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What is a blues singer, a good or a bad one? I say he's just a meal ticket for the man or woman who wears dollar signs for eyes - Big Bill Broonzy, quoted by Yannick Bruynoghe in Big Bill Blues, Da Capo Press

Author Topic: Martin Grosswendt, Ernie Hawkins & Del Rey at the Opera House  (Read 628 times)

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Offline Mr.OMuck

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Martin Grosswendt, Ernie Hawkins & Del Rey at the Opera House
« on: August 24, 2011, 12:28:43 PM »
Well for the second year in a row my friend Jeff Cheeger, geometer supreme, brought the lonesome sounds of the archaic African American southland to the rocky, fogbound, coast of Maine, where on a granite island whose name shall not here be revealed, three superlative exponents of fingerpicked guitar delighted a flinty New England audience with a diverse program of Blues, early Jazz, original songs in the manner of.. and  instrumental confections designed to confound and amaze fellow guitarists.
They were, again, the redoubtable Ernie Hawkins, Pittsburgh?s very own repository and virtuosic exponent of archaic Blues, Del Rey, Seattle?s own bicycle promoting champeen supersonic guitar digit flailer, and new to me this year the funky and soulful Martin Grosswendt hailing from the humongous state of Rhode Island.
Here?s what they played:

August 14, Ernie Hawkins
Slow Drag ? Gary Davis
Whinin Boy- Jelly Roll Morton
What You Gonna Do ? Ernie Hawkins
Friend Like Me ? Jesse Thomas
Cocaine ? Rev.Gary Davis
Del Rey
Livin? ? public domain
Bicycle Blues ? Del Rey
Bus Song ? Del Rey
Wobbley Walk ? Del Rey
Memphis Shake ? public domain (Clifford Hayes?)
Dance Hall Shuffle ? public domain
What?s going to Happen to the Tots? Noel Coward
Black Stick ? public domain
Martin Grosswendt
Honey Blues ? Funny Papa Smith
Milk Cow Blues ? Sleepy John Estes
Traveling Riverside Blues ? Robert Johnson
The Good Times Are Killing Me ? Martin Grosswendt
Joseph Spence Medley ? traditional
Tennessee Blues ? Bobby Charles
Ernie, Del and Martin
Morning Blue- Dave Macon
Tapping That Thing ? Memphis Jug Band
Nobody Knows You ? Jimmy Cox

(thanks to Jennifer Morrow for list)

Ernie?s Slow Drag was some wicked good, an? when I tells ya that, you can bet the lobstahs are ass high to a ten foot Indian if I?m lyin?.

Del played tougher than a boiled owl, and I still pity the fool what?s got to follow her on to the stage. She sang prettier than many a woman with a guitar known primarily for their voice. Her original instrumental, Wobbly Walk, inspired by chapters 16-18 (Debbs and Socialism) of  Howard Zinn?s classic People?s History of the United States is a hoot and conjures up a Chaplanesque Bo of old, IWW card fresh in hand, struttin? his stuff.

Martin played a good days catch on Guitar and Mandolin and this bein? the first time I?d heard him impressed me mightily. His opening salvo of Honey Blues was wicked good.
He?s a friend of Mike Taub?s, our own Eagle Rockin? Daddy, who had told me some years back how good he was and he wasn?t just whistlin? the Waldstein neither.

All in all it was a terrific night of the music we love. Perhaps the highlight for me oddly enough was Ernie playing a song I bet everyone on this site plays without thinkin? twice, the elusively simple Cocaine Blues.  In its simplicity, the purity of its architecture, its semi-modal trance inducing mental captivation, it is one of the true masterpieces of the genre, timeless, evocative, and extremely beautiful, least ways as  played by Ernie.

Thanks to Judith Jerome, Linda Nelson and all who helped make the evening possible.
 
My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
Vladimir Nabokov (1899 - 1977)

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Offline Parlor Picker

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Re: Martin Grosswendt, Ernie Hawkins & Del Rey at the Opera House
« Reply #1 on: August 25, 2011, 04:11:08 AM »
What a night that must have been!
"I ain't good looking, teeth don't shine like pearls,
So glad good looks don't take you through this world."
Barbecue Bob

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Martin Grosswendt, Ernie Hawkins & Del Rey at the Opera House
« Reply #2 on: August 25, 2011, 08:31:18 AM »
Thanks for the lowdown, Mr. O'M. I agree about Ernie's Cocaine. There's a bend he does on the 2nd string that gets me every time.

 

Offline eagle rockin daddy

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Re: Martin Grosswendt, Ernie Hawkins & Del Rey at the Opera House
« Reply #3 on: August 25, 2011, 11:29:26 AM »
Thanks O'Muck, what a great line-up.  I think Alice does a great job with the Guitar Intensive weekend in Bar Harbor, I really want to make it to one of these some day.  Wow, Ernie, Del and Martin.  It doesn't get any better.

Mike

Offline Johnm

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Re: Martin Grosswendt, Ernie Hawkins & Del Rey at the Opera House
« Reply #4 on: August 25, 2011, 12:23:26 PM »
Yes, that sounds like a great show, Phil.  Martin's performance of "These Good Times Are Killing Me" at the staff concert at Guitar Intensives was one of the very best slide performances I've ever heard in person.
All best,
Johnm

Offline eagle rockin daddy

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Re: Martin Grosswendt, Ernie Hawkins & Del Rey at the Opera House
« Reply #5 on: August 26, 2011, 04:15:58 AM »
That's a great tune John.  Martin wrote it for Jim Ringer, an old friend, and a wonderful country singer-songwriter who passed away from alcoholism in the early 90's.  I want to mention that for Ringer's memory.  He put out several great albums, including 'Any Old Wind that Blows,' which features David Bromberg's band.

Martin has long been my favorite slide guitarist.  The tone he gets is simply incredible to me.  His version of 'Come on in my Kitchen' is sublime.

Mike

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