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Pigs’ Debut Album Catches Raw Energy of Live Shows

Their current bio sheet lists them as hailing from “the Southwest,” which is accurate inasmuch as guitarist Mario Moreno is from Arizona and drummer Esten Cooke is a Texan. But San Diego rightly can lay claim to Forbidden Pigs, both because founder-bassist Billy Bacon is a hometown boy and because this is the trio’s base of operations.

And claiming the Pigs becomes more of an issue once you hear their just-released debut, “Una Mas Cerveza!”

This is a blue-collar fajita-mix of the band’s self-styled “roadhouse” music, which incorporates rockabilly, blues, Latino, Tex-Mex, Western swing, and honky-tonk country. “Cerveza” was recorded and mixed (on a $3,000 budget) over five days last spring at the Hit Single studio in El Cajon. Unpretentiously produced by Buddy Blue (whose colorful liner notes were ladled from the same trough of spewed verbiage that fills his own band’s newsletters), the album effectively captures the rough edges and bare-wires energy of the Pigs’ popular live shows.

The album is issued on Mojo Nixon’s custom label, Triple NiXXXon Records (a subsidiary of L.A.'s Triple XXX), and the Moj supplies one of his inimitable, Jimmy-Swaggart-on-a-

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bender introductions to kick the action into high gear. But it’s the Pigs’ ribs-'n'-beer writing and playing that keep the foot tapping and the head nodding throughout this 13-song gambol. Look for “Una Mas Cerveza!” (on CD, cassette and even vinyl) at your local music emporium. Then catch Forbidden Pigs when they return from the road to play Patrick’s II downtown (Nov. 29 and Dec. 1) and the Casbah (Nov. 30). Also on the 30th, the band will make an appearance at Lou’s Records in Encinitas.

PLAYBACK: The 70-minute Seals and Crofts concert last Wednesday at Sound FX showed the duo in top form as they played all the expected hits from their Warners catalogue, plus some strong-sounding new material. Dash Crofts even cranked up the electric mandolin to lead the five-piece band on a rockin’ romp through Jimmy Reed’s “Bright Lights, Big City,” with Jimmy Seals on sax.

The duo left the audience all lump-throated with their encore, “Ashes in the Snow,” from their very first, pre-Warners album. The only awkward moment came when Crofts introduced an old anti-war tune by hoping aloud that we won’t have any more wars. Met with a tepid response, the singer had to coax a more enthusiastic peace sentiment.

REWIND: Stephen Stills was on the wee-hours television kibbitzer “Later with Bob Costas” last week for the second of a two-part schmooze. “Do you ever get misty for the early ‘70s, when Crosby, Stills, and Nash’s music was virtually the soundtrack of young people’s lives,” asked Thoughtful Bob. Answered Squirrelly Steve, “No, I miss being that thin .” Stills, whose work over the past 15 years or so has been roundly and deservedly lambasted, summarized a generally dismissive commentary on rock criticism by saying, “Writing is easy.” Quaaack!

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The 5th Dimension, whose July 21 show at Humphrey’s was enjoyable when the singers stuck to basics, but cheesy when they resorted to scripted, Vegas-y patter, will return to headline the “Second Annual Coming Together Gala” on Nov. 23 at La Jolla’s Sheraton Grand Regency Hotel.

The Platters also are due to perform at the affair, which includes a live auction. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Child Abuse Prevention Foundation, Heart Strings San Diego, the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and both the San Diego and Palomar YMCAs. KNSD’s Denise Yamada and former Charger Rolf Benirschke will host.

Tickets are $250 per person, $2,500 for a table of 10, and $3,500 for a patron’s table. For more information, call 739-8911.

Two visiting shows Saturday feature former San Diegans. Asphalt Ballet, the metalish hard rock quintet whose guitarist, Julius Ulrich, once slammed string for the local band Mistreated, appears at Sound FX in support of its current self-titled album on the Virgin label. Joining them for the 9:30 p.m. show are Hung Jury and Jet Black. Meanwhile, Fantasy 7--a new group featuring former Sex Pistol Steve Jones, along with Pete Kelly and ex-San Diegans Todd Hoffman (the Voices) and Mark McCoy--will make its local debut at 9 p.m. at the Casbah.

GRACE NOTES: (Tickets for the following concerts will be sold at all TicketMaster outlets unless otherwise specified.) Songwriter Greg Brown, one of contemporary acoustic music’s best-kept secrets, has had his tunes recorded by artists as disparate as Willie Nelson, Carlos Santana and Michael Johnson. Brown will perform his unique mix of blues, country, Caribbean, and jazz influences at the Del Mar Shores Auditorium on Saturday night. Call 436-4030 for ticket information. . . . David Lowery (ex-Camper Van Beethoven) joins Spot 1019 for a Nov. 15 show at the Casbah (on sale). . . . The following shows go on sale Friday: EMF at the Spreckels Theatre on Dec. 3, with Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine opening; Richard Elliot and Bobby Caldwell at the Spreckels Theatre on Dec. 5, and Natalie Cole (two shows) at the Spreckels Theatre on Dec. 11. . . . Queensryche and Warrior Soul are at the Sports Arena on Dec. 9 (on sale Saturday). . . . Rod Stewart plays the arena Dec. 13 (on sale Sunday). . . . Already on sale: the notorious Buzzcocks at Sound FX on Dec. 7 (on a bill with the Vandals) and the Chieftains, who make their annual pass through town Dec. 10 for a gig at Symphony Hall. . . .

Rock guitarist and recording artist Tony MacAlpine will conduct a clinic for local guitar aspirants Friday night at the Guitar Trader, 7120 Clairemont Mesa Blvd. (just east of Interstate 805 and behind Arby’s). Admission to the 7:30 p.m. workshop costs $3. . . .

A Moby Dick Award to the Rusty Pelican restaurants, whose current radio commercial borrows the groove from a Robert Palmer hit to push seafood. The (you’ll pardon the expression) hook: “It’s shrimply irresistible.”

CRITIC’S CHOICE: ALISON KRAUSS AT BROWN CHAPEL

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At age 20, Alison Krauss is one of the best bluegrass fiddlers and vocalists in the business. On Friday, the Grammy-winner (“I’ve Got That Old Feeling”) brings her Union Band to Point Loma Nazarene College’s Brown Chapel for an 8 p.m. show that should lift the spirits of all present. For ticket information, call 221-2336.


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