Easy to find the Funk: The Ubiquitous Funk Shue.
…which is, by the way, exhibit A in Mick Taylor's case for criminal discredit, or at least lack of credit, in favor of "Jagger/Richards" hegemony, the guitarist having written the second song on 1971's Sticky Fingers with the other Mick - without Keith, despite the parenthetical names behind the title. Don't believe the hype. Incidentally, that album was the first to feature the lips logo which also features prominently (albeit adulturatedly) on the tapestry/flag that accompanies Ocean City trio plus frontchick Funk Shue on stage, a Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band montage (the banner not the band, although they indeed play The Beatles). Funk Shue just play - a lot. Especially since May as the season brings more bars and gigs. Like their Boozeday Tuesday residency at Harborside (Caileen and guitarist Jordan work there). But in a beach town, the outside shows are regnant, and the frothy upbeat bounce of the boys + one is Full Custom (Gospel Sound) made for swayin’ and Dancin’ In The Sunlight, to paraphrase one of their funky seventies covers. While wearing as little clothing as possible, which, like the bass player I like to do, and did the last two Thursdays of last month, at downtown on the bay's Sunset Park and West OC via 611's Castaways, respectively. The Jackspot Tiki Bar at the campground is a hidden pearl in the bay behind Assateague Island, highly recommended. But a prominent OC al fresco venue is Caribbean Pool Bar behind Plim Plaza, where I deigned to bike my way through the incoming weekend warriors last Friday afternoon. I Wouldn't Normally Do This Kind Of Thing, but felt like taking all my clothes off, dancing to the rite of Spring. No, but I had a rare Friday half day at work and could be home by the time the weekend wimps were going out. Actually, they played (Shued?) there Thursday the fourteenth as well but this heartical was composed before the fact and as such was primarily based 'pon dat jamdown and the bull session (originally conceived as an interview to be transcribed verbatim in this space; as my tablet - more likely my Twisted condition - malfunctioned, the audio was lost) conducted at halftime. During which, it must be said, Sam was the most engaging - and that aint my drummer's bias showing. Give the drummer some! But as this was a four hour afternoon performance (including the break) it is typical, starting with an instro, also de rigueur/prototypal for blues bands like Delaware's Lower Case Blues, the only other Delmarva concern more ubiquitous than the band at hand. It could be their blues thang, a fusion of "Since I Been Login You" and "Little Wing" (IMHO, not literally). But more likely as the opening number is the psychedelic jazz fusion workout apropos of Jordan's brittle Jimi fixation. A set closer may be the instro they call "Pirates Galore", ye hen hearted bilge rat, featuring baseman Dan's infectiously simplistic riff. As with any funk based jam band, those four strings are crucially crucial, as the other equally low end centric genre of reggae would call it. This young cat sharpened his claws on six strings before making the transition a couple years ago specifically for the band, and while not demonstrably a virtuoso (ie BJ from Lower Case Blues), as Jerry Garcia said of Phil Lesh "is more", he plays it like he invented it. His instrumental and aesthetic invention is based on Flea's, and Blood Sugar Sex Magick's "Soul To Squeeze" is in the set. So is Talking Heads: the kinetic, limber sway of Tina Weymouth, not only with the overrated Heads but as Moby's live go to in the late nineties, is an obvious comparison. Other too few originals include the old "Ebb And Flow" and the new "We Can Bring So Much More", the bossanova beat of John Densmore from "Break On Through" in mind. This one would have benefitted from an extension as its brevity was disappointing: back to the copy versions.
So here we go, as the "Ebb And Flow" chorus sings. I concede that they are a necessary evil in a tourist town if you wanna work for a living, or if you play multiple sets. So to accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative...
This being the fiftieth anniversary of the best year in musical history, for which my ongoing series in this space proselytizes, and for which the aforementioned (as they so often are here, tanx for indulging me my obsessions) Rolling Stones are represented by Aftermath, Funk brings the Soul from Stax in '66 via MG Steve Cropper's "Knock On Wood" and Sam And Dave's "Hold On I’m Comin". Funk brings the funk on David Bowie and Nile Rodgers' "Let’s Dance", whereas Dan gets all Bernie Edwards busy bass. Never busy enough for me, a dubwise riddim fanatic addicted not to narcotics but the narcotic somnificence of seventies reggae; Shue's nod to the genre is "Scrubbadub". While on topic: was that a Shue segue into reggae time at the coda of "Rhianna" or was it de rum talking patois? Nice up de dance! While on topic: I’m normally not havin a popular Fleetwood Mac cover, but the soul influenced singer is capable of outsinging Stevie, nicking her talent from Nicks, Janis, and Amy Winehouse back to Motown. Yes, she's that damn good.
Don;t take my word for it - please. She and the boys will be back out back at Plim Plaza at noon on Friday the 29th, and on another Wednesday night at Alibi Room downtown on Wicomico Street - they filled this slot once last month, and I stayed up way past my 9pm bed time for it and will do it again - on August 3. Support this new venue that supports original bands every night.
And tell them to write more songs. Jah knows they hear it too much from me. But it's critical tough love, and I'm a tough critic.
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