A bluesy, soulful birthday road trip...

Today we head off for Louie-ville (aka Brooklyn) to celebrate our little man's first birthday! It will be a treat to share time with our extended family as we pause to return thanks for all the blessings that have flowed to us from this small child (and his parents.) It is a stunning fall day and will only be more beautiful tomorrow.

Last night, after a full week of various church commitments, I found myself listening - and then playing - some of the acoustic blues tunes that have been in my head as I anticipate our Thanksgiving Eve gig (Wednesday, November 26 @ 7 pm.) Three tunes really grab me...

+ "On the Road Again" - a traditional American jug band blues that probably comes from Memphis, TN. In an early Jerry Garcia band, Mother McCree's Uptown Jug Champions, it was a standard and was brought into the repertoire of the Grateful Dead about 1966. They revised their take on it for various acoustic incarnations - and I have always wanted to play this with some hot shot musicians 'cuz it is such a gas.


+ "Momma, He Treats Your Daughter Mean" by the incomparable Ruth Brown from 1953. Ms. Brown's version is pure jump band/proto-rock and roll abandon that includes a small horn section and raucous drumming. I first heard it, however, on Delaney and Bonnie's fourth studio album, To Delaney from Bonnie, that includes Duane Allman on guitar, Little Richard on piano and the kiss ass backup band that came to be Derek and the Dominoes (a la Eric Clapton.) Their version starts with Robert Johnson's "You Better Come On in the Kitchen..." and closes with the folk standard "Going Down That Road Feelin' Bad." I used to play this record over and over again when it first came out and still find it is blue-eyed soul at its best.


+ "Big Boss Man" the 1960 Jimmy Reed smash that has been covered by singers as different as Elvis Presley and the Grateful Dead. I first got hooked on this song when the Dead did it on their 1971 live album: Grateful Dead. The late, Ron "Pigpen" McKernan makes it his own and plays the hell out of his harp break. His light gave out all too soon but he was a hard livin'/hard drinkin' SOB. I still love this whole groove...

This year's show is going to be funkier, bluesier and more mellow than some of our previous Thanksgiving Eve gigs - mostly because we're going to do most of it in an acoustic vein.  If you can, make plans to join us.

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