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Mem Shannon - Live: A Night At Tiptina’s
Northern Blues

Run Time: 74:06 Live Recording

Amalgamation, noun- To combine or unite into one form.

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 or look him up on MySpace.

Ben Cox is a Blues Songwriter, Musician, DJ and Journalist.

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