"Mem Shannon is a national treasure. He's New Orleans' hometown Blues
legend and captured live at Tipitina's, there is no better way to hear him except in front of the man, in an audience.
We're lucky here, having only recently been treated to Mem's show at BNL. Mem has a unique ability to communicate.
From SUV behemoths dominating the roadway to the unstoppable power of funk grooves, Mem makes it. Supported by
his trusty road band and 3 of New Orleans' best saxmen, this disk is sweet and phat. Angelo Nocentelli percolates
bass with his family genes showing. Josh Milligan lays down the backbeat and the percussives hard and smooth while
Rhock massages his Yamaha. Mem's axe has a surgical edge and a bludgeon of sound. Together, they have a groovethang
going. This CD is a greatest hits of Mem's best old and new delivered with a punch from tear filled eyes of All I Have to raving rockers like Phunkville. The set is tight yet relaxed
and clearly aimed at an appreciative and partisan hometown audience. Mem lathers on the oomph on Tom Petty's I Won't Back Down, making it rock and
it's got a load of Iguana-sizzle too! The NO funk oozes out of No Such
Thing and 13 minutes of - closes with a smoking jam. This is one smoker, ribs, brisket and all. 9 snaves"
-Dr. Blues CD Reviews
October 27, 2007
"If a live album is a snapshot of an artist, the performance frozen in
time, then Live: A Night at Tipitina's
is that and then some. Clean and simple Mem Shannon transcends all genres, channeling the spirits of creativity.
His guitar playing defines tasteful. His voice and lyrics always make you smile. And in this performance you catch
the real Mem, right at home in LA.
"Recorded on one night with absolutely no overdubs, this album goes beyond any studio cut. More than a local
icon outplaying familiar tunes to a devoted hometown crown, Shannon blows the "usual" out of the water."
-The John Shelton Ivany Top Twenty-One, Issue #304
"Mem Shannon is a triple-threat. He summons up the spirit of New Orleans
like few others, mainly because his funky grooves are saturated with lessons supremely learned from cats like Fats
Domino, Professor Longhair, and the Neville Brothers. His rich, mellow baritone voice is both authoritative and
warm, while his guitar work is supremely tasteful and funky to the core. But his ace-in-the-hole is his ability
to tell a great story with his own unique philosophical spin. That puts him in a league with such classic blues
raconteurs as Lightnin’ Hopkins, Muddy Watters, Bessie Smith, Robert Johnson, and Lighnin’ Slim.
"At long last, we have a live performance to savor Live-A Night
at Tipitina’s and it’s a hot 70-minute set by Mem & the Membership
at that legendary nightspot and provides ample evidence why Shannon’s a walkin’ and talkin’ blues master. His trademark
soulful Funk is in full display, but the bottom line is this is his most convincing outing since his debut Cab Driver Blues.
"Blues was meant to be heard live, so any performer worth his salt will always sounds better doing his thing
in front of an audience. Those two facts have never rung more true than on L-ANAT. Backed by a punchy three-man
horn section, an evening of pure soulful Funk goes down superbly as groove after delicious groove whets one’s appetite
for more and more. The rhythm section of Angelo Nocentelli (bass) and Josh Milligan (drums) display a mastery of
funky rhythms that’s second to none. But the captain of this funky spaceship is Mem Shannon and his masterful stewardship
is the glue that holds it all together.
"No Religion is the
tour de force of the set, although Don’t Back Down is a real close second. Amidst all the funky happenings, one can’t help but notice
All I Have where a pile
of debris left in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina’s devastation becomes a poignant reminder of a lifetime of
memories. Powerful stuff! Live-A Night At Tipitina’s is packed with excitement and gets my wholehearted recommendation."
"'His guitar playing is the
definition of tasteful,' says Gary Hirstius, opening up the live show
at Tipitina's last Mardi Gras week when Mem Shannon recorded this album. True, New Orleans' most famous former
cabbie can play with restraint, but where's the fun in that? Shannon's dexterity and long solos are the meat of
his brand of funky, electric blues. His fans, however, are barely in evidence on this squeaky-clean-sounding live
recording. Except for a couple of well-mixed-in hoots at the beginning, Live:
A Night at Tipitina's sounds like a studio record. It's a collection
of long, long jams, some of which come off fabulously and some of which could have been abbreviated. An 11-minute
take on the Neville Brothers' Voodoo
erases the sinister spookiness of its 1989 version in exchange for a fresh, jazzy series of solos from his all-star
band (Joe Cabral, Tim Green and Jason Mingledorff on sax; Angelo Nocentelli on bass, Josh Milligan on drums and
others) that comes together more engagingly than the effect of obligatory solo-trading during shows. Seven minutes
each on tracks like Smell Something
and Who Are They, though,
take semi-lame lyrical jokes a little too far. Like any live show, though, the album heats up and gets loose midway
through. The flashpoint on Live is No Religion,
a blistering blues jam soon followed by the R&B Katrina tearjerker All
I Have. On All I Have, Tim Green plays the Conn-O-Sax -- an all-metal, F-keyed saxophone with a high, reedy
sound. The instrument looks like a musclebound oboe, and was only made in the late '20s and early '30s -- it's
rare to hear a recording of one, and it adds a plaintive, angelic note to the song. The shy, subdued track Forget About Me, dutifully running through
several archetypal blues narratives, has the most old-school style soul of any track on the record -- it splits
showtime between Mem's guitar and the more-than-able horns -- and is a pure and classic R&B weeper. All in
all, the recording's so clean we can't really tell if it was a fun night or not, but judging from the music, it
must have been."
July 10, 2007
"'Ain't no such thing as
too much funk,' Mem Shannon declares during this live set at New Orleans'
most famous club. As a Crescent City bluesman, Shannon puts plenty of funk into his music, but that's not all that
"Shannon is a master storyteller who can lighten an autobiographical tale of tough times like Payin' My Dues or the stinging social
commentary of Who Are They
with just the right touch of humor. What comes through most here, however, is the warmth and resilience at the
heart of Shannon's blues, whether it's the way he segues from the poignant Katrina lament All
I Have into Tom Petty's I
Won't Back Down, or just the way his clean but sharp guitar defiantly
cuts through all that horn-fueled funk."
August 26, 2007
"Mem Shannon’s album Live:
A Night at Tipitina’s (Northern Blues) is just another good club gig
in New Orleans, which is to say it stirs together blues, funk and rhythm-and-blues and slips a hardheaded attitude
into the grooves. Mr. Shannon is equally impressive as a singer who can shout and moan, an incisive lead guitarist
and a straight-talking songwriter, particularly in songs like Forget
About Me and Who Are They, in which he sings: 'They say that everything’s
looking real, real good/They must have forgotten to check my neighborhood.'
And if he’s a little sentimental in All I Have,
his song about debris and memories after Hurricane Katrina - well, he’s earned it."
New York Times
July 15, 2007