Thursday, September 28, 2017

The Skatalites at Tipitina's

I kicked off my latest US road trip yesterday (along with Alan Lloyd, Dave Carroll and Lee Wilkinson) and did it in style, by going to the legendary Tipitina's in New Orleans to see the equally legendary Skatalites. It's a venue I used to visit regularly when I was in town,, but good shows there are few and far between now. This was a good one though.
The openers, reggae band Jamaican ME Breakfast Club, were no great shakes, but I enjoyed the Skatalites a lot, even though the line up has changed a great deal since I last saw them ten or so years ago. The only original member now is singer Doreen Shaffer, but they have the sixties Jamaican drummer Sparrow Thompson with them, along with veteran Jamaican bassist Val Douglas. The keyboard player and band leader Ken Stewart led the band well and also did some crazy dance moves at one point, whilst the horn section was in the best tradition of the Skatalites.
The band began by counting down to Freedom and quickly showed they knew what they were about. James Bond 007 followed, along with the Don Drummond number Confucius and Latin Goes Ska, from the band's Treasure Isle days, all of them excellent. Ken then brought Doreen to the stage and she launched into My Boy Lollipop, made famous by Millie. Doreen's voice was strong and the crowd loved her. They grooved to the ska of Delroy Wilson's Can't You See, Bob Marley's Nice Time, When I Fall In Love and Sugar Sugar. This was genuine sixties ska and great to hear. It was back to instrumentals then with Rockford Rock, with some audience participation, and the two biggest Skatalites hits Guns of Navarone and Phoenix City. Personally I didn't think the youngish horn section, comprising Travis Antoine on trumpet, Zem Audu on trumpet and Buford O'Sullivan on trombone, quite matched the guts and drive of the original Navarone, but they were all very good musicians and did not disappoint. Doreen returned to the stage finally for You're Wondering Now (the theme for TV show Death In Paradise) and we adjoined to our hotel, after a long day of travel, well satisfied.
We are off to Lafayette today for more music so stay tuned! Photos will follow in due course.
Nick Cobban


At 10:12 am , Blogger With Hold said...

People who works there are some of the sweetest people I've met. Save yourself some time and just go there. Everyone at San Francisco venues is sweet and ask how you've been, even though normally staff keep their heads down.


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