Written by Eddie Ferranti
Mar 31, 2009 at 08:00 PM
ImageOne thing I’ve noticed since I just hit the “double nickel” of life, 55, is that my passion for covering live music is growing but my ability to handle school night gigs is weakening. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still hitting weekday shows, but as a critic I’m much more alert shall we say. So when Rosie & I popped out this evening it was to see Ginger Leigh at the Mucky Duck in Houston. We had crossed paths last October when she shared the evening with Wendy Colonna at Almost Austin House Concerts.  She really got my attention that night and I vowed to see her again.

Well, it took almost 5 months to do it, but it was well worth the wait for sure. Girl hits the stage apologizing for running late and also sets the ground rules of sorts. “I like it when y’all talk to me, just don’t heckle my ass!”  Great start in my book. If you’ve ever had the pleasure of seeing fellow Austinite Patrice Pike handle a stage, imagine adding two shots of whiskey and a jalapeno and you have Ginger Leigh ! Or as she stated how they say it in Italy: “Ginger LEG”. Classic.  GL kicked off the show with a cut from her latest album “Don’t Be Shy” which came out last October. “Lover” came right at yo ass big time. She followed that with a request from sweet lil Darla who handles the CD sales for her (and Patrice Pike) which was called “Time to Move On”. Both opening numbers featured foot stompin’ rowdiness that was a pleasure to behold. She slid into a rarely done number “My Life” and then a very original “Sugar in My Coffee” which featured use of foot pedals to create “background” singers using her own voice. Easily sounded like at least 2 folks were on stage. Nice touch.

Ginger then showed her loving side by doing an acapella number by request from a woman in the crowd who had never heard a song done that way. She chose the classic “San Francisco Bay Blues” which has been covered by the likes of Phoebe Snow and Eric Clapton. Leigh then rolled into a tune from her old band Ginger & Sarah called “After a While”, which had a nice branch off singalong of “Knockin on Heaven’s Door” sandwiched inbetween. “Its Your Voice” is a redo for her redone on “Don’t Be Shy”. It showcased how captivating this woman can be. It was the next gesture that stood out to me for what Ginger Leigh the person is.

A group of ladies yelled out a request before the break for “Charge Laughing”. GL said that is always her show closer and to please stick around for the 2nd set. Well come to find out, the ladies were a group of teachers that had to leave because it was literrally a school night for them. Miss Leigh promptly changed her whole gig around and played the tune stating the repect she had for the teaching community in today’s world. Ginger can be a bulldawg (in a good way) and she’s definitely in charge from start to finish, but inside is a caring sweetheart of a girl. THIS is a good thing to me. The 2nd half rolled with highlights like “Rain Down” with Ginger busting balls left and right. The rarely done cover tune for her of “In These Shoes” was totally bad ass. Having the crowd join in the “Wah Wah Wah” horn noises was classic indeed. Then a disaster turned to gold when the power went out and GL just handled it like a pro and bustin’ into a Concrete Blond cut called “Vampire Song”. As if planned for killer effect, the power came BACK to the mike halfway thru the tune and she continued to stray back and forth from mike to no mike. You had to be there to feel how cool it really was!

She reached back again for “Glory Days” and a gospel backgrounded “Don’t Be Shy” with echo backing that worked to perfection.  “Holy World” followed as she took a glass of wine from a woman she tagged as MISS TAXI CAB !  Had me rolling…………”Mexican Man” ruled and ended up with “A Little Ditty” !  I know I sound like I’m slobbering all over this perfomance, but it just felt that good to this reviewer and Rosie. If some a-holes would of shown some more respect and shut the hail up, the gig would of even been stronger in my mind.  All in all, this venture into doing something on a work night was beyond enjoyable.  Get off your ass folks and go support these fine musicians-like Ginger Leigh- who have to pay the bills, too. Music is an escapism for me in this rat race we call life and when somebody like GL comes to town again, I’ll be on her like white on rice……………God Bless Ginger and you, too!