When Terri Hemmert recently played the Ides of March’ 1970 recording of “Symphony for Eleanor” on her “Breakfast with the Beatles” program, the station switchboard went crazy with folks asking who and what was that, and where could it be obtained? The ten-minute album cut that is an elaborate psychedelic brass jazz-rock jam inspired by the Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby” had closed out the group’s first LP “Vehicle,” distinguished by the fact that it had a naked doll on the cover that by 1970 standards was so provocative that it was often sold only behind the counter before the album went out of print for decades. That album was just released on CD for the first time in the States on the Collector’s Choice label along with the band’s 1971 “Common Bond” album, and as luck would have it, all six members of the original group from Berwyn are still together performing on the festival and corporate circuit with two “new” members who have only been there the last seventeen years, and had even re-worked “Symphony for Eleanor” for a fortieth-anniversary concert and DVD. “Vehicle Through Time: The Story of the Ides of March,” where the energy on the number is electrifying, though band members admit that in a departure from the old carefree days, a chiropractor is sometimes standing by backstage. That piece and a full set from the Ides that will also spotlight the group’s ability to perform its folk-rock repertoire such as “L.A. Goodbye” with live harmonies always perfectly in tune will be the climax of a Beatles’ benefit. A silent auction of Beatle memorabilia and recordings all to provide free lessons at the school for those who cannot afford them in memory of Brendan Hodges, a young musician and Beatles’ enthusiast who was murdered for his acoustic guitar in 1996. (Dennis Polkow)
August 18 at Old Town School of Folk Music.