NOTHIN' BUT THE BROTHAS
January 4, 2004
Ron Martin's annual birthday party "Nothin' But The Brothas" was a gas. Way different than last year?s soul-funk edition (CLICK HERE for a review of last's year event), this night it was Blues and Soul night with Willy Jordan and Levi Lloyd.
Levi started out the band with instrumentals to get the band in synch with each other. He struck up a well-known tune and I sang the words in my mind, "Let me paint you a picture, what I'm talkin' about." My feet took me to the dance floor.
On drums was Carl from the fine soul-funk band Cameo, on bass guitar was the incredible Rob Watson, on rhythm guitar was Ian playing his big Guild. Willy Jordan having broken his ankle was "only" singing. Since we don't get enough of Willy's singing this was a treat.
And the funk just grew. Willy started singing:
Picket lines and picket signs
(Al Cleveland/Marvin Gaye/Renaldo Benson)
Then Levi led out on "Walking the Dog" and we did the Memphis strut out on the floor. The interplay between Levi and Willy singing was a lot of fun. Levi sang through his nose sounding all nasal and silly and then mugged at Willy.
Levi struck up the old blues shuffle and I did the 'Uncle Willy' to the old Jimmy Reed tune "Baby, What You Want Me To Do."
"You got me runnin'
You got me up
You got me peepin?
Levi was really getting his resonant old "Black Beauty" Les Paul to honk and sing and his solos were taking off.
And then Willy and Levi changed the roll and took it wayyy slow. And deep. And mean. And bad. I didn't know the song, maybe they made it up there, but it was something about "You think you gonna just waltz out that door woman you better think twice cause if you don't think I won't point this forty-five right between your eyes you don't know me." It was downright scary. Levi took the hardest meanest solo I've ever heard from him, I mean it was nasty. It was great. We stood and screamed at the band at the end. Wow.
And then in a complete reversal Willy and Levi blew us off the floor with "My Girl." Levi astounds me with things he can do, on this song he sang falsetto! It was lush and ecstatic between the two voices and the band.
"I've got sunshine on a cloudy day
I've got so much honey, the bees envy
Hey, Hey, Hey
Ooo yeah, I don't need no money
Fabulous part and harmony singing, "talking about my girl!" We applauded the band for a long time after this one, it was fresh and real, and like being in love.
"We got the funk, gotta have that funk" chanted in the middle of "Tear The Roof Off The Sucker" made sure that it's safe for the Mothership to land in Cotati. Man was that fun.
I could go on and on. Willy would show again and again why he's a great vocalist, Rob would breakout with fantastic bass solos, and Levi would do all kinds of rhythm riffs and then kill with a solo. And then do it all over again. What a night of blues and soul! I can't wait to hear these guys do it again.
Happy Birthday Ron Martin, that was one heck of a party you had.
Rolf Olmsted was born on the banks of the Mississippi River and had a dog and played his father's mandolin. He was exposed to the blues at an early age which accounts for it. Among his accomplishments are reproduction, a collection of cheap guitars, and computer semi-literacy. He's guilty of attempted guitar and mandolin playing.