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Taj Mahal, amazing voice and skillful instrumentals
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Taj Mahal, amazing voice and skillful instrumentals

by Mercy Moosemuzzle - SGN Contributing Writer

Taj Mahal
Mercy and Cuteness and the rest of the crowd were excited by Taj Mahal's show at Jazz Alley. The singer's amazing voice and skillful instrumentals took the evening away. His trio of Bill Rich on bass and Richard Smith on drums clearly also enjoy the mastery of their music and working together. They opened with a rocking blues song, "Honey, Where You Going to Go?"

Taj showed his big spirit on the song "Oh Baby," which he said was the first guitar song he learned. Mercy was reminded of the true meaning of the term "contagious smile," because she caught it from Taj. So did the bass player and drummer. Other audience members sighed audibly at the luscious guitar introduction he played to "You Should Be Down."

"Annie Mae" had a funky bass solo. Mahal's strong fingers on the keyboard made "Linda Lou" captivating. As he said, "Once you get the tempo right, the whole thing just flows." Taj pointed to the drummer with a look of confidence that was justified by Smith's hot solo.

"Honey Bee" was a sweet number. Mahal introduced "Creole Bill," saying it was dedicated to a waitress whose favorite it was. The combination of voice and guitar on that song was delicious. Another person sitting close to Mercy and Cuteness whooped at the first few bars of "Sweet Edie," and they had to agree.

Taj's light touch on the strings for "Fishin' Blues" had Mercy breathless. His voice on "Good Morning Miss Brown" knocked Mercy out, as did the hot banjo licks on "Corn Beer." Mahal had the audience singing along with "uh-huh" on a song which started with an elegant guitar hook and had great bass and drum solos. "Loving in My Baby's Eyes" was a strong finish.

When he came back for an encore, Taj talked about the fact that he had to grow and change over the 40 years he has been playing, otherwise he'd still be singing '50s rock and roll in the same way he learned it then (which he did a charming imitation of). He recognizes that old songs make people happy, too. So he finished with "Mama Now You Know I Can't." Mercy and Cuteness were impressed with how well the musician combined new and old music.

Seattle Men's Chorus
Mercy and Cuteness were happy to hear Betty Buckley sing with the Seattle Men's Chorus (SMC). Her voice was understandably aged, but still resonant. Mercy and Cuteness were surprised that most of Betty's songs were Christmas songs, because they had expected more show tunes. Mercy assumed the choice of music had been SMC director Dennis Coleman's, but Mercy's friend Justice, whose husband is a long time chorus boy, says no, Cuteness was right that Buckley chose the numbers herself. Mercy and Cuteness liked "I Wish I Had a River" (Joni Mitchell) and, of course, "Memories" better than the generous number of carols Ms. Buckley sang.

Justice's "significant otter," Loyalty, passed along the comment that, with 300 Gay men on the risers, someone should have fixed the soloist's hair. He did say Betty enjoyed singing with the men. Other high points were "Heavy Christmas," carols set to classics, "Ebenezer the Miser," shopping center Santa Clauses singing "Downtown (Little Shop of Horrors)." Mercy and Cuteness particularly enjoyed "Bolly Holly Christmas" including the dancing of Rhythms of India. This last was in honor of the fact that legalization of homosexuality is before the Indian Supreme Court.

Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans
Mercy and Cuteness had some differences of opinion that arose after watching Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans. Mercy liked Nicolas Cage's acting in the remake and his chemistry with Eva Mendes. Cuteness thinks there is no comparison between Cage's abilities and Harvey Keitel's, who starred in the original. She also thinks Eva Mendes is too hot for Cage.

They both liked the acting of Tom Bower and Jennifer Coolidge as the lieutenant's mother and stepfather and the subplot about the father getting sober. Mercy and Cuteness also liked the atmosphere of post-Katrina New Orleans as a setting, especially since they had just been there. Mercy tastefully whispered, "We were there," during a scene filmed at the aquarium. Cuteness pointed out very few in the film had a New Orleans accent, which stood out since she and Mercy had just seen the Book-It production of Confederacy of Dunces, which shone on this point and other elements of local color.

Kinsey Sicks
Mercy's friend, Reality, alerted her to the fact that the sensational Kinsey Sicks are scheduled to appear at the Triple Door on December 10. With a phenomenal performance record that includes an Off-Broadway show, an extended run in Vegas, two feature films, six CDs, and appearances throughout the US, Canada, Mexico and Europe, the Kinsey Sicks hardly need an introduction. For over 15 years, "America's Favorite Dragapella Beautyshop Quartet" has served up a feast of music and comedy to audiences at performing arts centers, music venues and comedy festivals in every kind of town you can imagine, in over 40 states. Their award-winning a cappella singing, sharp satire and over-the-top drag have earned the Kinsey Sicks a diverse and devoted following. Tickets are available at www.thetripledoor.net.

Edie Carey
Mercy and Cuteness are sadly going to have to miss Edie Carey's concert Saturday December 12, at Empty Sea Studios, 6300 Phinney Ave N, at 8:00 p.m. They had enjoyed her delightful music and lyrics on the Sweet Cruise. You can get tickets at www.brownpapertickets.com.

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