Shirley King
@ The Blues Saloon, March 7, 1997

This was Shirley's return engagement to the Twin Cities at the Blues Saloon, only on this trip she was short a band. She was able, however, to round up some outstanding musicians the night before at Famous Dave's BBQ and Blues. Former Ohio Player and band mate of Robert Ward, Marshall Jones was on bass. Greg McFarlane from Ipso Facto was on drums, Denny Thompson provided some great guitar playing and brother Orvin Thompson (formerly of Ipso) led the band on keyboards. Without any rehearsal Shirley and band put on another very entertaining show.

Shirley King, the Daughter of the Blues, is one of those blues performers that really understands how to entertain an audience. She knows how to get right into the face of the audience (and even on a few laps) to build the energy in the room to a level on par with her singing and dancing. Her colorful costumes added a nice touch that drew upon her dancing background - there was the flashy gold for the first set, the smart black outfit for the second and her red xxx rated costume for the third set (this was a fun show). She also knows how to get the audience into the act -- literally. During the song Proud Mary Shirley was out on the dance floor with half a dozen other ladies from the audience who were doing the back up singing and dancing to her Tina Turner routine. The men in the band were her "Ikes", she said, and the girls on the dance floor with her were her "Shirlets!" This had to be the longest version of Proud Mary I've ever heard. Local singer Jacque' Short added a powerful guest vocal. During the song Little Red Rooster Shirley had one of the friendly audience hecklers up on a chair on the dance floor with her hand over his mouth to try and control his interruptions - all done in good fun with everyone having a good time.

Local bluesman Big Walter Smith was in the audience and was coaxed up on stage during the second set for a fine guest vocal. Shirley's show stopper came with her rendition of Hoochie Coochie (Wo)man that just tore up the room. I am looking forward to seeing Shirley again at the Chicago Blues Festival on June 5th and hopefully she will return to the Twin Cities this fall (maybe around the time her dad B.B. King is in town for the Mill City Music Festival).

Copyright 1997 by Ray M. Stiles. All rights reserved. All reviews are copyright protected. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, or any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the author.