Sunday, April 01, 2007

Paul deLay Goes Out In Style

I've been around long enough to recognize a legendary scene when I witness it, and to see the Portland Blues community take over the Art Museum tonight to honor Paul deLay, was classic. The emotional impact was set immediately when the woman standing behind me turned out to be Paul's sister-in-law complete with 2 children who were clearly paying total attention, thinking about their Uncle Paul. It really brought it home on that family level, before the extended family of the Portland Blues community took over.

My favorite story was when Curtis Salgado talked about being schooled on the harp by a 19-year-old Paul deLay, leading to a lifelong respect. Curtis said he's stood next to Santana, Prince and B.B. King and didn't feel intimidated, but Paul still made him feel nervous to the end. I like that sort of thing - the early psyche-out that never goes away. Curtis really looked up to him.

I also enjoyed Linda Hornbuckle saying that Paul's band put her on the map when "Paul went away for a while." Now, that is such a classic musician interaction especially with this genre.

Speaking of styles of music, there's often a service or memorial concert with known acts chiming in, and it's usually interesting to hear how familiar lyrics fit in with the subject at hand. It's always cool when the lyrics take on extra meaning, and there's an occasional groaner when something comes out wrong in the new context. That's what was so great about the Blues music tonight. It really works in this sort of setting. Your buddy dies and you play the Blues. This music was designed for occasions like tonight and the Portland Blues community should be proud - they really did it up right.


At 11:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for this great insight.

Your reporting of Curtis Salgado is the first I have read since his liver transplant last year.

How did he look? Any idea when he may perform again?

At 11:51 PM, Blogger Bill McDonald said...

Curtis is fine and looked the same if not a little heavy. He did say it was funny being there and Paul not, since he came so close to dying himself.
Curtis sang and played as good as always and had his complete wind going for him, so that was good.
Another encouraging thing was this young blues harp player from Eugene. The next generation was well represented in this guy, although I couldn't catch the name.

At 3:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's so hard to believe that Paul is gone. Curtis turned me onto him in the mid-80's when I lived in the Bay Area. I caught Paul for the first time at some club in S.F. (can't remember now which one) and was, of course, completely blown away. I have fond memories of gigs my mate did (on drums) in a trio setting with Paul and Janice Scroggins. We last saw Paul perform at that place in Northeast that looks like it used to be a bank (it became a club after we left)...that was in January '06 when we were up there for MLK Day. Mark Hummel was playing that night, too...but in my book, he can't hold a candle to Paul. But what I really loved about Paul was his singing and songwriting...and the fact that he always looked like he was having a good time onstage. And yes, No DeLay Band did give Linda a big boost...I can remember seeing them many times at Bojangle's when he was away. Thanks for taking me down memory lane. Paul will be sorely missed.

At 9:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Paul, I miss you. Monday I got the blues.

At 3:22 PM, Blogger BluesSlave said...

His name was Hank Shreve.

"Another encouraging thing was this young blues harp player from Eugene. The next generation was well represented in this guy, although I couldn't catch the name."


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