Thursday, September 22, 2011

Lightnin’ Malcolm: I thought he was a Black Man

By Lee Waites

I learned a lot about Lightnin’ Malcolm during our conversation: There is no Mrs. Lightnin’ Malcolm, and no Lightnin’ Malcolm Jr. I’m not sure how we got on the subject. I was probably trying to win my badge in tabloid journalism. “As far as I know there isn’t one. Not by name at least. Nobody’s come up to tell me I got some kid somewhere. But it’s been, y’know…we’re not live on the air are we?” He was much relieved to find out we’re only a newspaper (only is relative of course).

One thing I didn’t learn was that he’s a white man. I swear, talking to him on the phone I thought the dude was black. All I had heard up til then was the audio of his music. So I didn’t know. This will probably make him feel a tingle of pride. Now I am a white guy who thinks he can wail like a black guy. So I don’t know how much credibility that gives me.    

In his raspy “blues” voice he had one important request. “We’re not playing there this time. But I really want to give a shout out to someone over there. I want to give a shout out to Mr. Gip’s place. I mean it’s really good to see an old fashioned juke joint like that. You all know Mr. Gip?”

Of course, to this, I says “Oh yeah! We know Mr. Gip. Cindi over there has one of our t-shirts. I think with everything that’s been going on Mr. Gip’s is getting pretty famous.”

“Just make sure you give my shout out.”

Lightnin’ Malcolm describes his own music as raw, hip, country, blues. He might have thrown in some other descriptions, but I couldn’t keep up. A slow, mellow talking man, Malcolm gets moving and excited when he gets on the subject of his music. “It’s our own style. Throws back to John Lee Hooker , get down, a groove you can dance to, a lot of energy. Almost everything we do is original. We mix reggae sound, soul, country music. We mix it all to make our own sound.  Even if you don’t like the Blues, c’mon out…If you don’t like the Blues you ain’t heard me yet!”

Malcolm says they’re mostly doing original, new music on this tour. Although he enjoys putting much of the old sounds into his music. He makes it all his own.  It’s like throwing it all into a blender and coming out with a delicious Blues smoothie.  

He’s from Mississippi. So I can’t really call him an outside agitator. But I still recommend you men keep an eye on your women. Let’s avoid any unfortunate romance.          

Lightin’ Malcolm will be playing at the Nick on Thursday, September 29.

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