The Old Fruitmarket
Monday 19th January 2009
Last night's gig was amazing, the best I've been to in ages.
The support was a bluegrass type band from Virginia called The Hot Seats, who were quite amusing, and had some very dirty lyrics. Not really my type of music, but you can hear that it's not so far from Scottish and Irish music, and is meant for dancing originally. It's not so far devolved from ceilidh music at it's core.
The main act was Allen Toussaint, a New Orleans R&B and soul composer and performer (piano and vocals). He had with him a guitarist (amazing funky wah sound, and a master of minimal playing with maximum impact), a saxophonist (spot on loud and brash tone for this genre), a drummer (solid) and a bassist (very accomplished, but not given much opportunity to show it, he was playing a six string and focussed a lot on the low end, which sometimes obscured the pitch).
These guys know how to put on a show. Song after song, with little or no break between, and every one amazing and funky. Spaces between songs were filled with improvised piano backgrounds of fantastic technical ability and then would just jump straight into the next song. We didn't know what was going to be played, so when he started ones we knew, it was fantastic fun.
He was talking about a time recently when Elton John said to him back stage, "do you know your song's been released again?" and he said, no, so he checked it out and he liked it. Then he played the song in question, with no other intro - Here Come The Girls, which was recently redone and used for a Boots advert. Brilliant live!
Here Come The Girls, performed by Ernie K Doe:
He also played Shoo Ra, Shoo Ra, which I know as a Betty Wright track (which is a fantastic cover), and was featured on the soundtrack to the recent Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy film, but he informed us he originally wrote for Scottish soul singer Frankie Miller (it's a lot less sinister when sung by a guy!).
Another well known song which he didn't play was Lady Marmalade (best known perhaps by it's lyric voulez vous couchez avec moi (ce soir?). He didn't write this one, but produced it and made it famous with the band LaBelle.
Other well known songs which he wrote include Get Out Of My Life, Woman, Working In The Coalmine and Southern Nights.
If you ever get a chance to go and see him, do so.