Thursday, March 22, 2012

THE BONESHAKERS : Gettin' Down Just For The Funk Of It

Randy Jacobs & SweetPea Atkinson
The Boneshakers!

Rattling your sacroiliac to the groove of some of the funkiest players around, is what them Boneshakers is all about.

Randy Jacobs is the lead guitarist and one of the most underrated players currently out there. Sans pick, R.J. slices up his axe using everything and anything - fingers, thumbs, the palm of his hand, his wrist... whatever. And it produces some of the sweetest, dirtiest funk that a man can coax out of a machine made merely of wood and metal and wires.

Randy's partner-in-crime is the OG soul singer SweetPea Atkinson. A man who when he isn't sweetly crooning and smiling at the girls in the audience, has a scowl on his face - a mean gangsta scowl - like he's got a blade in his pocket, and he ain't afraid to use it. Thankfully, I've never actually seen him angry (well once, he was really pissed off at someone who wasn't around and his demeanor changed and out came a string of swear words like I never heard before!!!) SweetPea of course loves old soul music and has told me stories about the old days traveling around singing, swinging', doin' his thang. He loves The Staple Singers and we've spent a great deal of time talking about the famed L.A. concert in 1972 known as Wattstax. He wasn't there, but those are his contemporaries and he's got great stories from back in the day.

Y'know earlier today, I was thinking about some of my musical heroes who have passed on and how sad it is that I will never again see Isaac Hayes, Gil Scott-Heron or Billy Preston. These 3 artists in particular have brought me uncountable hours of entertainment (and knowledge), and I was privileged enough to see each one of them at least a dozen times in various venues, either headlining or backing someone. 

It is with these thoughts in my head that I wanna shout-out SweetPea Atkinson, an oldie but a goodie and also James Gadson. Gadson invented some of the funkiest beats in music, backing Charles Wright and Bill Withers among others. Still alive and kicking, he used to play every Monday night at Harvelle's where I was always in attendance digging' on the authentic grooves from this legendary drummer.

Cheers to Don Was who was in the house tonight!!

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