Exploring Muscle Shoals: The Sidney Green Street Band Half Studio, Half Live 

The Sidney Green Street Band is one of the best kept secrets in the music biz, and full disclosure, this writer considers drummer Steve Holley  and singer/guitarist Lance Doss good friends, and have helped them get the word out about the new release Half Live.  Because the album is exciting on many levels, the tried and true formula from Goodbye Cream and Mountain’s Flowers of Evil, as Talking Hendrix host Ed Wrobleski notes (and we have permission to quote in its entirety.) …“Back in 1971 the group Mountain released Flowers of Evil. That vinyl disc featured new studio recordings on one side and twenty-five minutes of live music crammed onto the second side – pushing the limits of what an lp could hold back in the day.  Interesting that Mountain would do this two years after Cream’s 1969 Goodbye disc, which was half live and half studio out of necessity as the band had split rather quickly.  Interesting also that Felix Pappalardi produced both.  With all the acknowledgment inside their songs to favorite music of the rock and roll era, I wouldn’t be surprised if The Sidney Green St. Band is giving a subtle nod to the genius of Pappalardi as well.  The album is so well produced – in the studio and live – that it is a shining example of SGSB’s potential, and the enormous power of the quartet individually and separately.” 

Take the pop/blues of “Last Beer and Testament” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-v1yzCCpLsw - the song is one of those rarities that has a video which matches the fun of the audio.  Seeing Lance, Steve, Justin and Paul working the music on a stage in a club, their environment, brings the spirit of the tune front and center.  To say it is Son of the Band would not be out of place, these veterans of the scene pick up where Robbie Robertson and the boys left off, an essential void in rock and roll music that The Sidney Green Street Band fills. 

Switching from the studio to the live you’ll get a clearer review of the command this quartet has over the genres that they embrace. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UAUVxNdqlLA  “I Belong” from Half Live again indulges in The Band territory – though the group is multi-dimensional, this from-the-soul approach to the song drives the point home.  What can be said when Steve Holley keeps the beat, one of the most incredible drummers in rock history, Grammy-winner with McCartney and Wings’ Back to the Egg lp after a stint with Elton John on A Single Man, he exemplifies what Lou Reed said with the quote “The drummer is the heart of the band.”  Dar Williams, Poppa Chubby and Ian Hunter all have bragging rights to touring with Holley, who I met through the beloved insanity that comes with hanging out for years and years with model / singer the late Jo Jo Laine.    The musical thread is interesting, bassist Paul Page holding the bottom down with Steve and Ian Hunter while Page also worked with the legendary John Cale of the Velvet Underground, as did Doss.  Add Justin Jordan, veteran of Garland Jeffreys, and you have the genuine article – the bridge between the Velvets’ underground hip and McCartney and Elton’s pure pop sensibilities.  Jeffreys opened for Reed in his Tots days, early 1973, and that kind of street-smart experience each member contributes is part of the formula at play here.  Half Live is one of those every track is enjoyable discs, but “Muscle Shoals” is simply outstanding – from the guitar work to the temp and vocal delivery. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VFKveqq9LhI Shoals holds up to repeated spins, a place that has a special place for most serious musicians, a great nod to the region. 

In August Charles Laquidara Radio in Hawaii added the group into rotation,  as did Live 365 Radio Network the same month. The legendary Genya Ravan of Sirius/XM Radio (singer, Ten Wheel Drive) playing music from Half Live in November, from Boston Free Radio online to WMWM Salem State College the buzz is on the new release while Rootstime Magazine in Belgium gives its perspective from half a world away. 

It takes enormous energy to get the word out after spending so much time perfecting the music in practice, committing it to a fixed medium recording onstage and in the studio, and having time off for family.  The Sidney Green Street Band exemplifies Euclid’s Axiom – “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts” which you can hear in “Next Time” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VBzWujHSgAg – because when you have these amazing parts, just imagine a whole that is “greater.”  Half Live is Exhibit A that when you have a terrific recipe and ingredients, the result is simply amazing.  No hyperbole here, give a listen and you’ll see. 

Joe Viglione - WAIL Music Magazine