So Henry Cook and I finally got a chance to step out Sunday afternoon and catch a great show. Li’l Ronnie sent us an invitation to his Harmonica Revue (hereafter referred to as “Harmonica Hooligans”) featuring The Grand Dukes and Mitch Kashmar, Kurt Crandall, and Bob Corritore. Counting Li’l Ronnie, that’s four – count ‘em – four masters of the harp on one stage.
Forget football kiddies, we’re heading to the Capital Ale House on East Main Street to check out the action.
Now you’ve got to understand that my partner, one of the best men I’ve ever known, can often be the unluckiest man on the face of the earth. If you remember the cartoon version of the Flintstones when Pebbles and Bam Bam were teenagers, they had a friend named Schleprock who walked around with a black cloud over his head 24/7.
That was Henry for part of the afternoon. Poor guy couldn’t get a waitresses attention if he was on fire, and when the Professor finally flagged one down, they never had ANY of the drinks he ordered. It was like watching a live version of the Monty Python “Cheese Shop” sketch.
If you don’t know it, go to YouTube and be initiated.
But once the music started, all of that was quickly forgotten as Li’l Ronnie and the Grand Dukes kicked off a high energy set that had the crowd dancing on the very first number.
Even before they got started however, our night was made when a man with the coolest hair in music sidled over to us through the crowd and stuck out his hand and said, “Hi, I’m Bob Corritore.”
Like we hadn’t noticed. You know Henry and I are big fans of Corritore, he’s an amazing player as well as a tireless writer about all things blues and now we know, a genuinely good guy. He asked us if we had gotten some new CDs from Delta Groove – a new Tail Dragger CD – “Long Time Friends In The Blues” -that he played on (we had – and we’ve even played a track or two from it) and one called “Bob Corritore and Friends Harmonica Blues” (we hadn’t and were drooling to get our hands on a copy).
Corritore and I exchanged information and he promised to send us a copy when he got back home. We talked about harps, the road, the blues, and since neither of us had thought to bring a tape recorder to the show, Corritore agreed to do a phone interview at a later date.
What an amazing guy.
Here’s Henry and Bob hanging out backstage.
Then, a tall skinny red headed kid walks in and heads backstage. Holy cow, it’s Andy Poxon! Henry and I have been playing sides from this cat’s first CD, “Get The Red Out” and now we learn that his next CD will feature Andy teaming up with none other than Duke Robillard! Plus he’s going to sit in on a few songs during the show.
Here’s a shot of Andy and Bob working their way through an electric number.
Each of the four harp artists were amazing and in total control – even if the sound guy occasionally wasn’t. It’s a tricky room to mic and the monitors were being particularly persnickety through the show, but man there was enough energy being expended to light Memphis during the Elvis Chili Cook Off.
Li’l Ronnie and the Harmonica Hooligans had been busy – one night in Virginia Beach, the next night in Raleigh, and the last day in Richmond. But you couldn’t hear any fatigue in any of their voices or their playing. Every member of the audience was cheering their appreciation from the first song to the last.
And afterwards they hung around just to soak up the atmosphere.
And at that particular moment, Henry finally got a drink.
Live music – you’ve got to support it if you want to keep it alive. So watch out for shows – check the River City Blues Society website for shows in the Richmond area – and if you’re outside the area, find the blues society near you and keep their information handy.