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Mem Shannon: Memphis In the Morning

A good storyteller with a bag full of witty, insightful observations about life, Mem Shannon, takes his earthy New Orleans blues to Memphis’ famed Ardent Studios on Memphis in the Morning (Shanachie 9031; 50:14). With punchy horn arrangements provided by the world famous Memphis Horns, Mem keeps it typically funky on originals like “Drowning on My Feet,” “Shake Up the Floor,” “Invisible Man,” “I Smell Something (Funky)” and a remake of B.B. King’s “Why I Sing the Blues.”

Shannon’s unabashed romantic streak comes across on heartfelt ballads like the countrified “Tired Arms,” “You Belong to Him” and the jazzy offering “Unconditional Love.” His most sobering insights come on “Doing the Best That I Can” and his most humorous asides come on “S.U.V.,” a rant about those big-bodied vehicles that dominate the roadways these days, that carries the line: “I’m sick of these s.o.b.’s in their s.u.v’s, they’re trying to run over me when I’m in my beat-up car.”

Originally Published