Tag Archives: Paul Taylor

Sons of Mudboy a family affair

Sons of Mudboy
1884 Lounge
Memphis, Tennessee
May 29, 2013

Luther Dickinson stood at the front of the stage, drenched in sweat, microphone in one hand and the other cocked back to accentuate the lyrics he was delivering like the deftest of MCs. It was towards the end of yet another marathon Wednesday night set by the Sons of Mudboy, and Dickinson had the crowd in the palm of his hand. That’s what the residency has turned into; two months into their weekly gig at 1884 Lounge in Minglewood Hall, the band is ever-changing, but one thing remains the same: the friends, family, and neighbors that faithfully arrive each week know that anything and everything can happen.

_MG_8190-BDickinson is the de facto leader of the band whose line-up is always in flux. Depending on who’s available, on any given night the entire roster can and will change. As May came to a close, the group that kicked off the evening included the actual sons of Mudboy & the Neutrons: Luther and Cody Dickinson (North Mississippi Allstars, Black Crowes, etc.), son of Jim Dickinson; Ben Baker, son of Lee Baker, and Steve Selvidge (the Hold Steady, Big Ass Truck), son of Sid Selvidge. The band was joined by original Neutron Jimmy Crosthwait, drummer Robert Barnett (Big Ass Truck), Paul Taylor (the Merry Mobile and others), and George Sluppick (Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Mofro). Seemingly everyone on stage had a connection to one another, be it blood or musically.

It’s been a ride watching the band develop over the past two months. While they have played together for decades, to watch a band literally sprout on stage over the course of time has been a treat. The band can seemingly play anything and everything, and the first set started with the bluesy intro jam, which was followed with by the folksy, shuffling “John Henry > Judge Bouche.”

One of the intriguing features of the band is their versatility – the ability of nearly everyone on stage to swap instruments at any time. So, while Luther is by trade a guitar player – it has always been his instrument of choice be it with the Allstars or while he was with the Black Crowes – he started the show on bass but over the course of the show also played guitar and keyboards. Likewise, Taylor moved from guitar to drums to bass with little to no loss in play quality.

The addition of Sluppick for the night brought an added element to the line-up. One, he’s a damn fine drummer, Chris Robinson wouldn’t have tapped him for his band otherwise. Two it allowed allowed for Taylor to spend a little more time on bass and guitar.

This musical dexterity was on display during the finest moment of the first set, “Codine.” During this Buffy Sainte-Marie tune that Jim Dickinson had in his rotation, Luther laid down a steady bass line while Taylor unleashed a furious guitar solo. Jim Dickinson’s version of the tune had an edge to it, but the Sons’ version is spacey in an Allman-esque way. And, with two drummers on stage and dual guitars, it took on that tone exponentially.

_MG_8440-BThe second set opened with more players on stage. With the addition of local saxophone players Jim Spake and Art Edmaiston (Mofro) and bass player John Stubblefield (Lucero), there were 11 people crammed onto the tiny 1884 Lounge stage. The collective started with the soul of Wilson Picket’s “Land of 1000 Dances,”  segued into Jr. Walker’s “Shotgun,” and it eventually evolved into a gritty take on the Beatles’ “Tomorrow Never Knows.”

The transition into the song seemed a tad disjointed as they went from one tempo into something completely different, but that’s kinda expected given there were nearly a dozen people on stage, some of whom had probably never played together. Accentuated by the haunting saxophones and reverb-drenched guitar from Selvidge, Luther delivered the lyrics with a growl. As the jam progressed the band settled into a nice pocket, and Luther broke out the slide to deliver one of his trademark solos. The band’s eventual transition back into “Shotgun” was a much smoother affair.

The band genre-jumped again to close the show, going from the Beastie Boys’ “Mark on the Bus” into a jam that touched on Sly & the Family Stone’s  “I Want to Take You Higher,” with Taylor laying down some downright funky bass lines.

As the show came to a close, it was evident that there’s true musical chemistry between the core members of the group. There are some connections that take years and years to nuture and some that are instantaneous, and each Wednesday, the Sons of Mudboy seem to display both.

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

Sons of Mudboy, 5/22/13

Sons of Mudboy
1884 Lounge

Memphis, Tennessee
May 22, 2013

As the Sons of Mudboy’s residency on Wednesday nights at 1884 Lounge has progressed from week to week, several things have become clear. One is that no matter who’s on stage, this is an adept group of musicians, capable of playing nearly anything on nearly any instrument.

Second is that you never know who’ll show up. From week to week the roster has been fluid, a veritable who’s who of Memphis musicians. The core group has, for the most part, been the true sons of Mudboy and the Neutrons: Luther and Cody Dickinson, Steve Selvidge, and Ben Baker. A true Mudboy (or Neutron), Jimmy Crosthwait, is also a fixture at the weekly gig.

But, no matter who is on stage to being or end the show, the one constant has been the quality music.

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

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