The Soundcheck, The Valley Blend Magazine
April 2012: The Elderly Brothers
By: J. Gabrielle
“I`ll be keeping it up until my body starts to fall apart…. The Stones might not last for ever but we`ll be going until sometime this side of ever.” -Mick Jagger
The Elderly Brothers, Roanoke's Party Band!
The Elderly Brothers have just finished their first set at the packed Blue 5 Restaurant in Downtown Roanoke. Prospects for service or a table aren’t looking good. However, tonight we have our battle plan in place. Mac Daddy is to hit the bar with God's pointiest elbows to procure drinks. I am to conduct surveillance on the floor to commandeer a table. I exchange greetings with keyboardist Dave Ferguson. It’s exciting to hear he’s sitting in with the six-piece Elderly Brothers this evening, but I’m on a mission. I “park” Dave at a dirty table to hold it for me while I quickly bus it.
The Elderly Brothers are meandering toward the stage to resume the party. Bassist/vocalist/humorist Danny Counts stops by to chat and says, "I'm 62, but I have to remember that I'm 16 celsius!" Yeah. Hell, yeah!
When the band breaks into set two with a Duke Ellington number, Mac Daddy and I are in the catbird seat, ready to rock. The joint is jumping! Folks are dancing wherever there is room. A few are named "Elaine" (pretty sure) and should reconsider the public dancing thing. Vocalist/saxophonist Tommy Thompson takes us Down On The Bayou. Danny Counts lays us down on his big, funky, brass bed and THEN lays around and loves on us. Guitarist/vocalist Gary Wimmer says to keep on Using Him 'til We Use 'em Up. Then he offers an original Wonderful Way.
The Elderly Brothers have been together six years. Several of the guys were doing Royal Kings reunions. They were having so much fun they wanted to play more. Gary Wimmer fell right in. Chuck Meredith signed up to keep the beat as drummer, and they had the basic band. Larry Wheeling was interested. "Elmo" Elmer Coles just happened to be there that night, and The Elderly Brothers began.
Dear God, the Saints, and DJs help us! The band is jamming Mustang Sally, and I swear to you, all the white folks are on the floor. Counts says if the crowd for whom they are performing just will not dance, they pull out this song. They call it "The Nuclear Option". It never fails.
The band takes a break, and I ask about the name. Danny says, “Well, we thought of “Acid Reflux”, but then we said, we ARE “elderly”. I comment that their song selections are so diverse (Elvis, to Bacharach, to Delbert, to Huey Lewis). “We just bring in songs, and it doesn’t matter what. People say, “I have NO idea what you’re gonna play next!”
The Elderly Brothers return with Gary urging to Treat Her Right. That horn section with Elmer Coles, Larry Wheeling, and Tommy Thompson blows my mind! Counts says it's because they play "sections". It is a rarity to hear horns like this in a band anymore. “The horn sections went away during Arab oil embargo of '73,” according to Counts. “Money went down and everybody fired their horn players”. Let Love Come Between Us and I get to cut a rug with Mac Daddy. The band follows up with Mama Tried, and the cool thing is Ferguson's keys are sounding like a pedal steel. Tommy takes a break from sax to sing. He sees a Red Door and wants to Paint it Black. You Really Got Me Now. Get Offa My Cloud! Do You Know What I Mean?
Danny sings Temptation Eyes. All patrons tempted this evening have evaluated possible romantic outcomes and are likely dancing with whom they will awaken. I know I am. At this point, Tommy sings Love Me Two Times, and I file that away for reference later in the night.
Looking for a good time in Roanoke Virginia? Seek out The Elderly Brothers. A damn good party, consummate musicians and probably the Best Hair Band out there!