Joe Laing
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NY Blues Society " BLUES VIEWS"
Tri-State BLUES

It takes a man who's mojo is workin' to throw a CD release party on April Fool's Day. That's what Boxcar Joe Laing did to celebrate his first CD Boxfull Of Blues, recorded live at Manny's Car Wash. His friends and fans crowded into Manny's Car Wash to hear him and his energetic band, the Boxcar All Stars. The All Stars are Chris Carter on guitar, Mitch Margold on keyboards, Tim Tmdall on bass and James Wormworth drums. The band, sans Boxcar, opened with "The Chicken" a funky instrurnental. Love the Boxcars; they make me wanna dance. The Boxcars are more engine than boxcar, providing strong rhythmic playing, coupled with taste and technical prowess that make them a powerful rhythm section. Carter then introduced Boxcar Joe to the enthusiastic crowd as they vamped on "Help Me", a Sonny Boy Williamson/ Ralph Bass shuffle. The Boxcar emerged, stepped up to the mike and let it rip. The crowd was instantly drawn in by his warmth and presence. The first set rocked through tunes from his CD including Hiowlin' Wolf's "Killing Floor", Ray Charles' "Hallelujah, I Love Her So", "Dock of the Bay" from Otis Redding, and "The Things I Used To Do", by Eddie "Guitar Slim" Jones. He also covered Tracy Chapman's bluesy "Gimme One Reason" which is not on his CD. Shifting the evening's pace, Laing picked up his acoustic guitar to sing andplay several of his original tunes, including "Busted" a ballad of penury. "Mad Dash for the City" a ditty which captures' the frustration of tunnel vision in a traffic jam and his blues, "You're Gorma Hate It Baby." His acoustic set both personalized the show and added a layer of intimacy.

Laing is known to many locals as the jam-meis- ter of Manny's Car Wash. He ran the popular Sunday night jam session steadily for almost a year, backed by the energetic Boxcars, each of whom has his own impressive blues and r&b resume. Now that he has put together his first CD, Laing's music has taken him to a wider audience, although Manny's is still lucky enough to get him and his talented players to lead the jam from time to time.

Speaking of wider audiences, the Boxcar was featured on Eyewitness News WABC-TV, that same morning of April 2, And I mean morning. Staying up all night, Boxcar and the band headed back to Manny's at 5am, somewhat bleary-eyed, where Bill Evans and the Weather Posse taped segments of the local morning show. Evans, the ebullient weather jock, got up and jammed with Laing and the Boxcars and their happy hoodang was broadcast throughout Good Morning America's time slot 'till 9am. Looks like the Boxcar's mojo is working on America's broadcast frequencies. Watch out: it just might work on you. No foolin!

Article by Elizabeth Rose


NY Blues Society " BLUES VIEWS"
The Boxcar Joe Laingm, Boxfull of Blues

A former Essex Conuty park police officer, white blues singer "Boxcar" Joe Laing became the Lone Star Cafe's sound man before seriously attempting a career in music. Though he lacks the intimidating vocal range of mentors Howlin' Wolf aud Muddy Waters, his husky baritone, gritty moans aud enthusiastic swagger make him a firstrate interpreter of post-World War II Chicago Blues Unlike most artists, Laing opted to record his debut, "Boxfull Of Blues," live without overdubs at NYC's Manny's Car Wash instead of in the usual sterile studio context (which most blues artists find constricting). Afforded an experienced supporting cast consisting of guitarist Chris Carter, keyboardist Mitch Margold, bassist Tim Tindall, and drummer James Wormworth, Laing never misses a beat, confidently moving from deliberately slow-paced to energetically high-octane songs. Uplifting, jolly-spirited fare such as his Gospel-rooted, frog-throated take on Ray Charles' cheery "Hallelujah, I Love Her So" and the organ-laced shuffle through the oft-covered juke joint party standard "Let the Good Times Roll" will get your mojo working. Serious fare such as Sonny Boy Williamson's pungent "Help Me" and a stretched out, resonating version of Guitar Slim's "The Things That I Used To Do" prove Laing knows a thing or two about passion and pain. In the same vein, his flickering, down and out original "You're Gonna Hate It Baby" crawls by like a desolate reconfiguration of "I Put A Spell On You." On Howlin' Wolf's "Killing Floor," the rhythm section makes good use of the backbeat from Otis Redding & Carla Thomas' Southern soul delicacy "Tramp." Margold's electric piano offers punctuation and intimacy to a somber version of Muddy Waters' mischievous "Rock Me." Laing proves to have excellent taste in selecting well known material, making each vintage song his own.

-John Fortunato


Jazz Heritage Review
By Bob Nissin

From cop, to real estate salesman, to truck driver, to soundman at NYC's famous Lone Star Cafe, to club owner. A man of many hats is Boxcar Joe Laing. But, always in his heart...music. And from his lips...a voice that wails out the blues like you won't believe! Via his friendships with legendary preformers like Albert King, Delbert McClinton, Paul Butterfield, Albert Collins, Kenny Neal, Johnny Copland and others, Boxcar was invited to sing a song or two with the greats and as a result earned the kind of support and encouragement that every preformer craves...that which comes from those whom you admire and from whom you get inspiration. But, maybe I'm gettin' too deep here. The fact is the man can sell the blues! Check him out rockin' through tunes like Howlin' Wolf's "Killing Floor", Ray Charles' "Halleujah, I Love Her So"' and Otis Redding's "Dock of the Bay." On "Boxfull of Blues", his first CD, the Boxcar and his band "The Boxcar All-Stars" give you a night live at Manny's Car Wash in NYC. Recorded on April 16, 1996 as it happened, it's the blues, pure and simple from The Boxcar!

 


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