Detroit’s Mudpuppy is one of the hardest working bands in the Motor City. They are a local favourite and have received numerous Detroit Music Awards. Their tight blend of funk, R&B, and bayou blues is starting to gain them national attention. Fronted by bassist/vocalist Paul Randolph with the finest voice in contemporary roots music today. Mark Pasman plays rockin’ lead guitar and hosts the "The Motor City Blues Project" on WCSX 94.7 FM. Mark Thibodeau works wonders on the 88s while Darryl Pierce keeps the beat. This group of highly talented musicians excel at creating a sound that is greater than the sum of its parts.
Their latest release, recorded live in front of a studio audience at Big Sky Studios in Ann Arbor, MI, includes songs from the band’s 2 studio albums plus previously unrecorded material. At just under 60 minutes, the CD’s 12 tracks are an accurate depiction of the fun you experience when you see them live.
They offer a fresh take on Jimmy Reed’s classic "Baby What You Want Me To Do." In fact, you will only recognize it by its lyrics. Included is some fine harp courtesy of musical guest Jimmy ‘Pickles’ Nichols. What Mudpuppy show would be complete without "Kansas City"? This Leiber-Stoller classic has become a staple in the Mudpuppy repertoire. It features all the band’s zesty ingredients: unique funky groove, strong bass line, silky vocals, pounding drums, and a couple solos all wrapped up into a beat you can’t sit still to. Only Mudpuppy could remake "Smiling Faces Sometimes" and be successful at it. These guys are slick, cool and smooth. "Why Don’t Cha" is the closest they ever get to playing straight-ahead down-home blues but even this song gets a cupful of contemporary spice. Their version of "Thank You" will knock you over with energy. They do some New Orleans boogie woogie on the Neville Brothers’ "Voodoo". Undoubtedly the Delta acoustic blues of "I Like My
Bay’s Pudding" is the surprise track on the CD. This electric band shows they are so diverse they can even competently tackle acoustic blues.
What makes this disc so good is that you don’t know what to expect from one song to another. The 3 original tunes mend in well with the covers. The covers are layed so uniquely, you don’t realize they are cover tunes. Throughout, the music is laced with rare rhythms and prominent bass lines best described as roots alternative. Attach whatever name you like, its roots music at the heart and its a party. If you haven’t had the pleasure of seeing this band perform live, this CD will let you know what you have been missing.
For CDs, booking and information, contact: Venture Records, 23814 Michigan Avenue, Suite 244, Dearborn, MI 48124 USA Tel: (313) 438-2700
This review is copyright © 2001 by Tim Holek, and Blues On Stage, all rights reserved. Copy, duplication or download prohibited without written permission. For permission to use this review please send an E-mail to Ray Stiles.
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