Written by Eddie Ferranti
Jul 17, 2012 at 08:00 PM
ImageThis fine evening in north Houston, Rose & I wanted to just kick back, catch a buzz, slam a few cold ones and drift back in a musical time machine with “The Dukes of September” at the Cynthia Woods Pavillion. Well I’d say mission accomplished!

The “Rhythm Revue” consisted of Steely Dan driving force Donald Fagen, Doobie Brother Michael McDonald and the genre-crossing guitar wizard Boz Scaggs all on stage at the same time. The format was very cool in that they played not only their hits but killer covers that fit their respective awesome talents.

From the opening bell with Isley Brothers hit “That Lady,” the tone was set in a good way. You’d figure that a project like this would have the trio surrounded by a stout set of session players and that was the case for sure, especially lead guitarist Jon Herington. When called upon, he really delivered some blistering hot solos. Michael Leonhart on horns and Freddie Washington on bass cooked along with the over the top “back up singers” lead by Catherine Russell whose father, Luis Russell, was Louie Armstrong’s longtime musical director.

But, of course, the evening belonged to the three studs and they were beyond good. Fagen came across a lot more animated than I expected albeit his vocals a tad off. Super moments by him included “Kid Charlemagne”, stellar intro to “Hey Nineteen”, and flashback city on upbeat “Reelin’ in the Years”. In fact, his highlight moment might of been when he barked: “Here’s one of those summer songs. Y’all know about summer here right?!” That was followed by the pounding piano keys intro to Lovin’ Spoonful classic “Summer in the City”  Very sweet stuff.

McDonald shined on “I Keep Forgettin'”, sizzling “If You Don’t Know Me By Now”, and rockin’ foot stompin’ “Takin’ it To The Streets”! Hearing cuts like these made me feel damn fortunate to live IN the time frame that these artists cut their teeth.

ImageAnd the main reason our butts were in the seats was to catch the marvelous timeless talent that is Boz Scaggs. He was the man this night in Texas make no bones about it. The elongated jams he put out there really had me driftin’ all night long in a glowing good way. BS blew me away on the the tune “That Same Thing” where he undercut a mean ass solo that would of made Muddy Waters stand up and clap! Scaggs brought dancers to their feet with a smokin’ hot version of “Lowdown”! His work covers the styles of rock, jazz, blues, soul, R&B, and pop so effortlessly that I feel he’s overlooked in the rankings of truly great artists.

All in all, the blending of the three was beyond enjoyable. My only real nit pick was featuring Catherine Russell on Erma Franklin’s (Aretha’s sister) “Piece of My Heart” done in a soul drippin’ style versus the rough edged Joplin version.  Plus running out Carolyn Leonhart to do “Heard It Thru the Grapevine”.  It was great, but why feature back-up singers when you have 3 awesome talents ON stage already?  Made no sense to me.

It was all worth it to glance around to the baby boomer dominated crowd smiling wide and lost in a time warp exuberant dance remembering days gone by when things just seemed so much simpler…Catch ya out there “somewhere” folks!