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John Wesley Harding

The Bastard Child
As the owner of a bell-ringing stage name and the author of the memorable opening line "Bob Dylan is my father/Joan Baez is my mother/And I'm their bastard son," John Wesley Harding (born Wesley Harding Stace) may have been angling for a slot on the ever-growing "Next Dylan" list when his career started in the late '80s. He's even given a self-released CD the anagrammatical title Dynablob. But Harding has long surpassed mere acolyte status thanks to a dozen varied releases--a pure pop album here, a tribute to cult troubadour Nic Jones there--and a road-warrior touring schedule. He's also long been a lazy music writer's best friend because of his liner-notes habit of providing names ("power-serf" and "folk noir" for starters) and name-drops ('91's thrilling The Name Above the Title found him thanking a trio of Johns: Prine, Fogerty, and Sebastian) that serve to describe the contents of the corresponding album. And the man, sporting an impressive combination of brains and cheek, definitely knows how to work a crowd. Philip Price, re-launching a solo career after the recent demise of his power-pop band The Maggies, opens. Tuesday, Oct. 15. Go! Room 4, 100-F Brewer Lane, Carrboro. 969-1400. $10. --Rick Cornell

Wake County SPCA Fur Ball

For All You Cool Cats
Torn up because a fifth dog in your house would be one too many, or because kitty litter boxes already take up more space in your home than your floor plan allows, but you can't give up on those adorable, homeless animals? Save the adoption fees and put them toward a night on the town that will support Wake County's Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Slap on your tux or your best Bill Blass ballgown and head to the Fur Ball this Sunday, Oct. 13, at the North Ridge Country Club in Raleigh, where you'll enjoy beverages on the veranda at 5:30 p.m. and heavy hors d'oeuvres, spirits and dessert at 6 p.m. The Fur Ball will also feature auctions (live, silent and "super silent") and a raffle for a 2002 Kawasaki Jet Ski. This year's mascot, Sydney (pictured), exemplifies the ball's theme, "Happily Ever After," since the SPCA saw to healing a broken jaw and cheekbone received in a beating by her owner. (The SPCA also helped prosecute Sydney's former owner for felony animal cruelty.) Tickets are $90 in advance; $105 at the door. Purchase tix online at or call 772-2326 for more information. --Laura Hatmaker

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