BLUES CRUISE ROCKS THE DOCK
The Ultimate Rhythm and Blues Cruise didn't exactly leave port rocking but when several bands coming in from the Midwest were held up by inclement weather Tuesday the party started while the cruise ship Melody was still tethered to the dock at Port Lauderdale. Local boaters in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., were treated to an impromptu session of hard core boogie as Lil' Ed and the Blues Imperials fiercely rocked the aft deck with their hard-edged brand of Chicago blues. Lil' Ed boogied hard as he played "Do the Alligator" to the ecstatic shouts of the definitely not-your-usual cruise crowd. "Look over yonder" shouted Ed as the heavy back beat slammed into the peaceful waters, treating the Coast Guard security boats in the harbor to an unscheduled performance. "We thank you," Ed told the dancing fans, but they really were thanking him because no one seemed to care the ship hadn't even left port as they partied under the crescent moon.
SOUL TRAIN COMING
Murder, Inc./Def Jam Records' Ashanti and Columbia Records' Amerie led nominees for the 17th Annual Soul Train Music Awards with three nominations each. Derrty/Universal Records' hip-hop star Nelly, Jive/Zomba Records' heartthrob Justin Timberlake, Epic Records' B2K, Def Soul recording act Musiq, and Dreamworks newcomers Floetry all picked up two nominations. The show will be broadcast live in first-run national syndication March 1 from the Pasadena Civic
SPAGHETTI EASTERN MUSIC
Spaghetti Eastern Music makes a triumphantly funkified return to the Liberty Heights Tap Room in Red Hook, Brooklyn, N.Y., Saturday. Brooklyn Beat icon, guitarist Sal Cataldi, will splatter two long sets of trip-a-delic electric bebop through the night. In his new project Cataldi sets his electric guitar wail set to trans-techno-beats, walls of strings, clavinet soul and the odd bebop quote. Cataldi will feature selections from his forthcoming "Turpentine Valentines" disc. Cataldi also is offering 10 instrumental tunes to download at mp3.com/spaghettieasternmusic. The downloads approximate the sound of the show.
RUSSIAN BOB DYLAN RETURNS
Boris Grebenshikov, the "Russian Bob Dylan," and his group Akvarium (Aquarium) blasted onto the Leningrad rock scene in 1973 when there were very few "official" groups in the Soviet Union. The Russian rock legend refused to submit his contemplative songs to the government's censorship committees. When Akvarium could not get sanctioned gigs, they played in underground venues, basements, back alley bars, building one of the most loyal fan bases of any Russian act. Grebenshikov, whose first global release, "Russian Songwriter," will be issued on Naxos World Feb. 18, became one of the principal totems of Glasnost when Russian rock bands finally were allowed to visit the United States without defecting. Now he is the country's rock poet laureate, and this album, which is closer to Leonard Cohen than Dylan in sensibility, shows why.
IF I HAD MY WAY
Smithsonian Folkways Recordings will release "If I Had My Way: Early Home Recordings of Reverend Gary Davis" Feb. 25. The album assembles recordings made by noted folklorist John Cohen in Davis's home in early 1954, just before Davis's albums and unique guitar style began to leave an indelible mark on the budding folk revival movement. Ten of the album's 18 songs never were recorded by Davis again and are available only on this collection. This is an extremely significant piece of American culture history that is probably more aesthetically valuable than the entire history of "MTV Unplugged."