The Legendary Rhythm & Blues Revue

The Legendary Rhythm & Blues Revue
Command Performance

Delta Groove Records (DGPCD 121)

By Art Tipaldi
November 2008

Let’s face it, if you’re like me, some of the best nights of festival music happened when all the day’s performers gathered on stage to jam together. The longer the jam lasted, the better the experience.

Command Performance invites eight world class blues musicians to the stage and captures more than 75 minutes of the finest blues jam you might ever hear.

The Revue is the brainchild of Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise founder Roger Nabor, who saw the all-night jam fireworks first hand on his sold out, annual cruises. Those late night sessions are the first thing cruisers enthuse about.

The tour started in 2007 after the cruise landed in Ft. Lauderdale. That year it featured Deanna Bogart, Ronnie Baker Brooks, and the Tommy Castro band. The tour hit the South and landed in Memphis for two shows during the 2007 Blues Music Awards.

In the fall, the tour started in San Diego after the fall West Coast Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise, and hit major spots on the California coast. This command performance was captured by Delta Groove Records as a way for every music fan to experience this once-in-a-lifetime show. As if there isn’t enough star power already, the Revue added Marcia Ball, Elvin Bishop, Curtis Salgado, and Magic Dick.

One listen and the on stage camaraderie stands out. This is definitely a check your ego at the door and enjoy. Brooks kicks off the show with his rockin’ blues “Can’t You See,” featuring Bogart’s bouncin’ boogie keys, Keith Crossen’s growlin’ tenor and Brooks’ outrageous guitar. Castro leads the seven minute, horn driven shuffle on James Brown’s “I Feel That Old Feeling Coming On.” Here, Bogart trades in her piano for her tenor as she and Crossen pass big time sax solos to the applause of the crowd.

Magic Dick follows with his signature harmonica workout on “Whammer Jammer,” where every influential blues harp player can be heard in Dick’s encyclopedic reed work.

From there, each of the core Revue musicians takes the lead.

Bogart sits center stage for her rollicking, piano based, “Still The Girl In the Band.” Next, Brooks fronts the band on his solemn, ladies’ choice “See You Hurt No More.” Castro contributes his own resounding “If I Had A Nickel.”

The rest of the Revue is an all-star workout in which only the detailed song notes keeps the listener informed as to who’s featured in solo after solo. It’s all Salgado singing and lending his Chicago-styled harp to Jimmy Rogers’ “If It Ain’t Me.”

Brooks, Bogart and Magic Dick stay on the South Side with a brooding eight minutes of Muddy’s “She’s Nineteen Years Old,” while Magic Dick honors the genius of the electric harmonica of Little Walter on Walter’s “Tell Me Mama.”

The final three tunes might rank as the one of the most spectacular finales ever recorded. First, Magic Dick and Castro lead the all-star band on J. Geils’ signature “Looking For A Love.” Castro’s funky “High On The Hog” follows with nine minutes of fireworks featuring solos by guitarists Castro, Brooks, and Bishop, mixed with Crossen’s sax, Bogart’s piano, and Dick’s harp. The final to the set is “Sea Cruise,” Marcia Ball’s standard set closer. Ball sings while Brooks, Salgado, and Castro sing background, and Bogart and Crossen’s tenors drive the sea cruiser down the highway.

This Revue was one of the most talked about shows on the 2007 blues circuit. However, if you weren’t living near the limited touring route, you never had the opportunity to catch the thunder. This record is as good as having been there.

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