Saturday, August 21, 2010

Satisfied in Seattle: Annieville Blues at Bad Albert's

Annieville Blues with Charles Brown
The more you dig, the more you find. A few weeks ago I went to Port Townsend, Washington to hear Daryl Davis, the great boogie woogie and blues piano player who, since 1983, has often backed Chuck Berry in concert. You can read about my trip HERE. Trips like that always have a bonus or two, and this one had many, not least of which was to learn about our Seattle home town boogie woogie and blues pianist Annieville Blues.   (Check out her website HERE).  The night I saw Daryl Davis, Annieville opened, along with a variety of talented friends and guests—but the performance was tarnished by a drummer without a rhythm. (I’ve seen this phenomenon twice recently. It is truly jarring. Makes you wince. How a drummer reaches middle age without a beat is a question!)

Anyway, back in Seattle I was happy to learn that Annieville makes regular appearances at a little bar/diner called Bad Albert’s in Seattle’s Ballard Neighborhood. If you don’t know Seattle, Ballard is a cool neighborhood for people who like music and food. Seattle’s best Mexican restaurant is there (La Carta de Oaxaca) and there are dozens more, along with half a dozen small bars with music.

Bad Albert’s serves giant good burgers and lots of fries and cheap drinks; and hey—there’s no cover on alternate Thursdays when Annieville plays with a guest.

My wife and I arrived during her first set, and the first several songs were wrecked by four yammering, yaking, oblivious guys seated immediately in front of the piano. (I was beginning to think I was cursed never to hear the woman play without some terrible distraction). But eventually they left, and we got to hear the piano.

I didn’t go to “review” the show, and don’t intend to. I went to enjoy the music, and intend to do so again. Annieville played an electric keyboard. I got to hear “Papa’s on the Rooftop,” which she played in Port Townsend, but this time without the distraction of the beatless drummer. She did a Jimmy Smith tune. Then she teamed up with her guest Jack Cook to do one of Cook’s orginals—a blues about the Columbia River and Hoover dam. (Cook said it was the only song he knew that mentioned Chinook, Washington, but I remember it for the line about Hoover turning current into currency.) They closed with Professor Longhair’s “Big Chief.”

Given my musical interests, I should have known about Seattle’s Annieville Blues a long time ago. Check out her website: pictures of Annieville with legends like Charles Brown, Dr. John, Pinetop Perkins and Johnnny Johnson.  Same with Cook—a guitarist, slide player, blogger, and musical curator of little known songs from the 20s to the 60s. His website is HERE, and includes some great stuff about well known and lesser known blues artists that he met on is “Blues Adventures” in the 1970s. 

Annieville and Cook have both been playing the blues for more than three decades. 
In my old age I intend to learn more about the music I’ve loved all my life.  It is cool to know that there’s so much music, musical wisom and blues history available right here in Seattle. And I get the feeling I’m only scratching the surface.

(On September 19, Anniville will perform at Bad Albert's with her friend Mark DuFresne.  Here they are at a party I think I might have enjoyed!)