Friday, June 20, 2008

The Week In Review

I've had a really busy week!

Kenny Neal

Last Sunday, East Bay Wes and I rolled up to Sacramento. We dropped into the show at the Horseman's Club to see: Kenny Neal, Rick Estrin & The Nightcats, and The Fabulous Thunderbirds. It was hot in Sacramento. As one would expect, it was a really solid show and an incredible entertainment value @ a mere $20. I shot 347 photos. I will post some of them on my much neglected web site.

On Tuesday, I headed off to Colorado for a few days.

After checking on the Internet, I was bummed out. I almost always miss out on some cool shows by a week. This trip was no exception to the rule. I missed Delores Scott by four days.

On the first and third Tuesday evenings of every month, Dan Treanor hosts a very cool blues jam at the Boulder Outlook Hotel in Boulder.

Dan is a really nice guy and excellent harp player. He fronts a fine blues band. I walked in during the middle of the first set and who do I see on stage singing with the band?

Delores Scott. I had the opportunity to talk to her briefly. She's a really sweet lady and a very good singer.

After they finished up their set, he started up the jam. Dan was kind enough to let me sit in with his band for a few numbers. It was a lot of fun. Dan invited me back. Overall, it's a pretty friendly jam and the people are pretty cool.

A couple of guys were shooting video of the evening with an impressive array of equipment. When I asked them what they were planning on doing with the video they shot, they acted like I was interrogating them and wouldn't answer my questions.

Wednesday night, I headed to Arvada, Colorado. I stopped by a really nice restaurant called the D Note. They had some great looking food and a nice selection of local microbrews. Since, I had a late lunch, I had a couple of beers.

They have an early blues jam hosted by a band called The Clam Daddys. I hung out for a bit before being asked if I wanted to join the band on stage. It's a pretty funky down home, almost acoustic style jam. It was a lot of fun to play there. Tommy and Moses are both a couple of nice guys. We played several songs together. They invited me back and told them I was welcome to join them anytime.

I got back home late last night and was dead tired.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Mark Hummel @ The Redwood City Blues Jam

Mark Hummel and the Blues Survivors hosted the Redwood City Blues Jam. Mark was joined by Rusty Zinn. They did a really nice opening set that included a tribute to the late Bo Diddley.

After they concluded, the jam began. A couple of groups of folks got up and did their thing. There were a ton of harp players, few singers and guitar players. Vince, the jam master, probably had some challenging moments getting everyone on stage.

During the second set, the Bo Diddley theme continued on. The first video is a very nice version of the Little Walter classic, Roller Coaster. Bo Diddley played guitar on the original version of the tune.

Later in the set, Mark and the guys were joined by Alvon Johnson. They performed the Bo Diddley hit, I'm A Man.

After this set, there were a couple more groups of jammers. I got up with Vince Caminiti, Bart Shea and Scott Malcolm. It was the first time that I had the chance to play with Bart. He's a solid vocalist. I had to get up early for work the next day so I couldn't stick around until the bitter end.

Overall, it was a really good night.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Remembering Bo Diddley

Bo Diddley @ the Alameda County Fair

July 2004

Today is a sad day in American musical history.

The legendary Bo Diddley passed away. Bo Diddley has been around since I can remember. The first time I ever saw him was probably around 1972. He appeared on the ABC TV show In Concert. It was a really memorable show for me. I remember talking to my Dad about him and he told me he was one of the pioneers of Rock and Roll Music in the 1950's and that he was one of the only people that played a square guitar.His performance left an impression on an eleven year old kid.

It was a number of years before I heard of him again. In the early 1980's, I was in college. It was when I came into contact with Chicago Blues. When I started learning more about the history of the music, you couldn't help but learn about the contribution of Bo Diddley. I became re-acquainted with him through his recordings for Chess Records.

The first time that I ever saw him was at the 1986 Chicago Blues Festival in Grant Park. He was scheduled to appear and be reunited with Billy Boy Arnold. It was an incredible day of music.

Along with Bo Diddley was:
  • Willie Dixon‚Äôs Big Three
  • Otis Rush
  • Memphis Slim w/ Matt ‚ÄúGuitar Murphy
  • Bo Diddley and
  • Chuck Berry

Back in those days, it was a great lineup. Looking back on it, it was an amazing assembly of talent that simply boggles the mind. I'll never forget Bo Diddley's perfomance that day. It was fabulous.

After that day, I saw him almost every chance I got.

Come to think of it, all of his shows were fabulous. Bo Diddley never failed to deliver every time that I saw him. I can't remember him ever having a bad performance.

In 2000, I caught him at the Fountain Blues Festival in San Jose, CA. I shot about 200 photos of him that day. I remember him pointing at one of the other photographers and told him to stop taking photos. At the end of the song, he pointed at the guy and said, "That guy needs to stop taking my photo. I don't want those pictures showing up on the Internet."

For a number of years, he performed at a variety of County Fairs in Northern California. I went to every one of those shows.

Bo Diddley @ the San Mateo County Fair

August 2005

He appeared at the San Mateo County Fair. It was an indoor performance. The lighting was fabulous. The three million dollar sound system was awe-inspiring. I captured one of my favorite photos ever. It may not be the best photo that I've ever taken, but it is one of my favorites. I can still hear that fantastic version of Roadrunner that capped off an incredible show.

It seems cliche to say he was a Rock and Roll icon and that his contribution to the history of American music is immeasurable. He's going to be missed.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Steve Freund @ JJs Blues Lounge

Saturday night, I caught an excellent show at JJ's Blues Lounge and caught an excellent performance by Steve Freund. Steve was joined by a very special guest, Jan Fanucchi. She sang several very nice tunes throughout the course of the evening. During the last set, he was invited Johnny Cat to the stage for a couple of tunes. It was a really nice evening of music.