Sunday, July 8, 2012

Zydeco & Blues on a Hot Summer Day

‘Round midnight under a full moon in October, south of Rosedale, Mississippi, Robert Johnson approached the crossroads.  One legend has it that he met the Devil-man, who enticed him to sell his soul for mastery of the Delta Blues and all the whiskey and women that would, naturally, flow from such talent.  Robert Johnson kept walking, sealing his fate, and his legend lives on in art and music. 

Today at the Waterfront Blues Festival, I heard another man play the guitar in a way that must have come from another deal with the devil.  Roy Rogers is his name, and he played a song or two from ol’ Robert Johnson.  Mr. Johnson only had his guitar.  Roy Rogers had who-knows-how many watts of amplification.  When his top-drawer drummer pounded away, I could feel the shock wave hit me.  As one would expect when a festival has dozens of acts, not all can be terrific, but Roy Rogers was, and I will look for him again.

Some Zydeco fans promote the genre in Portland, and the Blues festival features several Zydeco acts.  I caught a couple of acts, and it makes me want to take some Zydeco dance lessons. 
Hot temperatures, blue skies, and thousands of people out on Portland’s waterfront enjoyed the final day of the annual bash that raises nearly one million dollars and tons of food for the Oregon Food Bank.  (And I think I have the blues .  .  .  . )
July 8, 2012, Portland, Oregon

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