Daddys At Uncle's

By Dallas Embry

When word went around that the Beat Daddys were going to play at Uncle Pleasant's on Pearl Harbor day, no one was really sure what kind of music they would be playing.

When they showed up for their sound check, Vince Emmett of Shaking Family gave the first clue as to their ability when he said, "Hey, I used to go see this guy play guitar every chance I got. He's great!"

After hearing Tommy Stillwell play, one can well understand why Emmett would make such a statement. Stillwell's guitar work is superb, whether he's playing rocking rhythm and blues, or some fine slide on a well-worn Sears Silvertone. Lead vocalist Larry Grisham can growl, whisper, or shout the blues, as well as play some fine blues harp and guitar.

Stillwell, from Cloverport, Kentucky and Grisham, from Cadiz, Kentucky, have been playing together for twenty years now. For the last nine years drummer Kenny Vogelsang, from San Francisco, has been a more-than-able one-half of the rhythm section.

The new kid on the block is bassist Mark Mitchell from Madisonville, Kentucky, who was making his premiere appearance that night, as evidenced by the constant clue-giving done by Grisham throughout the evening's performance. Had one been only listening to, rather than watching him play, it would have hard to prove it was his first gig with the rest of the group.

The Daddys, now based in Evansville, Indiana, kicked off the evening with a fine version of the B. B. King classic, "The Thrill Is Gone," then shifted gears for a rave up version of Jimi Hendrix's "Red House," with great dialogue between harmonica and lead guitar, which then evolved into a harmonious duetpfeatming the same two instruments.

Their songwriting prowess was evident after they performed "Something That I Said," a Robert Cray sound-alike and the soulful "Train In the Distance," both penned by Grisham.

Stillwell showed some definite Duane Allman influence with some great slide guitar on "Mercury Blues," in one of the best versions heard locally since Another Mule performed it. The tune then segued into "Little Red Rooster."

After really good versions of "You Don't Know What Love Is" and "Shoppin'," they closed their first set with a Lonnie Mack-influenced original entitled "I'll Always Love You," and the Johnny Winter version of a Lonnie Brooks tune, "Don't Take Advantage of Me."

Following a break, the band proved their mettle by playing to a nearly empty room and doing it well. Threatening snow and cold had combined to seriously reduce the audience.

Beginning with "Tired Of Trying," Grisham's vocals and harmonica set the tone for the rest of the evening, as they played "Where There's A Will," "I Feel Good," "Further On Up The Road," and J. J. Cale's "After Midnight."

"She's Fine" featured great instrumental rides by both Grisham on harp and Stillwell on guitar, before they concluded with Lonnie Mack's "Satisfy Susie."

If you're into good rocking rhythm and blues or soulful, down-and-dirty, growling blues, keep your eyes and ears open for the return of the Beat Daddy's. In better weather.