Monday, January 20, 2014

You need more than...(And Allen Kanovsky is a man who understands needs AND Cadillacs!)

Submitted by Al Kanovsky 01/19/14

...a vintage pink Cadillac to be the worlds greatest anything. Elvis sang a song about one. Springsteen recreated it. Yesterday, Jimmy Belize and I encountered one when we attended Harald Neuweg's Coral Gables BLUES marathon. There was a guy standing near it wearing a black Stevie Ray Vaughan style hat and a black fringed jacket. "That's my car and I am the greatest harmonica player in the world". A 'Mary Kay' pink car and a self proclaimed greatest. I have heard some 'harp' players in my time. All of them to date have generally been humble about their talent. My reply was "No s--t?". He pulled a harmonica from his pocket, played a few notes and changed instruments. He did it three or four times, finally finding the one he would audition on. "Now, I don't play clean like those other cats"---he plays a few notes in demonstration---"I play dirty, like this". He lays down about 6 BLUES bars and I have to admit that he does play a decent harp. The greatest? Only time will tell if King Louie Deluxe is or isn't.

The music has already started with a band called "Lowdown 13". Greg Magnanti (vocals), Mario LaCasse (guitar),Steve Strickland (bass) and Rich Conklin on drums. Jimmy and I settle down in Stan Street's art display booth to listen and enjoy. The band is playing  "Hootchie Kootchie Man" and then does a series of well known and well done BLUES tunes, closing the set with "Well, Well, Well". It is cold out and time for lunch so we go into the Fritz & Franz Bierhaus to warm up and have a bite. We are joined by band booking agent, Linda Lou and her drummer husband John. Piano Bob shows up and we invite him to sit down. Linda Lou is well known amongst BLUES players because she would warn them about orange cords on certain gigs. We miss a portion of Sheba the Mississippi Queen and the Soul Kings. Sheba does Tina Turner. Nobody does Tina Turner like Tina Turner does Tina Turner. Next up is the Jumpstreet 88s with Stan Street on vocals and harp, Piano Bob on the keyboard, Ruppert Zizwinski (upright bass), Bob Loiacana (guitar) and Andy Russell playing drums. They open with "Shake, Rattle and Roll". I spy Harald and he is clappin' and tappin' in pleasure.  They follow with 2 of Stan's original songs, "I'm Gonna Pay For It" and "Broke & Hungry". Straight ahead, honest BLUES. Piano Bob takes the spotlight with the boogie "Big Fat Mama". Bob knows what to do when the light is on him. Next they have me up doing "The Stroll" when they play "Raining In My Heart". A shuffle "What You Gonna Do", A BLUES "Bright Lights, Big City" (a personal favorite), another BLUES "Lost All My Money", "OohOOH", "Let's Rock Awhile" and closing with "Red Beans Cooking". By the way, Jimmy and I sell more of Stan's art while he's on stage then he's sold in the last 2 days.  Steve Kronicks (latin percussion) is in the audience. He's playing at Books and Books just a couple of blocks away.

During the break Jimmy strikes up a conversation with a woman wearing pajama bottoms and cowboy boots. He is attracted by the combination but especially by the boots. Coincidence with a capital C. Her name is Gina and her son's name is Jesse James. Jimmy's son's name is Jesse James. Not nicknames, really their first and middle names. 

Dave Shelly & Bluestone is up next. What a band. Charlie Gaspar(bass), Randy Ridenauer (drums), Billy Jolly on keys and Dave playing guitar and using that BLUES filled voice. Opening with "The Way You Treated Me" they are now playing to a pretty good-sized audience. They run through the bands show and when they do "Crazy 'Bout You Baby" they call for the aforementioned King Louie  Deluxe  to join them on harp. World's greatest? I dunno. He does play pretty good. Now it is time for Biscuit Miller & the Mix. A solid BLUES/rock band that has Harald doing that clap/tap thing again. Amy Arlo (vocals) passes by and takes the time to give me a hug and kiss on the cheek. I love blondes that hug. A word about Harald. He is as enthusiastic about live music as he is about his restaurant business. Nobody works harder or is more dedicated to the task. He is a straight forward, honest guy and has gained my respect. Thank you for promoting the BLUES. 

Football? More good BLUES? Football? More good BLUES? Let's see if the weather turns a little warmer----I think I'm coming down with a cold. A little Jack Daniels or some Wild Turkey 101 and some football might provide the cure and if I stop coughing maybe a little BLUES later on.   

Editor's note: The Coral Gables Blues Fest runs daily through January 26th. More info at:

Al's Disclaimer:
A short note: The reason I write this is because I love music and words. I do not book acts. I do not promote acts. I do not accept invitations to review artists. I go to venues of my own choice. When and where is not influenced by anything other than who I would like to hear that night or day. If I don't like what I hear, I won't write about it. When I like it I let you all know. I never mention a name without asking permission. "Pardon me, Miss. Would you like to dance?"       

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1 comment :

  1. Thank you Al, Great article and a BIG Thank you for showing up!
    All the best!