Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Bo-Keys featuring John Gary Williams - Congratulations (Norton 9659)


The Bo-Keys are the real deal. Here in this post Willie Mitchell era, this is the place where Memphis Soul lives.

Fresh off their triumphant appearance at this year's Ponderosa Stomp, where they provided the soundtrack to their Tribute to Stax and Memphis Soul, backing up such luminaries as Sir Mack Rice, Eddie Floyd, William Bell and their good friend Otis Clay, they rocked the house last night at Joe's Pub in New York City.

With the incomparable Percy Wiggins handling the vocals, it does my heart good to see that (unlike it was back in the days when he was fronting Hi Rhythm) Percy is now performing some of his own material. It was a rare treat indeed for those of us on this side of the Atlantic to hear him sing both sides of his great 1967 ATCO 45, Book Of Memories and Can't Find Nobody (To Take Your Place). At 68 years of age, Mister Wiggins remains a shining example of what it means to be a Soul Man.

I really can't say enough about how much I appreciate what Scott Bomar has done, opening the doors of his Electraphonic Recording to bring new life and hope to people like our hero Howard Grimes who, at 70 years old, is finally being recognized for the legend he is.

This sweet record we have here, on which Scott brought in Mad Lads leader John Gary Williams to contribute to Norton Records cool Rolling Stones 45 project, offered a glimpse of what he had up his sleeve, the fantastic Got To Get Back. Released last June (and available on glorious vinyl), this stellar LP features Percy, William Bell and Otis Clay on the vocals, along with Memphis stalwarts like Skip Pitts, Floyd Newman, Ben Cauley, Archie Turner, Marc Franklin, and Kirk Smothers.

As I said, this is the place where Soul lives.

The Bo-Keys are currently on tour, and will be joined by Otis Clay when they play Chicago this Saturday, October 22nd. You should go.