Saturday, October 05, 2013

Sizzling soul at the Stomp

It was soul night on day one of the Ponderosa Stomp with six straight sets of the stuff that had me rooted to my spot down near the front. First on was Richard Caiton, a sweet soul singer with a high pitched voice, who warbled pleasantly enough through a few of his obscure, and collectable, sixties 45s including Do You Want To Jump Children, which was produced by Dave Bartholomew, Where's The Love, Take A Hold Brother and Sister and You Look Like A Flower before finishing rather weakly with When The Saints.
Next was the deep soul of Charles Brimmer, performing for the first time since 1977 and looking good in a light brown suit, who was excellent on The Feeling Is In My Heart, the brilliant Afflicted, The Man's Gonna Be In Trouble, I Stand Accused and God Blessed Our Love.  Great voice but he was whipped off stage by Dr Ike far too soon.
The one and only Swamp Dogg followed with a similar set to the one he did at Porretta two years ago. His unique voice remains powerful but is it soul? He was highly listenable to at any rate on Total   Destruction To Your Mind, Synthetic World, Sam Stone, I'm The Lover Man, World Beyond.and a walkabout version of Gotta Get  Message To You. All of the first three acts were backed by Lil Buck and the Top Cats with backing group Shades of Praise.
Girl power came to the fore next with a trio of true legends. First on was Baby Washington, looking glamorous in a red dress that kept slipping down. She seemed a little nervous and her voice was slightly vibrato but the crowd was just delighted to see her perform Workout, Nobody Cares About Me, A Handful Of Memories, The Bells, Leave Me Alone, Only Those In Love, the classic That's How Heartaches Are Made and The Time.
Maxine Brown followed and for me she was the star of the night. Looking great and full of energy her voice was excellent on Hold On I'm Coming, her own great back catalogue including Funny, her first record All In My Mind, Something You Got, Oh No Not My Baby, We'll Cry Together, along with Piece Of My Heart and an uptempo version of the old blues song Bring Me My Gin. Excellent stuff.
Third lady of soul to perform was white Motown star Chris Clark who made up for in energy what she lacked in the vocal department. Songs included Take Me In Your Arms, Head To Toe, Something's Wrong, You Better Get Yourself A Woman, her biggie Love's Gone Bad and I Want To Go Back There Again, and she finished strongly with Do I Love You. A special word must go to Woodie Armand St Martin who played keyboards with four of the first six acts.
After four hours of soul it was time for some garage rock in the form of The Sonics. They are loud, as I discovered a few years ago when I saw them in London, so I watched them from the back. Not entirely to my taste but they were excellent I thought on Money, Keep A Knocking, Lucille and the fantastic Psycho.
After a lull, during which the Rock n Bowl emptied considerably, the next act was a soul man named James Alexander from Lafayette who was more than adequate on his own You've Got The Power and a series of covers including Just A Little Bit, If You Change Your Mind, Money, My Girl, You Don't Miss Your Water and I Got Loaded. Last act was blind zydeco accordionist who was fine on Let The Good Times Roll and others as the hall gradually emptied.
Overall a superb night and great credit to Dr Ike for finding so many varied and in many cases obscure acts once more.
Nick Cobban.


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