Paramount Blues Festival – Installment III; Epilogue
On Sunday, September 17th, it was a sunny day in Grafton, WI, and 96 year old Henry Townsend’s son Alonzo accepted his key to the Paramount walk of fame in his stead. Henry had been amitted into the hospital a few days earlier, and his doctor would not release him due to breathing difficulties.
He was due to perform as the honorary guest at the Paramount Blues Festival on Saturday, September 17, but entered the hospital on Friday Night. Henry’s condition deteriorated rapidly and he passed on Sunday afternoon. After 71 years he returned to the place where he made his first recordings at the beginning of his career; as the last living artist that recorded for the label. He then died there, amidst thousands of people who loved him, shortly after being honored by a town, in a ceremony that celebrated his accomplishments. He was the sole legend from the Paramount’s rich legacy during the dawn of the recorded medium, and last living artist to have recorded in every decade since the 1920’s. It was a bittersweet and solemn end for such a successful festival. Henry Townsend’s journey was complete. We’ll miss you Henry.
BOB DYLAN: Dylan’s got it back. Love And Theft, his album released on Sept. 11 2001, was a prominent return to his glory days as a misunderstood icon. The new Modern Times takes the world’s mot essential troubadour back to the roots of Blues and Country music for the most poignant contribution since Highway 61 Revisited. “Rollin’ And Tumblin’” will make you cut a rug on the dance floor or in the seat of your pickup truck. Listen with caution! Bob Dylan will perform with the Foo Fighters Oct. 27-28 at Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates, IL, Oct.29 at the Xcel Energy Center in Saint Paul, MN, and Oct. 31 at the Kohl Center in Madison, WI. www.bobdylan.com
BO DIDDLEY: He is the originator. With Alvin Youngblood Heart, and Ruthie Foster backing the Father of Rock & Roll, you can be sure that the evening will school you on the Chess classics, and give voice to a man who for too long has been forgotten for practically inventing tremolo. From his days with Muddy Waters and Little Walter in the 1950’s, and opening for the Clash on their 1979 world tour, Diddley has consistently toured the world, and made the occasional big-screen appearance. He was the pawnbroker in Eddie Murphy/Dan Akroyd film “Trading Places”, and part of the house band in “Blues Brother’s 2000”. Arriving Oct. 17 at the Sangamon Auditorium in Springfield, IL, Oct. 18 in Madison at the Overture Center For The Arts, Oct. 19 a the Peoria Civic Center, Peoria, IL and Oct 20 at the Hemmens Cultural Center in Elgin, IL. http://members.tripod.com/~Originator_2/
HARVEY MANDEL: The new Snake Crew record is out! An explosive combination of cosmic groove, interstellar funk-rock and impressive guest-stars. His knowledge of harmonics and digital sound is showcased with finger-picked ethereal windstorms, notes bent off the conventional scale, and audio supernovas courtesy of his mighty Parker Fly Supreme. Mandel recruits Michael Borbridge, Freddie Roulette, Elvin Bishop, Pete Sears, Nick Gravinites, Marcy Levy, and Barry Goldberg for one of the most intriguing records of 2006. The Snake Crew Visit the new website at www.harveymandel.com
BRANFORD MARSAILES: Brother to Jazz purist Wynton and son of piano legend Ellis, Branford is the Saxophone player in the family, and one of the first in his generation to effectively embrace hip-hop, Acid Jazz, and Rock Fusion. His strides into the musical stratosphere have pushed the intellectual limits of modern horn players, and forced the majority to re-evaluate their own technique. As a saxophone player, Marsailes is a genius who is far too under-respected by his contemporaries. Branford will manifest Oct. 12 at the Pabst Theatre in Milwaukee, WI and Oct. 13 at the Orchestra Hall in Chicago. www.branfordmarsalis.com
DETROIT COBRAS: The down-and-out R&B freaks from the motor city will blow through town with an armful of records in tow, screaming the blues over a gigantic stack of amps and head-banging mowhawks. This music ain’t for the weak of heart, the posturing elitists, or guitarist Mary puts it “Those pussies that drive automatics!” Obsessive vinyl-heads, they find the obscurest R&B 45’s possible, and redo the tunes to modern punk standard a-la the MC5. www.myspace.com/thedetroitcobras
MEM SHANNON & THE MEMBERSHIP: From the suffering city of New Orleans, Mem Shannon will bring his combination of brilliantly complex guitar leads, tight rhythm section and plethora of originals to promote I’m From Phunkville. His finger-picking techniques He does one cover; “Eleanor Rigby”, which is so introspective, it give’s Sir Paul a run for his money. Oct 5, Narrows North in Maple Grove, MN, Oct 6 at Narrows in Navarre, MN, Oct 13 & 14 at the Kingston Mines in Chicago, IL, Oct 15 at the Slipknot in Fremont, WI, Oct 16 at the Alamo in Springfield, IL, and Buddy Guy’s Legends in Chicago Oct 19. www.memshannon.com
RHYTHM DEVILS: Micky Hart & Bill Kreutzmann from the Grateful Dead, Slide guitarist extraordinaire Steve Kimock, and Phish bassist Mike Gordon team up for a further tour that will serve as a meeting ground of the minds. Expect your neo-hippie friends to be there, and be prepared for a trip into open tunings and Dead classics. The Devils are Truckin’ down the road Oct 24, at the Chicago Theater, and Oct 25 at the Riverside Theatre in Milwaukee, WI.