Pat Hayes (known to some as "Lamont" of the Lamont Cranston Blues Band) performed a rare solo show in St. Peter recently. Pat said he has played solo before but this was the first time he has had his own show like this. This was a good idea and thanks to Gary Campbell and Mark Halverson, from Mankato, this event had a pretty good turnout and was well received by the audience.
The show consisted of two one-hour sets with Pat playing his vintage acoustic guitars. He sang a number of songs each set before calling up harmonica player Bill Steiner (of City Mouse) to join him. This was a nice touch and allowed Pat to stretch out some and cover more ground than he could do just by himself. Bill had a particularly nice harmonica solo on a Little Walter song. This was also a nice experience to see Pat just by himself and not backed by his band. We got to hear many songs we would not normally hear at the Lamont Cranston shows.
Even though Pat has been playing the blues for more than 30 years, he was a little nervous at the start of the evening as he donned his trademark shades and took his seat on the small stage in the basement of the St. Peter Arts Center (a nice little venue for this type of show). He rushed through the first half dozen songs before he started to settle down and become more comfortable with the room and audience who loved what they were hearing. Pat had his song l list on the floor in front of him and it looked like he might run out of material before the night was done.
We got to hear some old blues songs from Willie Mabon, Muddy Waters and Robert Johnson as well as some more contemporary tunes and some of Pat's own compositions. Pat even pulled out his harmonica rack to accompany his guitar on a few tunes. And it wasn't all blues either, Pat pulled a few unusual tunes out of his hat, like 1960's folk troubadour Donovan's, "Colours," and Curtis Mayfield's classic, "Gypsy Woman"-not bad interpretations. It was actually quite refreshing to hear Pat do these songs.
Pat started out the second set playing some very nice slide guitar. By very nice, I mean in the old Hound Dog Taylor style-raw and greasy. I thought Pat's slide playing and some of the ballads he played were the best parts of the show. As the night went on, Pat grew stronger and more confident in his delivery and even pulled out his "Gay Cowboy" song-an amusing account of an encounter at one of his shows in Virginia, MN. This was some "real" blues on the range.
Tonight's solo performance was a nice change of pace from the Cranston's live shows. Pat is also currently putting the finishing touches on the Lamont Cranston's new release (a live double CD recently recorded at the Whiskey Junction and Brewbaker's) scheduled to be released in August 2001.
This review is copyright © 2001 by Ray Stiles, 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.