Mister Entertainment

Mister Entertainment

Old-school dance night features Deke Dickerson, Stardust Ramblers at Barkley's Saturday

By Bliss 12/05/2013

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Dinner and dancing: Once upon a time for our grandparents' (and maybe our parents') generations, that was considered the Date Night thing to do, with a live band suited up for the occasion playing steadily for four or five sets or until dancers tumbled out the door after last call. Old school.

Nowadays, you're more likely to find a deejay churning out beats in a crowded bar at ear-punishing volume calculated to create physical proximity. There's a lot to be said for the classic record-loving vibes spun by, say, DJ Renato (whose retro soul, funk, hip-hop and Latin jazz sets are fantastic), but something elemental about that old-school style gets lost without the connection between live musicians and dancers.

Come Saturday, guitar wizard Deke Dickerson will turn back the clock for a night of old-school dinner and dancing and Western-suited style at the Barkley in South Pasadena.

Dickerson's a guitarist's guitarist - one of those musicians who causes other heavyweight players to turn and stare, goggle-eyed, when he blazes a trail up the necks of his double-neck Mosrite or other custom-made double- or multiple-neck guitars. He plays as though nitro-powered twang was still welcome in rock, as though rock was still rock ‘n' roll, as though entertainment value was still comprised of equal parts steep musicianship and pleasing the ticket buyers who keep his band onstage. Not for nothing did he title his 2003 album "Mister Entertainment."

He is also an uncommonly thoughtful and knowledgeable connoisseur of Americana, be it mid-20th century style or rockabilly, blues and country music. Raised in Missouri, he followed the well-traveled path of music discovery from radio rock to punk to rockabilly and surf and classic country. Unlike many peers who made similar journeys, Dickerson dug deep into the music's roots, eventually working his way into opportunities to play with sidemen of early heroes like rockabilly pioneer Gene Vincent.

Since parting ways with Dave & Deke bandmate Dave Stuckey in the late 1990s, he has released a steady output of acclaimed solo albums. Earlier this year, he teamed with sultry vocalist Nikki Hill for the greasy, horn-saturated "Soul Meets Country!," recorded with the Bo-Keys. When Dickerson refers to himself as "America's Roots Music Renaissance Man" it carries the weary grit of truth, rather than publicist hyperbole. He'll be accompanied by Shorty Poole and Chris Sprague on Saturday night, and with the Stardust Ramblers opening, the evening's musical direction is likely to hew closer to Bakersfield and Memphis. Either way, dress to impress.

Deke Dickerson plus the Stardust Ramblers perform at the Barkley Restaurant and Bar, 1400 Huntington Drive, South Pasadena, at 9 p.m. Saturday. Admission is free. For more information, call (626) 799-0758. dekedickerson.com, thebarkleyrestaurant.com

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