Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Hubert Sumlin

I definitely wanted to be back in Toronto for the Hubert Sumlin appearance at the Silver Dollar. I had the rare pleasure of playing with him last winter at a blues matinee and he was very complimentary about my playing. He particularly liked the song "Overqualified For The Blues" - he got a real kick out of it. I saw him again the next day at a big Tribute To Howling Wolf Concert but it wasn't till I saw someone slipping him a CD that I realized I should give him an advance copy of mine. But the CDs were in the car and I never got around to it. Now that he was back in Toronto I wanted to be sure to get him a copy of "Overqualified For The Blues"

When I walked around the corner I saw a line up outside the Silver Dollar like I have never seen before. It was such an unfamiliar situation at the Dollar that I decided to just take my place in the line (rather than elbow my way to the front like some media mooch). Soon I saw Gary Kendall outside though, and I cut short an interesting conversation to go up to him and ensure that I was still "on the list".

Inside it didn't seem so full but it soon became a real crush (I found out later that some stories had suggested Keith Richards might be sitting in). Well, there was no Keith Richards and Hubert sang and played his heart out all night long (and apparently hung out for an hour afterwards talking to fans). Some reviewers were less than complimentary about his singing and the whole show was a little rough around the edges but, as far as I'm concerned, Hubert really pulled it off.

I was surprised to see "Boogie Bob" Baldori playing piano and harp for him and Bob led me down to the "Green Room" where we would have found a Rolling Stone if there had been one in the house. Instead, the room was filled with women fawning over Hubert - many whom had met him before, I guess. I did go up and introduce myself and he seemed to remewmber me. When I said "Overqualified for the Blues" he remebered and turned to the women starting to say "This guy...." Then he was cut off by another woman introducing her sister to him. I'll never know whjat he was going to say aboutme but I slipped him a CD. Hope he enjoys it. He said he was going to listen in his hotel room - that he had brought along a portable radio.

Hubert was inspiring to watch - he put on a great show show and did not play the frail old bluesman - though he has every right with one lung gone and surviving cancer. He was enjoying every minute of it.