I've Got A Mind To Ramble
By Keith S. Clements

KBS Celebrates Ten Years In 1998

It will be nearly ten years ago that a handful of blues devotees met at the Rudyard Kipling. At that meeting on October 18, the Kyana Blues Society was- formed. This event coincided with the lst Garvin Gate Blues festival. The formative stages of the Louisville Blues Compilation record album, produced by Scott Mullins, were also in the works. During those ten years, many blues clubs – the Blue Bird, the Cherokee Blues Club, Uncle Pleasant's, the Pleasure Inn, Tewligans, Big Heavy's, Gator's, Fat Cats and the Backstage Cafe – have come and gone. I can't begin to list the bands that have developed during this time, creating the current strong state of local blues talent.

The Kyana Blues Society has survived and thrived during all of these changes. To celebrate its decade of existence, has set a goal of raising enough money to buy a headstone for Foree Wells, who is buried in Calvary Cemetery. Wells died just a little over a year ago, on February 8, 1997. For those of you unfamiliar with Foree and his music, he was a charter member of the KBS and was its treasurer for many years.

Son Seals, shown performing at the 1991 Chicago Blues Festival, will be the headliner for the two Kentucky Blues Festivals in 1998. Photo by Keith Clements

Foree led many groups, including the Rockin' Red Coats, The Skullies and the Walnut St. Blues Band. Wells was a mentor to many, if not most, of the local blues musicians; hence, he was affectionately referred to as the "Godfather of Louisville Blues."

The rest of several fund-raising events will be a dance at Horsefeather's on April 4. KBS board member Ron Wallace, a nationally recognized DJ with the Bop Associations, will host the event, spinning any evening of danceable jump blues -from 8 to 12 p. m. He will play Foree's music. On Saturday, May l6, the KBS will have its 4th Annual Bluesland Cruise. We will meet the school bus at the Baxter Ave. side of the Mid-City Mall at 5:30 and head over to Mark Wagner's Come Back Inn for a fortifying pasta dinner. Then it's on to Stevie Ray's for our first dose of blues. Afterward, it's up the street to Zena's or crosstown to Billy's Place. The climax of the night will be at Fred Murphy's House of Blues at 10th & Dumesnil.

There will be an early and a not-so- early bus back to the Mid~City Mall. Cost of the event will be $20 for KBS members and $25 for non-members and covers transportation, dinner and cover charges at all the clubs. _

The 5th Annual Amateur Blues Contest will be held at Stevie Ray's on Sunday, August 2, with the winner going to Memphis to compete in the International Blues Talent Competition.

The second weekend in October will bring the Garvin Gate Blues Festival at Theater Square. Mike Suttles is booking the talent again for the Palace Theater, which is staging the event. The line-up is not yet determined.

Some of us may steal away to the King Biscuit Blues Festival in Helena, Arkansas, which is also held on the same name week- end as Garvin Gate.

To commemorate KBS' ten years of preserving, promoting and perpetrating the blues, we are planning a special concert in November in conjunction with our general membership meeting.


Besides the Garvin Gate Blues there are three other nationally recognized festivals that are held in Kentucky. The W. C. Handy Festival in Henderson, KY will start things off on June 17 with a night of zydeco from Chubby Carrier & the Bayou Swamp Band. Other acts scheduled include Big Al & the Heavyweights. Gene Deer, Tinsley Ellis, Bernard Allison, Kenny Neal and KoKo Taylor.

The Hot August Blues Festival will follow on August 25-30 at Kenlake State Resort Park. Our own Mary Ann Fisher and MR2 Blue will play on Friday. Saturday will feature the Kelly Richey Band and Son Seals. Closing out the festival on Sunday will be Jimmy Hall, Mike Griffin & the Unknown Blues Band, Little Ed & the Blues- Imperials and Rod Piazza & the Mighty Flyers. l

This will be the fourth year for the Blues To the Point / Two Rivers Blues Festival -in Carrollton on September 4 and 6. Friday will bring Big Joe Duskin, Tanita Gaines & the Accused and Son Seals. Leo Martin & Hayes, The Walnut St. Blues Band, Mudcat & Kane and Magic Slim & the Teardops will be featured on Saturday. lf you want more information about any of these events or need an update, contact me at 451-6872.