On a cold February night in front of an appreciative crowd, Tracy “Ms G” Graves on vocals, Frankie Gee on bass and vocals, Breeze Waker on drums, and the latest addition to the band, Tommy DiGenno, on guitar and vocals, took us on a musical journey through the blues, rock, funk and soul. And what a trip it was, from the opening notes of the original instrumental, “Breeze Bounce,” to the rousing conclusion of Mario “Slim Chance” Casella’s ode to the women of the Garden State, “Jersey Girls Don’t Pump Gas.” It was a roller coaster ride with Ms G in the front car and Da Guyz right behind her. She made her entrance to the opening strains of the Dave Mason classic, “Feelin’ Alright” and this version would have made Joe Cocker proud. One of my favorite interpretations of the song “I Can’t Get Next To You,” which was made famous by the Temptations in 1969, but covered similarly by both Al Green and Savoy Brown in 1971, was performed like Al would have done it back then. Ms G’s roots were showing, her blues roots that is, with Stevie Ray Vaughn’s “Cold Shot” and “Caught in the Crossfire.”
At about the midpoint of the first set, she paused to tell those assembled about the inspiration for her original song, “Don’t Stop,” an ode to her grandmother, who was a milliner, a real entrepreneur, designing women’s hats and clothes, selling them up and down the East Coast, several generations ago. She was both an inspiration to Ms G, and based on her performance skills, her spirit was passed down two generations. The set finished on a high note with Tommy’s take of the mic and performing a soulful rendition of Gary Moore’s “Still Got the Blues.”
The second set kicked off with Frankie’s vocal interpretation of Al Jarreau’s “Breezin’.” Following a rousing version of “Love the One You’re With,” Ms G asked us to indulge her a bit as she got in front of a keyboard and proceeded to do what the title of this Frankie Gee original says, “This Is How We Have Fun.” A rocking cover of a song famously done by Grand Funk Railroad, “Some Kind of Wonderful,” was followed by Tommy again taking the helm for Bryan Adams’ “Summer of 69.” “Around the Horn” was a funky jam that was loose but fun for both the band and the audience. “The Bottle” was done in the funky chant similar to Gil Scott Heron’s original and had the room bobbing and thinking about the serious side of the subject matter at the same time. It was time to close, but those in the room would have none of it, shouting “one more song,” and the band did not disappoint, with “Jersey Girls Don’t Pump Gas.” What a fun night it was, and everyone left with a smile on their face.
The March installment of Reckless, Next Generation, will showcase some of our best young players, featuring Soup, Whitney Kelly and Maddie Freeman.