Review : Blues loving dentists visit the USA – Part 3
Posted on: Saturday, May 6, 2006
Trip to Memphis and Mississippi by Pete Evans and Paul Taylor of Hooker Blues Club and Worthenbury Juke Joint, Wrexham
Back to Memphis we were lucky to find that there was a small benefit festival in the Rum Boogie Bar in Beale Street in aid of down and out blues men and women. Amongst others we met the director of The King Biscuit Blues Festival from Helena Arkansa – a very nice guy who invited us to this year’s event. The acts were very good indeed and of particular mention were Reba Russell again, James “Super Chikan” Johnson who plays a guitar made from an old petrol can and was a great entertainer and a fantastic young guitarist Daniel “Slick” Ballinger who played acoustic guitar accompanied by Blind Mississippi Morris (who fondly remembered his two gigs at Hookers). I hope this duo can make a trip over here but apparently “Slick” who is a real country boy has only just flown once and doesn’t like the experience. Sadly the veteran drummer Sam Carr was unwell so couldn’t make it but Smokin’ Joe Kubek drove all the way from Texas and headlined. Although somewhat surly, he is a great guitarist accompanied by Bnois King on guitar and vocals. As this was a benefit festival all the bands played for nothing so it was a great effort by Joe to make that long journey.
We caught a gig later in the week in Holly Springs by NightRain, the band led by Papa Don McMinn ex guitarist with John Mayall in the early 80s. He played a superb T Bone Walker style Gibson and has a great voice and there is a strong liklihood that I shall organise a UK tour for him next year possibly with Mojo Buford.
The last few days of the tour took us up to Iuka near the Alabama border to look up Eddie and Frank Thomas of “Angels on the backroads” fame who will be returning to the UK and Worthenbury in September – not to be missed. We then drove down to West Point, Howlin’ Wolf’s town and back to Holly Springs to spend some time with the famous old record store owner Aikei Pros (real name David Caldwell but takes his name from the previous owners Walker Bros and the missing parts of their sign!)
All in all a great tour to do and I strongly recommend it. Came back with posters for Hookers, books, cds, dvds, t shirts and even managed to find two old 78s by Bessie Smith and Pinetop Smith. Of course we incurred excess weight charges but it was worth it. Hope I haven’t bored you all with this but by the same context, i hope it might persuade some of you to make the trip. I promise you, you won’t regret it.
Se y’all at Hookers and Worthenbury Juke Joint and don’t forget our festival on July 1st y’all!!
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