Thursday, July 24, 2014

BLUES N'AT

   Hartwood Acres will have a definite Mardi Gras atmosphere this weekend as the Pittsburgh Blues Festival celebrates it's 20th anniversary with Dr. John. The award-winning singer-songwriter, pianist and guitarist will headline Saturday night, July 26 at 9pm.

    Malcom John "Mac" Rebannack, Jr. was born on November 21, 1940 and raised in the Crescent City. As a teenager, Mac (he had yet to dub himself "Dr. John") was inspired by fellow New Orleans native Professor Longhair. He began gigging around the area at various clubs. He also found work as a producer.

     In the 1960s Mac made the move to the west coast as an in-demand session musician. In the late '60s he began to incorporate New Orleans symbolism into his live shows. New Orleans rhythm and blues met head-on with Los Angeles psychedelia to create "Dr. John, The Night Tripper". He bolstered this persona with the release of his debut disc, 1968's "Gris Gris". Dr. John eventually dropped "The Night Tripper" portion of his moniker but continued to merge voodoo, creole and psychedelia for the remainder of the 1960s and some of the 1970s.

      Dr. John's 1972 album, "Dr. John's Gumbo" said goodbye to the psychedelics and brought more of a New Orleans flavor to his sound, paying homage to his roots by covering New Olreans standards on the entire record.

     1973 saw the release of Dr. John's most commercially successful album, "In the Right Place". It also introduced the doctor's foray into funk, a genre that continues to influence his music today. The album scored a Top 20 hit with the single "Right Place Wrong Time".

      Today, Dr. John has won multiple Grammy awards as well as many other honors. He was inducted into both the Blues Hall of Fame and the  Louisiana Music Hall of Fame in 2007. He received induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2011. His albums "Gris Gris" and "Dr. John's Gumbo" ranked in Rolling Stone magazine's "500 Greatest Albums of All Time" at #143 and #402, respectively. He even found time to publish his autobiography in 1994, "Under the Hoodoo Moon".

       When he's not receiving doctorates or winning awards, Dr. John continues to bring the music world his mish-mash of blues, with touches of voodoo, funk, jazz, zydeco and boogie woogie-rock and roll.

        Grab your beads and enjoy the music of Dr. John Saturday night. If you can't make it Saturday, don't worry. The Pittsburgh Blues Festival will be celebrating their 20th anniversary all weekend long, from Friday, July 25 to Sunday, July 27, with plenty of blues, food and good times.

        Until next time, boys and girls. Keep It Bluesy!






Wednesday, July 23, 2014

THE BULLPEN

Put me in coach! Your Pittsburgh Pirates wrap up their series against the Los Angeles Codgers tonight at PNC Park. These are your keys to tonight's game. 1)The Pirates exploded last night in their 12-7 clobbering of the Codgers. The had 12 hits, 3 of them home runs. They'll look for their 2nd win in a row tonight as they serve up some Meatloaf, Pittsburgh-style and go for 2 outta 3. Give them a serving of Hit, Run & Score! 2)The Pirates will start LH Francisco Liriano, 1-7, 4.43 ERA. Frankie's lone win this season came against the Codgers. Be filthy again, Frankie! 3)The Codgers send RH Dan Haren, 8-7, 4.30 ERA to the mound. For the month of July, Haren is 0-3 with a 9.64. ERA. Hit 'em early, hit 'em often, hit 'em HARD! Let's Go Bucs!!!!!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

THE BULLPEN

Rounding third and heading for home! Your Pittsburgh Pirates continue their series with the Los Angeles Codgers tonight at PNC Park. These are your keys to tonight's game. 1)With last night's 5-2 win over the Pirates, the Codgers have a modest 2 game winning streak. Tonight they go for 3 in a row. I say No, No, No! 2)The Codgers are expected to start RH Josh Beckett, 6-5, 2.26 ERA. The Pirates will go with RH Vance Worley, 2-1, 3.38 ERA. Beckett has allowed 2 earned runs or less in 8 of his last 9 starts. It will be Beckett's first start since a stint on the DL. Welcome him back with a can of Hit, Run, & Score! 3)The Vanimal will try to rebound following a 5-4 loss to St Louie on July 8 in which he allowed 4 earned runs on 9 hits in 5 innings. Right the ship and get back in the win column! Let's Go Bucs!!!!!

Monday, July 21, 2014

THE BULLPEN

I don't care if I ever get back! Your Pittsburgh Pirates open up a 3-game set tonight at PNC Park against the Los Angeles Codgers. These are your keys to tonight's game. 1)Following yesterday's 5-3 win over Colorado, the Bucs improved their home record to 32-20, best in the NL. There's no place like home! 2)The Codgers were able to pull out a 4-3 win over St Louie last night. That puts St Louie and Mil in a tie for first in the NL Central. The Pirates are in second place, 1.5 games back. In the NL wildcard Washington, San Fran, Atlanta, and LA are tied for the two wildcard spots. The Pirates are two games out. This series is a good time to make some ground in that wildcard race. TCB-Take Care of Business! 3)The Pirates have won 6 straight at home. #7 would be heaven. Give 'em the ol' Hit, Run & Score! Let's Go Bucs!!!!!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

THE BULLPEN

Buy me some peanuts and crackerjacks! Your Pittsburgh Pirates wrap up their series with the Colorado Rockies this afternoon at PNC Park. These are your keys to today's game. 1)With last night's 11-inning, 3-2, walk-off victory, the Pirates can sweep the Rockies back to Colorado today. Time to clean house! 2)Both Cincy and Milwaukee lost yesterday. This puts the Pirates in a tie with Cincy for second place in the NL Central, 2.5 games behind both St. Louie and Milwaukee who are tied for first. Movin' on up! 3)Even with the win last night, the Pirates were an unimpressive 4 for 11 with runners in scoring position. Don't leave those ducks on the pond. Hit, Run, & Score, oh my! Let's Go Bucs!!!!!

THE BULLPEN

Root, root, root for the home team! Your Pittsburgh Pirates continue their series against the Colorado Rockies tonight at PNC Park. These are your keys to tonight's game. 1)Following last night's come-from-behind 4-2 win, the Pirates go for 2 in a row over Colorado. More Jolly Roger, please! 2)Colorado will start LH Brett Anderson, 0-3, 4.95 ERA. This will be his first career start versus the Pirates. Give him a big welcome with some Hit, Run & Score! 3)The Pirates will send RH Charlie Morton, 5-9, 3.32 ERA to the mound. Ground Chuck has won 3 straight at home and has a 1.10 ERA in his last 5 home starts. Love that home cookin'! Let's Go Bucs!!!!!

Friday, July 18, 2014

BLUES N'AT

   The blues world lost another great one. Johnny Winter joined the ranks of blues and rock n' roll greats while on tour, in his hotel room in Zurich, Switzerland on July 16, 2014. How fitting that he passed while on the road.  I'm sure if he could have, Johnny would have died while cradling his beloved guitar.

   John Dawson Winter III was born in Beaumont, TX on February 23, 1944. With his younger brother Edgar on keyboards, the Winter brothers started out playing the clubs of Texas at a young age. Always, Johnny wore his blues on his sleeve idolizing the likes of Robert Johnson, B.B King and Lightin' Hopkins.

    In 1968 Rolling Stone Magazine featured Johnny in a piece centering on the burgeoning Texas music scene. The article sparked a bidding war amongst record labels for Johnny's talents. In 1969 Columbia Records signed Johnny to, at that time, a record-breaking deal. Also that year, he appeared at Woodstock. Unfortunately, Johnny's performance was left off of the original soundtrack and out of the movie. Big mistake, producers.

    From there, the rest is history. Johnny paid homage to his heroes every chance he got. He helped revive the careers of John Lee Hooker and Muddy Waters. He even produced and played guitar on Muddy's 1977 Grammy-winning album, "Hard Again". That began a series of successful collaborations between the two that produced more Grammy award-winning albums with "I'm Ready" and "Muddy "Mississippi" Waters-Live".

    For the next four decades, Johnny continued to tour and record, blessing the world with his brand of blues and rock n' roll. He had a knack for taking songs by other artists and putting his own stamp on them with his Texas-sized talent. He showered fans with numerous Grammy-nominated albums as well as hard-charging live performances.

     In 1988, the Blues Foundation inducted him into the Blues Hall of Fame. Gibson Guitars presented Johnny with the signature Johnny Winter Firebird guitar. He and Edgar were honored in their hometown of Beaumont with induction into the Southeast Texas "Walk of Fame".

    All the while, Johnny continued to do what he loved most, playing the blues on his guitar. You know he is just up there smiling and jamming away with all those other greats. Rest in peace, Johnny Winter. Keep It Bluesy!