What is it about soul music?
Even after all these years, the classic Stax and Motown songs can still make you feel moody and blue but above all they can make you want to get up and shake your tailfeather.
Bristol’s Gee Baby I Love You managed to excite all those emotions. And demonstrated in front of a packed crowd why they are the band you’d want to have playing at your party. The exceptionally talented nine-piece fronted by singer-guitarist John Orme romped through a set of soul and funk numbers including a number of classic songs like McFadden and Whitehead’s Ain’t No Stopping Us Now, Stevie Wonder’s Superstition, KC And The Sunshine Band’s That’s The Way I Like It and even Sex Bomb.
However, Gee Baby have never relied on just repeating the old favourites, always pulling lesser known and sometimes quite obscure songs into their repertoire. It was, for instance, great to hear once again Aretha Franklin’s See Saw, Jean Knight’s Mr Big Stuff and Bob & Earl’s Harlem Shuffle, while Spooky, a chance for backing singer Cherie to take the spotlight, was every bit as smokey as Dusty Springfield’s version. James Brown’s Super Bad sounded a bit like a soundtrack for a 1970s “blaxploitation” movie, but it was as funky as anything, as indeed was their version of Stevie Wonder’s I Wish.
Someone simply introduced as “the man from the pub”, joined them for the last two numbers, taking the vocals on a fiery version of Gimme Some Lovin’ and playing harmonica on I Feel Good. My Girl was an odd choice to finish such a night, but they probably could have played anything because, Gee Baby, this audience loved you.