Hearsay: Wednesday, May 02, 2002
You (Hear-)Say It’s Your Birthday

Heavy hitters around the Fort Worth-Dallas blues community typically rally around one another, like moths around a 100-watt light bulb; not a month goes by in which there isn’t a benefit gig for some down-on-his-luck bluesman that brings old heads out of the woodwork. A week ago at the 6th Street Grill, a veritable Who’s Who of area bluesmakers came out for an event that wasn’t necessarily beneficial (financially) to anyone but was an act of solidarity nonetheless: a birthday bash for 50-year-old local legend, Tony Dukes. It’s pretty much safe to say that no other club in town has ever seen so much blues talent confined in a single space on a single night — which is just another reason why HearSay likes dropping by the Grill whenever. Ya never know what yer gonna get.

Things got nuts. The stage was like a carnival ride, with new players getting up and jamming on every fifth or sixth song. Tone Sommer, in his requisite black-on-black, shared the stage with Brady Mosser who shared the stage with Todd Blaylock who shared the stage with Mongo. Everything from Muddy Waters to ZZ Top was rendered lovingly. And the drummers: HearSay was once a drummer in its callow youth. It was naturally interested in who was on the skins at any particular moment. The talent was astounding: Danny Cochran (formerly of Anson Funderburgh’s backing band, The Rockets), “Rockin’” Ron Thompson (Savoy Brown), Dirk Cordes (Tone Sommer), Gene Glover, Gunzi Trevino. All the big tops were there, banging away like they were being paid. But they weren’t. This was a “benefit,” remember? The best-est part: No cover charge! HearSay duly moves the Grill up on its fave-watering-hole list.

Happy Camper

Growth brings inevitable problems. Remember the Industrial Revolution? HearSay doesn’t — but, boy, its history teacher made a big stink about that crap back in high school. Something HearSay does remember from recent history is a trip last weekend to the 14th annual Larry Joe Taylor Music Festival and Chili Cook Off, where a sociologist among us could say the growth of the event (which drew about 10,000) accounted for some subhuman behavior: like the fight that broke out during Ray Wylie Hubbard’s “(Up Against The Wall) Redneck Mother,” with its weirdly apropos line “kickin’ hippies’ asses and raising hell.” The throwdown was quickly squashed, and Hubbard reminded the crowd that the song was intended as satirical metaphor rather than battle cry. Also, a band of teen-age thieves snuck around campsites, stealing booze and food. HearSay lost a loaf of bread and corn chips. Lowlights aside, HearSay thoroughly enjoyed itself, blissing out to great performances by Guy Clark, Cross Canadian Ragweed, Bruce Robison, Charlie Robison, Keith Sykes, and digging deeply on the fretwork of John Inmon. HearSay is looking forward to next year — when it intends on once again loving live music outdoors and padlocking its provisions.

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