New Orleans excellent as ever
New Orleans never disappoints musically and this trip is no exception. The highlight last night was a Ponderosa Stomp Shake It and Break It preview show at the Ace Hotel featuring Lil Buck and the Top Cats, Barbara Lynn and Roy Head. Lil Buck's band included C C Adcock on guitar and Stanley 'Buckwheat Zydeco' Dural's son Reginald on keyboards. Kicking off with Buck's early recording Monkey In The Sack their set included Bye Bye So Long, Further Up The Road and Bobby Charles's Hanging Out With The Street People with C C on vocals. Next on was Barbara Lynn who was quite superb. She began with Baby We Got A Good Thing Going and continued with It's Gonna Be A Wild Night Tonight, Don't Be Cruel, Sweet Sixteen, her big hit You'll Lose A Good Thing, Sugar Coated Love, What'd I Say and I'm A Good Woman. Her left handed guitar playing was excellent and this was a magical 45 minutes. Following her was the wild man Roy Head who restricted his acrobatics to some neat flicks of the microphone cable, as the stage was so tiny that the bass player had to stand on the steps to the side. Roy was in good form on Treat Her Right (twice), My Babe, Boogie Children, Linda Lu, Hey Bo Diddley, Before You Accuse Me and Big Boss Man. Between sets Dr Ike announced some of the acts for next year's Stomp, including Gary US Bonds, Linda Gail Lewis and a Texas Honky Tonk Revue with Frankie Miller, Darrell McCall and James Hand.
The main event in New Orleans this weekend is the Blues and BBQ Festival. This began on Friday with The Suffers, a soul band from Houston with a good lead singer named Kam Franklin, and swamp blues artist Tab Benoit, both of whom were pretty good. Saturday's line up included Jontavious Willis, a young blues singer with a languorous style who was good on Milk Cow Blues, Keep On Walking and Dust My Broom. Things hotted up with the gorgeous Nikki Hill, a local resident, who rocked the place with a voice and style which was a cross between Tina Turner and Wanda Jackson. Numbers included originals such as I Got A Man, Strapped To The Beat, Ask Yourself, Struttin' and Snap Back, and good covers of I Know, Sweet Little Rock and Roller (in honour of Chuck Berry's 90th birthday this week) and I'm Gonna Love You. Next up was Walter Wolfman Washington, who gave his usual polished performance. Jon Cleary delivered some classy New Orleans style piano while Alvin Youngblood Hart was impressive, if a little on the heavy side at times. The headliner was Taj Mahal, who seemed to be on particularly good form. Supported by Jon Cleary he switched between guitar and banjo with ease. Numbers included the rather age inappropriate Good Morning Little Schoolgirl and this was a good set to round off a full day at this free festival. More to come on Sunday.