August 31 - September 1, 2002
|The Bedford Blues Fest, officially called the "City of Bedford Labor
Day Blues Festival", is a nice regional Fest, run each year over Friday-Sunday of
Labor Day weekend. Two stages on a large lawn area, each hosting three acts per
evening. Free admission.
For 2002, I went Saturday for guitar whiz Bernard Allison, Louisiana favorites Rockin Dopsie, and Blues legend Buddy Guy. Sunday was Austin TX's Boneshakers, "Long Tall" Marcia Ball, and Little Feat.
Bernard Allison was a bit of a disappointment, only because he'd been so great the two previous times I'd seen him; he was still good, but not as fiery as he's been in the past. Rockin Dopsie and the Zydeco Twisters get the overachievement award of the weekend. I like zydeco myself, but I wasn't sure how well they would go over to Texas blues crowd. But they pulled out all the tricks, covering Stevie Ray Vaughan and James Brownl; tossing out Mardi Gras beads to get the crowd onto their feet, and limiting the zydeco songs to tried and true Louisiana standards like Jambalaya, Iko Iko, Feet Don't Fail Me Now. I almost didn't stick around for Buddy Guy. The knock on Buddy is that he always plays the same show. But as Rockin Dopsie ended, I found myself right up by the stage, in the front row of folks, and decided that was too rare a chance to pass up. I'm glad I stayed - Buddy was as good as I've seen him. He did get bogged down a bit in the middle of the set when he imitates the style of many of the greats. But throughout the set, he genuinely seemed to be enjoying himself, and that pleasure came through in his music.
Sunday started with the Boneshakers, the latest project of Malford Milligan, formerly of Funky London, and before that, Storyville. they were followed by personal favorite Marcia Ball. I've seen her a half dozen times before, and this set was right up there with the best of them. Marcia's voice wasn't any different than usual, but I thought the overall pacing of the set was stellar. The band was dead on too, especially the sax, and Pat Boyack's guitar. Little Feat closed it out. The highlight of that set was not Dixie Chicken, but Cajun Girl, which featured some extended jams that really got the groove on.
|Bernard does his traditional "crowd walk"|
|Rockin Dopsie and the Zydeco Twisters|
|Buddy slows it down.|
|The Marcia Ball Band.|
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Photos copyright © 2002 by Swag