Blue Notes
5th Annual Doheny Blues Festival 5-19-02
Doheny State Park, Dana Point, CA
by Don Brown Sr.
The Blues Internet
Las Vegas Jazz n' Blues
Las Vegas Blues
music divider
Charlie Musselwhite

Blue Daddy opened Sunday on the Renaissance Stage with a good set of blues that included "THAT'S FOR SURE", "BUMPY RIDE" and "BLUES IS HERE TO STAY".

The Back Porch Stage had Charlie Musselwhite playing guitar and harp, doing his version of "MY BABY", which was great. During Charlie's set, some joker came up onstage and said that the people in the back couldn't hear, so he wanted to turn up the PA, but Charlie said that's all it would put out. Musselwhite then asked if he was with the festival. He said no, and then left. Charlie then said "if someone comes onstage again, I'll wrap my guitar around their neck". Guitarist Kirk Fletcher was then invited to play with Charlie, and it was hot. "SHE USED HER LIFE TOO FAST", "THE BLUES OVERTOOK ME" and "KEY TO THE HIGHWAY" featured fine guitar work from Kirk and some great harp playing from one of the very best. Needless to say, the set was finished without any more interruptions.

Next on the Renaissance Stage came Roy Rogers & The Delta Rhythm Kings. This band came out on fire with "LONELY AVENUE" and "DOWNHOME GIRL". Roy's fingers were flying over the fretboard while bassist Steve Errhman and drummer Jim Sanchez's great rhythm were keeping the groove going. Roy brought out violinist Tom Rigney for the rest of the set. An ode to Chuck Berry, "DUCKWALK", was next, followed closely by "RAMBLIN' ON MY MIND", which was dedicated to John Lee Hooker. During this song, Tom Rigney played a little "SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY" on his violin. Willie Dixon's "BUILT FOR COMFORT" featured a nice drum solo by Jim Sanchez. "SHAKE YOUR MONEYMAKER" had Tom singing the chorus along with Roy. The band went into "AVALANCHE", from their latest CD SLIDEWAYS, with a little Robert Johnson's "32/20 Blues" thrown in. Applause from the crowd brought the band back to do an encore of Robert Johnson's "TERRAPLANE BLUES" to end a dynamite set.

The main stage then featured Bo Diddley and the Debbie Hastings Band. Bo did his signature songs, "BO DIDDLEY" and "WHO DO YOU LOVE". The band also performed "MANNISH BOY" and it featured Bo adding some rap. Bo and Debbie jammed alot in a rather basic set.

Marcia Ball

It was then back to the Renaissance Stage for pianist Marcia Ball, a great boogie-woogie piano player who lead the band through a 10 song set which included "JUST KISS ME BABY", "COMING DOWN WITH THE BLUES", "BIG SHOT", and "FOR YOU MY LOVE". This performance kept the fans on their feet. "CAN I PLAY WITH YOUR POODLE" ended the set, but the fans wouldnt' let her go. Marcia and her band played an inspired version of Frankie Ford's "SEA CRUISE" to appease her fans.

The next act to hit the main stage was the legendary Little Richard. Playing his piano and having fun, Little Richard and his band ran through his greatest hits, "GOOD GOLLY MISS MOLLY", "BONEY MARONEY", "TUTTI FRUTTI", "LUCILLE", and "KEEP A KNOCKIN'". Entertaining the crowd with his comic "shut up's", Little Richard is still a great performer, and if you don't believe me, SHUT UP!

Roy Rogers

Slide guitarist Roy Rogers and violinist Tom Rigney then took the Back Porch Stage. Three Robert Johnson songs were played, "WALKIN' BLUES", "STONES IN MY PASSWAY", and "KIND HEARTED WOMAN BLUES". Roy played these songs the way you might imagine Robert Johnson playing them, just sitting on a back porch, jamming with a violin player or whoever else stopped by.

The Renaissance Stage then featured Junior Brown, the king of alternative country, or as he likes to call himself, "Free Range". "HILLBILLY GAL" and "BETTER HALF" featured Brown's deep vocals and his guit-steel guitar, which he also invented. "SASSY BROWN" and the hot number "MEAN LITTLE FREEDOM MACHINE" lead into fan favorite "SURF MEDLEY", which ended a very different kind of show.

Junior Brown

The last performer of the festival was the king of the blues, that is B.B. King. BB and his always top notch band ripped through Louis Jordan's "LET THE GOOD TIMES ROLL" and "CALEDONIA" to keep the exhausted crowd on their feet. "JUST LIKE A WOMAN" and "HOW BLUE CAN YOU GET" kept the crowd yelling for more. BB's guitarist was ill, so King was using Las Vegas's own Charlie Tuna, called Charlie Dennis by BB. His impressive 8 piece band lead the way through his set, which also included "ROCK ME BABY", "KEY TO THE HIGHWAY" and BB's most famous song, "THE THRILL IS GONE". This performance showed just what a master craftsman can do and why many fans at the 5th Annual Doheny Blues Festival are already making plans for number 6.

Editor's Note: Check out Don Brown's Interview with Roy Rogers in Las Vegas.

Photography by Carol Michaud, copyright © 2002 Brown Ink

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