Friday, October 12, 2007

Blues Crawl Review

The Wichita Blues Society is one of the important grass roots organizations that preserves and enriches the cultural life of Wichita. Without the WBS and similar organizations, only narrow commercial interests and the elite refined culture of elite foundations would determine the cultural scene.

Each year, the WBS sponsors a Blues Crawl on a Sunday evening with a low admission price allowing admission to a series of Old Town clubs which are featuring blues bands for the evening. I made the Sept 30 crawl after having missed several. I managed to catch a tune or two from 10 of the 12 bands. Pretty good, considering the I got started at 7 instead of 6 when the crawl got underway. Maybe not the ideal way to take in a crawl, but something every crawler should consider.

Here's what I heard.

Nightwatchmen. My buddy Clayton Crawford is lead guitarist and vocalist for this power trio. I started and spent the longest time here. Highlight was "Got My Mojo Working Working" They had a unique arrangement for the tune based a driving guitar lick which I never heard another band use. It wasn't till the vocals that I recognized the tune. The drummer did an outstanding job on MOJO, evoking Sam Lay.

Next was the Corbett Cameron Band at Flashbacks. Reminded me of a Southern rock band with a country twinge.

At Mort's playing outside was Moreland & Arbuckle. Can you say Jimmy Reed. Very jumping.

RKO, two-time winners of the WBS Blues Challenge. I really liked this band. It had a classic Chicago blues line-up of lead and rhtym guitar, harmonica, bass, and drums. Played a very nice version of Otis Rush's "All My Loving," including a double time section. I think that's on the original, but AML isn't on the Cobra best of OR that I have.

Three Shades of Blue was holding forth at Torre's Pizza. Very skillful guitarist, but I felt like he was using every lick he knew.

Little Smoke playing a O'Sullivan's had a conga player, didn't come away with a distinct impression. That's the problem with trying to squeeze in seeing 12 groups in 2 hours.

Wing Tip Six a swing/jump blues combo with two saxes was groovin at the Brickyard.

Sharon Rush Band was doing a Dylan tune when I stopped into America's Pub.

Kelly's Irish Pub had Front Porch Blues a guitar and harp duo. Someone requested Stevie Ray Vaughn and they obliged, but I think their forte is more country blues.

My last stop of the evening was Larkspur where I heard Rachelle Coba who did some nice blues while accompanying herself on guitar. Not an easy thing to do, but she pulled it off.

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