KYANA Blues Society Annual Meeting:
A Blues Feast

By Beverly Howell

The KYANA Blues Society's lineup for their annual fund-raiser and general membership meeting featured a five-course fare and musical menu of interesting blues flavors, served up to a capacity crowd in the intimate atmosphere of the Rudyard Kipling on Sunday, September 5.

Curtis Marlatt's kickoff set was representative of the blues styles of Son House and Robert Johnson. The band also played an entertaining original, "Curtis, Don't Hurt Us Boogie."

The evening continued to tease the blues aficionado's taste buds when Susan O'Neill, the former gut-busting vocalist of da Mudcats followed Curtis on stage. Although her new group, Susan O'Neill and Friends, is a noticeable style change, with such sweet tunes as "Don't Get Around Much Anymore," her delivery is still powerful and impeccable.

Heads bobbed, feet tapped, and bodies swayed in unison as The Homewreckers got the joint jumping next. They pulled off a strong set, despite the fact that Lamont Gillespie didn't show up. Vocalist Mark Stein's rendition of Stevie Ray Vaughan's "Cold Shot" was one of the best deliveries this writer has heard.

I am convinced that da Mudcats never have had a bad night . . . and vocalist/harmonica king Jim Rosen reaffirmed my opinion during their set. John Burgard of Murphy's Law would have been proud to hear Jim's rendition of his song, "Hate to See You Go" (which, by the way, has become one of their most requested songs) had he been in attendance. Susan O'Neill joined them for their last song, "Let the Good Times Roll," and left the crowd screaming for more. It was as if they were having a party on their own and graciously allowed the audience to gate-crash.

Closing out the night was seasoned bluesman Foree Wells and his Walnut Street Blues Band. Foree's professional background includes stints with B.B. King, as well as countless other blues legends, and it was easy to see why, as the seven band members managed to deliver a jaw-dropping set on a very small stage. Included were such blues standards as "Mustang Sally," "The Thrill is Gone" and "T-Bone Shuffle."

The Blues Society board of directors gave their annual report midway through the evening. It was tastefully brief, and held the interest of all. It's hard not to be impressed with their dedication and efforts to present and preserve the blues scene in our area.

It was announced that their newest projects include a cable access television program. Six shows have been completed, featuring local talent, and upcoming shows are scheduled to include footage of Muddy Waters and Howlin Wolf. Newsletter Editor Pen Bogert detailed the "Blues Legacy Project," in which members are researching Louisville's strong blues past. They are hoping to publish their collection of finds in a book entitled "The History of Blues in Louisville."

The KYANA Blues Society should be commended, not only for their efforts year 'round, but for producing a truly memorable evening and gourmet feast in music.