Friday, March 30, 2007

Redwood City Blues Jam Report

Wednesday night was a lot of fun. The night started out with a great first set featuring some very laid back, but pretty intense music by Steve Freund and Charles Wheal.

I got up with some very talented players including John Boutell (guitar/vocals), Greg Heumann (saxophone), Alan Oehler (guitar), Scott Malcolm (bass) and a female drummer that I didn't recognize.

Lots of good music was played. I had to split a bit earlier than I had planned. The last person I saw perform was Barrelhouse Solly. He sounded excellent. The only downside to the whole evening was that Barrelhouse Solly did not sing "Texas Flood."

Thursday, March 29, 2007

A Plan For The Big Time

A few weeks ago, I was running errands around town. I pulled into a parking lot at Safeway in Fremont. I had the windows open and one of those live Magic Slim CD's with the big booming bass was blasting from the stereo.

A young guy came up to me and asked, "What are you listening to?"

I replied, "Magic Slim and the Teardrops."

He asked, "Are they a rap group?"

My response, "No. They are a blues band from Chicago."

He said, "I never heard of them. I'm going to be a rap star, would you like to buy one of my CDs. All I need to do is get this CD into the hands of someone at a major record label and I'm going to be a big star."

I asked him, "Is it a struggle for you being a rapper in Fremont? Do you work a day job?"

He replied, "No. I don't work a day job. I don't need one, because all I need to do is get this CD into the hands of someone at a major record label and I'm going to be a big star."

I asked, "It sounds like you've got a plan, but I know people that have struggled their whole lives in the entertainment business, how are you going to be different."

He replied, "The difference is I'm going to be a big star."

As I walked away shaking my head, I couldn't help but think about his plan. Here is a kid selling CD's in the parking lot at Safeway in small town America looking for his big break.

It's so simple and yet so elegant.

It amazed me that no one had thought of this earlier. I haven't seen him since. He could be on MTV for all I know. For people that might be interested, it's the Safeway in downtown Fremont.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Steve Freund's World Famous Blues Jam Report

Last night, the moon was nearly full and brightly illuminated the evening sky. There was an Indian kid sporting a fake mohawk singing horribly on America's most watched television show that used to be talent competition. It was sort of a strange evening.

I arrived a bit during the middle of Steve Freund's opening set. He was in the middle of some tough blues in the West Side Chicago Blues tradition. Joining Steve onstage was East Bay Wes. After another tune, Wes stepped down and handed his guitar to Johnny Cat. Steve and Johnny played a couple more great songs before taking a short break. Nothing strange about this set. The music was great.

There were a number of musicians at the Mojo last night. There must have been a big guitar player convention last night because there were very few in attendance.

Here's the strange part.

There were more drummers present than guitar players. June Core, Luke Piro, Norm Decarlo, the majestic E-Rock and a couple more were present.

Back to normal things.

For me, the highlight of the jam was when Pat Wilder took the stage with Norm Decarlo and Ray Figueroa. She played some very intense Blues. I had seen her several times in Redwood City. She was always grouped with some horn players. Her participation in a smaller group made her music a bit more personal and intimate. She did a fantastic job.

Back to some strange stuff.

There was a very non-traditional female singer in the house that sang one of the most ethereal versions of "Got My Mojo Working" that I've ever heard while dancing rather suggestively. She followed that up with a free form number which included suggestive dancing and moaning. Her singing and dancing brought something new to the Blues.

Back to normal things.

At this point, it was difficult to ascertain whether things had returned to normal or not. Steve finished up the evening and asked Don Yonders and me to join him.

Overall, it was an odd, but fun evening at the World Famous Blues Jam.

People that performed during the course of the evening included: Steve Freund, June Core, Marcus Carino, East Bay Wes, Johnny Cat, Scott Duncan, Eric (the keyboard guy), Dawon (phonetic spelling), a new bass player, Double G, Don Yonders, Pat Wilder, Ray Figueroa, Norm Decarlo and (a singer named) Faith.

Robin O dropped in for a bit. Celia made the trek and brought Francis Clay down. It was nice to see him.

It was a crazy, but fun evening.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Redwood City Blues Jam Report

It's been almost three months since my last trip to the Little Fox. It was the final Kenny "Blue" Ray performance in the Bay Area for a while. He recently relocated to Portland, Oregon. I got with two songs to spare in the first set. Mr Blue Ray was onstage with Steve Edmonson, Wendy Dewitt, Greg, Ray Ray and Norm. As one would expect, the music was excellent.

I grabbed a beer. I stopped to shoot the breeze with Dave Workman for a bit. I ran into Don Yonders and Barrelhouse Solly (who appears to be working his way through the Roosevelt Sykes songbook, which sort of hacks me off. I was hoping to hear him sing Texas Flood or Mustang Sally in his own inimitable style.)

Vince got one annoying jerk off of his back right away. He called me up almost instantly along with the Pastor of the Telecaster, Jerome Engelberts, Ira, Norm and two other guys that I had never seen before.

Barrelhouse Solly and Don Yonders got up with some other guys that I've seen before, but I can't remember their names. Must be the latent effects from partaking of too many 40's of Mickey's Malt Liquor as a youth. Don and Solly sounded really good together. Don Yonders is strong guitar player that flies below the radar screen. He's not flashy or in your face, but he always sounds good.

Next up was a lady with a huge voice that sang a really nice version of Stormy Monday. I have no clue who the heck she was, but she was really good. She sang two songs and split. She was joined by a really energetic bass player and a flashy, but quite good guitar player.

Amy Lou, Johnny Cat, Greg Heumann and Vince really tore it up. I don't remember who was the rhythm section, but the drummer was very good, so it was probably Norm Decarlo. I suspect that Scott was playing the bass. As is customary, they tore it up.

KBR, Wendy, Ray Ray, Norm and Dave Workman were up next. They sounded fantastic. It was nice to see and hear Dave. It's been far too long, since I had seen him play.

I had gotten about four hours of sleep and I don't bounce back as well as I did in my younger days, so I had to split during the middle of their set.

It was a really good night. I had some interesting conversations. I saw some great players and talked to some people I hadn't seen in 24 hours or longer.