Mugzee's, Rochester, MN
May 25, 2001
by Richard Benson
Photography copyright © 2001 by Richard Benson, all rights reserved.
1999 KBA Award Winner|
Achievement for Blues on the Internet
Presented by the Blues Foundation
Randy works the entire room, literally, during his performances. Playing harp and snare
drum, some times at the same time, he provides a high-energy dose of Texas blues.
Randy started his show at Mugzee's with "You Better Back Off," a mid-tempo blues
grinder. Next he gave the crowd an idea of his strong, husky vocals on "Sofa Change,"
from his first CD, Digging for Sofa Change. This is an original, traditional sounding blues song with a Texas beat. Randy ended his first set with "Blues Colored Soul," from his second CD, Grease, Grit, Dirt and Spit. This was an up-tempo, New Orleans song with rising blues riffs. Randy walked through the entire club singing without a mike, stopping to sing at peoples' tables, the bar, and eventually back to the stage. The crowd was impressed with his vocal powers and energy.
Randy began his musical career as a drummer. While in the Air Force in the early 1980's Randy was stationed in Massachusetts where he met Chicago harp legend "Earring George" Mayweather who'd taken up residence in Boston. George was a major influence on Randy, who added harmonica to his talents. A strong songwriter, Randy released his debut CD in 1997. Digging for Sofa Change is Texas blues spiced with Randy's unique style on snare, harp, and vocal along with clever lyrics. Randy's music features songs about regular people, such as "Makeshift Molly," about a local shanty resident who lived under the freeway in Dallas and "$127 Sandwich," about everything that will go wrong when you write that check you shouldn't have just because you're hungry.
During Randy's second set the crowd was treated to a cover of "Hey, Bo Diddley," that had the drummer, Jimmy Morgan, struggling to keep up with Randy's break-neck pace on the snare. The crowd at Mugzee's witnessed Randy unleashed in the room with his drumsticks, playing on the bar, table tops, the wall, a beer mug, and squatting on a table top as he played a frenetic instrumental with a cajun beat and soaring, Allmanesque chords provided by lead guitarist Texas Slim. Randy provided some up-tempo playing and singing on "Texas Thang," a double-shuffle with a strong Texas blues beat.
The Dallas based band provides powerful Texas blues with a little zydeco, cajun, and
clever lyrics, all wrapped into what Randy calls their "East Texas" sound. Randy even
provided a Minnesota connection with his "MN Polka Blues," proving that Randy and his
bandmates have traveled here often enough to have the local phrases and speech patterns
down. During the course of the evening Randy broke a number of drum sticks due to the
intensity of his playing on the rim of his snare and everything else within reach.
Randy has a solid backing band with Texas Slim (Robin Sullivan) providing a wicked slide in addition to his soaring chords. Jimmy Morgan on drums keeps a steady beat while racing to keep up with Randy's pace. Tim Nelley on bass rounds out this solid Texas blues quartet. This was Randy's second visit to Mugzee's and he promised the crowd that he wouldn't let that long go by before his return. The crowd roared their approval, standing and cheering as the band finished their last encore, a second helping (by popular demand) of "Texas Thang," where Randy played on Texas Slims guitar strings with his drumsticks. If you want Texas blues with a few special twists, be sure to check out Randy McAllister his next trip through town. (Randy also appeared Saturday May 26th at Famous Dave's)
This review is copyright © 2001 by Richard Benson, 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.