On Wednesday, May 3rd, I made one of my periodic trips to Legend's Bar and
Grill at the Holiday Inn in St. Cloud, Minnesota to see the man known as the "Gypsy of the Blues," Mr. Eddie Kirkland. It has been over a year since Eddie last visited
Minnesota and even longer (3+ years) since I last saw him perform live at the now
defunct Biscuits & Blues in Minneapolis.
Eddie's band, Energy, opened the show at 7:00 p.m. with Freddie King's classic,
"Hideaway." This was followed by nice covers of T-bone Walker's "Little Girl" and
Albert King's, "Oh, Pretty Woman." Guitarist Jim Thacker, who has played with
Kirkland for over four years, showed off some fine guitar and nice vocals.
Accompanied on bass by Jason Corbiere and newcomer, Dylan Roye, on drums,
Energy prepped the audience for the entrance of the crimson-clad blues gypsy, Eddie
Kirkland. The Jamaican-born, U. S.-raised Kirkland, sporting his trademark scarf
covered head, strode to the stage, strapped on his guitar and ripped into a frenetic
version of B. B. King's "Every Day I Have The Blues." In just that one song, I could tell that Kirkland could still play a great blues guitar and that he still retained his powerful singing voice!
From 7:00-11:00 p.m., Kirkland performed two long, powerful sets featuring
songs from several of his recordings, most notably his latest release on JSP Records, "Movin' On," including the slow blues original, "Rainbow," and a ripping version of a song Kirkland referred to only as "Monkey." "Monkey" (entitled "Don't Monkey Around With Me" on the CD) gave all band members an opportunity to make a solo presentation on their respective instruments.
Though Kirkland's sets were predominantly blues, he also pulled a couple of
rock n' rollers out of his bag of tricks. His rocking instrumental lead-in to "Pretty Girls
Are Everywhere" really got the crowd out of their seats and onto the dance floor.
After 40+ years in the music business, Eddie Kirkland showed everyone at
Legend's that he still got what it takes to play the blues. His youthful energy and
exuberance were no more apparent that when, at the end of the first set, he jumped off of the raised platform stage (2-3 feet high) at Legend's, guitar in hand, playing and not missing a note. Then he proceeded to walk around the club and played some personal riffs for members of the audience.
Even though I had to drive a few extra miles to see him, Eddie Kirkland's show
was everything I hoped for, and then some. In my estimation, it was worth every mile
and minute that I had to travel to see this blues legend. With any luck, I hope to see
him again very soon.
This review is copyright © 2000 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.