REVIEW: Yesterday’s Tomorrow: Celebrating The Winston-Salem Sound – Live at the Ramkat


Yesterday’s Tomorrow: Celebrating The Winston-Salem Sound – Live at the Ramkat

Taking place live (May 2018) at the Ramkat in Winston-Salem original members of bands that performed decades ago reconvene as musical elders to recreate their teen enthusiasm from their fuzzbox years.

While musically it may not qualify as roots music, Americana, folk-rock, alt-country it does possess homegrown garage rock jangle pop sensibilities. What qualifies these is the tradition contained liberally throughout each tune. Folk music, jazz, & blues all started this way.

Lynn Blakey (Les Chicas) & Mitch Easter (Let’s Active) with The Royal Opposition recreate an ambiance of melodic electricity on Let’s Active’s “Room with a View.” Drenched in grungy rhythmic 3-chord progression guitars, the snap of the drums, & Lynn’s angst-filled juvenile vocals. The contrast with Easter’s voice is effective as one toe steps into the past.

The Imperturbable Teutonic Griffin tackles the classic Music Machine ‘66 hit “Talk, Talk.” Though they don’t quite get as authoritative vocally as Sean Bonniwell they do create a faithful solid cover.

Yesterday’s Tomorrow: Celebrating The Winston-Salem Sound – Live (Omnivore/Drops May 7) is a 23-cut collection with 8 distinctive individualistic bands made up of name musicians from the area & of the era.

Included: Mitch Easter, Chris Stamey (project producer) with Peter Holsapple (The dbs), Don Dixon (Arrogance, studio musician), Will Rigby (drummer with The dbs), among many other musicians.

One of the more enthusiastic tracks is the Arrogance song “Black Death,” reanimated by The Love Valets. Excellent vocals. As for the garage moniker, these are far better produced than what is expected of a classic garage unit. Each has its own reconstituted personality. The tunes are dug up from the mausoleums of splendid bands like The Easybeats, Bubble Puppy, The Beatles, the Music Machine, Electric Prunes, Kool & the Gang & many others.

Is it nostalgic? Yes…even though these aren’t the originals they don’t sound like knock-offs but faithful covers of childhood hits. These songs inspired these musicians & though many of these bands have evaporated into the ether, their brief moment on AM radio was embedded in many ears of aspiring musicians who simply…didn’t forget.

The Royal Opposition with Don Dixon on The Beatles’ “Got To Get You Into My Life” is complete with gritty vocals, full blast furnace brass & a tight garage band groove. Dixon continues on the 5 Royales’ “Think,” that smokes with a fine brass arrangement. Memorable.

It’s all a super-charged Nuggets-type compilation with impeccable sound. When bands record oldies they do an admirable respectable job but what lacks is the spirit of the era.

This compilation captures the spirit of the era & the original songs. A worthy listen.

The 1 hour & 14-minute CD is available @ Amazon. Website:

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