On my first 2002 visit to The BamBoo Room in Lake Worth, Florida, I was lucky enough to see Alberta Adams in her first weekend appearance in South Florida. As an added bonus, the reigning Queen of the Detroit Blues was backed up by a great band led by noted blues drummer and W. C. Handy Award winner, R. J. Spangler and the Detroit Rhythm Rockers.
The Rhythm Rockers led off the first set on Saturday night with a couple of instrumental numbers including Jimmy Smith's "Chicken Shack" and "Alligator Boogaloo," written by jazzman Lou Donaldson. In addition to R. J. Spangler on drums, The Rhythm Rockers were comprised of Paul Carey on guitar, Chris Ramon on bass (playing with a broken wrist) and 22 year old Rick Smith who blew a mean saxophone and filled in on keyboards whenever needed. Both instrumentals featured excellent solos by each band member. Prior to the entrance of the venerable Ms. Adams, the band concluded their performance with a nice rendition of "Flip, Flop & Fly", a Big Joe Turner tune with vocals by the versatile Rick Smith.
As an additional surprise bonus on Saturday evening, Alberta's stage appearance was preceded by a two song vocal performance by her daughter, Ms. Sassy Adams, a lady blessed with her mother's powerful voice. The audience responded well to Sassy Adam's marvelous performance on the Louis Jordan classic, "Let The Good Times Roll," followed by the equally well known "The Thrill Is Gone" by B. B. King. "The Thrill Is Gone" featured the initial appearance by Rick Smith on keyboards instead of saxophone.
The remainder of the first set featured the excellent vocals of Detroit's "Queen of the Blues," Alberta Adams. Regardless of her age, Alberta possesses a young heart and vocals to match. Always the character, the first words from Alberta's mouth were to inform the audience that she is, was and always will be "DIRTY." Despite spending her entire stage time sitting on a chair, Alberta still managed to rock steady from her seat and rock the crowd with her excellent vocal presentation. Alberta started by slinging some dirty blues to the crowd with "He May Be Your Man (But He Comes to See Me Sometimes)," followed by "Blue Mood." Many of Alberta's songs covered the topics of infidelity, pain and the good and bad aspects of living the "wild life."
The format and themes of the second set mirrored the first, opening with The Detroit Rhythm Rockers, followed by Sassy Adams and culminating with the sharp vocals of Alberta Adams. The added attraction of the second set was a two song performance that included a couple of local bluesmen Al Rude replacing Chris Ramon on bass and Jim Fish sharing guitar duties with Rhythm Rocker, Jim Carey.
It was another great evening of music at The BamBoo Room featuring some excellent vocals by the mother-daughter team of Alberta and Sassy Adams, backed solidly by R. J. Spangler and The Detroit Rhythm Rockers. On songs like "Dr. Feelgood," "Lyin' and Cheatin'," "Little Bit" and "Born With The Blues," the band and singers delighted the crowd, sending them away with some great blues sounds ringing in their minds. Clearly, Alberta Adams initial appearance in South Florida established a solid, appreciative core of followers who will welcome her back to the area many times in the future.
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