Friday, 29 July 2011

STAX! with EDDIE FLOYD at the 229 CLUB

This was Eddie Floyd in London on Wednesday night. It was difficult to get a better photograph as he refused to keep still. From one side of the stage to other he stomped, clapped, pointed, danced, wiped sweat from his brow and flicked it out with his fingers; the energy he produced was incredible.

After the Stax house band of Steve Cropper, Duck Dunn, Lester Snell and Steve Potts had raided the Booker T. & The MGs catalogue, there was a palpable sense of impatience festering in the room. “Melting Pot”, “Green Onions”, “Soul Limbo”, “Hip-Her-Hug”, “Summertime” and others were all decent, even if a deaf ear had to turned to the occasional drum or guitar solo. What makes Steve Cropper so respected is his crisp and economic guitar playing, so when one witnesses him squinty eyed and gurning, pulling an axe solo, it doesn’t warrant much of a soul clap. Not that I blame him after knocking out the same songs for fifty years, but after 45 minutes and when time is tight, it needed fresh impetus.

That came once Cropper introduced Eddie “The Alabama Slammer” Floyd to the stage. 75 years old but in his movement and strength of voice, could’ve been half that. I make allowances for classic acts; they can’t be expected to match their peak years, but if Eddie Floyd was better than this in 1967, then histories need rewriting. Considered a rung below the soul ladder to Otis, the Wicked Pickett, Sam and Dave, his contribution has been unfairly overlooked. As well as his own stormers like “Raise Your Hand”, “Big Bird” and his anthem “Knock On Wood”, he wrote and produced for others and his career at Stax career lasted well into the mid-70s. As one of the last remaining true soul men he went up a few notches in my estimation after this performance. Fingersnapping good.

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