Okay, so now you will get the reference.
Unusual for a Monday night, the SoulMates opened with a vocal number! A nice intro to what was going to turn into some funky stuff. This was followed by an instrumental that gave occassion for drummer Reinhardt Melz to erupt into a wild streetfight solo that he cooled off as quickly as he lit it up. After a few minutes, of course.
We had some blues dropped on us next or, as "Bird" says, "Here's some blues for ya'll." Then a tasty treat of "conjuring up the ghost of Professor Longhair" with Down by the Riverside. This is where it all turned so funky. I mean, the stank is still hangin' after 3-4 days!
And after some more funky soul, the SoulMates unleashed Cruisin' which is a nice, easy, soulful stroll, right? You remember Tina Turner's spoken introduction to Proud Mary? "Right now, I think you'd like to hear something from us nice...and easy... and we'd like to do that for ya. But, you see, we never, ever do nothing...nice...and easy... We always do it nice...and rough... We're gonna take the beginning of this song...and we're gonna do it...easy... But then we're gonna do the finish...rough."
Just in case you don't know what I'm talking about here is a Youtube link to watch the Ike & Tina Turner performance.
During the Jay "Bird" Koder composition Man for You, Jonah and Monica were on the phone with Alonda from Kansas City who had been there a couple of weeks before and had immensely enjoyed the SoulMates. She wanted to still hear them, so she called when she knew that Jonah and Monica would be at the Candlelight and she specifically requested that song. How cool is that! Sending out a requested song to Kansas City from Portland.
For the record, I have been mistakenly referring to this song as I Could Be the Man for You. The "Bird" looked me right in the eye and said, "The song is called Man for You! Not I Could Be the Man for You."
Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa!
The comings and goings of the night were a buffet of talent and cool. Reo sang us into a soul swing and was accompanied by Ricky Vernato of Andy Stokes' band. That band performs at the Candlelight on Sunday nights. But what a sweet combination to see Reo, Ricky and the SoulMates sharing music with us.
Reo strolls into the audience, singing to the ladies and making their eyes roll back into their heads. One smooth man. He narrates between the lyrics about making up a pot of grits and giving one woman a foot-rub. Barry White never had such words!Ricky Vernato stayed on to perform Betcha-by-golly-wow, a great hit by The Stylistics. So nice.
Arietta had been sitting in the back for most of the night, just groovin' to what was being laid on the table with Can't Hide Love. But then she gets the altar call from Jarrod and she joins the SoulMates for If You want Me to Stay. The Sly Stone funk was looking more like George Clinton through it all.
But I have to tell you, I have never enjoyed any version of this song more than what I heard from Andrew Clay on Monday night at the Candlelight. This coming from a big Al Jarreau fan!
He was singing of the longing grief in this song:
Thoughts of leaving disappear/Every time I see your eyes
No matter how hard I try
To understand the reasons/Why we carry on this way
We're lost in a masquerade
He pulls us into the longing and loneliness of the song and then, while the music still plays...
He puts down the microphone and just walks away! He leaves us. It was cool but it was gut-wrenching. My wife said to me, "Wow! That was so cool!" Yeah, but I wanted to yell, "Hey! Get you #&%* back over here! Don't you leave us!" But that is precisely what drove that song home to me. It wasn't music alone. Man, it was theatre!
Fortunately, the SoulMates brought back that funk with All Day Sucker. If they hadn't, I might have cried right there! It was that spacefunk that had begun way back earlier in the evening with Down By the Riverside and Fly Like an Eagle. But let me say again, it was thatsong Cruisin', the one that is supposed to be so smooth but the one that lit it up for the whole night.
Reinhardt simply beat the livnig daylights out of his trap set with all kinds of Dumpstaphunk rhythms and flash. Jarrod was wringing every bit of emotion out of the song with unbelievably sustained notes. His keyboard work was so right on it! The "Bird" just tore his Gibson to shreds with what he was doing to it. Talk about flash! There was plenty of it and I was digging it plenty.
So, in the middle of all this wizardry; in the middle of all this flash from all three of our SoulMates, "Bird" looks me right in the eye and says...
"Rick Wakeman, take THIS!"
Now, I'm not overstating this nor am I just a Koder fan-boy. But there is one guy... and one guy only... who could say that to me and me not laugh at him. It was the man holding the Gibson.