The Sons of Mudboy perform their variation of W. C. Handy’s “Memphis Blues” also known as “Mr. Crump Don’t Allow It Here” at the Sid Selvidge Tribute Concert at the Levitt Shell in Overton Park, 6/25/13
The band Sons of Mudboy AKA Three-Legged Dog is the logical outgrowth of the super Memphis group Mudboy and the Neutrons, which I have discussed at length in the past. Sons of Mudboy consists of Steve Selvidge, Luther Dickinson, Cody Dickinson and Paul Taylor, and as such was the perfect group to close out Tuesday night’s celebration of the life and work of Steve’s dad Sid Selvidge. The band played an acoustic set, which was followed by a fairly lengthy documentary about Sid Selvidge in which the late singer-songwriter discussed the impact of Furry Lewis and Black culture on his music, and also where he discussed the origins of the name Mudboy and the Neutrons. Then the band Son of Mudboy came back out and closed out this most important night of Memphis music with a final electric set.
John Kilzer performs his song “Kentucky Water” from the album “Seven” at the Sid Selvidge Tribute Concert at the Levitt Shell in Memphis, joined by Susan Marshall, Reba Russell, Scott Thompson and Jim Spake, 6/25/13
How many people can say they’ve been a star basketball player, a college professor and poet, a songwriter, a rock-and-roll star and then a pastor? That unlikely odyssey is reality for John Kilzer, one of Memphis’ best-beloved basketball stars in his youth who went on to become one of Memphis’ best-beloved music figures. He was also a close friend of Sid Selvidge’s which is why his appearance at the Levitt Shell Tuesday night was so appropriate. Kilzer for the most part stuck to songs from his 2011 masterpiece album Seven, opening with his ballad “The Stranger”, but the high point (at least for me) was his climactic performance of the album opener “Kentucky Water” featuring guest appearances from vocalist Susan Marshall and Reba Russell as well as trumpeter Scott Thompson and saxman Jim Spake. That tune, with its soulful, funky feel and dadaist lyrics sounds like what might have been the result had Bob Dylan decided to record at Royal Studios with Hi Rhythm.
California bluesman Alvin Youngblood Hart has family ties to Carroll County, Mississippi and moved to Memphis a few years ago, which has been a tremendous blessing to our local music community. Having him perform at the Sid Selvidge Tribute at the Levitt Shell Tuesday night was especially appropriate, as Hart and Selvidge were both involved in the efforts to preserve the acoustic Delta blues style. Alvin is of course a versatile performer, as comfortable in his electric rock-oriented ensemble as in an acoustic setting, but on Tuesday night he kept it acoustic, being joined on a couple of tunes by Luther Dickinson on mandolin.
On Tuesday June 25, 2013, a large number of Memphis musicians and fans of Memphis music came together at the Levitt Shell in Overton Park to celebrate the life and legacy of the late Sid Selvidge, a singer/songwriter from Greenville, Mississippi who came to Memphis in the late 1950’s and had a profound impact on the city’s music scene, both as a songwriter and solo artist, and also as a member of the supergroup Mudboy and the Neutrons, along with Jim Dickinson, Jimmy Crosthwaite and Lee Baker. Despite the hot weather, the Levitt Shell was filled with as many fans as I’ve ever seen, and the evening’s festivities were started off by a folk group known as Crawpatch.