When most people think of a porterhouse, they imagine a thick, juicy slab of meat and perhaps a cattle rancher or two. Madison blues-rock band Aaron Williams and the Hoodoo don't think about the steak or the farm as much as the saucy lady who served the meal.
Starting with a heavy bass groove and cymbals that cry out for attention, the band takes you through a wild and bluesy ride in "Porter House 650" that's officially dedicated to a piece of meat and unofficially dedicated to, um, getting a piece. The wa-wa pedal turns into an instrument for cat calling, while Williams' voice tells a tale of the past while sending a come-hither message to any ladies who might be listening.
Williams works this magic by speaking the story rather than singing it, using a sort of low, whispery growl that would sound at home in a New Orleans speakeasy as well as a saloon far west of the Mississippi. The site of the story isn't either of these places though: It's a dinner joint in Louisville, Kentucky, dishing up steak for $6.50.
As the band points out, this low-low price probably isn't a good thing, but they're used to long days of being on the road, followed by wild nights of jamming and perhaps some womanizing. A little gut rot isn't about to do them in -- or so they assume.
Narrating the meat's trip from the kitchen to the table rhythmically, like a jazz club scat singer caught up in a Deep South bayou, Williams recreates the band's dialogue with their server. At this point, the references to cooking and juices and slicing into hot meat make it pretty clear that he's not just talking about dinner.
"What did that taste like?" asks one of the Hoodoo.
"No, I was talking about the porter house," says Williams.
An MP3 of "Porter House 650" is available in the related downloads section at right. More songs by Aaron Williams and the Hoodoo are available on its MySpace page. Sample a taste of the band live when it opens for Davy Knowls & Back Door Slam at the Majestic Theatre on Friday, June 26. Or, catch the trio when it plays its monthly gig in the main room at the Brink Lounge; the next performance is on Thursday, July 9.
MadTracks highlights and provides MP3s of songs performed by local musicians. All tracks here are provided with permission of the artist. If you are a musician based in the Madison metro area and are interested in sharing your work as a MadTrack, please send a message.