Tag Archives: Freddie Hughes

Kickin the Mule: Still kicking at the Cheese Board

Kickin' the Mule
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For working musicians the value of a good regular gig falls somewhere between gold and platinum. What distinguishes a good gig from a bad one? Money is only part of the equation. The opportunity for creative expression ranks high, as do audiences that, at a minimum, don’t treat music as a conversational obstacle best overcome by talking louder. Respectful management is value added (you might be surprised to hear how many music-presenting establishments are run by people who make no secret of their disdain for musicians). For these reasons and others, Kickin the Mule treasures its long-running Friday gig at the Cheese Board on Shattuck Avenue. … Continue reading »

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Out in Berkeley: Kickin’ the Mule at the Cheese Board

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Listen to Kickin’ The Mule while you read our review: Rockin’ Pneumonia & Boogie Woogie Flu by Kickin’ the Mule

With its expanse of east-facing windows thrown open to Shattuck Avenue, dearth of cigarette smoke and ample selection of healthy beverages, no one is likely to mistake the Cheese Board Collective for a down home juke joint. But over the past 18 months or so, the soul-powered band Kickin’ The Mule regularly transforms the Gourmet Ghetto eatery into a groove-laden crossroads where slinky T-Bone Walker-esque West Coast shuffles, Stax soul scorchers and raucous Chicago blues all converge.

“I sing songs from every different genre,” says the Mule’s drummer and vocalist Kelvin Dixon, who returns to the Cheese Board with the quartet on Friday (and again on October 14). “The people at the Cheese Board have been great. They say: do whatever you want, though they really like novelty numbers like Clarence ‘Frogman’ Henry’s ‘Ain’t Got No Home.’ They’re back there dancing, making pizzas.”

For much of the group’s seven-year run, it served as a forum for Freddie Hughes, the venerable Berkeley-raised soul crooner who scored a major R&B hit in 1968 with “Send My Baby Back” (he’s a story for another day). … Continue reading »

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