Sunday, March 7, 2010

Johnny Drummers Birthday Party

My Buddy L V Banks
(Chicago, Illinois) . This past Monday night I went to a small little club located in the south-side of Chicago. It is called "Artis Lounge''. Monday Nights you can find the real deal blues artists there. When "Billy Branch and the Sons Of the Blues" are in town they spend  Monday nights in this club. They are, believe or not, the house band. Because they play there on an off night it is sort of a meeting place for blues musicians, radio and TV personalities and of course journalists. I guess you could call it a watering hole for the blues scene. I sat at a table with Claudette Miller (listen to "Pillow Full Of Tears") and Blues Photographer Mary Hampton who was also celebrating a birthday. Mary has chronicled the blues scene and has just about 50,000 photos and they can be viewed here While at her site check out the other venues she has photographed. She is a true artist and historian thanks Mary.
Johnny Drummer trying to get his hat back.
Johnny Drummer is a very versatile performer. He grew up in my favorite city, Alligator Mississippi. He had a very musical family. Johnny moved to Chicago in 1954 and five years later he found himself in the Army. He learned how to play drums while in that service branch. Mr. Drummer has played with a who's who of artists. Junior Wells influenced him to start playing the Mississippi saxophone.
        Nick Charles (SOB) Johnny Drummer, Tyrell drums and                      L V  Banks
Junior Wells influenced a lot of current day harp players including Billy Branch. I myself meet Junior Wells back in 1979 at a small club on the upper west side. I just happened to fill-in on bass for Smilin Bobby when his original bass man showed up to the gig stoned out of his mind. I just went to watch, not play, but play I did. At the time I did not know who he was. Smiling Bobby was opening for Buddy Guy. If you lived in Chicago and played guitar during that time period you would never know who you would run into. Just like at Artis Lounge. Monday night found L V Banks at the bar and sitting right next to him was Ronnie Baker Brooks across the bar was Matthew  Skoller .and at the end of the bar was DJ Tom Marker from WXRT radio. WXRT is one of a few stations that still airs blues music. Thanks Tom. Club Owner Mike was there along with a host of others. I could not list all the people that show up there on a regular basis. If you are in Chicago you have got to stop in for a drink. Try Monday night. Blues ME or Lose Me. Gatorman Terry Lape
Electro Glide Records is having a mini blues summit/showcase I will be Emceeing the whole show. Go HERE for more info. It will be a real hot spot for the Blues.