Friday, February 15, 1991

Stormy Monday at Albert’s Hall

Then came a chance to play at Toronto’s other blues shrine (you can tell a blues shrine from all the framed pictures of all the blues luminaries who have played there). And this time it will be on TV. Danny Marks has a show called “Stormy Monday” which airs on Rogers Cable. No one is paid (presumably Danny gets something) and the shows are recycled to death on the Toronto cable and then shipped out west where they provide more “exposure” for struggling blues artists. We did the rehearsal last Monday but I dropped in with a friend on the previous Monday to see the first taping (not knowing I’d be on the bill myself). We arrived just as they were about to start filming, and we were escorted by Danny Marks himself to a table at the front (I guess they didn’t want an empty table at the front). We were seated next to a local performer that I have seen play and so I leaned over to ask him if he knew who was on the bill. He said “Oh, this is an all-star jam so there’s Danny and me and, eh, some other people”. That was my introduction to “Steven C”. I never did get to see him play that night but the following week I saw him do a harp duet (blues harp with “real” harp), a lady called Joanna Jordan.

That first night, I saw a string of female performers who just kept trying to outdo themselves steaming up the camera lens. It was something to see, and prompted me to compliment the first singer, Linda Partington, on her subtle interpretation of “Love me like a Man”. All of these women were outdone on the latest show by Rita Chiarelli who was almost falling out of her halter top and a wild group from Finland called “The Balls” which featured a sequined female singer who had learned Elvis songs phonetically ("Biga Biga Biga Hunk Lova") and rubbed up against Danny during his solos. A true cultural exchange. I had brought by Stratocaster for the rehearsal (since one of the event’s sponsors is Fender Guitars) but at the last minute I decided to take my Epiphone. Big mistake. I broke a string on the first tune. I bet Fender had a curse on every guitar that wasn’t’ built by them.