Saturday, July 13, 2013

Eric "Two Scoops" Moore at Luso Food and Wine

I'm always the last to know.  But I don't mind as long as I find out eventually. 

And last night, at a little place in White Center, I found out again.  


Last night my wife and I had a chance to go out.  She knew a spot for dinner.  I searched the music listings for something interesting.  I wasn’t sure I’d found it, but we decided to take a chance on Eric “Two Scoops” Moore at a place called Luso Food and Wine in White Center.  We’d never heard of the person or the place, but the music calendar promised boogie-woogie and blues, and Yelp gave the place five stars for food, wine and community.  Plus, there was something about “Two Scoops” having won a Washington Blues Society award for songwriting, so I figured this was the real thing.

Then I checked youtube and found THIS!

Check out some of the lyrics for Big Buffet!

They got meat and potatoes
They got beans and rice they got
Real country gravy
Make you go back twice 
They got bacon, baloney
Salami and ham
Liverwurst and knockwurst and
“Move along, ma’am!”

And it keeps going, with food after food and rhyme after surprising rhyme.  For a guy who grew up on Chuck Berry lyrics this is too good, and it may be the best food song since Louis Jordan’s Beans and Cornbread.  Except that Moore has also written songs with names like Hamburger Time, Let’s Eat and Pork Chops.  

Luso Food and Wine (read about it HERE) is on a street in White Center that reminds me of some streets I visited in The Bronx recently, except that those were teaming with people and 16th Street SW was practically empty last night, and so was was Luso, at least at the beginning.  The place itself is large and bright.  There are wines and beer and specialty foods from Brazil, Portugal and India.  The owner, Tina, is a Portuguese citizen of Goan heritage.  “Two Scoops” was at an old Yamaha electric piano wearing a straw fedora and green sport coat that was practically florescent.  And pretty much as soon as we sat down he launched into Big Buffet!  After that it didn’t stop for more than an hour.  He sang son after song from his compilation album “Big Buffet Combo Platter” (there was one copy on the counter, and I bought it): songs like Two Scoops, He Quit, Stop Shopping Mama, Lefthanded, Clean Clean Clean and Hamburger Time.  There was no microphone, so I had to lean in and wait for punch lines to hear bits of the lyrics, but the punch lines kept coming.  Meanwhile “Two Scoops” keeps things rolling with his piano licks, doing all the riffs I now hear horns doing on his record, pounding out bass lines with his left.  The songs aren't all about food.  They cover the gamut of everyday life: a woman who cleans too much ("she's stronger than dirt!"); another who shops too much ("I don't want to die in a department store!"); another who's big and fat; a song about car trouble that has made it to Car Talk; a song about quitting cigarettes; one about whiskey; a song about being "good for nothing," and one about "two left hands."  And a powerful love song called "place of love."  ("You can make a lot of money, but you'll never have enough.  Don't let nothing take the place of love.")

The record turns out to be one of several Moore has put out since 1997.  It's a "greatest hits" record.  The sound on each cut is rich and full, with horns and drums, and a voice that sounds a little like Dr. John meets Randy Newman.  Since it's a compilation about 20 musicians participated, including blues guitar legend Duke Robillard, who produced one of the albums and provides a testament on the back of this one, saying “As all great Blues artists are, Eric is a storyteller whose slant on life gives his music a wonderful twist full of humor, optimism and love.”

The fact that Robillard says this shows that just because I've missed out on Moore until now, the rest of the world hasn't.  According to Moore's website "Moore toured and recorded with the late Chicago blues harpmaster, "Earring" George Mayweather (7 years) and the great Muddy Waters guitarist, Grammy and Handy award winner, Luther "Guitar Jr." Johnson (6 years). Two Scoops has performed his brand of boogie magic at premier blues venues and festivals in 36 states, 12 countries on three continents."

In addition to making music, Moore makes sculpture and paintings.  Check a bit of it out below, or on his Facebook page.

Before the show was over other folks had wandered in to listen and grin.  One was a young hispanic kid named Daniel.  I thought it was just a random encounter until he begged Moore to play and sing one more, then joined him at the keyboard to play along to Moore's left hand.  Maybe it was a random encounter, but I suspect there will be more of them.

Eric “Two Scoops” Moore will be playing at Madison Park in Seattle with his combo on August 8 from 6:30 to 8:00 pm.  More about that on his website,  And Luso Food and Wine owner Fatima hopes to make him a regular feature on Fridays or Saturdays.  I’ll be there if she does.  You, too.

(Eric is tentatively scheduled to play at Luso's on August 3.  Check with Luso's for details.)

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