Monday, April 10, 2017

13 is a lucky number....

Anthony "Packrat" Thompson and his harmonica, agree that Gary Erwin, a.k.a. Srimp City Slim, has been Charleston's Number One, main Blues Man for at least 20 years.

I've been back home about that long and I heard Shrimp when I first got back here from traveling for a long, long time.

He plays Blues on stage, spins Blues records on his Sunday morning radio show and performs a weekly Blues Cruise on Charleston Harbor with his tight band.

I came back home just in time to enjoy his 17-day annual Februay long-running Blues Bash.

This busy promoter and performer is a gift from Chicago and this weekend, he staged his 13th annual Blues By The Sea at Freshfields Village Green at Kiawah.

Gary "arranged" a cloudless, sunny Sunday event that draws hundreds each year to this free musical outing.

The printed program stated it was sponsored by the Cultural Events Fund of the Town of Kiawah Island.

Gary told us that the 14th annual has already been approved by the Fund for 2018. Hooray!

Happy dancers kicked up their heels when this was announced.

This year we were not only entertained by the opening act Chef Bill Wharton, we also were watching as he played and whipped up a tasty simmering pot of delicious Louisiana Gumbo!

Smelled so good!

The Sauce Boss started "cookin'" with his music about 28 years ago and we all were offered a bowl of happiness at the end of his second set.

He stopped once to add splashes of his "secret Sauce" into the pot.

A table was set up in front of the bandstand and, at the break,  we eagerly queued for our bowl and spoon.


I scored lots of okra, tangy sauce, and a good-size crawdad.

Gary had the Sauce Boss open the show, followed by Robert "Top" Thomas and the Packrat's Smokehouse. They are the purveyors of turgid deep Blues known as Florida Swamp sounds.

Featured on vocals - and harmonicist extraordinaire - was Anthony "Packrat" Thompson, pictured in the first photo above

The little kids - and their parents -  knew how to react to the hot, bouncy sounds this Sunday afternoon.

It was a good workout for my Canon SX280HS with its crystal clear images and crisp 500 mm zoom lens.

Children, especially, tend to freeze up - or strike a pose - when they see a camera pointed at them.

With the long zoom lens, I was able to remain seated in the audience beneath the huge white tent and zero in on the jumping, grinning and laughing activity in front of the stage.

I didn't stop and ask the name of the lady with the colorful parasol.

As the sun moved around from left to right, she adjusted her shade-maker accordingly to keep her cool.

Here she was being offered a bowl of Gumbo and had to decide how to handle the vittles.

It was definitely a two hand operation to spoon up the food, liberally enhanced by Bill Wharton's own formula Liquid Summer sauce.

The 3rd and final act of the day was The Lucky Losers, Click the link to see several of their videos.

Bay area notables Cathy Lemons (vocals) and Phil Berkowitz (harmonica and vocals) have joined forces in the Lucky Losers, a swingin', rockin' ensemble making their South Carolina debut.

Theirs is a classic sound with great original songs and female/male lead vocals and lots of spicy instrumental work.

The late afternoon cooling golden glow brought out the dancers of all ages.

Fueled perhaps by a helping of Gumbo, the couples - and singles - whirled around and around, moving to the energetic beat.

Thanks again, Gary, you gave us something for everyone for your lucky 13th.

(Click on the photos and links for more details.)

It was a pleasant, musical afternoon down at the entrance to Kiawah.

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