Written by James Killen
Oct 17, 2013 at 07:00 PM
ImageLast Thursday night Houston finished up the fall concert series at Discovery Green with a double shot of the blues, featuring Houstonian, Annika Chambers and New Yorker, Shemekia Copeland. Miss Chambers started the evening out with her ten piece band strutting out some of the tunes that will be featured on her upcoming debut, “Making my Mark”, due out in January.

Annika opened up with “Put it Where you Want it” featuring some wailing sax and guitar solos. Her set was full of double entendre blues lyrics in the finest ladies of the blues tradition, including “All the Hens go to Running” and “I Want to be your Liquor”.   She sprinkled a few cover songs in as well like Robert Guidry’s “I’m the Jealous Kind”.

The band was joined by Miss Dee Ray for a rappish sort of song called “Give Me another Hit of that Feel Good”. Annika touched on her gospel roots singing a song about finding peace on earth or in Heaven and closed her set out with a funk blues piece that she co-wrote with Miss Dee Ray. The band was tight with three talented guitarists, two keyboardists, a great sax player and wonderful backing vocals for Miss Chambers’ amazing voice. She and her band will be playing Warehouse Live on 10/25/2013.

Shemekia Copeland, daughter of Houston born Johnny Clyde Copeland, was quick to claim Houston as part of her heritage, even though she grew up in Harlem. She pointed out that growing up in Harlem, all of the boys wanted to be hip/hop rapsters and all of the little girls wanted to sing like Whitney Houston. Shemekia always intended to sing the blues with heroes like Koko Taylor and Etta James.

Shemekia led off her set with “Dirty Water” featuring a killer slide guitar part, followed by a funky “Giving Up You”. Ms. Copeland took us from Thursday night in the park to Saturday night in the club with “The Other Woman (Was Me)”, a song of sudden realization and betrayal. Yeah, baby, that could be the blues. Following in fine tradition was a rocking tune with guttural vocals called “Big Lovin’ Woman”.

Ms. Copeland took the band out for a spin on a song written by her father called, “Circumstances”. Willie Scandlyn played a growling dirty lead which was closely followed by a screaming Les Paul lead from Arthur Nielson. She sang an original Shemekia composition that she later dedicated to Johnny Winter called “I Ain’t Gonna Be Your Tatoo” (end up faded and blue) that featured a shredding lead guitar that would have made Johnny proud.

ImageShemekia wasn’t warming to any self-righteous proclamations when she sang “Somebody Else’s Jesus”. She did however give a reverent bow to Koko Taylor with the style and rhythm of “Has Anybody Seen My Man” and followed that up with the creepy murder cover-up song “Never Going Back to Memphis”.

Shemekia began to take it home with a depiction of her grandmother’s church called “Big Brand New Religion” and a song that she wrote for her Daddy called “Ghetto Child”. The encore was one of her more popular tunes, “It’s 2AM” (Do you know where your baby is?)

Without a doubt, Thursday night’s blues extravaganza was the perfect way to close up the Discovery Green fall series. Both bands were a joy to watch and hear. Annika was striking out a new road in the blues from Houston and Shemekia was stretching one out from Harlem, carrying on the tradition that had been the passion of her father, Koko and Etta. Personally, I felt lucky to be amongst the viewers. Ya’ll have fun. We do.