Wednesday, October 20, 2010

“A Secret Life” ... Unearthed!

I just stumbled across this wonderful, nostalgia-inducing video clip of The Raindogs at the beloved old Bunratty’s club in Allston, Mass. (OK, it was pretty much a dive, but a fondly remembered one, nonetheless, in that I saw plenty of great music there back in the day). The date was May 19, 1989, and I was there, enjoying this performance by one of my favorite local Boston bands, with my future wife and one of my best friends.

I saw The Raindogs play around town dozens and dozens of times between 1988 and when they broke up in 1993 or so, and this show was one of my favorites. I know because I recorded a bunch of them, and I’ve listened to this live tape more than any of the others over the years. (In fact, I recognized this clip right away from the familiar to me, but otherwise unique, introduction that singer/songwriter/guitarist Mark Cutler bestowed upon the song that night.) I gave Cutler a copy of my audio recording a few years ago, but I never suspected any video of this night existed.

I remember this Bunratty’s gig as being a raucously energetic show. The crowd was really into it, especially at the end, and the band delivered a polished, yet inspired, performance.

This song, “A Secret Life,” came about midway through the 17 song set. It was one of the evening’s slower, more low-key moments. But it nicely exemplifies Cutler’s poignant songcraft and provides a fleeting remembrance of late Scottish fiddle master Johnny Cunningham’s seemingly effortless and always spot-on playing, not to mention guitarist Emerson Torrey’s essential and all-too-easily-taken-f0r-granted backing vocals.

A couple of songs after this one, the band cranked things up and let loose with abandon during the set’s finale. A momentous, increasingly unleashed trio of tunes started with “Dirty Town” and segued into “Carry Your Cross” and, finally, “Time Stand Still,” during which Cutler screamed his throat raw while the rest of the band fueled the frenzy behind him.

So this video hit me as a pleasant blast from the past that, despite being a bit dated around the edges, still resounds nicely today … as good songs, well-performed always do.

And now, I can’t help but wonder: Is there video for the rest of this performance?

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