Tuesday, May 15, 1984
The Michigan Daily
Blues pair shows big-time flair
By Michael Fisch
EVERYBODY AROUND is finding
out about the Blind Pig's new
renovation, so I figure you all ought to
hear about the Michigan Theatre's
transformation. Last Saturday, with
the help of Bobby Blue Bland and his
orchestra, and Albert King and the
Blues Band, the unassuming theatre
became a honkytonk blues bar and a
night club all rolled into one glorious
jam of blues music.
Albert King's six piece Blues Band
started things going with some foot
tapping blues, until the king himself
strutted on stage, his trademark flying
V guitar in hand.
The first floor and balcony were dot-
ted with empty seats, but that didn't
matter to Albert (something tells me
he'd have put on as fine a show for a
dozen people if that were how many
showed up.) All that mattered was that
he could play blues and the crowd was
ready to listen.
And boy were they ready to listen. Af-
fectionate fans were shouting things
like "Make that guitar wail
Albert-make it weep." Well, that's
exactly what he did, by bending the
notes in a way that really can't be
duplicated by anyone. Others may have
the talent, but Albert King's got talent
and soul. One without the other makes
music but not blues like King makes it.
He sang about problems most of us
can relate to - "going' to Detroit to get a
job ... " a woman whose "always
bein' so mean" but he wasn't just
singing, there was a special kind of
bond there, like he was talking to each
Some have been talking about a
decline in blues but this crowd would
hear nothing of it. At one point Albert
shouted, "y'all comtable?" the
resounding answer was "YEAH!'.
That type of thing occurred throughout
King's performance, after his in-
credible guitar licks had awed the
Just when the crowd's emotion level
seemed to have reached its peak, on
came the Bobby Blue Bland Orchestra.
The nine piecer took the stage with a
whole different sort of sound, and a dif-
The Orchestra members all wore the
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on all models
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on Forest next to Village Corner
Albert King grins as he draws another note from his guitar during a show which he co-headlined with Bobby Blue
same get up, an off rust tuxedo (excep- and filled the whole theatre with through his sometimes growling,
ting one sax player who wore his own vibrant sound. sometimes soothing voice. Thing is,
peculiar tan tuxedo). The Orchestra With the crowd now comfortable with Bland, a true performer knew just
horn section was a lot larger than the blues, Bland style, Bobby Blue when to growl. That's what made the
King's (five opposed to two members) Bland himself walked in, bedecked in a show so much fun to watch.
which helped to create a more night- flashy gray tux, complete with a big As he sang, "They call it stormy
clubbish sound to the group. collared shirt. Bland sang about love, Monday, but Tuesday's just as bad,
The orchestra did its own boppin' switching from mellow, moody blues, to Wednesday's worse, and Thursday's oh
arrangement of Michael Jackson's jumpier soul sounds. Whichever style, so sad ... "
"Billie Jean" that got the crowd going the crowd was still an emotional one. Thanks to Albert King, and Bobby
wild. The horns were especially crisp, Bland kept the feelings flowing Blue Bland, Saturday was oh so sweet.
Yes, we have no alarm-clocks
By Joseph Kraus
LET'S GET ONE thing straight. That snore you hear from
the back of the room is not the blues - repeat - not the
Contrary to what some people seem to believe, the blues
are not asleep. Nor are they on any extended European
vacation. The blues are here.
Last weekend saw the amazing double bill of Bobby Bland
and Albert King, and this week brings us John Hammond,
one of the foremost acoustic blues musicians of the last quar-
Since his overwhelming debut at the 1963 Newport Folk
Festival, Hammond has made a habit of bowling audiences
over with his gutsy guitar, frenetic harmonica and spine-
tingling voice. In addition, he has had a storied recording
career that has consistently featured future greats as session
Hammond released his first album in 1963, which proved to
be the perfect time, as the freshness of his Newport success
had created a demand for it. Over the next several years he
recorded several more, and at last count the total is 20 major
His 1965 release, So Many Roads, featured a backup band
that included Robbie Robertson and Levon Helm, both later
of The Band, and Mike Bloomfield, who went on to become a
major force in American rock's development.
In 1967, he formed a band for his first Atlantic release, I
Can Tell, that featured Robertson and Rick Danko of The
Band and Bill Wyman, in what was the first recording outside
of the Rolling Stones by any of the devilish quintet.
Collaborators on some of Hammond's later albums have
included Dr. John, Roosevelt Sykes and Duane Allman.
But even beyond his recordings, Hammond has had a
profound affect on an entire generation of rock and blues
musicians. As early as 1965 he was touring with John
Mayall's Blues Breakers, which included at various times
Eric Clapton, Mick Fleetwood and John McVie.
At about the same time, he began touring with a teenage
Stevie Winwood who went on to become a hitmaker with the
likes of the Spencer DavisGroup and Traffic.
In 1966, a young guitarist was "discovered" while playing
in Hammond's band. There was no stopping Jimi Hendrix.
Despite his recording success, Hammond has remained a
live performer. He manages to draw more sound from the
simple instruments in his hands than seems possible, and he
does so with great energy.
Hammond will be hitting Ann Arbor Thursday night as the
first national name to play in the new Blind Pig Ballroom.
Rounding out the evening will be Steve Newhouse, a local
guitarist, doing an opening set.
Tickets for the show are $5.50 and available at Schoolkid's,
P.J.'s, and the Blind Pig.
Don't miss what promises to be an evening of spectacular
blues by one of the most influential musicians of our