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Published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on May 31, 2000. All rights

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BS&T and Summer Sound

Memorial Day has come and gone, unofficially ushering

in the summer music festival season. And if you and the family are

in a festive mood, there’s plenty of sounds for all tastes on this

first "summer" weekend.

An updated version of the 1970s rock sensation Blood, Sweat and Tears,

led by David Clayton-Thomas, opens Trenton’s Heritage Days Festival

weekend with a concert at the War Memorial. The original hard-driving

band won five Grammy’s for such hits as "You’ve Made Me So Very

Happy," "And When I Die," "Spinning Wheel,"

"Hi

De Ho," and "Go Down Gamblin’." Saturday and Sunday,

there’s

entertainment on three stages ranging from such area favorites as

Ron Kraemer and Latin Flavor, to Terrance Simien (see page 46),

Sunday,

June 4, at 5 p.m.

If your taste runs to folksong, folksingers, and singer-songwriters,

you can always head south — New Jersey Turnpike Exit 2 — to

the Appel Farm Arts and Music Festival this Saturday, June 3, at Appel

Farm, 457 Shirley Road in Elmer. Music at Appel Farm is on two stages,

with a special stage reserved for children’s performances. The lineup

of performers, which reads like a Who’s Who of contemporary folk,

includes Princeton’s Mary Chapin Carpenter, Lucy Kaplansky, Greg

Brown,

Moxy Fruvous, Willy Porter, Martin Sexton, Jonatha Brooke, the Asylum

Street Spankers, and Richard Thompson.

The Appel Farm Arts and Music Festival takes place from 11:30 a.m.

to 8 p.m., and the site is a comfortable one. Those preferring more

shade can easily find a piece of real estate near the Grove Stage.

The timing of the sets between the Meadow and Grove Stages is

staggered.

Mary Chapin Carpenter is the top billed, final act on the Meadow

Stage,

which affords more space for the audience, while Richard Thompson’s

set at the Grove Stage wraps up at 6:30 p.m., leaving those so

inclined

to go check out a few tunes from Carpenter.

Two Appel Farm attractions that tend toward the unexpected and the

offbeat are Moxy Fruvous and the Asylum Street Spankers. Moxy Fruvous

is an a cappella group from Canada that has pleased audiences at South

Street Seaport, New York, the Philadelphia Folk Festival, and other

festivals around the U.S. The group mixes humor and the occasional

bawdy song into their sets, breaking up audiences with their

between-song

chatter. The Asylum Street Spankers, led by guitarist Guy Forsyth,

hail from Austin, Texas, where they quickly forged a reputation for

entertaining and educational all-acoustic performances. Instruments

in this large ensemble include tuba, trumpet, saxophone, acoustic

bass, banjo, mandolin, and guitar. Like Moxy Fruvous, Asylum Street

Spankers don’t believe in taking themselves too seriously, and inject

a measure of levity into their live shows.

At Waterloo Village in Stanhope, you’ll find two days

of Louisiana music and blues. Michael Arnone celebrates his 11th

annual

Crawfish Festival with two days of music and food. The festival, which

has grown to about 8,000 patrons each day in recent years, features

affordable plates of bayou food to accompany the music lineup. "We

are flying in 15,000 pounds of live crawfish from the bayou to

boil,"

says Arnone, who also promises chicken and sausage jambalaya,

alligator

sausage, crawfish bread, crawfish ettoufee, fried chicken, red beans

and rice, shrimp Creole, fried catfish, barbecued shrimp, Boudin,

and more.

The festival on Saturday features Zydeco specialist Terrance Simien

(see page 46), Barbecue Bob and the Spare Ribs, File, Marcia Ball

and the Funky Meters. Sunday’s lineup kicks off with the Black Widow

Blues Band at noon, followed by John Mooney and Bluesiana, Walter

`Wolfman’ Washington and the Roadmasters, Buckwheat Zydeco and the

Radiators.

Among the acts in Saturday’s lineup, the New Brunswick-based Barbecue

Bob and his Spare Ribs, slated for noon, is not to be missed. Bob

Pomeroy, a draftsman by day and musician on weekends, is a superb

harmonica player and guitarist who leads his quartet through

well-paced

sets that brings audiences to their feet. Pomeroy mixes things up,

jumping from classic Chicago electric blues of the 1950s to Hank

Williams

tunes, both familiar and obscure.

Also notable is Saturday’s closer, the Texas-based Marcia Ball Band

featuring honking saxophones and a stop-on-a-dime rhythm section.

And because she’s such a gifted songwriter, Ball’s originals, tunes

like "Blue House," and "Big Shot," are virtually

indistinguishable

from covers the band works into their sets, songs like Ivory Joe

Hunter’s

"Let Me Play With Your Poodle" and Duke Robillard’s "If

This Is Love."

On Sunday, the Black Widow Blues Band has to be heard to be believed.

This horn-heavy 10-piece band from Passaic is led by saxophonist Larry

Lacasta. The instruments include organ, two saxophones, trumpet,

guitar,

trombone, bass, and drums. The group freely mixes classic blues tunes

from the 1940s and ’50s with more modern urban contemporary fare,

even the occasional disco tune — but when they do disco, it’s

so funky you’re liable to forget it was ever disco.

Also not to missed on Sunday is Walter "Wolfman" Washington

and the Roadmasters, a large, horn-heavy ensemble from the Crescent

City that doesn’t seem to get up to New York and New Jersey often

enough. Washington’s latest album, "Funk is in the House,"

is a collection of original tunes that mixes funk flavorings with

classic New Orleans blues stylings. Like Black Widow Band, Washington

and his Roadmasters can get crowds up and dancing.

— Richard J. Skelly

Appel Farm Arts & Music Festival , 457 Shirley Road, Elmer,

800-394-1211. Mary Chapin Carpenter and Richard Thompson are

headliners

at the annual day-long show, with Jonatha Brooke, Moxy Fruvous, Martin

Sexton, John Gorka, David Gray, Lucy Kaplansky, Willy Porter, the

Asylum Street Spankers, Ben Arnold, and Vanida Gail. Gene Shay is

host of the festival that includes a crafts fair and children’s

village.

Website: www.appelfarm.org. Advance tickets $28; day of show $34;

children under 12 free. Saturday, June 3, 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m..

Michael Arnone’s Crawfish Fest , Waterloo Village Concert

Field, Stanhope, 973-347-0900. Gates open at 10 a.m., music begins

at noon and continues to 6:30 p.m. Food served all day at under $6

per plate. 201-507-8900. $25. Saturday and Sunday, June 3 and 4,

noon to 6:30 p.m.


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