Over the past three weeks I have been fortunate enough to see blues guitarist and entertainer extaordinaire, Eddy "The Chief" Clearwater, not just once, but twice in two completely different parts of the country. After seeing Clearwater perform at Blue Chicago in the Windy City the day after Christmas, I met up with The Chief again at South Florida's premier blues venue, The BamBoo Room on Saturday evening.
After three songs by Eddy's backing band including Tom Holland (guitar), "Felix The Cat" (bass) and Moe "The Percolater" Perkins (drums); Eddy took the stage decked out in bright red jeans, a blue fringed shirt and a Guernsey cowhide patterned cowboy hat. His sets were full of his excellent guitar, vocals and numerous original compositions from his present and past recordings. The show included nearly every song from his recent Bullseye release, Reservation Blues. Eddy informed the large vocal audience that Reservation Blues has received four W.C. Handy Award nominations including a nomination for Song of the Year for "Winds of Change." Eddy's performance included the Handy Award nominated song, along with "Find You A Job" from The Chief, "Cool Blues Walk" from the CD of the same name and a great version of the Freddie King classic, "Sen Say Shun." Particularly enjoyable was the rousing rendition of "I Wouldn't Lay My Guitar Down" with Eddy dancing, jumping and generally getting into the song with the crowd cheering him on. During "Sen Say Shun," Clearwater removed his cowboy hat and played a portion of the song with his guitar behind his head.
Some of the most exciting news of the evening came from Eddy's wife Renee' who told me that their new supper/blues club, Reservation Blues is scheduled to open on January 18, 2001. Located at 1566 N. Milwaukee in Chicago, Illinois, the club is decorated in a 1940's style and will serve Southwestern cuisine in addition to offering some of Chicago's best blues. Once the club is up and running strong, a Grand Opening will be held around April 1. The new club is sure to be hit in the Chicagoland area.
As much as I enjoyed Eddy's show at Blue Chicago, the show at The BamBoo Room was even better. Clearwater seemed to thrive on the adulation of the Florida crowd who were all really getting into the show. Whether it was a slow blues like "Blues For Breakfast," the title track from Reservation Blues or the message of love and understanding in "Walls Of Hate," Clearwater and company had the crowd going with every song.
The crowd response and long lines for autographs and CDs were clear indications that everyone loved the show. Clearwater's enthusiasm, coupled with his gratitude for the enthusiastic crowd and kudos to the staff of The BamBoo Room for their courtesy and kindness seemed to suggest that he would be returning to venue whenever the opportunity presented itself again.
To find out more about The BamBoo Room, or to get an updated schedule, visit The BamBoo Room website at www.bambooroom.com. For more on Eddy "The Chief" Clearwater, visit his website at www.eddyclearwater.com. You can also visit the Bullseye Blues website at www.bullseye.com for information on Eddy Clearwater's available music catalog or to purchase a copy of Eddy's latest release Reservation Blues.
This review is copyright © 2001 by Dave "Doc" Piltz, and Blues On Stage, all rights reserved. Copy, duplication or download prohibited without written permission. For permission to use this review please send an E-mail to Ray Stiles.