Tuesday, March 2, 1993

Playing with Gene Taylor

Blue Willow got a return engagement at The Ploughman but I had to sub for them because Dawn had a family emergency. This time I called Mike Fitzpatrick and he suggested Clint or Gary Kendall but when I said it would be nice to have a piano – he suggested Gene Taylor. I said “Whey not start at the top?” and sure enough, we got him. What an evening. He gets a little surly towards the end of the night, but we had some great moments. Gene had used up both his and my complimentary beer tickets by the second set and spent a good chunk of his pay running up a tab for the rest of the evening. I've heard that at Fabulous Thunderbird gigs there was a rider in the contract for a cooler of beer to be placed next to the piano.

“Some Drinkin’ Song" was great and Gene carried most of the show. I asked him if he knew Chicken Cordon Blues by Steve Goodman and he said “No, I never heard of no Steve Goodman. Benny Goodman! And I know everything Jimmy Reed ever wrote”. We stepped out for the last set, and I must have been in a pretty “improvisational” mood because as he sang a tune about a “mean mistreater” I was reminded of a similar tune I used to do and when he signaled me for a guitar break I just started singing my song. I told him how sorry I was, that I didn’t know what got into me but he didn’t mind – he said “You were on it, man. You had it”. As the third set ended there was a table right in front that were really getting into the music – they were really blown away that they just walked into this bar and heard such a phenomenal blues piano player. I start saying “Well, stick around for the next set and you’ll hear more of the same” – I saw Gene sort of waving but I kept up the rapport with this couple at the table, taking there requests for the next set, not noticing the dirty looks from Gene. Finally the girl behind the bar rings this huge bell and shouts out “Last Call!” I’m thinking “Last call, already???” then I look over at Gene and he’s saying “It’s Over, Man. That’s it!” I guess I could have played all night. This is what I have to strive for – more playing situations like this one. This one was positively blissful.