rROBERT BRADLEY'S BLACKWATER SURPRISE 11/21, PARK WEST The rags-to-riches story here seems a little too good to be true: blind, 46-year-old singer-songwriter Robert Bradley is busking on the streets of Detroit when a young rock band "discovers" him; they get signed to RCA and he gets to be in Liar's Poker with Flea and Mike Tyson. The twist is that the rock band needs Bradley and his gritty, soulful voice a lot more than he needs its competent, if familiar, R & B rock (think Dave Matthews Band meets Canned Heat). The CTA's overgrown hall monitors should take note--public spaces are often much better places to hear music than the radio these days. rTODD LEITER-WEINTRAUB, PAMELA DARE 11/21, CLEOS Guitarist and singer Leiter-Weintraub's name is unwieldy and his demo tape is decidedly lo-fi, but the guy's got guts, continuing to send me brave and optimistic notes after I panned his dull rock band, Sub Rosa. Turns out he's much better on his own: he sent three catchy, affecting songs and confessed his fandom for Voidoid Robert Quine and Television's Richard Lloyd. But if he keeps going this way, he could be more like Peter Laughner without the death wish. He plays an acoustic set with his wife, Sharon; opening is Indiana folkie Pamela Dare, whose melancholy croon on her tape, Suitcase Full of Chords, appeals to that part of me that still gets chills from "The Sounds of Silence." rSAVOY-DOUCET CAJUN BAND 11/21, FITZGERALD'S Fiddler Michael Doucet, of the wildly acclaimed Beausoleil, is the closest Cajun music has to an international superstar these days. I'm not denying his usual ensemble's undeniable gifts, which you can check out for yourself at this same venue on December 4, but dedicated Cajun appreciators will beat the crowds and catch him first in a more intimate setting with Marc and Ann Savoy--he builds and plays accordions, she's a singer, guitarist, and folklorist. rGUITAR WOLF 11/22 & 23, HOUSE OF BLUES Every band that nicks a garage riff and turns the amps above six gets compared to the MC5 and Stooges these days, so it's refreshing to hear a band that sounds like they mean it. And I mean really mean it, with teenage ferocity transmitted via grown-up equipment: on Japanese trio Guitar Wolf's new Planet of the Wolves (Matador) song titles like "Kung Fu Ramone's Passion" and "Invader Ace" would sum up the aesthetic, even without the covers of "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" (mangled) and "Rumble" (reverent). I wonder if headliners the Cramps realize they're in danger of sounding mellow by comparison? rEDDIE MONEY 11/22, STAR PLAZA THEATRE, MERRILLVILLE This is an awfully long drive from Chicago; what Money and his handlers are hoping is that you'll be driven by making-out memories brought on by Money's new "live retrospective" Shakin' With the Money Man (which also includes four completely tuneless new songs). Unfortunately, I can think only of a monologue I once heard by a member of the all-lesbian San Francisco performance ensemble Sister Spit about traveling with a friend and picking up a hitchhiker who wound up chasing them down the road with his pants undone, insisting "I'm Eddie Money's brother." rMARY BLACK 11/26, HOUSE OF BLUES Many singers who begin in a folk tradition have to mainstream to make it in the U.S., and it's usually no improvement. But where, say, Niamh Parsons slathers on the MOR gloss, Irish superstar Mary Black goes for a Lilithified smart-woman folk-rock approach, with a tasteful twist of pipe or pennywhistle here and there to remind you that her "heartland" ain't Ohio. When the songwriting on her latest, Shine (Curb), is worthy of her interpretive skills--David Gray's "Shine," Richard Thompson's "I Misunderstood"--she hits some lovely heights. --Monica Kendrick
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Guitar Wolf photo by James Crump-RSP.