Hall of Famers
Steve Cropper &
Rock Kent Stage
August 21, 2018
A master-class of guitar work and songwriting was held at The Kent Stage on Sunday night.
No, it wasn't an extension course that Kent State was offering down town. Rather, it was two Hall of Fame guitarists, Steve Cropper from Booker T. and the MG's fame, and Dave Mason from Traffic, that were holding class to a standing-room only crowd.
Backed by a three-piece band and vocalist Gretchen Rhodes, the duo traded hit songs that they each recorded throughout their respective careers.
The show opened with "In The Midnight Hour," which Cropper originally played on; Mason then took over and played two solo hits, "Shouldn't Have Took More Than You Gave" and "We Just Disagree."
Cropper returned to the stage to tell a few stories about how some of the songs came about and working for Stax Records. He told the story of how he and the other musicians were fooling around in the studio one day and decided to record the music that they were playing. The producer asked "What's the name of the band?" Cropper responded "I don't know." The producer then asked "Well, what's the name of the song?" Again, Cropper said "I don't know." Another musician said "Why don't you call it 'onions', because that's the stankiest music I've ever heard!" Cropper said, "Some people don't like onions, and onions make some people cry. Why don't we call it "Green Onions" because everyone likes those."
And that's how that song was born.
After "Green Onions," three other tunes were played that Cropper in which had a hand. "Knock On Wood," "Something Is Wrong With My Baby" and "Hip Hug-Her" were played in succession.
Mason then took center stage to play an old Traffic song "The Low Spark For High Heeled Boys." He said that this song was "AD" which stood for "After Dave" so he could play it anyway he wanted. He then went into "Dear Mr. Fantasy," a song that he recorded with Traffic.
It was a lot of back and forth between Cropper and Mason for much of the evening, with so many iconic songs being played back to back to back.
"(Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay," "Feeling All Right" and "Try A Little Tenderness" were all played by the guys who originally wrote and recorded them.
After a great version of "All Along The Watchtower" the band took a short break and came back to encore with "Shake Rattle and Roll" the classic "Soul Man."
Two masters holding court in Kent. I'm glad that I got to be a student once again.
Review by Greg Drugan