Yesterday's Tomorrow: Celebrating The Winston-Salem Sound
Release date: May 7, 2021
Live performance by reunited and iconic members of the Winston-Salem scene.
In a fun, Nuggets-like trip back to the era of the Summer of Love, Yesterday’s Tomorrow: Celebrating the Winston-Salem Sound shines a strobe light on the vibrant ’60s and ’70s Combo Corner rock scene of Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Original members of bands such as Arrogance, Little Diesel, Sacred Irony, and Rittenhouse Square—including Mitch Easter (Let’s Active); Peter Holsapple, Will Rigby, and Chris Stamey (The dB’s); and Don Dixon—convened on May 12, 2018, at the Ramkat Club to revisit those fuzzbox years, and this remarkable live concert recording shines brightly with their camaraderie and precise enthusiasm for those days of yore. In the mind-blowing songs of now-vanished local legends Captain Speed And The Fungi Electric Mothers and amidst the amusing scene portrayals of collectors’ favorite Rittenhouse Square, the electric guitars soar, feed back, and sizzle. With the added oomph of the Occasional Orchestra (live strings, percussion, and brass) and stops along the way for affectionate renditions of then-faves by Bubble Puppy, The Easybeats, The Music Machine, The Electric Prunes, The Beatles, and even Kool And The Gang, there’s a lot to love here.
The impetus for this extraordinary concert was that songwriter Chris Stamey had a book fresh off the press, a song-based memoir called A Spy In The House Of Loud. A portion of the book referenced his time in New York, but the first part remembered, song by key song, the late 1960s and early ’70s creative rock music scene in Winston. This was sometimes called the Combo Corner scene, after the title of a short-lived column in Guitar Player magazine was repurposed to ironically christen their hangout spot at RJ Reynolds High School. A surprising number of the Combo Corner crew went on to play and produce music professionally in the decades that followed—often with each other, in different configurations (e.g., The dB’s, Let’s Active, or with R.E.M., Steve Earle, Matthew Sweet, Hootie & The Blowfish, Big Star’s Third) and different locales. They were still in regular contact the day Stamey suggested they try to “play the soundtrack to the book.” This live performance was captured to multitrack tape, lovingly mixed by Stamey and Easter, and is now available as Yesterday’s Tomorrow: Celebrating the Winston-Salem Sound. A multi-decade tour-de-force, and an important document in itself, Yesterday’s Tomorrow is more than just a celebration. It’s a history lesson, with the present happily dressed up in the past, looking toward the future.
Hot Smoke & Sassafras– Rittenhouse Square Reptilian Disaster– The Love Valets Room With A Viewfeat. Lyn Blakey & Mitch Easter – The Royal Opposition Talk Talk– The Imperturable Teutonic Griffin Yesterday’s Tomorrow– The Love Valets Hollywood Swinging– Little Diesel I See Love– Sacred Irony Black Death– The Love Valets S’il Vous Plaît– Sneakers Got To Get You Into My Lifefeat. Don Dixon – The Royal Opposition Condition Red– Sneakers Every Word Means Nofeat. Mitch Easter – The Royal Opposition Thinkfeat. Don Dixon – The Royal Opposition Like Wow– Rittenhouse Square King Battle Of The Bands– Rittenhouse Square Kissy Boys– Little Diesel The Train Stops Herefeat. Mitch Easter – The Royal Opposition I Am Your Doctor– Sacred Irony Ruby– Sneakers Maybe I’m Amazedfeat. Don Dixon – The Royal Opposition Good Times– Sacred Irony Galaxies Of Lovefeat. Bob Northcott – The Royal Opposition I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night)– The Imperturable Teutonic Griffin