To Fred LeBow re: Portsmouth Blues Competition

Mon Jul 21 15:57:17 EDT 1997

Hi Fred, sorry I already deleted your e-mail address so I gotta post this
to the -L.  You mentioned your wife was one of the judges at Portsmouth
last week?  My band is Gate Street Blues, and we played Wednesday night
July 16th.

The band order that night was:   Seth ??? Blues Band
                                *Gate Street Blues
                                 The Electric Blue Flames  (winner)
                                 Barbecue Bob & The Varaflames
                                 Lucille & The Steamers

We didn't win our night and advance to the final round, although many in
the audience thought we should have.  I heard complaints (and I agree)
that all of the bands, (explicitly excluding us) were way, way too loud
and were way too much "rock".  One of the judges came up to us shaking his
head at the end of the night, dismayed, and told us we were one of the
best real blues bands he'd seen ALL WEEK and gave us the top score.

Oh well. :-)  We keep tryin!  I really have no problem whatsoever not
winning because it was clear the room loved us and we really played well
and up to our potential.  We were miffed though that the sound guy, Paul,
decided to chop our set to 25 minutes (everyone else got 45+ minutes, we
timed 'em all), which left us hanging mid-set when the whistle blew and
we had a real "cooker" of a set-closer planned that we didn't get to perform.
And we especially don't mind losing to a really good blues band that
plays solid, tight and original blues.  But the winner was a Hendrix cover
band that (while good) was FAR from original, in fact played all covers, and
basically only played one real blues tune, Buddy Guy's "Damn Right I Got
The Blues".  Of the seven songs we played, 5 were written by us and covered
West Coast, Chicago, Memphis, Kansas City and "country" styles of electric
blues.   I'm familiar with the judging criteria, and I honestly think we
had ALL the bases covered really well, and we're a fun band to watch.

SO this just brings me back to my original lament, which is, that what
passes for "blues" today is so open to interpretation that it's laughable.
My band plays clubs all over New England that consider themselves "blues"
clubs, and I can guarantee that 2 or 3 of those bands we played against
could never get a gig in these plays because they're playing rock and
they're waaaaay too loud.

Oh well. :-)  Didn't mean to drag this all up again on the list....

Riffin Rick

Senior Research Assistant,
& Marine Facilities Manager
Worcester Foundation for Biomedical Research

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