A holiday weekend can be a wasteland for musical events in any city. Luckily, the Saturday before Easter was a good evening for the blues at Famous Dave's in Uptown Minneapolis. As part of my ongoing search for new and exciting blues, I got my first opportunity to see Kansas City bluesman DC Bellamy and his band, "America's Most Wanted." Bellamy is a Chicago native, moving to Kansas City, Kansas a few years ago at the insistence of another Chicago bluesman, Abb Locke. The other reason he left the Windy City for Kansas City was because, as he put it on Saturday night, "Chicago was TOO DAMN COLD!" Although there is far more as to how Bellamy ended up in Kansas City, suffice it to say that the smiling, friendly bluesman lived his share of the blues prior to his better days "over the rainbow" in Kansas.
One of the reasons I wanted to see DC Bellamy perform live was because of his 2000 Rooster Blues release, Water To Wine, and excellent effort filled with nine well- crafted originals and three entertaining covers of songs by John Lee Hooker, Marvin Gaye and Peter Chatman (a.k.a., Memphis Slim). From the CD, I knew that Bellamy (the half-brother of Curtis Mayfield) was a talented musician and I wanted to see if he would deliver in person as well as he did on his recording.
On Saturday night, DC Bellamy's band included Harrison Irons (keyboards), Dan "Juice" Hettinger (harmonica), Jeff Schultz (bass) and Bryson Roberts (drums). Irons and Hettinger played on Water To Wine, while Schultz and Roberts are new since the recording. They proved themselves to be very accomplished musicians, providing a solid rhythm section for the band.
Amazingly, the band did not open with an instrumental, choosing instead to start the show with Muddy Water's classic, "Got My Eye On You." Bellamy immediately proved that he has a powerful singing voice as he belted out the opening number. Along with his awesome vocals, Bellamy is an accomplished guitarist and an excellent entertainer with a great stage presence. Right from the opening tune, Bellamy established a rapport with the audience; telling stories, joking and even singing several choruses of "Happy Birthday" to several of Dave's patrons who were celebrating birthdays by enjoying some ribs and blues.
Bellamy's performance was very entertaining as the band played a combination of excellent covers like "Let It Roll," "Little Bit" and "Nine Below Zero," mixed with original material from Water To Wine including "Give Me What I'm
Gettin'," "Next Door Neighbor's Woman" and "Water To Wine." The highlights of the evening also included Bellamy's powerful version of "Room With A View" (one of the greatest blues songs ever written, according to Bellamy); a red-hot version of "Shake. Rattle and Roll" combined with Louis Jordan's hit, "Caldonia" and an incredible version (not to mention openly bawdy) song called "If You See Kay" that got everyone in the crowd fired up as soon as they figured out the play on words dreamed up by the legendary Memphis Slim. In addition to some nice guitar work by Bellamy, the solos
provided by Juice Hettinger and Harrison Irons were all very well done and added tremendously to the band's performance.
DC Bellamy and America's Most Wanted definitely had it going on Saturday evening, giving a performance that really got things jumping at Famous Dave's. I am happy to report that what I was promised by Bellamy's excellent CD was delivered in the band's exceptional performance. After Saturday's show, I am hoping that I will get an opportunity to see DC Bellamy and America's Most Wanted again real soon.
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.
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