Saturday, April 26, 2008

Lafayette to New Orleans

The International Festival in Lafayette is a laid back affair and we were there for the first evening. Things kicked off with Sonny Landreth, an excellent guitarist who is just a bit too heavy rock for my taste. Meeting up with the Stompin' crowd yet again we then experienced a real treat - the Blind Boys of Alabama. I've seen them before, but not for many years, and their act is basically unchanged: high class gospel and histrionics, as each of the (now only) three blind singers gets off their chairs as they are overcome with emotion and have to be put back in them before they fall off the stage. Their version of Amazing Grace (crossed with House of the Rising Sun) was a classic.
On to New Orleans for the first weekend of Jazzfest and to the French Market Inn, which couldn't be more central. In the evening we took the ferry to Algiers to see Betty Harris who was playing the Old Point Bar, an old fashioned place that I hadn't visited before. Another great show, with Cry To Me the highlight for me. We met up with some Aussie DJs from Melbourne who had somehow arranged for Betty to visit down under and went on with them to the Hi Ho Lounge, another place I hadn't visited before, on St Claude. Little Freddie King and Guitar Lightnin' played some high class blues and Dennis Binder had been on earlier. By this time it was late and we had all consumed some booze so it was back to the hotel at 4. And today, if we can get our acts together is the first Saturday of Jazzfest. Stay tuned.

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