Ryan Scully’s got the cure for what ails you. But he’s also part of the disease that afflicts your “sin-sick soul.” On Halloween night, he closes out Voodoo’s Bingo! Parlour with a one-night only reunion of the Morning 40 Federation, the sin-sickest bunch of miscreants ever to emerge from the Lower Ninth Ward. Come Sunday at noon, Scully’s back and testifying to the higher power with his new band, the Rough 7.
“The hangover-weary brave enough to show up at that hour will definitely get that headache pummeled,” promises lead guitarist Rob Cambre. “And what’s more Catholic than a bingo tent?”
Formed during the tail end of the 40s’ demise last spring, Rough 7 draws equal inspiration from the Holy Trinity and the Detroit Big Three (Funkadelic, Stooges, MC5), throwing down covers of both “Kick Out the Jams” and the Rev. Charlie Jackson’s “God’s Got It” amid their own growing canon of songs.
“When it first started out, I had a psychedelic thing in mind, with swirling guitars,” says Scully. Enter improvised-music shredder Cambre. Recommended for the job by original guitarist Michael Aaron, who was moving out of town, Cambre sealed the deal at a Rough 7 Saturn Bar gig. “‘Meltdown’ was the first tune they played, which I totally loved,” recalls Cambre, who joined bassist C.J. Floyd and 40s’ drummer Mike Andrepont on the Rough 7 team. “I felt like I could live in this house.”
Soon that house started to grow. Inspired by an old Rev. Charlie Jackson gospel record Cambre brought in to “church up” the band, Scully put out a call for singers. “All my life I’ve wanted soulful women backup singers,” he admits. “And the ones I got are great.”
The Rough 7 had three singers on board when the band debuted at Café Negril during French Quarter Fest. Only two remain: Meschiya Lake and Altercation, whose calland- response harmonies add a rich R&B texture. But the Rough 7 is still a septet. To amp up the noisy psychedelic element, Scully recruited keyboardist Ratty Scurvics, the Ninth Ward force of nature, to put his spell on the band. “
As the foundation gets really solid, the colors get wilder,” says Cambre. And by Voodoo, it should be rock-hard. In late October, the band started laying down tracks for a debut album produced by Dr. Fred for his new label, Rookery Records, on Independence Avenue in Bywater. They’ll also be fresh off a Friday Hi Ho gig, where they’ll back the Ratty Scurvics Big Band the night before Scully joins his fellow 40s at Voodoo. So what can fans expect when they stagger into the Bingo! Parlour at high noon on Day of the Dead?
“A lot of sin-sick soul, baby,” says Scully. “Good Sunday morning stuff.”
Morning 40 Federation plays Saturday, October 31 at 9:45 p.m. in the Bingo! Parlour. R. Scully & the Rough 7 play Sunday, November 1, at 12 p.m. in the Bingo! Parlour.