Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Porretta final day + photos

Sunday, the final day at Porretta, traditionally features many of the artists doing cut down sets of just a couple of numbers, most of which they have performed on the previous nights. This was the case again this year, but with the addition of some new material here and there and a chance to take a proper look at a couple of singers who featured only marginally earlier in the festival. Davell Crawford started things off with a set that included only two of the numbers from the previous evening. New songs included Ain't That A Shame, Ruler Of My Heart, Danny Boy and Down By The Riverside. He returned later to add some great Hammond playing to some of the other artists' sets.
The ever fantastic Anthony Paule band began with an instrumental and numbers by Sue McCracklin and Loralee Christensen and there was a fairly weak segment featuring Scott Sharrard, who was joined on stage by Rob Paparozzi, Bernard Purdie and Barbara Blue for Statesboro Blues. Barbara, with her customary twitches and disconcerting facial expressions followed with A Woman's Blues. So far so good, but there then followed a couple of hours of pure heaven. First Willie Hightower reprised a couple of his numbers from his earlier set and was, again, brilliant. Then Terrie Odabi from Oakland, California, wowed the crowd with the intense Will You Still Love Me and a great self-penned piece of social comment in Gentrification Blues, about how parts of her home town are rapidly being gentrified. We can all relate to that I think. I thought she was great and can't wait to see her again. She was joined on stage by Wee Willie Walker for a superb duet on When Something Is Wrong With My Baby and then Willie left the audience spellbound with Second Chance and A Change Is Gonna Come. An electrifying, breath taking performance. Next up was Vaneese Thomas who reprised a couple of her numbers, to be followed by sister Carla Thomas, who sang B-A-B-Y and Little Red Rooster before teaming up with Vaneese for Walking The Dog.
The second half began with LaRhonda Steele, who was OK, and then Wee Willie returned to team up with Rob Paporozzi. former leader of the Blues Brothers band, on Knock On Wood and Soul Man. Selassie Burke took to the stage looking very much like his father as a young man and showed that he had inherited at least some of Solomon's talent with good versions of Joe Tex's Meet Me In Church and Solomon's Don't Give Up On Me. Falisa Janaye, this time wearing a sparkly dress, hit the stage and bounded through a couple of numbers including her excellent version of Baby Workout. I love her enthusiasm and energy. Ricky Fante reprised a couple of numbers effectively and Sax Gordon did a solo before Toni Lynn Washington brought some order to the proceedings with her delicious Every Day Will Be Like A Holiday and I Feel So Bad. Final act was Vasti Taylor, this time in a bright red jacket, who was again excellent on Who's Making Love and Last 2 Dollars. The artists crowded on stage for a finale with Bring It On Home To Me, and then Porretta was over for another year. Can't wait till the next one.
I've included a few photos from the final evening. Others will follow. Top photo shows Vaneese and Carla Thomas with Anthony Paule. Here's one of the excellent Terrie Odabi.
This is Selassie Burke.
Here's Willie Hightower.
This is Tony Lynn Washington.
Here's Wee Willie Walker with Rob Paparozzi, LaRhonda Steele and Bernard 'Pretty' Purdie.
Here's Sax Gordon, who played on all four nights.


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