Monday, September 05, 2011

Stomping again

I'm off to the States on Wednesday for another musical road trip with Dave (Carroll), Dave (Thomas) and Lee (Wilkinson) taking in St Louis, Springfield, Memphis, Mississippi and New Orleans. It should be fun.
By coincidence I came across the diary I wrote for my Stomping trip in 1998, which brought back memories. Here's an edited version:
April 24: Arrived in Houston with John (Howard) and drove as far as Lafayette. Discovered that Jimmy Vaughan was playing at the Grant St Dance Hall. Not only that, but, as we found out when we got there, a band with Warren Storm, C C Adcock and Steve Riley as support. Altogether excellent. Next day drove to New Orleans, checked in at the Rose Inn, coffee and beighnets at the Cafe Du Monde and then Jazzfest. A beautiful day and a good one too. Highlights were Ruth Brown, a bit of Dr John and John Fogerty, Jean Knight, Mavis Staples singing gospel accompanied by Allen Toussaint, the Frogman and Burning Spear. In eve went to the Brewhouse and then to Irma's club.
April 25: Breakfast at the Anita Grill and then bought some records at Record Ron's, who's getting rid of the rest of his vinyl. Then to Jazzfest - caught Johnny Adams (now apparently recovered), Marcia Ball, Etta James, Bonnie Raitt. In the evening went to the Lakefront Arena and saw John Fogerty (excellent) and Dr John. Finished up at Ernie K-Doe's club - he's flipped - spent ages trying to sing like Jerry Butler.
April 26: Average day at the Fest, highlights being Ronnie Dawson, Buffy Sainte-Marie and Margaret Lewis plus a bit of R L Burnside, Shirley Caesar and Frankie Ford. Afterwards went to a party organised by Blues-L internet group and a meal at Snug Harbor.
April 27: Day at leisure then to the Rock 'n' Bowl to see Ronnie Dawson, Joe Clay and Johnny J downstairs and Snooks Eaglin upstairs. Finished up having a hurricane at Pat O'Brien's.
April 28: Wet. Left New Orleans with John driving north, looking in at McComb and Canton, eventually arriving in Tupelo. Not much to do there - had a Mexican meal and drinks in four bars.
April 29: Had a look at Elvis's birthplace (tiny), then drove to Memphis. Lunch in B B King's in Beale St, saw the 5pm duck walk at Peabody's Hotel. Wet again. Went to the Rum Boogie Cafe for James Govan. Keith (Woods), Lee (Wilkinson) and Tony (Papard) turned up (see photo). Finished up at Tiffany's amateur night - all very unreal.
April 30: Sunny after yesterday's rain. Got some 45s at Shangri-La Records and got talking to Jimmy Denson who knew Elvis (and the Burnettes) as kids. Said Elvis was a dope fiend and a 'baby' with a low IQ. Had a drink in the Map Room in Downtown and then stopped on the off-chance at Royal Studios. Willie Mitchell was sitting there with his feet up - very welcoming and we went through to the recording studio with Donnie Mitchell where William Brown (ex Mad Lads) played us some great gospel. While we were there Otis Clay turned up. Late afternoon went to a reception before the Handy Awards where Otis Clay appeared again. The awards themselves took a while to get going, although Ruth Brown and Robert Cray as hosts were fine, but eventually a duet with Keb Mo and Honeyboy Edwards, a great set by Johnny Adams and a wonderful duet with Bonnie Raitt and Rufus Thomas set it alight. Went on to a blues club - Junkyardmen and band with Kevin Kimbrugh.
May 1: Had a burger at Sun Studios - Jon Cleary was there - and a look at Mud Island and then to the Beale Street festival. Saw the Holmes Brothers, Fabulous Thunderbirds, Ruby Wilson, Shirley Caesar, Anson Funderburg/Sam Myers, Doobie Brothers and Bonnie Raitt. Later went to the New Daisy on Beale for a fantastic show by Bobby Rush with four sexy girls. May 2: After breakfast went to Poplar Tunes where Otis Clay was signing CDs.A fairly dull day at the festival - or maybe I'm bluesed out - with the Jelly Roll Kings, Neville Brothers, Steve Earle and Robert Clay, enlivened by J Blackfoot. Afterwards drank in the Flying Saucer pub and the bar of the Peabody.
May 3: Went to Al Green's church - sat through the gospel singing, but Al wasn't there. Then on to Tunica, a huge gambling resort, with a blues festival going on. Highlights were the Kentucky Headhunters and Bobby Rush (again). Otis Clay did one number. Kenny Wayne Shepherd was raucous and also on were Sonny Burgess and Dave Whitlock plus James Cotton.
May 6: Back in England, tired. On Monday drove through Arkansas and stayed in Nacogdoches, and then on to Houston and home.


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