Saturday, April 25, 2009

Ronny Elliott, Tampa's King O' Cool

The music scene of Tampa, FLA is so under the radar, most folks don't even know it has a scene. But it does, as I've witnessed at annual Florida Bandango at Yard Dog during SXSW when a Tampa brigade usually shows up to play and hand out cigars. Ronny Elliott is the heart and soul of that scene, a cat too old to be discovered and too young to be a mystic legend, yet one of the best songwriters I enjoy listening to. OK, he caught my ear a few years ago with his sordid, droll ballad "Valentino's Dream," based on an article I'd written about the sordid record producer from Houston Huey P. Meaux, the Crazy Cajun. The song led an album's worth of sordid rock and roll tales based on true events involving rock and rollers and some kinda downfall. titled Valentine Roadkill. Ronny not only told good stories, he did in a laconic, quasi-hillbilly twang style that made you want to listen to him around the campfire. He was just as compelling live and in person behind Yard Dog, partnering up with long, tall Tampa Queen Rebekah Pulley, his Tammy to her George Jones. Kris went home after the show to play "Your Cheatin' Heart" in minor key on the piano like Ronny and Rebekah did.

So now comes Tales of Lust & Longing (BAAMO Records) a compilation featuring Tampa's leading musical lights in a totally cool kinda way. It's got psychedelic bands, kid singers, rockabilly, and other crazy ass shit but most of all it's got Ronny & Rebekah teamed up on a Ronny original, "Lust Never Sleeps" that had me cracking up over the repartee just when things are really heating up.

Click on the headline to check out the album details. And do visit to get the haps on Ronny Elliott & the Nationals and listen to "Valentino's Dream" and cuts from his other albums including "The Twist Came From Tampa" and "St. Petersburg Jail."

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