Last Year JIM PETERIK had the pleasure of doing a gig with the legendary Guitarist/Songwriter STEVE CROPPER in Louisiana, and the two musicians found a common ground and a fast friendship. Steve, of course was the bedrock of Booker T and the MG’s, the “house band” of Stax Records in Memphis, and the composer of many many timeless hit records such as “Soul Man”, “Midnight Hour”, and “Sittin On The Dock Of The Bay”. Everyone knows Steve as the “Colonel” from the Blues Brothers Movies, has Steve is an inductee in both the Rock And Roll and Songwriter’s Hall Of Fames.
Cut to this year, when an proposal came in to the Ides Offices from a Couple in Burr Ridge Illinois who wanted to throw a luxurious 55th Birthday Party for the Gentleman. They wanted a “Mini World Stage” featuring the Ides plus a special guest. We thought of Steve Cropper immediately, and the show was swiftly booked.
As the date approached, The band encamped in Jim’s JAM LAB soundstage facility to woodshed the Cropper hits. World Stage Band Guitar Whiz MIKE AQUINO was made a Deputy Ide for the show, and R&B Stars MARZETTE GRIFFITH and YVONNE GAGE were brought on to add their vocal firepower.
The rehearsal sessions were great fun, playing the Soul Hits Steve made famous, and it really wasn’t a stretch for the band, ‘cos before Jim started cranking out his own homegrown hits, the Ides Repertoire consisted of almost all of these tunes and ones just like them. The memories were grand and warm.
Steve arrived the day before the show, and the rehearsals were a gas! Steve was a perfect Southern Gentleman, with a boatload of stories that made our heads spin. And the man can PLAY!
Event day was great-The Venue was an elaborate structure erected behind an ornate European-Styled estate in a wooded setting. It was hard to believe the lavish accommodations were for a single night, but it was so. Scores of staff manned the Bars, Food stations, and Cleanup, as we prepared for the show in our hosts adjacent, spacious downstairs Rec Room/Bar. We enjoyed the great food and more Stories from Steve. Then it was time to hit the stage.
The first part of the set was Ides’ music plus a sampling of Jim’s Platinum hits with Survivor and Sammy Hagar, then Steve was introduced. We ran down a whole set of Steve’s Soul/R&B hits with Steve’s stories punctuating the tunes. Steve, Marzette, and Yvonne took turns on Lead Vocals, the band kept up the funk, and the mighty mighty Ides Brass added their blazing chops to the mix. The Horns are SO important to this music.
The assembled crown went wild, and they filled the dance floor. Steve and the Ides took the party up notches the host never expected, but they weren’t through.
After a short break, The Ides came back with more hits of their own plus Jim’s hits with .38 Special, then Steve, Marzette, Yvonne and Mike were introduced to join us again for “Vehicle” and “Eye Of The Tiger”.
To say the entire evening was a success was an understatement, made even sweeter to know there was an underlying co-theme for the event dedicated to raising money for a charity championed by the Hosts. The well-heeled attendees were generous indeed, and an impressive donation was amassed.
Normally pizzas are the after-gig refreshment for the band, but tonight there was the gourmet sweet table, ice cream station and Frozen Margarita fountain. A tasty splurge was in order, as the evening came to a close.
The next afternoon, Col. Steve graced World Stage Studios to add his distinctive guitar tracks to the new Ides 50th Anniversary CD.
We hope to do more things with the Great Steve Cropper, as this match seems like it was made in Heaven…