MSNBC.COM - ALTER-CATION | by Eric Alterman, July 18, 2006

Live Show Review

I saw the most wonderful show last week at Joe’s Pub: Dan Penn warming up the Hacienda Brothers.  I can’t remember ever seeing notice of a Penn performance in NYC, and what a thrill.  Dressed in overalls and playing an acoustic guitar, he just sat there and sang soulful versions of the song that somehow came out of his head forty years ago like “From the Dark End of the Street,” “Do Right Woman,” “Cry Like a Baby,” etc, etc.  Sure I would have liked to have heard Janis, Otis, Aretha, James Carr, Arthur Alexander, etc sing ‘em too, but hearing the old redneck-looking guy sing them and knowing his history, it was unspeakably affecting.  Then came the Hacienda Brothers, who are an alt-country band that plays soul music, produced by Penn.  Terrific musicians, dripping with inventiveness and integrity; I can’t think of another newish band I like so much.  I just love their “Cowboys to Girls,” I couldn’t get over how screwed up the world was that I was sitting there with about seventy people who paid, I think, twenty bucks, while a bit uptown, 20,000 people were jumping up and down to Madonna for $375 a ticket.  Anyway, once again, trust me on the Hacienda Brothers' new CD, and also the terrific live acoustic show by Penn and Spooner Oldham, recorded in Dublin.