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  Big James and the Chicago Playboys

The Chicago PlayboysBig James and the Chicago Playboys were the featured band last Friday night at the Blues on the Mississippi concert series at JB Park in South County. Due to illness, Big James was unable to make it, but the Playboys did! A very tight group of talented musicians, they smoothly filled the void created by the absence of their leader. Trading lead vocals throughout the night was Mike Wheeler on guitar/vocals, and on keyboards/vocals was Joseph Sylvester Blocker. Other members of the Playboys included Cleo Cole - drummer, and Charles Kimble - saxophone & vocals - did a great job of delivering that Chicago style Blues.

Featuring thier original tunes with very smooth covers of Howlin' Wolf, Muddy Waters and SRV, they demonstrated their excellent musicianship throughout the show. A highlight of the evening was at the close of the first set, where they took turns trading instrumental leads, with each demonstrating a prowess at their craft. The bass player was the newest addition to the band (I didn't catch his name) and he included the show tunes to the Addams family and the Pink Panther in his solo for some humorous bass lines, and the drummers solo was a crowd - pleasing percussive onslaught!

Another great musical evening in the ongoing Blues on the Mississippi concert series, and another great booking success by Marty Koch of St. Louis County Parks - the man behind this concert series - and Magnolia Entertainment out of Chicago!

Mike Wheeler
Mike Wheeler and Charles Kimble
The Chicago Playboys
The Chicago Playboys

Don't miss the show on Friday, July 9th - Ladies Sing The Blues - featuring some of St. Louis' best female vocalists.

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