Loosy groovy

Oct 6, 1999 at 12:00 am

Ain’t no secret about Mudpuppy. If you’ve heard them, then you know. If you haven’t, then you should find out. If you can’t check them out live anytime soon, then check out this CD, recorded live at Big Sky Studios in Ann Arbor. Like long distance, it’s the next best thing to being there.

What makes this CD so good is what has made Mudpuppy such a strong unit for so long; the cats are tight. The bass-driven funk, thick and heavy, underlies most of the numbers like a solid concrete floor, holding up the muscular rhythms beat-for-beat with the drums. Mark Pasman’s guitar playing opts for the cooperative approach rather than the scorched-earth take employed by the self-proclaimed "Guitar Gods" of the world. Whatever the song needs is what he supplies, no more, no less.

Band over self. What a concept.

Paul Randolph’s rough-edged, soulful vocals are perhaps one of the most impressive parts of Mudpuppy’s sound. The strength of his singing combined with a great stage presence and a one-two punch bass assault make it easy to understand why he serves as the band’s frontman.

Lorenzo "Spoons" Brown, who plays a wide variety of percussion instruments as well as providing additional vocals, is the band’s other standout performer. He adds a unique flavor to this blues/New Orleans roots/funk/R&B combo not found in any other local act.

Mudpuppy doesn’t pretend to be a standard, old-style blues act. Instead, like most modern-day blues and roots bands, they’re a potent mixture of blues and whatever other sonic ingredients they can find to spice up the groove. And what a tasty groove.