2006 S.F. Blues Festival: Dee Rochon/Phil Guy/Hollywood Blue Flames/Mitch Kashmar/Ruth Brown/Little Richard

We rented a booth and sold our book Home Work, and I went on Sunday (yesterday). The festival has been going on for 30+ years, hosted by Tom Mazzolini and it’s in a wonderful grassy park looking down on the bay and the Golden Gate Bridge. The day started foggy and then cleared, and the music was fabulous. Other than Ruth Brown and Little Richard, I’d never heard of any of these musicians before. Conclusion: there is a lot of good blues out there! I got a press pass so I got to shoot from “the pit.” Here are some pictures hot off the Canon:

Dee Rochon, a powerful singer, backed by a great lady sax player

Chicago blues supreme by Phil Guy, Buddy Guy’s brother. Elegant music.

Chicago Harmonica Project

This couple brought along their own dance floor. It was oak flooring that bolted together in 4 sections

Ruth Brown, at 80+, was fabulous. She’s royalty. Her voice is vibrant and alive, and she’s still kicking. “Just cause I’m old, don’t mean I’m cold.” At one point I was right in front of her with my camera and she winked at me just before going into “Mama, he treats your daughter mean.” It was a thrill.

For her (2nd) encore she did “If I can’t sell it, I gonna sit back down on it…”

And of course, The MAN himself, Little Richard. A 20-foot long limo, an elegant and superb bunch of backup musicians, but I’m sorry to say, it was the least good of all the day’s music. An act for Vegas. The voice ain’t there. (Come to think of it, how could it be?) He came in pretty unsteadily with crutches and said he’d hurt his back. He’s still great looking, with those high cheekbones and exotic eyes.

He did his great songs, but they sounded like “golden oldies.” He repeatedly said “shut up” to the audience; people told me it’s part of his regular schtick, but it grated. It was a staged act, but hey, people liked it, the music is still great, it’s dance music. People sang along. Womp-bomp-a-loom-op-a-womp-bam-boom! I mean, we owe the guy so much from 40 years ago: that energy and joy, that ’50s boogie-woogie rhythm and blues, and that amazing voice. Right now I’m listening to the old Bama Lama, Bama Loo, it’s not well known like Tutti Frutti*, but it’s a killer.

I asked my baby for a kiss she shook her head like this whooooo!

A great Little Richard CD is Little Richard — 18 Greatest Hits/Rhino Records.

The S.F. Blues Festival is a wonderful event. Relaxed. Great music. Great food. https://www.sfblues.com/

*I just read on Wikipedia that the original title was Tutti frutti/Good booty and was changed to Tutti frutti/All rooty AND that tutti frutti is slang for a gay male.

About Lloyd Kahn

Lloyd Kahn started building his own home in the early '60s and went on to publish books showing homeowners how they could build their own homes with their own hands. He got his start in publishing by working as the shelter editor of the Whole Earth Catalog with Stewart Brand in the late '60s. He has since authored six highly-graphic books on homemade building, all of which are interrelated. The books, "The Shelter Library Of Building Books," include Shelter, Shelter II (1978), Home Work (2004), Builders of the Pacific Coast (2008), Tiny Homes (2012), and Tiny Homes on the Move (2014). Lloyd operates from Northern California studio built of recycled lumber, set in the midst of a vegetable garden, and hooked into the world via five Mac computers. You can check out videos (one with over 450,000 views) on Lloyd by doing a search on YouTube:

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