I was looking for a good link for Freddie King in the new "Les Paul: More than a Rocker" story when I discovered this link to the London Souls—from New York, of course—blowing the roof off the unfortunately-now-closed Sin-é with a fiery version of “Going Down.” It was the second incarnation of the club, which first opened in the late-80s on St. Mark’s Place and Avenue A, and became a refuge for the new wave of young Irish immigrants, touring Irish artists like U2, Van Morrison, and Sinead O’Connor, and the home base for a young singer-songwriter named Jeff Buckley, who would pack the tiny café with a hushed crowd who couldn’t believe the power of his voice and songs. The original Sin-é closed after a few years, and reopened in the late-90s in a new location in the very low and very east section of the Lower East Side, and struggled for a few years, fighting against the encroaching luxury condos that were replacing the bodegas and garages on the block.

It is at this Sin-é that the London Souls crank up an SG and a 335 and return “Going Down” to its pummeling blues-rock roots. Often thought to be a Freddie King original, which every 60s English guitarist with a Les Paul and a Marshall took a stab at, the song is actually by late-60s-early-70s Memphis maniacs Moloch. The band, which featured the seriously, absolutely, really-for-real brilliant Lee Baker on guitar, were ferocious, Memphis blues rock heavyweights. And in grand Memphis tradition, they existed just long enough to prove they were better than almost anybody else—a legendary performance at 1969’s Memphis Blues Fest is often cited—and then they imploded. While the guitar gods of the day were dragging the blues through London art schools, Moloch and Baker were keeping it firmly planted in the Delta. Think about it: How good are you when Freddie King is covering you?

Baker—who learned guitar by playing with Furry Lewis, Bukka White, Mississippi Fred McDowell, and the Mar-Keys—went on to play with Jim Dickinson in the fire-and-brimstone howlers Mud Boy and the Neutrons, along with Sid Selvidge and Jimmy Crosthwait. A close friend of Dickinson’s, Baker was a huge influence on North Mississippi Allstars guitarist, and Dickinson’s son, Luther Dickinson. Sadly, Baker was murdered in 1996, leaving behind frustratingly little recorded evidence of his greatness. To learn more about Baker and Moloch, check out Robert Gordon’s excellent book It Came From Memphis, which also features a whole chapter about Sputnik Monroe, which is a whole ’nother tangent in itself. –Ari Surdoval

The London Souls doing “Going Down” at Sin-é: