Willie Pooch Memorial Benefit - July 11, 2010
This is why I was in Columbus: The Willie Pooch Memorial Benefit Concert at Roadhouse 66. The Columbus "blues godfather" died on May 6 and was buried on May 11 -- but just barely. Outstanding charges kept the funeral home from releasing the body until Ray Fuller, another Columbus musician, loaded up his credit card with the $8500 bill. Ray is unquestionably a wonderful person but he isn't wealthy. The intent of today's concert is to get some of that money back to him. I had no intention of posting a web page and was even ambivalent about taking photos. But I'd visited the AMA Hall of Fame earlier in the day and that was definitely worth of a page. The outside daytime concert was conducive to shutter snapping and I quickly decided that it, too, was web worthy. I got my "POOCH" stamp (With instructions to "just show your pooch" to get back in.) and settled back for a great set from Willie's old backup band "The Upsetters".

There was silent auction going on and some of Willie's wardrobe was up for bids. You'd never catch Willie wearing mismatched shoes but it was a good way to display what was available. Long Tall Deb and the Drifter Kings were the next group on stage. Deb mostly stuck with delivering soulful vocals but did fiddle around just a little. Like every band that played today, they were better than the band before them and the band after them. I swear that's true. I used the word "Cajun" to describe some of their music but I've since seen a CD review that used the word "swampy" and I like that word better. It's good stuff no matter what you call it.

You thought maybe that was a trick shot and I was joking about the guy with two different shoes? Next up were Terry Davidson and the Gears. Roadhouse 66 opened with a solo and acoustic Ray Fuller but TD & TG were the first band to play here. I was there and wrote "I wouldn't mind hearing them again". This was the first I'd heard them again and I certainly didn't mind. I really like this guy.

As the end of the silent auction approached, they took advantage of the time between bands to show a few of the items to the folks outside. Then it was time for the Frank Harrison Group. Frank acknowledged his reputation for playing louder than most then turned things down for a tune or so before returning to normal levels. But he's not just loud. He's loud and good. His cover of Are You Experienced? sounded just about right.

The last band up was Ray Fuller and the Blues Rockers. Ray's the guy who saved the day at Willie Pooch's funeral and he fronts a collection of impressive musicians. I was kind of drawn to the keyboardist who I'm betting scared the bejesus out of his high school's piano tuner. There was a short and worthwhile delay when a fan offered cash for a signed drum stick and drummer Tom Sawyer gladly delivered. "I've got guitar picks", Ray quipped. There were a few tense moments when the Blues Rockers's bassist found himself unintentionally playing strapless. He actually did quite well until Terry Davidson popped out to reconnect things.

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