When first arriving at the Echoplex Monday evening it was surprising to discover that “Schoolhouse Rock” had such a cultish and enthusiastic following. But it soon became apparent that the excitement of the crowd was only partially due to the familiar songs; Bob Dorough was the real draw. The singer and keyboard player elicited true affection from the audience with his friendly patter and easy humor.
Backed by Jennifer Leitham on bass, John Chiodini on guitar, and Herman Matthews on drums, Dorough ran through his “Schoolhouse Rock” favorites from “Three is a Magic Number” to “I’m Just a Bill.” Local musician and record mogul Skip Heller was on hand to play the part of the curious little boy from the animated shorts. Audience participation was highly encouraged, and watching the crowd desperately trying to remember their multiplication tables to keep up was kind of adorable.
It was an unexpected treat to see Dorough play a short set of songs from his solo career. They ranged from goofy ditties read directly from the dictionary to complex jazz numbers like “Devil May Care” which was covered by Diana Krall and “The Winds of Heaven” once played by the 5th Dimension. We may all have fond memories of “Schoolhouse Rock,” but anyone lucky enough to see him live will definitely have a soft spot in their heart for Bob Dorough.