Sons of Mudboy take residence in Memphis

Sons of Mudboy
1884 Lounge
Memphis, Tennessee
April 3, 2013

Tucked away in the corner of Minglewood Plaza lies the 1884 Lounge, the little brother of the bigger Minglewood Hall. It generally plays host to smaller acts – local bands trying to break through, or maybe the odd major act who just can’t, for whatever reason, fill a bigger room when they come to town. But, on April 3, an act took the stage that is the odd hybrid of both categories.

The Sons of Mudboy are actually just that – offspring of Steve Selvidge and the late Jim Dickinson, members of the veritable Memphis band Mud Boy & the Neutrons. All of the musicians on stage have other gigs going; Luther and Cody Dickinson with the North Mississippi Allstars, and Steve Selvidge with the Hold Steady. Paul Taylor joins the band on stage, and he was bass player for Luther and Cody’s pre-Allstars band D.D.T., and currently fronts a tremendous band called the Merry Mobile. And then there’s Jimmy Crosthwait, who played the whole show on washboard and was actually IN Mud Boy & the Neutrons.
som-2The band has shows scheduled all the way through the end of May at 1884 Lounge, and if any of the subsequent gigs hold a candle to the first one, Memphis is in for a wild ride.

The band promised the setlists would be comprised of Mud Boy tunes, covers, and songs from the band members’ catalogs  and the residency opened up with “Codine,” a song in rotation for Mud Boy & the Neutrons and that made its way into setlists of other Dickinson projects. Immediately it was clear that, while the band would hold true to the essence of the songs, they’d be putting their own spin on the numbers. “Codine” had a much spacier feel than it traditionally does, in the best possible way. Selvidge’s guitar work was tremendous, but it was Cody’s work on keyboards that really colored the song.

It’s important to note that throughout the evening, the members constantly traded off instruments. Cody traditionally plays drums for the Allstars, but he opened this show on keyboard. Luther Dickinson handled bass duties for about half the show, and Taylor opened on drums, moved over to bass, and played guitar for a few tunes as well (more on him later).

The band did justice to the familiar “KC Jones,” Taylor took over vocals on “Dark End of the Street,” and they absolutely killed the Sleepy John Estes tune, “Going to Brownsville.” They also paid a short but sweet homage to legendary Memphis band Big Star with “Jesus Christ Lived.”

In possibly the strongest segment of the night, though, the band broke out a huge sandwich that started with “Land of 1000 Dances,” shifted into “Power to the People,” had a few bars of Sly & the Family Stone’s “I Want to Take You Higher,” and then went back to “Land.”

som-1Taylor handled bass during the run, and absolutely blew the roof off. His musical dexterity is pretty impressive. On guitar, he can lay down a blistering solo, and his funky bass laid the ground work for one of the better jams of the night. During the song(s), Luther’s familiar fluid guitar was front and center, and at one point he moved over to the keyboard to take on those duties.

After a short encore break, the band came back out and Selvidge remarked that they were going to play something psychedelic, something that the audience had heard before. Then, they reprised “Codine,” this time with Taylor shredding a sizzling solo opposite Selvidge. The band closed the show with “Hey Bo Diddley,” and then called it a night.

The band seemed clearly thrilled to be on stage with each other, and in front of their home crowd. With a $5 cover, there’s no excuse for the local music scene to not come out to support the best local product out there at the moment. While the Sons of Mudboy may not be the primary gig for any on stage, they’re easily as talented an act as any of the musicians’ main jobs.

It will be a treat to watch the band’s weekly development, and who knows? It may turn into something greater.

We should be so lucky.

Click on the thumbnail(s) to view photos from the show by Josh Mintz