Blues Notes

By Jeffrey Crowder

Welcome to the 1990's. The decade ahead is filled with promise in the music world. With the constant experimentation used by many of today's artists, music fans everywhere can find something to satisfy the heartiest of musical appetites. In spite of the advance of technology in music, however, the most talked-about musical event of the eighties was the resurrection of "the blues."

Most blues fans know that the blues were never dead. As a long-lasting, Twentieth century American musical institution, the blues came full circle in the eighties, because of artists such as Stevie Ray Vaughn, B. B. King, Robert Cray and others. Blues artists became huge mainstream commercial successes, spawning a new generation of blues fans. Over the past few years, I've heard several people who once listened exclusively to rock 'n' roll express a preference for the blues because of the no-nonsense approach that it consistently delivers.

By the mid-eighties, the Louisville blues scene began to see such events as the establishment of a local blues show on WFPL-FM. In May of 1986 Scott Mullins began the Saturday Night Blues Show, which runs from ten p.m. to midnight. Mullins later joined with Rocky Adcock to co-found the KYANA Blues Society in January of 1989.

The annual Garvin Gate Blues Festival, which boasts bands from five cities, began. Local blues master Henry Woodruff, of Henry and The Noisemakers, received the first Sylvester Weaver Award in recognition of his lifetime achievements and contributions to the blues in the region.

Other notable events included the success of the Winston Hardy Blues Band, which proved that a blues band could get dates and draw a crowd. The Rudyard Kipling Restaurant started its Tuesday night blues jam in February of 1987, in part because of the efforts of Mullins and Adcock. The blues jam provided an outlet for local blues musicans to showcase their talent. Since then, another blues jam has been established at the Cherokee Blues Club (formerly the Cherokee Pub) on Wednesdays and is doing well.

Currently, there are several clubs that book blues acts, with at least fourteen active, local blues bands to choose from. Here is a partial list -- Mark Stein and the Steamrollers, Doug Wright and the Nomads, Doctor Don and The Love Dogs, Lamont Gillespie and the Homewreckers, Foree Wells Band, D.C. Blues Review, Curtis and the Kicks, da Mudcats, Sonny Love Band, Henry and the Noisemakers, Mark Hoekstra's Chicago Blues, and the King Bees.

So as we look ahead to the nineties, one could say it looks very promising for all of us . . . very promising.

Additional notes - rumors are fun, but they're even more fun when they become facts. Here are some rumors we can hope will become fact:

A Louisville-based blues label could become a reality as late as this year.

The Garvin Gate Festival will expand to even larger proportions.

There will be more concert dates for more national acts.

An established fact is that the Winston Hardy original Blues Band has reformed and can be seen and heard locally.

Let me hear from you blues fans. Mail comments and letters to Blues Notes, 1384 Bardstown Rd, Louisville, KY 40204.