July 16, 2007

Portland Waterfront Blues Festival – Saturday

A little delayed in finishing this, as it’s more than a week ago, but I thought I’d finish up, even so. Saturday’s schedule was heavy with zydeco bands, especially on the stage with the dance floor. I can appreciate zydeco – and there were some good bands – but I sometimes tire of washboard polka, even with lyrics in French. There were plenty of other fans, though, and the dance floor was teeming with sweaty dancers. So, after a good sample of the beat, I spent most of the afternoon wandering the grounds and sampling the two larger stages, where there were other delights to be heard.

I got to hear the last part of Buddy Flett and The Bluebirds, who played excellent, electric blues, though I note from their Web site that their latest CD features acoustic work. They were rocking for this set and I want to hear more.

I’d not heard of Teresa James before that day, but I was glad I did hear her then. That woman can sing. She has a strong, earthy voice and can pull both the humor and the, well, the blues out of a song. Her band, the Rhythm Tramps, was an excellent support. Another find of the festival for me.

We took the street car into the Pearl district for a dinner at the Bridgeport Brewpub, where we met our friend’s son and had a nice dinner. We closed out the festival with the Dirty Dozen Brass Band and, best of all, Mavis Staples and the Staples Singers. Whew! What she lacked in voice, she more than makes up for in soul. And, as she performed, she took the time to remind us of what life was like for so many of our citizens while this music, her music, was being developed. It was a fitting closing to a wonderful experience. Great friends, great site, great music.

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