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Live Review
Joe Juliano
& a Hot Cup of Rhythm & Blues
@ Whiskey Junction, January 23, 1999
By Ann Wickstrom
Joe Juliano
Jan. 23, 1999
Photo © 1999 Ann Wickstrom
All rights reserved
After months of hearing great things about Joe and his band, I finally had the opportunity to check out one of their gigs. It won't be my last! The Junction was comfortably full and steadily jumpin' for this funky dancefest. Joe is a very soulful singer and a rock solid guitar player, especially his rhythm playing. He understands the importance of being a good rhythm player and it did not go unappreciated. What's more, he has surrounded himself with top-notch musicians to form a seven-piece band that is so tight it's scary. They include veteran keyboard player Andy Bailey, with his ever-present tattoos and leather pants. Craig Gallas is behind the drums and Rufus Soles complements him on percussion. Many local blues fans would recognize the horn section:  Paul Strickland on sax and Todd Matheson on trumpet. These two are no strangers to Twin Cities stages. But it was bassist Leon McCormick, a native of Oklahoma, that really caught my ear. This is one bad and funky player; check him out for yourself when you see this band!

Joe plays a great mixture of covers and originals, some from his two CDs and some from one that is forthcoming. He laid down Johnnie Bassett's "Raise the Roof/Raise the Rent", a James Brown medley ("Papa's Got a Brand New Bag/I Feel Good"), and "Soul Man". Originals included "Roadkill", "Tangueray", "She's Into Something", and "Walk Right Outta Here".

The dance floor was ALWAYS full, even on the ballad "Three Shades of Blue". This is a really tasty song that Joe wrote awhile back in response to a drunk's challenge. The drunk said, "If you're so good, write a song called "Three Shades of Blue". So he did. It's a fantastic tune and will be on the next CD.

Andy Bailey really gets the crowd whooped up into a frenzy. On this night he abandoned his piano at one point and walked across the stage, saying things like, "I'm in love with a woman! And she's in love with a woman too!"

If you dig classic rhythm and blues and funky soul and you love to dance, this is your band. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes; sitting still simply isn't an option.

This review is copyright © 1999 by Ann Wickstrom and Blues On Stage, all rights reserved.

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