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Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Say it Loud - I'm Weird and I'm Proud

The great advertising guru, David Ogilvie, once said, "Develop your eccentricities when young. That way, when you get older, people won’t think you are going gaga." I have tried to follow this advice, but must admit that I am getting weirder as the years roll by. Have you ever had an "out-of-body" experience and observe your own behavior objectively? When this happens to me, I cringe.

Last Wednesday, this correspondent packed up his harmonicas, Green Bullet microphone and vintage 1959 Bassman amplifier and trekked to the local blues club. Mr. G and the Mystery Band was booked for the evening. This was an accidental booking - the club operator assumed that I would do it and booked me. I found out about the gig when I saw the ad in the paper! So I pulled my band together - we hadn't had a gig in months - and was feeling pretty good. My confidence was shattered when my drummer failed to show up. We called his house; got voicemail. We called his mobile phone - got voicemail. ARRRRRRRR!!!! So I called my other drumming buddy, Highway Ricky. Yes, he could take the gig, but it would take him an hour or so to make it to the club. So we did the first set without drums. An electric blues band without a drummer is a very eccentric musical exercise. Hell,it is extremely eccentric for a 50-year old Scottish fella to be blowing Chicago blues harmonica no matter who is in the band. I have the great good fortune to know some wonderful players - Mike Wheeler, a fine younger blues guitarist joined the Mystery Band for the gig. "Younger" in the blues guitar world means "under 50." Shoji Naito, a Japanese blues dynamo, covered the second guitar slot. Shoji plays bass with Eddy "The Chief" Clearwater but did not have a gig on that particular Wednesday night. Greg McDaniel, a second-generation bluesman (son of the Chicago blues legend, Floyd McDaniel), held down the bass chair. We shook off the rust and were rolling by the time Highway Ricky Trankle arrived. With a drummer in the group, we began to smoke a little. The crowd at Bill's Blues was smallish (fine with me), but appreciative. I felt great until the gig was over and I wondered how I looked on stage. Eccentric, I am sure.

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