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Published: 2006/03/21
by Rebecca Carter

The Codetalkers, Coda, NYC- 3/11

Saturday, March 11th found The Codetalkers at Coda in NYC. The band came on around midnight, providing an afterglow for the already well liquored up post Allman Brothers crowd who still had energy left to party. The band kicked things off quickly with “Miss Hawaii”; the crowd was alive and the game was afoot.

Hailing from Atlanta, Georgia, The Codetalkers are the type of band that can be poppy yet technical, catchy yet creative. The current line up features Bobby Lee Rodgers on guitar and vocals, Ted Pecchio on the stand up bass, Tyler Greenwell on drums and Col. Bruce Hampton on the pedal steel. Adding to the already impressive cast of players, The Codetalkers are known for being joined on stage by some pretty heavy hitters. Past performances have boasted sit-ins from the likes of Jimmy Herring and Mike Gordon. On this night, Susan Tedeschi joined the band onstage for “Got My Mojo Working” and “I’m So Glad.” The quartet slid seamlessly from their jam groove into the downbeat blues, and the combination of Col. Hampton’s and Tedeschi’s vocals on “I’m So Glad” made the experience reminiscent of The Band’s work with The Staple Singers: rootsy and smokin’.

By the second set The Codetalkers had settled into their element. The jams were more extended and heavier, and on songs like “Get to Know You Better”, “Victor the Snakeman” and “Speedway,” the group built a given jam to an explosive peak before gathering the pieces and bringing them back to the flow of the song. Aside from the straight up high-intensity jam songs, The Codetalkers gave their audience time to catch their breath during some more “no depression” blues. For these songs the Colonel came alive. The crowd erupted in applause with each movement he made towards the microphone, anticipating the time to testify ahead. He belted out “Beggin’ You to Stay”, letting the mic drop between verses James Brown style. What can you say? The man’s got flair.

But the spotlight didn’t belong to Hampton alone. For a band didn’t use a light show or gimmicks, there was never a moment without something to fixate your attention. Each individual member played so well that it seemed like they were all showing off at once, whether it was Pecchio’s antics on bass or Rodgers’ solos. With Saturday night rolling into Sunday morning, The Codetalkers’ set brought together a flow that moved gracefully from up-beat jams to blues, giving the crowd a subtle history lesson in authenticity and roots of it all.

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