Check It Out
The band DP & The Rhythm Riders played their debut performance in the summer of 1997 at the historic DeMarco's 32 club and play regularly at Cajun/Zydeco dance venues around the San Francisco Bay Area. The Rhythm Riders are the only local C/Z band to play all original material in the infectious, rhythmic style that keeps the local Zydeco lovers dancing. The core band includes the following musicians. DP Mandell, accordion, vocals, songwriter Dana 'DP' Mandell got started with music at an early age in the summer of 1968 when he took up French horn and played that as well as bass trombone through college in symphonic, marching and jazz bands. After college he had some minor successes with original scores and music for Marin Shakespeare productions, a radio commercial and a movie trailer in 1992. The next year Dana borrowed his brother's bass and took it to play at a new years Zydeco party jam. He was hooked and learned to play bass. He joined up with his friend Bruce Sadownick, started jamming in what later became 'Quarter to Blue,' a blues and swing band in which he still performs. After a year of playing bass at house party jams and dances, Dana began subbing occasionally with the bands of Danny Poullard, Andre Thierry, Froglegs, Creole Bells, and sitting in with Motordude Zydeco, Zydeco Slim, and Tete Rouge. After being frustrated at house jams that would end when the accordion player left, Dana decided to learn to play Cajun accordion and six months later formed the band, DP & The Rhythm Riders. Bruce Sadownick, guitar, backup vocals Guitarist Bruce Sadownick has been playing since the age of 12 when he saved up his chore money for a $37 guitar. His initial professional experience came playing electric bass with his high school's 18-piece jazz band in Connecticut and working the dance circuit in small jazz and pop music combos. After moving to Boston, he continued to hold down the bottom end on bass, playing with the Tufts University Jazz Ensemble, with a 3-piece combo backing a jazz choir, in several stage production orchestra pits, and with various blues, funk, rock, and folk groups. After moving to San Francisco in 1991, Bruce returned to his six-string roots with renewed interest in song writing. During an open mike appearance at the Freight and Salvage in Berkeley, an original humorous blues won him an appearance as a Featured Artist on 'Songwriter's Showcase' (a TV show spotlighting local folk musicians). After discovering the local Cajun dance scene, Bruce started regularly sitting in at the famous Cajun Jam nights run by Billy Wilson at DeMarco's 23 Club in Brisbane. In addition to handling the guitar and vocal back up duties with the Rhythm Riders, Bruce plays with Quarter to Blue, a blues band that he fronts on guitar and lead vocals. Patty Hammond, Bass Bass player Patty Hammond has performed with the Rhythm Riders for nearly four years. A native Californian, Patty first learned about Louisiana music ten years ago when she began frequenting the Bay Area Cajun and Zydeco dance scene. Her love of dancing to the music soon grew into a desire to play it. In addition to the Rhythm Riders, Patty has worked with bands such as MotorDude Zydeco and Froglegs. Patty also plays weekly with Birdlegg and His Tight Fit Blues Band and gigs regularly with a jazz trio. She has worked for or sat in with Bay Area blues greats such as J.J. Malone, Filmore Slim, Bobby Webb, Freddy Roulette, and Red Archibald. She has appeared at venues such as Eli's Mile High Club in Oakland, DeMarco's in Brisbane, Ashkenaz Music and Dance Café in Berkeley, Everett & Jones Barbeque in Jack London Square, and the Solano Stroll in Berkeley. Patty is able to pursue her love of music during the day as managing editor of Electronic Musician and Onstage magazines. Timothy Orr, drums Timothy Orr, 34, started playing the drums in 1976. He attended Wesleyan University in Connecticut, where he studied jazz drumming with Edward Blackwell, played in numerous rock, bluegrass, blues, experimental bands and also did pit work for musical theater and film projects. Tim started playing Cajun and Zydeco in 1989 with a New England group called the Swampcats, who warmed up for the touring Cajun and Zydeco bands who came through the area, including Beausoleil, Boozoo Chavis, C.J. Chenier, File, Queen Ida, The Basin Brothers and others. After moving to San Francisco in late 1992, Tim was introduced to the Zydeco scene by Ben Holmes, the drummer for Ida, who brought him to the famous DeMarco's 23 Club, in Brisbane. By 1993 Tim was subbing and gigging in Bay Area bands ranging from TeeFee, Andre Thierry, Kenny Menard and Danny Poullard to Motordude Zydeco and Zydeco Slim (who recorded their debut CD in 1995). Zydeco Slim, along with Tete Rouge, became Tim's focus through the year 2000. Tim meshes the hard driving Zydeco style with the unpredictability of jazz. He still continues to freelance in various Bay Area bands, including The Rhythm Riders. Other than drumming, Tim has worked for Arkadia Records, a New York based jazz label as marketing and promotion director. He also is a contributing writer for DRUM! The songs Since we play all original material, some people have asked where we get the names for the songs that we play. As always, there is often a story to be told. Go Dog Go This song is one of my favorite songs. Patty, our bass player, has this dog that I swear is the fastest thing on wheels. It doesn't really have wheels, but it must be part grey hound, because she can run like one! So in honor of the dog I named this song. Later, Patty got a new young puppy, so needed a new song as well! That's when I wrote our other 'dog song,' The Happy Dog One Step. No Chicken feet Motordude Zydeco plays this song where they stop at the end of each phrase and R.C. Carrier will yell out some type of food. We used to call it the 'Turkey Butt' song because he would often end the song yelling out 'turkey Butt' when he had run out of other types of food to sing about. I believe the real name of the song is Gran Boutee, which for the longest time, I thought meant 'Big Butt.' I liked the song and decided I wanted to write one like it. The trouble was it came out so much like the traditional song that I couldn't call it my own. So, I worked on it until it really was a different song, and called it 'Ain't no chicken feet' (one of the foods that RC used to yell out) to assure myself that it really was a different song. Later it got shortened to No Chicken Feet. The BBQ song One of the venues at which we play regularly is a bar and a restaurant. The restaurant is called Bobby's Backdoor Barbeque, because the original owner was Bobby Gradney, who still makes great sausage and boudin. They actually used to smoke the barbeque out back in a big old smoker that you could swim laps in if it was full of water. (but would you want to?) The smell of the cooking BBQ was great! But the restaurant was in a residential neighborhood in the city, and the neighbors didn't cotton to smelling BBQ 24 hours a day, so some folks called in the health department and shut them down for a while. So in hopes that they would be able to open up again once they got all the permits they needed, I wrote the BBQ song. The song has dead stops in the middle, just like the BBQ that stopped, and then ultimately reopened much to our joy and relief later on. Annie's lament This song is perhaps misnamed, as it is not a lament of Annie, but a lament about Annie. It is about a guy that wants to marry Annie, and can't get her parents approval. When he finally does win over her parents, Annie loses interest and changes her mind. I originally wrote it to be sung in French, but somehow it never got there, so it is in English on this CD. Trouble Waltz I have often thought of changing the name of this song to something else, but it has always stuck as is. Most of the songs I write are not titled until after we learn to play them. Usually a title will come at practice based on the way the song sounds, or some other odd news of the day. When I first brought this song to the band, they had such trouble playing it that in jest we started to call it the trouble waltz. The name stuck. Not the One As with most of my songs, the melody always comes before the lyrics. In this case after I had written this song I had a dream of Geno Delafose playing it. What I saw in the dream was Geno on stage playing to this cute little girl in the audience. She was enamored of Geno, as many young (and older) girls are. Geno, having enough sense not to go after 'jail bait,' was singing to the girl and trying to let her know that he really wasn't interested. (At least not until she became of age) So I wrote the words to this song with that in mind. Rats in the kitchen I always thought of this song as having a bit of an edge to it. So when we were at practice trying to think of a name for this song, I was looking for a title that had a hard edge or some negative connotations to it. We had recently had 'rats in the kitchen' so that came to mind and stuck. Seesaw Zydeco One of my fond memories was of playing bass many years ago at a birthday party gathering out at Danny Poullard's place in Fairfield. There were lots of family, friends and relatives, and many little kids running around without shirts in the summer evening heat. The food was laid out in the garage, and the many mixing smells were delicious. It was dark outside since the sun had set and as I was getting myself something to eat I got that feeling you get when you know you are being watched. I turned to see two little pairs of eyes peeking over the rail. The eyes belonged to the heads of two little children whose dark skin was hidden against the night sky. Realizing they had been discovered, they pealed with laughter and ran away. But the memory of the two little kids watching, and thinking of what they might have seen mother and father doing on that warm August night led to the lyrics of this song.