By Bambi Lyn, Secretary BRBS
The word is out! It's on the streets, it's whispered in the clubs, it's in the papers. The Baton Rouge Blues Society is in desperate need of volunteers. So, after reading Carmen Jones' article asking for help, I was finally moved to heed that call. I phoned my friend Phil Brady and asked, "How could I be of service?" He explained that the long-standing and highly qualified secretary unfortunately had to resign, and that he needed someone to fill the position, and fast. I couldn't have called at a more opportune time. I'm glad to do whatever I can to help support the BRBS. I am a Baton Rouge native and I love the blues. For me, it's all about the music.
In January, Johnny Palazzotto also heeded that call. He is our newest board member, but he is no new kid on the block. Johnny brings 34 years of experience in the music business to the Blues Society. He is the man behind the Blues Week in Baton Rouge, this year to be held during FestforAll. His knowledge of the blues, his contact with local musicians and his connections to the blues legends is an absolute perk for the BRBS. He has been a staunch supporter of the BR blues and original music scene, and he has the support of corporate sponsorship, which BRBS desperately needs. Palazzotto is a prominent and respected name in the business and the community. So, the call is working! The cry for help is being answered, that we need local leaders and eager citizens alike, to come forward and offer support for the BRBS in any capacity. Johnny has stepped up to the plate and we are glad to have his support to help further the cause and awareness of the Blues in Baton Rouge. We are proud to have him on our team.
Anyone who is interested in finding out more about what is going on in the blues scene, or would like to help out is welcome to join us at the open meetings held the first Tuesday of every month. Unfortunately, since the first Tuesday in March is actually Fat Tuesday, there will be NO meeting this month. The next meeting will be Tuesday night, Apr. 1 at the Silver Moon Cafe on Chimes Street at 7 p.m. sharp. So plan to be there and join our team and be a part of it all. April will be a busy month for the BRBS and we could use some volunteers.
A few New York City firefighters will be heading down south for a taste of our good food, good music, and a spirited basketball game to be held immediately before the big game between the New Orleans Hornets and San Antonio, down in New Orleans Sunday, Mar. 30. Sponsored by Phil Brady's Bar and the BRBS, we plan to show them how much fun it can be down here. There will be a local Baton Rouge band to play during a pre-game party outside the venue, with a "Victory Party" down at Ernie K-Doe's Lounge after the game. For more information, please call Phil Brady at 387-0017.
There is a whole lot of good music coming our way in April, during the same festive week as the Jazz Fest, Apr. 28-May 3, starting with the first annual Slim Harpo Awards Ceremony and Hohner Jam Session to be held at The Varsity, Monday night, Apr. 28. Then on Tuesday night, Apr. 29, the Blues Challenge will be held at Buddy Stewart's Blues Museum on North Acadian Thruway. This is one of the best venues yet, with its classic, old-time dance hall. There will be plenty of parking and security. Tickets are $10 for members and $15 for non-members, and that includes all the crawfish you can eat. Not a bad deal for six of our strongest local bands competing for their chance to go to Memphis in 2004. There will also be a Solo Acoustic Blues Challenge to be held at Swamp Mama's that same week. Blues jams will be in full force at Phil Brady's Bar, Swamp Mama's on Third Street, Tabby's Blues Box on Lafayette Street, and on Friday, May 2, Mr. Tony Joe White will be in town to perform at The Varsity Theatre. More detailed information on where to get tickets, and much more will be coming up in the April issue, so be sure to pick up your copy of Rhythm City.
But you don't have to wait until April to see and hear some good music! Live music is going on all over our great city every weekend at the places mentioned, and many more. I got to see Ace and Mudcat at Swamp Mama's during their Friday night stint during the month of February. These guys have a straight-forward, down home approach to the turn of the century blues that transports you back in time to the crossroads of the Delta Mississippi. Some of the finest guitar picking and harmonica playing I've heard in a while. I hope to see more of them around town, and just maybe, they will be on the bill for the Solo Acoustic Blues Challenge and be on their way. As far as I'm concerned, we don't hear enough of that good old acoustic blues around these parts! Truly awesome. So, get out and support our great local talent, support the BRBS, and enjoy the music! After all, 2003 has been officially declared the YEAR OF THE BLUES!
NIGHTMARE ON I-55
By Carmen Jones
This weekend, I took a trip to Memphis to the International Blues Competition held there each year.
I didn't drive there myself, much to my chagrin; I rode with a friend, Charlene R. Not taking the advice of a friend and fellow writer: "don't ride with Charlene;" who survived this encounter earlier, I went anyway.
Now, you know you've ridden with Charlene when:
1. Both feet are on the dashboard pushing the brakes from the passenger side.
2. When she puts on the cruise control at 3 in the afternoon before you get to Sherwood Forest on I-12.
3. When you've smoked a pack of cigarettes before you get to Hammond and need to stop for a drink (around 3:05 p.m.).
4. When you can reach out the window and touch the car in front of you at 75 miles per hour.
5. When you "swerve" to change lanes and have to do it twice because there was a car in front of the car you were trying to pass and barely missed.
6. When you go straight to Swamp Mama's, without pause, to get a drink, straight, on the rocks, as soooooon as you get back and plant your feet solidly on the ground; after giving an abundance of thanks and making all kinds of promises to God or whomever else he puts in charge when he's busy with bigger stuff.
When HoodooJimmy told me that there were three of them in the car once and she said for one of them to look right and the other to look left cause she wasn't stopping, that should have been a clue.
The woman races through the streets with her flashers on, for no other reason than to not have to stop.
But I'm a brave, black woman and previously thought to be of strong constitution. Oooooh, unh, uh! I WAS SCARED!!!
I'm just now calming down and very seriously thinking of flying the next time I have to go somewhere, if the only other option is riding with her.
And that's crucial! To be willing to brave hijackers and terrorists before ever riding with Charlene again. As far as I'm concerned, that's a no-brainer: take the plane.
At least, that way, I would at least have the satisfaction of knowing that they were going out with me.
But with Charlene, she'd probably get out of the car and walk (of course, she doesn't carry a cell phone, "too much trouble") somewhere to call 911, while you were upside down, in a flaming car, totally conscious and aware of all the pain engulfing your body, pinned in, unable to move or scream and left lame for life, if you survived.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT!
We would like to thank the 200 members who currently support BRBS.
Check out our link at http://btrblues.home.att.net/brbs.