When Bob Staples lost his venues, Doubleshot was adrift. Mark, the front man, decided to try something new and Mike and Seebie were open to another gig. I knew Fred Chatham at jam sessions with Marvin and liked his range. I got us all together to join me in a venture I called “The Sandspurs” – mixing my originals in with some “Southern roots rock and blues.” Yep, it was purebred American mongrel music. That’s what I wanted. See and hear for yourself in the videos and mp3s at the bottom of the page! WAIT THERE'S MORE: This just in -- received mp3s from the Spurz farewell jam in July '06! Jump to 'em here.
We played any dive, coffee shop or off-beat bar that wasn’t long for this earth. This included one winter weekend at a makeshift bar/single dwelling home over in S-Town (for those who know the podcast. I swear, I could place it as soon as I heard it) where I bumped into a guy in camo doin’ Special K and wanting to know if he could sit in if we did either some Hank Jr. or Eminem (he later passed out at the “bar”). Our rehearsals and the long hours in the juke joints (and with different crowds) helped me become more comfortable as a front man, and it helped us blend, arrange and find our groove. We landed a last-minute high-profile gig at the Barking Kudu, a large club in the Lakeview area, playing after Anthony Gomes. That turned into a series of bookings there. I got a couple of nights recorded that we turned into a CD (that paid for itself at gigs and at CD Baby).
All that got us a nice buzz, and although the CD got better reviews in Nashville than it did in the ‘ham, we landed more gigs. We played for a couple for a classic rock station in town, and we played their tent at the Talladega race one spring. Beset with the usual travails of a bar band (e.g., Seebie had to take a job drivin’ long-haul, Fred moved on), Alan Patillo stepped in to help us make our gigs and Bobby Colvert (yes, King Cov from the college band!) drove down from Nashvegas to sit in with us a few times. Brian Robertson joined us a regular member and when he left to start his own thang, Dan the Harpdog finally relented and joined us on harp (hear gigs with both of them at the links below).
Mike and I often struggled to find that right blend of originals, the novel and innovative (e.g., we did Terry Allen’s “Gimme a Ride to Heaven, Boy” and “I Wanna Rock and Roll” by Ray Wylie Hubbard – see that Texas thing I did there?) and the “play-something-we-know” (“Gimme Three Steps,” etc.). Amy Rigby said we were the only band with the balls to play her hilarious song, “I Hate Every Bone in Your Body” (that’s one Toby Keith coulda picked up back in the day). A favorite memory: We had a New Year's Eve Gig on 12/31/02 -- 50 years to the day Hank Williams died -- and after midnight we played and jammed on "Long White Cadillac." It was the first time we played it, and the Spur Boyz ripped into it. Meant a lot to me, y'all.
Lawd, it was great fun and perhaps the apex of my musical career. I love those guys and I never played better. I hope the fun and the love come thru in the clips. Mike and Seebie made me sound like a decent guitarist – they were so tight as a rhythm section they ruined me to this day. Did I mention we lost a regular gig at the Oasis in Lakeview cuz the owner told me some kid named Taylor Hicks sold more beer than we did? Great memories of the Spurz, y’all.
Last iteration of the Sandspurs doin' "Mystery Train" at Otey's in Mountain Brook.
Dan Marson tears into the J. Geils number at Otey's, 2005
Coverin' the classic with harp and slide
Last gig with Brian Roberson on guitar at Courtyard 280 in B'ham
The Robert Johnson classic, with Brian Roberson in his gig with the Spurz. Courtyard 280, B'ham
Montage of the Spurz performing several songs including "Can't You Hear Me Knockin'," "Further On Up the Road," and "Blues for Monica" (original) at the Oasis Bar in B'ham.
These were included on our live CD, recorded at the Barking Kudu venue in the Lakeview area of B'ham. After opening for Thackery a few times we picked up his "Empty Arms Motel" and segued into the vamp from the Stones' "Can't You Hear Me Knockin'". Got to record my arrangement of Son Seal's underappreciated "Your Love Is Like a Cancer." I think our "Treat Her Right" does it justice with some slide. And the "Man Smart.." arrangement is the one Tripp Vaughn taught me in Virginia.
Said goodbye to the Spurz, former bandmates and Alabama in general with a final gig and jam on July 8, 2006. We played a set and then invited guests up to jam including Leeth Grissom, Brian Robertson, Marvin Swantek, Ken Gorman, Fred Chatham, Joe Schumacher, Matt Northrup, and my oldest daughter, Natalie. And Ray Gantt -- producer of the Kudu CD -- recorded it in the back of the room. He recently tracked me down and shared these with me. It all went down at a joint called MacAnally's, a great club on U.S. 31 near a Western grocery and a sex toy shop on the Vestavia-Hoover frontier. There's a Publix there now, so it looks like any other Southern suburb, much to relief of the locals, I'm sure. But what a night we had, y'all and what a way to say goodbye.
I Misunderstood with Dan- Sandspurs July 2006 farewell gig (mp3)Download
Monkey Around with Dan - Sandspurs July 2006 farewell gig (mp3)Download
Unchain My Heart Dan on harp July 2006 farewell gig - Sandspurs (mp3)Download
Good Work - Sandspurs and Leeth Grissom July 2006 farewell gig (mp3)Download
One Way Out - Sandspurs (mp3)Download
I Got My Mojo Workin' (mp3)Download
Why Get Up with Dan - Sandspurs July 2006 farewell gig (mp3)Download
Mustang Sally - Sandspurs & Joe Schumacher July 2006 farewell gig (mp3)Download
Whammer Jammer with da HarpDawg - Sandspurs (mp3)Download
Treat Her Right (mp3)Download
Tim's Train Fetish: Mystery Train/Georgia On a Fast Train - Sandspurs Farewell gig 2006 Dan Marvin S (mp3)Download
Stepping Stone - Sandspurs and Natalie Elliott with Leeth Grissom July 2006 farewell gig (mp3)Download
Sharp Dressed Man - Sandspurs and Leeth Grissom July 2006 farewell gig (mp3)Download
Red House - Spurs & Joe Schumacher and Brian Roberson July 2006 farewell gig (mp3)Download
Have Love Will Travel - Sandspurs & Natalie on Lead Vocal and Leeth (mp3)Download