I don't give a damn what the purists say/ They wouldn't know the blues if it bit 'em anyway/ This is the blues of the 21st century/ And I don't give a damn if you can't get with me.
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BIG FUN, ETC AT THE BLUES FESTIVAL
Where to start…..
1. Big Sam's Funky Nation
As good as he was at the festival, he was even better the following night at Roseland. Why? I was wondering myself till I was talking to Tony Ozier who was also on the show. He was hanging in the green room with Sam and company. Sam and the trumpet player were raving to him about the new mouthpieces they had gotten earlier in the day from David Monette.
They found out that Monette's horns and mouthpieces really do make you sound better!
I had great fun channelling the legendary R&B radio DJ Hot Rod during my intro to Sam at the festival. Yeah, that's some of The Real Zeal Zod coming out when I do The Bar on KMHD.
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2. NW Blues Pianorama
David Vest, Janice Scroggins, D.K. Stewart and Steve Kerin were all different even though they all play in the blues tradition. I MC'd this one. They each did one fifteeen minute set and then played together at the end.
It was jaw-dropping. One after another. What was unspoken was that they all knew they had to be at their best. They were. I hope somone recorded it.
I hate to single out any one of them (cuz they were all wonderful and I'm liable to get hit) but Janice's (nearly) solo performance in the second set of the night was sublime…jazz, blues, ragtime and swing. She told the story of American music in one beautiful solo.
She gets my vote for most influential musician at the festival. She was everywhere playing with everyone. I lost count. Her gospel set with Linda Hornbuckle, Between Friends with Linda and Duffy Bishop, LaRhonda Steele and others, Sonny Hess' NW Rhythm and Blues Women….I know there's more.
Speaking of which….
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3. The Return of Sheila Wilcoxson
She stopped singing locally years ago, and altogether a while back. She did a Koko Taylor tribute during Sonny Hess' set and knocked everyone out, as she always has. Major props to Sonny for persuading her to come back.
Sheila tells me she got some home recording gear and just may be surprising us with her own material before long.
Welcome back. She was a major talent around here.
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4. Note to Karl Denson's road manager.
I MC'd for Karl. He and the guitar player were a little bit late taking the stage so Stage Manger Jim Miller took his time introducing me. I took my time introducing Karl. At one point Karl's road manger tapped me on the shoulder and gave me the universal sign for "wrap it."
Only he didn't mean it. He thought he was telling me to stretch it. I started to rev it up to kick off the set but somebody stoppped me again. They weren't ready. So I stood there and pulled shit out of my ass for another 3 or 4 minutes in front of 20,000 people while Karl plugged in.
By then I was taking my cues from Karl. It was pretty funny. Nobody got mad. Usually when I'm talking to 20,000 people I don't get to see them. Of course I enjoyed it.
See, when you want someone to stretch you………….oh never mind.
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5. Among other smiles at the festival
One of my favorite images of the whole festival was in the nearly-backstage area at the Miller Stage during Sharon Jones
While onstage, Sharon had lined up some women from backstage.
Yes, that's Liv Warfield on the end of the line. At this moment she's in France singing with Prince at the Montreux Jazz Festival. Our Liv!!
Thanks to LaRhonda Steele, who also sang with Ken DeRouchie on Thursday, for an advance copy of her exciting new album. I got it on the air Saturday night, of course.
Ran into musician/artist Ron Rogers. Told him he needs to make coffin art for Michael Jackson like he has for all those blues and soul people. Could make a lot of dough. He wasn't enthusiastic. He did tell me somone used a tune of his on a music video up on YouTube. This one. They don't let you embed it for some reason.
David Vest played a couple of hot sets on one of the cruises with Jimi Bott and Don Campbell.
One of my favorite discoveries at the festival was the Loose Marbles, a traditional jazz band from New Orleans. Tres cool. On Friday, they played at Pioneer Courthouse Square.
They played all over town for swing dances, too.
The folks who run the backstage operations are a lot of fun and always friendly. I would name them all but I know I would leave some out.
Congrats to Peter Dammann, Jean Kemp-Ware and all the others who pulled off a great festival, made the dough the Oregon Food Bank and brought just enough music to make everyone happy in a time when festivals are cutting back drastically or just plain going out of business.
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I need a nap. Too much fun. Too tired to put in all the URL's. I figure you know how to Google. And I gotta go make some money.
Before I go....When Max Roach died no news channels covered it. Bastards
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Listen to my KMHD show on Saturday nights 10pm-2am. Jazz till 12 and then The Bar opens at Midnight! Studio line 503-661-8900…call me sometime, it gets lonely out there!
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org