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L.A. Beat

Peter Case plays the blues

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 Buffalo born Los Angeles based folk musician Peter Case played the first show of the Geomatic Attic’s new season, Sept. 14. I arrived midway through the show in the middle of a poetry reading.

He alternated between a 12-string guitar and a battered electric as he worked through a career’s worth of songs, stories and jokes.Peter Case opened the Geomatic Attic’s new season, Sept. 13. Photo by Richard Amery

He seemed a little scattered in places, admitting he sometimes forgot how to play some of his songs unless he was actually playing them on stage. If he did forget how to play them, the audience didn’t seem to notice.

“If you want to take pictures, could you take them when I’m playing some really stupid fast songs,” he said.

 And while I waited for the “stupid fast songs,” there weren’t any, though there were a lot of mid-tempo blues and folk with some pretty intricate finger-picking as Case played bass notes with his thumb.

 The small but mighty audience of about 60 was familiar with his work, gasping in appreciation as he talked and played a variety of songs from his rock band days with the Plimsouls and a lot from his Grammy nominated  “Let Us Now Praise Sleepy John,” Cd from 2007  including  “Million Dollars Bail,” which was among several highlights of the show as well as a couple from his latest CD of obscurities “The Case Files.”
“House Rent Party,” was another uptempo highlight. 

He talked about his time with the Plimsouls and how they smashed their equipment in front of about 50 people and spoke about being with the record label Elektra, prefacing a story about living in a dirty hotel across from his record label Elektra and saying getting the Leadbelly box set was the most valuable thing he got from them.

He played “30 Days In The Workhouse,” which Leadbelly made famous.

In addition to lots of his own songs, he played a lot of old blues on the 12-string including Blind Willie McTell’s “Broke Down Engine.”

 — By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
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