Friday, January 23, 1998

The Blue Goose

Rod Phillips, who plays organ with me whenever I can get him, has been running a regular Sunday afternoon matinee at this club and last week his group, The Pie Guys were backing up Chicago bluesman Little Mack Simmons at the Silver Dollar. Also on board was Kevin Higgins on guitar - he had played with Little Mack, knew his repertoire, and on stage Kevin was acting as bandleader and go-between with the band. As I was hanging out in the dressing room on the break, Rod said "we need a guitar player to play with Mack at tomorrow's matinee". At first I declined because this was the sunday when I was supposed to finish off laying out the MapleBlues newsletter but I caught myself and came right back and said "Never mind, I'll do it - what time should I be there?" I never thought to ask what about Kevin, but for whatever reason he wasn't going top be there so I paid special attention to the second show and on Sunday I couldn't decide what to bring, since I knew it was a pretty big room, so I decided to bring my Strat and Fender amp...then I listened to Little Mack's album and found it quite acoustic so then I found myself loading in the flat top and cube amp as well. I get there at four with two amps and two guitars (I only had one of each at my own gig the previous Friday!) Then as I pull up at the club, who do I see unloading his Fender amp but Kevin Higgins. For whatever reason, he was able to come and play. Oh well, I spent the afternoon watching Kevin do the identical show I had seen the night before and then at the end of the second show when Mack had to leave early to catch his bus to Chicago (?) Rod had me up to play a couple of songs and I did receive some genuine admiration from Kevin, who is a great player. I was watching him take his instructions from Little Mack, who sometimes changed his mind after the band had started an intro and waved them to a halt, looked like he might be a stern taskmaster and I was starting to feel a bit relieved that I didn't end up there with him - especially when he called "Rainy Night in Georgia"...not exactly a 12-bar blues.