Wednesday, May 09, 2007

In the Pocket with Mr. Solid

By John Lee

Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble - "Live at the El Mocambo" (DVD)

I recently viewed the Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble "Live at the El Mocambo" DVD again. This was recorded in 1983, before Stevie Ray Vaughan added keyboard player Reese Wynans. The early Stevie Ray classics like "Pride and Joy," "Texas Flood," and "Love Struck Baby" are included. He also gives a nod to Jimi Hendrix with "Voodoo Chile" and "Third Stone From The Sun." There are twelve tunes in all.

Drummer Chris Layton said, “It was just a straight live performance, there just happened to be cameras there.” The cameras captured what I think is the finest example of blues/rock ever. Stevie Ray Vaughan plays behind his back and behind his neck with total soulful intensity and precision. This is Stevie Ray Vaughan at the heights of his powers. This footage was shot not long before his downfall with drugs and alcohol, his eventual redemption, and then his tragic death. Stevie Ray Vaughan was a true guitar giant. He is greatly missed.
If you get a chance, check out this DVD, I think you’ll dig it.

Aaron Neville- "Bring it on Home…the Soul Classics" CD

I first heard Aaron Neville at Seattle ’s Rainbow Tavern in 1977. The Neville Brothers were touring the country billed as The Neville Brothers and The Wild Tchoupitoulas with their uncle Chief George Landry. They were as funky and soulful as it gets. For the Wild Tchoupitoulas they wore the traditional Mardi Gras Indian head dress. It’s a show I will never forget. Aaron Neville sang his soul/R&B classic ballad "Tell It Like It Is" from the 60’s, which is one of the finest soul/R&B ballads ever. It was one hell of an evening.
I’ve seen The Neville Brothers many times since 1977, and Aaron has had great success with his family’s band and has had even greater success as a pop and easy listening artist. This CD, "Bring it on Home…the Soul Classics" brings Mr. Neville full circle, and back to the songs that I think have had a great influence on his unique style. The line-up of songs are:
1. The Brook Benton classic: "Rainy Night In Georgia."
2. "Ain’t No Sunshine" by Bill Withers.
3. Otis Redding’s "(Sittin’ on) The Dock Of The Bay."
4. Ben E. King’s "Stand By Me."
5. A big Aaron Neville influence, Sam Cooke’s "You Send Me."
6. The Staple Singers R&B/gospel classic, "Respect Yourself," featuring Mavis Staples.
7. Percy Sledge's, "When A Man Loves A Woman."
8. Al Green’s "Let’s Stay Together" with Chaka Khan.
9. Curtis Mayfield’s great tune "It’s All Right."
10. The great Curtis Mayfield again, "People Get Ready," featuring David Sanborn and Art Neville
11. The Temptation’s "My Girl" without the legendary guitar line that immediately identifies this incredible song.
12. Marvin Gaye’s "Ain’t That Peculiar."
13. What a way to end this soulful album-Sam Cooke’s "A Change is Gonna Come."
I think Aaron Neville sums it up, in a quote from the liner notes: “I love these songs, because they’re timeless. They’ll be passed from generation to generation till the end of time. Your mother can listen to them, and so can your grandchildren.”
I would like to thank my mother for this soulful gift. If you dig soul music and are a fan of great singing you’ll dig Aaron Neville’s latest work.

When I need to know more about a musician like Bobby Womack or Arthur Alexander I check out . This web site will give you biographies and discographies of every musical artist of any genre. Use the advanced search and find out all you need to know about your favorite singer or musician. This is a great resource for the true music fan.

Quote of the month:

When the late, great jazz saxophonist, Dexter Gordon, was asked what it took to be a jazz musician he replied, "If you can’t play the blues…you might as well hang it up."

Electric bassist John "Mr. Solid" Lee was born in Alaska and has been active in the Seattle blues scene for about 30 years. He currently plays with the Crossroads Band. Photo by Mike Coyote.

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