Sonny Boy Blues Society Fundraiser by Robert "Nighthawk" Tooms

Posted on 9/28/2009 by Robert "Nighthawk" Tooms

Vicki Forrest, Bill Bailey and Mike Forrest of the Wampus Cats

(Memphis, Tennessee) Last Sunday we ventured out to Neil's in midtown Memphis for a fund raising event for Helena's Sonny Boy Blues Society. The event, organized by my drumming friend, Doug McMinn, raised money for this year's Arkansas Blues and heritage Festival which will be held next month. The festival is a world class event that is attended by folks from around the globe.

My band, the Wampus Cats started the day off at about 1 pm and the crowd began drifting in. I really enjoyed seeing so many old musician friends from all the years I have played in Memphis. It was really great to see them all come out to share their talent for the cause.

Papa Don McMinn and Nightrain

Next on the bill was Papa Don McMinn and Nightrain. I will be playing with these guys at this year's festival on the Robert Jr. Lockwood stage on October 10. It was fun to play keyboard with this band that featured three generations of McMinns, Papa Don, son Rome on bass, son Doug on drums and Doug's son Michael on harmonica.


Michael McMinn on harp

Jeff Robinson and Buddy Davis

Next on the bill were the Hitmen who put on a great show. W.C. Garrison plays drums with this fine band and David Hudson fronted the band and laid down some great harmonica.

David Hudson

Buddy Davis clowning around a bit

Jeff Robinson on bass

W.C. Garrison drums for the Hitmen

The Hitmen

Phillip Dale Durham, great singer and drummer

Phillip Dale Durham, formerly of Moloch, the band that fostered such great blues as "Same Old Blues" back in the 70's came up and sang with Blind Mississippi Morris and the Pocket Rockets. I got to play keys with these old friends as well. They worked me pretty hard this day.

Melody and Morris Cummins

Blind Mississippi Morris

Morris and I had some fun remembering our tour of England in 2000 when we roomed together at Eddie Juke's in Mansfield and had a nightly snoring contest. It was stentorian!

Dan Cochran plays bass for the Pocket Rockets

Brad Webb founder of the Pocket Rockets and I-55 Productions engineer/guru

John Lowe, Xanadu owner, cigar box guitar maker

Josh Roberts, Wampus Cats guitarist and our pal, Victor Wainright who sat in on piano

David Daniels fronts the band

Next my old friend David Daniels and his fine band graced the stage. David played some truly inspiring guitar and sang a bunch of songs. I sat in on keyboards with these guys too. They were a lot of fun.

We ended the day with a big jam and lots of friends sat in before we shut it down for the day and I headed out to the Rumboogie on Beale to play my Sunday gig.

Josh Roberts, Elizabeth Wise and King Biscuit stalwart Bubba Sullivan

A silent auction was held and some folks made off with some cool old King Biscuit items. The festival had to change its name a couple of years ago because some enterprising guys bought the name and would not allow them to use it any charitable of them.

Earlier in the week, blues legend Sam Carr, son of Robert Nighthawk(a/k/a Robert Lee McCoy), passed away. Sam was a truly great drummer and a very friendly man. The Reba Russell band got to hang out with him one final time this year at an earlier fundraiser we held in West Helena, Arkansas. You will be missed Sam.

Robert "Nighthawk" Tooms and Sam Car in West Helena

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© 2009, Robert "Nighthawk" Tooms

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