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Kim "Festival Junkie" WelshBy Kim "Fest Junkie" Welsh

Little Freddie King
Little Freddie King

Happy New Year!

I hope the new year brings you the blues only on stage, on the radio, or on a recording!

I want to introduce you to my special friends, the Threadheads. They are a music lovin', fest goin' group of charitable enthusiasts who are particularly fond of New Orleans and our Jazz Fest. They hail from all around the world, commune on the Jazz Fest forum www.threadheads.org and have become real-life friends. They have donated over $150,000 to the New Orleans Musicians Clinic, sponsored kids to attend Jazz Fest and to receive instruments, and have encouraged a new generation of New Orleans musicians. They have donated many hours restoring our city after Katrina. The most recent project to come out of this benevolent group is Threadhead Records. This unprecedented non-profit organization's goal is to help finance and publicize New Orleans musicians projects through donations and loans. Any town known for music would be blessed to have support to ensure the heart of their beloved city continues to beat and I'm proud to be a part of this group. If you're planning to come to Jazz Fest, lurk around the Forum or join… You'll be glad you did! Last weekend, I met with my Threadhead friends and we went to three venues to hear musicians who have been fortunate to have CDs produced by Threadhead Records. Afterwards, we went to see Little Freddie King, the monarch of the Crescent City blues scene, perform at d.b.a. on Frenchmen Street.

Born in McComb, Mississippi in 1940, Fread E. Martin a.k.a. Little Freddie King grew up playing alongside his blues guitar-picking father (Jessie James Martin), then rode the rails to New Orleans during the early fifties where he was influenced by South Louisiana blues men such as "Poka- Dot" Slim and "Boogie" Bill Webb. Honing his guitar chops at notorious joints like the Bucket of Blood (which he later immortalized in song), he jammed and gigged with Bo Diddley, Snooks Eaglin, and John Lee Hooker, and also played bass for Freddy King during one of his stints in New Orleans. People began comparing the two musicians' styles, hence Martin's nom-de-plume. While well-vested in a variety of styles, Little Freddie sounds a lot more like his cousin Lightnin' Hopkins - albeit after a three day corn liquor bender! Since the 1960's, he has been quite popular and has played every single Jazz Fest! A Blues Trail Marker was dedicated to him in McComb on 11/6/09.

Freddie’s music has been described as 'gut bucket blues' and potent enough to turn George W. Bush into the Godfather of Soul. It's THAT country and THAT ghetto." His 2005 recording with Fat Possum Records entitled 'You Don't Know What I Know' contains his genius "Crackhead Joe."

Little Freddie King not only plays down and dirty blues, he lives the blues. He presently resides in the New Orleans Habitat Musicians Village (www.nolamusiciansvillage.org) and has been playing the rural electric blues of his native Mississippi in the lowest bowels of New Orleans now-devastated Ninth Ward for over fifty years. King and his band have a penchant for hard-hitting, minimalist chords and lyrics, delivered by his cracked, heavily lived-in voice. Much of King's material has an old-style R&B feel, but he is at his most charming when he strips it down to just guitar and vocals as depicted on his 2008 MadeWright Records, "Messin Around tha House" CD.

Last Saturday, Little Freddie King aka "Dr.Bonzs" (Guitar/Vocals/Songwriter), "Wacko" Wade Wright (Drummer/Songwriter/Producer/Recording label owner), Anthony "Sheets" Anderson (Bass Guitar), and Bobby "ClamBake" Louis (Harmonica) performed several songs including Mean Little Woman and Crack Head Joe off their new CD that will be released by their distributor, BDC in Portland, on February 16, 2010… just in time for Mardi Gras. This new CD entitled "Gotta Walk with Da King" captures his "juke joint style" on the big festival stage. It was recorded live at the Thirsty Ear Festival in New Mexico. His CD release party will be held at d.b.a. Music Club on February 6, 2010. His stage gyrations are always appreciated by his audience (especially photographers!) and even the white boys develop chicken legs and dance like no one is watching!

See you all at the crossroads!

Your junco partner,

Kim AKA Fest Junkie

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