Last Sunday night, or shall I say Monday morning, Little Rock provided the background for some serious jamming. New Orleans Juice and Walter "Wolfman" Washington and the Roadmasters came together to blow the roof off of the Riverfest after party. After an afternoon out at the festival, where Juice, the North Mississippi All Stars and Los Lobos provided enough tasty music to go around, Little Rock was ready to let loose on some New Orleans style debauchery.

Wolfman hit the stage at around 1 a.m. and opened with hot versions of the JB Horns "The Chicken" and Bill Withers classic "Use Me," before settling into some of his classic soul drenched New Orleans funk. Midway through the set, Chris Nolte of Juice set up his amp and surprise guest David Hidalgo of Los Lobos joined the Roadmasters for a ripping versions of "Everyday I have the Blues" and an unknown (at least to me) funk number. "Cissy Strut" came up next, with the aforementioned Nolte trading off solo's with Wolfman. After a pause for everyone to catch their breath, Wolfman called out for Juice to join him on stage and drummer Aron Lambert and saxman Jason Sellers joined the fracas for an incendiary version of "Chameleon" with Walter on bass and Chris Nolte taking the dual lead and rhythm guitar roles, showing why he's become one of the most ripping players around.

Juice finally hit the stage at around 3:30 am and tore into a set of tasty covers wrapped in their original material. Saxman Tom Fitzmorris of the Roadmasters joined them to open the show with a Hell bent version of Cannonball Adderly's "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy" that owes more to the ReBirth Brass Band than the original. As bassist/vocalist Dave Jordan and drummer Aron Lambert pumped out the second line, they segued into a swampy version of the timeless "Junko Pardner" with Jordan's vocals calling up comparisons to the good doctor, Dr. John. The night ended on a fine note with Wolfman lending his vocal and guitar virtuosity to the Mardi Gras classic "Big Chief". Wolfman and Jordan seemed to be having the time of their lives, as Jordan traded bass riffs with Wolfman's guitar. When it was all said and done, it was 5 a.m. and Little Rock had been certifiably funkified.

- The Squirrel

[Published on: 5/31/01]

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