In a 2004 interview with music writer Casey Fundaro (a.k.a. “David Fufkin”), former Marah singer-guitarist Serge Bielanko said, “My brother [Dave, the leader of Marah] and I grew up listening to the radio first, then we began to buy cassettes … Then we would read interviews in Musician or Rolling Stone with certain artists and we’d discover what they’d listened to early on. This led to us being able to discover things slightly off our collective radar. Hearing Keith Richards say he liked Howlin’ Wolf, hearing the Replacements speak of NRBQ, finding out that Steve Earle was a big Townes Van Zandt fan — that sort of trickle-down discovery method was important to us.”

I’m a longtime Replacements fan, and I like some of what Marah has done, especially 2000’s Kids in Philly, but I’m not too familiar with NRBQ (which stands for “New Rhythm and Blues Quartet”). It’s worth noting, however, that all three bands built their reputations playing high-energy, unpredictable live shows. Maybe it’s time for me to start catching up with NRBQ’s music, and not just by rewatching the episode of The Simpsons they appeared in ten years ago.

This week’s bootleg comes from a performance in Bremen, West Germany, on November 3, 1984, featuring the “classic” NRBQ lineup of keyboardist Terry Adams, guitarist Al Anderson, drummer Tom Ardolino, and bassist Joey Spampinato. Tear down that wall, NRBQ. Tear it down!

Feel You Around Me
Sitting in the Park
Ridin’ in My Car
Yes, Yes, Yes
Shake, Rattle & Roll
Rain at the Drive-In
A Girl Like That
That’s Neat, That’s Nice
God Bless Us All
Me and the Boys
I Got a Rocket in My Pocket

The final song of the night is cut off early by a German DJ, which is incredibly rude, because once it’s declared that a rocket is in one’s pocket, the rocket in question should be allowed to explode. Therefore I’m going to let it explode below, in a clip from the late, by-all-acounts great TV show Michelob Presents Night Music (originally Sunday Night), circa the fall of ’89, when the Berlin Wall finally did come a-tumblin’ down.

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About the Author

Robert Cass

Robert Cass lives in Chicago. For Popdose he's written under the Sugar Water, Bootleg City, and Box Office Flashback banners and collaborated on the series 'Face Time with Jeff Giles and Mike Heyliger.

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