Nick Moss & The Flip Tops are returning to the scene of one of their greatest triumphs, having lined up two shows at Chan's in Woonsocket, Rhode Island and yes, thank God, they're recording.
Last time they did this, they turned their set into an Album of the Year nominee at the Blues Music Awards. That's a lot to live up to. How do you preemptively disarm any critics who might accuse you of repeating yourself? Unless I miss my guess, you begin by ignoring such rubbish. Beyond that, you have to do something to raise the stakes. I think they have that covered.
When the band takes the stage for those two shows on July 18-19, they'll be joined onstage by Lurrie Bell. Yes, you read that right! Lurrie freakin' Bell. Lurrie Bell is the son of Chicago blues royalty. His father, Carey, was one of the great harp players of his generation. Among his many credits, Carey Bell played often with Muddy Waters.
Nick Moss may not have that same great bloodline, but he learned the Chicago tradition from the Muddy Waters tree himself having toured and played with Muddy's #2, Jimmy Rogers. Moss has toured with longtime Waters' cohort Pinetop Perkins, played with Buddy Guy, and hosts of others who helped build that tradition. As he told The Birmingham News before the band's show at City Stages earlier this month, "I can't help but sound like I sound," he said. "I like all blues music, and I can play all those different styles, but when I play it, it's going to come out as Chicago blues."
If Ed McMahon comes to my door between now and July 18, I know where you'll find me. If Ed shows up at my apartment or if I get really drunk and start doing Janis Joplin karaoke — a more frightening thought I cannot imagine — I won't be asking the Lord to buy me a Mercedes-Benz. No, sir. I don't want fancy cars, designer drugs, or loose women. If I had a million dollars, I might still eat Kraft dinners but I'd be eating them 1,111 miles north of here. By the way, am I the only one who finds it sad that Ed McMahon is now sitting around hoping Ed McMahon knocks on his door with an over-sized check from Publisher's Clearinghouse?