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Ponderosa Stomp/New Orleans


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Just got back from 4 days in New Orleans, attending the 7th annual Ponderosa Stomp, THE music festival for record collector geeks everywhere! While it was very, very disappointing seeing how little progress appears to have been made in renovating/rebuilding the 9th Ward there, post-Katrina, the fest itself at the House of Blues on 4/29-4/30 was an absolute blast!....and, as usual, the food throughout the city was heavenly!

Fest Highlights - What could possibly be more surreal than seeing a mob of 700-800 mostly middle-aged white people screaming "Shaft!" and "shut your mouth!" on cue as The Bo-Keys, featuring Isaac Hayes' long-time guitarist Skip Pitts and Bar-Kays plane crash survivor Ben Cauley on trumpet, played "Theme From Shaft"?

Aside from that......First Night - We also saw rockabillies Sonny Burgess, Hayden Thompson and Dale Hawkins (with Scotty Moore standing next to the stage, watching the latter's show), Barrence Whitfield, an extremely drunk Roy Head try to kill his backing band and the first 3 rows of the audience with his microphone cord twirling antics.....an R&B all-star band led by New Orleans record producer Wardell Quezergue, backing Dr. John, Barbara Lynn ("You'll Lose A Good Thing"), Jean Knight ("Mr. Big Stuff", "Cleanup Woman") and others; Stax legend William Bell, soul stylist Betty Harris, Mary Weiss (Shangri-Las), The Collins Kids, guitar god Travis Wammack, and bluesmen Lazy Lester and Tail Dragger (who does an amazing Howlin' Wolf!).

The house bands for the 1st night were Deke Dickerson's Ecco-Fonics (upstairs stage) and The Bo-Kays (main stage).

Second Night - Less acts, longer sets, although I primarily watched the Main Stage acts that night. The house band for most of the 2nd night was the Hi Rhythm Section, who played on most of Al Green's, Ann Peebles' and Syl Johnson's hits. They also had singer Percy Wiggins with them, who is about as good as Green himself! The acts - the Mighty Hannibal, Green Fuz (known for recording exactly 1 song - "Green Fuzz" (later covered by The Cramps), Little Freddie King, Syl Johnson, and a killer closing trio of acts - Ronnie Spector, Roky Erickson & The Explosives, and ? and The Mysterians! A fun time was had by all....with each show running from about 6:30 in the evening to 3 AM...

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