Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Wayne Blue Burns Band at The Wild Salmon, Lafayette, La. 1/28/11

Tee Don Landry invited me to The Wild Salmon to see his band, so we slipped out of Ponchy around 7:00 Friday night and drove over to Lafayette just in time to have a short visit with the band members before they kicked off a set of traditional Blues, Delta style. In an area of Acadiana where Cajun and Zydeco music is King, it is refreshing to see a   standard Blues band for a change.

 Tee Don Landry was on drums, Wayne Blue Burns on lead and rhythm guitar, Bobby Matthews on bass, and Matt Vogel was on rhythm and lead guitar. Tee Don is an accomplished rub board player who says that the drums are his favorite instrument to play. Tee Don, Blue and Bobby have impressive credentials. They have  toured with several legendary Louisiana bands in the past. Blue toured with Clifton Chenier, Ernie K Doe, and Buckwheat and  and Bobby toured with Sunpie Barnes and Nathan Williams. Tee Don played rub board with Lynn August, Zydeco Joe, and the Creole Zydeco Farmers.Matt Vogel is the young blood here, holding his own with the big dogs very well.  Rather repeat what has been written down before, I will include a link to their web bio so you can see for yourself how impressive their collective talents are.

We got to The Wild Salmon just after 9:00 expecting the band to be up and running. Instead, the band was having an issue with the set up. They had sent a sound man over earlier to set up, had done a sound check and all was well. They had left and relaxed the afternoon away to find that someone had come to the club after they had set up and had taken a section of the sound system off of the premises.

So Mojo, who was working the sound system, had to piece together things at the last minute. The band was unable to kick off the gig at 9:00 as they had planned, due to no fault of their own. Tee Don visited with us for a while explaining the problem. I spent the time wandering around taking in the place. It is a large place, very messy, with lots of stuff covering the walls. I went into the bar area to find very friendly people raging in age from 21 to 80, all relaxing together and getting along just fine. People were fast to introduce themselves to me and the bar staff waited on me quickly.

I was taking in the stuff on the walls, an eclectic mix of Americana folklore from vintage TV, Nascar, old  Rock n roll pictures, photos of patrons and beer posters. Assorted junk lined the walls arranged in no logical  fashion.  Dan and I found a table second back from the band and found two chairs that looked as if they might just hold us with out breaking. Most of the furniture had seen better days.

After getting situated, I left Dan at the table to go meet Blue and Matt. Blue is tall and lean, in great shape for his age. Matt is even taller an seemed relaxed and ready to play. Bobby slipped in right before they started and I was unable to meet him at that time. Tee Don was telling me all about the band and everyone's connections to the music world. It was fascinating stuff. At that point, Mojo was working hard to straighten out the snafu with the sound system. In a little while, he had the band do a necessary sound check and they were prepared to be up and running in no time.

Meanwhile, I slipped back to watch and visit with some boys playing a game new to me. They were playing Beer Pong. They had a ping pong table set up with cups of beer on each side. They threw the ping pong balls, trying to get them into their opponents cups of beer. If the ball went in your opponents cup, the opponent had  to drink the beer. The object was to get the opponent drunker than you were. It looked like  all four  guys were getting equally drunk to me. They  were washing the balls that fell on the floor in a cup of beer on the side. It was hilarious stuff.  It got sillier and sillier as time went on. They were very nice to me and explained it all to me and even offered me a chance to play with them. I would just have to buy six beers to be "in." They were using Pabst Blue Ribbon cans at the time, and red and blue cups. Their t shirts were all splashed up with beer and they seemed to be having the time of their lives. I bowed out and went back to sit with Dan.

The band kicked off their first set to play standard blues. It was a clean set, with Matt and Blue taking turns on lead and rhythm. I was pleased to hear that Matt was holding his on with sophisticated  rhythm that backed up Blue's lead quite well. Tee Don had great timing, the bass and drums holding down the groove in synch. Blue sang  the Blues  standard "The Thrill is Gone" with a hint of vibrato at the end of the phrases that made it become his own.Dan and I were in agreement that the set was tight and well done.
Bobby, Blue, Tee Don and Matt by Patty McGehee
Tee Don Landry by Patty McGehee

Bobby, Blue, and Tee Don by Patty McGehee

Blue and Matt by Patty McGehee

Blue Burns by Patty McGehee

The band took a break and Tee Don came over and we visited for a while. He introduced me to Mojo. I then realized that Mojo was the MUSICIAN Mojo of the Bayou Gypsies, a band that I have heard of but have never gotten to see. He explained that he was off on the road most of the year and did not play locally. We  began discussing all sorts of stuff about touring, who knows who and other assorted stuff. Tee Don had to slip off to get out of the cigarette smoke for a while. I got to talk to Blue again, and I met Matt and Bobby.
Matt, Patty, and Bobby

Tee Don, Patty, and Blue

The second set kicked off and two other musicians showed up and the  show shifted into another groove. There was a third guitarist, Norman "Slim"  Hammer and a harmonica player named  Sonny J. This set was not as dynamic as the first set because the two newcomers did not know how to enter in and out of the Jam as well as Matt and Blue did.  It was still good, but the real hard core synch was gone and the band focused on being a dance band. The crowd was up and  dancing, having a ball.
Bobby  Matthews by Patty McGehee

Blue and Matt by Patty McGehee

The smoke got thick and  I had to retreat out front to get away from it. Young women were piling in at that point, paying their cover, and walking back to watch the Beer Pong players. I guess we watched about 20 young women come in at that time. After a break outside, where we could still hear the music very well, we went in and stayed back towards the door getting fresh air.  Dan and I found ourselves dancing a bit. The band covered "I got Loaded," which was a crowd favorite.

Mojo, Patty, and Slim

Bobby and Patty
Second break found us and all of the band outside getting away from the smoke. Bobby and I had a long conversation about how he had stayed home not touring for about 15 years and was eager to get back into  touring again. We visited and had a nice time out there for about a half hour, taking photos and just talking. The band went back for a third set and Dan and I stayed for about three songs. I had about enough. It was late, about 12:30 by then, and I was staring at the reality that we had an  hour and a half ride was ahead of us.

It was hard to slip out without saying goodbye, but I knew I had some things to do Saturday morning that meant I had to hit the road. As we walked out, I looked back to see that three couples were up and dancing. The place was packed and everybody was having a great time.


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