One Step up, Two Steps Back

Doheny Blues and Bruuce!

I'd like to give more ink to the wholly wonderful and deserving DOHENY BLUES FESTIVAL, but I have already written reams about most of the principals. Saturday night, don't miss JUNIOR BROWN, he of the hair-raising, steel-guitar licks that expose the common ground between hardcore hillbilly, lowdown blues and Hendrix-like rock to inspirational effect. JOHNNY AND EDGAR WINTER's brash Texas blues-rock is always a thrill, particularly when the opportunity is there for them to share a stage together. First Lady of the Blues KOKO TAYLOR never fails to bring down the house with her bullfrog-funky voice and queenly presence. BOOKER T. JONES —former leader of Stax Records house band Booker T and the MGs—is almost single-handedly responsible for the prominence of the Hammond organ in '60s soul music. And BOBBY "BLUE" BLAND remains the undisputed master of tender R&B balladry after more than 40 years. Also featured Saturday are San Clemente's own ROD & THE PISTONS, LARRY HORNE & SMALL CHANGE, CURTIS SALGADO, and more.

Sunday night is highlighted by CLARENCE "GATEMOUTH" BROWN, who picks ferocious guitar, fiddle and mandolin in every roots style under the sun. MAVIS STAPLES is the greatest female gospel singer in history, being both more sophisticated than Mahalia Jackson and more muscular than Aretha Franklin. THE FABULOUS THUNDERBIRDS, boasting the enviably skilled Anaheim guitarist Kid Ramos, sound even tuffer today than back when they were still making hit records in the '80s. CHARLIE MUSSELWHITE is among the most experienced and inventive blues harpists on the circuit, and he plays a mean Delta-style guitar to boot. ERIC BURDON is one of the select few unique and convincing white blues singers, especially when he's performing on a bellyful of 'shrooms, as is occasionally the case. Veterans LITTLE CHARLIE & THE NIGHTCATS play jazzed-up West Coast Blues with doses of Leiber & Stoller-like humor to grand effect. Also appearing Sunday is wet-behind-the-ears blues-rock shredder KENNY WAYNE SHEPHERD, soulful diva JANIVA MAGNESS, MOCOMBO CARAVAN (featuring bitchen harpist JUKE LOGAN), PAT HENNESSEY and THE HUGHES REVUE.

Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band play at the Arrowhead Pond, 2695 E. Katella Ave., Anaheim, (714) 704-2400. Sun.-Mon., 7:30 p.m. $67.50; the Doheny Blues Festival takes place in the grass park by the ocean at Doheny State Beach, Dana Point, (949) 262-2662. Sat.-Sun., gates open at 10:30 a.m. $25 per day; $40 for both days; $60 per day for a VIP pass; $125 per day for a Gold Pass. For more information, go to www.omega-events.com.
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