| FEATURES: Delmark's 55th
Delmark Records 55th Anniversary All-Star Chicago Blues Party
Buddy Guy’s Legends
March 7, 2008
The following is an account of what happened at the big bash, according
to Delmark’s Promotions Director
The house band(s) who worked
so hard all night providing perfect support:
Dave Specter with Harlan Terson (bass), Brother John
Kattke (keys) and Marty Binder (drums) . And for the majority
of the night - Kenny Smith (drums), Roosevelt 'Mad Hatter"
Purifoy (keys) and the always smiling Bob Stroger (bass) with
Bell handling rhythm and lead guitar like no one else can.
A list of the Delmark artists
Dave Specter, Jimmy Johnson, The Big DooWopper, Aaron Moore, Johnny
B. Moore (!), Little Arthur Duncan, Lurrie Bell, Shirley Johnson, Eddie
Shaw, Tail Dragger, Zora Young, and Byther Smith.
We also had special guests Nick and Kate Moss in fantastic
support on guitar and bass-especially backing up The Big DooWopper
(wow, was DooWopper having a ball, y'all!).
One of the toughest harp players
of all, Billy Branch, graced us with his formidable presence on
many songs. Branch and our friend Scott Cable (guitarist/producer
with Carey Bell, Nappy Brown, Eddie Kirkland) played well with
Zora Young (a turning- heads guitar solo from Scott!) and Lurrie Bell.
Tail Dragger's set
was one of the many highlights, with his outstanding regular guitarist
Kevin Shanahan and the underrated Davin "Big D "Erikson
and Billy Branch on harp, tearing it up hypnotic Wolf style! Our
dear friend and Back Scratcher rhythm guitarist extraordinaire Rick
Kreher brought down the house with the charismatic crowd pleaser,
the down home house rocker, Little Arthur Duncan. I always enjoy
the down home raw gritty blues of both Little Arthur Duncan and
Tail Dragger, and both of their sets surpassed my expectation.
There were so many musical highlights to mention (and remember) but a
few personal ones for me: the ageless vocalist/guitarist Jimmy
Johnson (is he really almost 80!) along with guitarist Dave
Specter. I wish those two funk blues masters played together all the
time! The premier blues saxophonist/singer Eddie Shaw sounded
really great in his set as well- no one knew he had just left the
hospital (same with Tail Dragger!) Eddie has the most distinctive sound
on that horn, honkin' Blues saxophone at its best. Delmark's blues piano
pounders were well represented by the criminally underrated
vocalist/pianist Aaron Moore (still sounding great, even in his
late '80's!!) and the wild and raw blues/gospel/soul stylings of street
musician Big DooWopper! It was a special treat to have
both Zora Young and Shirley Johnson grace the stage with
their beauty, charisma, and powerful, yet sensitive vocals. Byther
Smith closed out the highly successful night, playing the most
intense BB King style you can hear these days.
The big surprise of the night was the return of vocalist/guitarist
Johnny B. Moore, who had suffered a stroke a few years ago that
severely affected him and his playing. He has improved vastly, and
although he is definitely not the Johnny B from before (have you heard
his incredible playing on the Willie Kent LP from Big Boy
Records, "I'm What You Need" from '89- still not on CD?!), he sounded
pretty damn good, especially his vocals. It is very encouraging how his
health keeps getting better and better- we wish him the best in his
recovery. We send our good friend, blues guitar tone king Jimmy
Dawkins get well wishes as he was unable to attend due to illness.
He sent his best and really wished he could have been there to
Bob Koester and Buddy "Friendly Chap" Guy accepted the
Grammy Hall of Fame award for Junior Wells' Hoodoo Man Blues on
Delmark, arguably the greatest Chicago blues recording of all time. When
Vice Chair of the Recording Academy/Grammy rep and Chicago jazz critic
Neil Tesser presented the award, Buddy amusingly exclaimed "We were
drunk as a Motherf*&(#er" during the Hoodoo Man sessions. Bob made the
comment what a pleasure it was working with Junior Wells and what a nice
guy he was, which Buddy jokingly disagreed. Bob K was quite moved by the
mayor's proclamation of March 7th being declared Delmark Records Day
in Chicago!! Thank you to Barry Dolins from the Mayor's Office of
Special Events and Mayor Daley!
Blue Chicago Store