Sunday, May 7, 2000

Sonny Rhodes

2:30am my time and I'm pretty cooked. Just did my partial rounds and the first stop was the jazz festival office where the Director of Operations computer had crashed this afternoon. After a couple of hours I got her computer going OK but the database is corrupted and there hasn't been a back up in quite a while. The entire festival, every bit of correspondence, contracts, everything is in that database. If it can't be recovered, you'll be the first to know the jazz festival has been cancelled *again* (if you hadn't heard about the first drama...) Then I caught the last set of Sonny Rhodes at the Silver Dollar. This is your pretty raw blues - nothing like Roomful of Blues who played just a couple of nights before. Tonight, the tuning never sounded quite right, yet nobody ever adjusted between songs. It was like "I tuned it before the show, it's fine" It got a little stranger when Sonny invited Toronto guitarist Larry Goodhand to the stage "I taught him everything I know" and then he unplugged his lap steel and gave the cord to Larry even though there were two other guitarists on stage. I guess neither of them volunteered to sit out a song or two. Larry played great, and did sound a bit like Sonny. He played a characteristic little lick of Sonnny's (and many others I suppose), but he sounded best on the solos where it felt like he was bending every note he played somewhat to adapt to tghe less-than-perfect tuning. He did a shuffle then a couple of slow tunes which sonny sang as he stepped off the stage and started to walk out towards the audience. The mic cable wasn't really long enough for that sort of thing, and some guy from the front table took it upon himself to guide the cable and ultimately stood there arms stretched out like some kind of high tension tower. At the end this guy was sitting on the edge of the stage with his ear practically in Sonny's amp. The the best was when Michelle, the drop-dead gorgeous waitress lifted a bar table over her head to get it across a railing. Right across from this action was another very attractive woman who was really into the music and looked very interesting but I watched her watching Michelle and it was an unmistakeable look of worshipful lust - I guess Michelle lifting that table was the embodiment of her "dream gal". Oh well.

This was Sonny's make-good engagement after a near-death road-fire that destroyed everything the band had with them - equipment, clothes, etc. I limped my way over in a rust-bucket that idles so fast and knocks so loud that it's starting to draw attention. The only way to keep the engine from racing uncontrolably is to shift it in to Drive

I was sitting across from publicist Richard Flohil, legendary vegetable hater, at the Jazz Report Awards last Sunday and he actually turned away the dinner because the chicken breast was leaning on something green!