A Rainy Day In Shreveport

001 The Kitchen, Monroe002 Day Old Blues Records003 Day Old Blues Records004 Rick's Records005 Artspace006 Artspace007 Artspace1928 Stan Lewis Exhibit1930 Stan Lewis Exhibit1932 Stan Lewis Exhibit1934 Stan Lewis Exhibit008 Texas Street011 Big D's Bar-B-Que012 Big D's Bar-B-Que1936 Port-au-Prince1940 Cross Lake1942 Port-au-Prince1944 Port-au-Prince1938 Cross Lake1945 Lakeshore Clothing & Music1946 Cedar Grove Wall of Hoods1947 Rhino Coffee
I usually spend the Friday before Grambling Homecoming shopping, searching for Grambling memorabilia and ephemera, as well as records and books. But this year, rather than spending the day in antique malls in West Monroe, where in recent years the pickings have been slim, I decided to head over to Shreveport and Bossier City instead, which somewhat proved to be a mistake. I had eaten breakfast at a downtown Monroe restaurant called The Kitchen, and had assumed because it wasn’t raining in Monroe that it wouldn’t be raining in Shreveport. Instead, the rain started in rather heavy at Ruston, and got worse the further west I went. As it turned out, I was dealing with heavy downpours almost the entire day in Shreveport. I spent the day visiting several antique malls, book shops, the new Day Old Records store (which hadn’t existed the last time I was in Shreveport) and flea markets. But the rain made things difficult, and I failed to find anything really of interest. Worse, a lot of familiar landmarks that I knew and loved in Shreveport were long gone, including Murrell’s, Joe’s Diner, Garland’s Super Sounds and Lakeshore All Around Sounds. Don’s Steak and Seafood was abandoned and about to be torn down. However, when I learned that there was an exhibit at Artspace downtown that was honoring Stan Lewis, the owner of Stan’s Record Shops and the Jewel/Paula/Ronn family of record labels, I headed over there to check it out. Actually, a museum was a decent place to be on such a wet and rainy day, and I ended up purchasing a Jewel/Paula/Ronn T-shirt from the museum’s gift shop. As I headed down Texas Street, I came past the Louisiana State Fairgrounds, where the State Fair of Louisiana was going on despite the rain, and across the street at Fair Park High School, the marching band was marching around the school building performing, and traffic was temporarily stopped in all directions. I wasn’t sure if it was a special event due to the fair, or whether it was something that happens every Friday at the school. Unfortunately, the nearby Dunn’s Flea Market, where I often used to find Grambling memorabilia, was closed, presumably due to the rain.
One bright spot in an otherwise dull and depressing day was that the former Smith’s Cross Lake Inn had been reopened by new owners under a different name, Port-au-Prince. This had been my favorite restaurant in Shreveport for many years, before it closed abruptly and was boarded up. The new restaurant has a beautiful setting and decor, but the menu is a little more low-end than its predecessors. The emphasis is on catfish, and while a filet mignon remains on the menu, most of the small crowd that was there ordered the catfish, as I did. For the most part, I was pleased with the food. The catfish was excellent, and the strangely sweet french fries, while unusual, grew on me with time. What I didn’t particularly like was the restaurant’s policy of giving everyone hush puppies, bean soup, cole slaw and pickles, whether they want any of those things or not. Still, the overall experience was positive, and the view of the lake cannot be beat. My dinner there cheered me greatly.
Afterwards, I headed by a new place called Lakeshore Clothing and Music, which indeed had a decent selection of rap and blues compact discs as well as clothing, and then I made one last stop at Rhino Coffee, a cheerful coffee bar on Southfield Road that also did not exist the last time I was in Shreveport. The breve latte they made for me was delicious as I headed back east on I-20.
When I got to Grambling, the rain had stopped, at least temporarily, and I stopped at an outdoor stand and bought a couple of Grambling T-shirts and a Grambling jacket. I made a drive around the campus, where there was actually something of a crowd out and about, taking advantage of the lull in the rain. But there didn’t seem to be a whole lot going on, and I could not get in touch with my friend, Dr. Reginald Owens, so I headed on back to Monroe. The rain had started again, and I ended up going to the hotel room and to bed.

Celebrating the Life of B. B. King in Indianola

002 B. B. King Homecoming003 B. B. King Homecoming004 B. B King Homecoming005 Blues All-Stars006 Blues All-Stars007 Blues All-StarsJPG008 Blues All-Stars010 B. B. King Homecoming011 B. B. King Homecoming012 B. B. King Homecoming013 B. B. King Homecoming014 B. B. King Homecoming015 Blues All-Stars016 Blues All-Stars017 Blues All-Stars018 Cody Dickinson & Sherena Boyce019 B. B. King Homecoming020 Food Trucks021 Food Trucks022 Eden Brent023 Eden Brent024 Eden Brent025 Eden Brent026 B. B. King Homecoming029 Eden Brent030 Eden Brent031 B. B. King Homecoming032 B. B. King Homecoming033 Eden Brent034 B. B. King Homecoming035 Eden Brent036 Eden Brent037 B. B. King Homecoming038 Marquise Knox039 Marquise Knox041 Marquise Knox042 Marquise Knox043 Marquise Knox044 Marquise Knox045 Marquise Knox046 Marquise Knox047 Marquise Knox048 Marquise Knox049 Marquise Knox050 Marquise Knox051 Marquise Knox052 Marquise Knox054 Marquise Knox055 Marquise Knox056 Marquise Knox057 Marquise Knox058 Marquise Knox059 Marquise Knox061 Marquise Knox062 Marquise Knox065 Lil Ray066 Lil Ray067 Lil Ray068 Lil Ray069 Lil Ray070 Lil Ray071 Sherena Boyce & Marquise Knox072 Lil Ray073 Lil Ray074 B. B. King Homecoming078 The Blue Biscuit079 The Blue Biscuit082 Sherena Boyce085 North Mississippi All-Stars086 Lightning Malcolm087 North Mississippi All-Stars088 North Mississippi All-Stars089 Lightning Malcolm090 North Mississippi All-Stars091 North Mississippi All-Stars093 North Mississippi All-Stars094 North Mississippi All-Stars095 North Mississippi All-Stars096 North Mississippi All-Stars097 North Mississippi All-Stars098 North Mississippi All-Stars099 North Mississippi All-Stars100 North Mississippi All-Stars102 B. B. King Homecoming103 Cody Dickinson104 Cody Dickinson105 Cody Dickinson106 Cody Dickinson107 North Mississippi All-Stars108 North Mississippi All-Stars109 North Mississippi All-Stars110 North Mississippi All-Stars
Each year in B. B. King’s hometown of Indianola, Mississippi, deep in the historic Delta region, the great bluesman returned in late May for an event called the Homecoming, where he performed for the people of his original hometown, and on the occasion of the 2014 Homecoming, he stated that that year’s event would be his last. The old man’s health was fading, and the travel was hard on him. But none of us could have imagined that he would not live to see the next one. This year’s Homecoming, coming a week or so after B. B. King’s death, was a sad occasion, and yet an opportunity for many great blues musicians to come together and honor King’s life and legacy on the grounds of the museum that bears his name. Just as the occasion was both joyful and sorrowful, the day was alternated by periods of heat and sunshine and downpours of rain, but in between the showers came a diverse array of performers, including Greenville blues diva Eden Brent, youthful St. Louis blues star Marquise Knox, Lil Ray, son of the Louisiana blues star Raful Neal, and the North Mississippi All-Stars, with Cody and Luther Dickinson, featuring Sharde Thomas on the keyboards and fife, and Lightning Malcolm on the guitar. The crowd ebbed and flowed due to the weather, but at its strongest seemed to be about 200 or so, equipped with lawn chairs, blankets and picnic baskets, and even sparklers. The North Mississippi All-Stars had barely finished their outdoor set, when the rains came a final time, more decisively, and some of the crowd headed around to the Club Ebony for the indoor evening performance. There really couldn’t have been a better way to honor B. B. King.













Keep up with Eden Brent:
http://www.edenbrent.com
https://www.facebook.com/edenbrent
http://yellowdogrecords.com/eden/
https://edenbrent.bandcamp.com

Keep up with Marquise Knox:
http://marquiseknoxblues.com
https://www.facebook.com/marquise.knox
https://myspace.com/marquiseknox

Keep up with the North Mississippi All-Stars:
http://www.nmallstars.com
https://www.youtube.com/user/nmallstarsmusic
https://www.facebook.com/nmallstars

https://myspace.com/nmallstars
http://www.nmorecords.com

Crisis901 Presents Dope on Arrival at the House of Mtenzi

001 DOA002 DOA003 DOA004 DOA005 DOA006 DOA007 DOA008 DOA009 DOA010 CCDE011 DOA012 DOA013 Rico014 Rico015 Rico016 Rico017 Rico018 Crisis 901019 Crisis 901020 Crisis 901021 Crisis 901022 Chinese Connection Dub Embassy023 Crisis 901024 Otis Logan025 Otis Logan026 CCDE Bass Player027 CCDE028 Otis Logan029 Otis Logan031 CCDE032 Otis Logan036 Dope on Arrival037 Dope on Arrival038 Dope on Arrival
I really was not familiar with the Memphis rapper Crisis 901 who was putting on an event called Dope On Arrival at the House of Mtenzi in Midtown Memphis on a Friday night in January. But I did of course know the Chinese Connection Dub Embassy band that was providing the musical backdrop for the MC’s, and my homeboy Otis Logan was playing drums with them on the gig in place of Donnon Johnson, so I decided to go down and support the event, and I enjoyed myself. Most of the artists were young new artists from Memphis, and I wasn’t familiar with them, but they were all decent MC’s. Crisis, who was celebrating his birthday, closed out the set, and I learned was not only a rapper but also an R & B singer as well. He refers to himself as “The Dark Knight” and uses a considerable amount of Batman references. Apparently the Dope on Arrival events are regularly-scheduled recurring concerts that happen about every three months or so.


Celebrating the Lower 9th Ward at the House of Dance and Feathers

A few years ago, when I visited the Backstreet Cultural Museum in Treme, I was unaware of the existence of another museum dedicated to the African-American cultural practices of the Lower Ninth Ward. Indeed, Ronald Lewis’ amazing House of Dance and Feathers, located in the back yard of his residence, was nearly destroyed by the flood waters of Hurricane Katrina, and many priceless artifacts were lost, but volunteers and donors helped rebuild the museum and restock it with photographs and objects that preserve a record of the neighborhood’s unique culture, a culture that at times seems more Caribbean than American. When the Neighborhood Story Project published a beautiful book about the museum, many people around the world (including myself)became more aware of the great work that Lewis has done to preserve a record of the Lower Ninth Ward and its significance to New Orleans as a whole. The museum contains artifacts of Black Indian culture, of social aid and pleasure clubs, and of brass bands and musicians. It also contains articles and books that deal with the history of New Orleans and related Afro-Caribbean cultural practices which resemble those of New Orleans, such as those of the Garifuna people of Central America. Mr. Lewis was very gracious in opening up the facility for me, his only visitor on the afternoon I was there, and explaining many things to me. A visit to the House of Dance and Feathers (as well as the Backstreet Cultural Museum) is a good place to begin to get an understanding of the culture which produced jazz, brass band music, R & B and even bounce music.

Stax to the Max Festival at Stax Museum @StaxMemphis Sponsored by @ArtsMemphis

resizedimage600600-stax-max-flyer-square-FINALhttp://thefrontlinemusic.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/resizedimage600600-stax-max-flyer-square-final-150x150.jpg 150w, http://thefrontlinemusic.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/resizedimage600600-stax-max-flyer-square-final-300x300.jpg 300w" sizes="(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px" /> Also on Saturday’s busy day is ArtsMemphis’ Stax to the Max festival, featuring the appearance of three classic Memphis soul vocal groups The Temprees, The Mad Lads and The Astors, all of whom recorded for Stax back in the day. Although I was unable to get a detailed schedule, the flyer indicates who will appear.

Richard “Rip” Lee Pryor Live at the Rock & Blues Museum #jukejointfest @VisitClarksdale

Richard “Rip” Lee Pryor is the son of the late Chicago bluesman Snooky Pryor who himself was from Lambert, Mississippi in nearby Quitman County. Like his father, Rip is a harmonica player and guitarist, and he thrilled the modest crowd outside Clarksdale’s Rock & Blues Museum during Juke Joint Festival on Saturday. The museum is worth a visit, not only for the exhibits, but also for the good selection of used vinyl and compact discs that are for sale.

The B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center, Indianola

The B.B. King Museum in the famous bluesman’s hometown of Indianola, Mississippi states that its purpose is to promote the values of B. B. King, but it has also promoted an increase in tourism to what was a sleepy Delta town. The live music outdoors that motivated me to drive down from Memphis was sponsored by the museum, and the museum has now assumed control of the historic Club Ebony, located just to the southwest of the museum campus.