Blues In Schools: Sponsored by the Boylston Cultural Council through a grant from the MA Cultural Co

By Karen Nugent
April 2009

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The Boston Blues Society’s third Blues in Schools show took place May 15 before more than 250 students at the Tahanto Regional High School in Boylston. Once again, the Delta Generators led intrigued students on a historical tour of the blues, starting with Robert Johnson in the Delta, and ending with Chuck Berry and the beginnings of rock ‘n roll.

There were a few surprises in the 90-minute concert, but the biggest had to be when School Superintendent Brian McDermott (now dubbed Brian “Lightnin” McDermott), pulled a harp out of his shirt pocket, took to the stage, and proceeded to burn the place down during Muddy Waters’ “Sugar Sweet.”

McDermott said he took up harmonica in college when a guitar playing buddy handed him a harp and told him to “learn it.” He sure did. McDermott jammed with the band a few more times before returning to his administrative duties.

Music Director Rick Cain, with the biggest stand-up bass I have ever seen, sat in on several tunes. He was joined by three students, including a smoking Robert Joyce (cousin of blues singer-guitarist Lydia Warren,) Steve Gebo on sax, and Mike Lindsey on trumpet. All played on B.B. King’s “Every Day I Have the Blues.”

This time, the DG’s drummer, Jeff Armstrong, got to shine, demonstrating what he describes as a “flat tire” drum beat used in a lot of Texas-style shuffles.

As in an earlier show in Clinton, the Generators ended with Freddie King’s “Going Down.”

This show also had a special cheering section, with members of the girls’ softball team dancing and shouting in the back of the auditorium.

Bassist Rick O’Neal, who announced free album download cards would be given out to all students, said after the downloads are complete, the card, which has embedded black-eyed Susan seeds, can actually be planted in a garden.

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