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VENTURA COUNTY WEEKEND | ROCKTALK

Guitarist Likes His Blues Smoky, Smooth and Sunny Side Up

His name may not ring a bell, but Doug MacLeod has 250 songs, six albums and decades of performing to his credit.

February 01, 1996|BILL LOCEY | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Doug MacLeod is one of those guys we should know about, but probably don't. That's the blues. With a repertoire of over 250 songs, the noted blues guitarist will perform Monday night at Cafe Voltaire in Ventura.

MacLeod has released six albums, the last one, the 1994 "Come to Find," is a masterpiece of smooth. Some blues is sadder than a one-star comedy, but MacLeod's take on things, while not liable to make Mister Rogers dance a jig, is definitely on the sunnier side of the street. Having a voice like smoke doesn't hurt, either. The majority of MacLeod's songs are originals, and a rousing gospel number, "Ain't No Grave," is memorable. A new CD, "You Can't Take My Blues" is due out in March.

MacLeod was a folk-singing kind of guy doing the East Coast coffeehouse tour in the late '60s. He moved around a bunch, gaining attention, perspective and inspiration for future songs, finally ending up in Southern California in the late '70s. Here he formed an electric blues group, the Doug MacLeod Band. The band lasted until 1993--or for four albums, a zillion tours and numerous festival appearances, including many in Europe where MacLeod is far better known than he is in Ventura County.

Renouncing electricity and profit sharing, MacLeod has of late been doing the solo, acoustic thing and touring continuously. His songs have been recorded by artists more numerous than this column has space to list, and his music has appeared in television shows such as "Models Inc." and "In the Heat of the Night."

Never play a note you don't believe--that was the advice given to MacLeod long ago by a country blues singer named Ernest Banks. It's probably too long for a tattoo, but it's good advice for a bluesman.

MacLeod will start around 7:30 p.m. Monday. The venue is at 34 N. Palm St. in Ventura.

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Keyboard player Guy Jeans, once the main songwriter for Lion I's, started The Trouser Trouts as a side project a few years ago, providing an invigorating soundtrack to a dance-deprived world. Lion I's went away, and later on so did the Trouts, only to give rise to the Throbbin' Willies. After a few months, with the same musicians more or less, came Simple Phunkshun. Now on the verge of finishing an eight-or-so-song CD, the band has changed names again.

This time it's Papa Nata. All you need to know is that it's them every Thursday at Bombay in Ventura. This week it's mucho Papa Nata as the band will be playing Friday and Saturday as well. The venue is at 143 S. California St.

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Local swing-music masters Big Bad Voodoo Daddy will be taking a road trip to a place with a real winter, rude cab drivers and too many Yankee fans: New York City. The band will be in New York from Feb. 5 to 11, scheduled to play five dates to help kick off Ticketmaster's new music publication, Live.

The band, which is a huge draw in the Ventura/Santa Barbara area, is being pursued (but so far not caught) by major labels. Some of their music is also in a forthcoming movie, "Swingers."

"I haven't worked in the surf shop for over a year," said bandleader Scotty Morris, as if working in a surf shop was a real job, anyway.

Big Bad will pack Nicholby's again Saturday night. Be early for the 9:30 p.m. show or expect to be spending a lot of time in the waiting line.

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