Bomb Detonates At the Cherokee Pub

By Keith Clements

Secretary, KYANA Blues Society

Even though Louisville is a nuclear-free zone, a highly-volatile explosion occurred March 10 and 11 at the Cherokee Pub with the performances of H-Bomb Ferguson and the Bluesmen.

H-Bomb is a wiry little guy, but when he starts singing in his explosive voice, pounding on his keyboard, and puts on one of his many colorful wigs, he transforms into a musical phenomenon.

The three sets he performed Friday night included a wide variety of blues and rhythm-and-blues standards like "What Did I Say," "High Heel Sneakers," "Josephine," "Johnny B. Goode" and a real oldie, "Shake A Hand." My favorite was "Medicine Man," a song he has recently cut on a 45 and cassette, for it has a very danceable beat and lyrics like "I'm the Medicine Man/I got all your lovin' in my hand."

The band, which included lead guitar, bass, drums and saxophone, usually plays behind H-Bomb at a club called Coreys in Cincinnati. John Rogers, the band's bass player, said there is a lot of current blues activity in the Queen City with Big Joe Duskin, Pigmeat Jarret and Big Ed Thompson's Band playing regularly around town.

H-Bomb, whose real name is Bobby, got his nickname from his manager, Lee Magid, when he was recording with Savoy Records in the early '50s. At that time the H-Bomb was in the news and Magid said, "You don't weigh nothing, but when you open your mouth you sound like a cat that weighs 300 pounds. You just explode, so we gonna call you H-Bomb Ferguson." (Reference: Liner notes from album H-Bomb Ferguson, Life Is Hard, Savoy Jazz SJL1176.)

Judging from the enthusiastic crowds both nights, let's hope we see "H-Bomb" falling in on a regular basis at the Cherokee Pub.