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January 06, 2007

Ron Martin's Birthday Bash and more....(1/07)

Here it is 5am on a Saturday morning and the phone rings. I knew it could only be one person so I jumped out of bed and ran to answer it. Our youngest just called from Iraq and I'm so happy that I couldn't go back to sleep. 5am here is around 3pm there. It was great to hear from him - FINALLY!. He's doing fine and sounds great. He got the guitar and mini-amp we sent him and he says he plays it everyday. I told him how we worry and he said not to pay attention to the news because they exaggerate everything at least a thousand times more than it is. I try not to watch the news or read the paper much anymore just to keep the anxiety level down anyway. Too much crap going on in this country and world that's out of my control so I'll just bury my head in the sand for awhile. At least for two more years anyway, if you know what I mean ;-)
So, here I am and I'm gonna ramble on here for a bit to kill some time before I get busy with some grocery shopping and chores.

It was that time of year again - Ron Martin's Birthday Party at the Tradewinds!!
He always hires a great band and usually it's the Volker Strifler band. The guy has great taste. Being on a Wednesday night, I asked my boss if I could go in late on Thursday. He said yes of course. He is so cool. I love this job and the bunch I work with.

So, I took a nap after work and picked up Teri. She too was celebrating a Birthday.
Got there and heard from the lot that they were already going at it!
Walked in, wished Ronnie a Happy Birthday, and first thing I noticed was no horn section. That was weird.
It was Volker on guitar/vocals. Don Bassey on bass. Chip Roland on keys. Gary Silva on drums.
This is plenty but that horn section was missed. So many of V's songs are arranged with horn sections. He writes some real nice arrangements. The guy is, in my humble opinion, a song writing genius!
The groove was fine, the dancin' crowd a blast, it felt like the good ol' days at the 'winds.

Skye O'Bannon sat in on harp and he sounded real good. He was in a serious mood and that was great to hear.
We had a short break and then Levi Lloyd sat in for a few. Like I said before....the best I ever hear from Levi is when he's sittin' in and man....was he on it!!
When he did that song, "Just keep on using me...'til you use me up..." it was killer!!

They invited Rob Watson up to sit in on bass and OH, MY GOD....the guy is a master on that thing!! He was playing lead on that thing, accenting with flare in all the right places, did one helluva solo, and pretty much stole the show!

I was talking with him before he went up and I just had to tell him, "Hey, I saw you on TV playing at the James Brown Memorial gig!". He flashed a t-shirt he had on commemorating the event and said, "You mean you saw that?" I said, "Yep, I watched it and noticed you up there playing guitar".
That was a trip too. I was watching this big ol' band up there just a funkin' it away and I looked and looked and sure enough, I knew that had to be Rob. I told the family, "Hey, Check this out! I know that guy!"
They all just said, "Yeah right, Whatever" and walked away.
That was a nice funeral I guess. James just laying out there with all this music and partying going on around him. That's how I wanna go. Just prop me up in a chair and let the party begin. But at my funeral....I want blues, blues, and more BLUES!
Just don't bring the religion or politics ( or Michael Jackson ;-) to my memorial.

Enough about funerals. We're talkin' about a Birthday here......

Glen Sullivan showed up and yes, he was invited up with his horn. That guy sounded like a whole horn section on that little ol' trumpet! He knew all the arrangements and everything! And he doesn't even play with them.

Gary Silva is just about one of the best drummers. All the tricks he's got under his sleeve keeps your interest all night. He's unpredictable and it makes it hard to keep up. He just jumps and skips all over the place all the while keeping perfect time. Amazing!!

Another great Birthday party by Ronnie. This is a Birthday tradition he has going that I hope continues on and on.
Like I said, the guy has great taste in music.

Picked up a couple more of Volker's Cds since I can't seem to keep ahold of mine. They were selling them for two for $25 and I said, "What?! That's all?" and gave them $40. I guess I should've picked up one more but that's not the point.
Took Teri home and she had fun celebrating her Birthday. Got home in time for a decent nights sleep before work.

Thank You, Ronnie. You know how to throw a Birthday Party!
Thank You, Tradewinds for hosting it.
Thank You, Volker Strifler Band for....well....just being so awesome.
Thank You, Blues Buds. It was great dancin' with ya.


Posted by Mo at 08:11 AM | Comments (0)

January 05, 2007

Saturday Night at the Tradewinds (12/06)

I was pretty fried by this time. Four nights in a row and not used to this bluesin' much anymore but I made it out the door.
After all....it was just down the road and it had been waaay too long since a Levi Lloyd show.

I left ahead of schedule to stop for some smokes, cash and gas and arrived early.
Pulled into the empty lot and into a spot. It was early yet so I pulled out a CD I grabbed on the way out the door. I'm ashamed to say that I forgot all about this CD.
This "Live at the Ivy Room" Cd is really good. It was a benefit for Leroy Shyne that I remember attending. And I also remember (with the help of listening to it) that it was a blast!!
I sure miss the Ivy Room. It was a place in Albany just over there on the other side of the Richmond bridge. Too bad it's no longer a music venue. Saw some of the best blues shows there and always had fun.
Glad I dug deep into my collection. Need to do that more often.

The second song on it with Lil' Johnny Lawton, '16 bar' I think it's called, was so lowdown it pulled me in. I stared at the sign that read " Customer Parking Only. Violators will be towed at owners expense" and really dug into the song. Johnny's so awesome. Would love to get a whole show of his someday soon.
I had a smoke while listening and headed into the warmth and coziness of the Tradewinds.

Walked in and took a glance at the band area. Levi had what I thought was a trio and I was so excited!! Hardly ever do you get to hear Levi do just a trio, if ever. I thought this would be the night of all nights. I thought it would be the night where he really steps up and just lays it all out on the table. I was all of the sudden wide awake and the adrenaline was a flowin' full speed ahead!
Standing there and finally gettin' a good look at the stage area, it dawned on me that there was another guitarist. It would be Evan Morgan. He's a good player but I was so looking forward to just some Levi. He's got it in him but when other's are there he'll just pass it around and around and around......it leaves me waiting impatiently. Levi is the real deal when it lets it out. The best I've ever heard Levi is when he's sittin' in or playing with someone else. But I must admit, Levi's one of the better rhythm players I've ever tuned into and I could just listen to that and be happy....for a while at least.
If you've never heard Levi really cut loose on the blues, you're missin' out. Some real gut wrenchin' raw blues guitar. Would love to hear more of it.

The Soulman of Sonoma County, Dee Wills, got up there and belted out some soul, funk and R&B tunes. He paid special tribute to James Brown and did a mini-set of a couple of his tunes. When "I Feel Good" came about, I thought of all the times I cringed when that song was covered and I felt guilty. We all danced joyfully in honor of James.

I was pretty fried so I called it an early evening and went home and curled up with a movie.

Mission accomplished. Four nights, Ok...three and a half nights, of bay area blues!!
I'm ready for Monday and a better year ahead.


Posted by Mo at 03:45 PM | Comments (0)

Ed Early Band at Peri's! (12/06)

Yep....I was still going strong when I headed down to Peri's in Fairfax for Ed Early on this Friday night.
You might know Ed from the Elvin Bishop Band.

Three in row in the old days wouldn't be a lot for me but these days it's another story.
I think I did this four day weekend thing to immerse myself back into the blues scene. It's been a very weird year and I lost the joy in it that I used to feel. I found it hard to really get into it and pulled way back for a bit. Man..... do I miss it now and it's all about getting back into the groove, so to speak.

Ed Early is one of my favorites. He plays a nice trombone, sings with a smoky/smooth feel and his band is oh, so TIGHT!
Wow, what a band!

If you haven't yet....you gotta see this band.
Ian Lamson on guitar is oh.... so good. He's also with Elvin Bishop.
Ian is another one busy chattering away while others are doing their thing in the front. I would be trying to focus on someone's solo or singing and that guy was always pulling me in with his constant chattering on that guitar in the background. It was pulling my attention away all night. Real tasty stuff. And his solos are something to behold as well!!
I'm not sure who that bass player was but he wasn't with Ed the last few times I've seen him.
He was incredible!!!
An really good keyboard player, Cisco keepin' great time on drums, the incredible bassist, Ian on guitar and Ed singing and trombone made up this awesome five piece.
It was all just so busy on that stage and trying to focus on just one thing was near impossible. Not the kind of busy where it's too busy and messy but a good busy. Never a dull moment from this band.
Another highly recommended band and venue.


Posted by Mo at 03:44 PM | Comments (0)

Double Duty At The Saloon (12/06)

So..... keeping the momentum going, I decided to do a back-to-back at the Saloon and headed down for a second night in a row with Steve Freund and band.
I didn't have any takers and I don't think I even put out a call for takers on this night.
It was a great day to have "alone" time. The whole Thursday was really quite nice spending time by oneself.

Still without the van, I decided to drive the beater down there. It did some good to open it up on the freeway since my commute is normally slow and steady over the mountains every workday.
And besides that...the stereo in the beater is much better. I listened to Jackie Payne & Steve Edmonson the whole way there and back.
There's a show I need to go see. It's been awhile. Never a disappointing show from that band.
While driving, I was tuned into listening to Steve E. playing that guitar in the background and it was quite nice. He does some great work. He's just a "chattering" away on that thing while Jackie sings so sweet and soulful. I've still got that CD in the player. It's cool listening to the chattering on the way to work. Great way to start the day.

I just love the Saloon. Freund's guitar and singing is one of favorites. How could I not go?
He's another that will always have a great band put together.

Got there and it was Tim "The Iceman" Wager on bass and Robi bean on drums.
Yep, a trio.
Had some guests on harp and guitar. Real good Chicago blues that was much appreciated.
No rockin' blues here folks. Just pure ol' Chicago Blues. In my humble opinion....this band here is the best at it in this area.
Check 'em out!!


Posted by Mo at 03:42 PM | Comments (0)

RJ Mischo On A Humpnight! (12/06)

I decided about a month ago that I wanted some weekday blues. In order to do this, I had to put in for a couple of days off. I looked at some bay area blues venues music schedules and I found it....RJ Mischo at the Saloon on a Wednesday night!!
That settled it. I was gonna put in for Thursday and Friday off to make it a four day weekend.

Do I have my priorities straight or what?
I didn't put in for Christmas off. I didn't put in for Thanksgiving off. I didn't even put in for New Years off!
I had my sights on the blues baby! And not just any ol' blues would do.

I told my supervisor that I will probably make this a monthly thing just so I could go see this guy at one of my favorite places to go hear the Blues- The Saloon.

RJ's shows are never disappointing. You never know who will be in his band but you can bet it'll be the best the bay area has to offer.

I sent out the call to the Roadtrip gang and had some takers. I was aiming at filling the van when it dawned on me that I didn't even have the van!
My daughter had borrowed it for a week.
Thank goodness it didn't fill. Rolf volunteered to drive and that was cool.
I got to cut loose a bit and had a whopping three beers! That's a lot for little ol' me and I was feeling pretty good by the end of the first set.

We got there and found easy parking on a Wednesday night. Who was the first person I saw when I walked in?? Johnny Cat!!
He would be the guitar player for the night. I was so happy to see him because I knew it would be a fabulous night of blues guitar. The guy can play!!

Saw Marty Dotson who would be the drummer and Mike Phillips who would be the bass player.
What a band!! From the first song to the last....tight, tight, tight!!
But the first set was the best. It was a long first set that smoked.

It just don't get any better than this I was thinking to myself.

I know some of you know me and my obsession with blues guitar, and there's not many harp players I feel this way about, but RJ I would travel to the ends of the earth for. His style, his sound, the bands he puts together, just everything about him makes me wanna "call my job" and tell the boss I won't be in because I've had to much RJ.
And I was ready to if my boss didn't approve my time off.

Had some fun on the dance floor with some crazy saloonites. One chick was on the prowl for free drinks.
"I haven't found not one guy to buy me a drink", she says to me. I wished her luck and got back into the music.
Later...."I found someone to buy me a drink but I had to give him my number. But guess what??? I'm not gonna call him back! Am I smart or what?"

She came back through out the night with all sorts of funny stuff.

One of the roadtrip gang members almost decked a guy. I went to the back to get a drink off my beer when I saw she had him backed into the corner and was gonna kick his ass!!!

What a gal!! The guy had it coming and was belligerent all night.
Other than that....it was a great night of music and dancin' at The Saloon.

Had some guest musicians and one of them was Little Johnny Lawton. He is so awesome. The way he yanks on dem strings....aaah man!
I love the way he and RJ play together and it would great to see them together more often.

RJ....I love ya, baby!
And that is strictly on a blues business note.
You are a true blues treasure.


Posted by Mo at 03:40 PM | Comments (0)