Fricke's Picks: Sunday Night Funk

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It was not their usual gig: outside under a lunchtime sun. But organist Joe Krown, singer-guitarist Walter "Wolfman" Washington and drummer Russell Batiste Jr. came to the 2009 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival with all of the chunky funk they put down indoors every Sunday at the city's Maple Leaf Bar. Washington, who played with local R&B gods Lee Dorsey and Johnny Adams, was a springy showman (picking the guitar with his teeth) and sang Jimmy Hughes' "Steal Away" and Lightnin' Hopkins' "Feel So Bad" in a salty growl. Batiste, from the Funky Meters, was a steady engine, and Krown blended the rippling sustain of Jimmy Smith with the syncopated kicks in classic New Orleans piano. (Krown is a killer on that instrument too.) They closed with the comic grind of Johnny "Guitar" Watson's "You Can Stay But the Noise Got to Go." Like most of their fest set list, it is on the trio's album, Life at the Maple Leaf (JK) — which will keep you satisfied until you get to the club some Sunday yourself.