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Day 2 (River City Blues Festival) and yuuuuuuurrrr OUT!! (March 19, 2011)

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Blues in the Schools (BITS) features little kiddies who’ve been taught all about blues music in  a special program whose primary urgency is to reinterpret all those lyrics that might otherwise have been seen as lewd, crude and/or suggestive. Actually, the children seem pretty receptive to our music; what they learn is enough to stage a half hour performance every year at River Fest. This year, too, and we applauded and felt good, too. I do hope they don’t sanitize the lyrics overly much in the classroom and leave us with Pat Boone blues. (Learn)

Marietta star? In the blueslight? The gauntlet has been flung. The challenge accepted. Fifty-cents for the ride, folks! Come on down! (blues photo by Don Mc Ghee. 3/20/2011)

It's coming! It's coming! There's a blues song coming! (bluesphoto by Don Mc Ghee. 3/20/2011)

Horse drawn carriages have become a familiar effort to attract tourists. (donphoto. 3/20/2011)

Veronika in Marietta. (flephoto 3/20/2011)

There wasn’t a loser in the rest of Saturday’s program and I haven’t been able to say that in years, if ever, in the 14 or 15 years we’ve been trekking over the Marietta in the springtime. Veronika Jackson is a solo act who can make love to her guitar and sing sweet as a bird sitting among the dagwood blossoms in the spring…at the same time. A fitting appetizer for the Saturday afternoon lineup. (Buy)

Veronika Jackson (fle photo. 3/20/2011)

And when you’ve said “Davina and the Vagabonds,” you’ve just about summed it up! Some would call them lightnin’ in a bottle. How that woman can dance around that electric piano without ever raising her butt off the piano stool is a mystery, even to me. Driven by a hard driving Dixieland beat, Davina, the lady of tattoos and every one of her band members are talented actors and musicians – entertainers even. (Must see) (Buy)

The tattooed lady from California who makes wonderful music, although far be it for me to call it blues. (don photo. 3/20/2011)

A little bit of this, a little bit of that, Davina is a first class showwoman. (flephoto 3/20/2011)

Coal barges still ply the Ohio River, taking a sharp right in Marietta (flephoto. 3/20/2011)

Davina and the Vagabonds took my fancy. (flephoto. 3/20/2011)

Enthusiasm of the Vagabonds' trombone player reminded me of Louis Armstrong. (flephoto. 3/20/2011)

Doors to the Lafayette Hotel's freight elevator (the guest elevator is too small for Junior, Jr. Thought a couple of different times I's going to have to camp out in my throne chair in the auditorium. Taildragging, however, in all instances, was slowly overcome by people who do give a shit!

Then there was Little Joe McLerran who had given the maestro a great long list of his accomplishments in the public world of the blues. Won a big competition for solo and duet acts. Close your eyes as Little Joe tunes up with his dad (Ronnie Mack, the bass player) and you’re transported back to the hills of the Virginias and North Carolina and the rest of the Piedmont area. Unpolished but poised. People people on stage and off. Suggestions from the peanut gallery: Little Joe might work out the occasional kinks in his otherwise very good pickin’ style, and tone down his “aw-shucks” hicksteronstage personality (That’s a big OOPS if you-see-what-you-get!).  (Buy)

Little Joe McLarren & his dad Robbie Mack. Little Joe reminds me of Woody Guthrie in his voice and his body style. (flephoto. 3/20/2011)

Cobbler John takes a breather to see what he has wrought this year. Good job, John. (flephoto. 3/20/2011)

Jumpin’ Johnny Sansone kicked off the evening session Saturday. Cajun! How can you not dance about and jump and shout like all the good folks of Marietta were doing in time with Jumpin’ Johnny’s beat. Understated. Splashed with warm spots of humor. . A wonderful let’s-pretend swagger. Play that accordion, Johnny. Tell us another one , Johnny. Don’t stop sanging, friend Johnny. Don’t stop! (See) (Buy)

Jumpin' Johnny Sansone sprinkled Marietta with Zydeco hotsauce, and did we lick it all up. (flephoto. 3/20/2011)

The color of fun. (flephoto. 3/20/2011)

Love and laughter at Riverfest. (flephoto. 3/20/2011)

Amazing how good an accordian can sound when it's plugged into the bayous of Louisiana. (flephoto. 3/20/2011)

‘Bout then I got tired from all that boogeying. Stayed for a couple of tunes from the big band sounds of Big Daddy (Charles) Stallings. New Jersey sounds. Smooth and silky. My only complaint is that it didn’t have the oomph a generous splash of soul would given it. Still, good listening, just that easy listening isn’t my idea of how to end the blues concert with an explosion of energy. Oh, well! (Semi-buy)

The audience. Lots of places, I don't see young children at blues festivals. Marietta must have tamed the wild thang. (flephoto. 3/20/2011)

My Scrabble (and now blues) friend Julie and her sweetie lit up the dance floor. Ain't happiness wonderful? (fle photo. 3/20/2011)

The crowd was Saturday lite, compared to other years we’ve attended. But no one, as far as I know, complained about my throne chair which sits in the middle of the first row for a perfect view, excepting when the dancers jump up and blind me to the stage with their belly buttons

Charles "Big Daddy" Stallings brought his 7 piece (I only counted 6) piece blues party band from New Jersey. (flephoto. 3/20/2011)


It's all over. Sunday morning. Don walks slowly to his car for the return trip to Michigan while CB packs 10 pounds of sugar into Tranq. We already have reservations for next year (There's only one handicapper room in the hotel). (flephoto. 3/21/2011)

The historic Lafayette Hotel in Marietta OH. (flephoto. 3/21/2011)


Written by frankieleeee

March 20, 2011 at 4:02 pm

Posted in Blues

20th Annual River City Blues Fest: Day…er.. Night One. Marietta, Ohio. 3/18/2011

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Unbeknownst to us in Room 210, the guy who asked where we got the Mexican food because he wanted some Mexican food was drumming for his supper for E. C. Scott.

"En route" from Cincinnati to Marietta, home of the 20th annual River City BluesFest. Tours by Tranq.

Somewhere near Athens, Ohio. Bring it on, Atlanta; bring it on Stone Mountain!

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"En route" to the corner of Ohio where West Virginia awaits, (blues) battle ready.

"En route" along the last stretch of the Ohio River before hitting the Marietta City Limits. Oil refining country. Fresh air burdened mightily by waste products of the ugly kind, I guess you could say.

Is it these funny glasses that distort the world for me and nobody else? Or is life as full of thrills and chills and spills as it continues to prove to me that it is? Or am I going to wake up any minute now from this (Is it “Alice in Wonderland” or “Great Expectations”) dream?

Naaawwww! I ‘spect it has something to do with my not-quite-departed mind gruadually losing its elasticity and leaving me with a concrete block for a drum!

Sunny Moorman, veteran Cincinnati bluesman, packs up at Marietta's Lafayette Hotel after opening for E. C. Scott.

The brightest stars who shone on Friday night were those of California blueslady E. C. Scott and her band Smoke. Excellent. A little Bessie Smith, a smidgeon of Ella Fitzgerald, a soupcon of a dozen others blended in for some fine tunes. The bassman was awesome (and you know how I do love my bass)!

I do love to bounce my own self and watch the dancers weave and spin and jump around the dance floor. Frowns disappear quickly even when there are no brown paper bags hidden in the corner over there.

E. C. Scott, a Californian who could pass for a delta queen, methinks. No boos. No hisses. Lots of love for her music. Many, many kisses, thanking her.

My bud Don Mc Ghee waiting for a good shot of E. C.'s guitarist. CB and I had a day's head start on scouting out the Marietta location after Don suddenly realized he had the wrong day marked on his calendar. We'll have to double our pleasure for the rest of the weekend to make up for lost time, I suppose.

The guitar player for E. C. (I forgot his name.)

E. C. Scott's bass player. I forgot his name, too, but not his style, not the enjoyment his playing gave me. Nossirree BOB!

Darkened (though smoke-free these days) corners near the stage. The people? You look. You figure it out. Can you?

"Cobbler John" Bolen has been a, if not THE honcho of Marietta's River City Bluesfest since we've been going and that's more than ten years. Yes, Cobbler John does repair lost and mutilated footwear.

Walk right in; sit right down. Baby, let your hair hang down.

Typical scene: audience taking pictures of audience taking pictures of whoever is on stage.

Cobbler John's daughter has painted backdrops for the Riverfest stage for the past several years.

With computers there's always something to do. CB looks up Scrabble (copyright til you die) people and stuff while we wait with cable television service people and hotel people to fix our TV which is the only TV set in the building of more than 100 rooms which does not work. Thank goodness for Netflix, eh?

Jerry the hotel service person takes another look at our TV which is half frozen all the time, it's pixels showing mightily and naughtily.

Sonny Moorman packs up for the long haul back to Cincinnati after opening up for E. C. Scott and Smoke. Sonny's been playing for blues audiences all around for years. Last time I saw him before last night, his hair was shoulder-length.

Well, it’s Saturday morning and I just got waylaid by Don and CB looking for a jaunt downtown.

Written by frankieleeee

March 19, 2011 at 1:36 pm

Posted in Blues

Cincy Blues Fest 2010 – 8/6-7

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Went to both days of the festival; must have seen 15 – 20 acts. Enjoyed myself, running around on Junior, Jr, hellbent for arkansas, taking pictures, drinking beer and flat extracting a lot of pleasure out of lot. I didn’t stop often for more than time to take some pictures and fuel before racing, full tilt, onto the track. No standout music. Disappointment. I’m glad I’m learning to enjoy the event and not be stuck in the mud of mundane music. Unbeknownst to me, less than an hour after II Juicy died, I was watching her band brave on on stage. Jackie told me later and, in memoriam, tied a length of yarn around my wrist – it’s still there, still a vivid reminder of our music, of our pleasures and of our destination. I suppose Little Jimmie King was my favorite. Was most disappointed in Candye Kane (sp?); never dreamt she couldn’t sing. As always Dave pulled it all together on the main stage emceeing his butt off. Saw some shoes Don will be interested in. Saw friend Julie whom I haven’t seen in a year of Sundays. Can’t believe I got lost in the dark Friday night trying to find the parking lot. It simply wudn’t there. Until some kind lady looked at me with pity, pointed back over my shoulder and surmised if I scooted my butt down the railroad track thataway far enough I’d find what I’s looking for. Had a lot of fun with CB; would have been complete if my blues buddy Don had been there to yell at me for my unpitying music appraisals. 🙂

Written by frankieleeee

September 22, 2010 at 11:26 pm

Posted in Blues

Introduction to fle’s fantasies

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This is a test of a beginning of what I expect will be a gazillion photos and comments about genealogy, the lunchbunch, blues, photography and my written meanderings through what’s left of this misspent life. If it works, I think it’ll be easier than setting up my own URL, although I will continue to work on flebytes, as well. Enough nonsense, let’s see if this sucker publishes this BS.

Written by frankieleeee

September 16, 2010 at 12:33 pm