Monday, April 13, 2015

Jooking in south El Lay

Our final evening in LA was a night to remember, with visits to three down home blues clubs in the south of the city. First stop was Bell's Blues Workshop, a genuine juke joint in a suburban garage run by Franklin Bell. It's basic but the music was excellent, with a house band that included a trumpet and a sax. Vocalists included a guy called Broadway, who was a US serviceman in the UK in the early sixties and played with Georgie Fame. Also singing was Mississippi Bert, who did an excellent version of The Things I Used To Do.
Next it was to the Menlo Club, a sparsely furnished but modern place where two regulars Sir Stan (Griggs) and Jackie Jackson were performing, again with an excellent band. Sir Stan recorded with The Counts in the sixties and is a larger than life blues man who shook our hands countless times during his set. Jackie is a big voiced female singer who was excellent on numbers such as Wang Dang Doodle and Knock On Wood. There were a couple more good singers including Gary Dap Gibson, but this was definitely the Sir Stan and Jackie show. Excellent.
Final stop was the Pure Pleasure Lounge, an exclusively black place which was packed. The joint was jumping and us four Brits were made to feel like visiting celebrities. The band was led by an excellent singer called Duffy, who introduced a soul singer called Bobby Love, originally from New Orleans, who did Rainbow, and Slip Away among others. Just as at the other two clubs songs by Tyrone Davis were prominent. There was also a female singer called Lady G G, who was excellent, a couple of other guys (James Miller, who was great, and Richard?) and Yvette the Funny Lady who cracked a few jokes about their English guests, all in good humour. Finally we had Walter Saulsberry, a member of the Penguins for over 40 years, singing Earth Angel. A magical night all round and many thanks to Allen Charmin' Larman and Noah for letting us know about these three great venues.
Photos to follow soon.


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