Past

The Divine Mister B

kbsitepicsession023We had a pretty solid crew that night.  The lovely and talented wonder boy Mcshane on guitar, Waits playing bass, that’d be me holding down the rhythm on the backline, we’d managed to convince the good Doctor T to haul his leslie down so we’d have that classic piece of rotating joy with him playing the organ, and you couldn’t ask for anyone better than Josie to be working the kit woman could rock hard and stop on a dime.  Most wondrous of all sitting in on sax we had Mister Bill Lennie, Leonard to his friends.  He’d been on the road for a long stretch, finally got time off for good behaviour bought a house and settled down.  A lifetime playing because he had to to pay the bills, “and now I play when I want to.”  Which was most of the time, but every musician I knew understood the difference.

Oh yeah this was gonna be some fun.

It took a while to get everyone set up with enough room to work, but this was a cheerful bunch so eventually it sorted out, with much laughter in the meantime.  There was a buzz in the room no question.  I nodded to Josie.  Always thought it was a good thing she liked me, otherwise she’d have me for breakfast.

She grinned.  “Haven’t seen you in a while, you ever learn how to play that thing?”

“Just as bad as ever.  Happily they let me stand back here with the real musicians, so everyone thinks I know what I’m doing.”

“Your secret is safe with me.”

I laughed and turned to my amp, dialled in a sound, mellow and round, with just a hint of bite, there’d be time to step it out later, and checked in with the rest of gang.  Mcshane was ready to crank the guitar on demand, but for now our man of infinite solos was hanging out with the rest of us workin’ stiffs on the backline.  For the moment we weren’t looking to the singer neither, she was off the side and ready.  No, it was up to the divine Mister B to set the tone.  And he didn’t disappoint.  The man waited for us to pay attention, took one slow turn around the stage, finally came to stand in the centre facing us with his back to the crowd, closed his eyes for a second.  Nobody moved.  Felt like forever.  Then it came.

“Three shots, hit me!”   Bam.  Bam.  Bam.  Ain’t nothin’ like a whole band whackin’ you upside the head to get your full attention.  Leonard played a mean sax, and like tenors throughout history he made you sit up and take notice from the word.  And the word was wail.  We set up a tight groove, red hot and rolling, and the man whipped around and rocked the joint.  Two bars in and the people were howling with delight.  We’re on the move, let’s open ‘er up and see what she’ll do.  This was not gonna be an easy night, nope, long and hard, but worth every minute.

Leonard ran us through the changes twice to set the tone.  Then like a true gentleman he made perfect space for Tony and that amazing voice stepped into place, effortless and right on time.  “What you want?”  The focus was on the vocals, where it belonged for now, the man went and stood beside Mcshane so they could do the horn shots together.  “What you need?”  Sax, guitar and organ answered two times.  “What you want?”  Two more hits and we tightened up the groove even more, impossible not to move the crowd started jumping.  “Tell me!”  Sax hit it hard and wailed in the space, seamless and everyone into the shots again, two times.  We took it around the turn and rode it head down and rockin’, then came the payoff.  “What you need?”  Full stop, everybody, no count.

“Respect, yeah!!”  The people roared and we took off at full throttle.  Let there be freakin’ light.

It just wasn’t possible but somehow we kept that energy going for what seemed like forever, maybe more.  Hot grooves, wailing sax, righteous sounds.  It was a wild night.  Leonard and Tony pushing one another harder and higher.  And just when you thought there’d be a break so you could breathe Mcshane would step up to the plate and send out a solo make you scream with joy.  I remember looking up at one point seeing a houseful of happy moving to a groove supplied by a bandful of some of the finest people I’d ever had the privilege of playing with.  Yeah, I thought, I could die now and be content.

But first, maybe just a couple more tunes.

We had a pretty solid crew that night. The lovely and talented wonder boy Mcshane on guitar, Waites playing bass, that’d be me holding down the rhythm on the backline, we’d managed to convince the good Doctor T to haul his leslie down so we’d have that classic piece of rotating joy with him playing the organ, and you couldn’t ask for anyone better than Josie to be working the kit woman could rock hard and stop on a dime. Most wondrous of all sitting in on sax we had Mister Bill Lennie, Leonard to his friends. He’d been on the road for a long stretch, finally got time off for good behaviour bought a house and settled down. A lifetime playing because he had to to pay the bills, “and now I play when i want to.” Which was most of the time, but every musician I knew understood the difference.

Oh yeah this was gonna be some fun.

It took a while to get everyone set up with enough room to work, but this was a cheerful bunch so eventually it sorted out, with much laughter in the meantime. There was a buzz in the room no question. I nodded to Josie. Always thought it was a good thing she liked me, otherwise she’d have me for breakfast.

She grinned. “Haven’t seen you in a while, you ever learn how to play that thing?”

“Just as bad as ever. Happily they let me stand back here with the real musicians, so everyone thinks I know what I’m doing.”

“Your secret is safe with me.”

I laughed and turned to my amp, dialled in a sound, mellow and round, with just a hint of bite, there’d be time to step it out later, and checked in with the rest of gang. Mcshane was ready to crank the guitar on demand, but for now our man of infinite solos was hanging out with the rest of us workin’ stiffs on the backline. For the moment we weren’t looking to the singer neither, she was off the side and ready. No, it was up to the divine Mister B to set the tone. And he didn’t disappoint. The man waited for us to pay attention, took one slow turn around the stage, finally came to stand in the centre facing us with his back to the crowd, closed his eyes for a second. Nobody moved. Felt like forever. Then it came.

“Three shots, hit me!” Bam. Bam. Bam. Ain’t nothin’ like a whole band whackin’ you upside the head to get your full attention. Leonard played a mean sax, and like tenors throughout history he made you sit up and take notice from the word. And the word was wail. We set up a tight groove, red hot and rolling, and the man whipped around and rocked the joint. Two bars in and the people were howling with delight. We’re on the move, let’s open ‘er up and see what she’ll do. This was not gonna be an easy night, nope, long and hard, but worth every minute.

Leonard ran us through the changes twice to set the tone. Then like a true gentleman he made perfect space for Tony and that amazing voice stepped into place, effortless and right on time. “What you want?” The focus was on the vocals, where it belonged for now, the man went and stood beside Mcshane so they could do the horn shots together. “What you need?” Sax, guitar and organ answered two times. “What you want?” Two more hits and we tightened up the groove even more, impossible not to move the crowd started jumping. “Tell me!” Sax hit it hard and wailed in the space, seamless and everyone into the shots again, two times. We took it around the turn and rode it head down and rockin’, then came the payoff. “What you need?” Full stop, everybody, no count.

“Respect, yeah!!” The people roared and we took off at full throttle. Let there be freakin’ light.

It just wasn’t possible but somehow we kept that energy going for what seemed like forever, maybe more. Hot grooves, wailing sax, righteous sounds. It was a wild night. Leonard and Tony pushing one another harder and higher. And just when you thought there’d be a break so you could breathe Mcshane would step up to the plate and send out a solo make you scream with joy. I remember looking up at one point seeing a houseful of happy moving to a groove supplied by a bandful of some of the finest people I’d ever had the privilege of playing with. Yeah, I thought, I could die now and be content. But first, maybe just a couple more tunes.