Ok, so the weather wasn't all that great for the Chesapeake Bay Blues Festival, but it was a blast all the same. The location is great, Sandy Point State Park outside of Annapolis. It's on the bay overlooking the Bay Bridge.
Saturday had the worst weather of the weekend. It was cold and cloudy with regular showers. But the music kept us going. Everyone put on a great show. Shemekia Copeland came in at the last minute because Ruth Brown had to cancel due to illness. She still sounds great. Ron Holoway sat in with Shemekia and sounded like he'd been with the band for years.
Taj Mahal was the highlight of Saturday for me. He'd reconstitued the Phantom Blues Band and they sounded great. Most every song had a great swing or latin rhythm behind it. If this is the band he has with him when he visits the Birchmere in July... I think I might just have to take in an El Cheapo show from the Bandstand. ;)
Robert Cray ended the day. He and his 'Strong Persuader' album are as responsible as anything for my blues addiction. It was great to see him. But I didn't stick around for long, because I was unprepared for the cold as night fell.
Sunday was much nicer. There was no rain to speak of, it was a bit warmer, and the sun even threatened to break through the clouds.
I got there in time to see Debbie Davies... who I love. She's a hell of a guitarist who seems to bypass us in favor of Charlottesville in her tours through the area. She had a great performance... and impressed a lot of folks.
Roomful of Blues sounded great as always... I'm continually impressed with the new lead singer (Mac Odom). He's such a powerful presence on stage, even when he's not singing.
The late Luther Allison had a strong following amongst those 'in the know'. His son, Bernard, has the same respect. His sunday performance was AWESOME. Not much more can be said. He really got the crowd up and moving.
Oh, yes and then there was James Brown. He closed Sunday out. They don't call him the Hardest Working Man in Show Buisness for nothing. His band defined TIGHT. The band consisted of two drummers and another percussionist, four guitarists and a bass, three keyboards (including James Brown's), six horns, four backup singers, a pair of dancers, and a couple handlers... oh, yes, and then there was Mr. Brown. He still sings his heart out, dances, and does his thing. And when he's not, he's driving that band hard.
I was thinking about skipping the Bay Fest this year. I'm really glad I didn't... in spite of the weather. It is a fun festival... well worth the drive and price of admission.