FrontPage / Activism /
BlogPortal / Calendar /
Ongoing Calendar Events
Donate / Flyer/
Pictures on Picasso:
PDX Music /
Poster / Subscribe /
Place Ad / Ad Rates /
Online Ads /
Twitter / News! /
Previous Issues /
Blog/ Myspace /
Facebook1 / Facebook2
Waterfront Blues Fest
Alliance on YouTube:
Active Community /
A Few Words /
Arts & Culture /
Book Reviews! /
Breaking News /
Cartoons / Steve Amy /
Too Much Coffee Man /
Community Calendar /
Cover The Real News! /
Fifth Monday Labor Radio!
Jobs / Labor History /
Letters / Music /
Mike Hastie Poetics
Progressive Directory /
Secret Society /
Viewpoints & Commentary
William Beeman /
Ellen Brown /
Shamus Cooke /
Tom Engelhardt /
Michael Munk /
Myers / William Reed /
Mark Schwebke /
Norman Solomon /
Lawrence S. Wittner
AFD / AFL-CIO
Alliance for Democracy
AMA / Backspace
B-MediaCollective Bread&Roses /
CIO / CAUSA/
CLG / Code Pink
Common Dreams /
CWA / DIA /
Democracy Now /
First Unitarian Church
FSP /ISO /
Jobs w\ Justice /
KBOO /Labor Radio /
LGBTQ / MRG / Milagro /
Mobile T's Cover the News
Mosaic / Move-On /
Occupy / OEA /
Occupy PDX /
Oregon Peace & Justice /
Peace worker /
PCASC / PPRC /
Right 2 Dream Too /
Sisters of The Road
Street Roots / Skanner /
The Nation / TruthOut /
Urban League /
VFP / Voz
We Are Oregon
Witness for Peace /
Arts & Culture /
AIPAC / Beatles /
Bradley Manning /
Civil Rights / Coal /
Death Penalty / Drones /
Economic Justice /
Election 2012 /
Fair Trade / F-29 /
Film / Fluoridation
Health Care / Homeless / Iraq
J-Street / Jill Stein /
Justice Party / Middle East /
Occupy Blog / Peace /
Persian / Police /
Post Office / Quotes
STRIKE! / Theatre /
The Pongo Fund /
Torture / TPP /
Tri-Met / Union /
Unionresource / VDay /
Voices in Action
War & Peace /
Women / Writing /
Michael Munk PDX Historian
What’s on Tap for April’s General Membership Meeting . . .
Melody Ballroom, 615 SE Alder St., Portland
Wednesday, April 6, 7:00 pm
Members always Free – Non-members $3.00
Opening Acoustic Set – Thad Beckman
Second Electric Set – Kenny Lee & The Sundowners
Hard to believe that we’re already rolling into April. Seems like just yesterday that we started the new year. Maybe it’s because of so much great blues happening in our area that the months just seem to be running into one another quickly. And, lucky for us, there’s no end to it in sight. Of course, we all know that the Cascade Blues Association is going to do its part in helping to provide at least one date every month you can count on for bringing exciting blues your way. That happens again this month in The Melody Ballroom at our General Membership Meeting where the Association always brings in the acts you love or should be aware of. And that’s not going to change in April as we have a spectacular couple of acts in line for everybody.
Opening the evening will be an artist that recently returned to the Portland area after a short hiatus living in Colorado. Thad Beckman is without question one of the finest acoustic guitarists around, but his career has spread far beyond just working as a solo artist. Beckman has worked for a number of years partnered with singer/songwriter Tom Russell touring throughout the country, Canada, and Europe as well as performing on television. He has also performed with a number of R&B bands including work with Bo Diddley and Earl Thomas, and has opened for such renowned artists as BB King, Albert Collins, Emmylou Harris, The Band, James Cotton, and many others. A creative songwriter himself, he has eight solo albums to his credit including his most recent, Streets Of Disaster, and an instructional book on playing guitar, as he also teaches guitar and does producing for others when not performing.
Perhaps Jim Beal of The San Antonio Express News best describes Thad Beckman when he writes that “Beckman plays an engaging blend of folk, singer-songwriter and blues music. Not everyone can pull off such a combination, but Beckman has chops, writing talent, and a bag full of true stories which all dovetail for a cool show.”
Joining Thad Beckman for this set will be harmonica ace Kurtis Piltz. These two often work together and have a connection that is right on target every time they work as a tandem.
The second set of the meeting will see the return of a band that has not performed for us for a while and has been totally revamped into an even better outfit than before — Kenny Lee & The Sundowners. Its ReverbNation biography describes Kenny Lee as “an Outlaw of Consciousness. Armed with his guitar, the simplicity of his song and the integrity of his soul, he is an outlaw runnin’ against the winds of inhumanity, injustice and the crimes against Mother Earth and her inhabitants. True to his roots, his music captures the human condition in down home words. Kenny Lee also has a very special relationship with the lap steel. He doesn’t play the lap steel, he makes love to the music in the soul of the instrument. For those present in the magic of those moments, it is a beauty beyond description. Backing him up is the rythym section of Marcos Ferraz on Bass, Alan Wicks on Drums and Ken M (Mortellaro) on guitar. “
The band has been together in one form or another since 1992, with their most recent recording titled Outlaw which has received airplay throughout the area. When you come to a Sundowners show, you’ll hear blues standards that have been stamped with the band’s imprint, some classic rock tunes, and many original songs. You may notice a Hank Jr. sound along with some funk and a lot of Jimi Hendrix, that adds a psychedelic element to the music. There is a lot of influences behind the musicians in the band, so expect a high energy performance, great for dancing or just rockin’ out!
In between sets we’ll hold our regular free ticket drawing and alert you to the happenings in the area for the month. Don’t forget your ticket at the door when you enter for your chance to win great prizes.
Don’t forget, if you’re planning on participating in this year’s Journey To Memphis competition to earn the right to represent the CBA in Memphis at the International Blues Challenge, you must turn in your application no later than this meeting.
Special Note: Please respect the artists performing. Many of them wait for up to a year to have the chance to play for you. It is a great time to catch up with friends who you may only see once a month, but if you do want to talk, please step out to the foyer so others may enjoy the talent of the musicians playing for us. Thank you and we’ll see you at the meeting!
Safeway Waterfront Blues Festival
What we've all been waiting for...Opening Day of Blues Fest! We'll be live-posting on Twitter and Instagram (@waterfrontbluesfest) with the hashtag #pdxwbf. Follow us and share your festival experience!
And don't forget to download the FREE festival app & have the schedule at your fingertips: http://waterfrontbluesfest.com/Festival…/Festival-Mobile-App
The 26th Annual Waterfront Blues Festival
at Portland’s Waterfront Park
Nikki Hill above (pictures by Peter C. Little) Taj Mahal below
by Larry Cwik (with photography by Larry Cwik & Peter C. Little)
From July 4 – 7, 2013 tens of thousands of Portlanders and visitors to Portland enjoyed the likes of Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters, Joe Louis Walker, Eric Burdon and the Animals, John Hiatt and the Combo, Mavis Staples, and dozens of other gifted musicians at Portland’s 26th annual Waterfront Blues Festival at Tom McCall Waterfront Park. Beautiful weather joined with awesome music from world-class musicians for the Festival. The Festival, now the second-largest Blues Festival in the United States, raised a record $1.3 million for the Oregon Food Banks to help the state’s needy.
Eric Burdon and the Animals
Eric Burdon and the Animals opened with their hit “When I Was Young” and continued through a rousing set that include many of their best-known hits, including an updated for the era “House of the Rising Sun,” featuring an electro-pop segment. They also played “It’s My Life and I’ll Do What I Want,” a reggae-infused rendition of “Please Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood, a funk-infused rendition of his song “Black Dog,” and a tribute to Burdon’s hero, the great blues musician Bo Diddley. Burdon talked from the stage of Diddley’s riding his motor scooter around Florida in a pair of polyester striped pants, a guitar on his back. Burdon and Diddley corresponded but never got to meet before Diddley died in 2008.
Several songs Burdon and his band performed at the Festival came from their new 2013 release, "Til Your River Runs Dry,” inspired in part by environmental concerns. “Water,” from the new release, was inspired by a conversation Burden had with former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. Burdon and his band delivered a soulful rendition of the song, with one of its lyrics, “water, water, water, teardrops from my eyes.” Burdon’s new song “River is Rising” had a lyric “carry me away to another world,” perhaps a musical nod to global warming. These songs continued a thread of social commentary in some of Burdon’s songs, which perhaps most notably included a 1968 song he did not play at the Festival, “Sky Pilot,” about a military chaplain blessing troops before they leave for combat. Burdon’s social commentary is among a significant thread of social commentary in contemporary music, ranging from Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan (over most of his career), and The Rolling Stones (occasionally), to more recent music by such acts as John Trudell, Beck, and 2013 Seattle-based superstars Macklemore and Ryan Lewis.
Burdon, 72, was in top form. Burdon’s performance was particularly stunning considering he has been performing for 50 years. He was an important part of the British Invasion of music to hit the U.S. shores, along with The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who, and The Kinks. Burdon’s voice, considered one of the greatest in rock history, delivered strong and clear. His rendition of “Spill the Wine,” on which he played the tambourine and sang, was particularly hypnotic and mesmerizing. A band member played the flute outstandingly on the tune.
Burdon grew up in the U.K. but has lived in California in recent years. He appeared in a cameo in the film “The Doors” and has done other acting. He is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He has greatly inspired Bruce Springsteen and other musicians.
Eric Burdon and The Animals Performing the Song “Spill the Wine,” Portland, July 2013; photo: Larry Cwik
Chubby Carrier & the Swamp Bayou Band
The Grammy-award winning band Chubby Carrier & the Swamp Bayou Band, from southwest Louisiana, attracted a large crowd with its joyous zydeco music. Lead singer and accordion player Chubby Carrier is the son and grandson of zydeco players. Earl “Washboard” Sally was a special treat to watch as he played incredible spoon on washboard music with the band. Carrier thanked the crowd for being able to play the Festival since 1995.
Chubby Carrier and Earl “Washboard” Sally of the Swamp Bayou Band, Portland, July 2013; photo: Larry Cwik
John Hiatt & The Combo
John Hiatt, 61, dressed fashionably in a plaid shirt, tans sports jacket, and fedora, wowed the audience with his genre-blurring music. Hiatt has performed rock, blues, and country over several decades. A special treat Hiatt performed at the Festival was his rock-oriented, eminently catchy song “Bite Marks” off of his 2012 release “Mystic Pinball.” It had some of Hiatt’s famous lyrics, in this case full of melancholy and angst: “you take a chunk of my soul,” “you go right for the jugular, babe,” and “your idea of fun is drawing blood.” He and his band also performed Hiatt’s 1987 country-ish song “Tennessee Plates” from the “Thelma and Louise” movie. Hiatt’s song-writing has long been widely respected. Hiatt’s songs have been covered by Bob Dylan, Jewel, Paula Abdul, Bob Seger, Jimmy Buffet, Chaka Khan, Linda Ronstadt, Iggy Pop, Joan Baez, Joe Cocker, Willie Nelson, Eric Clapton, and B.B. King. Hiatt received the 2008 Americana Music Association Lifetime Achievement Award for Songwriting.
John Hiatt at the Blues Festival, Portland, July 2013; photo: Larry Cwik
Robert Plant and The Sensational Space Shifters
Robert Plant, now 65 years old, and one of the most charismatic front-men in rock history along with Jim Morrison, Roger Daltrey, and Mick Jagger, performed with his current band, The Sensational Space Shifters. The crowd was ecstatic. Plant headlined the final night of the Festival. Born in England, Plant still has a noticeable British accent. The former lead singer for Led Zeppelin performed several famous Led Zeppelin songs including “Going to California,” and “Four Sticks,” ending the latter with a repeated electric reverb of the line “Oh baby,” over and over. Perhaps the longest song performed at the Festival by the band was a long, extended version of the 1969 mega-hit “Whole Lotta Love,” which network VH1 has called the third greatest hard rock song in history. Plant also played his huge 1983 solo hit “In the Mood (for a Melody)” which peaked at number 4 on the Billboard charts. The Festival rendition of “In the Mood” had sections as cool as ice and light as moonlight, alternated perfectly with other sections of classic heavy rock beats. Plant and The Sensational Soul Shifters performed some new music as well, including a soulful rendition of “Satan, Your Kingdom Must Come Down” and the exceptionally catchy song, “Spoonful,” including psychedelic sound interludes and Plant’s unmistakable voice.
Plant is the recipient of a Grammy Award for Lifetime Achievement. He
was voted “the greatest voice in rock” in a Planet Rock poll. He talked of loving and caressing music from Mississippi as a teenager. Plant also has great wit. He talked to the crowd between songs of independence, the reason for the Fourth of July celebration, joking that he was glad that we Americans kept the language, though we had messed with it, including in “adverts.” In the encore he did for the crowd with his band, Plant introduced a song as one that came over from England on the Mayflower, and then proceeded to blow the crowd away with an incredibly-performed version of Led Zeppelin classic “Rock and Roll,” complete with music from African musician Juldeh Camera.
Robert Plant at the Blues Festival, Portland, July 2013; photo: Larry Cwik
The Sensational Space Shifters had innovations in keeping with our time: Plant’s voice was at times synchronized and reverberated, several songs had hypnotic or psychedelic sections, and the newest and perhaps the most distinctive member of Plant’s band was Camara. Camera is a griot and master musician from Gambia, West Africa. Camara performed on a ritti, a one-stringed African fiddle, and other African instruments, adding to the magic of The Sensational Space Shifters’ performance. Camera is recognized as the world’s most respected ritti player. His father was blind. Camara believed he received his musical gift from the forest spirits for his father’s loss of sight. Plant has noted that Camera has inspired his newest band’s music.
Juldeh Camara of The Sensational Space Shifters at the Blues Festival, Portland, July 2013; photo: Larry Cwik
Plant and Burdon are just two
of the overseas musicians influenced by America’s blues music. So as we Americans have been influenced by England, through language, customs, music, and much more, so has England been influenced by its former colony in many ways, showing the benefits of cultural exchange in creativity.
Like Eric Burden, Plant has continued on a many decades-long path of creativity, not content to rest on his laurels. In a June 2013 Rolling Stone magazine interview, talking about his long and influential history in music, Plant said “I've learned that it's good to keep moving and keep smiling!" In a June 2013 Santa Barbara interview with film-maker Russ Spencer, Plant said each musician in his band was remarkable. He added that The Sensational Space Shifters is “a mélange of psychedelic British urban trance music mixed with the power of Delta Blues and the spirit of Led Zep, amen.” The Sensational Space Shifters’ performance at the Festival bore this out in a remarkable, joyful, and wildly crowd-pleasing way.
The Sensational Space Shifters at the Blues Festival, Portland, July 2013; photo: Larry Cwik
Finally, in addition to the incredible music by some of the planet’s best musicians, fireworks, vendor booths selling hats, CDs, food, etc., and the beautiful backdrop of Portland’s Willamette River and its downtown bridges all made the Festival a memorable and huge, fun draw for all willing to brave its enormous crowds.
Hats for Sale at a Vendor Booth at the Blues Festival,
Portland, July 2013; photo: Larry Cwik
Crowd at the Blues Festival, Portland, July 2013; photo:
Larry Cwik is an artist, photographer, and film-maker in Portland.
Checkout 46 More Photos of 2013 Blues Fest by Peter C. Little
Arts & Culture
Visual Arts, Music,
Local actions, events, rallies, etc.
Eyes Wide Shut!
by Yugen Fardan Rashad
Picture of Michael Munk Tribune Photo L. E. Baskow
Peter C. Little: Alliance Photographer