Monday, March 26, 2012

Live at Callahan’s Music Hall reviewed by Steve Jones

Live at Callahan’s Music Hall
Shaun Murphy
Self-Released DVD
14 tracks

Shaun Murphy’s blues story goes back to the 1969 Ann Arbor Blues Festival where she performed on a bill with legends like Son House, Muddy Waters, Lightnin’ Hopkins, BB King, Freddy King and more.  Among other great career adventures, she toured and recorded with Bob Seger for many, many years, had a stint with Clapton, and spent 15 years as a member of Little Feat.  Back on her own and firmly cemented in the blues and her old home of Detroit, Murphy is a small woman with a powerful and expressive voice.  She can belt out a song with the best of them.

She has a list of tracks here from the likes of BobDylan, Koko Taylor, Burton Garr, John Hiatt, Sister Rosetta Tharpe and others that suit her vocal prowess well.  She can go up and down in mood and tempo, being sultry and seductive to downright bowling and steam rolling you over.

I met Shaun for the first time through the Blues Blast music awards show.  I had heard her on CD many, many time but never had a chance to hear and see her live.  She is a superb performer and this DVD will give you a chance to also see what you can hear on her CDs.

Dylan’s “It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry” is to me the most moving performance here.  I almost literally was floored by the vocals and the feeling Shaun imparts to this classic song.  She closes with Hiatt’s “It Feels Like Rain”, a staple of Little Feet ad now her own band– great stuff.  All the cuts are great here, not a clinker in the bunch.

Shaun’s band is Larry Knight on guitar, Boyd Lefan on bass, David Nelson on drums, Larry Van Loon on organ and keys.  These guys are professionals and do a fantastic job backing Murphy.  I was impressed with their sound and how tight they were!

This is an excellent DVD.  Murphy’s fans will love it and newcomers will get a fantastic introduction to Shaun! 

Reviewed by Steve Jones