Friday 1/25: PPL and Craig: also solo set by Craig

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Friday 1/25: PPL and Craig: also solo set by Craig

Postby Tom » Tue Jan 22, 2013 11:17 am

Hey prairie dogs,

The Friday night show will truly be a unique and special one. Craig Fuller will play a solo set at the PPL show, then join PPL for a few ! This is going to be a HUGE night for all PPL fans !

Take care,
Tom Sheridan
Floral Park, NY

Here's the rundown from a local paper:


It's by far the most famous song Craig Fuller ever wrote, but he insists he didn't pen it about anybody in particular, nor did he have any sense it was anything special.

"I was just a 19- or 20-year-old kid, trying to write another song," the veteran musician says by telephone from his home in Pinehurst, N.C. "Just an exercise in words and music."

Forty years later, Fuller, 63, and his some-time bandmates in the Pure Prairie League don't even have to sing when they perform the track live. The audiences still know every word by heart.

The song is the delightfully catchy "Amie," four minutes and 20 seconds of country-rock bliss, originally released on the second Pure Prairie League album "Bustin' Out" in 1972.

Area music fans can see it performed live Friday night when Pure Prairie League — with and without Fuller — headlines the Lambertville-New Hope Winter Festival at New Hope-Solebury High School's Stephen J. Buck Memorial Theater.

Fuller, a co-founder of PPL who still performs with the band occasionally, will play a set with his son, Patrick, delivering solo material as well as songs from his days in Little Feat. Pure Prairie League, led by original member John David Call on pedal steel guitar and longtime frontman Michael Reilly on bass, will then play its regular set before Fuller joins the band for the final few songs of the night.

Pure Prairie League actually enjoyed a much bigger chart hit than "Amie." The romantic ballad "Let Me Love You Tonight," which featured one-time member Vince Gill on lead vocals (a few years before he became a country superstar) and David Sanborn on saxophone, topped Billboard's adult-contemporary chart for three weeks in the summer of 1980 and reached No. 10 on the Hot 100 — the band's only top 10 single. PPL had another big adult-contemporary hit a year later with "Still Right Here in My Heart."

But it's "Amie" that has remained a classic-rock staple.

Hard to believe now, but it wasn't even supposed to be a single. Fuller says it was Lenny Kaye, Patti Smith's guitarist and a music critic for various publications, who heard "Amie" at an RCA release party and targeted it as the most user-friendly song. But it wasn't until college and commercial radio stations began playing the song a few years later that RCA released it as a single in late 1974.

"Amie" peaked at No. 27 in March 1975 — nearly three years after its initial release and after Fuller, who had applied for conscientious objector status to Vietnam and was doing alternative service at a hospital in Kentucky, had left the band.

"It was a perfect storm," Fuller says of the song's belated success. "A testament to what a good song, radio and a little luck can do."

Just don't look for any deep personal connection between the lyrics and their writer.

"I don't even think I was aware of people named Amie until I was 30," Fuller says, "and then it was children named after the song came out."

The strength of songs such as "Amie" enabled Pure Prairie League, which formed in Ohio in the late 1960s, to establish itself as a seminal, critically hailed country-rock band despite numerous personnel changes and limited chart success.

"We didn't have as good a manager as the Eagles," Fuller quips. "We seemed to do (country rock) pretty naturally back in the day. We grew up listening to that music. It was pretty easy for us."

While Pure Prairie League enjoyed a commercial resurgence with Gill in the early-'80s, Fuller's big break didn't come until he joined Little Feat in 1987. The band had decided to re-form after breaking up eight years earlier and needed a singer to replace the late Lowell George. Fuller, who knew the guys in the band and shared an uncanny vocal resemblance to George, was the perfect fit.

He sang lead on 1988's "Hate to Lose Your Lovin'," the Feat's biggest hit to that point, as well as multiple other songs over the band's next three albums. Two of Fuller's albums with Little Feat, "Let It Roll" and "Representing the Mambo," were among the band's most successful.

"I was a little concerned (about replacing George), but I was never afraid I couldn't do the job," Fuller says. "Lowell's voice and mine were very similar, and the band liked the way I sang. We didn't do anything I couldn't completely handle, and with the new stuff I wrote, I was still trying to be Little Feat but wasn't trying to do a Lowell George thing."

Fuller stayed in Little Feat through 1993, and like with Pure Prairie League, has continued to perform with the band over the years.

These days, he's enjoying playing live with his 22-year-old son. Fuller hopes Patrick has a successful music career ahead of him.

"He has no fear, a great stage presence," Fuller says. "Right now, I'm happy just to get some mike time and stage time with him. But I don't think I could still be doing this in five years. Hopefully, he'll get to the point where he says, 'Dad, you're driving the bus or something.' "

Fuller's bus-driving days aren't here yet. He admits he's not as enamored by the bright lights of the stage as he once was, but he still enjoys playing live.

And unlike some of his contemporaries with a signature song, he's not even tired of performing his best-known number.

"The people who've replaced me over the years have done 'Amie' a lot more than I have," Fuller says. "I really haven't performed it very much. I hope they'll let me sing lead on it at this show."
Last edited by Tom on Tue Jan 22, 2013 9:29 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Friday 1/25: Craig and PPL, solo set by Craig

Postby prairiedog » Tue Jan 22, 2013 9:00 pm

Hey Tom;
Thanx for posting Craig's interview. I also want to mention that, in addition to Craig & Patrick's opening set, our friends Craig Bickhardt & Tom Hampton will also be performing. Craig B's a great singer & songwriter, and Tom is the accomplice par excellence. Maybe we can convince them to grab an instrument and..... It's gonna be a great night and we're all looking forward to seeing old friends and making some new ones. This is going to be a big year for all of us, and we're chompin' at the bit to git it going !
Getting back to Craig Fuller and his son Patrick, wait 'til you hear these guys. It's true that blood is thicker than water, and you can easily see where the apple fell from. It's a joy to see the next generation take the stage with the old guys and make it their own. Another branch on the old PPL Family Tree !
Thanx again for keeping the fans informed and keeping the flame alive.
Best, as always,
Mike
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