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August 29, 2005

Mo's Weekend reflections/VOLKER STRIFLER 8/26/05

Whew....what a weekend!! I think I'm calling it quits for the weekend unless I decide to fight the Accordion festival traffic in Cotati and hit Bobby Young and Motordude Zydeco at tradewinds and Spancky's. It is weird going into "clubs"during the day and they both are early afternoon shows.
I'll see how I feel, and what the Family is up to, after this here:

We get word from our oldest son, Willy, on Thursday night, that he was picked up by an airline!!
Yahooo! This is what we've been waiting for.
The kid.... uh-um..."First Officer Will", has sacrificed much to do this and it's all coming together now.
This is great news and we are all excited for him.
We especially happy because of the financial part but mostly because his dream is becoming a reality. How awesome is that??!!

So, I'm charged at work on Friday while trying to get through one heck-of-a-day!
OT, even with an earlier start, getting up at 3am, and I thought I had made good time until.....on the way home, I'm driving along the twisting, narrow, two-lane mountain road that I drive everyday, behind a P/U truck and there appears a cloud of amber dust in front of him. He slows and pulls to the side and right in front of me is a truck on the other side wrapped in barbed wire on the side of the road facing me and it was tore up! It bounced off a big old Cypress tree that was on our side. The smoke and dust was still there and out of the wreckage appeared a lady screaming for help a bloodied mess.
The first guy called 911only to be put on hold for several minutes while I comforted the lady and looked inside for other casualties. She was a mangled mess but conscious with a dangling arm and lots of cuts. She told me she was alone. The vehicle Totaled, wrapped up in barbed wire, glass, twisted metal, engine parts and tires strewn about, she was lucky to be alive. As a matter of fact, we were too!
If only seconds later.
Anyway...... she said she swerved to miss a dog. I don't know man...the damage that was done could not have been possible if going what you're suppose to go out of respect for that road. She must of been hauling ass!
I mean to bounce off a tree and end up on the other side facing out like that....I don't know.
(The tree was fine with only a few big chunks missing. Maybe we should make our cars from Cypress??

Another thing...don't ever swerve for an animal. Ok, maybe if it's a cow or an elephant.

It was way scary. After several minutes and asking if any of the three people on cells had gotten thru, I finally asked a lady that was driving thru the wreckage, if she had a local emergency number and she got through to the fire dept just down the road a piece.

She was alright and in good hands as I left to get out of the way of the welcome sight of that big red engine with flashing lights.

So, do put local emergency numbers in your cells and never swerve for an animal...
Just say a prayer for it, put it out of it's misery if needed, bury it or whatever, and just know you didn't mean it. Do slow down folks
and always respect those mountain roads.
Another thing...even if you're a few towns away from the local emergency number, it will still be a quicker response time to call them, or 411, instead of 911 being they're "neighbors" and all.
It took a long time for them to get there and they were just down the road.

I get home shaken up a bit, I showered, picked up Donna, and off we go to Pt Arena to see VOLKER STRIFLER BAND!
We went via 128 and the cut-off to Pt Arena. It entailed lots of twisty, windy roads and neither of us had been this route before.
Beautiful sights, and the views were spectacular, but it took a loong time for I felt I was traumatized and very nervous, poking along up and over several mountains.
The brakes were not happy neither.

We got there late because it started earlier than we thought, but the two-song encore made up for I think.
We would go home the Jenner route and it was much easier.

Volker Strifler band was AMAZING!!
I had lots of penned-up stuff so I was ready to dance it out! They sounded so good up there on that big stage!
Everyone was there which included;
Volker Strifler on guitar and vocals.
Chip Roland on keys.
Don Bassey on bass.
Gary Sullivan on drums.
Carl Bowers on trombone.
David Schrader on sax.

This band is so awesome! They just get better with every time I see them. Well...most the time. The last time I saw them at Club Tac left much to be desired.
All the original material is over-whelming. Even some of the old songs have turned into something new with the different arrangements. Volker is a genius, no doubt about it. And to have such an enthusiastic band that oozes with excitement on stage backing him, makes for one magical Volker experience. The arrangements always amaze me. There's is nothing ordinary about them.
I just watch and listen, in awe, most the night.

Lots of new stuff including a couple of songs about coming to the crossroads in life.
His vocals were loud and clear and this was a very welcome change. Usually they are not clear enough. The sound at this venue was great!
I love his vocals. They are warm yet rugged with a sultry feel. They have gotten better and better and he seems much more confident with his singing. He should be because his singing is the best part next to that guitar.

The whole band was in top form considering they hardly ever rehearse due to Volker touring with Robben and The Ford Blues Band, and having a "day job". I don't know how he keeps up with putting out this new stuff.
A genius, I tell you.

I danced and had that big beautiful floor to myself for a while before others started getting up. This is one beautiful theater. The folks in town are really nice.
We went to this gig two years ago and I would do it again. Not too many I travel that far for, but will for this band.
Actually, I probably would not have gone if not for Donna. She kept it going. I was wiped and wanted to back down and I'm so glad I didn't. But next time, I will get that day off. I hated being that late after traveling so far. It all ended so soon and I was bummed.

We stopped at the bar next-door for a nightcap and were reminiscing about the night when in walked some of the band members. We talked a whole bunch, I got to hear some really great stories, and then I called it a night. I had two beers and they went down real nice after the week I had endured. They didn't stay down well when I awoke later to a major headache and major nausea. I should've ate dinner I guess.
All &, It didn't matter, I was still charged from that show.

We listened to Volker's Cds all the way home and talked some more about the show that I had wished would go on forever. Not a boring moment, no siree.

I am still thinking of that show and just wonderin' what it's gonna take for this band to get it together and get out there more. (Get on it, V;-)
They really should be doing much bigger things. To see, and especially hear them, on a big stage, with an awesome sound system, is nothing short of amazing.

Great news is that this band here is going into the studio with V and finally putting something out together. He has two cds but not with this band here. I can't wait to hear it.

So, I get home and hit the bed for a few. Awoke and was feeling very fried. I wasn't gonna go out at all until I finally decided to at least go down to Cotati for a set of each band at both places. I thought it was Jody Counter at Tradewinds but it was a rock band called, Dr. MD. I had went to listen while Levi Lloyd was on break at Spancky's. They were really good with what they were playing. Classic Rock songs but the two guitarists were great! One was concentrating on all the other sounds with that guitar. He played keyboard bits with it and other parts to fill out the song. It was pretty damn good. I went to Spancky's for a couple more songs from Levi Lloyd and the 501 band. The 501 band were sounding real tight on this night. And by golly...we even heard an original number written by guitarist, Jeff.
"One is too many and a hundred ain't enough".
It got a real nice applause, by a rather subdued crowd and then it was back to the usual songlist. It was so cool to hear something new and original. Great song, Jeff!!!

I was enjoying tuning into Levi's amazing rhythm guitar work. They went from one song right into my favorite he does, Red House. A slow blues I had been waiting for and Levi does this song so good. By this time, some Spancky's chick, dressed seductively and doing her interpretation of pole dancing, wedged herself between me and the stage, blocking my energy path, and pretty much pushing me back so I bailed. I wasn't in the mood to fight for my spot back and there was no room for another alternative spot. I usually don't take that crap but she could have it at this point. I was done. I really hate enduring Spancky's for this reason.
It was a real drag to leave while that guitar was wailin' blues but I was spent anyway.

So, here it is later and I never made it Cotati today. I slept some more, ate, and slept some more and then finished this little weekned reflection and now it;s time for bed again. I really think I'm getting too old for this stuff. Especially with this physically demanding job.

Even with but one night of blues, it was all that I needed to feel fulfilled. Volker Strifler Band is in great form, tight and getting tighter.

After playing one of his new songs, he says,
"That was a new song were still working on so Thank you for enduring it and Thanks for listening" in his shy little kid way and we all laughed.
No..... THANK YOU, V!!
You just keep doing what you're doing because this band here has the makings of great things to come.
What a chemistry you guys have.

Thank You, Donna for keeping me from backing out.
Sure miss you going out the way you used to.

I'm going back to bed now, with V's voice still ringing in my ears. I can't seem to get it out of my head.
I think I might try to hit R.J.Mischo at the Saloon this week or maybe not.
He is so good and it's been way too long.
I do have acouple of weeks off coming up and was gonna go to Arizona to visit our boy, and do some bluesin', but he's going to Houston now to train at the end of this month.
I'll probably just hang here and do lots of weekday bluesin'. I miss that. Shoot, maybe I'll even clean and cook alittle......NOT!!


Posted by Mo at 05:25 AM | Comments (1)

August 20, 2005

Where's Burke??

So, I go out Thursday night to Jasper's just out of worryin' curiousity but mostly I wanted to hear some David burke on guitar!

I was hopin', prayin', chantin', burnin' insence, sage, and tobacco,
sacrifised a few live animals, and a couple of virgins, to the gods, AND had my fingers crossed, but all those superstitions don't help much, I've noticed.
He wasn't there.
Not only that.....James Foster wasn't there once again on them drums.
I heard the terrible rumor on this night that David Burke quit the band, or at least the club, and it's new management.
Too bad too because this Thursday thang here of Sonny Lowe's is about the most stable blues thang we have going on in the county.
I knew that I could go out there on any given thursday night to hear some great blues! Of course, you know my agenda is that guitar, blues guitar, and David Burke delivers some of the best, one must admit. With James missing too, it just ain't clickin'.
It looks as though the only way to hear Burke is with the Aces and that ain't enough Burke lead for me.
I left after three songs because I was depressed after hearing what I thought was true.
Everyone up there last Thursday is alright but it just wasn't what I hopin'.
I hope this eight year run of Sonny's Thursday thing at Jasper's don't run out but I have a terrible feeling........

Still bummed,

Posted by Mo at 03:29 PM | Comments (0)

Nick Moss and the Fliptops 8/19/05

Should I stay or should I go?

That was the unanswered question I was asking myself all week long.
I so wanted to see him for a whole night before he left back to Chicago. Especially after that "tease" at the Sonoma County Blues Fest, which he slould've headlined because he was the only blues act or at least got a much bigger set.

I knew it was gonna be tough to tough this one out but I went anyway. After working a 10 hour day of non-stop runnin', I rushed home for a quick nap only to remember that me and my honey had a "date" after I got off work. He had the day off and was waiting for me to get home.
Oops, silly me, how could I forget that?!
So, nap time was put on hold for just a bit.
Later, my sweetie tucked me in, went to get dinner, the house was quiet, but it was yet another one of those just layin' there, tossin' & turnin', can't get to sleep moments.
All my stress was gone but I think I was too amped about seeing Nick Moss to sleep!

I got up, ate, got ready, and headed out the door for the city.
Parked at Sutter & Stockton, ($7 all night), walked a few blocks to Biscuits and Blues, walked in and the place has a new look. It seems brighter and bigger. Even the dancing "aisle" is bigger! Yahoooo!
Walked to the front where Blues Buddy Lucretia was sitting at a front table. I was to sit right in front of Nick Moss' amp!!
I was in Blues guitar heaven!
Another blues fan, Tom Hayes, was there at the table with us on this night. It was really nice to hang with him. He is a nice, humble, and funny guy, who appreciates good blues, and makes lots of noise for the band, and doesn't try to "one up" on everything. I like that.

The band was awesome. Although, Nick plays a bit "harder" than I thought. I have a few of his cds, and have been listening to him for a few years, but he doesn't play as hard and fast on them. At the 45 minute set he got at the Sonoma County fest a couple of weeks back, he wasn't as hard but on this night, he decided to rock it up just a bit.
It wasn't too much though, thank goodness. I was wanting that blues guitar he does so well. All's I kept thinking was, "Slow it down baby cuz we got a long ways to go".

He did indeed slow it down at times and the guy can really make that guitar sing.
I was wanting more space and less shreddin'. He delivered both.
I loved when he would be gettin' into it, and then he would step into the shadows only to really cut loose on some BLUES guitar. It seemed stepping into the shadows would help him hide out so he could really let us see what he was about.
I tell you what....he could've played in the shadows all night long and that would've been alright with me.
The guy can play. He would bring it waaay down while only a tickling them strings and it was so beautiful. It seemed the quieter he played, the more intricate and beautiful it was.
The guy is amazing.

The Fliptops were doing an awesome job all by themselves.
What a tight band!!!
Killer keys, although it seemed that Willie was having the same problem as the he did at the fest. Couldn't hear shit from the stage monitors.
It was a drag too because the guy can really play dem keys!! Wow!
His organ was loud and clear but the piano was too low.
The kid on bass, switched up to play harp and can he ever play that harp!!
The piano guy would take over bass duties for that and can he ever play that bass!! The change-up were amazing.
The drummer? Well, he was every bit as amazing as the others. It was just one badass Chicago blues band and did I mention.... Tight?!!
As Nick was goofing off, it was all about the Fliptops. I could've just listened to just those guys all night.

As they were laying down some of the lowest of lowest of all blues, it was so low and then Tom says to me, "if it were any slower, it would be going backwards"
So true, Tom, so true.
This was exactly what I was wanting to hear, and it was exactly what I was feeling like. It just don't get any lower than that, folks. Gotta love dem lowdown blues!!

What a cool night and I can't wait for them to come back. I'm already there!
I will be there casting a shadow on stage, hoping that Nick Moss will step into it!

Thanks Biscuits for having them.
Thank You, Lucretia for the seat right in front of Nick's amp!
It was great to see you too, Tom.
I couldn't afford it, but I picked up Nick's latest for my Blues Buddy, Lenny. Don't tell him, it's a surprise.
He is the one who turned me onto Nick a few years ago.
He has turned me onto MANY great blues guitarist. In fact, he's the one who made me the blues guitar junkie I am. So, it's all his fault.
He has all of Nick's cds but hasn't got this one yet.

So, after that, Lucretia drove us over to the Saloon for a set of Johnny Nitro. I wasn't sure if I wanted to go there but the one blues song HE did was well worth the wait, I guess.
"Things I used to Do" done Nitro style! It was killer, and just like that...... it was over too soon and back into some "other-than-blues" stuff.
I'm not sure how they're categorized as "Blues" sometimes. But make no mistake....Nitro CAN play some badass blues when he does.

Not sure how I got home because I was totally out of it!
I ate the rest of my dinner, and lots of other snacks to keep me going. I got home, sat on the couch and before I knew it....it was 10am! I got up to go to bed and didn't get up til noon!
Man, I haven't slept like that in a looong while.
My husband said he came home this AM and tried to wake me and put me to bed but I wasn't budging. I don't remember any of that.

Now, I'm gonna put on some blues, scrub a toilet, clean up the rest of the house a bit, and get ready for Michael Barclay tonite at the Tradewinds!


Posted by Mo at 03:19 PM | Comments (0)

August 15, 2005

Daniel Castro at Headfeathers! 8/14/05

Was it worth the twenty seven bucks or so, for each ticket, to go see a local band that we can see for free, or near free, on any given night??

Hell yeah!!!

It was so cool and I will be doing it again.
It was like our own little private show with the fifty people that came to make this yet ,another sell out show for Rick and Susan.

I had gotten tickets for Terri and I and then I remembered how much of fan my own husband is of Daniel's, and he was game, so I added on another.
We got there in no time and the band was still settin' up. Rick was waiting for us and even knew who I was! Yikes! That was a surprise. He seemed to be in tune to all his guests. He is quite the host. His love and passion for the music is over-whelming. This is a good thing. I love how much he supports our local blues gems.
I didn't realize that this was his sixth year doing this??!!
I had first heard of it last year and didn't make it....but six years???

He sat us down and off he went to greet the other guests.
He later came back with some awesome photos of the Chris Cobb/Leah Tysse show they had awhile back.
The first thing I noticed were the dancers dancing up in front of the band. I told him that that was cool to see.
Dancing encouraged and it was pretty much non-stop thru-out the night. This crowd loves the blues, loves to dance, and loves to have a good time.

It was the strangest thing to be walking through a hair salon to get to a show which is set up behind the salon in a cozy little patio out back. It has a stage, tables, chairs, and of course, a dance area right smack dab in the front of the stage!
Lots of flowers, ambience, and just a real nice setting. The crowd very friendly and like I said, ready to have a good time. They were there to hear some great music.

After we talked blues a bit with the guy next to us, he asked,
"I have been wondering tho, is this guy any relation to TOMMY Castro?'
Immediately, I thought to myself, "No, this Castro is better!".
I might of said it outloud, I'm not sure.

This was not their first time at this venue but it was their first time hearing Daniel.
This would be OUR first time at this venue but obviously not the first time seeing Daniel.

One note: Although I'm not a big eater or drinker at shows, my advise is to take some food, snacks, drinks, whatever!
I would have never though about it, and told Terri not to worry about it when she offered, but then everyone else started laying out their spreads! Wow, It was amazing! And, it really made one hungry even if they weren't.
Wine, fruit, meats & cheeses, wine, bread, you name it!
Subway sandwiches came strollin' thru.
Did I mention wine?
It was cool and it does add to the "backyard" aspect of it.
Actually....you know what?
This is probably the closest thing I've come to that I would envision a "festival" to be like. Of course on a larger scale, and some vendors, but you get my drift, right?
No? aaah well......

So, we're all settled in and the fun begins!
Daniel gets goin' and his line up is somewhat changed again.
Mike Emerson was there and Thank goodness for that!
This is the band I really like seeing Michael play with. He has been so busy lately in various other bands, and he was tired, but man, did he ever play dem keys!
We were talkin' about him on the way home and about how when he's into a solo, he'll have one hand doing the base organ part, laying down a foundation, and then with the other hand, he'll play the piano like a madman. He does all this simultaneously. As he continues, it builds up, and up, and then he breaks it up and turns strictly to the organ where he takes the solo home to one euphoric ending!
He is so awesome.
I am so glad he was there.

Daniel had his new bass player, sorry to have forgotten his name, again, but this guy is really coming around! He was sounding great. I hope he sticks around because I like his playing. He's pretty nice too;-)
T.Moran was not there and this ALWAYS has me worried when he's not there. It happens more than I would like and whomever may be filling in is pretty good but if you're a Daniel fan, you know it don't sound right.
This guy Mike ?? was awesome!!
Love to "T", but this guy made it to where one wouldn't even miss him.
He was that good. It takes allot to fill them big shoes of T's but this guy had it.

So, there you have it-
Daniel's awesome band for the night and the rest was history. One song after the other, non-stop guitar, killer keys, a rhythm section that kept the pelvic thrust a goin', it was so cool. The people danced, cheered, and danced some more.

At intermission, we had a young lady by the name of Amber (?) Estrada playing some acoustic guitar and singing some real sweet songs. She had a wonderful voice and could really work them vocal chords. It all seemed so natural to her. Her guitar playing was nice too. It was folksy, bluesy, countryish and some pop stuff too. (I don't categorize music well) it was real nice to sit back and listen too. Real sweet voice and presence about her.
I did recognize a couple of songs but I couldn't tell ya what they were. I think I heard them on the radio station "Alice" before.

Next set was the same ol' hard drivin blues with nuthin' but killer guitar of Daniel's and that awesome band to back it.

What a blast and I will be back. Rick saw us out and we Thanked him for a wonderful evening. He is such a sweetie, it's all from the heart, and it is sincere you can tell. He was acting like a little kid having these people play in his backyard with him.

We were hungry leaving there and ended up strolling just down 3rd street to Nations "Giant" Burgers".
I swear their logo is a "Giants" baseball team logo rip-off.
I have to admit that that was one of the most freshest burgers I've ever had. Lots of fresh stuff and great fries to match and a strawberry shake that kept clogging my straw with chunks of strawberries. I enjoyed that after one killer night of blues that worked me up an appetite.

Go check out one of Rick and Susan's private shows at Headfeathers in Napa before the season's over. It's well worth the price, plus more, and I have a feeling that the bands get paid pretty darn well.

Thanks to my Baby, and Terri, for hanging with me to hear some blues!

Posted by Mo at 09:16 PM | Comments (0)

August 14, 2005

The Sorentinos/The Detroit Desciples 8/13/05 By: Mo

Rockin' in Sonoma County!

So, I decided to go out and hear some "other-than-blues" bands for a change.
I hadn't seen either of these bands for a looong while and I was curious and do want to support them when I can settle down for something other than blues.

These two bands here were two of my favorites when I first started steppin' out on the 'live' music scene some years back. They are still around and still writing, playing, and sounding great!!
One split up but got back together just recently and sound better than ever!

I headed for The Russian River Brewery for The Sorentinos.
I found a seat right front of the stage and sat and enjoyed some of the best songwriting around!!
I didn't do any dancing on this night but sure did enjoy listening without the distractions. The crowd here was very enthusiastic for the music.
The band sounded great. It's a rootsy, rock ballad band with a twangy, folky, bluesy sound and then it rocks like a hurricane for that "Crazy Horse" feel.
Rob Ruiz is back on bass duties and it's always a pleasure. He was missed when he left but I knew he'd be back. He's too much a part of that band.
Kenny Susan on drums and background 'harmonizing' vocals.
Howard Vatcher on lead guitar!!
Danny would lay down the rhythm acoustic parts along with some leads, and some harp playing to boot, but Danny's most important part is to sing all those great songs he writes.

One after the other, he just keeps pumpin' those things out!!
It had been so long since I'd seen them, it was great to sing along to those "hits" once again.
And shame on me for not pulling out his cds out in between shows. I do enjoy them. "Four Chord Wonders" is one of my favorites out the 4 or 5 I have. They have NINE cds out and I'm willing to bet the other five I don't have have the same great song writing as the ones I do own.

So they did a few off that "Four Chord Wonder" cd including "Daddy Nicotine", (I can always relate to that song) and everybody's favorite, "It's people I can't stand".
Did I mention that he's a great song writer?

Howard can really bring out the emotions that are supposed to be in the songs and is very animated on that guitar.
Danny's pleadin',
"10 items or less! 10 items or less!! Can't you fuckin' read?!! I like to make you bleed!! 10 items or less...." as the song is getting angrier and building up to a climax, Howard is really making that guitar scream in anger, pullin' them strings, his body twitchin' uncontrollably, and it is VERY effective for the song.
The song is really not that violent but you get the point on his love for Humanity but it's people he can't stand. Some say that yes, Danny has issues but these are issues we all can relate to.
A real life song for all!
All his songs are real life stories and I'm willing to bet most xcan indeed relate to them.
They did only two covers in this set and one was "King bee". When they do the blues, it's so cool. Danny sings it with a "drawl" and gives it a twang that is very unique.
Great set of these guys and it was hard to leave but I was on another mission.

I got to the Tradewinds for The Detroit Disciples, and I didn't realize at what an all-star cast this band is!!
They were sounding so good and I was punishing myself for not going to more of their shows here lately.
I was thinking about how I've gone out to hear a "so-called" rock band only to hear some crap of screaming singing, a bunch of noise, and nothing I would call 'rock'. These guys have not forgotten how to really rock!!
I really hate to just catorgorize them as rock but that is the base of the sound. They venture into what I read on their site as "Urban Roots Rock". That fits it perfectly.

Ian McMurray is the guy that does most the writing. He really can write some great songs too!!
I was really wanting to hear the lyrics but the PA was not helping.
Maybe he should get with Danny Sorentino about the equipment he uses because his vocals are ALWAYS loud and clear. They should be with such great songs that make the show.
So, I struggled to hear the vocals but it wasn't a problem hearing the rest of the band. All were awesome. A band of seven and everyone fit together like a glove. It was not chaotic, messy, or nuthin. It was a real groove of rockin' magic.
Here's the line up:
Ian McMurray on guitar and vocals.
Paul Burke on drums and vocals.
Tommy Miller on bass and vocals.
Tommy? on keys.
Joel Rudinow on keys.
Jellyroll on lapsteel, guitar and slide!!
Don Bassey on percussions, rattles, shakers, tamborine, and vocals.

This was amazing to watch- Don Bassey in a whole 'nother role. He was like a kid up there shakin' his noise makers and playing them bongos and such. What an infectious energy that guy had lastnight!
He would show up for the second set on. He was playing with Allyson Page who was opening for Tommy Castro at the Mystic in Petaluma on this same night.

Jellyroll was slippin' and slidin', Jellyroll style and it was killer!!
Always a pleasure to hear him play. And I mean ALWAYS!

Ian singing and pulling some awesome guitar leads from under his sleeve. He and Paul Burke (drums) really drive this well-oiled machine.

The highlite of the night for me during this set was Tommy Miller's singing. He can sing me a lullaby any ol' time! I love his voice. Always have. He never gets to sing enough but I guess that's what makes it such a treat when he does. Damn, he's got them Rock 'n' Roll lungs!!
It's sweet, yet rugged. You've got to hear this guy!!
He did a song I hadn't heard in years and I forget who does it but it's called, "Goodlife" and goes something like "It's a goodlife, yeah" and it rocks!!!
He ended the set with another song, That I found out is on Detroit Disciples first CD, and that was all I needed and figured it just couldn't get much better than that!

I left after buying their new cd "Saving Grace" and I'm listening to it as I type this. It's crosses over into many genres including a bluesy tune called, "Sure thing". Real nice.
Sounds like a couple of countryish songs are on it but mostly rock and rock ballads. Wonderful song writing, arrangements, everything!
I can actually hear what Ian is singing on it. And the lyrics are included.

What a great band. As I was leaving and driving home, I was thinking to myself that I will never leave the county again to go hear blues when either of these bands are playing around here. They are both top notch, professional, no bullshit bands. Both have great songwriters, mostly original material, and the best seasoned/professional players in the bands to back them.

I gave both of these bands a set each and headed home. I still wasn't feelin' right from the previous night, and wasn't gonna go out at all, but I just had to go see these bands since they both were right up the road.
Do yourselves a favor and go check them out!!

Thank you, Tradewinds and Russian River brewery, for having them.



Posted by Mo at 11:18 AM | Comments (2)

August 13, 2005

Birdlegg and his TIGHTFIT Blues Band! 8/12/05 By: Mo

I was gonna stay close to home for blues but saw that Birdlegg was gonna be at a place I haven't seen him yet and that the place will be sold, so I thought that this was a must. I called a couple of people and off we went over the mountain to the 1351 Club in St Helena.

Man, what a show!!!!
I just love this guy, his band, his harp, dancing, singing, energy, enthusiasm, everything about this band is nuthing short of the real deal.
And one more VERY important thing.....it's BLUES BABY, nuthin' but the blues. And blues songs, one after the other!!
I do appreciate that more than anything.

Everytime I go and see Birdlegg- it's great. Consistently awesome. Never a bad show.
Everyone in the band was incredible.

John Graham on guitar. Some real fine playin and slidin' coming from John. Real sweet indeed.
Tip for any club owner wanting to tell them to turn it down; Wait until after they are done soloing!! That was not a nice thing to do but I just think they didn't realize just how "sacred" that is. To me anyway ;-)

Willy Jordan on drums. Man, I love see/hearing him with this band! We were hoping he'd be there.
He is such a good drummer and can do it all but I love this Funkmeister's blues the best.

Vance Ehlers on bass, sitting in for Patty Hammond. I missed Patty but Vance is no slouch on that thing!
I love the way he makes that electric sound "stand up" when needed. he is one of my favorite bassist. An in command player, it was a real treat to see/hear him.

Chris Burns on Piano!!!
This guy is absolutely one of the best!!
He was a bit too loud in the beginning (drowning out the others) but it seemed to be more balanced second set on. He is amazing and always a treat to hear.

So, as you can see, this was an all-star line up of some very seasoned players.
It really clicked and the chemistry was happenin'. Real tight and the pelvic thrust never stopped until the last set for me where I had to sit and lay back.

Did I mention Birdlegg??
I just love that guy!!
His love for the blues is contagious. He never over plays on the harp and the '
"rhythm" bits he throws in are catchy and are all the fun to tune into. Real fine player, singer, dancer, he does it all!!
A true showman.

I heard the 1351 is going up for sale soon and there probably won't be anymore music so enjoy it while you can!
The crowd fun and the band got their share of the fun, no doubt!
21st Birthday celebration and the birthday girl was loose and really playin' with the band. They were having fun. It didn't seem to interfere with the quality of music which is all I worry about. She was a cutey and hot. Surely didn't dance like no 21 year old. The girl had it!

I was so wiped from the previous nights' blues and not getting a nap after working 9 hours, so I was pretty fried but didn't do too bad for 3 hours of sleep.
My mistake was drinking two whole beers! That pretty much kicked my ass.
I didn't have to drive again (Thanks Rolf) so I could cut loose a bit but it proved to be a mistake without having much food or sleep, and all.
The mountain, the curves, the backseat on the way home, exhaustion....by the time we reached Rohnert Park it was-
"Hey, you guys, I need to pull over".
Weird because I slept most the way home and then awoke to pukin'!
Not fun or pretty. But hey, at least I didn't puke in Rolf's new car!!
I cannot drink and I don't know why I insist on trying anymore. Sometimes it just goes down so smooth and it goes real good with some HOT blues.

Great night of entertainment and BLUES...BLUES...BLUES.
Go see Birdlegg and his tightfit band. If you like BBQ, go to Oakland's Everett & Jones BBQ (Dotha's Juke Joint) in Jack London Square, on Saturday nights. Eat some of the best "Q" (The sweet potatoes are to die for) and hear some of the best blues at the same time. Now that is a fun gig!


Posted by Mo at 02:01 PM | Comments (0)

August 11, 2005

Sonoma County Blues Festival 2005

Sonoma County Blues Festival 8/6/05

It was with anticipation that I got a seat down front in the Redwood Amphitheater at the Sonoma County Fair. The lineup looked varied and interesting. Having saved a seat with the shirt I brought for the evening, I wandered about checking out the tables and greeting friends.

Glancing up front I saw the security boys in their yellow windbreakers and fatboy shorts and bullet heads hassling Lucretia, Mo, and Dee. They were doing it for no reason at all either, merely because they could tower over three five-foot tall women and be shitheads. It was evident all three had masculinity problems. When I challenged them to find an Al Queda cell among three small white women, and why were they being dorks, they became tongue-tied and attempted to strut off. Unfortunately, one caught the tread of his shoe in the uneven asphalt and stumbled. Manner-less, graceless dorks. Naturally, the ladies were less than thrilled and the incident cast a pall over the show before it even started. Mo was really pissed.

My annual pleas to Smith and Bowker Productions for the left section to have the benches removed and be a dancing floor had been answered and there was dancing room. This feature was a real plus again and again as the whole crowd circulated much more easily, the CD and T-shirt sales tables were accessible, and most of all, the dancers inspired the musicians. Again and again during the show the vocalists and soloists would go to that side of the stage and play for the dancers.

Eddie Turner was up first and he’s definitely a member of the semi-new "trance blues" category that the record companies are trying to sell to the jam band and trace crowds. Blues as house music. Eddie is also definitely Hendrix influenced. That said the unexpected content in Eddie’s music is the Gospel feel, which rescues it from the formulaic, plus that Eddie really can play the blues, and so can his band. Eddie really got into the guitar solos and went some places with it. Although a bit mono-chordal as is the latest fad under the North Mississippi influence, the western feel of Eddie’s music kept creeping in and the Native American "on the one" rhythm feel was what the band put out a good deal of the time. Plus, Eddie has Freddie King and Johnny ’Guitar’ Watson roots too. His rendition of "Gangster of Love" had nothing to do with Steve Miller’s cute radio version, and everything to do with Johnny Guitar’s proto-funk original.

Straight-ahead and full speed blues was served up by Nick Moss and the Flip Tops. Working with a road band different from his recording group Nick turned in a masterful performance of incredible guitar playing and a group sound of blues intensity. Willie G. (name?) on keyboards survived a period where he had no instrument monitor and could hardly hear himself on stage. Playing well, Willie seemed to decide that he was simply going to play hard and call it good enough. When he did have monitor function about a third of the way into the set he turned in a fantastic blues piano seminar, playing backing riffs of subtlety and carrying power, and solos that rang with blues intensity.

Through all this Nick Moss simply powered right through any problems with an overwhelming guitar attack. The buzz I’d been reading on him was true, he really is a master already, not one of the "next big thing" young guitarslingers that come along every year. Nick plays with economy and leaves big space. Nick plays fine rhythm guitar when the other guys are soloing, and has the band’s presentation set up for all the guys to have their turn. Then when Nick takes a solo you aren’t tired out and his high points are really high. Nick Moss is a great guitar player. Plus, Nick has a good voice and sings well. The songs don’t all sound alike. The result is that his live show was even better than his CDs. I want to hear more of Nick Moss.

Next up was Earl Thomas and he was his fine soulful self up on stage. With a pickup band that included Paul Rivelli on drums, Nancy Wright on Tenor Sax, and Mike Emerson on Hammond B3 organ, Earl went to town with his singing. I’ve seen Earl in several different settings. He can be very intimate in small group settings, pr as here play a big venue with large gestures that can be seen from all the way in the back. Working hard he really powered out a large crowd show and entertained a huge variety of people. It was a lead singer’s show from two standpoints; the ‘one shot’ nature of the band, and that Earl is God’s own ham the way a lead singer needs to be. On "Sweet Like Sugar", Earl caressed the words like ‘lemonade’ and really played the song for its sensuousness. On "I’d Rather Go Blind", he served up a full helping of heartbreak. Earl showed a lot of range. One disappointment I felt in the show was that there wasn’t enough time for more than a few solos by Nancy Wright or Mike Emerson. This band was put together just for this show so they didn’t have enough rehearsal time for more than backing Earl. The other disappointment I felt (probably arising from the first) was that there wasn’t a bit more blues to it. Earl did an almost all R&B/soul number show. That’s his strength, and there was no room for him to do his less ‘ShowTime’ numbers.

Café R&B put on a great blues and R&B show. The singer "Roach" (wonder what’s behind that name?) pulled out all the stops and did Muddy’s old war-horse "I Just Want To Make Love To You." And steam heated the audience right from the get-go. It’s hard to describe what’s going on with Café R&B since Roach is constantly in motion performing and doing physical bits. She’s really witty about it too. Guitarist Byl Carruthers is a truly hot guitarist who did many solos while keeping them short. You can tell he’s really used to Roach being in constant motion around him when he solos, when she pulled off something he’d laugh. Roach would break up the bass player from time to time. Bobby Pickett (?) is very unlike the usual expressionless bass player. He sings along with his bass lines. John Thomas on keys had a couple of nice solos.

With Café R&B it’s really the whole show the whole time, they’ve got almost everything integrated into a seamless whole—with Roach dancing on top of the whole thing. Simply amazing. Roach’s slinky dress is worn over heavy athletic wear since she does such a stage showmanship performance. Possessed of a voice of great power and finesse, she adds to the whole thing with athleticism and a comedic sense of timing. Non-stop in motion, the whole thing is done on four-inch spike heels (she had a backup pair waiting).

Café R&B is Rhythm and Blues, with lots of blues content, they are also infused with the classic sound of L.A. R&B of the fifties and sixties. The whole sound proclaims that they are from the L.A. tradition while having their sights set on the future. It was a monster show.

The last set of the night was Lydia Pense and Cold Blood, a Bay Area institution. One of the early Bay area funk bands, they have continued on with their band and mostly continue to do their classics. They fulfilled the Smith and Bowker necessity of having an evening band that non-blues fans at the County Fair might want to see. Smith and Bowker have pretty much had to do this for the Fair every year. The hard blues acts are on in the afternoons. I pretty much like Cold Blood and their rhythmic show most of the time. This night I was having trouble hearing Lydia and I was filled up with more bluesy acts. After a few songs I went home.

I’d like to thank Smith and Bowker for doing what they can to keep blues going at the County Fair. I’m concerned that we won’t have this show in the future.

Posted by Rolfyboy6 at 03:55 PM | Comments (0)

August 07, 2005

Sonoma County "??" Festival By:Mo

Aside from seeing Nick Moss, and hearing him play some awesome artery burstin', eye-poppin' BLUES guitar, and aside from seeing some of my favorite local players sharing the stage with the likes of Earl Thomas and Lydia Pense, it was a pretty boring festival to me.
I was waiting....and waiting...for something that would break that R&B, funk, rock, soul, groove and break into some REAL blues, but it just got worse.

I guess I should've stayed home, and I was going to, until they listed Nick Moss in the line-up later in the season.

Eddie Turner was first and he played guitar, and LOTS of it, but it wasn't what I was wanting to hear. It crossed over to some groove music. Long jams with rock, funk, and everything else. Good if that's what you want to hear.

Nick Moss did nuthin' but straight up BLUES and he should've headlined the festival. Enough said about that.
Man, he is so good! He should have got an encore AND headlined!!!
I am enjoying two of his cds as I type this out that I picked up yesterday and they are so good!!
Loads of guitar and tastefully placed piano/keys.
Bob Welsh is my piano hero! He's playing on "sadie mae" and wasn't with Nick yesterday and I was hoping he was. But...Nick had a real fine player from Chicago by the name of....I forgot. No, it wasn't Barrelhouse Chuck. He also plays on some of Nick's recordings.

Earl Thomas was next and he had a whole nother different band once again. All of them great and all of them all-stars but it wasn't clicking.
All great players but he really needs to get a band and KEEP a band. I heard he had Anthony Paule on guitar with him at his last Boom Boom Room gig and I was keeping my fingers crossed for him to be there at the fest, but he wasn't. There was nothing spectacular about this set. I love Earl, his singing, and his healing ways, but it wasn't enough for me. He tried to sell his "Everything is gonna be alright in the world" thing in a couple of his songs, but I wasn't buying it ;-)
I love all the players which included Mike Emerson on keys, Nancy Wright on sax, Paul Revelli on drums, how could one not enjoy this all-star line up one might ask?? It had no chemistry, sorry ;-(

I'm still waiting for more guitar and I heard that Tina Turner, oops, I mean Cafe R&B, had a pretty decent guitarist.

Man, she has some energy that gal there!!
She's in fine form and could be one of Bobby Rush's Hoochie Mama's although she sings too good to be just a dancer. She can sing and dance but I was getting bored just watching her dancing. Cute and fun but I need more than cute and fun.
Fun, but even one long set was getting boring.
No sustenance as far as the band. That's all I have to say about that.

Up next, Lydia Pense and Coldblood.
Funk, funk, and more funk. Original I think but...... ENOUGH!!!!
I couldn't take anymore!!
We left.

Got to Tradewinds for what seemed to be the only thing going on in Sonoma County as far as the blues is concerned.
Still...not much at all.
The night ended and I felt empty, unfulfilled. It's now been two weeks without a one whole night of nothing but killer guitar and I'm getting really cranky.
On top of that.....
My husband and I haven't been able to catch up to each other in a week AND he's out of town today, so you can imagine that I'm gonna be a full-fledged bitch by tomorrow ;-)

Aaah well, there's always next week.
Of course that's what I said last week. Ian Lamson's bits of guitar with Ed Early band on friday and Nick Moss' short festival set, is all I would get on this weekend.

Me? I'm always on the prowl for some real blues with lots of blues content. I'm pretty narrow-minded when it comes to these things. I'm willing to settle on a couple but not a whole festival. I do know the crowd enjoyed it because they were noisy and rowdy the whole way through so that's a good thing. I did enjoy it, don't get me wrong, it was just not fulfilling my personal blues-guitar-junkie needs. I was wanting to get pumped up with that adrendiline. And we all know it's about.... ME ;-)
I'm just hard to please and a pain-in-the-ass when it comes to these things so don't take my word on anything.

I do know for certain.... I am guaranteed at least one whole day of great blues guitar when we go to Daniel Castro's thing next Sunday at Headfeathers. I can't wait!!!
Hope the usual gang is there playing.
My honey's a big fan of Daniel and band so this will be real cool for him too.

I'm not sure if I'll endure this fest, or any festival, anymore. This one gets worse every year.
It used to be, you could show up early, leave your stuff in the outdoor theater, save a spot, and go wander around the fair. It was so laidback and cool. Now, they've fenced it off, not open 'til 1pm, you can't save your spot or nuthin'. I got there an hour and half early, went around the fair real quick, stood in line to got in, laid out a towel for two blues buddies that were coming, and before I knew what was going on, I looked up and three buldging bi-cepted tight t-shirt men were standing over me telling me I couldn't save seats. It was scary and I told them that they were like the Gestapo and they were scaring me, and to go away.
They insisted that we could not save seats. I told them that this is what we do every year and that this was a Blues festival and shoo'ed at them to go away and they did. They harassed alot of people. Not only that...I turned around and all the seats were still empty.
That started the day off crappy.
Why they insist on treating a blues crowd like a young hip-hop crowd is beyond me.

At least there was a dance pit in front and it stayed full and hoppin' all day! It wasn't big enough though and the security had a hard time keeping the crowd 'corralled' inside of it. I hate playing that game. I sat most the day because it was so full but mostly due to aching legs and nothing was grabbing at me to get on up!

I think we need to research the meaning of the word "Festival". It has been lost and they are not even festive anymore.
It's all these rules, boundaries, VIP seating, security, it just sucks.
Give me a dark, smelly, old juke joint with a dance floor front & center, any ol' day. All the once-a-year bluesers can have these blues festival set up in a prison compound complete with fencing. I'm waiting for the year they put barbed-wire on the top just so people can't throw their stuff over while they walk around the fair. Maybe next year???

Aaah well....
Thanks Smith & Bowker. I do appreciate all you have done over the years for the limited music scene in our county. It is because of you guys that we have some of these top notch acts coming through at all and here I am... bitchin' and moanin' about stuff. I'm sorry but please be sure these reflections are just that, Reflections. Personal ones at that. Not in no way do I do 'revues'.
I am so sorry for the loss of Doug Smith and I do hope Bill does carry on with all these blues!
Love to ya, Bill Bowker!

Great to hang with all my blues buddies. Real great to see Lucretia, who drove all the way up from the city!

Now...back to Nick's "Sadie Mae" and some real blues!!


Posted by Mo at 12:33 PM | Comments (5)

Ed Early Band/Ian Lamson 8/5/05 By: Mo

Floored at Peri's!!

I got off work yesterday and drug myself out of the van and into that bed of mine for a snooze. I was hoping it would help and I would want to go out and hear some blues. It had been awhile and I was seriously jonesin' for some BLUES GUITAR!!

Laying there, I could here the whistles, grunting, chanting of cheerleader and Pop Warner practice coming from the school a half a block away. I was picking up on every little sound and it was getting frustrating. I was tossing and turning and couldn't sleep although I tried. I hate it when you're so burnt and tired that you can't sleep!

So, I got up, showered off the crud from the days work, had some coffee, sat and relaxed for an hour or so before my bluesin' companion showed.
I was so wiped and I'm sure I wasn't pleasant company but I just knew Dee would understand.

Dee is always game on those last minute bluesin' plans. She picked me up and she insisted on driving. Either I'm getting used to it or she's mellowed some on her driving. I think I was just so burnt so I didn't notice. Kinda felt like I was on downers or something.
We got there way ahead of time and that was a mistake since I am impatient on the waiting thing.
I wandered around down pass Cafe Amsterdam where a Jazz/fusion band was playing. Down to 19 Broadway, "Women that Rock" was the theme. Three female rock bands. I was curious but wanted to save my dollars for a Nick Moss Cd today at the festival.

Finally, the Ed Early band started and it was all she wrote!
From the first song to the last, it was smokin'!
His band is so tight. There were some of those moments that made you look on stage to see what happened, it was so off, but it's LIVE so that's the beauty of it.

I love Ed's voice. It's so soulful.
Something about it makes me feel real comfy and warm.
His T-bone playing is real great too!
he leads one awesome band that I just can't say enough about.

Ian lamson would be the real reason I went down there. Man, can this kid play!!
I had to surrender quite a few times when he ventured off into sololand. Not only that, his rhythm was all the fun to tune into.
At some point, I stopped dead in my tracks, stood, watched,
and took notice to something; Tuning into Ian's rhythm in the back while the piano was going, it was his turn to solo, (yeah, one of those pass-around-each-song-for-a-solo-to every-member bands. My only complaint ;-) and when he went into the solo, all the momentum was lost. It took away from his important part of keeping the pelvic thrust going! It was as if someone just stopped contributing to the song and it sounded like a whole 'another song. So, lastnight was a revelation of sorts.
To be in the back, playing rhythm is more than it seems. It is sometimes more important to keep that rhythm going instead of going off into sololand, I found. Especially when there's no one to step in and take over that particular rhythm part.

So that was interesting to ponder and then I was back into that Ian zone. he literally floored me. My knees got so weak, I fell to the floor on my knees. I must of looked like a fool but I couldn't help it, it was that good.
I've come close many a times doing that to many but it actually happened lastnight. I almost crawled to the stage but got up only to be floored again.
As I was getting up, he threw a whammy out that pushed me back on my ass!
I was floored.
It was amazing what I was hearing.
I tried to be embarrassed but it felt too good what he was serving.

What a band!!
All of them. Do yourself a favor and check these guys out. they are playing Biscuits and Blues THIS Wednesday night but I have a feeling it doesn't get much better than Peri's!

On the way home, Dee had the Nick Moss cd I got here for her Birthday playing in her truck. Sadie Mae it's called and I think it might be his best yet!!
I don't have it yet but I am gonna have it by TODAY!!
It is so good. Probably one of the best things I've heard come out of the studio in many a moons!
My favorite BOB WELSH is all over it on keys and he gets his time to shine which is awesome but mostly it ain't nuthin' but Nick's GUITAR! GUITAR! GUITAR!.
And lots of it too!
It's got a real Live feeling to it. His voice is very similar to Kid Anderson's I noticed.
I can't wait to see him today.
As a matter of fact....I gotta go get ready.


Posted by Mo at 09:45 AM | Comments (5)

August 06, 2005

What the Funk?!! 7/30/05 By: Mo

Boy, I don't what makes me crankier..... not getting enough sex or not getting that blues fix.
Well....at least I got half of that lastnight. Thanks, Honey!
I was counting on "A Case of the Willy's" to fulfill at least some of the "Blues" part but no luck.
I'm a little cranky for not getting to hear hardly ANY live blues for what's going to be over a week now so excuse my edginess ;-)

I didn't get out Friday night because I was too dead to move after one of the hardest work weeks yet. At this job anyway. I was physically beat up so I stayed home and got some much needed rest.

Saturday....we had quite a selection of bluesy stuff going on in Sonoma County to choose from.
I opted for "A Case of the Willys" (even knowing Volker would not be there) because I really wanted to hang at the Tradewinds and Willy will usually do enough blues to keep me happy.
So, I drug myself out to hear what I thought would be at least some blues lastnight. I was ready for some, that's for sure.

It was so cool to see "The Case" line up again.

David Schrader on sax.
Glenn Sullivan on trumpet.

These two make up one of the best horn sections around anywhere!

Carl "Boom Boom" Bowers on bass. He is also in one of the best horn sections around when he plays trombone, along with David Schrader on sax, with Volker Strifler's band.
He is so good. I believe he could've been louder lastnight but that's alright. (Here I go again trying to be the soundman)

Of course, Willy Jordan on drums and vocals.
Willy was HOT lastnight!
His playing was loose and he was rollin' with a thunderous roar like a "runaway" train haulin' ass down that track.
Man...I don't think I've ever heard Willy play quite like that.
His singing was really good too. He really belted out some great vocals. Especially on the only two or three blues tunes he did.

He was in the improv mood lastnight, that's for sure.
It was cool when he let the crowd solo'd, and finish out "Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay" with the whistling bit. That was way cool.

By the way....the crowd was in a real good mood lastnight. They were an appreciative one, no doubt. Dancers all the way to the end. It was great to see all those familar faces groovin' on the floor.

Sometime during the night, Willy lead the band out of one funk number and straight into some other groove that I thought was a melody of different tunes but turned out to be Mustang Sally. I cringed but then it happened; it turned out to be one of the best Mustang's Sally's I ever heard!

Rob Watson was sittin' in for Volker on guitar.
That's right, Rob Watson, bassist extraordinaire! This guy can do it all!
Now, I've heard Rob sitting in with someone once before, he was playing lead guitar, and it was so awesome that I was really looking forward to hearing him again.
Lastnight left much to be desired. I know for a fact the guy can play IF given the opportunity.
He played almost all rhythm without hardly any solos. All the solos were handed over to the horn section.
Mind you, his rhythm stuff was well worth "tuning into", I was waiting.....waiting....waiting.... and still waiting....for Rob to get a chance to really cut loose and show us what he's got. Nothing except a couple bits and that's it!
And that is no lie. He wasn't given the chance.

If I had that guy filling-in in my band, I would've said, "Rob, what've you got for us?" and handed over at least some songs to him to lead.
The guy can play it all!!
He kept the rhythm parts interesting and kept my hips shakin' and it was stimulating!
He's really got them funk rhythm guitar parts down pat.
I know he can play some badass blues guitar but we didn't get to hear it on this night.

I had gulped (Inhaled) down a beer when I first got there and it went down so smooth. That, along with other inhibitors, kept me from getting on that road for the rest of the evening. I was stuck. I really wish I wouldn't have drank that beer because being the light weight that I am, I'm grounded after even one. I can't handle "mixed" cocktails ;-)

So, I had to stay and endure Funk....Funk....and more funk.
But hell, at least it was done well and by one tight ass band! They do do it best.
I just love all these guys but I was just wanting some blues guitar.
I really wanted to bail and hit The Aces at Russian River Brewery OR Anthony Paule with Mz Dee at the Flamingo. Even if their new 'other-than-blues' band, Groove Team, is R&B covers, Anthony will throw in some blues to keep me happy if he sees me there. And we all know it's all about ME ;-)
I just knew there was PLENTY of blues guitar playing going on but who in the hell needs a DUI?
Even killer blues guitar ain't worth that.

So, I am mad at myself for caving in and putting myself in that situation. Even after having it in the back of my mind from the beginning that I was gonna do some "blues hoppin" on this night. I usually have more control than that.
Next time....I'll pass on the brewskies and all. I'm not a drinker anyway so I'm not sure why I had any at all. It just sounded good and man...it went down good and fast.
By the nights end, I was good to go. For driving anyway.

It seemed like it was a long night, waiting and waiting for something that never showed. Nope, my blues train never arrived at the station. As a matter of fact...it felt as though it was a night that was one loooong funky Amtrak ride across the country.
Don't get me wrong.... I love "A Case" but usually there's not so much of that stuff and it's usually a bit more mixed up.

So, yeah, I'm a bit cranky. Mad at myself for 'grounding' myself so early in the evening, and for not getting my fix on some blues at all this weekend.

Aaaah well....there's always next weekend!!

Thank you Tradewinds for the LIVE music.
Thank you "Case" for being your "tight" selves. Please excuse my crankiness. It was so great to hear ya again after all this time. Really have missed you guys and things are beginning to feel like "normal" again around here.
Missed ya "V"!


Posted by Mo at 08:37 AM | Comments (0)

August 02, 2005

A Case of the Willy’s at Tradewinds 7/30/05

Entering the Tradewinds early I found Willy Jordan setting up his drums. Damn, it was good to see Willy, and at the ‘Winds too. David Schrader passed me carrying a part of his PA system. Out in the parking lot Carl Bowers had just popped the hatch of his SUV and his big bass rig sat there like an atomic pile. "At least it’s on wheels," Carl said as he began moving the mountain of bass amp indoors. Another exciting working musician’s big time load-in. David passed me carrying another heavy part of his PA rig. "The Beast!" laughed Glenn Sullivan about the PA as he passed me with a trumpet, a flugelhorn, and a microphone stand.

Wandering back into the ‘Winds’ backdoor I snared the table I try to get, got my nightly Sierra Nevada pint, and spotted familiar faces with a mix of new faces. Looking at the band area again there was Rob Watson, locally famous for his stellar funk bass playing, on guitar for this show. Rob, a great funk guitar player, was sitting in for a touring (Ford Blues Band) Volker Strifler. Rob was being quiet and self-contained as usual.

Willy started the band off with a jazzy instrumental with a bop solo by David Schrader, a trumpet solo by Glenn Sullivan, and a funk solo by Rob Watson. Then the band went to the blues for a couple of numbers including T-Bone Walker’s "Street Walking Woman." I noticed that Dave was carrying a lot of the soloing load early and that Rob seemed to not want to push soloing. Rob is a monster rhythm guitarist sitting in for Volker, a guitarist noted for his melodic gift.

The flood of danceable numbers drew me out on the dance floor and I lost the thread of song titles. No matter, it was the Willy’s, the funk band I’ve followed for years. I lost myself in the rhythm, Iko-Iko ane’. There are a lot of gigs these days where I don’t feel the call to dance; the Willy’s had me out there again and again. The solos were hot from the beginning and David and Glenn were both on the top of their game. Carl was as hot as a pistol on bass (he and David had just come from another gig and were already warm).

I’d heard rumors of Willy surpassing himself both vocally and drumming at several Bay Area gigs, and on this night he was simply at the very top of his game and feeling good and playful. The best R&B voice in the North Bay and one of the best in the whole Bay Area was feeling a touch devilish and was playing with an audience he knew well. More and more of the familiar faces came in the back door and Willy was feeling like old times. That old chestnut "Dock of the Bay" was made into an audience participation number with Big horns, wild funk rhythm, and twenty-five people whistling the refrain. Willy was laughing.

!Wow! Solos after !Wow! Solo flew out and the rhythm was spot on and wild with Willy, Rob, and Carl spreading a thick layer of funk all over the house. David was on fire and Glenn was very smooth. Quite simply this was one of the best first sets I’ve seen.

The second set was Grease! East Bay Grease and James Brown grease! The place was so packed on the dance floor I mostly retired to my seat and had a fine time watching the horns go crazy riding on top of the monster rhythm section.

If Volker’s huge melodic solos weren’t there then David Schrader was. Lots of people know he’s the best, but David still doesn’t get enough credit for being the multi-genre musician he is. His solos were huge and the section work impeccable. Fantastic drive in all his work.

Glenn Sullivan was driving too on "What is Hip." The East Bay grease was very strong and Glenn turned in great trumpet work.

Suddenly slowing the roll, Willy turned in his finest slow blues vocal on "You make it Hard." Aching stuff.

"I think you jivin’ me Baby!
You make it hard!"

A very long "Sex Machine" drove people crazy out on the floor, the place was packed, the sweat was flowing, and the elbows were so sharp in my back that I retreated again to my seat and watched the band pushing it out there. Carl was grinning as he played in combination with Rob. A fantastic rendition of an old war horse.

Out of the song bag came one Willy does only sometimes. Being in really good voice he knocked us dead with "Forever My Love" in a romantic horn driven slow ballad. The shades of Maurice Williams, Frankie Beverly, and Johnny Mathis hovered over Willy’s head singing along with him. Oooh, it almost made you want to be in silly infatuation.

After a short break the band went to James Brown again and we funked it up out on the floor as it became less populated. David turned in a stellar solo performance on "the Thrill Is Gone" replacing the usual guitar driven song with great tenor sax solos, it was so far from the usual thing it made this song new again.

I can’t remember where in the show the band pulled off the most off the wall rendition of "Mustang Sally" I’ve heard. I’m always hinting at the band that they should replace this song in their set list—and they always laugh at me. Willy has an introduction for this song that he uses some nights which isn’t printable in a family newspaper: "For twenty-some years I’ve played this goddam song and it buys drinks at the bar and pays my bills and………"

Segueing right out of another song, it was almost two minutes into the new song before it became clear that it was "Mustang Sally." Any resemblance between the Wilson Pickett bar song and this was almost coincidental. They mashed this into new forms and shapes. Good stuff since I hate hearing the cliché bar band version. Something new from a weary tune.

Right toward the end I suddenly became weary and it was time to go. I drove away from a resonant Tradewinds that seemed to be slightly bulging and pulsing at the walls. I was out of energy; A Case of the Willy’s had done it to me again. Damn, what a band.

Posted by Rolfyboy6 at 11:52 AM | Comments (0)