Mortals 2 | Listen Up, Pt. One

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Rock: Classic Rock Blues: Blues-Rock Moods: Mood: Party Music
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Listen Up, Pt. One

by Mortals 2

"A unique blend of rock, folk and blues."
Genre: Rock: Classic Rock
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
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1. I Like You Better
3:04 $0.99
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2. Will We Ever Learn
2:57 $0.99
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3. Don't Talk Like That
2:55 $0.99
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4. This Time
3:26 $0.99
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5. Jingles
1:50 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Mortals 2
Mortals 2 is the newly-revived Mere Mortals, a regional favorite from the 70s and 80s that traveled the Great Lakes area working clubs, bars and festivals. With a lifetime of performing and many bands and genres behind them, they have now merged their influences and found ways to give new “twists” to the music they grew up with and love so much.
The result of their collaboration is a collection of 12 original songs and tunes that fall within classic rock, blues and folk traditions. Their debut album, “Listen Up,” will be released in two parts - the first five songs (Part One) in December, 2013, and the remaining seven (Part Two) in early 2014. The first five are included here for download:
1.) I Like You Better, (J. Phillips, 2013). “I like you better when you’re gone!”
2.) Will We Ever Learn, (J. Phillips, 2013). “The rising tide and the raging storm … “
3.) Don’t Talk Like That, (J. Phillips, 2013). “For the Jimmy Reed fans out there.”
4.) This Time, (T. James, 2013). “This time we are through … “
5.) Jingles, (J. Phillips, 2013). “Features the renowned Mortal Kazoo Orchestra.”

Please visit our website www.mortals2.com !
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Band Bios

Jimmy Phillips - Guitars, Mandolin and Vocals

Jimmy’s musical experiences began in the mid-1960s when he played what is now called “classic rock” in club and dance bands in Southwest Michigan. He was introduced to the blues in the late 60s while in Boston where traditional blues, Chicago blues, and the British blues players were all the rage. He was most influenced then by Eric Clapton’s work with the Yardbirds and John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, the slide playing of Elmore James, and the early work of Kim Simmonds and Savoy Brown. He says,
“That’s the great thing the British players did. They reintroduced Americans to American music, especially blues, which had become almost a forgotten genre, and they brought it to a new generation of listeners. I feel like they saved a ‘national treasure’ from extinction. I mean, here I was in Boston, hanging with some hippies and listening to music that originated an hour’s drive from my home back in Michigan. It was fantastic.”
Back home in Michigan he put together a five-piece blues band called “Justice” with drummer/vocalist Paul Moore and Prentice Danzy, a great blues singer and harp player. Since there were few gigs for a blues band in rural Michigan at that time, they started renting halls and putting on their own concerts, eventually buying an old barn and calling it “Fat Boy’s Coffeehouse” where they could play all they wanted, whenever and whatever they wanted. It was quite a venture for a bunch of long hairs with no business experience and it was doomed to fail, after a time, although there were many great nights at that place and some incredible jams. The coffeehouse usually drew a big enough crowd to pay the overhead but it certainly wasn’t a “profit” situation and the activities that went on in the parking lot meant legal problems were on the horizon. We were on the radar and, sadly, we had to shut it down.
Jimmy explored other genres in the late 70s and early 80s, playing guitar, mandolin, and fiddle in area country, folk and bluegrass bands like Sutter Creek, Cactus Jack, Four Wheel Drive, and The Andy Paul Band. He also played in acoustic duos and trios in smaller venues on the restaurant / lounge circuit, before returning to blues and blues-rock in the late ’80s with the original Mere Mortals, a four-piece powerhouse band with his brother John on bass, his old colleague from the “country rock” days, Denny Anderson, on drums, and keyboard great, Dave Cleveland. The Mere Mortals were a hard-working band, often playing five or six nights a week and traveling all over Michigan in an old beat-up Ford station wagon loaded down with gear and exhausted band members. Jimmy recalls,
“I think that’s why the Mortals broke up. After two years of constant gigging, we were just too tired to keep going and didn’t feel like we were getting anywhere. But we were a tight band. We went from one song right into another, four and sometimes five hours a night, with no dead air space, and we kept the dance floor full. Playing was like a reflex, we played so much.”
With his brother and a new drummer, Mark “Sparky” Dukes, they continued on as a power trio, calling it the “Jimmy Phillips Band” for most of the early 90s and playing as much of the SRV and Hendrix stuff as they could pull off. Their specialty became revising and rearranging classic rock songs and surf tunes by giving them a “bluesy” twist. Jimmy explains,
“We’d take a song like ‘Woolly Bully’ and make it rock with overdriven guitar, heavy drums, and funky bass. It was a blast. Then, along with the SRV stuff, we’d do something like ‘Pipeline’ with an extended ‘Third Stone From The Sun’ jam at the end. People didn’t know what to expect and it was fun.”
Jimmy’s rhythm section changed after a couple of years when Ben Pompey came in on drums when “Sparky” Dukes moved to Detroit to pursue a career in law. Melvin English, a fine five-string bass player, took over when brother John moved on to follow his own musical path. Ben and Melvin together were very solid and had a sort of “leveling” effect on the foundation of the music, making it a more straight-ahead blues band, although still in a power trio format. They became regulars at the Kalamazoo Blues Festival and clubs in the regional area that supported blues music.
After the band dissolved, Jimmy went into a musical hiatus, did some writing, and recorded two CDs of historical (Civil War era) music. He compiled a CD of some of his original blues-oriented material (Skydancing) that had served as demos sporadically recorded during the time of the Mortals and the Jimmy Phillips Band.
In 2003, he went to the Kalamazoo Irish Festival:
“I’d listened to quite a bit of Irish music and loved it, but never seriously considered playing it. When I went to the Irish Festival in Kalamazoo, I heard a band called ‘The Fenians’ and was hooked. They were so much fun! I determined then and there to connect with my Boston Irish heritage (Ryan), and started working out on fiddle, mandolin, and tenor banjo, learning as many of the tunes and songs as I could. I had to refresh my memory as I hadn’t read sheet music since I was a kid studying classical piano, but it came back. After a couple of years of hard study, I put together an Irish band.”
The new band, “Harvest Home,” included A.A. Miller, percussionist of the original Fonnmohr, with Jimmy playing guitar, mandolin, tenor banjo, and fiddle. They became regulars at the Kalamazoo Irish Festival, played the casinos, and picked up a few gigs where Celtic music was wanted, especially around the St. Patrick’s Day holiday. Harvest Home worked hard expanding their repertoire to include material few other Irish bands were playing and, after five years and seven bass players, they had developed a pretty good “pub mix” of songs and tunes and were beginning to explore more electric Celtic Rock material.
The Irish band dissolved and Jimmy decided to go back and pick up where he had left off with the Mere Mortals. He hooked up with an old band mate from the original Mere Mortals, Denny Anderson, and Terry James, a fine bass player from St. Joseph. Denny is an excellent drummer with a solid blues and classic rock background. Terry has years of experience under his belt, a very solid playing style, and is also a fine singer. Jimmy adds,
“I’m really enjoying playing with Denny and Terry and I’m looking forward to getting out there and performing again and taking the Mortals thing a step further.
The future’s so bright I’m gonna need sunglasses.”

Terry James – Bass and Vocals

Terry James was born in Zanesville, Ohio, and his father was his biggest influence in music. He says, “As I was growing up my father was a musician and his band opened for a multitude of country entertainers like Hank Thompson, Little Jimmy Dickens, Wanda Jackson, Tex Ritter and Gene Autry. He shared the stage at the West Virginia Hay Ride with Red Foley, Bobby Lord, Lester Flat and Earl Scruggs and the list goes on. Being exposed to all of this music, I knew I wanted to be a musician at an early age.”
Terry started taking guitar lessons when he was 7 years old and formed his first high school band, The Rising Sons, in 1964. They played after game dances at high schools and Saturday nights at The Grove in Berrien Springs, Michigan. In 1970, not long after graduating from high school, he joined a band that was looking for a bass player, The Alex Fox Group. Terry adds,
“We booked our first bar gig at Blossom Lanes in Benton Harbor and played Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday nights. A little over a year later my old friend and drummer, Jim Fox, came home from the army and joined the band. We played bar gigs for about a year until that fell apart.”
It was about this time that Carol Keptner, a local lounge entertainer who played piano and sang heard that Terry and Jim Fox, the drummer, were looking for work. She offered them both a job and the new band became Carol Keptner and the Sounds of Time. Carol kept them working three and four nights a week at hotel lounges, clubs and private parties for over five years until she moved to Meridian, Mississippi, to be with her family.
Terry James and Jim Fox then formed a new band called Better Daze. They played the bar circuit in southwest Michigan for a couple of years before being joined by keyboard great, Wayne Nelson. Jim Fox, Norm Oorbeck (later replaced by Dave Sprung), Wayne and Terry became The Park Avenue Band and played the bar circuit for the next thirty years!
Commenting on the music business in general, Terry added,
“I’ve always felt a little cheated by the fact that I didn’t take a few years out of my life to go on the road and live as a musician. When Jimmy contacted me about joining him and Denny on this project with an opportunity to play some festivals and jobs other than local bars, I was very excited. I can’t wait to get on the stage with these guys and play some material that most bands aren’t playing these days. Jimmy is an exceptional guitar player and Denny is a great time keeper. There’s no stopping The Mortals now!”

Denny Anderson - Drums

Denny Anderson was the drummer of the original Mere Mortals back in the 1980s. He’s even credited with naming the band. He’s been active with the blues scene in Kalamazoo for the last couple of decades, took a break from playing for a few years, and recently returned for the reformation of the old band with bassist Terry James.
I asked him about his musical career and he said:
“Yes, Jerry,” (my name’s not Jerry, though), “My musical career has been like a family affair. In fact, I’ve been fortunate to work with many musical brother teams, like Jim and Dan Burkett, Dan and Randy Reszka, and Don and Dave Fields. I played with the Lone Star Statesmen with Jay and Jeff DeHollander. I worked with Four Wheel Drive with Jack and Dean Dailey. And on several Jimmy Phillips projects with him and his brother John. I’ve worked most recently with Black Cat Bone and Red Rooster with Larry Perkins and Greg McMikeals, who are brothers from a different mother. Very early in my career I even played with my own big brother, Ken, who did the lead vocals for the Royal Society. So, as you can see, music has been very much a family affair for me.”
I asked Denny if he had any words of wisdom to share for future generations of musicians and he offered the following quote: “Beer is the reason I get up every afternoon.”
Before I could fire off another question he added, “I dream of a world where a chicken can cross the road without his motivations being questioned.”
Denny works at Pill Factory in Portage, Michigan, and has been playing drums for 47 years. When asked about his musical preferences he replied, “I love blues and country but I always hang my hat on the classic rock stuff of the 50s, 60s and 70s.





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