LIVE REVIEW: John Troy, Sal Baglio, Dave Mattacks - Whippersnappers, Londonderry, New Hampshire

The John Troy Band did not have its regular guitarist Dave Brown with them when they invaded Londonderry, New Hampshire last Sunday night. They did, however, come up with a reasonable replacement---Sal Baglio of The Stompers. Troy played bass for The Pousette-Dart Band in the 1970s before going on the road with notables like Bonnie Raitt and Joe Cocker. Drummer Dave Mattacks hails from the English folk-rock band Fairport Convention, and he has drummed for everyone from Paul McCartney and Elton John to Susan Tedeski and Jethro Tull. Baglio, meanwhile, made his mark on the Boston music scene back in the late 1970s and early 1980s when The Stompers were one of the more promising bands in the city.

This trio went into Troy’s rendition of Al Green’s “Ain’t No Fun To Me” from his recording “Side Men” that he made with his regular guitarist Dave Brown back in 1999. Troy was so strong on bass that he moved the song forward with his nimble but surefooted playing, and his musical presence even impressed the dozens of musicians in the room who had come out to hear him.

The trio played Troy’s original song “Don’t Know What You’re Doing” to great effect with its grooving’ rhythms, and this impeccable bass player also had a strong vocal that rose and smoothly rode over the vibe. Baglio, of course, chimed in at just the right moments with his interpretation of the song’s melodic phrases. The quirky lyrics of this Troy original were even more pronounced and even funnier when he sang them briefly with no accompaniment during a pause in the rhythm.

Most of the two sets were dedicated to covers of classic rock songs from the 1970s and some oldies from the 1950s. They launched into the Buddy Holly classic “Not Fade Away” with the trio locked into a groove until Baglio carried it away with a classic rock interpretation of the guitar lines. Mattack’s drumming skills were a constant highlight of the evening, with the man who began his professional career with Fairport Convention laying down a steady beat and several rolls and fills in the just the right places. It was the subtle things Mattacks did during classic rock and oldies tunes like “Pocky Way,” “Shake Rattle & Roll,” and “I’m Ready” that made it clear the guitarist and bassist were in the hands of an expert.

It was nice to see such incredibly talented and well respected veterans of the music scene at Whippersnappers in Londonderry, New Hampshire on a Sunday night.

-Bill Copeland