Shannon - Live: A Night At Tiptina’s
Run Time: 74:06 Live Recording
To combine or unite into
The above definition properly describes one of
New Orleans’ most talented sons in Mem Shannon. Since his 1996, Mem
has owned the New Orleans blues, jazz, and funk scene. Heading into
the BMA’s, Mem’s chalked up two more nominations to his already
numerous accolades and two prior BMA nominations. With catchy lyrics
and his blend of blues, jazz, and seminal fusion funk…this release
was one of the best live recordings to come out in recent years.
The set features a lot of work from his I’m
From Phunkville release on Northern Blues from a few years ago.
The set gets kicked off with the funk-blues of “Payin’ My Dues,”
which Mem roars through with some fleet-fingered fretwork spinning a
yarn about the hard realities of a musician on the road who’s down
on his luck. Mem goes into straight funk with “Smell Something” on
the next track, sounding like a latter day Sly & the Family
Stone/Tower of Power B-side. The horn punctuations and the tight
rhythm section work are complete and concise throughout. The blues
motifs of “No Religion” don’t sound tired or over-stated as it
sounds like a man scorned by God and everyone, with Mem’s tasteful
and funky guitar work following in toe throughout.
Mem shows that he’s not afraid to dip into
pop/rock culture to mine some lyrics from Tom Petty on “I Won’t Back
Down.” However, it sounds nothing like the original, as it’s laced
with New Orleans R&B and funk that gets the young crowd going. Mem’s
depth of passion for storytelling continues with the touching lyrics
of the ballad “Forget About Me.” Listen to the keys of Rhock Dabon
on the next track, the Neville Brothers’ song “Voodoo” along with
the horn punctuations and solo. Throughout the disc, you can tell
that Mem is laid back and relaxed, letting go vocally and unhinging
his guitar on some attacks that would make the guitar-heads out
there lean in and steal a lick or two.
I can’t say enough about this disc. You can
feel the energy teeming from it from out and around the edges as you
crank it at work and at home. The set is never unbalanced and there
isn’t a song here that isn’t a keeper. The last two tracks stretch
on over ten minutes allowing for Mem Shannon and his Membership band
to unloose and display that they are all well-seasoned veterans and
a tight working unit, where none of the parts are bigger than the
sum. If you’ve never caught the former cab driver from the wards of
New Orleans live, this disc will surely convince you to check out
Mem Shannon next time he’s in town.
This album is available at ever major record
outlet. Visit Mem Shannon at his website at
http://www.memshannon.com/ or look him up on MySpace.
Ben Cox is a Blues Songwriter, Musician, DJ and Journalist.