Saturday, November 20, 2004

A Night at Black-eyed Sally's

Black-eyed Sally's BBQ & Blues Christ, it took so long to get here. What should have been a quick twenty-minute trip east on Interstate 84 to Hartford took about ten years. Oh, we talk about coming here all the time, but, as I've come to realize, I'm all talk and no action (well, for the present, let's leave my sex life out of this!). I love this place! Live blues, spicy Cajun food and short-skirted, big-busted, not-quite-ready-for-primetime patrons flaunting their personalities on the dance floor- what's not to like?

We have reservations for six. Reet got them, has some, but agrees to humor me. I feel the pressure to have the others like the experience since I've been touting it for SO long (You know, we REALLY should go to Black-eyed Sally's sometime. Yeah, sounds great. Next week? Right.).

We arrive. Big line outside, but we find it's for upstairs. Pig's Eye Pub. The young, on-the-make crowd. The older, already-made crowd enters over here, folks. Twenty-six dollar cover because there is a show. Reet insists we get a break with the dinner reservations and the biker-as-doorman finally agrees. Inside is dimly-lit, crowded, noisy, rambling. Great atmosphere. Big horseshoe (well, actually a 'J') bar where we get beers and kaluha sombreros while standing waiting for our table. Jackpot! We turn down an out-of-the-way table and wind up next to the stage, a location that doesn't say 'jackpot' to everyone in our party, but we're here for the blues, man!

Dinner is no pressure. You can't possibly have all six people like this stuff anyway, so why worry. I will like it; the jambalaya looks good. Keith will like it, love it if it beats him up a bit. Once, in response to a Thai waiter's caution that 'very hot' would be akin to gastronomic hari-kari, he urged the clearly amused young man to "bring it on!" The chef was apparently up for this feisty duel and nearly gave our hero a heart attack, and in doing so earned Keith's everlasting respect. Reet dislikes most exotic foods, but likes ribs and orders same. Sharon will like it, I think, for she is a pretty adventuresome diner. Sharie goes for a variety of appetizers. I can't make the call on Vin and Marcia - too little dining history.

Our timing is impeccable; the band starts fussing around the nearby bandstand as we reorder drinks and people-watch, a very interesting pastime in this joint. Our discussion (and that of most of the surrounding tables) centers around the aforementioned babe with legs up to here and a skirt almost down to meet them. Is she late 20s/early 30s, are they real/surreal, is she a wife/girlfriend/stripper/hooker (or possibly a combination thereof), she is with him/them/no one? Inquiring minds must know! In any event, her rubbing up against them as they stand at the bar yields few answers, but much entertainment. A dishevelled young man, who will later attempt an unauthorized drum solo during intermission, hits on our girl and is brushed off as unworthy. A shriek of laughter from the table of women behind us reminds us that a birthday celebration (the cake, candles and bad-singing waitstaff are a dead giveaway) is in session. Dykes night out, someone observes insensitively, noting that they've been dancing together often, not that there is anything wrong with that.

"Ladies and Gentlemen, please give a warm welcome to the George Boone Blues Band!" George Boone, dapper in suit and tie and seated on a tall stool, launches into an elongated blues instrumental that showcases his impressive guitar licks. Backed by his bandmates, the smirking Scotty Pippin lookalike bassist Raoul Bowman and drummer Mark McKay, Boone served up (cool jazz reviewer lingo for played) some very tasty licks and I received an approving nod from my tablemates. Dinner was served. Damn, jambalaya, a nice Bass ale, delicious cornbread and the George Boone Blues Band - it can't get much better than this! A glance to the right at our girlfriend grinding to the music says momentarily that there is an outside chance that it can, but who's to say, certainly not me! George is smokin'.

Conversation is out of the question at this point, but I'm loving this. Dancers infiltrate the dance floor and offer up yet another entertainment center. Head-bobbing, Elaine Benes-type dancing is fascinating to observe. And THEY are having fun, not caring what the too-timid crowd thinks. The music is loud as hell (despite my Catholic-school upbringing, I'm not convinced of the existence of Hell, but that discussion really has no place here). It's into the second set and we are fading fast. Reet's ribs were too spicy and Dave/Marcia were not crazy about the food, but George was a hit, I'd say. Our girlfriend leaves, I forget with whom, but suddenly we are entertained by a group of 40's-type dancers, in full costume, dancing the jitterbug REALLY well. Very cool.

But it is time to go, for we are all 50's something. A hesitation on the way out to listen to George doing some Motown covers (very tasty stuff, too). Good night, let's do this again. We really should. Right. review

Monday, November 01, 2004

Jim Kane's Bristol (CT) Rock 'N Roll

Jim Kane is Bristol's Music Man. A product of Bristol Eastern HS (class of 1964), Jim was a basketball/baseball star (I played both against him as a St. Anthony's HS Crusader and with him on the 1962 Bristol American Legion CT state championship baseball team)and music aficionado. His love of that era's music is legendary and fiercely loyal (his comment in the Tower 100 guestbook leaves no doubt about where he stands). He is a musician who has played in rock 'n roll bands and has produced a number of concerts, forging friendships with many of the rock greats.

Now living in Port St. Lucie, FL, Jim, in partnership with Heffernan-Roy Records, has produced a series of 50's/60's/70's compilation CDs that feature Jim as the DJ weaving Bristol banter between cuts (yours truly is mentioned several times, but do not let that detract from the quality of the product).

The following is the complete catalog:
1.Bristol Twistin' Annie
2.Bristol's Great Love Songs
3.Bristol's Rock 'N Roll Revival
4.Bristol's American Music
5.Bristol Beach Music
6.Rock 'N Roll Is Here to Stay
7.Bristol Dreams
8.Bristol's Love Train
9.At the Hop
10.Bristol School Days

11.Bristol Friends
12.Bristol's Rockin' Christmas
13.Old Time Rock N Roll
14.Young Ladies of Rock N Roll
15.The British Invasion
16.Boys Club Dances
17.The Night the Music Died
18.Bristol Party Time
19.Moments to Remember
20.Bristol's Last Dance
21.Susie Q & the QTs

If you wish to inquire about these interesting CDs, please write Jim Kane at 320 NW Heather Street, Port St. Lucie, FL 34986