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Can't Keep A Good Man Down

by Dave D'aranjo ft. Tracy B. Fontes

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There's something troublin' in my world these days - Might have to root up & skip town. Feelin' the frowns from a million faces. Lord, I'm surrounded by clowns. How in the hell did I get in this mess? I did not want it but I got to confess that When the tough get going, got no time for depression, gotta Rise up, standin'. (Cuz ya) Can't Keep a Good Man Down (Good Man Down), Even though you’ve been knocked to the ground (to the ground babe) Stand tall brother and take it, As the fire bears down on your soul. (Guitar Solo) How in the hell did I get here, baby? Can’t let this situation drive me crazy. (Cuz ya) Can't Keep a Good Man Down (Good Man Down), Even though you've been knocked to the ground. Hang on brother and answer When the thunder comes knocking at your door. Now I seen a lifetime of trouble and strife. My fingers worked down to the bone. Watch out or someone’s gonna come for your life over Some plant that you smoke. I thought my money would be safe in a bank (nuh uh) They took my cash, wrote me checks that was blank Power to the people means it's time to pull rank, now, gotta Serve justice cold (yeaaah!) (Cuz ya) Can't Keep a Good Man Down (Good Man Down), Even though you've been knocked to the ground. Walk proud brothers, awaken There's no need to look back anymore, (no more…). Oh, the women in life, before I forget: The mother I came from, and the wife I cherish. Behind every man, is a woman, they say, So stand up - protect her, give her love every day, yeah…


In memory of legendary guitarist O’Donel Levy.
September 20th, 1945 - March 14th, 2016 

80% of proceeds from the purchase of this album will go to the American Stroke Association: www.stroke.org

O'Donel "Butch" Levy (September 20, 1945 – March 14, 2016) was a rhythm & blues, funk and jazz guitarist from Baltimore, Maryland. He was brother of session drummer Stafford Levy.

I first met “O.D.” around 2001. He was living in Singapore at the time, and I was still in high school - just beginning to play drums and bass at local Singaporean music venues such as The Voodoo Shack, Bernie’s, and The Crazy Elephant. O.D. was incredibly cool & supportive to a youngblood musician with no experience. His incredible trio with Eddie Jansen on bass and Jimmy Lee on drums put on some of the most jaw-dropping performances on the whole island. He could get a whole venue dancing in no time, and O.D.’s lightning-fast guitar playing - and ability to sing truly as one with his guitar - were legendary. He was a true musical artist - a consummate instrumentalist - and had an incredible career before even moving to Asia. He recorded on the esteemed Groove Merchant record label, and worked with the likes of George Benson, Jimmy McGriff, Herbie Mann, Eldee Young, Jeremy Monterio, Steve Gadd, Tony Levin, Charles Covington, Chester Thompson, Eric Ward, Sonny Lester, Cecil Bridgewater, Lew Soloff, Bill Waltrous, and more. I couldn’t believe such a luminary was gigging at the neighborhood bars in Singapore. 

Back then, O.D. would often call me up to play on a few tunes, and always treated me like a colleague - never a “kid”. This made a huge, positive impact on me and was a major factor in my choice to be a professional musician for life. 

After moving back to Baltimore, O.D. unfortunately suffered a massive stroke in the recording studio in 2006, leaving him unable to take care of himself or use the left side of his body. He moved to the Summit Park Health and Rehabilitation Center in Catonsville, Maryland. He would remain there until his death in 2016.

In 2007, September 20th was designated as “O’Donel ‘Butch’ Levy Day” in Baltimore, MD by then mayor Sheila Dixon.

I first was able to visit O.D. in the USA in January 2014. Though it was sadly clear he wouldn’t be able to play guitar ever again, he always remained in good spirits with his famously sharp wit. We had long talks in his hospital room over several visits, and he always kept positive that he would someday recover and be touring again. The last time I saw O.D. was on September 20th, 2015 - his 70th birthday. O.D. passed away on March 14th, 2016, 12:43pm EST having lived 70 remarkable, musical years.

I started writing “Can’t Keep A Good Man Down” around 2010, with the intention of O.D. recording vocals and guitar for the song. It wasn’t until I visited him in 2014 that I realized this wouldn’t be possible. I didn’t realize how utterly disabling the stroke had been. To be honest, when I first saw him, I initially couldn't recognize the vivacious, outlandish stage performer I first met in Singapore over a decade before. The loss of human artistic knowledge & ability due to strokes and old age cannot be quantified. But O.D. lived a remarkable life, and was beloved the world over. 

As with many of my song projects, this took a very, very long time for me to finally complete. After writing the demo in 2010, I first approached saxophonist Jeremy Valadez of the famous Chicken Slacks Band at The Cantab Lounge in Boston, MA to help find horn players for my arrangement. Notably, this recording features bari sax by Bruce “The Goose” McGrath, who sadly also joined the great gig in the sky in 2012. The Cantab Lounge closed in Summer 2020 due to the effects of COVID-19 on entertainment venues in Boston. 

O.D. had an amazing, musical, and international life that isn’t really reflected at all in this song. My song was meant to be some motivation to keep keepin' on when things look really bleak. I’d suggest checking out O.D.’s own albums - particularly “Bad Simba” and “Asia Beat” - for a truer sense of his style and phenomenal abilities.

But perhaps by releasing “Can’t Keep A Good Man Down” today - in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic - on what would’ve been O.D.’s 75th birthday - I am trying to invoke his energy and optimism, in order to manifest some positive change in this tough era. 

80% of proceeds from the sale of this album will go to the American Stroke Association.


released September 20, 2020

Music, Lyrics, & Horn Arrangement by: Dave D’aranjo 

Lead Vocals: Tracy B. Fontes

Backing Vocals: Débo Ray

Trumpet: Eric "Benny" Bloom

Trumpet: Yaure Muniz
Alto Sax: Jeremy D. Valadez
Tenor Sax: Kelly Roberge 

Trombone: Danny Heath
Bari Sax: Bruce “The Goose” McGrath

Harmonica: Shane Eli Segar
Electric Guitar: Ryan Taylor 

Electric Guitar: Sonya Rae Taylor

Electric Guitar: Eric Struthers
Organ: Dave Mackay
Bass Guitar: Dave D’aranjo

Percussion: Noriko Terada 

Drum Set: Arthur Kam

Engineered by James Willetts, Steve Catizone, Kerm Andreassen, Ryan Sweeney, & more.

Mixed by: Ryan Sweeney 

Mastered by: Fred Kevorkian, Kevorkian Mastering NYC

Produced by: Dave D’aranjo 

Album cover photo of Tracy & Dave by: Thomas Anello
Special thanks to Stafford Levy, Dr. Stella Levy, Curtis King, John Chee, and Bernie Utchenik.

© & ℗ 2020 Interrobang Records - www.interrobangrecords.com

All Rights Reserved.


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