. . . Your ways is like a crawfish You’ll get all you can an’ doodle back in your hole. —Bo Carter, “Ways Like A Crawfish,” 1938
Today’s weather is looking good. No rain, no humidity, and a cooling breeze. No problems getting to Jazz Fest. Brunch for me is Cajun Chicken over Creole Rice and a homemade Cherry Pie.
Jazz Fest Map
We head over to the Gentilly Stage as I thought the Honey Island Swamp Band would be playing. Jazz Fest looks after people who have mobility problems. There is a booth where you can get a wristband that allows you to sit in specially designated areas. Wendy was also able to get a wristband as “my carer”! We met a guy in the stand who picked my accent straight away. He proceeded to roll off the names of Australian bands that he loved, Men at Work, Little River Band, Crowded House, and Midnight Oil. He was astounded when I told him I knew Rob Hirst. The band playing is The Naughty Professor. A little too “jazzy” for me.
We then headed to the Fais Do Do stage for The Creole String Beans. The band is well-known to us. A New Orleans sextet playing NOLA rock ‘n’ roll from the glory days of J & M Studios plus their own originals. The band sure knows how to get the crowd dancing.
We move to the Blues Tent for Davell Crawford with special guest Benny Turner. Not sure what is happening this year with this stage as they are having a lot of technical issues. Davell is the Grandson of the late New Orleans R&B great James ‘Sugarboy’ Crawford. Benny Turner is an 83-year-old bassist/singer and is the brother of Freddie King. Benny was also the band leader for the legendary Marva Wright. Davell is a great entertainer, singer, and keyboard player. Flamboyantly dressed, he overcomes the technical difficulties and leads his terrific band of New Orleans musicians through a killer set. Benny comes on stage mid-set and sings a couple of songs including the Howlin’ Wolf version of ‘Goin Down Slow’. He told the back story of being a six-year-old and seeing ‘the Wolf’ perform this song. He said, ‘I never knew the meaning of the song until I read Howlin’ Wolf’s biography’. This song has always been a favorite of mine.
You know I don't enjoy things that kings and queens will never have And things kings and queens can never get And they don't even know about And good times, mmmmm I have had my fun If I never get well no more I have had my fun If I never get well no more Oh my health is fading Oh yes I'm going down slow Now lookit here I did not say I was a millionaire But I said I have spent more money than a millionaire 'Cause if I had kept all the money then I already had spent Then I would've been a millionaire a long time ago And women, great googly moogly! Please write my mother Tell her the shape I'm in Please write my mother Tell her the shape I'm in Tell her to pray for her son Forgive me for my sins
Wendy has volunteered to head out of the Blues Tent to buy three frozen margaritas. Just as she returns our great friend and fellow adventure Gary Jones comes up for a chat. It was so good to catch up with Gary and hear firsthand what he has been up to.
Next up is the 66-year-old Kenny Neal. It will be hard now to get Wendy’s attention as Kenny is her ‘golden child’! Kenny’s band consists mostly of family members. He is the consummate frontman, a great singer. guitarist and harp player. He always has a beaming smile. Front row is his mother and other family members. It is always a joyous feeling at a Kenny Neal show.
We then head back to the Allison Minor stage to see Andrew Duhon. I first saw Andrew perform many years ago at the French Quarter Festival and I have been a fan ever since. Andrew is a very good storyteller and, although his songs generally have a strong message, they are thoroughly entertaining as well. I had my first beer in some six months. I will need to hit the anti-inflammatories when I get home!
There is a dilemma now. Three closing acts on three different stages. Los Lobos, Tedeschi Trucks Band and Marcus King. Who to see? We started with Los Lobos on the Fais Do Do stage. Again there was a delay in starting. The Fais Do Do stage has not got a big enough crowd area for this very popular legendary band out of L.A. We only stayed for a couple of songs before heading to the Blues Tent for Marcus King. I know I hear you say, ‘Why not Tedeschi Trucks’. My reason is I have seen them before and I have not seen Marcus King.
Marcus like ‘the Kingfish’ last evening is a new breed of bluesman that is keeping the flame burning. He is full-on energy and dazzling fretwork. It is good to see that there is a young crop of players keeping the blues alive for us oldies.
We had no problem getting home. Leftover Pizza for tea and a couple of cooling beverages rounded out the first week of Jazz Fest.
We got word that our own beloved musician Broderick Smith has passed away. Such sad news for all of us. Brod was and will always remain one of our country’s best-ever vocalists and songwriters and harmonica players. He was an observer of life and people and his sense of humor always shined through. He never took himself too seriously and was a true friend of WOW. The Dingoes shows at our club as well as his duo performances with Shannon Bourne and Richard Tankard will forever be remembered. I know we will all have our memories of seeing Brod with the Adderley Smith Blues Band, Carson, the Dingoes, and Big Combo. Vale Broderick Smith (17 February 1948 – 30 April 2023)