We had a rare treat in the lounge at our local casino on Sunday night.
Marcia Ball, the long, tall R&B/blues/swing pianist from Louisiana by way of Austin, Texas, was rocking the house with a tight four-piece backing band. She’s long been one of our favorites.
The first time we saw Marcia Ball, it was three or four years ago, at a small-town auditorium. She was terrific that night, too, but the crowd was way too reserved and polite. We left feeling she’s best seen in a more raucous venue.
Last night confirmed it. A tiny stage, a big crowd packed into a small space, lots of noise and lots of drinks going down. Without question, a better venue for her mix of R&B and blues.
Last night, all the seats were filled by the time I got there, but I got to stand in my favorite place, facing center stage. It was fun to watch her hands on the keyboards, but I couldn’t see over the bar well enough to watch her cross leg swinging and keeping time as she played. No complaints, though, especially considering the lounge shows are free.
Marcia Ball has 10 albums out, all but one on the Rounder and Alligator labels. Although her studio albums are fine, she’s best seen and heard live.
Here’s a little sample of each way, a couple of originals. Enjoy.
“Louella,” Marcia Ball, from “Presumed Innocent,” 2001.
“Big Shot,” Marcia Ball, from “Live! Down the Road,” 2005.