Osceola Music Festival by Robert "Nighthawk" Tooms

Posted on 5/29/2010 by Robert "Nighthawk" Tooms

(Memphis, Tennessee) This week we travel up Interstate 55 to the lovely town of Osceola, Arkansas, in the northeast part of the state for the yearly Osceola Music Festival that is held in the town's beautiful old court square. After listening to some great eclectic music by the band, Smiling Dog, we reunited with old friends Paul, Randy, and Steve "Odie" O'Dell and headed for the hospitality room for some delicious home made food.

My first gig for the day was with the Eric Hughes Band and bassist, Leo Goff was deeply entrenched with some barbecued pork and fried chicken. The nice folks that host this event cook and bake tons of great food and Wayne Russell particularly enjoyed the vast number of desserts they had brought to the event.

Eric Hughes Band starts playing in the 92 degree afternoon

Memphis Mike Forrest and Jumping James Cunningham on the drums

Leo Goff plays the Barker Leo Goff Signature Model electric upright bass

Eric Hughes

my old buddy Steve O'Dell makes sure the sound lights and show go smoothly
Steve has worked hundreds of these shows all over this state

Sonny Burgess and The Pacers take the stage for some classic rockabilly entertainment

The band was formed in 1955 at Newport, Arkansas. They had five singles on SUN Records: "Red Headed Woman" backed with "We Wanna Boogie," "Thunderbird," "Ain't Got a Thing," "Buckets Got a Hole In It," and "Sadies Back In Town".

They were inducted into the Rockabilly Hall Of Fame In Jackson, Tennessee in 2002. The Rock and Soul Museum in Memphis also opened in May of 2000 and features a section on the Pacers.

From Sonny Burgess and the Legendary Pacers site

SUN recording artist Sonny Burgess sings one of his hits

The Legendary Pacers

Jim Aldridge joined the Pacers in 1962.
He is a superb horn player.

Kern K. Kennedy on piano

Fred Douglass on bass

drummer Doug McMinn and Donna Donald

Confederate Railroad's bus

From their site:

"The Pacers started with Sonny Burgess on vocals and guitar, Kern K. Kennedy on piano, Johnny Ray Hubbard on slap bass, Russ Smith on drums, Joe Lewis on guitar, and Jack Nance on trumpet. In early 1957 Joe and Russ left the band; Russ going to work with Jerry Lee Lewis and Joe to further his own career. In August of 1957 Jack joined Joe working with Conway Twitty and Bobby Crafford joined the Pacers as drummer.

In March of 1958 J.C. Caughron joined the Pacers as lead guitar. In 1962 Jim Aldridge joined the Pacers playing sax and in 1963 Fred Douglas replaced Hubbard as bass player. Joe Lewis was killed in a car wreck several years ago and Jack Nance passed away in 2000. Russ Smith currently lives in Mississippi. Johnny Hubbard retired and now lives in Newport, AR. Charles Watson II plays fiddle on the "Still Rockin' and Rollin'" album and appears live with the band."

Sonny Burgess

Our friend Sonny clowns for the camera

Sonny Burgess plays the Fender Telecaster

The town square of Osceola begins to fill with festival goers

folks find a good place to relax sitting on hay bales

Plaques on the town square honor the town's famous musicians

A memorial to my friend and former band mate, SUN recording star, Billy Lee Riley

Doug McMinn

Reba Russell slays the crowd with some newly released blues off the CD, "8"

Wayne Russell strokes the bass guitar
later he would eat twelve desserts

Doug McMinn and Robert "Nighthawk" Tooms

Josh Roberts

The Reba Russell Band took the stage and played for a wonderful crowd of kind Osceola folks. Reba commented on how warm and hospitable thes crowd and the festival volunteers and staff are to all the bands throughout the many years we have been blessed to entertain here. This two day annual event is a festival not to miss and concert goers in the know drive for many miles to attend. Our friends, Bill and Barbara Crawford, from Poplar Bluff, Missouri, drove to the event and we were delighted to spend a little time with these beautiful folks.

Reba Russell

The night was capped off with the pleasant strains of Confederate Railroad playing their country hits. It was a beautiful day and an even cooler, more enjoyable night. Sincere thanks to all our dear friends for a spectacular event and a memorable day and night of music.

Confederate Railroad plays their country hits


© Robert "Nighthawk" Tooms, 2010

American Blues News Staff

What makes American Blues News unique is our coverage across America. Here is our lineup:

Mon: Memphis Correspondent - Robert "Nighthawk" Tooms
Nighthawk is our resident globetrotter and man behind the scenes, as he tours with the Reba Russell Band.

Tues: New York Correspondent - J. Blake
Blake is the American Blues News review and interview guru. You may catch him out and about in NY playing the blues.

Wed: National Correspondent - Monica Yasher
Monica is our executive director and artist interview specialist. You can catch Monica singing the blues around Pittsburgh or working on some country music songs in Nashville.

Thurs: Washington, DC Correspondent - Virginiabluesman
Geraldo offers inteviews and reviews. You may have seen him at an Ana Popovic concert or conversed with him on her websites, as he offers administrative support with her music.

Fri: Northeast Photographer - Nelson Onofre
Nelson offers a Friday column of blues photography and pictorial support for the interviews covered by the team.

Jim Stick in Colorado
Jim will be focusing on the Blues Festivals in the beautiful state of Colorado, and the artists that live and visit there.

Maureen Elizabeth, our resident art correspondent, will be focusing on blues art as she explores the creation of CD covers, or speaking with artists who also have a love of creating pictorial art in addition to their music! She may also feature some of her good friends in the Pittsburgh area. In her love of art, you may find Maureen's photography accompanying writer's articles on our pages. Maureen is also our marketing director.

Pittsburgh correspondent and photographer, CR Bennett, will share the Pittsburgh scene with all of you. You may also see CR's pictures accompanying other writer's articles.

We head to the big state of Texas! Abby Owen, our Texas correspondent.

Another big area to cover, the West Coast with Casey Reagan, Casey will feature many artists and events on this ocean's shores.

Lastly, we have our roving blues entertainment writer,
Chef Jimi.

And of course, we will surprise you sometimes!

Internet Marketingdata recovery