The only reason I know about this band at all is because my good friend and band mate Stacy Williams of Hit The Wall has been a long time fan. He made me a mixed cd of their stuff and we've jammed a couple of their tunes pretty frequently for the past couple years. I had no idea that Lydia and Pense was still active and for all I know she hasn't been for a while, but when she and the most recent incarnation of Cold Blood came to town Stacy insisted that I go.
There wasn't a lot of people at the Belly up that night, a very low key Thursday. We just kinda shuffled in and watched the opening blues band tightly make their way through a few shuffles. Depending on how much I enjoyed the show, Maybe I'll go home early I thought to myself, it being a week night and all, I mean I'm not a huge Cold Blood fan and really only know a couple of their tunes. After stepping outside for a bowl and some conversation we hear a groove starting from the inside, just some smooth congas, drums, and bass. We go inside to see the trumpet player introducing a "living Legend, a woman that's been compared to Janis Joplin, Lydia Pense" The group then launches into a smooth, rockin, soulful, and funky rendition of "I just want to make love to you". The groove is tight, powerful and effortless. These guys are good, real good. The years have caught up to Lydia, no longer the early 70's super fox and her voice isn't as powerful and diverse as it used to be, but her energy is pure, old school and very real. This band was the Funkiest all white musical group I've ever experienced. Their sound is authentic east bay Funk. I thought they were just gonna be ok but they are easily in the same ball park with such Funk super groups as James Brown, Tiny Universe, and of course The Tower of Power. Their bassist was awesome, played in a similar style as Rocco Prestia and had been a member of The Elvin Bishop Band and various little known bay area groups since the mid 70's. Their set was only about an hour and and half long, but no one cared cause it never lost energy, no filler, just straight up in your face goodness that included great versions of: "Can't Take it", "I'm a good Woman", "Funky on my back", "you got me Hummin", "Piece of my heart" and "Down to the Bone".
These guys are really an unsung treasure, they'd fit in great at any quality Funk Festival, a co-bill with Tower of Power would be outrageous. If they are ever playing a chill venue near you I strongly recommend makin' it out and dancing your ass off.
>>>>This band was the Funkiest all white musical group I've ever experienced.
funkier than Family Phantom Halo?????
Way funkier, and way less disturbing and tormented