Sunday, December 13, 2009

Meteor Mini Meat - Part One

Recently, I had the opportunity to pick up a Mini Meat boutique harp amp made by Meteor Amplifiers. It's a pretty cool looking medium sized amp covered in red tweed with gold grill cloth. It also sports two 8 inch Weber speakers and one 10 inch Weber speaker. The amp allows the user to swap in 6V6, 5881 or 6L6 power tubes. Depending on which tube is being used a switch needs to be flipped to ensure proper biasing of the tubes.

For the purposes of this review, the amp is using 6V6 power tubes. In this configuration, it is a 20 watt amp. It's roughly about 40 pounds of nasty vintage tone. There are a multitude of vintage tones in this amplifier. As one would expect, it sounds very nice. It's a really good balance of portability, tone, volume and feedback resistance.

Portability - This amp is not as wide as a tweed Bassman, but it is almost as tall. Weighing in at about 40 pounds, it's lighter than a Bassman. It easily fits in the trunk of your average car.

Tone - There are several different tonal options available to the user. The amp features four controls: Volume, Meat, Tone and Presence. Like the full size Meteor amp, this amp has two different channels, Meat and Meatier. The Meat control only works when the amp is plugged into the Meatier channel. It provides additional overdrive and increased bass frequencies. The Tone and Presence controls provide extra treble and cut. It helps to clean up the output of the amp and allows the user to dial in some cool tonal variation.

Volume - With the 6V6's, this amp can hold it's own with a band that is managing it's volume. It's not easily buried, but unless the amp is on a stand or chair, it may not be obvious to the operator that it can be heard in the audience. (More on this later.) In many ways, this amp reminds me of a tweed Bassman, but with better tonal options in it's stock configuration.

Feedback Resistance - Battling feedback is a problem for most people playing amplified harmonica. One of the nicest features of the Mini Meat is very feedback resistant. Feedback doesn't usually set in until the amp is close to the end of the sweep of the volume control. I have not needed to turn it up that loud at this point.

How Does It Sound? - Great so far. It also sounds great and I haven't begun to explore the tonal capabilities of this amplifier. This is a much more complex piece of equipment than my tweed Champ or Harpgear Double Trouble. I expect to provide additional information here as time progresses.

Here are two video clips, one at home,

the second at a local blues jam.

More later...

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Swine Flu Edition

I've managed to pick up the swine flu and have been sick all week long. Before I got sick, I caught the Tip of the Tip show on Saturday night at the Grand Dell Saloon in Campbell, CA. The place was full and it was a fun evening featuring some fine music. Sunday, I went to the Old Princeton Landing to catch Stan Erhart's Super Jam. I ended up playing with Stan and some of the guys. My friend, Bobbi Goodman, caught us on video and posted it on youtube. Little did I know the swine flu was getting ready to open up a can of whoop ass on me.

Recently, I updated my photo gallery. I've included photos from the most recent show at the Horseman's Club which featured: Carl Weathersby, Hubert Sumlin, James Cotton and Ronnie Baker Brooks. I also added some photos from various shows I attended this summer including: Alabama Mike, Kid Andersen, JC Smith, Andy Santana and most of the line up at the Redwood City Blues Festival.

Over and out.

Friday, November 6, 2009

It's Been A While

It's been a while since I've written anything here. I've seen and done a lot of really cool stuff since April. This past weekend, I went to the Horseman's Club up in Sacramento and caught a killer show which included: Carl Weathersby, Ronnie Baker Broooks, James Cotton and Hubert Sumlin.

Recently, I stumbled across about 60 cassette tapes filled with all sorts of old Blues tunes and some pretty cool concerts which were broadcast on the radio during the 1980's when I lived in the Chicago area.

I've found some recordings from Chicagofest featuring Muddy Waters, Eddy Clearwater, Mighty Joe Young, Buddy Guy, Junior Wells, Charlie Musselwhite w/ Big Walter Horton and several other artists. There are some kool performances from the Kool Jazz Festival which included some great performances by Billy Branch and the Sons of Blues with Jimmy Walker in 1982. In 1983, I recorded a performance by James Cotton, Sammy Lawhorn, Pinetop Perkins, Calvin Jones and Willie "Big Eyes" Smith. I remember seeing these guys on Christmas night for several years running at the Wise Fool's Pub in Chicago. That was always a great Christmas gift!

It's amazing what great stuff used to be on the radio back in the old days. I hope these tapes have survived the test of time.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

April Update

April 1 - Kenny Blue Ray was the host band at the Redwood City Blues Jam. Kenny put on an excellent first set. I played a nice set with his band and Dave Hyde. He's an excellent slide player in the style of Elmore James. We played several Elmore James tunes which was a great deal of fun. It was a nice mellow set.

April 7 - It was Tuesday night. Steve Freund was holding down the fort at the World Famous Tuesday Night Blues Jam at the Mojo Lounge Jam in Fremont. Joining him were Robi Bean and Marc Carino.

April 11 - Little Jonny & the Giants at the Mojo Lounge. Sid Morris, Mark Fenichel, Frank De Rose and Mick Kilgos joined him. He had several special guests including: East Bay Wes, Aki Kumar and Johnny Cat. I sat in on a couple of tunes.

April 13 -
I was on vacation so I stopped into the blues jam at Murphy's Law in Sunnyvale. There were several excellent musicians in the house. I jammed with my good friend Amy Lou, Scott Miller and a few other folks that I had never met.

April 14 - Kenny Blue Ray hosted the Mojo Lounge Jam. I jammed with Russell Barber, East Bay Wes, Ray Figueroa and Norm DeCarlo.

April 21 - Steve Freund at the Mojo Lounge Jam. Steve had the members of his trio backing him and he played some fantastic music during the opening set.

April 22 - Mark Hummel was the host band at the Redwood City Blues Jam. He was joined by his special guest Kid Andersen. It was great to hear Mark and the Kid play. I hung out for a few sets. I jammed with members of Dr Gone and the Serious Condition and Andy Doerschuk

April 24 - James Cotton @ the Lil Fox. It's James Cotton what more need to be said. He had a super tight band. Every move he made was a queue to the band to do something. At age 77, he's still one of the baddest harmonica players on the planet. His band consisting of Slam Allen, Tom Holland, Noel Neal and Kenny Neal Jr were nothing short of fantastic. I shot a multitude of photos.

April 25 -
James Cotton @ Yoshi's. See the info on the previous show. The only differences were that I didn't shoot any photos and the sound was better at Yoshi's.

April 28 - Jimmy Dewrance @ the Mojo Lounge Jam. I ended the month of April hanging out at the World Famous Blues Jam at the Mojo Lounge. It was an exciting evening. There were a multitude of fabulous performers hanging out and performing.

Photos will follow...

Saturday, April 4, 2009

March Update

March 2 - It was the Five Year Anniversary of the Monday Night Blues Jam at Murphy's Law in Sunnyvale. It was a very cool evening. The house band was Johnny Cat, Mike Phillips and Dennis Dove. Throughout the course of the evening, there were a multitude of special guests.

Kaye Bohler, Chris Brown, Vince Caminiti, June Core, Scott Duncan, Mark Fenichel, Greg Heumann, Screamin' Iain, Aki Kumar, East Bay Wes, Scott Miller, James Reed, Kedar Roy, Bart Shea, Slim, Don Yonder and several others. I had the opportunity to perform with Chris Brown, Slim and a few new faces to me.

March 3 - It was Tuesday night. That means it was the World Famous Tuesday Night Blues Jam at the Mojo Lounge. Steve Freund was the host for the evening. Joining Steve were Marc Carino and June Core.

March 10 - Tuesday night. Kenny "Blue" Ray was hosting the Tuesday Night Blues Jam at the Mojo Lounge Jam.

March 11 - I dropped into the Redwood City Blues Jam and caught the fine opening set by Daniel Castro.

March 14 - Mighty Mike Schermer was subbing for Charles Wheal at the Mojo Lounge. Mike was joined by Kedar Roy and Dennis Dove. He delivered his customary, electrifying show which consisted of a fabulous night of Blues, R&B and Soul music.

March 16 - I met a few friends at the The Murphy's Law Blues Jam. Johnny Cat, Mike Phillips and Dennis Dove were joined by Frankie Ramos during a fantastic opening set. Throughout the course of the evening, there were some fine performances by Phil Berkowitz, Chris Brown, Jake Mackey, Don Yonders, East Bay Wes, Dave K, Lee Donald, Mark Fenichel, Slim and another harp player named Charlie.

March 24 - Jimmy Dewrance was hosting jam at the Mojo Lounge. It was a crazy fun-filled evening.

March 28 - The Pleasure Kings (Johnny Cat, Mike Phillips and Dennis Dove) illuminated the big stage at the Mojo Lounge. They were joined by Nitecreeper Richard Rodriguez. Jimmy Dewrance, East Bay Wes, Don Yonder and I were special guests during the evening.

March 30 - Steve Freund wrapped up the month hosting the Mojo Lounge Blues Jam. There were a ton of great performers dropping in to jam. The place was packed with great musicians and I can't remember all of them, so I won't attempt to enumerate the list.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

February Update

February has come and gone. I've been pretty busy. The month started off pretty much like it ended at the Mojo Lounge.

February 3 - Steve Freund hosted the World Famous Tuesday Night Blues Jam.

February 4 - I caught Tia Carroll at the Redwood City Blues Jam. I shot some photos. They are here.

February 7 - John Nemeth had a CD release party for his most recent release entitled Love Me Tonight at the Poor House Bistro in San Jose. John skillfully blends retro and modern Blues and Soul into compelling music that is simultaneously old and new, has been winning acclaim as one of the most gifted artists on the modern blues scene.

February 10 - Kenny "Blue" Ray hosted the World Famous Tuesday Night Blues Jam at the Mojo Lounge. I jammed a bit with Chris Brown, Ray Figueroa and Norm DeCarlo.

February 11 - Steve Freund hosted the Redwood City Blues Jam. Some great players dropped in to play a bit including: Charles Wheal, Johnny Cat, Dennis Dove, Shad Harris, Artis Joyce, Marla Goody, Jan Fanucchi, Kay Bohler, John "Blues" Boyd and Marty Finch.

Marty is a fantastic harp player. He nails Big Walter Horton's sound in a huge way. Not just the huge tone, but the phrasing. It was downright freaky.

I shot some photos. They are here.

February 17 - Steve Freund hosted the World Famous Tuesday Night Blues Jam at the Mojo Lounge. I sat in during the first set with Steve, Marc Carino and June Core.

I captured a bit of video of the enigmatic Double G performing the Little Walter classic tune Everything's Gonna Be Alright.

February 24 - Jimmy Dewrance hosted the World Famous Tuesday Night Blues Jam at the Mojo Lounge. I played a set with Scott Duncan and Gino Baronelli. Later in the evening, I played another set wit Scott Miller and Ron Chavez.

February 28 - Little Jonny & The Giants played at the Mojo Lounge.. He was joined by Mark Fenichel, Eddie B and Robi Bean. A number of guests sat in throughout the course of the evening including: Marvin Greene, Aki Kumar, Frank DeRose, East Bay Wes and me.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

January Update

It's been a really busy month. Surprisingly, I was able to catch several shows in my effort to appreciate some fine, high quality musical performances. I was even lucky enough to participate in some of them.

January 6, 2009

I headed down to the Mojo Lounge. Steve Freund was hosting the World Famous Tuesday Night Blues Jam. I arrived fashionably late and was told that I missed a fabulous opening set. As always, it was a fun evening. I jammed with Double G, Tom Bowers, June Core and Mighty Mike.

January 13, 2009

Kenny "Blue" Ray was hosting the World Famous Tuesday Night Blues Jam at the Mojo Lounge. I played a fun set with Double G, Chris Brown, Johnny Cat, East Bay Wes, Ray Figueroa and Norm DeCarlo.

January 17, 2009

I went to the Poor House Bistro. Charles Wheal was on the bandstand with Steve Wolf and Kent Bryson. He put on solid show taking the audience on a musical journey borrowing material from the songbooks of Leroy Carr, Big Maceo, Jimmy Rogers and BB King. Charles had several harp players sit in throughout the course of the evening. Aki Kumar, Jimmy Dewrance and I sat in on a few tunes.

January 18, 2009

I went out to the Half Moon Bay Brewing Company and caught Andy Santana w/ Johnny Cat, Mike Phillips and Joey Ventittelli. As always, Andy is an excellent performer and he put on a great show. Pat Wilder and Norm Decarlo sat in for a few tunes.

Afterward, I headed over to the Old Princeton Landing to check out Stan Erhart's jam. I saw a lot of familiar faces. I joined Johnny Cat, Mike Phillips, Gino Bambino and a couple of other guys for a tune. I did a couple of tunes with Scott Duncan. He and I have jammed together several times at the Mojo Lounge. It was fun. I hung out for a bit before returning to the East Bay. I don't get out there often enough.

January 20, 2009

It was Tuesday night, I dropped into the Mojo Lounge and was able to jam with Barrelhouse Solly, Marc Carino, June Core and Steve Freund.

January 21, 2009

I attended the third anniversary of the Redwood City Blues Jam at the Fox Theater in Redwood City. I arrived in the beginning of Kenny "Blue" Ray's fine set with a multitude of great guests.

I took a quick break and headed over to Murf's Broadway Cocktail Lounge and caught a fabulous eight piece jazz band. When I headed back to the Fox, Daniel Castro was finishing up a set.

Mighty Mike Schermer went up delivered a phenomenal set. He had several incredibly talented guests including: Lara Price, Steve Freund, Shana Morrison and John Nemeth. Afterward, Kenny Neal and his band put on a really good show. Photos from the evenings festivities are:

Enough of this for now.