Home of the Live Music Calendar Follow STLBlues on Twitter Follow STLBlues on Facebook Home of the Live Music Calendar Live Music Is Better, Book It Here!! Live music is better, book yours now!
Big Muddy 2003 gallery - Day 3

Review by Paul Fields (The Blue Jazzman)   photos by STLBlues

Since 1982 we've been in St Louis all but four (while on assignment in Texas).  In those 17 years I cannot remember a Labor Day weekend this wet.  It was wet enough for the Festival organizers to move all the acts inside for the final day. For those who did brave the weather it turned out to be a real blessing, though.  The "crowds" were much smaller in each venue and everyone could find a place to sit, relax and groove to artists who seemed all the more motivated after battling the elements to unpack their gear and set up for their performances.

With four venues operating there was still a lot of blues variety and plenty of talent to please our blues stalwarts.  One very talented group, The Uncle Albert Band, from the Metro East Side of St Louis, played what many of their regular followers claimed was one of their best shows ever.  It was my first time hearing them live; I just thought it was a great performance by an extremely entertaining band.  If you listen regularly, you're already familiar with their piano-playing singer, Lisa Campbell - don't miss our Festival Recap shows, Lisa's version of "Hard Drivin' Mama" will be the lead tune.  If Uncle Albert ever ventures out of the Midwest, Marcia Ball (in my opinion, a blues goddess) will have to stay on her toes when crowds hear Lisa belt 'em out.

bigmuddy_day3_3 (14).jpg

bigmuddy_day3_3 (17).jpg

bigmuddy_day3_3 (22).jpg

bigmuddy_day3_3 (25).jpg

bigmuddy_day3_3 (26).jpg

bigmuddy_day3_3 (28).jpg

bigmuddy_day3_3 (9).jpg

big_muddyfest_day3 (17).jpg

A new group, The Bottoms Up Blues Gang, continued to "wow" their fast-growing fan base with their set.  They've been together only a few months but already have their first CD and not too many copies of it remaining at that.  We should have their CD later in the week and I'm anxious to share this very high-energy young group with you.  Their vocalist, Kari Liston, never lets up for even an eighth note during the entire show - that's high-energy. And, the guitar player, Jeremy Segel-Moss, is right there with her all the way.

Rob Garland and The Blue Monks were closing the evening at one venue when I stopped in for a few numbers.  They were tearing it up with such ferocity I almost decided to "stay longer at the fair" but today's show still was lacking even the first song or announcement and I was already exhausted.  But, then, Rob and his gang always deliver dynamite blues whenever they take the stage and I have their schedule.

big_muddyfest_day3 (18).jpg

big_muddyfest_day3 (21).jpg

big_muddyfest_day3 (23).jpg

Big_muddy_day3 (4).jpg

Big_muddy_day3 (5).jpg

Big_muddy_day3 (6).jpg

Big_muddy_day3 (8).jpg

Big_muddy_day3 (9).jpg

The main stage moved into the large eatery/watering hole next door to the outdoors venue.  It's the flagship of a local "chain" called  The Trainwreck Saloon.  None of them are trainwrecks at all but it is a catchy name, right? In fact, all of their locations are immensely popular any time of the day.  Try their bison burgers, if you're ever in town!

On the "main stage" the Albert King Tribute Band got things rolling. From the first drumbeat, the blues and good times didn't stop until they closed the doors.  The Tribute Band is comprised of all alumni of various iterations of Albert King's bands throughout his career.  Unless one witnesses this unique combination in person, the best I can describe it as would be the dream team of blues bands.  With so many alumni reporting for duty when the dream team gets together, it's only natural that no one solo instrumentalist or singer could monopolize the spotlight. So, audiences are always treated to a wide variety of the best of the best of veteran bluesmen who worked and learned the blues from the master who shaped so much of contemporary blues in St Louis and Memphis (half the blues "capitals"). They don't play often because the band really isn't a band as much as it is a family reunion. But, if you're bound for St Louis or the surrounding area, be sure you check our local definitive source for blues news to see if they're playing at some special event (festival, etc) and make your plans accordingly.


big_muddy_lastday (10).jpg

big_muddy_lastday (13).jpg

big_muddy_lastday (18).jpg

big_muddy_lastday (19).jpg

big_muddy_lastday (20).jpg

big_muddy_lastday (23).jpg

big_muddy_lastday (24).jpg

After the Tribute Band we were treated to Sam Carr and the Jelly Roll Kings.  Sam Carr and the late Frank Frost evolved the Jelly Roll Kings some time in the late 50s/early 60s after they'd worked and toured together since 1954. What a show!  At 77 years young, Sam Carr still has the energy and drive of entertainers a third his age.  Some of our local talent sat in with Mr. Carr and he kept them all extremely busy.

One of Sam's nieces lives here in St Louis. Earlier in the evening she was chatting about her Uncle Sam and just said her uncle would be showing up later and she'd love for me to meet him.  Later she came to the lobby, where I was greeting folks for the Blues Society, to drag me off to meet her uncle.  Imagine my surprise when that Uncle Sam turned out to be Sam Carr himself.  He'd just finished his show and was sitting with his St Louis family members so I didn't want to overstay my welcome. But, we did talk long enough for him to remind me it was he who hired Frank Frost originally and not the other way around.  Before I took my leave, Mr. Carr did exact a promise that the next time I'm in Helena (Arkansas) I'll stop by and visit - an invitation any blues lover would be only too anxious to take. Hmmm. My birthday is in October and so is Helena's 18th Annual King Biscuit Blues Festival ...

big_muddy_lastday (4).jpg

big_muddy_lastday (8).jpg

big_muddy_lastday (3).jpg

big_muddy_lastday (7).jpg

big_muddy_lastday (11).jpg

big_muddy_lastday (21).jpg

big_muddy_lastday (22).jpg

big_muddyfest_day3 (6).jpg

The crowning jewel of Monday's festival events was Johnnie Johnson's act.  The Father Of Rock-and-Roll never fails to thoroughly energize the crowd, large or small.  Remembering my tenth-grade English teacher's admonition to never overdo superlatives, suffice it to say there's a reason anyone who loves the blues in St Louis reveres Johnnie as a superstar and rock icons like the Rolling Stones and Eric Clapton fought so hard to see Johnnie inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.  Johnnie's music speaks volumes more than any critic or reviewer can ever say.  That's why you'll hear him, almost daily, on our show.  Johnnie's next "big" performance, by the way, will be the Old Webster Jazz and Blues Festival in the St Louis suburb of Webster Groves, September 20, 2003. And, yes, Johnnie is as much a virtuoso with jazz as he is the blues. But, if we're not drenched that weekend, Johnnie will be featuring both blues and jazz. You'd better arrive early, though, because last year's festival was so packed folks were straddling street lamp posts just to get a glimpse of Johnnie on stage.

While the weather, no doubt, kept some people away all three days of this year's festival, those who did trek downtown were treated to a real blues festival tour d' force. They won't soon forget the stellar performances by our headliners and so many of our local talent who played their hearts out for appreciative listeners standing in the rain to hear them.  Festival organizers, musicians and the fans all deserve real kudos for pulling off such a wonderful blues event in spite of much less than desirable circumstances.  Historically, St Louis Labor Days are hot, muggy affairs so next year's festival, like so many before it, will probably fare better in the weather department.

If you missed this year's festival and you have any plans to be in or near St Louis next Labor Day, be sure to mark your calendar now and plan to be at the 12th Annual Big Muddy Blues Festival.  "It's the blues, ya'll" - the blues the way it's really meant to be experienced: up close and personal.

Have a great blues day!!!

big_muddyfest_day3 (11).jpg

big_muddyfest_day3 (14).jpg

big_muddyfest_day3 (26).jpg

bigmuddy_day3_3 (12).jpg

big_muddyfest_day3 (16).jpg

Enjoy our Blues reviews
STLBlues CD Reviews :: By band/artist first name
St. Louis based bands & musicians
More National Bands
 Live Music Calendar | Send Blues News | © STLBlues 2000 | Privacy Policy