Saturday night at the Cellar Door the Lamont Cranston Band summoned to the stage the music of Sonny Boy Williamson, Lloyd Price, Bruce Springsteen, Southside Johnny and Elvis in a hard-driving set that somehow managed to do justice to all concerned.
The seven-piece band began with what they do best: Sonny Boy Williamson. Pat Hayes coaxed from his harmonica the hand-fluttering expressiveness of Williamson's harp before tightening his tone for a raucous call and response chorus with the horn section.
From there, the band relaxed the rhythm and headed south for a New Orleans rendezvous with Lloyd Price before pianist Bruce McCabe pumped up the pressure again with his song "Don't Go." That tune, as well another by McCabe called "Working With Rosie," inspired the rhythm and horn sections to play off each other in feisty R&B fashion, not unlike that of Springsteen and Southside Johnny.
Cranston's "E Jam" remains the group's signature piece. It not only displayed Hayes's virtuosity on harp, but the lyrical instrumental gave ample room to the rest of the band as well. Finally, like Ry Cooder and the Nighthawks, the Cranston band has discovered the durability of Elvis' "Little Sister" and ended the show in a rollicking rockabilly vein.