Monday, September 27, 2010
Stompin' At The Ponderosa Stomp, 2010
Night two of the 9th annual Ponderosa Stomp was a well-oiled machine, with Lil' Buck & The Top Cats holding court behind a number of the unsung heroes of rock and roll. I got there in time to see Lazy Lester blow some harmonica, though it was Buck's guitar playing that really impressed during that set. Next up was Roy Head, who pulled out "Treat Her Right" twice in his six song set. (Not bad for a record that sold "about 20 copies.")
Up next, or so the crowd thought, was Barbara Lynn from Beaumont, Texas. This woman never fails to ignite the room. I've seen her a number of times and she has stolen the show each time. But, there was a slight delay, as "Dr. Ike," the Stomp's gracious organizer and MC made an announcement, something about a "surprise," and to "go get drinks," and how it will be "worth it."
And there she was! Ronnie Spector had been announced as a speaker during one of the conferences, and I'm sure most thought it seemed odd to make this trip just to talk for 45 minutes. But, even with the possibility of a performance in everyone's mind, this announcement rocked the house. It was perfect! She didn't take the spotlight from Barbara Lynn. She belted "Baby, I Love You" and "Be My Baby," sounded great, thanked everyone, and left. She only returned for an impromptu birthday duet with Miss Lynn, since it was Dr. Ike's birthday weekend.
It was Barbara Lynn's turn and she raised the level of this room to new heights. Opening with "Oh Baby! We Got A Good Thing Going," and playing her strat with the intensity of teenager, Miss Lynn's 40 minute set, which included of course, a beautiful reading of "You'll Lose A Good Thing" and a blistering finale of "What'd I Say," was, as they say, worth the price of admission.
Next up, Miss Sugar Pie DeSanto, someone I've loved since I first heard "In The Basement, Part 1" many years ago. I always thought Sugar Pie was a cousin of Etta James, but it turns out they were close friends, "sisters," if you will.
I wasn't sure what to expect here. DeSanto was a small woman in 1962, and she seemed even smaller now. Known for her outrageous stage antics which included back flips and some stage banter that would make Redd Foxx blush, DeSanto said in a recent interview, "I'm still feisty." Great article by Geraldine Wyckoff can be found HERE.
Sugar Pie took the stage and the packed house stood, mouths agape, as this diminutive woman, now sporting a long mane of white hair, pretty much went nuts! She kicked off her shoes, another one of her early stage moves, and started to shimmy and shake through "In The Basement," "Soulful Dress," "Rock Me Baby," and Baby, What You Want Me To Do." She pulled some guy up from the audience, jumped into his arms, and wrapped her little legs around his waist, as they slow danced for about 10 seconds. She barked...with a wink...at the band, "This is my show. I don't do what you want me to do. I do what I want to do." She leapt into the crowd and hung from the bannister of the small staircase at the House Of Blues, and pretty much did exactly what she had been doing almost 50 years ago. This woman was feisty, all right.
By now, I had seen enough and though I would have liked to see Duane Eddy, he was still 2 hours or so from taking the stage, and I knew if I left at this point, the memory of the 9th Annual Ponderosa Stomp would be more than adequate.
Another year and another wonderful event from Ira "Dr. Ike" Padnos.
Hey Ike, how about a Nazz reunion next year?