Hot Drivin' with the Roadmasters

By Paul Moffett

Anybody who knows Winston Hardy can usually tell you four or five stories of his over-the-top behavior: firing his pistol into the air outside a Seventh Street Road bar; his mood-altering preferences; his tales of musician life in Haight-Ashbury in the Sixties. So no one was surprised by his behavior at Stevie Ray's on April 8, when he and his band the Roadmasters were performing for a documentarian; in fact, it was expected and no one was disappointed, even though Winston is not in the best of health.

Regardless of his reputation for such things, Hardy is also deadly serious about the music that his band makes and on this night, they were fine fettle, all, um, eight of them, from the rhythm section to the backup chorus to Cousin Joe's harmonica playing. They hit the stage ready to deliver the rhythm and the blues and deliver they did.

The videographer and his new bride were mostly unobtrusive about the taping, but it was clear that the band was working especially hard for them, particularly Joyce, Jeannette and Angie a.k.a "Big Red," who were into stuttin' and grinning about the whole deal. They kept the rest of the band hopping, making up for any slight letdown. Joe Moore blew those harmonic solos with a fury, while Lenny Lyles Jr. kept a rock-solid beat behind the whole thing. Add the guitarist's convoluted solos and Winston's occasional forays on sax to the mix and the night was made for dancing to the rhythm and the blues.

The crowd was a very unusual mix for Stevie Ray's, as Hardy has friends and fans from all the way down in Southeastern Kentucky and to north and west out to Paoli who made the journey to the big city for this show. Then there were the bikers. If any of Hardy's old enemies showed up, they didn't make it known.

The rest of the events of the night will have to await the video of the show, even though some of them probably make for some really good gossip. Check Muffy's Mid City Meddler column for a little more - though not too much - about the goings on.

At least he didn't shoot off his pistol in the courtyard.