Waterfront Blues Festival 2012
It was cause for celebration at this year’s Safeway Waterfront Blues Festival!
In it’s 25th year of fund-raising for the Oregon Food Bank this year’s event ran for five days and featured non-stop Blues, Roots, Soul, Gospel and Zydeco bands. Along with music was the traditional, and always anticipated, Fourth of July river fireworks show.
Over 125,000 people visited, contributing cans of food, and cash donations. Many new and returning corporate sponsors made it possible to put on this fantastic event. Hundreds of volunteers contributed their time and efforts to the work of making everything run smoothly for thousands of guests!
This year’s festival raised over $861,000 dollars in contributions to the Oregon Food Bank to aid their fight against hunger in Oregon and Southwest Washington.
With the economy still sputtering, the need and requests for emergency provisions remains at an all-time high. Without the Waterfront Blues Festival and all the visitors’ generosity, the Oregon Food Bank would be hard pressed indeed to provide for those in need. Hats off to all the visitors, volunteers and corporate sponsors who stepped up and made it such a huge and continuing success!
The bands and music were fantastic! With four stages, a large dance floor, a large megatron TV between the stages and continuous Blues Cruises on the Spirit of Portland cruise boat, there was something for everyone.
One of the highlights for me was The Mannish Boys band. The foundation of the Delta Groove Productions Blues and Roots music record and film label in Los Angeles, The Mannish Boys feature an Ike and Tina Turner style revue show with guest singers, guitarists and harmonica players. They played two main stage shows, the late night Hoodoo Moon Blues Cruise, and a guitar summit workshop show. Their performers are a who’s who of traditional Blues stars. They include, new lead singer Sugaray Rayford, guitarists: Kid Ramos, Franck Goldwasser, Kirk “Ely” Fletcher, bass player Willie J. Campbell, Portland’s very own Jimi Bott on drums, Delta Groove CEO Randy Chortkoff on harmonica and vocals, and the original Mannish Boy; singer Finis Tasby. They also included guests such as harmonica ace, and new Portland resident, Mitch Kashmar, Portland guitarist, Kevin Selfe, and longtime Portland Soul legend, Curtis Salgado. They also brought a tremendous brass section with them for the first time. There are so many Portland performers involved that maybe it’s time to create a Delta Groove North subsidiary!
Delta Groove’s CEO, Randy Chorkoff spoke about The Mannish Boys concept and their new double CD release, Double Dynamite, “It’s a double CD, one disc is traditional Chicago-Delta Blues and is called, Atomic Blues. The second disc is more R&B and Soul, and Old School Blues with a James Brown and Ray Charles feel. I wrote a couple of originals. But what we like to do is take older, obscure B-sides that went unnoticed. For this show we brought horns, Ron Jubala on sax (who has played all over with such acts as Ricky Martin), and Lee Thonburg on trumpet, who played many years with Tower of Power. We also brought on Kid Ramos, who is a former member of the band.”
He talked about the newest addition to the band, lead singer Sugaray Rayford. “I first saw him in Memphis in the IBG competition a few years ago when he was with a band called “Aunt Kizzie’s Boy”. I was impressed with him. I next saw him at at jam session in L.A. and he blew me away! About that time, our prior lead singer, Bobby Jones, left the band to pursue his own solo career, so I asked Sugaray if he’d like to join The Mannish Boys. He was excited and jumped at the chance. It was a wonderful and perfect fit.”
With all the different bands and acts, it was hard to choose a favorite. But hands down it had to be the Steve Miller Band. From his opening song to a double encore, and finishing with The Joker, along with guest appearances by Roy Rogers and Curtis Salgado, Miller’s show included a solo acoustic “Wild Mountain Honey”, straight ahead Chicago Blues and enough famous favorites to fill a greatest hits album.
The crowd was ecstatic and captivated. Miller was gracious and welcoming with the crowd. It reminded me of bouncing down the road in my old truck, singing along to Steve Miller Band on my 8-track tape player. And that’s how it was, at the 2012 Safeway Waterfront Blues Festival.