Supergroups often cave in shortly after they have formed. Egos, other bands they're in and the music isn't that great. But sometimes something goes "click" and that's the sign that musical magic is about to happen right before your eyes. Johnny Neel, Matt Abts, George Porter Jr. and Brian Stoltz hit the stage of the Orange Peel in Asheville, North Carolina on March 31, 2004 for a funky gig that is finally released (albeit incomplete) on The Deep Fried Sessions Live album.
All players have impressive resumes. Neel played with the Allman Brothers, Lonnie Mack and Gov't Mule, Brian Stoltz (guitar) and George Porter Jr. (bass) are in The Funky Meters, Matt Abts drums for Gov't Mule. Neel and Abts are in Blue Floyd, performing Pink Floyd songs with a blues sauce and have recorded an album together as X2, Porter and Stoltz have a funk trio called PBS with drummer Russell Batiste Jr.
On that memorable night in 2004 Pôrter laid down his signature slow funk bass lines, Abts was right in the pocket with a rock solid beat and tasty fills and rolls. Neel emulates the organ tone of Jon Lord and Alan Price, while keeping it funky and handing out snippets of "don't shoot the piano player" honky tonk chords. Stoltz is fluid when the song requires it, and stoic with cool-as-fuck well placed single notes.
The band came up with a lot originals for their first and last tour in 2004. Curtis Mayfield's slow soul song Here But I'm Gone is the sole cover. Stone Cold Funky, Groove Suicide and the aptly titled New Funk can get a party going. Too bad that the longest track Funk It Out fades out shortly before the 12 minute mark - that's because digital outlets won't handle longer songs, which is a crying shame.
Matt Abts: drums, percussion
Johnny Neel: piano, organ, vocals
George Porter Jr.: bass, vocals
Brian Stoltz: guitar, vocals
The Deep Fried Sessions Live is released through Earrigation, who will offer digital downloads. A limited edition physical CD is available on requestTracks:
- Stone Cold Funky
- Wharubin All My Life
- Funk It Out
- Groove Suicide
- New Groove
- Ain't No Law
- Here But I'm Gone
Video: Deep Fried - Ain't No Law