White man with brown hair playing a guitar and singing at a mic with other musicians

This is a little weird so bear with me, folks.

I'm gonna write you about the best night o' music I've had so far this year--the Andyman tribute a month ago at the Little Rock Bar on N. Fourth Street by the Joe Peppercorn congregation. Joe and bros performed their original music as The Whiles and then a solid couple of hours of stuff by a quaint if daftly named British boy band from yesteryear and Liverpool called The Beatles.

But first, my short essay on the first 16 seconds of the first song on the third Black Sabbath album and what that precious quarter of a minute has spawned, like a cross between a supremely fertile devil rabbit and a bat-eating alcoholic slob with a fantastic lashed-to-the-mast voice.

The song: Sweet Leaf.

The album: Master of Reality.

The guitarist: three-fingered Tony Iommi.

The chord pattern: bow-bow/babba-bow/bowww/bow-bow!

Repeat. Again.

Bang head on study hall table. Do it in detention six hours later. Never stop. Never give in. Sabbath rules.

The effect is so phenomenally strong that every single cotton-pickin' time I hear that chordal introduction at the Luck Bros. coffee shop I stop and marvel, transported. I hear it and then the rest of the day--banging around in my head. Between that and the Beatles pretty much my brain has been British-cized for weeks.

Each chord is a woolly mammoth, or at the very least a huge black shaggy plains buffalo running straight at me like in Dances With Wolves when the young Indian boy Smiles A Lot practically shits his loincloth as a charging shaggy splits off from herd and stampedes directly at him. Those chords? Brutal tribal stomp a la Stonehenge, quite pagan.

  That supremely fecund 1971 quarter-of-a-minute intro of killer chords a generation later spawned every metal band sub-genre there would be: black metal, speed metal, death metal, stoner metal, Seattle heroin metal, Nordic prog-metal, pedal-to-the-metal metal; Jovi-scum metal; Mansfield metal, grindcore metal, gerbil metal, panzer metal, killer clown metal, codpiece metal, colostomy bag metal, et cetera and ad nauseam.

Only 16 seconds--and music would be irrevocably changed.

And now for something completely different.

Joe Peppercorn was a close running buddy with the late, great Andyman (John Andrew Davis), the voice and soul of CD-101 who passed away eight years ago in a tragic lake drowning.

On what would've been Andyman's 50th birthday Apr. 26, folks gathered to remember the larger-than-life radio personality at the Little Rock Bar on N. Fourth Street Joe and his band the Whiles and a few supporting acts played for hours in honor of the big man. Was the night good?

It went above and beyond a tribute.

The Whiles Americana-esque folk-pop material was a revelation. Then it was Beatles time, Joe and his Beatles-a-thon mates roared through a sky's-the-limit super-spirited set list of Beatles classics: She Loves You, I Want To Hold Your Hand, Hard Day's Night, Can't Buy Me Love, Eight Days A Week, Help!, Helter Skelter and a bunch more.

I found myself swept up by the invisible eight strong Liverpudlian arms that created the greatest rock'n'roll ever made. And something else, I could tell.

Andyman was among us again. Spirits having flown can return. They are real. Never have I felt such a thing in a bar. It wasn't weird. It was beautiful, even transcendent. It was precious.

Impassioned Peppercorn was at his Andy-loving, Andy-inspired best--actually his better-than-his-best which is really saying something. And his musical fellows right behind him in unison. He told stories between from-the-soul-bursts of Beatles magic about how the Beatles-a-thon grew out of a spontaneous Andy/Joe session of liquid spirits and a rough run-through of them singing Abbey Road together, Joe at the piano, the two of them at the Tree Bar, having a ball. After the hangover the idea to play lots of Beatles wouldn't go away.

Imagine being such a powerful influence on your friend, Joe Peppercorn remembers you posthumously--and so lovingly--by doing a dozen hours of non-stop Beatles songs every year. What kind of man inspires that, for God's sakes? Andyman Davis, CD-101 dude of dudes.

Thus it was Apr. 26 Andyman returned to his friends and family and family of friends at his friend Quinn Fallon's fine two-story music bar. And finally, after all these years, I 'got' Andyman or rather he got to me, he moved me. Practically to weeping if you want to know the truth because the music was so goddamned powerful that night. and the regard and feeling expressed was staggering.

Because Joe was feeling it, oh my heavens, was he feeling it. For instance, I never cared for the Beatles' Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da or Lady Madonna (truthfully, the only two songs I dislike by the Fabs). Joe and Co. were so up, though, they took 'em into what can only be called 'tribal dancehall-land.' I was blown away, laughing, laughing, singing along. Wow.

Eventually they got to doing the Abbey Road album in its entirety. Come Together--slinky, beautiful; Something--heart-stoppingly gorgeous, stoic Matt Peppercorn on guitar hitting those classic George guitar parts and just knocking the crowd out.

I never admired Andyman more. He was part of the band that night. I went home feeling awfully warm inside. He finally got to me, he really got to me.

Sadly, later I found out Andyman never got to experience a Peppercorn Beatles-a-thon. Not a one, as Quinn Fallon put it.

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