The bastard son of a one-night stand between Dr. John and Tony Joe White who was wet-nursed by the Meters (forget what you learned in sex ed, just go with the comparison), Malcolm "Papa Mali" Welbourne has become a regional blues/funk festival favorite with his otherworldly jams and stage persona. Though he spent nearly two decades with the seminal Austin reggae band the Killer Bees, today Papa Mali has set aside the jerk chicken, Red Stripe and reggae of Jamaica in favor of the filé gumbo, Dixie beer and bayou funk of his native Louisiana. Welbourne, who received the Mali moniker from members of Burning Spear's band, debuted his new musical identity (and partnership with first-call Austin drummer Frosty Smith) on disc two years ago with Thunder Chicken. Mali doesn't so much sing as he does pontificate in his drawling growl over extended jams. The result is music so greasy and funky that a travel-sized bar of Coast should come with the price of admission.
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