Rubber Souldiers


What I especially liked was that we were listening to some of the most familiar music in the world, and then it'd go off in different directions from the expected.

- Larry Kelp, host of Sing Out! on KPFA-FM


I saw the Rubber Souldiers at the Ashkenaz in Berkeley last Thursday and really liked them! Gans opened the show solo--also really good--followed by Lorin and Chris Rowan... tremendous harmonies and some excellent tunes (including a crowd-pleasing "Wake Up Little Susie" with those "brother" harmonies!) This was my second time seeing the Rubber Souldiers and they were much tighter than the first time. Really had the crowd up and dancing (and singing along, of course--who can resist?). They play some tunes relatively straight (i.e. not jammed out) but on a few they got into some pretty interesting spaces. "Things We Said Today" was maybe the coolest choice of the night. Also really dug "Rain" (which, if memory serves, also detoured instrumentally for a few moments into "Within You and Without You"), and "Paperback Writer." "Girl." "If I Fell." "Dr. Robert." Nice mix of well-known numbers and slightly more obscure stuff. Not surprisingly, given the Rowans' presence, the material veers more toward the country-folk-rockabilly end of the Beatles spectrum; fine by me. (There were a couple of those lightweight '64-'65 rockers I could live without, but YMMV) Nice blend of voices with the Rowans and Gans. Stand-up bassist and drummer were also fine.

Anyway, it's a good-time group, totally unpretentious and not a "tribute" band as that term is generally used. These guys could make a very cool CD of their jammier tunes--I'd buy it!

- Blair Jackson