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Whiskey Haulers: News

Whiskey Haulers Live at Wingfield Park - June 18, 2008

Join Angel Kiss Foundation on June 21, 2008 for our Annual Whitewater Raft & Music Festival at Wingfield Park in Downtown Reno from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. The park is free and open to the public so don’t miss a thing!

A fantastic variety of bands will be playing all day long. First to take the sage is Kate Cotter, followed by Smokin Joe Banana, Whiskey Haulers, Jason King Band, The Bad Neighbors and Drinking with Clowns. Each band will have CD’s available for purchase during the event.

Participants enter a two and a half mile long river race in eight different categories from serious racing to most creative floating device, best dressed crew and the corporate challenge.

Entry fee is $30 for the first person and $15 for each additional team member with up to seven people in a team. Registration begins at 9 a.m. with shuttle service to Crissy Caughlin Park where the race officially begins at noon.

You may register on-line by using the link below, or download a registration form to fax or mail in.

Food & Beverages
Enjoy morning treats including coffee provide by Blind Dog Coffee Roasters,BBQ provided by Vista Grille, micro brews provided by Great Basin Brewery andice cream treats! Each vendor generously donates all proceeds to Angel Kiss Foundation.

Garden of Hope
Tour our “ Garden of Hope” featuring unique flowers created by local children and artists. With each flower purchase you will receive raffle tickets. Over eighteen one-of-a-kind gift packages are available to select from. Each item is generously donated by local merchants.

Epic Show at the Washoe Club! - April 14, 2008

Thanks to everyone for showin' up and making it a wild night at the Washoe! It was a non-stop party Virginia City Style. We had bootlegger's, bikers, cowboys, tourists, Clampers, Marines, hippies, a wedding party, and even Nick's sister and her crazy friends tearing up the dancefloor all night long! We finally shut 'er down only because Cliff (the owner) had to get up first thing in the morning to watch his son in a motorcycle race. His plan didn't work out because by the time the joint cooled down and everyone went home, he figured it was just easier to just stay up all night long!

Special thanks to our good friend Mike Thompson from Blue Haven for sitting in on the harp. Mike played dirty, he played mean, he played low and he played clean. He fits right in with the haulers!

Big props out to R. Brad for lighting up the lead guitar despite being sicker than a dog and not eating for a day or two. He got stronger as the night went on despite arriving 5 minutes before showtime looking ill. I guess John Lee Hooker was right........Blues is the Healer!

Thanks Greg Shanklin - March 19, 2008

Thanks for hangin' out with us at Third Street for our show and then supporting the blues at the Mofo Party Band Show.

If you haven't heard, the Mofo Party Band show was a great party and a cool way to say thanks to Greg Shanklin, local blues icon and the proprietor of the Third Street Blues Bar. Greg has decided to sell the bar and move on to new adventures.....

The Whiskey Haulers would like to thank Greg for all the hard work over the years creating the finest blues club in Reno. He has also been a big supporter of the Whiskey Haulers since we started on this musical adventure. We've had lots of fun playing and hanging out at the club and wish Greg all the best.

We are hopefull that the new owners run the joint with the same class and enthusiasm for live music!

Boogie With Us at 3rd Street This Friday - February 19, 2008

Thanks to everyone who came up to the Washoe Club to see us on the 8th. It was a great party!

If you missed it, don't miss the Whiskey Haulers live at Third Street Blues this Friday night! We are laying it down funkier than ever so bring your dancin' shoes!

See you there!

Catchin' Up - February 6, 2008

Happy New Year from the Whiskey Haulers! We have a couple of new gigs lined up at our favorite local clubs and are putting in new songs to keep it fresh.

Special Thanks to Bob and Rae in Virginia City for hosting the Haulers, Blue Haven, and the Mofo's for a delicious BBQ before the Mofo Party Band show at the Washoe Club last December. Bob and Rae pulled out all the stops! The pork ribs were my favorite as well as the good company!

I think just about everyone made it up to the show as the place was really jumpin! Bill Clifton surprised me by handing me his guitar in the middle of the crowd during his solo. I just about had a heart attack but had a great time playing with the crowd going wild all around me. Definitely one of the highlights of my career! Joe, Nick, myself and Funky, Rich, and Mike from Blue Haven all got up on stage at the end of the show for an all-star jam. For those of you who left early, I gotta tell you it was smokin!

I hear the Mofo's are coming back to Third Street Blues in March so keep your calendar open!

Joe and I were in Texas for Christmas and caught the legendary Pine Top Perkins (Muddy Waters Band) at Antone's (SRV, T-Birds) in Austin. What a show! Pinetop in 94 years old and was signing his latest CD before the show. The band warmed up the crowd and then Pinetop walked slowly up on stage and took his place at the piano. He signaled the band and then jumped into a 90 minute set with all the energy and enthusiasm of a 20 year old! He was absolutely remarkable, singing and playing boogie piano like I have never heard before. It was a great night of blues in a great town! We also caught a local Dallas band playing at the Hole-in-the-Wall. A tiny joint that reminded me of Abby's..... Shoulder to shoulder dancing and good burgers to boot.

In January, Judy and I took a road trip to San Fran with our good friends Mike (Blue Haven) and Kim to see Ron Hacker and the Hacksaws at the Saloon. The Saloon is the oldest bar in San Francisco and has live music every night. The Hack is a local legend and his show is something to see. He played some mean slide on an acoustic guitar from 1930 with a pickup duck taped across the sound hole. His wicked tone and aggressive playing style had the place going crazy. Mike happened to have a harmonica in his pocket and Hacker invited him up to jam for a couple of tunes. Mike played great as expected and won the approval of Hacker as well as the locals! It was quite an honor, as Hacker is not known for inviting anyone up on stage with him! We are trying to bring him up to Reno for a show in the near future.

Brad spent some time in Brasil with his wife Paula and returned with a brand new energy and some say a slight Latin feel to some of his leads. He is ready to rock, Santana style!

Nick has been busy tuning his drums and is learning to play the harmonica. As soon as he is ready, we're going to bring him up front for a song to showcase his talents on the harp and Joe's talents on the drums. Nick has this to say..."It may be awhile!"

Come on up to the Washoe Club this weekend and party with us. We have lots of stories and I'm sure you all do too. Like any old friends, we have some Catchin' Up to do!


My Little Guitar - December 11, 2007

I think it was the summer of 1990, I was a bright young college kid just getting ready for the long drive back to Michigan for fall semester. I had a good job bustin’ rocks at All-Lite Aggregate in Lockwood and had a wad of money just burning a hole in my pocket. I wanted a guitar! I only had one problem....... I didn’t know anything about guitars.

I called up my buddy Jason (King) Roxas because he was the only one I knew that was into the music scene and he agreed to meet me down at Bizarre Guitar on a Saturday afternoon. We looked at a bunch of guitars and I decided on a white Squire Stratocaster and a Peavey Audition 110 amp. The amp was 20 watts through a generic 10-inch speaker and had a clean channel and a distorted channel that really cranked. 100 percent solid state rock ‘n roll joy!

This particular guitar was one of those experimental guitars that Fender was putting out in the 1980’s. The neck was narrower and the scale length slightly shorter than full size. It didn’t have a pickguard and had three toggle switches instead of the normal 5-way pickup selection switch. It had a humbucker and two single coil pickups and you could use the switches to turn them on in any combination you wanted. The neck was really beautiful maple that had tiger stripes when the light hit it right. It had a glossy finish and a dark brown streak on the back of the headstock that gave it some character. The rosewood fretboard and very well constructed with frets that were trimmed and filed as smooth as any custom shop axe. The headstock was painted black and it had knurled black metal knobs. To a 19 year-old college kid with no musical background, this guitar was the bomb! I still have never seen one quite like it.

That guitar made it with me through college in Michigan, moves to Reno, Denver, down to Tucson, and then back to Reno. Without ever having a lesson, I learned how to play Wish You Were Here, Long Haired Country Boy, All along the Watchtower, Jimi’s Star Spangled Banner (kind of), Folsom Prison Blues, Life by the Drop, and a whole lot of other songs I have forgotten and occasionally remember and play again. I’ve played with many good friends and drank lots of beer with that guitar. I’ve put it in the closet for years at a time while my life was taking unexpected turns and twists. I’ve dropped it, sat on it, dinged it, scratched it, and fallen asleep on the couch with it many, many times after playing until the early morning hours.

After a couple years of sitting in the closet while I was sorting life out, the guitar was reborn when I moved back to Reno and took a job working with R. Brad Peters and Marty Ugalde. Marty had drums and would jam with Brad in the basement after work every now and then. I dug out my guitar and my amp and sat in one day after work. Soon we were playing a couple of times a week and the Longhauler’s Band was born! I knew that my little guitar and amp had taken me as far as they could. I needed a high-end rig to play the parties and whiskey bar gigs that we were lining up. So my little guitar and amp were put away once again to make room for the American Deluxe, the Hot Rod, and the Super!

Well, I guess there is an end to every story. A friend of mine at work has a 19-year old son who just got a new bass guitar. She knew that I played guitar and asked me if I knew of where she could get an inexpensive guitar and amp so they could jam together.

Just so happens that I knew of a little guitar that had been waiting patiently for a new home................


Geno's Birthday Bash This Friday - December 4, 2007

Come on out to Third Street Blues this Friday night to celebrate Geno's birthday! He's aging like a fine bottle of wine, smooth and mellow, never sour!

We haven't played at Third Street in about 6 months so we will be ready to put on a great show. We have added a couple of new tunes and swapped our set list around a bit just to keep it fresh.

Another thing you can do while checking out the 'Haulers is get with Judy to set up rooms and a general party plan for the MOFO Party Band show at the Washoe Club on December 14th. It is going to be the show of the season and should not be missed. If you haven't seen them, check out our website for a review of our April show with those guys as well as a link to their website.

If you dig that old style blues like we do, you won't want to miss this show. They are as fun a band as you will ever see!

Lot's of people have contacted me about getting rooms in Virginia City. I don't know if the Sugarloaf is still open (I heard it wasn't). We have shared rooms at the Ramada before which makes it afforable. If anyone has suggestions, email me and I will send them around.

Michael Ray Benefit Show December 9th - November 20, 2007

Join us down on Third Street on Sunday, December 9th for a benefit show for Terrapin Road Bassist Michael Ray who is recovering from a near-fatal health crisis. Join the Haulers and all your other favorite local blues musicians for a night of fun, food, and great jammin' to raise money for Michael's medical expenses.

Great Time at the Washoe - November 6, 2007

Thanks everyone for hangin' with us at the Washoe Club in Virginia City. We had a great time and the energy was electric. I have not heard such crowd participation on Velvet Elvis is a long time.

Special thanks to Michael Thompson for sitting in on Harp for a set. He's a real pro and added to the sound of the band.

We had so much fun we ended up sitting around at the bar after packing up our gear. Cliff and Jennifer told us all about the history of the Washoe Club including showing us the bullet holes in the ceiling and big mirror behind the bar. We were so engrossed in the stories and so pumped after the show that we lost track of time. I finally looked at my watch and it was 4:30! Luckily, we had a room for the night but, let me tell you, the drive home the next day was pure hell!

Third Street Blues Jam - November 6, 2007

For those of you who have not been out in a while....

There is sump'n brewing down at 3rd Street Blues on Thursday nights. Greg has hired the Blue Haven band to run the weekly blues jam and it is a hit! The bar is comfortably full and hoppin' for a Thursday night. Rich does a great job of lining up groups of players so that everyone gets a chance to shine and the music quality is often (not always) very good.

It's a laid back atmosphere and a lot of fun. If anyone plays an instrument and loves the blues, come on down and sit in and hang out with other musicians that have lots in common.

If you aren't a player, come on down and dance to the best blues you can find in Reno on a Thursday Night.

Website Updates - Music and Video - September 3, 2007

Check out the new Music section for a couple of original tunes and a video from our last gig at the Washoe Club.

Check back often as we will be adding more pictures, music and videos soon including a separate folder of high resolution professional pictures by Josh!

Congrats Nick And Katie - September 2, 2007

Congratulations to our very own Nick "Cleanhead" Klaich and his new bride Katie! The two were married in a beautiful ceremony on Mt. Rose. They are going to be in the islands for a couple of weeks so the band is taking a brief break.

The Haulers were all in attendance and particularly well-behaved, I must say. Don't let our respectable behavior fool ya though, we will be back in full force and as rowdy as ever at the Street Vibrations Kickoff Party at Abby's on September 20.

See you there!

Reno R&B Festival - August 23, 2007

Joe and I got some free tickets to the Reno "Blues" Festival last weekend. Mostly R&B acts. Tommy Castro stole the show even though he had strep throat and couldn't hardly sing. He played great and it was good to see him as I haven't seen him in a couple of years.

The turnout was slightly better than in the two previous years and it was more comfortable due to cooler temps and some shade, but the rows and rows of empty chairs, lots of security, and several layers of VIP zones where still there which really ruined the atmosphere.

We had a couple of beers and enjoyed Tommy's show and then bailed early most likely because we were still tired from the all-night party at the Sonora Blues Festival the Saturday before.

I think a couple of the better local bands (Whiskey Haulers!) on a side stage and some regional big-stage bands (MOFO Party Band, Shane Dwight, Kenny Blue Ray, Little Charlie and the Nightcats, Ron Hacker, R.J. Mischo, etc, ect, there are many!......) would fill in the gaps between headliners nicely and bring out more of the local crowd.

I wish the Reno Blues Festival the best of luck in the future and hope it grows bigger and bluesier.

Sonora Blues Festival - August 12, 2007

Another weekend off for the Haulers as Nick is busy fightin' fires and rescuing kittens from trees!

Joe and I took the opportunity to head down to Sonora and look for some inspiration at the Sonora Blues Festival. What a time we had!

We rolled in just before the Mofo Party Band went on stage. Midway through the set, John Clifton saw us from the stage and said "The Great Blues Band, the Whiskey Haulers from Reno are here". That was too cool and we had people talking to us all day after that. Those guys are the best! It was great to see them again and they really tore it up and stole the show like they always do.

Other performers included Sonny Landreth, Little Feat, Mick Martin, Shane Dwight, John Nemeth, and Cafe R&B. I was really impressed by Cafe R&B. They are really talented and put on a great show. Bluesier than their name implies. Check them out if you get a chance.

I didn't see anyone I recognized from Reno down there. This is a first class festival that is fairly close to town and in a beautiful location. Next year I am going to round up the troops and get a whole group to go and camp out.

So be ready for next year!


Great Show at the Washoe! - August 12, 2007

Thanks for everyone who came out to party with us in Virginia City! We had a hot show on a cool summer night at historic Washoe Club. This was our second show up there and the first one was in the middle of a blizzard last December! We had fun with Cliff, Sherrie, and the whole gang and really soaked up the ambiance of the place.

If you haven't been to a show at the Washoe, you are missing out on a unique experience. The uncrowded atmosphere make it comfortable and fun, the high ceilings make the band sound really good, and the owners, bartenders, and locals are a fun group of characters! There are always folks out on the dancefloor consisting of miners, tourists, bikers, locals, and cowboys all mixed in together! Everyone fits in at the Washoe!

Hope to see you again at the next show and check out the new photos in the Gallery!

Taylorsville - July 13, 2007

Off to Taylorsville this weekend. The best kept secret in the Sierras. This is one fun festival and Kenny Neal is the headliner this year. He is one of my favorites and always puts on a great show! I will give you details when I get back.


The Whiskey Haulers 1 year anniversay! - June 28, 2007

June 20, 2006 may be considered the birthdate of the Whiskey Haulers! On this day, Brad, Geno, Joe & Nick rehearsed for 1 hour, then performed a 3-song set at the Sidelines Bar. The 3 songs were Dallas, Folsom Prison Blues, and Dancing Shoes. Today we're bootleggin' the same blues. Thanks for listening!

Let's have a toast to the next year.


The Whiskey Haulers and the Jason King Band at 3rd Street Blues, June 15, 2007 - June 19, 2007

The Whiskey Haulers’ June 15, 2007 gig at 3rd Street Blues turned out to be another memorable show. The show was a double bill with Reno’s local Jason King Band – what a great group of guys to hang with! As the story goes, Jason and Geno went to high school together and Jason was with Geno when Geno bought his first guitar.

The Whiskey Haulers started off the show at 8:15PM. Did we forget to say, this was Geno’s bachelor party?! Geno and Judy were getting married the following day. What a lucky guy! In attendance were members from Geno’s family, Judy’s family and some of our closest friends. Another packed barroom!

Besides our usual bootleggin’ blues, the highlight of the Whiskey Haulers’ set was an all-star jam with Jason King (guitar) and Freddie (harmonica). Most memorable was “Big Brown Eyes” dedicated to Judy. During the jam, Geno put down his guitar to dance with the future Mrs. Tortelli while the band was laying down the blues. Geno didn’t miss a beat as he was back on stage to sing the closing verse and chorus!

The Jason King Band closed the night with a fiery 3 hour set of Rock and Blues. Joe played guitar with the Jason King Band on a few tunes because he could hardly stop playing.


Notes from the Big Show! - May 11, 2007

Hello Bootleggers!

Thanks for the hundreds of emails I recieved with friendly reminders to update the website! Some of the reminders got pretty creative. I would list a few but this is a family show.......


Thanks again to everyone who came out to celebrate Blue Haven's 10 year anniversary. It was a night I will never forget. The day before the show, I get an email from Haven letting me know that they have arranged to have the whole show professionally recorded! The show is in the process of being mixed down right now and hopefully soon we might have a track or two that sound alright! Be sure to listen for us on the KTHX blues show if we get something we can use. Enough about that.. On to the show.

The energy in Third Street Blues was electric. The Blue Haven guys helped us out through a short sound check and everything sounded well balanced. At 8:00 sharp on my G-Shock watch (thanks Dad!) Mike "Funky" Komadina introduced the band with all the energy of a fire and brimstone Baptist Preacher. The Whiskey Haulers were on!

We only had an hour to play so we played most of our original tunes and a couple of our favorite covers. The dance floor filled up even before the first verse of "Sunset and Vine" was finished. Looking out in the crowd, there were a bunch of new people, familiar faces, and the whole Mofo Party Band at table right up front! We have followed the Mofo's for years and it was a special treat to play for guys that we consider the very best! Everyone in the place was grooving and had a big smile on their face! We finished the set with "Velvet Elvis". The crowd response was incredible and I saw Rich "Full Moon" Maloon giving us the thumbs up from the side of the stage!

We pulled it off!

Blue Haven came out next and showed everyone where 10 years of hard work and dedication will get you. I have seen them dozens of times and it seems like they are better every time I see them. They played a great set and the place was packed with long-time fans calling out their favorite Blue Have songs. As their Tee Shirts say.... Nothing Like Being a Haven Head!

There was a short break and then the Mofo Party Band took the stage. Most people had never seen them and did not know what to expect. If you weren't there, you really missed something that I can't explain. Funky says it best..

"Seeing the Mofo Party Band is like going to church and going to a boxing match all at the same time."

They take the stage with so much energy they almost knock you over in the first couple of notes. By the end of the first song you are sweating, your voice is gone from shouting, your drink is knocked over no matter where you put it (or if you were holding it), and your memory card on your digital camera is full. And thats just the first song! It gets better from there.

John and Bill Clifton, Jake, and Daniel all seem to feed off the energy of the crowd and it was a barn burner. I really can't describe it more than that. You have to experience it. If you haven't seen them, go see them soon!

The Mofo Party Band played two killer sets and then members of Blue Haven and Mofo got together for an all star jam.

It was a night none of us will ever forget!

Check back soon for some pictures of the show. I am in the process of gathering them from various cameras.

Santa Barbara Blues and Southside Slim - April 12, 2007

Last August, we had a family reunion in Santa Barbara. Looking through the local paper, I saw that the Santa Barbara Blues Society was having their annual shindig that very weekend. Joe and I decided to go check out the local blues scene.

Figuring on a beautiful outdoor festival underneath warm California skies, we donned our usual music festival gear. With Joe in his Blue Haven tank top and headband, we would have been right at home in Taylorsville!

Santa Barbara is different my friends! This was a dockers, polo shirt, fine wine crowd if I have ever seen one. The show was in a big cold rectangular hall with lots and lots of chairs (reminded me of the last two Reno Blues Festivals, but thats another story!). I went up to the bar and ordered a bud light. I thought they we going to have me arrested by the look on the guys face. I ended up with a so and so's award winning mirco-brew that tasted like soy sauce with just a hint of choke-cherry. Whatever, after drinking 3 of these, my $20 was spent and I was ready for the music.

I don't recall the first couple of bands that played. They were O.K. more a whitewashed blend of R&B than low-down, dirty blues. Must have a dozen or so people rumpling their dockers out on the dance floor at any given time.

Just as dissapointment was setting in, the headliner Henry Harris- aka Southside Slim took the stage.

Southside Slim took the stage with all the dazzle and splash you would expect from a modern blues guitar slinger from L.A. Slim is almost over the top.

His unique vocal style reminds me of someone explaining something crazy that just happened to him; out of breath, voice cracking, just filled with excitement. Then he trails off his vocals with a heavy vibrato that puts a smile on your face.

His guitar style is ferocious in its attack. He's a fast player but keeps it bluesy at all times. I really dig this modern style that's rooted in old blues traditions. he never resorted to scale acrobatics in his solos like I have heard so many so called blues players do. He plays in high energy, almost reckless, bursts which fit his style perfectly.

His stage presence is naturally high in energy. He doesn't use canned Chuck Berry moves, but rather just moves and grooves to the song. He was damn near down on the floor for the low notes, bent over backwards on the bends, and it felt like he was in the crowd challanging anyone during the rhythm.

Southside Slim really tore the place down and made the whole night worth it!

Joe and I each bought a couple of CDs. He is on a small label, southside records, and the recorded tracks vary quite a bit. Blues, R&B, and even heavier experimental rap stuff are recorded. By far the best CD, and highly recommended, is a live recording done at the famous Alley in Santa Cruz.

Check him out at:
I highly recommend his cd "Live at the Alley"


Basement Blues - Recording ?? - March 28, 2007

Thanks for hanging out with us last Friday and helping us celebrate our good friend Jerry Lee's birthday. We had a great turnout and the whiskey was certainly flowing!

Jerry Lee sat in during the second set and laid down some tasty bayou licks on his hot-rod guitar until he broke not one, but two strings! That's the kind of intensity we like on stage!

The Haulers are going back to the basement! We have a couple of tracks that we want to lay down with the hope of getting some play on the local blues shows. Greg Shanklin, the host of the Saturday afternoon Blues Show on KTHX radio (100.1 FM 6-8pm) has assured us that he will play a couple of our songs if we can get him a quality CD. So with any luck, we will be able to get a couple of original tracks recorded and soon be on the radio!

Could these humble sessions be the start of our first CD?

Make sure you listen Greg's show on Saturday afternoons. Call him up and request the Whiskey Haulers! Let him know you are listening and that you support Local Blues!


Jerry Lee Birthday Party Friday Night at Third Street Blues - March 23, 2007

Come out to Third Street Blues tonight and party with the Whiskey Haulers as we celebrate the birthday of our good friend Jerry Lee!

It should be a great time and we might even have him sit in and boil up some his signature "chicken pickin' licks" on his hot rod strat for y'all.

It's a beautiful Spring day in Reno and a great night to check out the new and improved downtown scene. Take your sweetie out to dinner and a romantic walk by the river, and then stroll on up to Third Street and dance to those swingin', jumping blues.

Who knows, you might even get lucky!

I'm Still Seeing Green! - March 18, 2007

Thanks to everyone who came out to our St. Patty's Day show at Abby's. the show was a tremendous success and everyone had a great time. Something about dressing up in green always seems to get people in a festive mood.

Check our image gallery for a couple of pics from the show and we hope to see you all again soon!

March 17 - St. Patty's Day Party - Abby's Highway 40 - March 2, 2007

Come on out and join the Whiskey Haulers for a St. Patty's Day celebration at Abby's Highway 40 Bar. We have been busy in the basement cooking up some new swingin', jumpin' blues just for ya'.

We will also have a special suprise put together by our drummer, pr man, and flier maker extraordinaire, Nick.

DVD Review - The American Folk Blues Festival 1962-1966 - February 25, 2007

I was down at the Tower Records closing sale last fall and picked up bunch of cd's and videos. The standout was Volume II of the American Folk Blues Festival 1962-1966. The footage is crystal clear black and white recorded in a Germany TV Studio.

Here are the performers from Volume II.

Sonny Boy Williamson
Sunnyland Slim
Willie Dixon
Lightning Hopkins
Victoria Spivey
Memphis Slim
T-Bone Walker
Roosevelt Sykes
Matt "Guitar" Murphy
Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee
Howlin' Wolf (With a young Hubert Sumlin)
Big Mama Thorton

For me the highlight of the DVD is when Sonny Boy Williamson sings "Bye Bye Bird" and "My Younger Days" from 1964. He has such style and power in his voice and harmonica. This is probably some if not the last footage of the legend before he died in 1965. Watch his perfomances and think of this characterization of Sonny Boy I found on Wikipedia:

"Williamson was characterized by a hip-flask of whiskey, a pistol, a knife, a foul mouth, and a short temper. He had always worn fancier suits than he could afford, and his tour of Europe allowed him further embellishment, adding a finely tailored two-tone suit and a bowler hat to his unique, grey-goateed image."

Every track on the DVD is excellent and captures the performers in a visually creative and relaxed atmosphere. Check out the stage presence of the great Texas entertainer, Lightning Hopkins, the size and power of Howlin' Wolf, the buttery smooth guitar licks and lyrics of T-Bone Walker, and the young guns, Matt Guitar Murphy and Hubert Sumlin early in their careers getting a chance to tour with the legends.

Sometimes I think that modern blues has turned into a guitar contest with performers overlooking vocal prowness, creativity, and stage presence. Who wants to see some ill-kept and poorly dressed guy standing flat-footed staring down at his fretboard while blazing through the Mixydixylixydolian Scale?

Looking at this classic footage helps to remind me that the blues is more than just a style of music. It is a performance art. Not too fast, not too loud, plenty of emphasis on the show as well as the music, and you've got your blues cooked up to perfection!

See if you can find this dvd at your local record store (if you still have one!) or online and watch these stars at the top of their game. Seeing legends like T-Bone perform adds a whole new dimension to this great music that most people only hear on cd's or their local blues radio show.

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