Sunday, April 20, 2008

Raconteurs Tonight!
Part 1: Patrick Keeler & Little Jack Lawrence

Big show tonight at the Commodore Ballroom: The Raconteurs. Ahem, you know the "other" band of that guy. We're going to focus on the guys in the band who don't really get their fair share of the limelight. Using the liner notes of Consolers of the Lonely, we've got "Little" Jack Lawrence ("Bass, Banjo and Back-up Vocality"), Patrick Keeler ("Drums and Repercussions"), and Brendan Benson ("Sing, String, Ring, Ding, Dong").

Okay, okay, it's nearly impossible to talk about the Raconteurs without mentioning Jack White III ("Vocals, Frets, Stylophone, Pianos and Vital Organs"). You'll learn quickly that all these guys are inter-connected in curious ways dating back way before their 2006 debut as the Raconteurs, so we're going to end up playing a little six degrees of separation (but more like 3 degrees).

The first time I saw Patrick and Little Jack, they were two-thirds of The Greenhornes, the opening band for back-to-back White Stripes shows here in Vancouver in 2005. I remember after the second show, hanging around the side door in vain just in case The White Stripes came out, which they didn't. I did end up shaking Patrick's hand and getting his autograph, which I promptly lost. The Greenhornes are a garage rock band, reviving the sound of the 60's with influences such as The Yardbirds, The Kinks, The Animals, and so on. Their official website seems to have changed since I last saw it (now it's basically an image of a horse with "coming soon" underneath) and judging by comments from Brendan Benson, The Greenhornes' indefinite hiatus may be ending soon...

The Greenhornes - Nobody Loves You
The Greenhornes - I've Been Down
A couple of my favourite Greenhornes originals.

The Greenhornes - Lost Woman [originally by The Yardbirds]
This Yardbirds cover was a hidden track on Sewed Soles, an album made of selected tracks from their previously releases...almost like a Greenhornes sampler.

Loretta Lynn - Have Mercy
Loretta Lynn & Jack White - Portland Oregon
The Raconteurs - Portland Oregon (live in Portland, Oregon)
The White Stripes - Rated X [originally by Loretta Lynn]
I didn't realize at the time, but Patrick and Little Jack were both involved as the rhythm section for Loretta Lynn's 2004 album Van Lear Rose produced by Jack White.

The Greenhornes - Shelter of Your Arms
The White Stripes - Shelter of Your Arms [originally by the Greenhornes]
From The Greenhornes' 2005 East Grand Blues EP, produced by Brendan Benson. Perhaps in a little bit of cross-promotion, The White Stripes covered it as a b-side to The Denial Twist single.

The Greenhornes - There is An End (with Holly Golightly)
Holly Golightly - There's An End
The White Stripes - It's True That We Love One Another (with Holly Golightly)
The third member of The Greenhornes is lead singer/guitarist Craig Fox who wrote There is An End. British singer Holly Golightly sings on two versions of the song, the latter from her 2003 album Truly She is None Other, which has liner notes by Jack White. She also joins Jack & Meg on the great track It's True That We Love One Another, a cheeky little ditty from Elephant.

Now it's time for fun trivia with cult filmmaker Jim Jarmusch:

  • There is An End was used as the theme to Jarmusch's 2005 film Broken Flowers starring Bill Murray
  • Jack & Meg White both appeared in a sequence of Jarmusch's Coffee & Cigarettes
  • Jarmusch directed one of two music videos for The Raconteurs debut single Steady, As She Goes.
  • At the 2006 MTV Video Music Awards, The Raconteurs (serving as the house band) were joined by Jim Jarmusch to sing "Internet Killed the Video Star"
  • Jarmusch produced a "First Nations remix" of The White Stripes Blue Orchid, featured on a 12" vinyl with another remix by Michel Gondry

OK, before this post gets too unwieldy, I'm going to cut it off here and talk about Mr. Brendan Benson tomorrow. I'll also be off at 7am to catch a bus to Seattle to see Raconteurs, round 2! Let's see how well this blogger post-dating thing works...


Anonymous said...

Little Jack is also a member of Blanche. Blanche features former members of 2 Star Tabernacle, a band that Jacke White was a member of.

Fongolia said...

Jack also performed on Blanche's "Who's to Say", and later covered it as The White Stripes. Greenhornes, Blanche, 2 Star Tabernacle, Goober & The Peas... all these guys are inter-connected!

Mackenzie said...

THANK YOU for someone finally giving props to Patrick and "Little" Jack. It bothers me how the press pretty much treats the Raconteurs as a duo (the latest Rolling Stone review doesn't even mention Lawrence or Keeler).

While there is no doubt that White is the main attraction to that band, these two help to bring so much to the band, and especially Keeler who is a fantastic drummer. Actually, I'd rather see him and Jack White over Meg White and Jack White anyday. The Greenhornes are another of my favorite bands, so for me it's a real treat having the Raconteurs around.

I was at the Seattle show and it was stunning. No covers, which I didn't expect, but they did re-work some songs from their debut album; like making "Store Bought Bones" a delta-blues song. Watching White solo on "Blue Veins" is a real memory-burner, and I think "Solute to Solution" and "Carolina Drama" are both going to be around for a long time. They play TOO loud though. I had earplugs in all night and my ears rang for hours afterwards (I can only imagine the folks without plugs). They were seriously twice as loud as the opening band.

For extra fodder: Jack White produced the first album for the (sadly now defunct) Soledad Brothers. But that band leader, Johnny Walker, has a new band in Cut in the Hill Gang. Former Soledad Oliver Henry is rumored to be collaborating with Craig Fox of the Greenhornes for a side project. Keith Fox is the brother of Craig Fox, and he's the drummer for another Detroit band: The Sights.

Now the real question: What is the Raconteurs' current keyboard player all about? He gets very little recognition at all, but he's the 5th member and he's on stage with them each night, the whole set...

Again, kudos to you for giving credit where it is due.

Mackenzie McAninch

For more on Johnny Walker:

Fongolia said...

I know what you mean about Keeler. When I saw the Greenhornes open for The White Stripes, that was probably the first time I watched a band's drummer 90% of the time. And talk about under the radar... that 5th guy whose name I can't even find online (Mark something?) is a key component of their live shows. He's doing the keyboards, fiddle, back-up vocals, etc. and gets very little credit. I think Dean Fertita of Queens of the Stone Age filled that role on the last tour, but this other guy does so much and doesn't even get to take a bow with the band at the end. Poor guy!

Anonymous said...

Here's another connection:

Brendan Benson's keyboard player on his next record is Andrew Higley who has worked on a few Greenhorne's songs and is also the full-time keys player for the Cincinnati band Pearlene. Pearlene at one time had Soledad Bros. Oliver Henry and Johnny Walker as members. Pearlene's drummer, Andy Jody also plays in a band with Greenhorne Craig Fox called The Suds.

Ludvig said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ludvig said...

Just made a blog post abouth the White/Jarmusch connection, including a snippet of Jarmusch's remix of Blue Orchid, at