August 10, 2006
I dropped into the Salmon Bay Eagles after attending Tim Sherman's birthday party last week (thanks Tim!). Tree and I go aways back - the second band I ever played in was a very early (possibly the first?) version of Daddy Treetops & the Howlin' Tomcats. I believe this was around 1974 or 1975. That band consisted of Tree on guitar and vocals, my friend Bob Beebe on bass, myself on harp, and Twist Turner on drums. A guitarist by the name of Dwight Anderson also played electric piano in the band occasionally, going by the name of Wild Fingers Bo Folsum.
I recall playing at the old Rainbow Tavern in the University District with this band, plus at least one public radio benefit, a couple of private parties, and a memorable New Years gig at the long-gone Victrola Tavern (now the Bistro Restaurant) in the Public Market.
The Howin' Tomcats were sounding especially good to me last Thursday, for a couple of reasons. First - I could hear Tree's guitar! He was playing through a Magnatone amp with an extension speaker, and he was micing the extension speaker. He was playing slide on a Fender Telecaster, plus his standard Gibson ES-125 for the straight ahead stuff. For a change, I could hear his guitar just fine down on the lower level of the club. Not too loud, mind you, but just right.
Second - The rhythm section was doing a really great job of backing him up. Also not too loud, but just right! And why not? The rhythm section consisted of Seattle veterans Jim Plano on drums and electric bassist John Keski. John uses an unusual bass amp setup - a 50-watt Fender Bassman 10 combo (with four 10-inch speakers) and a Peavey extension cabinet with a single 15-inch speaker. Most bassists would consider this to be an underpowered setup, but it has always sounded fine to me, in clubs large and small. How does he do it??
Anyway, these guys were in the groove, and I'm glad I dropped in to see them. I even dug the one Beatles song that Tree sang. Oh yeah...thanks for doing Ludella for me Tree!
Daddy Treetops & the Howlin' Tomcats - Left to right: Daddy Treetops, Jim Plano, and John Keski.
Note: the photos for this article were created by Dennis "Zab" Zyvoloski.