Remember Jones channels Joe Cocker at ‘Mad Dogs and Englishmen’ tribute

Anthony D'Amato, performing as Remember Jones.

MITCHELL BILUS

Anthony D’Amato, also known as Remember Jones.

There is a remarkable event planned for Sept. 11 at the Lockn’ Festival in Arrington, Va.: A tribute to the late Joe Cocker, featuring the Tedeschi Trucks Band and 11 contributors to Joe Cocker’s great live double album Mad Dogs and Englishmen, plus guests such as Dave Mason and Chris Robinson of The Black Crowes.

And, with any luck, it will be half as spirited as the Mad Dogs and Englishmen that Remember Jones presented at the Axelrod Performing Arts Center in Deal on Thursday.

Okay, that’s probably overstating it a bit. The Lockn’ show will be great, I’m sure. But there was something about Thursday’s show that inspires this kind of enthusiasm. It wasn’t just a tribute to a famous album. It was a joyful celebration of it. As Mad Dogs and Englishmen requires, Jones went over the top early in the evening, and stayed there for most of it.

Remember Jones (real name, Anthony D’Amato) was not alive when the Mad Dogs and Englishmen Tour took place, in 1970. The same goes, I suspect, for most if not all of the musicians in his 20-piece backing band for this show. Yet they somehow managed to re-create the feel of the original tour: a shaggy rock/soul/gospel revival, with steamroller rhythms and soaring group vocals and show-stopping instrumental solos.

Jones didn’t just draw from the famous double album, but also included other songs from the tour that showed up on a deluxe CD reissue, a decade ago. So you got not just “The Letter,” “Feelin’ Alright,” “Superstar” and “Delta Lady,” but also “Let It Be,” “The Weight,” “Something” and “With a Little Help From My Friends.”

It was a nice move putting the eight backing vocalists at center stage, right behind Jones, since their singing was so integral to the arrangements; on songs such as “Give Peace a Chance,” “Let’s Go Get Stoned” and a soul medley composed of “I’ll Drown in My Own Tears,” “When Something Is Wrong With My Baby” and “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long,” they sounded like a much bigger group.

An interlude during “Feelin’ Alright,” featuring the band’s two drummers and two percussionists, was riveting, with all four trying to top each other with brief solos, and then going wild together.

As a nice bonus, a psychedelic, ’70s-style light show was projected on a screen behind the stage, and about 18 friends and relatives of the band members sat onstage, adding to the show’s warm, communal feeling.

Constantine Maroulis and Bobby Bandiera were guest stars, fronting the band on “Darling, Be Home Soon” and “Further on up the Road,” respectively. Backing vocalist Brielle Von Hugel sang lead on “Superstar”; JaQuita May did the same for “Let It Be.” Pianist Tom Brislin, who expertly anchored the band throughout the evening with Leon Russell’s swampy keyboard parts, also sang Russell’s vocals on “Humingbird,” “Dixie Lullaby” and “Girl From the North Country.”

But the main star, of course, was Jones, who managed to evoke Cocker’s soulful spirit without stooping to caricature (the way John Belushi, for instance, did) and, in general, seemed to be having the time of his life, bouncing around the stage as he reproduced a cherished collection of music that it didn’t seem possible — before this evening — to reproduce.

2 thoughts on “Remember Jones channels Joe Cocker at ‘Mad Dogs and Englishmen’ tribute

  1. For Immediate Release
    December 3, 2015

    The Joe Cocker Mad Dogs & Englishmen
    Memory Book
    by Linda Wolf

    Go back in time and remember through over 150 never before seen photos from the archives of internationally recognized photographer, Linda Wolf. Get into the personal stories and memories of the legendary musicians in this book, through intimate photos and quotes with the alumni, Joe Cocker, Leon Russell, Rita Coolidge, Claudia Lennear, Chris Stainton,Bobby Jones, Bobby Torres, Bobby Keys, Pamela Polland, Daniel & Matthew Moore, Jim Keltner, Jim Price, Sandy Konikoff, the band, singers, girlfriends, wives, children, and furry friends.

    Bainbridge Island, WA.
    Just released: The Joe Cocker Mad Dogs & Englishmen Memory Book by official photographer, Linda Wolf. JCMD&E is considered one of the top 10 all-time rock n’roll tours. Linda traveled with the band from the first rehearsals at A&M Studio’s soundstage in April, 1970 through the summer after the Tour ended. She amassed over 4,000 B&W 35mm negatives, which have never been published. This book is a labor of love, created specifically for the 2015 Lockn’ Festival’s exclusive tribute concert to Joe Cocker and Mad Dogs & Englishmen, hosted and curated by Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi and featuring the Tedeschi Trucks Band, Leon Russell, members of the famed original Tour, and special guests. The tribute/reunion concert took place on September 11, 2015, in Arrington, Virginia. The JCMD&E Memory Book contains 64 pages, is softbound, 8.5 x 11, 4-color B&W, and is for sale on Linda’s website.

    To Contact Linda Wolf: Email: lwp@lindawolf.net
    To order the JCMD&E Memory Book: http://www.lindawolf.net (merch)

    Encomiums for the Book:
    “Linda Wolf looks in places the rest of us miss. Her work is like the spaces between the letters, between the words, that give a sentence it’s meaning. The photos she took of this historic tour in 1970 makes me long for a rawness and spontaneity that seems missing from the overly commoditized music industry of today. ”— Peter Himmelman, Big Muse Media

    “It’s not just that her photos are iconic. They are so real. Linda Wolf has a way of capturing the essence of the Center of a moment. What else is there to do? You are There. Here. I love stepping into her frame … there is nothing else. So simple, she makes it look easy. Thank you Linda, from us all.” — June Millington, Fanny

    “Linda Wolf’s photographs wondrously captured the zeitgeist of Joe Cocker, Mad Dog’s & Englishmen. She captured a pivotal time and space of one of the most influential rock and roll singers and bands of all time. It’s an extraordinary insiders perspective.” – Doyle Bramhall II

    For more information about the original 1970 Tour, album and documentary movie: http://tinyurl.com/nwhs3k6
    For Linda’s bio: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linda_Wolf
    For more information about the 2015 Tribute Concert: http://tinyurl.com/za95yfb
    To request photo files for PR: lwp@lindawolf.net

  2. Just saw Anthony perform Joe Cocker at Glen Burtnick’s Summer of Love concert in Woonsocket RI he was exceptional….Loved his performance…

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