When Live Blues Flourished In Los Angeles

Back in the 1980s, I saw Crown Recording artists Lowell Fulsom & Charles Brown along with blues songwriting legend Percy Mayfield at the Tiki Island bar on S Western in South LA.  I recall being disappointed that Charles Brown played an electric piano.

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Phillip Walker owned this club on the flight path to LAX and played there every Saturday & Sunday with a wild bass player named Sir Stan.

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Smokey Wilson also owned his own joint, the Pioneer Club, down on  S Central Ave until his wife confiscated it in a divorce.  There was also the original Babe & Rick’s plus Lowell  Fulsom was always playing somewhere. Long gone rock clubs like the Music Machine on Pico Blvd in WLA even booked blues bands including a dynamite evening with Joe Liggins & the Honeydrippers with many of the original players. Below is Joe’s signed promo photo he was selling for $10 that night.

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Famed North Hollywood country roadhouse the Palomino  Club occasionally booked blues acts like Hubert Sumlin & Johnny Copeland. Copland was dynamite but Sumlin was disappointing, backed by a lousy white blues band though perhaps my expectations were too high having been raised on the Chess Wolf cuts.

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One of the last & most memorable shows I attended was a night of blues and soul at the old boxing arena, the Olympic Auditorium where Johnny Guitar Watson (another Bihari artist) wandered out into a sold out audience on a mile long guitar cord. Later, Clarence Carter got the joint rocking in a sold red suit.

That was another time, and I’m not much interested in what passes for live blues these days.

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