The minute Roland Johnson walks onstage for his semi-regular gig at Beale on Broadway, you know you're seeing a performer
. The man drips charisma all the way through his white leisure suit and down to his polished shoes. He can do the James Brown, the Sam & Dave, the Bobby "Blue" Bland, the Otis Redding, and he does them all, no matter how familiar, no matter how many times he's sung them, like the joint is on fire and his lungs are filled with kerosene. He's a growler, a belter, but cool enough to keep his musicians, featuring veterans of the Mighty Big Band, from jamming off their charts. A lot of bands in St. Louis play the Stax/Volt and Motown hits. None drives them home like Roland Johnson and Co.