Monday, January 31, 2011

The Remnants of Dignity

Interesting or perhaps alarming news reaches us from the invaluable unofficial website of legendary powerpop deities The Left Banke: The band is doing a reunion show at Joe's Pub in Manhattan on March 5th and 6th.

Well, actually two founding members -- bassist Tom Finn (left) and guitarist George Cameron (right) -- are doing the shows.

And according to a message left on the Joe's Pub board, semi-original guitarist Rick Brand may drop by to see what's going on as well.

I say interesting and alarming, of course, for all the obvious reasons; reunions of fondly remembered bands after nearly forty years have a spotty history, and in any case, the two crucial members of the LB -- glorious choir boy vocalist Steve Martin and keyboardist and songwriter Mike Brown -- will not be in attendance. (Both are as of this writing alive and well, although Brown is a legendary and somewhat eccentric recluse who reportedly has been living with a sister for at least two decades). That said, at a reasonable 20 dollars a ticket I just may have to check the show out despite my misgivings, the Left Banke looming large, as they say, in my legend. If you're interested, you can get more details (and order tickets) from the club either at the website above or by calling 212-967-7555.

Oh, and incidentally, it's highly ulikely that this lovely young lady...

...will be in attendance, either.

That is of course the teenaged Renee Fladen, as in "Walk Away Renee," in a photo that recently surfaced on the web and which had heretofore been something of a Holy Grail among pop obsessives. The Brooklyn-raised Ms. Fladen, of course, inspired several of Mike Brown's songs, including the timeless and beautiful "Pretty Ballerina" and "She May Call You Up Tonight," but since then has guarded her privacy rather carefully.

UPDATE: Just found this, which is also by way of the Holy Grail -- actual performance footage of the band at The Bitter End in NYC circa 1967, doing "Shadows Breaking Over My Head."

Martin's vocals, at least, are live, but in any case, this is by far the most watchable clip of the Left Banke that I've ever seen.