Vin Mott – From Austin to Red Bank

Vin Mott Band

Well, Reckless Steamy Nights certainly lived up to its name! On the last Friday of July, and the hottest night of the summer, Vin Mott and his band, which included our good friend Bob Lanza on guitar (Vin was Bob’s drummer before he left New Jersey five years ago), Steve Kirsty on bass, and Matt Niedbalski on drums. We found out the day before that the Woman’s Club had brought in some portable air conditioning units, but the band tripped the circuit at the end of the first tune, the instrumental “Walter’s Boogie,” so we had to shut off one of the units to keep the electric on! It only took one song, which Vin finished acoustically on harp, to tell we were going to be in for a special night of blues. Bob told me before we started that Vin had matured into a real band leader in addition to his prowess on the harmonica, and that was evident throughout the evening. 

Next up was a Sonny Boy Williamson ll song “Sugar Mama,” which was highlighted by Vin’s strong vocals and Bob’s sweet solo. Next up, Little Walter’s “It Ain’t Right,” which has been covered by too many acts to mention, didn’t stray far from the original, but the band breathed new life into it. The rhythm section of Steve and Matt provided a solid bed from which both Bob and Vin could create a wonderful dynamic between guitar, harp and vocals. After an excellent version of the song “Say What You Mean,” Vin and the band did what he called one of his first original tunes, “I Got To Get Myself To Austin.” To say it was autobiographical was an understatement, and the band put some muscle into this shuffle with pleasing results. Staying within the Texas border, Howlin’ Wolf’s “I Walked From Dallas,” was a great choice. The classic Willie Dixon composition “My Babe” was a delight as done by Vin and the band which even had a few folks up and dancing despite the conditions in the room. Bob took the spotlight, both singing and playing one of his signature tunes, B.B. King’s “I’ve Got a Mind to Give Up Living.” The set ended with another original from his latest CD, Blues Omerta, “Sarah.” The recorded version is an acoustic number, but it took on a different feel in front of live audience. 

You know the band had captured the crowd when most of them were still there along with a few late-comers for the second set. They weren’t disappointed when Vin led off with a song by one of his influences, the great James Cotton, “Cotton Crop Blues.” His harp channeled Cotton but had his own distinctive sound. From there they played another Howlin’ Wolf tune, “Commit A Crime,” with all the energy they could muster, and the audience responded with some of the most animated applause of the evening. Bob then stepped up for his second tune, “I Got A Little Girl,” which kept the adrenaline flowing in the room. They then reached into the Big Walter Horton songbook for “Have A Good Time,” which really kept things moving. “Back-Water Blues,” a Bessie Smith song about the great flood of the Mississippi in 1927, was done in the Texas style of Lightnin’ Hopkins. The final number, another original called “Ice Cold Beer,” was a great choice to end the show. This song included a call and response that got everyone involved and closed out this hot and steamy night on a high note. Vin headed back to Austin on Monday, but here’s hoping he doesn’t wait another five years to come back!