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Mac Arnold & Plate Full O' Blues - The Handlebar

by: Mac Arnold

Mac Arnold & Plate Full O’ Blues
The Handlebar
Greenville, S.C.
May 6, 2006

It was a celebration, a homecoming and an incrediblel blues show. Greenville, South Carolina packed out The Handlebar for a concert by Mac Arnold and Plate Full O’ Blues, and a taping for ETV.

The camera crew was all over the club, taping the show, interviewing people and assembling a documentary on the life of local hero Mac Arnold, former bass player for the legendary Muddy Waters, a 63 -year old who is on his way to a whole new career as a national blues treasure.

Backed by Plate Full O’Blues, Max Hightower (harmonica, guitar, piano. organ) Austin Brashier (guitar, whom we have been entertained by for years here in Greenville with his own Austin Brashier Band), Mark McMakin (bass) and Mike Whitt (drums), Mac performed songs rom his hot new CD Nothing’ to Prove. The band played a couple of songs before introducing Mac, who made his way through the crowd to the stage while singing “Blues For You.” Pretty awesome.

Mac is a fantastic singer, reminiscent of Albert King, and his personality shines through from behind a huge smile. At one point, Mac brought out his famous gasoline can guitar, first made in the 1940’s by his brother Leroy. Mac plays some pretty tasty slide on this home-made axe.

During the show, Mac was awarded the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award, and friends and family paid tribute to him. The concert rocked from beginning to end, with Mac singing some of the best R&B I have had the good fortune to hear in quite awhile. The set included great original songs like “Nothin’ to Prove,” “Call Mac Arnold,” “Ghetto Blue,” “Get On Back To The Country,” “The Truth,” and “She Means So Much To Me,” among others.

Max Hightower moved between organ, piano, harp, and guitar, and even took lead vocal as on one tune, to great effect. Austin Brashier plays one mean stratocaster, and the rhythm section of Mark McMakin on bass and Mike Whitt on drums are as solid as a rock.

The show was powerful, high-energy rhythm and blues and a great time for everyone. After seeing his show, I am convinced that Mac Arnold’s previous career with Muddy Waters and other blues greats was just a beginning. His true career is just beginning. I expect to see a whole more of Mac.

-Michael Buffalo Smith

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