Popeswami Returns!

“Well, I was drunk the day my mom got out of prison
And I went to pick her up in the rain
But before I could get to the station in the pickup truck
She got runned over by a damned old train”

David Allen Coe, from the song, “You Never Even Call Me by My Name”, on the Once Upon a Rhyme LP, released 1975

Well, Popeswami followers, I have been conspicuously absent as of late, all because I have been on the road (except Saturdays) for six of the past seven weeks. But I was not able to work on the blog that one week I was home because I had so many other things to do. I did get to see a couple of performances locally that week (more on those later). Now that we are past Labor Day weekend, and it is the following weekend, I have a little extra time to play “ketchup”. The highlight of the past several weeks goes back to July 30, in Chicago, and it has nothing to do with David Allen Coe. So let’s get write tuit. Ahem…

Buddy Guy’s 79th Birthday Bash – Legends in Chicago

While in Chicago I noted that I was staying only a block away from Buddy Guy’s Legends blues bar and restaurant. I was going to be free Thursday night and was looking to see who was performing at Legends that evening. To my surprise, it was a special evening as it was Buddy Guy’s 79th birthday, and also a CD release party for his latest release “Born to Play Guitar”. Here are some photos of Buddy Guy’s Legends Blues Bar and Restaurant:

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Some Cigar Box Guitars Under Glass

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Tributes to Famous Bluesmen

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Autographed Guitars from Some of the Greats

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More Autographed Guitars from the Greats

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Souvenir Beer Glass and CD – later autographed by Buddy

I immediately booked to go. Class was not over until 5 pm and then I had a study session that lasted about another hour. This gave me very little time to get over to Legends and get a good seat and some dinner. When I arrived every table was taken. I asked perhaps a half-dozen parties or so if I could join them with the extra seat at their table and each said “no”, until the last one (obviously) – three women who were celebrating a birthday. They thought it was cool that the one shared a birthday with Buddy Guy. It was the best table in the house, as it was in the center and close to the front of the stage. The women I was dining with were a lot of fun as well. I had a great New Orleans blackened catfish with crawfish etouffee, black-eyed peas and collard greens, and listened to some blues from Matt Hendricks with an acoustic set.

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Matt Hendricks (guitar, seated) with group

Then began the evening show with The NuBlu Band, consisting of Buddy’s kids and some friends. While they were performing, Buddy arrived. Then there was a break in the music for everyone to participate in wishing Buddy a happy 79th. They had a cake rolled onto the stage, and a few gifts were presented to Buddy. Buddy announced that he would not be performing since it was his birthday and he had to leave at 5 AM for a flight to his next gig. Quite understandable, and the music was top rate as it was. Following the birthday wishes, they announced that Buddy would be autographing CDs if anyone was interested. I was, but I had to use the restroom first. While in the restroom, I turned around to see none other than Buddy right behind me! I took the opportunity to shake hands, wish him a happy birthday, and joked with him and some other guys that we could all say that we peed with Buddy Guy. I asked about the autographing and Buddy told me to follow him out, which I did, only to have one of his bouncer/body guards get between us as I followed to the front counter. I was third to have my CD autographed (as we walked past my table I quickly picked up my CD). While he was signing my CD, another dude in line was rambling on to Buddy about how he had seen him and some other artists in concert somewhere and Buddy said “That’s nice”, without looking up. After expressing that I was honored to meet him and have him sign the CD, he looked at me and said “Thank you, sir.”

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The NuBlu Band – singers and guitarist are his children

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More family and friends join the stage with The NuBlu Band

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Buddy’s Birthday Cake

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Family & close friends join Buddy on stage for birthday celebration

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Buddy Guy

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Buddy with birthday gift

Buddy is a true legend. When people rave about Jimi Hendrix and some of the crazy antics he did with guitar, like playing it behind his back and with his teeth – well, he got those ideas from watching Buddy Guy. A lot of Jimi’s style was grounded in Buddy’s style. Buddy Guy has won six Grammy Awards, and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2005 by Eric Clapton and the late B.B. King. Buddy had worked with Muddy Waters for years and on his latest CD he paid tribute to his friend, Muddy, on the last song – quite touching and actually brought a tear to my eye.

Well, the music continued that evening with Mike Wheeler and his band. They also introduced a young fellow from the UK who had been a student of Buddy’s since he was 14. I have to say, Chicago surely is home to some of the finest electric blues artists in the country.

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Mike Wheeler Band

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Young Buddy Guy prodigy from the UK who he tours with

Flight from San Diego to Charlotte, NC

The following Sunday, August 2, I was traveling to Rock Hill, SC via Charlotte, NC. As I was boarding in San Diego, I noted there were several musicians coming on board with their instruments…all except one guy with a guitar that was told he would have to check it. Immediately the woman next to me spoke up and said there was an agreement between the musician’s union and all the airlines that artists can carry their instruments on board. She said there were 21 people in the band and only a few had carry-on instruments. The flight attendant asked who they were. It was KC and The Sunshine Band! Amazing. Still coming down from the Buddy Guy high, and here I am surrounded with members of KC and The Sunshine Band. Harry Casey (KC), himself, was in first class and went out to talk to the attendant at the gate. He came back and placed the guitar right above a bass in the overhead – both fit nicely, and he commented that they belong together, rather jokingly. Then he went back to his seat. The woman beside me was Maria de Crescenzo, one of the singers. They had come from a private party in Carlsbad and were heading home to Miami, via Charlotte. Later I found out from Jamie Shadowlight that local jazz pianist, Mikan Zlatkovich, had performed with them at this party. Ironically, I was headed for Rock Hill, SC and the following week they were going to be playing in Rock Hill! Small world.

On the Local Scene

The week of August 17 I was home. Casino Royale, consisting of Normandie Wilson on keyboards and vocals, David Fleminger on guitar and vocals, and Bart Mendoza on guitar and vocals, and accompanied by Danny Cress on drums, performed at The Lafayette Hotel on Thursday evening. Another fine set from a great group of artists. Normandie, by the way, was just nominated (second year in a row) by the San Diego Music Awards, for her latest album “Normandie Wilson is Tired of Being Nice”.

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Casino Royale: L to R, David Fleminger, Normandie Wilson, Danny Cress, Bart Mendoza

Friday night was something special: at 98 Bottles, Nacho Arimany, Monette Marino, and Jamie Shadowlight performed “Pulse of Life: Melodies and Rhythms”. This was an exciting show. Arimany is a leading flamenco percussionist from Spain, living in New York City. Monette Marino is local, and is another wonderful percussionist with a 30 year history studying with masters in Afro-Cuban, Afro-Brazilian, Afro-Caribbean, Korean, and West African drumming. Jamie Shadowlight is a violinist who seems to not have any boundaries when it comes to musical styles, playing everything from country, folk, jazz, Latin, and rock. During this performance she also performed on singing bowl. Together, these three artists produced a mesmerizing, hypnotic, happy, intense, fun, and inspiring evening of literally “the pulse of life”. The amazing thing is that they only had a few days of rehearsal before this performance and much of what they did was improvisational. This just blows me away.

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L to R: Monette Marino, Nacho Arimany, Jamie Shadowlight

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L to R: Monette Marino, Nacho Arimany, Jamie Shadowlight

Monday Night Open Mic at Lestat’s – Labor Day

This was the first time I had been to an open mic event in San Diego. The reason for going was that a friend, Molly Lynn McClendon, had planned to do a poetry reading at the open mic. Luckily her name was picked early, and so she was able to perform early. We visited with Molly and Patric Petrie before the event, and watched the other performers prior to her reading. Some were dreadful. There was a 13-year-old singer songwriter who was quite impressive. The highlight for us was Molly’s readings of witty and sardonic poems she had written in recent years. We stayed after she finished for the next act, who was a stand-up comic, or so he tried to be. We left on that note before any further acts brought down the high from Molly’s readings.

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Molly Lynn McClendon

In Other News

I recently spotted the John Gilbert/Meade River LP up for auction on eBay. This is a rare LP, with a pressing of 100 or less, as a memorial to John Gilbert, who lost his life in an auto accident at the age of 17, in 1971. The pressing was in 1972 by his family. Meade River was his band, named after a military operation in the Vietnam War. One side of the LP is John with solo guitar and vocals. The other side is his band, Meade River, consisting of Gilbert, Brett Barker, and John Whalen. None of these recordings had originally been intended for public release, and were simply recorded by the artists, for themselves. Well, the buy-it-now auction price was $699. But I decided to write the seller regarding the possibility of obtaining a digital copy. He was quick to oblige for a reasonable fee. So now I am in possession of an ultra-rare recording, sans original physical LP.

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Following this, I hit the jackpot of rare vinyl being posted to the Internet. One person has been putting entire albums on You Tube of some of the rarest recordings/artists you will ever find. I have managed to obtain some of these: Mistress Mary, Housewife; Mississippi; Arcesia; Walkenhorst Brothers; Al Manfredi; Children of One…the list goes on and on. There are over 500 LPs, 45s, and EPs posted by this person, which will keep me busy exploring for quite some time.
I think I will cut this post short right here. Next post will discuss some of my favorite albums/songs pre-1980. My selections might surprise you.

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