Sunday, August 21, 2005
Steve Cropper at the James Burton Guitar Blowout / review by Jim Huckabay
"I was surprised at the guitarsmanship of Johnny Rivers - apparently he did all of the lead work on his early recordings. And his vocals are still very strong.
But the real sleeper was Steve Cropper. I've heard him interviewed, and he said he wasn't much of a lead player, but that he had a talent for finding and setting the groove and pocket. However, his performance proved that wrong. He's a competent lead, with minimal notes but soulful, "big note" playing. He performed both lead and vocals on "Midnight Hour" and "Sittin' n the Dock of the Bay." Very competent vocalist, AND, he nailed all the fills and accompaniment from the recordings. He even did a very full guitar version of the horn break on Midnight Hour.
The jam with "Green Onions" was the highlight of the evening. Great Hammond organ, Dr. John on piano, plus Steve Wariner, Jeff Baxter and Burton. Cropper has a big, southern boy heart, and it showed. He mentioned his fondness for the city of Shreveport and his wedding here 17 years ago. He's still married.
Acoustic soloist Doyle Sykes was the most gifted player, and Steve Wariner did an excellent acoustic set as well.
There was the expected fast playing by Eric Johnson and Brad Paisley, but their rapid fire licks were dulled in the closing jam by too much overall band and bass volume.
Ever heard of Greg Koch or Roscoe Beck? Very good, very solid. Excellent lady drummer.
Attendance? 2/3 to 3/4 capacity. Most of the crowd seemed like Elvis fans."
Huckabay founded and produces award-winning work at Focus Communications, Inc., 219-7688.