For three decades Al Foul had been a mainstay of the Tucson music scene. I remember back alley shows in downtown Tucson in the early ‘90s, years of sweaty rave-ups in crowded bars and country taverns, sweet Tiki serenades, and several live in-studio sessions for Locals Only on KXCI. From his early band Al Foul and the Shakes, to his many collaborations with musicians far and wide, to his “authentic one-man band from Tucson, Arizona” which found Al playing solo on the homemade “stompourine”, kick drum, guitar, and singing all at the same time, his passionate delivery of music to the people didn’t falter. Never a novelty act, Al performed like a journeyman craftsman with great skill and acumen. The common thread was Al’s authentic voice, his sincere and personal approach to American folk, country, and primitive rock ‘n’ roll, and his creative drive to make music and write songs that were universal yet uniquely his own.
Once I began volunteering with KXCI in the late ‘90s and started recording live sessions for broadcast, I was able to witness the man behind the music, (as well as some great studio sessions!). Al Foul had a bit of a rough and tumble persona but in working with him I found him to actually be generous, dependable, and humorous, with a keen sense of humanity. Those qualities, and the rough and tumble, live on in his songs. I am honored to have known him and to live and work within a Tucson music community that values creative and artistic integrity. Al expressed those ideas well in this quote about ‘90s Tucson: “I am fortunate to have had a long and complicated relationship with music. It’s who I am and all I ever wanted to be,” he wrote. “Tucson gave me the opportunity as a young man to be whomever I wished to be. There was no pressure or scene pushing or pulling in any direction, just a bunch of folks doing their own thing. I was lucky to find this place.”
We are grateful you found Tucson as well, Al, and became such a strong creative part of, and musical ambassador for, this unique community we call home.
Duncan Hudson, KXCI Music Director