“The Dark End of the Street” is a classic Memphis soul song written by Dan Penn and Chips Moman that is forever associated with the legendary Memphis soul singer James Carr. Although there have been a number of covers over the years, few have surpassed the Carr version for sheer intensity and pathos. Son of Mudboy’s version Wednesday night was impressive, however, as they demonstrated clearly how Memphis’ style of indie rock is really infused with blues and soul.
I never got to hear Mudboy and the Neutrons in person, the rather bizarre Memphis supergroup consisting of Jim Dickinson, Lee Baker, Jimmy Crosthwait and Sid Selvidge, but I have been fortunate enough to hear their records. The spirit of Mudboy lives on in the form of Son of Mudboy, formerly Three-Legged Puppy, consisting of Luther and Cody Dickinson, Steve Selvidge and Paul Taylor. At their Minglewood Hall performance last night, Son of Mudboy performed traditional songs like “Casey Jones on the Road Again AKA Natural Born Eastman”, “Didn’t We Shake Sugaree”, “The Dark End of the Street” and “Going to Brownsville”, all songs that would be familiar to anyone who has heard the recorded works of Mudboy and the Neutrons. The rousing second set closed with Jim Dickinson’s feel-good call to civic revolution “Power to the People”, with its famous line “Lucille was there, but Beale Street was gone.” The crowd of a hundred or so demanded an encore, and the band obliged with the slow and mournful drug ballad “Codine” and a final joyful reading of “Hey, Bo Diddley.” Son of Mudboy will appear each Wednesday at Minglewood Hall during the month of April, starting at 8 PM.