Friday, October 07, 2016

Having a Blast in Austin.

Our US trip is continuing at a breakneck pace with not much time for rest. On Wednesday we toured historic music sites in Houston, including the spot in Erastus Street where Duke Peacock records began. The site of the original Bronze Peacock club is now occupied by a Baptist church and there is no sign of what used to be there. There is a marker in nearby Lyons St where Peacock moved to, and a couple commemorating Frenchtown and the link to zydeco. There's also a marker to Sam Lightnin' Hopkins in Dowling St. The gap between the African American areas and the up market white owned areas could hardly be wider.
Leaving Houston we visited the small town of Navasota where there is an impressive mural in Blues Alley celebrating local blues artists such as Mance Lipscomb and the great Joe Tex, whose grave is in a remote cemetery a few miles out of town. In an antiques mall I came across a section which local resident Jeannie C Riley uses to sell records and other memorabilia. There's also a statue there of Frank Hamer, the man who tracked down and killed Bonnie and Clyde.
On to Austin for a meal with some friends of Alan, and then to the Continental Club, an authentic music club which hosts shows by any one of note who is in town. The stars were the Blasters, with Phil Alvin on vocals, who put on a superb set. Numbers included Crazy Baby, Precious Memories, Well Oh Well, Dark Night, Trouble Bound, Rebound, Border Radio and Daddy Rolling Stone, all performed with great drive and excellent guitar playing. The Blasters were the fourth band on that night. First was local singer Whitney Rose, who was followed by two all female bands. The Bluebonnets were a proficient hard rock band with four rock chicks strutting their stuff. Not to my taste. But they did a good version of Treat Her Right. Next was Jane Lee Hooker, a heavy rock band from New York with a screeching lead singer who was a cross between Janis Joplin and Robert Plant. Again, not my cup of tea.
Friday morning saw us head to an IHOP for breakfast with Linda Gail Lewsis and her eighth husband    Eddie Braddock. Eddie was a promotion man at Stax and had a fund of great stories to tell about his time there and memories of Otis, Steve Cropper, Rufua Thomas, Joe Arnold and many others. Meanwhile Linda Gail told us many interesting stories about her long career and that of her brother Jerry Lee and other members of this great Memphis music family. Fascinating stuff and a great start to Friday.


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