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Story and photos by Joe HargreavesTwo minutes before eight bells The Midwest Blues All-Stars hit the stage, opening the evening with a blistering version of the popular Junior Wells cut, "Snatch It Back And Hold It." Using drawn out rolling blues as a backdrop, front man Jimmy Davis - blues harp/vocalist - introduced the band. Playing well off of each other, Richard Radbil and Sam McCue swapped lead guitar duties throughout the night, as timekeeper Vodie Rhinehart held them in place. Dave Chyla took helm of the bass and led them into their cover of Chester Burnett's (aka Howlin' Wolf) "Howlin' For My Baby." But It was Burnett's "Killing Floor" that stood out as one of their evening's finer moment.
When one thinks of Blues music with its early 20th century southern United States cultural origin, one can't avoid the thoughts of the sweat, toil, and heart that the African American community poured into it. Their voices would be heard. From field hands across the cotton belt their language would rise and speak to their people. A genre of music we can truly call our own, American. For that reason alone The Blues will forever be a black music. They've earned it, they own it; others just borrow it at times.
Zydeco (noun) - A kind of Black American dance music originally from southern Louisiana, typically featuring accordion and guitar.
Like a pot of good Louisiana Gumbo and its "holy trinity" of celery, bell pepper, and onion; zydeco has its tasty blend of jazz, rhythm and blues, with a dash of Creole. Serve it over an accordion with a pinch of washboard, and you've got yourself one hella'va bowl of Buckwheat Zydeco!
Shortly past 9:00 pm the band hit the stage and prepared the crowd with their groovy roux, mixing it up at a low heat, folding it just right and looking for that consistency and color to take form. And then when everything looked just right, out from stage left emerged Stanley Dural Jr., or, as introduced - ladies and gentleman - 4 time Grammy nominee - Mr. Buckwheat Zydeco!
Reserved for dancing, the front 25% of the Ballroom floor had been vacant of tables and chairs. Until now it had seen few brave enough to display their get down. By the time Buckwheat took center stage it was packed with cavortin' rug-cutters. Not many probably know what a frottoir is, and if you're thinking that you may want to become one, see how much luck you have walking into a music center asking for some corrugated metal and a fork. Buck waltzed around stage with his dance partner…an accordion, and he shredded it! Working the enthused crowd masterfully, the accordion God leaned over the precipice of the stage, as a woman - in some erotic trance - stroked the pearly face of his squeezebox. Occasionally Buck stepped up to the mic requesting of his band mates to give 'em a little of that old e flat, before jumping into another crowd pleaser. Brimming with charisma, Buck worked the stage brilliantly and kept claiming "no matter who you are or where you come from…everyboby's goin' to get a little Buckwheat tonight!"
Keeping true to his promise...we all got our fill.
The Midwest Blues All-Stars
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