Well this turned out to be anything but, just another Thursday night at Whiskey Junction. A friend had told me earlier in the week that Popsy Dixon of The Holmes Brothers, was in town visiting his good friend Paul Manske of The Hillbilly Voodoo Dolls, who Popsy affectionately refers to as "Family." After a few phone calls, I found out that Popsy would be sitting in with the Hillbilly Voodoo Dolls during their gig at Whiskey Junction. Having caught The Holmes Brothers last month at the Bayfront Blues Festival, I knew that this would be a special show.
After an hour of some of the best R&B, and Rockabilly-Blues around, the band brought up Popsy Dixon, the W.C. Handy Award nominated drummer of the critically acclaimed Holmes Brothers Band. Tonight however, Popsy would be doing vocals, as Popsy said before the show, "I'm a left handed drummer, they'd have to switch everything around." Popsy wasted no time finding the groove with classics like, Going Down Slow, Stand By Me, and Mustang Sally. Midway into Popsy's brief set, Paul Bergen invited Mike Keller of the Keller Brothers Band to sit in on lead guitar, Tim Belden passed his piano duties on to Tom Hunter, and this was becoming one of those, "You Should Have Been There" shows.
My personal highlight of the evening was Popsy's final song, Tom Waits' "Train Song" which was delivered with such emotional conviction that it was a threat to dry eyes.
Hard to believe, but for some the night was just getting started. Tony Kamana offered up drummers stool to Keller Brothers drummer Corey Keller, and Keller Brothers keyboard specialist, Matt Farrell took over from Tom Hunter. Paul Manske, the only Hillbilly Voodoo Doll left on stage invited special guest, Shawn Pittman, and the only remaining Keller Brother Band member to perform, bassist Scott Nelson up for the last couple of songs. It was unfortunate the night had to end, as Shawn Pittman was in rare form, and could have easily kept going. Explaining "I used to play with these guy's in Texas (Keller Brothers)." They obviously wanted to continue to play. It was a fitting end to a great night of music, made extra special with the appearance of Popsy Dixon.
This review is copyright © 2000 by Michael Evan, 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.