Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Tales From A Woodie (Part Six): 1993

There were some wonderful gigs in 1993, and I also visited New Orleans for a fourth time and made my first trip to the Blues Estafette in Utrecht. Many future Woodies will remember these. Here are some of the highlights, as recorded in my diary:
January 13: Rainer at the Weavers. ‘Very crowded. He’s an excellent guitarist but unoriginal and somewhat over-rated.’
January 31: Sherman Robertson at the 100 Club. ‘Excellent once more.’
February 19: George Williams (ex-Tymes) at the 100 Club. ‘Disappointing – mostly jazz standards.’
February 21: Lazy Lester with Big Joe Louis at the 100 Club. ‘Excellent.’
February 28: Joe Walker at the 100 Club. ‘Good dancing zydeco.’
April 7: Marlena Shaw at the Jazz Factory. ‘Excellent on her soulful numbers, less so on the jazz standards, with a pianist who clearly didn’t know her songs.’
April 11: Ray Sharpe at the 100 Club. ‘He got better and better as he changed from blues to rock and roll.’
April 14: Magic Slim & the Teardrops at the 100 Club. ‘Slim was with the marvellous Lefty Dizz – a real cool dude. Super evening of blues.’
April 22 – May 3: New Orleans for Jazz Fest. Evening shows included: Irma Thomas at the refurbished Lion’s Den; Johnnie Taylor and Patti LaBelle at the Municipal Auditorium -  ‘Johnnie did a short, half-hearted performance and Patti was wonderfully over the top in front of a 90% black audience.’; Jumpin’ Johnny at the Rock ‘n’ Bowl; Doc Cheatham (88) and Danny Barker (83) at the Palm Court Jazz Club (where I interviewed owner Nina Buck for The Times); Walter Washington at Jimmy’s; Marva Wright at Muddy Waters; Barbara George at Maxwell’s - ‘the band was dreadful and Barbara struggled’; Black Top night at Jimmy’s with Lynn August, Bobby Parker, Maria Muldaur, Carol Fran, Guitar Shorty and Robert Ward; Dew Drop Inn Revisited at the Sheraton with Roland Stone (‘who turned out to be white and looked like an accountant’), George French, Bobby Marchan, Benny Spellman (‘crippled on his left side from a stroke but trying hard’) Marva Wright and Lloyd Price (‘excellent’); Jimmy Elledge at a bar in Hessmer, Metairie; and Zydeco Force at El Sid O’s in Lafayette on the drive back to Houston.
At Jazz Fest (first weekend) there were, among others, Anson Funderburgh & Sam Myers, Marcia Ball, Beausoleil, Bob Dylan (‘he started 10 minutes early and even though his vocal range is now down to about four notes he did a varied, interesting and quite enjoyable set’), Rockin’ Dopsie, Zachary Richard, Robert Lowery, Tyrone Davis (‘the dog’s bollocks, as John Jolliffe described him’), Johnny Adams, Kenny Neal, Earl Turbinton, Mighty Imperials, Allen Toussaint, Tabby Thomas, Dorothy Love Coates, Jessie Hill, Ernie K-Doe (‘drunk and dishevelled, looking particularly bad’), and Fats Domino (‘great set’).  Jazz Fest (second weekend) included Boozoo Chavis, Savoy Doucet Band, Snooks Eaglin, Nina Simone, Frogman Henry, Tommy Ridgeley, Al Johnson, Chuck Carbo, Henry Gray, the Meters, Lloyd Price, Delbert McClinton, Kenny Bill Stinson, Deacon John, Buddy Guy and the Dixie Cups. Rain stopped play and I didn’t go on the final Sunday.
May 16: Tinsley Ellis at the 100 Club. ‘Brilliant guitarist.’
May 30: Robert Ward at the Mean Fiddler. ‘Excellent as ever, backed by Otis Grand. Also saw a bit of Snooky Pryor in the Acoustic Room.’
June 27: Barrence Whitfield at the 100 Club. ‘Good fun.’
July 10: Dr John at The Forum. ‘Solid, varied two hour set with atmospheric Walk On Gilded Splinters.’
July 12: Latimore, Denise LaSalle and Little Milton at the Mean Fiddler. ‘Really great show – Latimore with his white lion’s mane of hair and wonderful voice, Denise, big and bouncy, and Milton, superb blues.’
July 13: Al Green & the London Community Gospel Choir at the Royal Festival Hall. ‘Thought he would just sing gospel but, surprise surprise, plenty of his old hits and tributes to Sam and Otis. The gospel people in the audience didn’t know what to make of it, but I sure did.’
July 21: Albert Collins, Otis Clay and John Hammond at the Royal Festival Hall. ‘An excellent show, especially Otis, but a difficult venue to bring to life.’
July 31: Geno Delafose and the Eunice Playboys at Burnley Mechanics. ‘Not an ideal venue but lively zydeco.’
August 3: Jerry Jeff Walker at the Mean Fiddler. ‘Pretty good apart from some sing along stuff. Mostly Americans there apart from John H and Jonathan.’
August 29: Carol Fran and Clarence Hollimon at the 100 Club. ‘Very good, although the acoustic set was perhaps a little over long.’
September 7: Johnny Adams at the 100 Club. ‘Wonderful evening – Johnny in magnificent form.’
October 3: Larry Garner at the 100 Club. ‘Very easy on the ear and very good.’
October 19: Richard Berry at the 100 Club. ‘A fifties legend who is still going strong and very good.’
November 3: Jimmy McGriff and Hank Crawford at the Jazz Café. ‘Very good.’
November 20: Blues Estafette at Utrecht. Roscoe Chenier (‘OK, solid but unexciting blues’), Eddie Stout (‘harp player – ordinary stuff’), Mr Bo (‘old bluesman who did his stuff’), J R Reed (‘had out of tune guitar’), Carol Fran & Clarence Hollimon (‘on excellent form’), Bobby Robinson’s R & B revue featured Bob Gaddy (‘great on piano’), Wild Jimmy Spruill (‘extrovert’), Larry Dale (‘good blues’), Noble Watts (‘thin sound and body’). Dr Horse (‘amusing old guy’). Things really looked up with David Dee (excellent soul/blues’), Art Neville (did all his old stuff brilliantly’). Bobby Parker (‘not bad’), Irma Thomas (‘on sparkling form – wonderful to have the Irma experience yet again’), and Little Milton (‘good but worn out so left half way through’).


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