Reilly & Maloney are a folk-ish duo whom I first saw in the 60's, I think, at an outdoor festival in Seattle called "Bumbershoot". At the time they were young, skinny freckle-faced redheads, but their harmonies were superb, and they chose songs with thought-provoking lyrics and a sense of humor. They wrote most of their own songs, but they also did unique covers of others, usually giving the song a whole new meaning.
Saturday night, October 2, they played the Espresso Garden near San Jose City College. Unlike most coffee joints, the Espresso Garden treats their evening music as a true concert, taking reservations and letting in only as many people as there are seats, and at curtain time they lock the door and close down the food/drink service so there are no interruptions.
Time has faded the red hair and freckles, but Ginny Reilly and David Maloney sound the same as they did 30 years ago, and their guitar playing is even better.
In the first set they played their favorites, which unfortunately were, for the most part, not my favorites. But it was good hearing them live, and it sure beat watching the election debate punditry being committed on TV that evening.
The good stuff (for me) started after intermission. After much input from the audience during the break, some prodding from Ginny, and encouraging noises from all quarters, David got up and, saying he hadn't sung it in 15 years, started playing "Palo Alto Cowboy" which was their one big splash on the local charts back in the days when the Saddle Rack was the hottest ticket in San Jose and a computer nerd by day might well be the urban cowboy riding the mechanical bull at night. The audience joined in on the chorus (we all knew it) and David got some help remembering the verses from audience members and Ginny. Definitely the highlight of the evening for me.
They soon launched into "The Bramble and the Rose" which is one of their best harmonic numbers. Another highlight was David's rendition of the old Marlene Dietrich number, "Falling In Love Again" which almost had me ROFL. Imagine a grey-haired 60-ish troubador with a bit of a paunch singing:
Girls flock around me like moths to a flame
And if they burn their wings
Who am I to blame?
I may make that one of my audition pieces.
They told us that one of the conditions of their getting back together after all these years was that they learn new songs, and put them in their act. One song they added is called "The Fight", and I am kicking myself because I didn't write down the name of the author, or the whole chorus. The verses did not impress me much, they were all examples of when people fight for trivial reasons. But the chorus really caught me. It starts something lilke this:
Do the angels in these places
Wring their hands and hide their faces?
And it goes on to say, basically, that either our guardian angels are out to lunch, or they are giving us Free Will but we're making a mess of it.
The concert ended around 10:30, but the applause didn't. R&M came out and did an encore, they had saved one of my favorites for that, so I left a happy camper.