Monday, April 28, 2014

They doubled down on birthdays...(And then you doubled up on the dancing, Allen Kanovsky?)

Submitted by Al Kanovsky 04/28/14 Blue Jeans Blues on 'toity-toid' last night. Two of the worlds most beautiful women celebrated theirs yesterday. Ms. Rita Wilburn and Mrs. Mary Burger. Rita was on stage with Mary's husband, Danny Burger, behind her playing drums. The rest of the group included the man with a million dollar smile, Tony Niccolosi (guitar/vocals) and BLUES specialist Mitch Goldstein (B3). I had arrived at BJB's early to meet my buddy Bill Rutan and share a pizza and indulge myself with an alcoholic beverage. I would also dance a little later on but please don't tell my surgeon. 

Anthony Corrado's Jam was still on with Guiseppe Pucci sitting in on drums, Paul Ullman (guitar), Jerry Mosconi (bass), Paul Banman was at the electrified piano. On my way in I met Sista Mary Beth and the guitarist (forgot to write down his name) from England. Babette was seated at the corner of the bar looking lovely. The hat lady and her husband were enjoying the Jam. I encouraged them to stay for Rita, whom they hadn't heard before. They were glad they did. You can spell entertainment  R I T A. Just seeing this statuesque woman on stage, behind a mic is a show in itself. Just before the show started, another pal, known as Ron Anonymous comes in with 5 women, that's right, count 'em. 1 2 3 4 5. I have seen him with gals now and then but now he has really upped the ante. Tony introduces the first tune "Organ Grinder Swing" which is from way back in the day and features Mitch on the B3(Leslie box included). My pal, photographer Jimmy Belize, shows up with Nancy who likes to dance. Tony pays homage to Brook Benton when he sings and plays "Rainy Night in Georgia". Ms. Rita takes the stage to do "Fever". Talk about HOT. Whew! I can't supress the rhythm coursing through my ample body and take Nancy to the floor. She follows with "I Got Your Number" and Ron Anonymous will not be outdone. He brings one of the "5" out of her seat and does a great display of the "Detrout Shuffle". The BLUES come to town when Rita does "Everyday" with deep rooted feeling. Mitch contributes with plenty of soul. Now she does one of my favorites, "The First To Say Goodbye". There are times now and then when musicians catch a "groove". It is an emotional moment for them and the audience. Ms. Wilburn definitely was in that 'groove' when she sang this song. Soul was the vibe. Soul like it's sung in church or in a Mississippi BLUES joint. Rita and Tony team up to do "The Thrill Is Gone". They sing together then Tony does his thing on guitar inspiring Mitch. Danny is still doing his job of 'driving the bus'. Toward the end of the tune, Rita and Tony trade scat/guitar 4's. "Lowdown" is the next tune. Pure funk. Tony and Rita do a duet. "My Baby Just Cares for Me" and I ask the hat lady to dance. Her husband takes his time making room for her to get by him. Tony is set free to do a terrific solo on "Forever". "Unchain My Heart" and Mitch steals the spotlight. Ron and another young lady 'shake it'. The 2nd set started with Tony doing an "Old blue-eyes" favorite, "World On A String". I think that tune is 70 years old. 

I hope Dr. Weingrad isn't reading this. 

I danced with Nancy again. Rita invites all the ladies who are celebrating birthdays this week to come up and asks which they like BLUES or JAZZ. There are 6 ladies. 4 to 2 in favor of BLUES. Rita looks into the audience and beckons to a little blond girl in the audience. The youngster walks up. Rita takes her on stage. The 2nd sing Happy Birthday to a nice bluesy rhythm. Hey, the kid (Haven Star Ross) has a set of pipes, seriously soulful. Take it to church and the delta. Haven tears the joint up when she sings, solo, "I'm A Mean, Mean Woman". The little lady is 13 years old with the stage presence of a seasoned performer. Haven chooses the  rocker "Knock On Wood" next. For her encore Rita joins her and the do a duet version of the same song. Ron has his cousin, Yvonne, on the dance floor showing how they do it in the Motor City. When Rita sings "At Last" I look around the room. A tall womn had walked in earlier. You know me and tall girls. I spy the young lady. "Pardon me, Miss. Would you like to dance". Believe me that the "Pardon me, miss" works 90% of the time. Her name was Michelle and she is a dance teacher and friend of Rita's. Uh-oh. "Rock Me Baby"---'til my back ain't got no bone'. The BLUES as it's meant to be sung and played --- and danced to. Ron really shows off with this one. Staying with the BLUES Tony does Stevie Ray Vaughan's "Pride and Joy. I can't let Ron steal the show and dance with Nancy again. Rita follows with "Since I Fell For You". During the instrumental chorus, I take Ms. Rita down from the stage and do a step or two with my head resting on her somewhat ample bosom. The audience loves it. Not as much as I. When the song ends, Tony asks me if I have a pillow as soft as that at home. I reply, "Yeah but it's this long", extending my arm. Mitch says from now on he is calling me "Pillow". Rita says she'll writa a song titled "Pillow Talk" as they end the set. Jimmy, Nancy and I chat between sets and he suggests an idea for a short story or poem. "The Space Between the Notes". I have always held the thought that great JAZZ or BLUES musicians recognize the importance of that 'space'. 

Tony opens the last set with "Lost In the Masquerade" transing to "Nature Boy" during the instrumental chorus. Ron holds a young lady close and tight to dance to this one. Rita invites all the ladies in the room to the floor. She is persistent and soon has them all up. "Mustang Sally" is the song and when she intones 'ride Sally ride' there are enough bottoms and tops shaking to create an earthquake in Cuba. What a way to end a great night. I wrote a poem for Rita's birthday and realized that I have written more stuff for or about her than any other woman I've known, including my two wives, mother, sisters, daughters or granddaughters. Is there a hidden message, or is it just the tall girl syndrome? The poem follows:

Just One More
for Rita Wilburn on her??d birthday
Allen Kanovsky, all rights reserved

If I were 30 years younger,
I'd ask to spend
just one more
 night with you
If I were 40 years younger,
I'd ask to spend
  just one more
  year with you
If I was 5 years younger,
10 minutes would be enough
far all the huggin' kissin'
and that other funny stuff
But I'm as old as I am
and you're as young as you
So dear Miss Rita Wilburn
wishing you a
"Happy Birthday"
is all that I can do


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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