After many years funking up festivals all over the USA and worldwide with his, to use his own words, “dirty funk swampy grime”, South Florida-bred former Lee Boy, Roosevelt Collier, or ‘The Dr’ as he is affectionately known, has last year finally got around to releasing his debut solo album, ‘Exit 16’.
Edinburgh should consider itself fortunate to experience his “sacred steel”- rooted, but nowadays ‘down and dirty’ blues/rock/funk/gospel mix, not least as, thanks to rush-hour traffic, the band barely made it from Edinburgh Airport in time for curtains up. However, professionals that they are, Collier and band-mates took it all in their stride, giving a first-rate performance of nine tunes over one long set, rousing the early evening audience through vigorous head nodding, to enthusiastic clapping and by the end, Edinburgh-style dancing.
Truly Collier was masterful on his lap guitar, which he swapped for ‘regular’ electric guitar three quarters of the way through the set. One moment evoking a wailing female voice a la BB King’s Lucille, the next eliciting quick – fire pyrotechnics Jimmy Hendrix-style, all the while closely engaging with the audience with an easy patter and just the right amount of eye-contact. Superb technique, expert showmanship.
The rest of the band were likewise up for the party. Drummer Armando Lopez impressed throughout, particularly with a thundering solo towards the end. Jason Mathews was appropriately rollicking on keys, whilst the temperature of bassist Rodriguez Sobarano’s bass guitar climbed so high that he accidentally broke a piece of his guitar off.
Currently half -way through a European tour, The Dr and band are heading now for WOMAD. It can only be hoped that they’ll bring their uplifting sounds back to Scotland, in the not too distant future.