Sunday, April 17, 2005

A crazy week full of deadlines but in the midst of things I think weève got the OK for the final master - except weère going to change the sequence again. Photographer (and phenomenal drummer) Don Vickery took a few snaps of me at the Montreal Bistro and I sent a couple tp Èthe manÈ whoès doing the CD design. This is as much as I want to harass him. You canèt rush genius.

And here in Toronto on the same night we had Lucky peterson and Ike Turner. I heard the first part of his show it it was non-stop flashy-guitar power trio, and it would appear one of his trio didnt make it across the border because drummer Tyler Burgess was sitting in on drums and Rick Levinston brought over a keyboard and they got it set up for the second set.

meanwhile I took off down to the Reverb Room to hear Ike, thinking he would be starting last but alas, at midnight they were winding down. We heard a couple of tunes and what a tight 10-piece ensemble fronted by a Tina Turner clone. I ke was resplendent in a white pop-art jumpsuit which only accentuated his hardened lines. Somebody said he might be seventy-five. I dont believe it. What I heard was a veryt tight band with Ike on the wah-wah leads playing the Tina-era hits.

When we got back to the Dollar, Lucky was at the keyboard and played some funky then beautuful tunes. Then he grabbed the mikestand, dragged it onto the floor and sat at the edge of the stage and got up close and personal wityh the audience. Nice vibe. He said ’two weeks ago I was a no-show but tonight i was a SHOW’ and he was telling the truth. He played some amazing stuff till way past 2:00 and even thogh he probably avoided some of the newer material, he put his own stamp on every blues nugget he pulled out.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Mercury is retrograde.

Fred (the label owner) has vetoed my latest sequence so it's back to the drawing boards. The artwork is not done, maybe not even started for all I a certain "Man" . So I've got to burn one with the new/new sequence and hope that this is it! And for those that were hoping for a Mothers' Day Release, it ain't gonna happen. How late does Spring go?

Then today I received a nice thank you letter from the promoter of the Leadbelly Tribute Concert along with some clippings and I think I just got my first bad review. I can't believe it! It reads in its entirety: "...Meanwhile Blain's country version was given teeth by Price." Given teeth??? I've got teeth - I gave it teeth! (the reviewer is refering to our respective renditions of "John Hardy" at a big Leadbelly tribute concert. I had to learn two Leadbelly songs and I just requested the first couple that took my fancy on my only Leadbelly album.

The featured artists were many I knew. The Whiteleys, Paul James, Michael Pickett and this guy from England called Peter Price. He's the guy that supposedly has more "teeth" than me. The song was "John Hardy." Brian played the song pretty fast and the new guy took it a lot slower (and, I dare say, more precise) than I did. I was just trying to get things up to "cookin" temperature, and it didn't hurt that I had Ken Whiteley himself backing me on mandolin.

He started playing along just as I was running over the tune in the Green Room, so even though I thought it's probably some kind of breach of protocol to get the headliner to come on stage with you, I invited him to join me and he was *there* I was very glad a spent an extra night running over those tunes.

The night before that concert, I stayed home and practiced those two songs instead of:

1) Buddy Guy at Massey Hall (Lucky Peterson was AWOL, but he's coming to the Dollar next week)
2) Ain't Misbeahavin "Industry Night" (I got to see the show a few days later - phenomenal singing and playing)
or, 3) Rita Chiarelli at Hugh's Room

and there was other great stuff. The other night, Sugar Ray Norcia at the Dollar and Powder Blues from Vancouver at Healeys. Jay McShann was playing the Montreal Bistro and I saw Holger there and dragged him up to the Dollar to see Sugar Ray. (Jay was magnificent, and Jim Galloway said that over the course of a three-nighter he hardly repeated a song.

Speaking of Healeys, they had a little anniversary party and managed to bring back that special energy that permeated the place when they first opened. The musical guests for the evening was rock-deity Ian Gillian of Deep Purple. There he was screaming "Smoke On The Water." Ran into Nick, who recorded my big single "The Story of the Magic Pick" in 1973.