It's hard not to like a stone groove, especially when its being laid down by an outfit that includes the likes of Mark Karan (Ratdog), John Molo (Phil Lesh & Friends), Bob Gross (Albert King) and JT Thomas (Bruce Hornsby). And da groove on this one is dank.

The recording features a feisty 60-minute set that ducks (quack) and weaves through a tasteful blend of tunes from a variety of genres. Karan's consistent work with Ratdog has been helping him hone his chops, and that's abundantly clear on this recent slice of live Jemimah Puddleduck. The group, which has been Karan's side project for a few years now, allows him to occupy the center slot and delve into the blues, soul and funk-inspired fare that has influenced his musical persona.

The Great American Music Hall set includes a very tasty version of the Susan Sheller-penned "Memphis Radio," which comes dripping out of a funkified opening jam, as well as a simmering blues/jazz take on Willie Dixon's "Spoonful." Karan's own up-blues numbers "Bait the Hook" and "Rock Your Papa" are also a welcome part of the stew. There's even the unexpected in the form of a jam-tinged cover of Joe Jackson's "Fools in Love." And of course the set wouldn't be complete without a roadhouse-like "Deal" that nods to the band's association with the grandpappy of jam, Mr. Jerome Garcia.

Guitarist Barry Sless joins the band for a down and dirty take of Alan Toussaint's "On Your Way Down," to close the short but sweet show. On balance, these boys kick out a sweet sound that lingers pleasantly on the brain.

Check out JP's longer two- and three-CD shows, Live at Victor's By the Bay 6/21/2003M and the self-titled CD Jemimah Puddleduck to see what the Duck can do when it has a little more time on its webs.

Nick Hutchinson
JamBase | World Wide
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[Published on: 9/10/03]

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