Monday, January 25, 2010



716 S. Cottage St. (IL Rt. 59)  Shorewood, IL 60431 Ph. 815-725-8753

EVERY-OTHER-SUNDAY (31, FEB. 14 & 28, MAR. 14 & 28, APR. 11 & 25)

Thanks to Jerry and his staff for hosting the JHBJ.

Food available: Louie’s Pizza (@ the back window in the Bullpen) It’s a good pie!


Submitted by T-Bird Huck.

(Joliet, Illinois) Bert ‘n’ Betty from out of town work for a sub-contractor at a nearby power station.  Flopping at a local motel they needed a fix for their Sunday afternoon cabin fever/monotony.  Betty jumps up, throws Bert’s coat at him and says ‘we’re outta here!  Come on its cocktails and football playoffs.’  Within 5 minutes from their digs they find themselves tooling down Cottage Street (IL Rt. 59) in Shorewood.  Hmm look, Bullpen Sports Bar, lotsa cars, yeah we’re in, let’s go, cocktails ‘n’ football!  Out of the car, walkin’ up to the door they stop and say ‘whoa sounds like this joint is jamming!’  Inside, lookin’ around, they see the crowd locked into the vapor of good tunes, goodwill and fun blanking the room.  Look at the guitar cases ‘round here would you?  What’s goin’ on?  This is too cool!!!  This place is jamming!  Did I already say that?  So this guy comes up to Bert ‘n’ Betty and says ‘welcome to the Joliet Heritage Blues Jam (JHBJ), you new ‘round here?’  ‘Yeah (explained their situation lookin’ for a game ‘n’ all) but we hit the jackpot today!’  Betty says ‘what is the JHBJ?’  Just musicians, friends and music lovers of the Blues gettin’ together.  We do this every other Sunday afternoon says the greeter (as he buys ‘em a drink, says enjoy yourselves, talk to ya in a bit’ and walks on).  Music played and people swayed as the afternoon glided like a flash into evening.  Before one could unravel what they had witnessed the last soulful note was soaking into a fond memory of the day.  Why does it seem to streak right on by when the good times are flowing so well???  I don’t know but unfortunately that always seem to be the case.  Ah, but alas!  Not to worry Blues connoisseurs, JHBJ devotees, thrill seeking fanatics, and common enjoyers of good times . . . the Sunday afternoon/evening bliss shall rejoin, rejoice and relive again as we rendezvous to our new haunt every other Sunday . . . till then friends, we can’t wait to share another JHBJ with you!  Whoa, wait up!  Who’s that, the last ones hangin’ ‘round and helping the band carry their gear out?!?!  ‘Why it’s Bert ‘n’ Betty’ the greeter says, ‘still here?’  ‘Man we had such a good time we’re finding it hard to leave’ said Bert.  So we just wanted to help the guys with some of their stuff but we’ll be Back in two weeks.  Great!  It was nice to meet yas and yes indeed we’ll be here looking forward to seeing

you again on January 31, 4pm-8pm?  We’re gonna spread the word and bring some friends so we’ll see ya then!


Now that’s the spirit!
Get out and spread the word - Let these jammers all be heard

They come to play and entertain - So let it not be in vein
It’s already two-thousand and ten - This train may not pass here again
The strings, keys, horns and skins ring out - Music from the soul is what it’s about
So let us gather once again - So someday we can say ‘remember when’

© 2010 T-Bird Huckstep                  

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Saturday, January 9, 2010

Smiling Bobby West Side Great

Sunday Night in the City

Any night of the week you can hear the blues on the west, the east, the north and the south sides of Chi-Town. In any one of those city-spots there are blues artists, some on stage and some not.
Robert Schmidt (AKA) Smilin Bob is his name. I met Bob in September of 1977. I had just completed a tour of active duty in the US Navy prior to that encounter. I went to work in a west side heavy equipment manufacturing plant. The union assigned me to this particular company. It was my first regular day job and my last. The place was huge, employed about 1,200 workers and encompassed almost a half mile of land.

I started playing guitar in 1960. Bass has been my main instrument and I had thought I held my own in many different situations. The guys I worked with found out about my "guitarmanship." Word spread quickly throughout the plant.

Bob was the plant oilman. He could go anywhere in the plant without suspicion. No one would question what he was doing. His job was to make sure all the machinery had the proper oil levels. It wasn’t too long before Bob walked into the shop. The reason they call him “Smilin Bobby” was immediately apparent. He had the biggest smile I had ever seen. He came over to me and said, "You the guitar player?" I said, "Yes". " You got a PA system?” he asked, through a mile wide grin. "Yes", I said once again. "You want to jam with some friends of mines?" "Sure," was my response. He then proceeded to give me directions and a time. Then off he went pushing his oil cart ahead of him. He looked back and said, "Don’t forget the system."

The place we were to meet at was called Del Morocco II. It was located on the corner of Lake and Halsted. This was in the area of the city’s restaurateurs’ market. Sunday night from six to midnight he had the regular gig. I arrived in my red corvair. The car was loaded. PA system packed in the back seat, my bass amp in the front seat. The guitar just fit on top of the speakers in back. I often wonder how I avoided getting a ticket. There was no way to see out of the back window.

I walked into the club and to my surprise; I was the only white person there. I did not think much about the race thing back then like some of those other idiotic morons. Don’t let me get started about those clowns. I didn't have much experience with that sort of thing. That first Sunday my experience was enhanced when someone yelled out, “Who let the M****** f***ing Police in here.” Bobby yelled out, “Leave my Brother alone y’all.” He meandered over to me and said, “You bring the PA?” I told him it was in the car. We walked outside to fetch it. When he saw my bass amp, he told be very diplomatically that he had a bass player. He then went to his car pulled out a beat up Ibanez guitar. He handed it to me and said, “You can play this.” I admit that I knew the basics of the blues I-IV-V, but I really never really played it in a band before. I played the guitar through my Peavey 400 bass amplifier. Those six hours were the greatest six hours I had ever spent. Man, oh, man the sound that came out of that little beat up joint was incredible. I learned more that night then some do in a life time. Sunday night for the next two years found me there. You see that was my Sunday church. That’s where I was baptized in the blues.

I remember one night I showed up there and the police had the whole place surrounded ,,,,,hmmmmmmmmm. Stay tuned for more upcoming stories and interviews.

Terrance “Gatorman” Lape

Don't forget to bookmark
If you’d like to see a similar place like Del Morocco and what Bobby sounds like watch this early video, circa late 70’s early 80’s at:
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Monday, January 4, 2010


Bill's Blues Bar is one of those clubs that has seen a lot of different players. Anybody who is anybody in the Chicago Blues scene has played there at one time or another. It is another shotgun type bar with a bar along one side and tables on the other. The stage is just inside the building street side. with a huge storefront window. I played there this past Friday with my friend L V Banks. L V has played the joint so many times he can't remember how many, but he told me when I asked, "A bunch." I have written about L v in previous posts for the American Blues Blog. His regular drummer Brian called me late Tuesday and asked if I could play. I never miss an oppurtunity to play bass for one of Chiacgo's legendary blues men. When L V saw me walk in a huge smile came upon his face. He likes the way I play bass. L V is a lumpty lump type blues guy. I arrived at 8:00 pm for a 8:30 start. There was a group ahead of us called Neither/Nor. I sat at the bar, mid section, ordered a coke and decided to listen. I could not figure out what they were playing. I guess I am not at the intellectual level to understand their kind of music. A woman sitting next to me told me they are filling up a musical space. Filling up a space yes but with music no. Noise yes, music no. The best I can say is if they were playing Avant Garde Jazz then that is what they were doing. I can't critique Avante Garde Jazz, for that matter I do not think anyone is capable of that job. I once met a free form jazz artist named Hal Russell. Hal played vibraphone at a Cajun restaurant I frequented back in the mid eighties. He invited my wife and I to a free concert that was held in the attic of a house he rented. The concert utilized various types of instruments including garbage can lids. That was my first introduction into free form Jazz and my last. Hal actually made a living at it. I guess some people like that kind of music. The band stopped promptly at 8:30. By the time they were off the stage we did not play until 9:15. LV Banks is a blues man that has paid his dues and it really bugs me when fans walk up and demand that he play other artist's music . Play some BB King, Elmore James this guy asked. I don't think fans request BB to play L V's music. We played a solid hour set and then took a 20 minute break. after the break we played about 20 more minutes and then called it a night. Bill's Blues Bar is an anchor in the Chicago land blues scene and should be made an historical Land mark. I had a really great time at Bill's Blues Bar and you will also. That's the end of the Bill's Blues Bar story.

I have a humorous piece I'd like to share
"What Is A Blues Man?"

A bluesman has to live up a dusty dirt road and must get up early in the morning or at least everything important in his life happens then. A real blues man is at least fifty years old and never, ever has any money. He will always ask if he can hold a twenty. He gives a spiel about how he will pay you back on the first which by the way never arrives. He will always have enough money to buy a beer, some cognac, and cigarettes. Real bluesmen have at least ten kids by six different women. You can recognize those women because they are the ones in the parking lot of the venue he is currently performing in and they are also the ones spontaneously brawling in that same lot. You can spot a true blues man because he is always in a hurry. He is constantly looking over his shoulder to see if his new or old wife is chasing him. She always is and with a gun. He knows that at any moment it may be his last. Why not enjoy it while he can? A Blues man spends his entire adult life like a gypsy or Bedouin. His whole life is about the road. He’d spend a night in that town then another in that town and on and on. Like a sailor with a girl in every port, he has his share of overnight accommodations and as a result of his shenanigans he has children running around and chasing him. They all claim he is their father. He of course would deny each and every one. He allows some to get close, but only if they have the potential of becoming his future side men. He uses them and hopes they will understand when he pockets the money he was supposed to pay them. It’s a lot cheaper that way and equals more money in his pocket. His excuse for not paying these kin sidemen is that the van needs brakes. Funny every time he uses those brakes he has to down shift.
 Gatorman Terrance Lape Look for my Cd at* 
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