Saturday Night: Wild Men Of Rock At The Continental Club
Wild Men of Rock feat. Andre Williams, Archie Bell, Roy Head, Little Joe Washington, the Allen Oldies Band & special guest Sundance Head
Photos by Marc Brubaker Three Mustangs & A Stallion (clockwise from top left): Andre Williams, Roy Head, Archie Bell, Little Joe Washington
September 3, 2011
Question: How much "Mustang Sally" is too much "Mustang Sally"?
It's never been deconstructed David Allan Coe-style, but Aftermath is of the opinion that "Mustang Sally" might be the perfect R&B song. It's about one of the best hunks of rubber, steel and chrome to ever roll off a Detroit assembly line, and the mayhem that ensues when the naïve narrator hands over the keys to a "signifyin' woman." It's dusted with B-3 organ, has one of the all-time great call-and-response choruses in "ride, Sally, ride," and that classic bass line is pitched at the exact speed of a '65 'Stang on the prowl.
Hell, give Aftermath a bass guitar and about 15 minutes, and we can probably call up that bass line from our days as a member of the Long Walking Band's rhythm section, when we used to play "Mustang Sally" a few times a month at Austin dive bars like Charlie's Attic and the 311 Club. But nobody wants to hear that, and even in the hands of seasoned pros, "Mustang Sally" three times in one night is probably pushing it.
That's what we got Saturday night at the Continental's "Wild Men of Rock," though - three regional R&B legends united by their mutual frustration with Sally, and one (very) wild card in local guitar hero Little Joe Washington. Make that two and a half, actually.
He Pinch-Hits, He Scores: Sundance Head
"Sally" wasn't on Roy Head's set list, but his son Sundance put some leaded-gasoline oomph into it when he got up to spell his frog-throated pa for a couple of songs. Kudos to the younger Head, a doo-rag-clad fireplug of a young man with a voice to match his stout frame, for convincingly knocking the dust off the similarly hoary "Stormy Monday Blues" as well.
Roy Head, still treatin 'em right
If the Elder Head's voice wasn't up to the challenge of an ill-advised attempt at Bob Seger's "Turn the Page," he compensated with a repertoire that otherwise allowed him to get by on preacher-like grunts and his own incandescent charisma - Little Richard's "Lucille," Head's own classic "Treat Her Right" and a version of Sir Douglas Quintet's "She's About a Mover" arranged more like the Temptations' "Psychedelic Shack."
His microphone-twirling skills were first-rate too, or else one or more members of the Allen Oldies Band would be walking around with a good-sized welt on his head today, if not a concussion.