Mark Margolies, accompanied by the Fabulous Rhythm Aces made their debut at the JSJBF member venue the Chubby Pickle last Friday night as part of board member Joseph Vincent Riggio’s Blue Collar Blues series. Mark has been playing in support of last year’s fine release, “Can’t You See.” Not to be confused with the song made famous by the Marshall Tucker Band, it’s a reference to Mark’s day job as an optometrist.
Opening was the host band, board member John Fernandez’s Incinerators, a band the audience in attendance never get tired of hearing because they always come prepared with some great old tunes seldom heard or new originals. They opened with the mid-tempo instrumental, “Bump,” which, like an athlete stretching before competition, allowed the band to warm up before taking off. That said, “She’s into Something,” first recorded by Muddy Waters in 1959, was a great choice. With John’s stinging guitar licks and Gary Neuwirth’s excellent harp fills, the band really brought this chestnut to life. Miss Kimmie made her first appearance on Irma Thomas “Don’t Mess With My Man.” Resplendent in her shimmering black blouse, black leather skirt and tartan plaid boots, she really belted this song out. She returned for two more, including the band original,”Discarded,” which bassist Steve Smith joked John wrote based on personal experience. John then asked Joseph Riggio to turn off Steve’s mic and we all had a good laugh! With Chris Martell keeping the beat on drums, Rich Coccoli taking some tasty leads, Gary on harp, John on lead guitar/vocals and Steve chipping in on vocals, this band is a tough act for anyone to follow.
When last I saw Mark in PA, he was with a band of local musicians, but since he was playing a long way from home he enlisted some locals, the Fabulous Rhythm Aces. They consisted of Lester K on drums/vocals, Tony Sky on the Mississippi saxophone and filling in on bass, Angelo Mancuso. Angelo is an old friend who I dealt with for many years with one of the most exiting bands in New Jersey, The Fins. We had a nice time catching up before they went on. They led out with Freddy King’s instrumental, “San-Ho-Zay,” and the crowd was into it, especially Sharon Lasher and her beau Lenny Matarese, who were dancing most of the evening. Next up was the Memphis Slim tune, “Lost Without You,” from the CD. Mark had the band alternating between rhumba and swing and these pros made it look easy. One of the many highlights of the set for me was “Baby, Scratch My Back” by Slim Harpo where the band got in a groove that just wouldn’t quit. “Work with Me,” a Sonny Boy Wiliamson tune covered on the disc, was done as a shuffle and much appreciated by those on hand. The song, “Sick & Tired,” made famous by Fats Domino, also included a nod to sixties surf music with Mark’s spot-on take of the instrumental, “Wipe Out” appearing midway through the tune. The band slowed it down with a Howlin’ Wolf inspired version of “Sitting on Top of the World.” They finished with another cut from the recent collection, Big Bill Broonzy’s “I Feel So Good” and it was hard to believe the night was over. A packed house was again treated to some of the best blues on the current music scene.
Next up, direct from the Fabulous Thunderbirds, is the Dean Shot Trio on April 21st.