Saturday, July 8, 2006

Saturday @ The Hayward/Russell City Blues Festival

Saturday morning, I was dragging from being out the previous night. The plan was to make it for the opening act of the Hayward/Russell City Blues Festival. I was running late. I thought I was going to miss the first couple of sets. Somehow, I found a place front and center. I still managed to make it for the last couple of numbers by a fabulous Gospel group called Endurance. They were followed by Wingnut Adams.

The Caravan Of All Stars. played the first of several sets. These guys are very hardcore. Everyone was looking sharp and dressed in black suits as the temperature climbed above 100 degrees. A couple people had passed out from the heat, when Pork Pie Phillips stepped on the stage. He sang a couple of his fantastic original tunes. Next up was the 71 year old Teddy "Bluesmaster" Watson. Unfazed by the heat, he sang most of his set in the grass in front of the stage while interacting with the audience.

The next act was the San Francisco Fillmore Review featuring: Fillmore Slim, Bobbie Webb & Curtis Lawson. At this point, the heat was starting to get to me so I walked around the festival area while soaking up the sounds. I stopped in to take a few pictures.

"(Editor's Note: Photos will come later.)"

It was a great set that was kicked off by a nice version of Honky Tonk by Bobbie Webb. Curtis Lawson came out decked in red sequins from head to toe. He was wearing a cool red hat and a cape that were covered in sequins. He sang a couple of great songs, before Fillmore Slim stepped on the stage. He was a ball of human energy. He ripped through several songs including a really nice version of "The Things I Used To Do." He's got an amazing amount of energy of style for a guy in his early 70's.

After a very short break, the Caravan Of All Stars returned to the stage being joined by a trio of excellent blues singers including Wylie Trass, Wille G and Hollywood Jenkins. I snapped a few photos. It was too damn hot. At this point, I was starting to seek a shady area.

Next up was the Russell City Memorial Blues Band which consisted of: Gino Landers, "Big Bob" Deance, Bobbie Webb, Dalhart Johnson and Carl Green. Also joining this group was the great Craig Horton. This set was somewhat abbreviated, but great.

Carl Weathersby was up next. He was backed by the Caravan Of All Stars. At this point, the crowd got up on their feet and dancing. They moved in toward the stage. He raised the bar high delivering a very high intensity set featuring some excellent vocal work. At one point, the band almost stopped playing while he bent the twisted and bent the strings of his guitar with a high degree of fierocity. It was an excellent set.

The final set of the day was delivered by the fabulous Bobby Rush. Bobby arrived really early. He walked around the audience and talked to people. He's a real down to Earth guy and he put on a show that really demonstrates why he has been won the Living Blues Award for Best Live Performer. He mixed some tunes off of his latest CD, "Night Fishin'" with some of his older classic material. Bobby Rush is a song stylist, a prolific songwriter, an excellent performer and and a legend in American Music. He's also a true bluesman.

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