S'Cruz Blues Report

Put together an interesting double-header here in Santa Cruz this
past Friday night.  Caught Jimmie Rogers w/Madison Slim at Moe's
Alley earlier in the evening, and then fell by Palookaville for a
hot last set by Jay Geils'/Magic Dick's Bluestime.  (Declined to
attempt pulling a hat trick in the same night with Clapton and
Portnoy a short hop over the hill in San Jose...)

Slim is a pretty straight-ahead, competent, and respectful
accompanist for the legendary Rogers, and although his amp was
house-miked, we was actually low in the mix for the mid-evening
set I caught.  

Some interesting stuff, but not especially flashy, which was
probably appropriate for working with his gentlemanly boss.  (I
actually thought he had an uncanny onstage resemblance to Rod
Piazza -- maybe it was the Ray-Bans and the wry attitude.)

He was using a Crystal Ball mike and a stock silver-face Super
Reverb.  I talked with him on a break, and when I asked him about
his mike, he immediately asked me if I wanted to buy it right
there (I declined :).  Not that he doesn't like it;  in fact, he
said he has managed to collect three of them -- two with crystal,
and one with ceramic -- and didn't need the second crystal one.

(For mike-volume-control buffs, he said he almost always plays it
wide open, but prefers its frequency response to that of the
stock JT-30 when he does occasionally use it.)

Bluestime put in a hot set (including Dick's signature "Whammer
Jammer").  Both Jay (formerly "J.") and Dick appear to have been
"wintering well" (in the words of my old Okie buddy Pete, when
referring to critters of both the two- and four-legged persuasion
who have added some tonnage during the off-season), and generally
seemed to be having a relaxed and fun time with their material in
this new incarnation -- if anything, they each sounded better
than ever.

Dick was trying to bail fast after the load-out (they're touring
old-school style on a big bus with MA plates) so I didn't talk
with him at great length, but he was using a Hohner Blues mike
and a stock ("untouched"), late-model blackface Fender Twin ("The
Twin") stage right, driving a physically-matching (but headless)
2-12 cabinet stage left ("built by my man Jay").  Mostly
straight-ahead cross-harp, with some occasional 3rd position
thrown in -- nothing I heard sounded like he was using any
tunings other than regular diatonic.

(It was also reassuring to see another gonzo harp player actually
play an entire gig under the lights without ever once taking off
his black leather jacket, either during or afterwards. :)

All in all, not a bad blues night in surf city.  B*

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