Sunday, August 21, 2005

Steve Cropper at the James Burton Guitar Blowout / review by Jim Huckabay

Jim Huckabay, designer, advertising maven and passionate guitarist, wrote SptBlog about his enjoyment of the James Burton & Friends concert at the Municipal Auditorium:

"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.


Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

This show was porn for pickers, semi to full turgidity over an extended period of time. Picking a "best" is no different from the sixty year old argument whether Fender or Gibsons sound better. They were all better than most of the amatuers like me.

Eric Johnson proved he was the most sophisticated player, despite chronic pedal problems. Doyle Dikes brought the room to its feet with his symphonic rendition of "How Great Thou Art". Really. One guitar, one player, one gospel song. Early show highlight.

The Paisley/Johnson face off was actually the "battle of the jazz chords", which had me and my pickin' pal laughing our heads off. These two hot rodders could have burned up their amps but instead challenged each other to see who knew the most intricate chord structures and progressions to an essentially 12-bar song. Had to see it and hear it(the sound was muddy all over the house) to believe it.

Not a shabby performance in the lot, and the honoree pitched in frequently, which added to the spice. James seemed genuinely touched by the love and esteem, as did probably everyone.

Anonymous said...
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trudeau said...

Beginning to dream that I was there at the show, due to these detailed accounts! Thank you for adding to the cinematic vapors left by these smoking guitarists. Enjoyed your review both as a picker and a happy editor.

Jim, again, your review is exactly what the blog wants. merci!

trudeau said...

Please see photos of the concert by Mark Charleville and Lilly Daigle at Sptfaces.

trudeau said...

If you were concerned with the deleted posts herein, be aware that the "porn for pickers" poster simply repeated his posts and I simply deleted the extras.