Mississippi Valey Blues Festival in Davenport

Posted on 7/19/2010 by Robert "Nighthawk" Tooms

(Memphis, Tennessee) Here's a few more shots of our fun trip to Kankakee, Illinois, where we played July 3 at the River Bend Bar and Grill for the Friends of the Blues. Fireworks photo above by Doug McMinn.

author, photo by Amanda McMinn

Reba Russell
photo by Amanda McMinn

Doug and Amanda McMinn

Wayne Russell and Josh Roberts compare facebook accounts and play the blues
photo by Amanda McMinn

It all starts off innocently
To the tune of Jerry Lee Lewis singing, "What made Milwaukee Famous..."

And then, before you know it, the Crazy Guggenheim effect...

Reba and Wayne Russell.
photos by Amanda McMinn

On July 4th the Reba Russell Band arose and traveled to Davenport, Iowa, to play the Mississippi Valley Blues Festival on the banks of the Mississippi River. First we checked into our hotel and signed a bunch of festival posters for the Mississippi Valley Blues Society.

The mighty Mississippi River

The Lodge in Davenport...what a cool old hotel!

cherubs on the sconces everywhere

Descending to head to the show on the groovy old elevator

Ornate is great.

Pianoforte in the front lobby.

The Lodge in Tudor style glory

The festival had a great lineup for this Sunday: The Legendary Blues Cruise Revue featuring Tommy Castro and Debbie Davies, the Reba Russell Band, Dave Riley and Bob Corritore, and The Nighthawks with Hubert Sumlin.

After some snacks we headed to the stage and were lucky to have a window of opportunity to play after some rain showers. Regardless, this crowd could not be dissuaded.

Concert poster inside the dressing room

Reba Russell
photo by Amanda McMinn

Robert "Nighthawk" Tooms behind the Hammond B-3
photo by Amanda McMinn

Josh Roberts gently bends while applying plectrum action
photo by Amanda McMinn

Doug McMinn's ferocious playing actually ignites the drums
photo by Amanda McMinn

Wayne Russell in Foster Grants, Josh Roberts in ecstatic tone creation

Reba Russel Band closes out their set

Josh Roberts, slight heat exhaustion but plowing on con mucho gusto!
photo by Amanda McMinn

selling CD's after the show
Thanks to everyone who bought our music, we sincerely appreciate it.
Davenport truly supports the Blues. What a great town!

author rehydrates and takes a fistful of cardiac medication after the big show
photo by Amanda McMinn

After collapsing for a few minutes to dissipate the heat of the stage, I regrouped and wandered around backstage to see some old friends and take a few pictures for the American Blues News.

hanging with Tommy Castro by his tour bus before he goes on stage

Robert "Nighthawk" Tooms and Bob Corritore behind stage after the performance
Both agree that the 1958 Fender Bassman was the zenith of American musical technology.

I had a wonderful opportunity to talk for a while with my friend, Bob Corritore, harmonica player most excellent and a highly informed intellectual who knows music as well as anybody living. Bob often contributes to the American Blues News and also produces a superb newsletter featuring all things musical with a particular emphasis on the blues. Bob runs the Rhythm Room in Phoenix, plays with Dave Riley and has jammed my band in Memphis. Listen to Bob hold out this long note in the video below! Cooool Bob!

The Legendary Rythm and Blues Cruise Revue takes the stage.

Tommy Castro
photo by Amanda McMinn

Tommy uses rocket power to propel himself across the stage
photo by Amanda McMinn

Tommy's bassist, who upon seeing our band, said, "Who are these people?"
I forget his name but he played some pretty good bass.

the very talented Debbie Davies
photo by Amanda McMinn

Before heading to the stage to hear a few more tunes I ran into Magic Dick who asked if we had any water in our dressing room. I said hello, reminded him of the last time we met when we opened for J. Geils at B.B. King's in Memphis and took him to our stash of Purell. He has always been one of my favorite harp players and he played some cool stuff on stage with Tommy as the sun sank slowly in the west.

Magic Dick and Tommy Castro
photo by Amanda McMinn

Tommy Castro
photo by Amanda McMinn

The Mississippi Valley Blues Society honored my friend Hubert Sumlin with the RiverRoad Lifetime Achievement Award and he played this day with the Nighthawks

After watching some of the other acts it was time for the band to head back toward the Lodge. Before we could leave the grounds the road ahead was blocked for a fireworks display...God bless America!

photo by Doug McMinn

Sitting beside the Mississippi River we watch as fireworks are ignited just a few feet in front of us. Doug took the opportunity to snap a few shots for your enjoyment.

This would be the proverbial rockets' red glare.
photos above by Doug McMinn

My accomplices Amanda and Doug McMinn and I prepare for an assault on pasta at Old Chicago. Thank God they were open this late on the 4th of July. Photo by Doug McMinn.

After we arrived back at the Lodge we ambled down to the basement where a jam session was taking place. At the time I got there there were 4 guitars on stage so I sensibly retreated to the bar to avoid being overwhelmed by guitar frequencies. We got to hang out with old friends, in particular, the greatest showman to come out of West Virginia since Jessco White the Dancin' Outlaw, Mark Stutso. Mark, although not too keen on Mountain clog dancing, is a great drummer and singer and a beloved old friend. Mark is now traveling with the Nighthawks after playing many years with my old buddy Jimmy Thackery and his band, the Drivers. Mark states that among the high points in his life was jamming with our editor Monica Yasher at a jam in Pittsburgh. Mark is a rare talent, a fine drummer and singer and an old school professional touring musicianer.

The bear behind the bar at the Lodge
photo by Wayne Russell

old friend Mark Stutso of the Nighthawks and the author

Josh Roberts is called to get up early and exhibits his unfriendly side
(photo by Wayne Russell)

Driving south through St. Louis.

After three days of driving and outdoor gigs, we set course south for Memphis and the comfort of home. We had a blast in Davenport and we'd like to thank everyone for the warm reception. I hope they will allow us to come back and play for them again very soon. It's a beautiful place full of great people and their festival is highly recommended...quality entertainment virtually on the banks of the Mississippi river.

This week I travel to Nashville with Doug and Amanda McMinn on a tour bus hunting expedition and then south to gig at Atlanta's Blind Willie's and then Tallahassee's Bradford Blues Club. Please join me next Monday for a report on the trip.


©Robert "Nighthawk" Tooms, 2010
unless otherwise noted, pictures and text © Robert "Nighthawk' Tooms
© Wayne Russell, 2010
© Amanda Mcminn, 2010
©Doug McMinn, 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!

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