Monday, February 13, 2006

Photos For 2006

Photos for 2006 can be found here.

Horseman's Club (02/12/2006):

Fillmore Slim, Frankie Lee, Joe Louis Walker, Bobbie Webb, Rick Estrin, Kenny Neal, Lucky Peterson, Rico McFarland, James Cotton, Slam Allen, Tom Holland, Johnny Rawls, Billy Dunn and Omar Shariff.

Little Fox Theater Jam (02/08/2006):

Lara Price, Kenny Neal and Taylor P Collins.

Mojo Lounge (02/07/2006 and 01/31/2006):

Don Yonders and the electrifying Double G.

Poor House Bistro (02/04/2006):

Johnny Cat, Marvin Greene and RJ Mischo.

Cavalcade of Blues (01/28/2006):

Kenny "Blue" Ray, Charlie Chavez, Artie Chavez, Ray Figeroa, Vince Caminiti, Greg Heumann, George Landreth, David Vincent, Tom DeFiglio, Allyson Paige, John Lull, Jim Moore, Jerome Engelberts, JB Davis, George Schoenstein, Madison Sink and Kerry Daly.

Mojo Lounge (01/27/2006):

Mark Hummel, Charles Wheal, Steve Wolf and Marty Dodson.

Little Fox Theater Jam(01/25/2006):

Johnny Blues Boyd, Jimmy Dewrance, Arthur Daugherty, Slim, James "Loose" Reed, JB Davis, Glenn Mandelkern, Rory Brennan, Chris Brown, Stan Erhart, Eddy B, Johnny Cat, John Nemeth, Chris "Kid" Andersen, Kenny "Blue" Ray, Ron Lowes, Mike Phillips and Vince Caminiti.

Poor House Bistro (01/13/2006):

Little Frank Krakowski

Mojo Lounge (01/03/2006):

Kenny "Blue" Ray

Horseman's Club

Frankie Lee

It was another fine day at the Horseman's Club in Sacramento. I got up early in the morning at hit Highway 5. Enroute, I picked up Don Yonder and the infamous Double G. Two hours later, we rolled up to the Horsemen's Club. After a short wait, we paid the admission fee securing our place in a day of fun and blues-related frolic.

The facility was set up quite nicely. The first four bands appeared outside. It was a really nice and sunny day in Sacramento. I felt sort of guilty enjoying the warm weather, when most of the country is freezing their asses in the middle of February. That lasted about 30 seconds.

Omar Shariff kicked off the show with some very nice solo piano work. He played a couple of tunes before turning the stage over to Johnny Rawls. I had never seen him before and my exposure to him was hearing his songs on the radio every once in a while. It didn't prepare me for his set. He's got a voice as smooth as velvet. He was a very fine bandleader and he put on a great performance. It was a perfect beginning to an excellent afternoon.

Next up was Earl Thomas. His set was a 1970's retro-experience which ended with a song out of the T-Rex songbook. He's a good singer, but I really didn't dig his material. It wasn't incredibly horrible, it just didn't move me.

James Cotton was up next! James Cotton is like the mailman. He always delivers and he put on an excellent set. Slam Allen provided some excellent vocal work on the first three tunes which were very reminiscent of a BB King show. Tom Holland contributed some great guitar work on several tunes, but the star of the show was James Cotton.

James Cotton is still one of the baddest harp players on the planet. He's got some of the deepest tone that I've ever heard. He is simply the baddest of the bad! This set was pure Chicago Blues and it reminded me of the shows he used to play in Chicago on Christmas Day at the old Wise Fools Pub.

When he kicked off "Got My Mojo Working," he brought a boy on stage that was probably around 12 or 13. He blew a couple of great soloes that opened several eyes. An older black man in the audience shouted out, "he's pretty good for a white boy!"

James picked up a microphone and said, "People are people. It didn't matter what color he is. He can play. People are people." He told a story about when he first played with Sonny Boy Williamson at the age of nine on KPFA in Helena, Arkansas. It was cool.

That was a tough act to follow, but Lucky Peterson did a great job. High intensity is a great way to describe him and his band which featured Rico McFarland. Rico played a couple of super high energy songs before calling Lucky Peterson up to the stage. Although, the sun was dropping in the sky, he increased the temperature outside by several degrees.

During one song, he jumped off the stage and climbed on top of a chair while never missing a note during a fantastic guitar solo. He was joined by Rick Estrin, Kenny Neal and James Cotton for a tune. Omar Shariff came onstage to add a couple of verses to a great Jimmy Reed medley.

This set could have easiy finished the day with everyone leaving extremely happy, but the festivities weren't over. The music moved indoors with Joe Louis Walker and the San Francisco Fillmore Blues Revue with Bobbie Webb, Frankie Lee and Fillmore Slim.

One thing that you have to say about all four of these guys is that they are great; they are old school practitioners of the Blues and they really know how to work a crowd. Each of them delivered as expected delivering some amazing entertainment.

Joe Louis Walker delivered a fine set. He was joined by Kenny Neal for a couple of tunes. The highlight of this set had to be Frankie Lee. He's an incredibly soulful singer. He writes some great songs and he is an amazing showman that is always dressed for success with a perfect amount of bling.

Not to be outdone was Fillmore Slim who was decked out from head to toe in a wild purple suit that fit his image. He sang a couple of tunes before asking Rick Estrin to join the band on stage. They did a couple of tunes from his CD entitled, "The Game" before it was quitting time.

The high of the day far surpassed the drudgery of the two hour drive back home. I walked into the house at a little past 11:00pm. It was a great day. The good news is the Sacramento Heritage Festival folks are doing this again in April.

Little Fox Theater Blues Jam

Kenny Neal

Kenny "Blue" Ray hosted another fine jam at the Little Fox Theater this past Wednesday evening. Joining his band during the opening set was Greg Heumann from the Bluestate Band. After an excellent opening set, the jam started with a great singer named Taylor P. Collins. She set the bar really high by burning through a couple of Little Milton tunes that could have melted steel. She was a tough act to follow, but the next person up would raise the bar even higher and still manage to clear it.

Kenny Neal joined the Kenny "Blue" Ray Band. He performed for about a half hour and it was some of the finest Blues music that I had heard in a while.

The band took a short break...

At that moment, I felt a little guilty seeing some great music without paying an entrance fee, so I dropped some cash into the tip bucket.

After he finished up, Greg Heumann said to me, "He's got some of the best harp tone playing straight through a PA that I've ever heard." I spoke with Don Yonder and he said, "I feel sorry for whoever has to follow his playing." The sentence was barely out of his mouth when the next person's name got called. That guy refused to play and walked out.

Next up on the list was me and a some other guys that I had never seen before. Needless to say, the bar set by Kenny Neal was cleared. All of us flew right under the bar with room to plenty of room to spare.

A little later in the evening, James Reed of Mojo Madness played a few tunes with Don Yonder. Afterword, the lovely Lara Price played some drums and sang a couple of great tunes. This lady has got a huge voice shoved into a tiny package. She can flat out sing.

A few more musicians got up. I was asked back up to the stage. I proceeded to blow up my amplifier. Other than that, it was another pretty cool evening at the Little Fox Theater

RJ Mischo's World Famous Blues Jam - 02/07 Edition

Double G & one of his many admirers

It was a very mellow and low key evening at the Mojo Lounge for the umpteenth edition of R.J. Mischo's World Famous Blues Jam. The band consisted of Kenny "Blue" Ray, Marc Carino and June Core.

The started the evening with a very mellow set that kept the music down in the alley. Attendance was light, so R.J. decided to keep things low key and had a Front Porch theme going. Joining the band during the course of the evening was: Johnny Cat, Kid Andersen, Don Yonder, E-Rock and Freddie Roulette.

I sat in during the final set of the evening with the amazing Double G who has recently returned to the Blues scene after a twenty year absence. Whenever, you get to sit in with a performer that has a deep pedigree like Double G, it's always an indescribable moment.

I was so overcome with emotion that I had to leave the stage after a couple of songs. Fortunately, I was able to capture Double G in action with one of his many adoring fans at his feet in a truly magical moment.

Marvin Greene & RJ Mischo @ Poor House Bistro

Lindsay w/ Johnny Cat, Marvin Greene, RJ Mischo

Saturday night, I loaded the family into the van and we headed down to the Poor House Bistro to catch the duo of Marvin Greene and R.J. Mischo at the Poor House Bistro.

It was a really weird evening. The Sharks were playing at the Arena. When we pulled into the parking lot at the Poor House, we immediately found a parking spot. When we walked into the covered patio, it was jam packed. There were a couple of huge parties. We were able to immediately find a seat as another family was leaving for the arena. What luck!

Marvin and RJ put on a really cool show for the dinner crowd. They played a lot of really old school Blues from the pre-war Bluebird period. They asked me to join them for a couple of tunes. It was a blast to play some old school Blues. After a bit, Johnny Cat dropped in for a bit. Unfortunately, the twin natives were getting restless, so we packed up the family and headed home for the remainder of the evening.

Saturday, February 4, 2006

RJ Mischo's World Famous Blues Jam - 01/30 Edition

Double G

This past Tuesday was an exceptionally historic edition of RJ Mischo's World Famous Blues Jam at the Mojo Lounge. RJ opened the show with his fabulous band which included: Kid Andersen, Marc Carino and June Core.

After a great opening set, RJ asked Kenny "Blue" Ray, Ray Figeroa and Artie Chavez to the stage. They play some great Texas-styled Blues. Next up was Lara Price, Laura Chavez and Scott Miller.

After the previous set, the musical bar was set high for the return of Double G and The New Kingpins. After a twenty year sabbatical sponsored by the federal government, Oakland bluesman Double G made his return to the stage backed by his band, The New Kingpins. Double G ripped through a series of selections from his first recording since 1979 entitled "Brunswick Blues."

It was a great evening of music, fun and frolic down at the Mojo Lounge.