2009 started out with a bang when we opened for PINETOP PERKINS at Skipper’s Smokehouse in Tampa on January 9th to a sold-out audience. Backed by the fine STEADY ROLLIN’ BOB MARGOLIN BLUES BAND, 95-year-old Grammy-winning Perkins played his usual amazing show, and Liz & I finished out the night jamming with Bob Margolin’s band. Check out our PHOTOS page for some nice shots of the evening.
On January 25th, Liz & I hosted the DIAMOND TEETH MARY MEMORIAL MARKER FUNDRAISER at Dave’s Aqualounge (St. Pete) to raise money for Mary McClain’s Memorial Marker in Huntington, WV. Many notable bay area blues musicians (most of whom performed with Mary at one time or another) played, including JONNY PUHL, KIM HARPO, MIKE DELANEY, DAVID LEE MAXWELL, BONESHAKER, SARASOTA SLIM, NITRO, and SANDY ATKINSON among others. Even our good friend ROY BOOK BINDER did a great solo set, and we raised over $500 for the Historical Marker Fund. Thanks to the Suncoast Blues Society and all who came out in support of this event.
We played a fun fundraiser for ST. PETE PRESERVATION at the historic St. Pete Women’s Club on March 28th. We enjoyed meeting the Guest of Honor, LINDA RUTH TOSETTI, Babe Ruth’s granddaughter. We discussed HERB PENNOCK, another baseball legend and Babe Ruth’s best friend, & how he may possibly be a distant relative of Liz’s, given the family resemblance & unusual surname.
Liz & I also performed at the WMNF 2ND ANNUAL BLUES BLAST at Skipper’s on March 29th to a great audience. Other musicians were DAMON FOWLER GROUP, NERVOUS TURKEY, T.C. CARR, GREG POULOS, JIMMY GRISWOLD, and THE GARY BROWN BLUES BAND.
On April 9th, we shared the stage with BOB SEELEY from Detroit at the BOOGIE WOOGIE/BLUES PIANO STOMP, held at the PALLADIUM SIDE DOOR cabaret. Bob, whom we have known for many years, is arguably the best boogie woogie piano player on the planet! This was perhaps St. Pete’s first official boogie woogie piano show, and thanks to the enthusiastic sold-out crowd, we hope to present more here in the future. A bonus that night was the rare presence of all 3 of Liz’s sisters; Donna from Tampa, and Trish & Mary visiting from Ohio!
The following day (April 10th), Liz & I returned to Skipper’s in Tampa to see SAFFIRE: THE UPPITY BLUES WOMEN perform to a huge audience. We first met Saffire (GAYE ADEGBALOLA, ANN RABSON, and ANDRA FAYE) at the Augusta Workshops in Elkins, WV in 1992, and it was a trip down memory lane for us, knowing that this is their farewell tour before disbanding later this year. We’ve become close friends and shared some stages with them over the years, and we’ll miss seeing Saffire perform as a band, although they all will be pursuing their solo careers. Watch for them when they come to your town & get their new CD “Having the Last Word!”
We were quite pleased to see that our latest album, BOOGIE WOOGIE STAIRCASE, has received two good reviews in two separate publications. SOUL BAG MAGAZINE (France) gave our CD a nice review (in French) in their March issue #194. Also, the PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE Music Blog (April 13th) reviewed Boogie Woogie Staircase, as well as reviewing our Palladium show with Bob Seeley. You can read this review by going to our LINKS page and clicking on the link to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (click on the link, then go to bottom of page and click PREVIOUS POSTS until you get to APRIL 13th).
We were sorry to hear of the deaths of RICH SCHNEIDER, friend, major blues supporter and editor of BLUES BEAT MAGAZINE (Blues Society of Western New York), and drummer/bandleader LUCIAN IERNA. We also got word of the passing of two venue owners we worked for numerous times in West Virginia who loved the music and treated us well: FRED STARKEY, owner of the SLY FOX in Parkersburg, and JANE GIBSON of SISTERS COFFEE HOUSE in Princeton.
Liz & I want to congratulate and thank the FREQUENT FAN winners for 2008. Once again, TERRY GREGORY was the #1 Frequent Fan, and this year, his mother MARY tied him for #1. #2 was Judy, #3 Dan, #4 Opal, and the following Fans each won once (came to at least 10 gigs): Priscilla, Marlyn, Art, Marv, Dennis, Ralph & Hildegarde. Their loyal support & friendly faces in the crowd help keep us going.