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Thursday, February 21 , 2019, 2:47 am | Fair 45º


Paul Mann: Three Dog Night Play Magical Melodies at Chumash Casino Resort

Three Dog Night wowed the crowds last week during their performance at the Chumash Resort Casino.
Three Dog Night wowed the crowds last week during their performance at the Chumash Resort Casino. (L. Paul Mann photo)

Three Dog Night, one of the most successful American rock bands of all time, brought their live show to another sold-out crowd at the Chumash Casino Resort last week.

The statistics are overwhelming. The band that formed way back in 1967 had 21 Billboard Top 40 hits, including three number one songs between 1969 and 1975.

In 1969, the band released one of the first live rock albums, “Captured Live at the Forum” and most anyone old enough to have a rock record collection back then, had the hit-laden album in their possession.

Every song on the album was a hit single in its own right, and the band went on to chart bigger hits for the next six years.

Inexplicably, Three Dog Night, along with some other classic rock legends, who still tour today, like Deep Purple, have never made it into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

The line up at the Chumash Casino Resort on Thursday featured two of the three original vocalists, Danny Hutton and Cory Wells, as well as original lead guitarist, Michael Allsup.

Sadly, original keyboard player Jimmy Greenspoon passed away last year and was replaced by a veteran sessions keyboardist from Nashville. Paul Kingery on bass and vocals and Pat Bautz on drums, complete the line up, and both have been in the group for decades.

In a recent interview for Noozhawk, Hutton talked about their former fellow singer and band mate, Chuck Negron, who made up the third voice in the magical hit making years, before leaving the band in 1984.

Hutton likened the break up to a divorce and maintained that it was so long ago that there was little chance or need for reconciliation, but he did quip, “Never say never.”

Negron, coincidentally, played the Chumash Resort last year as part of the Happy Together tour. His own story is a fascinating one, falling from major rock star status in the '70s into a drug-infused trip into poverty and living on the streets of Los Angeles.

Thankfully, he has made a recovery both mentally and musically.

But Thursday night was all about the current band, and they did not disappoint. It was no surprise that they played some of their most famous songs, including all of their number one hits.

What was a surprise was some of the lesser known songs that they played, including newer as well as older material. The new material included a guitar drenched blues song, “Heart of Blues.”

Wells explained that the band had been invited to a Chicago blues festival and they needed more blues songs so he “wrote this one for the new album we are working on, which will be out in about 2035. But for those who can’t wait you can download it for 1960’s prices of 99 cents a song on our website.”

Wells played bass on the song, while Allsup played a fiery blues-drenched guitar jam.

The band went back to one of their '70s albums for a song they borrowed from Randy Newman, “You Can Leave Your Hat On.”

Hutton noted that it was an obscure release for Three Dog Night, but Joe Cocker and Tom Jones went on to make top hit versions of the song.

Later in the set, the band played an extended version of one of their biggest hits, “Mama Told Me Not to Come.”

Half way into the song, the band paused while Wells explained that many fans commented that this may have been the first rap song, with the word speak rhythm the song incorporates. Then he asked the audience, “What would the song sound like if it was released in the new millennium?”

The band proceeded to switch to a Hip Hop beat, and the singers went into a rap mode complete with crotch grabbing poses, before fading back into the original beat. The band ended with a resounding upbeat anthem that has long been part of their set, “Celebrate,” as the audience swarmed the stage.

The band returned to do a new a capello song that the group recorded for a children’s charity, called “Prayer for the Children,” featuring astounding vocals from all six band members.

Then the band launched into the joyous upbeat pop hit, “Joy to the World,” originally written by country star Hoyt Axton for a cheerful ending.

— L. Paul Mann is a Noozhawk contributing writer. The opinions expressed are his own.

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(L. Paul Mann photo)
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(L. Paul Mann photo)
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(L. Paul Mann photo)

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