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Finally, Jessie L. Wise recently sent quite an interesting letter my way. It begins, "I am a musician currently sentenced to death, and I recently completed a ten-work tape of alternative (soft) jazz under the pseudonym 'WiseGuy' for a fallen brother musician who was executed a couple of years ago. I would like to offer this music as a 'collector's' gift for a donation of $10 or more to my legal defense fund." If that sounds like your brand of easy listening, write to Jessie L. Wise CP86 5A32, Potosi Correctional Center, Route 2, Box 2222, Mineral Point, MO 63660.

But please don't marry him, all right? I'm not trying to play matchmaker here. On Thursday, July 23, the Hot Tomatoes stew at the Mercury Cafe. On Friday, July 24, Yo, Flaco! celebrates the release of its self-titled debut disc at Herman's Hideaway, and Youth Brigade, Pinhead Circus and Four Letter Word tear up the Raven. On Saturday, July 25, Wailer B & Axiom stage a funky reggae party at the Moon Time in Nederland; Dressy Bessy, profiled in these pages last week, joins the Apples and the Push Kings at the 15th Street Tavern; American Horse, featuring former members of Jackopierce, gallops at the Fox Theatre; Cindy Williams drops by the Vartan Jazz Club; Opie Gone Bad and Sherri Jackson team up at the Bluebird Theater; and Grandma's Area 39 hosts the semi-finals of its battle-of-the-bands contest. On Sunday, July 26, Senegal native Baaba Maal plays selections from his just-released (and extremely enjoyable) album, Nomad Soul, at the Boulder Theater for an E-Town that co-stars Skatalites founder Ernest Ranglin and the aforementioned Mollie O'Brien (Maal also appears the previous evening at the Fox). On Monday, July 27, Assorted Jelly Beans are on display at the Snake Pit. And on Wednesday, July 29, bluesman W.C. Clark bars none at Brendan's. Clark bars--get it? If so, please accept my apology.

--Michael Roberts

Backbeat's e-mail address is: [email protected]. While you're online, visit Michael Roberts's Jukebox at www.westword.com.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts