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  Big Muddy Blues Fest

Alvin JettThe Big Muddy continued with great weather, as the show opened on Day 2. Cry of the Mighty Gospel Choir shared some Hallelujah with the gathering crowds, appropriate for a Sunday. Next up was Alvin Youngblood Hart. A 2003 Handy nominee, Alvin also won the 1997 W.C Handy Award for Best New Artist, as well as 2 Living Blues Awards.

Sitting sidestage with Henry Townsend, Henry shared that "Alvin does everything great", and that he's been a mentor to Alvin for years. We asked about his upcoming birthday party at BB's - stay tuned in for more - and Henry mentioned "I'm having two! I'll be in Dallas soon for my other birthday party, along with Honeyboy Edwards and a few others"!

Fontella Bass and the Voices of St. Louis' were up next. Fontella delivered the soulful sounds you'd expect, showcasing her exceptional vocal prowess. Fontella hit the big time in 1965 with her own song, Rescue Me, a popular song that made the top five in both charts. Fontella invited her grandchildren up onstage, to showcase the vocal abilities that undoubtedly were handed down to them, "the future of the Blues" as she described.

Mighty Gospel Choir
Alvin Youngblood Hart
1/2 of the Bosman Twins
Fontella Bass

The Florida hurricane situation was to blame for the cancellation of John Mooney and Bluesiana. Selected to fill in was none other than Alvin Jett and the Phat noiZ blues band. Alvin and his outstanding band performed some originals, such as "Alone & Drinking', interspersed between covers of Santana, Hendrix, and SRV. Judging from the enthusiastic applause, the crowd sure seemed to overlook the schedule change.

Fontella Bass
J. R. Reed
Street musician

Another stage 'circuit' was in order, to catch the sounds of Rondo, one of our best Blues 'growlers'. Rondo has been a fixture on the St. Louis Blues scene for a long time, played the very 1st Blues Fest, yet until Cryin' Shame' gave up thier spot, Rondo may not have even been invited this year - read more here. Yet there he was, much to the joy of everyone crowding the streets around his stage. Rondo is a regular on Thursday nights down at Hammerstones, in case you just couldn't get enough.

Following that was a stop to catch some of a local legend, Mr. J.R. Reed, doing what he does best, playing some power guitar to a large crowd gathered to hear him perform. Afterwards, a long walk followed, to the President Casino stage - too long a walk, as it was too far off the beaten path for many of the fest goers we spoke to. But make the hike we did, as we couldn't miss Mojo Syndrome, featuring 'Southside' Eric McSpadden - a St. Louis harp master, and Larry Griffin on guitar. Eric told the loyal fans on hand that 'I don't want much, I just want a little bit', a fine cover of a Jr. Wells classic!

Alvin Jett
Frank Bauer
Larry Griffin
Eric McSpadden
Mavis Staples

Ending the evening was Mavis Staples, of the musically gifted Staples clan.
A Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame inductee, and lead singer of The Staples Singers, her rich, raspy vocals were a musical signature of the group and helped provide the spiritual soundtrack of the 1960's civil rights movement. Mavis is always a great show, with her soulful sounds. A nice, mellow ending to over 20 hours of great music that is known as the Big Muddy. Thanks for stopping by our review, and enjoy Big Muddy Undercurrents, our take on what's happening with the Big Muddy on a grass roots level. Until next years Big Muddy, continue to get out and support live music, and may all your Blues be minor!

Editor - STLBlues

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