Peter Tork – Iridium Jazz Club (New York, NY)

Peter Tork Iridium Jazz ClubPeter Tork, the smart, funny, multi-media one-man “Tork de force”  proved yet again that he is no dummy. Insightful anecdotes, enlightening film clips, and delightful songs were cleverly collaged to tell Tork’s historical story.

Apropos opener “Long Title: Do I Have To Do This All Over Again?” was Tork’s rhetorical song from the Monkees’ 1968 film Head. With “The Battle Of Jericho” Peter played homage to obscure and obvious  folk influences Tom Glazer, Karen Harvey, Burl Ives, Pete Seeger, and The Weavers among others. He affectionately approximated Elvis (vocal imitation, leg vibration, pelvic gyration) on The King’s song (“I Want You, I Need You, I Love You”) that rocked young Peter’s classical world. His deadpan John Lennon was dead-on too!

 “I had the very good fortune to have my grandmother break her leg.” So began Tork’s torrid tales: trips to the Greenwich Village of Richie Havens, Holy Modal Rounders, and a McGuinn named Jim that later became Roger. (“Send in a box-top to Kellogg’s Cornflakes and you get a new name,” Peter proffered); influential look-alike Stephen Stills; the journey to California that ultimately led to Monkee business, fame, and misfortune.

Playing piano grandly (“Shades Of Gray,” “Daydream Believer”), banjo brilliantly (“Up On Cripple Creek,” “Higher And Higher”), and finger-pickin’, blues-lickin’ guitar fretfully (“Sister Kate”, “Tear The Top Right Off Of My Head,”  “Crash Course In The Blues”), Tork performed basslessly, peerlessly, and fabulously.

-Dennis McDonough

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