We went to check out the first band at the Parker Blues Fest, which was held at the La Paz RV Park, where we’re staying. The band was really not very good. They were called Highway 95. That highway runs close to here so I’m assuming they were somewhat local. I hope so because there’s three or four bands in Kamloops alone that could have stole the stage from them. They were slated to play for a couple of hours so we browsed around the antique cars that were on display as well as a flea market. They were both run in conjunction with the Blues Fest.
After lunch we returned to see the second band, The Outback Blues Band, from Phoenix. They had a booth at The Fest where they were selling CDs and t-shirts and, considering that they’re from a city of five million people, I thought we were in for a lot better music. Not to be. They were still lousy. The same tired old blues standards that just about every beginner blues band straps on. There were no deep grooves, no funk and very little showmanship. Boring.
We left and decided to try the Desert Bar that we’d heard about. Customers have to drive five miles off the highway on a pretty rough dirt road to get there. We thought there was quite a bit of traffic for such a rough road but we had no idea beforehand that, when we got to the bar, which sits by itself in the middle of the desert, there would be hundreds of cars there. The bar sprawled over three or four levels and a thousand or so people were enjoying the live rock band, which was much better than either of the blues bands back at the park.
It was so busy that, after standing in line for ten minutes, we gave up on trying to get a drink and just walked around, checking it out and listening to the band.
Pictured is the Desert Bar. I'm pretty sure it's an old mine sight. Probably never produced as much gold as it does now.
Back at our Park we thought we’d give the last blues band a chance. What a great surprise. They turned out to be called The Boogiemen Blues Band, (sorry to Wolfe and the boys in Kamloops who’ve been the Boogiemen for twenty years or so - you guys were obviously first though). The band members were from all over the country but are based in Las Vegas.
The keyboard player, Junior Brantley, who also took care of the bass work on the keyboard, used to play with the now defunct Fabulous Thunderbirds. He’s also played with Jimmy Vaughn and others. The guitar player, Chris Tofield, is a true virtuoso, who also possesses a killer, ragged-edged voice. The lead singer and harmonica player had a deep growl that matched up perfectly with the others’ voices. The sax player, Rocky Peoples, is a transplant from LA and is one of those natural entertainers who could really play but also had cool moves, and clearly loved what he was doing. The drummer was the only one who is not always a regular but drove hard and dug them a deep pocket on every tune. Loved them. You can find them at www.blueslasvegas.com
We sat around the campfire in the evening and, in the morning, rode our bikes the four miles to Bobby D’s Drive-in for breakfast.
The same three bands were playing at the Blues fest on Sunday, but in reverse order, so we stopped on the way back from our bike ride to see The Boogiemen again. I bought one of their live concert CDs and enjoyed the shoagain. I’d hate to have to be one of those other bland bands that had to follow them.
Pictured is The Boogiemen Blues band. Hard to get a good picture at 10:30 in the morning, with the sun behind them. They were so good though.
We spent a fairly quiet afternoon but, in the evening, I jammed with some people around a campfire until midnight. One guy, named Jack, had gigged all around the country in his earlier days. He was a great story teller and a really good singer/guitar player who had tons of material.
Pictured is one of the more novel RV arrangements we've seen.
Monday morning we drove to the Desert View RV Resort at Needles, California, just an hour-and-a-half up the road from Parker. The park is actually situated on Route 66. You know you're getting old when things from your youth are now called historic - as in Route 66.
It was plenty hot out so we dipped in the unheated and very chilly pool at the park while our laundry went round...