Hooters drummer’s In the Pocket playing Ardmore, releasing new album
David Uosikkinen’s loving, living and breathing curation of the best of Philadelphia rock and soul continues its impeccable run.
“Live at the Keswick Theatre,” a new live album by his rotating Delaware Valley supergroup In the Pocket — culled from the 23 songs played during a December 2018 show that coincided with the Keswick’s 90th birthday — is out just in time for yet another In the Pocket show April 6 at Ardmore Music Hall.
“We nailed a great performance and I’m so glad we recorded it. It’s the best thing we’ve done to date,” the Hooters drummer commented in a phone interview. “I’m a little disappointed that we didn’t get video, but there were plenty of phones (in the audience taking video).”
Featuring 23 musicians in all, the concert recording is a feast for connoisseurs of music from this area. Here’s a track by track breakdown:
Shelter Me: Joey Ditullio sings the bluesy final top 40 entry/MTV rotation video by glam metal outfit Cinderella.
Be My Baby: Zou Zou Mansour of Soraia brings the soul that’s essential to pull off The Ronettes’ smash hit, originally released on Phil Spector’s Philadelphia-based record label Phillies Records.
My Mistake: Three members of Smash Palace were in the house.
I Saw the Light: Cliff Hillis convincingly channels Todd Rundgren on Rundgren’s top 20 hit from 1972.
It’s Good to be the King: A Beru Revue fan favorite song, that band’s guitarist, Greg Davis, is a regular contributor to In the Pocket.
Me and Mrs. Jones: One of the signature hits from Philadelphia International Records, this one stands out because of the quirky performance by Kenn “The Mayor of Philadelphia” Kweder, who humorously inserts pregnant pauses between verses. At one point, acknowledging the whoops and shouts from the crowd, he blurts out: “Who said that? I’m not Kweder, I’m Jawn Baez.”
“He was calm that night. He was medium-Kweder that night,” Uosikkinen said of Kweder’s flair for the unpredictable.
(Ain’t Nothin’ but a) House Party: Perhaps best known from its version by The J. Geils Band, this song was recorded by a Philadelphia group called The Show Stoppers, and was a staple for Philadelphia Music Walk of Famers The Soul Survivors. “It’s a song a lot of blues guys would do,” Uosikkinen said.
My Babe: The Righteous Brothers song was recorded by Philly rock group The American Dream on their 1970 album. American Dream’s Don Van Winkle was part of the In the Pocket lineup that night.
(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding: Van Winkle and Jeffrey Gaines (a surprise addition to In the Pocket that night, Uosikkinen said) are the featured singers on the Nick Lowe cover song. According to Uosikkinen, it is a song that most of the performers that were at the Keswick had in their repertoire.
Streets of Philadelphia: Hooters alumnus (and sometimes Tommy Conwell collaborator) Andy King confesses mid-performance that Bruce Springsteen’s li-li-li background vocals are his favorite part of the song because of their prayer-like quality, and leads a sing-along.
Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds: The Hooters performed The Beatles song at the 1986 Conspiracy of Hope Amnesty International concert at Giants Stadium. One live Hooters recording of “Lucy” even saw the light of day as a B-side.
Escalator of Life: Robert Hazard’s dark take on 1980s consumerism is one of the many essential Philly songs David Uoskinnen’s In the Pocket has revisited in formal studio recordings. Richard Bush, who was in The A’s at the same time Hazard’s star was rising in the early ’80s, stands in for Hazard, who passed away in 2008.
In the Pocket studio recordings get released as downloadable singles, but Uosikkinen hopes to make them all available together in “a sessions record.”
Here I Come: The opening track on Tommy Conwell and the Young Rumblers’ regionally-released debut album from 1986, it’s a reminder of the electricity that made that band one of the top live acts around here in the latter half of the ’80s, and paved the way to a Columbia Records contract.
And We Danced: In-the-Pocket-regular Conwell singing The Hooters’ 1985 hit is a perfect snapshot of ’80s Philly star power.
Get Together: Ben Arnold steps on stage to sing the 1969 hit — which it turns out, has an area connection. Youngbloods lead singer and bassist Jesse Colin Young attended Pennsbury High School.
Who’s playing at Ardmore
The scheduled In the Pocket lineup for the upcoming show: David Uosikkinen; Kenny Aaronson (Joan Jett, The Yardbirds, Bob Dylan); Ben Arnold; Richard Bush; Steve Butler (Smash Palace); Buddy Cash; Tommy Conwell; Alexis Cunningham; Greg Davis (Beru Revue); Pete Donnelly (The Figgs, NRBQ); Cliff Hillis; Charlie Ingui (The Soul Survivors); Andy King; Wally Smith (Smash Palace, Crosstown Traffic); Don Van Winkle (The American Dream); David Kershner and Jim Verdeur.
The “Live at the Keswick Theatre” album will be available for sale, and is also available for pre-order at www.songsinthepocket.com.
A Levittown native, Uosikkinen said The Hooters’ back history with Ardmore Music Hall goes back to the days when it was known as the 23 East Cabaret. “My manager used to reprimand me upstairs (in his office at 23 E. Lancaster Ave.),” he said.