The Allman Brothers Band

Butch and the Blues (Palm Beach Post)

OUR BLUES BROTHERS (AND SISTER)

CHARLES PASSY
Palm Beach Post Music Writer

28 September 2003
The Palm Beach Post

Blues fan: Butch Trucks, drummer for the Allman Brothers Band, Palm Beach

What the blues means to him: “Duane (Allman) introduced me to the blues. They became a part of my life then and have been a part ever since. All of the music I have played since the inception of the Allman Brothers Band in 1969 is greatly informed by the blues. Some (songs) are direct covers (One Way Out, Statesboro Blues, Stormy Monday, etc.), some are just influenced by them. But the feel and overt emotion evoked by the blues opened me up to what music is all about.”

Favorite blues recording: John Hammond’s Shake For Me. “Duane played slide guitar on this one and the groove, Hammond’s singing and the playing are as good as it gets.”

Best blues concert he ever attended: “I went to the Sanger Theatre in New Orleans with my bandmates to see B.B. King in 1970. The theater was sold out and we were the only white people in the house. I had seen B.B. many times and had even played with him on several occasions. I had never seen him play, sing and preach with the fire and intensity he did that night. Now, 23 years later, it is still one of the most intense musical experiences of my life.”

Blues fan: Dion DiMucci, Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, Boca Raton

What the blues means to him: “For me, it’s the perfect form to express yourself – everything from heartache to love to joy. You can’t put it into words because it just is.”

Favorite blues recording: Jimmy Reed’s Bright Lights, Big City. “I don’t know if I’d be in this business if it weren’t for Jimmy Reed.”

Best blues concert he ever attended: “It was a concert called ‘Evolution of the Blues’ at Carnegie Hall in the early ’60s. They had everyone from Son House to Mississippi John Hurt. They had even had guys like Mose Allison and Chuck Berry. They had the country blues and then how it got into the cities. It was an all-night thing.”

Blues fan: Rick Shaw, editor of Tweedsblues.net (blues Web site), Lake Worth

What the blues means to him: “It’s the earthy equivalent to gospel music. Both styles celebrate life and good times. They also tell of the low-down ways of some folks and the bad choices we all make while wandering through this world. Blues is also a great unifier. It will bring people of all different races and religions together and unite them in foot-stomping, hand-clapping and dancing. I have yet to see a fight in a bar where the blues is played.”

Favorite blues recording: Alan Lomax’s early recordings of Mississippi Fred McDowell. “Fred plays a taped-together guitar and his wife, Annie Mae, accompanies him on the comb. Percussion is provided by Fred’s foot thumping the planks of his front porch. The rhythms he produced make me want to jump up and down every time I hear it.”

Best blues concert he ever attended: “When I went back to Mississippi this past May, I had the opportunity to see a young kid named Daniel Ballinger, or ‘Slick’ as he’s known by. This 19-year- old gave about the best performances that I’ve ever seen anybody do anywhere and the people – black, white, brown or tan – are just wild about him down there. He is the real deal.”

Blues fan: Ray Carbone, owner of Ray’s Downtown Blues, West Palm Beach

What the blues means to him: “For me, it’s not just musical. It’s a state of mind. And it’s not just my dog died, my wife left me or I can’t pay my rent. It’s also joy. It’s the culmination of everything in life.”

Favorite blues recording: B.B. King’s How Blue Can You Get? “It’s the last lines of the song that speak to me: ‘I bought you a ten- dollar dinner and you said, ‘Thanks for the snack.’ I let you live in my penthouse and you said, ‘It’s just a shack.’ You gave me seven children and now you wanna give them back.’ It’s funny and yet it expresses some kind of sorrow.”

Best blues concert he ever attended: “The first time I saw Led Zeppelin. It was 1976 and an all-star blues band opened for them. It was Muddy Waters, Bo Diddley and Willie Dixon, with Johnny Winter on guitar. I didn’t know what the hell it was. I had no idea who these old dudes were. And I went, ‘Oh my God.’ ”

Blues fan: Frank Ward, bandleader for the Nucklebusters, Boca Raton

What the blues means to him: “I think it’s the ability to express emotions through an art form. It can be medicinal or therapeutic or comforting. Just because it was born of depression doesn’t mean it’s re-created that way. It turns out to be very uplifting.”

Favorite blues recording: T-Bone Walker, The Complete Imperial Recordings. “As far as I’m concerned, he was the father of the electric blues. He was a great songwriter, great singer, great guitar player and, my favorite of all, a great bandleader.”

Best blues concert he ever attended: “Albert Collins at the Musicians Exchange (in Fort Lauderdale). It was just the way he commanded the audience. He was immediately your friend. He drew the attention of every single person in the room and had them hanging on every note. One minute he was blasting and cranking it up, the next minute he was down to a whisper.”

Blues fan: Pete Lauro, president of Treasure Coast Blues Society and blues writer, Port St. Lucie

What the blues means to him: “My slogan is the blues is my passion and therapy. People think it’s depressing music. It’s not. You go into a blues club and everybody is clapping their hands and shaking their feet. It gets in your soul.”

Favorite blues recording: Koko Taylor’s I’d Rather Go Blind. It’s basically a song where the woman is saying to the man that she would rather go blind than see her man with another woman. It’s the ultimate love thing you can say to somebody.”

Best blues concert he ever attended: “It was a satellite project of the Newport Jazz Festival, an event called ‘The Best of the Blues’ in 1973 at Lincoln Center’s Philharmonic Hall in New York. It was with B.B. King, Muddy Waters, Big Mama Thornton, Jay McShann and others. What was so great was they had this big stage and it was set up as a cafe. There were all these little tables and all the musicians were sitting at them with their friends and family. It was a small, intimate setting and yet this was taking place in Philharmonic Hall.”

Blues fan: Ben Prestage, blues guitarist, Jensen Beach

What the blues means to him: “It’s more than the music, it’s the feeling and whole Southern culture that goes behind it. I think of blues more as rural Southern blues, not like Stevie Ray Vaughan. That’s the modern-day interpretation that has a lot of rock influences, a lot of commercial influences. I hate to say (the older style of blues) is folk music, but it’s music made by the people for the people, not to be played on the radio for a mass market.”

Favorite blues recording: Anything by Bukka White. “He’s one of the first guys I started listening to. Everybody says Son House and Robert Johnson are bigger, but he has a different feel to his stuff. He’s not from the Delta, he’s from farther north. The Delta blues is more a slow, 12-bar pattern, the northern style is more one chord and real hypnotic.”

Best blues concert he ever attended: “John Hammond. I’ve seen him a couple of times, including at the Bamboo Room. Mainly, it’s the power he has and the emotions he evokes. It’s one thing when you have five guys put out a big sound, but when one person can do it, it always amazes me.”

Blues fan: Theresa Lindstrom, blues-based singer/songwriter, West Palm Beach

What the blues means to her: “It’s about everyday people in everyday situations. It’s a love gone bad. It’s hard times and hard work. It’s about hopes and dreams and faith in God.”

Favorite blues recording: B.B. King’s The Thrill Is Gone. “Because it was one of the first ones I ever heard.”

Best blues concert she ever attended: Bonnie Raitt at SunFest in 2002 (Lindstrom opened for her). “Being that close to the stage and being able to meet her made it special.”

charles_passy@pbpost.com

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