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THE CRAWL, PART TWO

Various Places

Various Dates
By Rolf Olmsted

"East to west, north to south
Brand new dance people shoutin' about
It's called the crawl

Aw, the crawl
Cats on the corner, everybody's doin' the crawl

East to west, north to south
Brand new dance people shoutin' about
It's called the crawl

Aw, the crawl
Cats on the corner, everybody's doin' the crawl"

PART TWO

Every few months talking on those blues road trip gang journeys Mo and I will agree that we really ought to concentrate more on the local Sonoma County scene.  Both of us remember what it used to be like.  There was a blues type band or hot attraction at some venue somewhere in the county every Friday and Saturday night.

So one cold January night we did the crawl for blues.  Understand that we had our eye on the listing of Terry Hanck?s show at Club Tac in Crockett just across the Carquinez Bridge.  We?d also seen the Bay Area Blues Club message that Terry was sick and Steve Freund had been hired to sing and Johnny Cat would be on guitar.  But we were gonna do Sonoma County.  We?d separately checked all the calendars we could find. We agreed to meet at Aroma Roasters.

The Hellhounds at A'Roma Roasters, January 8, 2005

I like A'Roma Roasters; it?s a coffeehouse, a real one.  Not one of those Formica strip mall ones with the chirpy "barristas" asking if you want a "vente double decaf nonfat Hazelnut mocha?"  Nope, Aroma Roasters has photo exhibits, boards posting poetry readings and punk rock shows, people of all ages, thrift store angels with pink hair, and families.

The Hellhounds (Phil Ajioka, guitar; Dave Chafoya, harp; Bill Wolf, bass; Alan McDaniel, drums) set up and went right into that good old Sonny Boy Williamson ?King Biscuit Time? theme song:

Good evening, everybody, tell me how do you do
Good evening, everybody, tell me how do you do
We?re the [insert you band name here] come out to welcome you

Goodbye, hello, goodbye
Goodbye, hello, goodbye
I didn't come here to stay; I just come here to work awhile

This morning I just dropped in your town
This morning I just dropped in your town
I'm in [insert location], trying to knock these blues around

Using small rigs and McDaniel?s "cocktail? drum set, Phil?s voice was audible this night.  He launched into Muddy?s "Gypsy Woman."  They played many of the classics of the blues like Sonny Boy?s "Help Me,? and "Driftin? Blues" and "Can?t Be Satisfied."  The whole thing was understated and close-up.

The different coffee house esthetic where you?re a few feet from the musicians at tables, people get up for more coffee, chess games are going on, people slide in for a while and then slide out, was fun.  Whole families were at some of the side tables.  Where else are you going to expose children to music?

Mo became restless because there was no place to dance and persuaded me to head out to the Tradewinds after the first set.  A band called "Mudslide" was on the calendar.

I walked in the ?Winds backdoor and found only twelve people in the bar, all male, all regulars, all backed up against the bar.  Mudslide was playing a rock song that sounded vaguely like the Rolling Stones played very heavily.  Mo said, "That?s it.  I?m going to Club Tac.  You want to come with?"  Leaving my truck and our good resolution to hunt blues in Sonoma County we zoomed Lakeville Highway, Blood Alley and the Carquinez to Club Tac.

Terry Hanck had totally lost his voice and could only croak.  Steve Freund was doing competent singing, and Johnny Cat was playing bouncy and edgy licks.  The club was enjoying the show; Terry is a favorite here.  Terry?s vocals were much missed, but his sax playing was hot.  Butch Cousins, the drummer, and Fly Brooks, on bass really kept the show on track what with Terry?s laryngitis, a new guitarist, and a pickup vocalist/guitarist.

We?d hoped for a guitar interaction between Steve and Johnny but it didn?t seem to happen.  Steve seemed withdrawn.  The place really woke up when Terry would cut loose.  Hanck just has that thing that gets them out dancing.  I?ll look for another Terry Hanck show real soon.

"Just another soul on the Blue Highway."  Mo dropped back at my truck.  We found out that John Lee Hooker Junior appeared at the Forestville  Club that same night but that hadn?t been advertised very well.  Ah, the crawl.

**************************************

On Jan 15th I went and saw The Michael Barclay Band at the Tradewinds, which is published here.

A fine show, I?m looking forward to their show in March since they are working on new songs and have a CD in the works.

**************************************

Levi Lloyd & The 501 Band at Tradewinds, Friday January 21, 2005

Interested to see what the 501 Band had become in the time since I?d seen them I went to the Tradewinds where I knew they would be loose.  I got there late.  As I walked in the door I heard:

"You got me runnin', you got me hidin'
You got me run, hide, hide, run; any way you wanna, let it roll,
Yeah, yeah, yeah,
You got me doin' what you want me to,
Baby why ya' wanna let go

I'm goin' up; I'm goin' down
I'm goin' up, down, down, up, any way you wanna,
Let it roll
Yeah, yeah, yeah,
You got me doin' what you want me to,
Baby why ya' wanna let go

You got me peepin', you got me hidin'
You got me peep, hide, hide, peep, any way you wanna let it roll,
Yeah, yeah, yeah,
You got me doin' what you want me to,
Baby why ya' wanna let go"

            (J. Reed)

Adam sang "Empty Arms" almost inaudibly while the band sounded great.  They had a bass player sitting in (fine job) since Louie had to do the sound at LBC for the Cray/Musselwhite show at LBC.  Levi, in full ?entertainer? mode worked "I Got My Eyes On You" as the crowd got out dancing on the floor.  Levi cut loose on "Walkin? with my Baby" and without a break they went into a chugging groove, introduced Dee Wils on vocals and the song became "It?s Your Thang (do what you wanna).?  The bass part really had a lot of accent and expression.  The dancers were really going now.  They were ready for James Brown and "I Feel Good" was segued into "Cold Sweat."  Lots of hip shaking, every other place nearby was dead and people kept coming in the door.

Changing the roll "Dock of the Bay" transformed into "Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa" and was succeeded by "Walking the Dog.?  The place was packed by now.  People sang along.

After the break the soul dancing hits kept pumping out.  Getting people warm with "Big Boss Man" ("How many of y?all got jobs?"), they then did the entertainer?s duty and sang "Happy Birthday" for the two birthday folks in the house.

"634-5789" changed into a great dance groove and "Use Me Up:?

"My friends
Feel it's their appointed duty
They keep trying to tell me
All you want to do is use me
But my answer yeah
To all that use me stuff is:

I wanna spread the news that
If it feels this good getting used
Oh you just keep on using me
Until you use me up
Until you use me up

People were going nuts dancing on the floor.

Levi, regarding himself as a soul-funk guitarist, generally is reluctant to do straight blues (tho? everything with him comes out bluesy).  He surprised me by doing "Red House" real loose and loud with a screaming solo.  Dancers were jumping up and down even with the slower tempo of this song.

"Ain?t Too Proud To Beg" with Dee Wils singing was followed by "Knock On Wood", and Dee and Levi harmonizing on "My Girl."  They played us out the break with Albert Collin?s "Frosty."  I wish Levi and the band would do a lot more Albert Collins, it?s right down their alley, especially now that Jeff has been added on second guitar.

The third set started with "Standing On Shaky Ground" changing "Tear The Roof Off The Sucker" changing into "Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)" and then changing back to "Standing on Shaky Ground."  This was a medley that went on for a long time and was inspired for dancers.  The big house was really working out on the floor.

The end of the night was made up of Adam Birney?s songs "Du Wine", "Born on the Bayou", and "Fly Like An Eagle."  They closed out the night with "Hip Shake.?

**************************************

"East to west, north to south
Brand new dance people shoutin' about
It's called the crawl

Aw, the crawl
Cats on the corner, everybody's doin' the crawl

East to west, north to south
Brand new dance people shoutin' about
It's called the crawl

Aw, the crawl
Cats on the corner, everybody's doin' the crawl"

            (Lonnie Brooks as Guitar Junior)

...Rolf Olmsted

Rolf Olmsted was born on the banks of the Mississippi River and had a dog and played his father's mandolin. He was exposed to the blues at an early age which accounts for it. Among his accomplishments are reproduction, a collection of cheap guitars, and computer semi-literacy. He's guilty of attempted guitar and mandolin playing.