Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Review: Memphis Soul from White House Was a Solid Hour of R&B


PBS’s Memphis Soul special from the White House just concluded. The performers were all top notch. I was impressed that Justin Timberlake did a nice job on “Dock of the Bay.” I just wish someone would tell him to stop singing falsetto and just sing. It’s a gimmick, and it’s not working. Sam Moore was the star of the night, bringing the house down on “When Something is Wrong with My Baby.” But Mavis Staples had her usual ebullient energy on “I’ll Take You There” and Cyndi Lauper was fine on “Try a Little Tenderness.” Eddie Floyd hit just the right notes on his solo hit “Knock on Wood.”  Queen Latifah was soulful on “I Can’t Stand the Rain” but they could have gotten Ann Peebles to come in from Memphis to sing her hit. And why did an “American Idol” reject sing “When a Man Loves a Woman” when Percy Sledge is alive and well? Anyway:  All in all, a very satisfying evening which will be trimmed up for April 16th. The audience was mostly PBS types and political drones, no celebs per se. But the real celebs were on stage, and that’s the most important thing.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

Read more

In Other News