Ponderosa Stomp

Trolling South by Southwest 2007

Ponderosa Stomp

Opal Divine's Freehouse, Friday, March 16

Bringing a bit of N'awlins to Texas, the Ponderosa Stomp might not have had the star power of the Stax Revue, but it had twice as much fire in its belly. This year's Stomp, an annual event that happens between Jazzfest weekends in NOLA, celebrated artists from the fringes of America's music scenes of the Fifties and Sixties. In doing so, it proved that not only are these artists still vital, they move audiences in ways that others can't. Through most of the evening, Lafayette, La.'s Lil' Buck Senegal & the Buckaroos, featuring Stanley "Buckwheat" Dural on organ, proved an amazingly dexterous house band. In full costume, the Flaming Arrows Mardi Gras Indians, with special guest Big Chief Roddy, got close to the Big Muddy with primitive percussion and call-and-response vocals. The Empress of Gulf Coast Soul, Barbara Lynn, brought her astonishing guitar playing and a set that, while paying tribute to James Brown and Ray Charles, had the audience at an emotional peak. Also notable were Detroit's Dennis Coffey, whose funky guitar skronk defied his grandfatherly looks, and Houston's Archie Bell, who not only did the "Tighten Up" but proved that at 63 he's still got better moves than the rest of us.

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