Pink Floyd, Cream, Derek and the Dominoes, The Who,  Jimi Hendrix and Buffalo Springfield and so on. But a lot of bands, and a lot of great ones over the past 50 years.

From, however, the first note by Marty, Kenny Vaughn (guitar), Harry Stinson (drums) and Chris Scruggs (bass, and yep, Earl’s grandson, and a guy who can play every instrument on the stage) came out of the blocks smoking, and just got hotter and tighter with a set that featured new stuff from the new album, old stuff (Running Down a Dream) and a monster cover of Charlie Christian’s, Bennie Goodman’s, and Jame’s Mundy’s Airmail Special, of which I looked for a YouTube link, but none exists.

So, I went for this clip from David Letterman which gives an idea of just how tight the band is and how exceptional their players are.

One of the “oldies” the band played was Marty Robbins incredible El Paso, a song I loved from first listen in 1959. When guitar player Grady Martin was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, Stuart and his band were asked to play, and since Martin played the melodic moving part in the song, El Paso was what they performed. The band did cover it Monday, and I did find a link.

BTW, I said one of the two best bands I have ever seen. The other? George Clinton and Parliment (with Bootsie, Bernie, et al).

2 thoughts on “Marty Stuart and his Fabulous Superlatives

  1. A couple years after moving to Chicago to start my baseball career at STATS, Inc. I realized my social life had evaporated and decided to join a band. Answering “Chicago Reader” ads for rock bassists proved futile (conversations generally went well until they found out I was 32 – way over the hill apparently) and I was faced with the reality of joining a country band if I really wanted to play.

    The second “country craze” in popular music was blossoming (I consider the first to be the Urban Cowboy mechanical bull thing) with line dancing and pop-rock-influenced country climbing to the forefront.

    Country was definitely an acquired taste for me and I’d say Marty Stuart (“This One’s Gonna Hurt You” was my first as well) and Dwight Yoakam most helped get me started in developing an appreciation and eventually a love. I got a lot of mileage applying rock attitude to country in cover bands for about a decade before bro country eventually took over and kind of ruined everything. Eventually I learned that – like most everything in music – the old, original country is truly the best.

    Anyway, I saw Marty Stuart and the Superlatives in Sellersville PA in 2011. My then-wife took a great picture of me with the band. I’m wearing a T. Rex “Slider” t-shirt that Kenny Vaughn said was cool. It amazes me how recognized he’s become since even 2011.

    I had an actual picture of the phone photo made and it’s in a little frame somewhere. I dug, but for the life of me, I can’t find it. I’ll keep looking in hopes of a post.

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