Eric Hughes Band and Eddie Smith Band play benefit for Millington flood victims by Robert "Nighthawk" Tooms

Posted on 5/31/2010 by Robert "Nighthawk" Tooms

(Memphis, Tennessee) On Thursday, May 27, of this week J.W. and the Outlaws, the Eric Hughes Band and my friend, Eddie Smith, and his fine country band played a benefit at Neil's on Madison Avenue in Memphis for flood victims of Millington, Tennessee. For those of you who do not know, a tremendous amount of rain fell in the mid-south a couple of weeks ago and some tornadoes also blew through the area, killing 9 people. In Memphis, tornado warning sirens blew for almost 3 solid days and the Beale Street Memphis in May Music Festival was closed early on Saturday night and festival goers evacuated.

In Millington, just north of Memphis, a levee broke and families were evacuated by boat from their homes. A fire truck on an emergency call was turned on its side by rushing waters and the firefighters forced to climb to the top of the overturned truck to wait to be rescued by boat. The damage was so extensive that the area was declared a disaster area. The Navy base was closed as a result of flooding. After several days of rain, some areas were actually flooded twice. Only a tiny percentage of those affected had flood insurance.

Eddie Smith

Donated items for the silent auction

My friend, Richard, engineers the sound at Neil's every night

guitar virtuoso Buddy Church strings up a Telecaster
Buddy plays with the Eddie Smith Band

Buddy Church plays with Eddie Smith's fine band

Fox 13's Tom Dees and Eric Hughes
Fox 13 sponsored this event

Belo Page

J.W. & the Outlaws take the stage

J.W. Williams sings and Allman Brothers tune

J. W. & the Outlaws

Belo Page on the Les Paul

Jumping James Cunningham and Memphis Mike Forrest
of the Eric Hughes Band check out the auction items

Leo Goff of the Eric Hughes Band belts out a William Clark tune

Eric entertains the ladies

Eric Hughes, Leo Goff

Memphis Mike Forrest

Jumping James Cunningham of the Eric Hughes Band

After listening to J.W. & the Outlaws play some fine renditions of some of your favorite songs I was impressed with their musicianship and also the tasteful volume at which they played. Even after their friend, Gunner, joined them on stage, they maintained a very listenable volume with 3 guitars, vocals, bass and drums all wailing away. I took the stage with Eric Hughes and the band and we played a set of old blues, some originals Eric wrote and a few old hippie songs like "On the Road Again" by my friends Canned Heat. Richard Hite of Canned Heat played in my band for over 20 years up until his death and I recorded his last notes during some sessions with my band. They are on the soon to be released "Spectator Shoes" CD which is being pressed up by I55 Productions.

Eric Hughes' CD, "Two in the Morning," on which I was fortunate to play, is also soon to be released by I55 and both records will be available on itunes within a few days. I have been lucky to have played on many sessions for the label including "My Inspiration," by Willie Foster and Fred Sanders' soon-to-be-released album.

Eddie Smith and Robert "Nighthawk" Tooms

Eddie Smith and Jack Holder
great musicians and even better friends

Many years ago, around 1996, I got to play harmonica on a session that was produced by Jack Holder when he was cutting an album on a fine country singer named Eddie Smith. I got to know Eddie and have found him to be a genuine and kind soul and a huge entertainer. Eddie sings with as much passion and talent as anybody to ever come out of Nashville and he is a product of our home town, Memphis, Tennessee. Eddie and the band play weekly at The Crossing in Olive Branch, Mississippi, and also on Friday nights at Neil's in the front room or on the patio.

After Eric Hughes set, I asked Eddie Smith if I could sit in with his band and he graciously let me do so. I had a pure blast playing Hammond organ and a little piano along with this seasoned band. We played everything from Charlie Rich to modern country to originals and I had too much fun. Thanks for letting me play, guys!

Buddy Church

Many, many years ago, while doing a benefit for ailing wrestler, Plowboy Frayser, at the Vapors club, I heard one of the finest guitarists in Memphis. His name is Buddy Church and he still is playing and also helping out guitarists and aspiring musicians, advising them and guiding them at his day job at the Guitar Center in Memphis. Buddy is honest, true blue and proud to thank the Lord for all his blessings, and if you ever heard him play, you would realize how much talent, what a magnificent gift, has been bestowed upon him. He can pick almost any style. My brother remarked that he even heard shades of Wes Montgomery and some other heavy jazzers in Buddy's perfectly executed playing. This man is spellbinding to watch in performance and one of the most down to earth, humble and friendly folks to walk the planet.

Terry Bailey on bass lays down some solid bottom end for Eddie Smith's fine band

my old friend, Eddie Smith, a fine vocalist and guitarist


BancorpSouth is accepting donations for the flood victims in Millington.

Items needed:

Towels, cleaning supplies, soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo, razors, shaving cream, deodorant, feminine products, clothes, paper towels, toilet paper, dish detergent, mops, brooms, etc.

These items will be donated to the Millington Crisis Center and First Baptist Church of Millington and will be distributed to the flood victims in need.

Donations can be dropped off at BancorpSouth Millington location between the hours of 8:30-4:00 Monday through Friday.

BancorpSouth Bank
8146 Highway 51 N.
Millington, TN 38053


check out my site at

© Robert "Nighthawk" Tooms, 2010

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