Thursday, May 19, 2011

A True Soul Great, Mike Finnigan sings Ray Charles' Hard Times

I had the privilege of filming this great musician, songwriter and keyboardist/hammond organ extraordinaire probably a hundred times, when I was the China Club Pro Jam videographer for well over a decade. It took that many years to figure out that Mike Finnigan is one of the most humble artists with that "it" thing I have ever met.

Never once during that decade stretch did I hear him boast about how bitchen' he is or brag about the artists he has played with. And that list includes a pretty heavy list of artists from 1968 when he helped Jimi Hendrix the record Electric Ladyland album, playing organ, through to his recording and touring with artists such as Etta James, Joe Cocker, Crosy Stills & Nash, Tracy Chapman, Taj Mahal and dozens and dozens of others.

Now, if you are talking about politics, the humble thing flies out the window, because Mike is downright opinionated and more than willing to show an angry side as he kicks ass with his silver tongue. Mike is well informed, has no regard for those who he calls "intellectually lazy" and can generally back up his tongue lashings with numerous references and footnotes. Whether one agrees with him or not, he is good at debate. He could most definitely be effective at running for Congress.

Thanks to Mike Levand on YouTube for posting the following recording of Mike Finnigan, from 1973, that clarifies the earlier point that Mike has that "it" thing. Definitely one of the most soulful cats on the planet. This song is entitled Hard Time, originally written and performed by Ray Charles. (music starts at the 18 second point - please be patient)

Here is one more excellent song of Mike singing "Death Letter" by Son House on the Finnigan & Wood album entitled Crazed Hipsters

Here is a unedited handheld version of one of the live jam sessions that I had the privilege of filming at China Club featuring Mike Finnigan and Friends performing Love The One Your With. (This is purposely a low-resolution video/audio copy, for I am yet ready to release the full resolution, yet!)