Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Drink Small concert review from Oct. 27, 2014 - Lourie Center

Blues Moon Radio – Review
Live Concert – Drink Small at the Lourie Center, October 27, 2014

When attendees have to wend their way through the parking lot on a sun-filled autumn morning past news trucks from three major networks: WOLO, WLTX and WIS, you know something newsworthy is going on.

The Blues Doctor, Drink Small was ready to regale the crowd of about 70 people, mostly seniors, who enjoyed a concert sponsored by the Jazz Foundation of NYC and the Lourie Center in Columbia, S.C.

This South Carolina treasure, who is both a living legend and a named ambassador for the Blues, having received the Bobby Blue Bland Jus’Blues award in 2013, was introduced to the crowd by Clair DeLune, of Blues Moon Radio. Gail Wilson-Giarratano, who wrote the soon-to-be-released biography of Drink Small for History Press (who along with Charleston SC’s own Arcadia Press are the largest publishers in the world of local and regional history books), kicked off the hour-long presentation with a reading from the book, recounting how Small was critically injured by a mule-drawn cart while picking cotton on the family’s sharecropping farm in Bishopville, and how that turned his life around to become a musician.

“These are my Blues,” she quoted Drink Small, and he chimed in song, creating an impromptu Blues ditty for Wilson-Giarratano’s mother, which also commended the Lourie Center, the Jazz Foundation. It drifted into his witty observations of life in general as the crowd clapped and danced in their chairs.

His next song two songs were dedicated to his wife Drina Bratton Small, who is a nurse.

“I waited until late in life to take a wife, ‘cause I didn’t want to get married twice!” Small growled through the microphone, encouraging the crowd to sing along with the lyrics, “ God have blessed me to have a nurse, ‘cause she knows when a man hurts.”

“Women need affection, connection and protection to go in another direction,” was the lead-in “Drinkism,” which is a witty combination of rhyme schemes and messages – either earthly or sacred, depending on Drink Small’s mood at the moment, “whether I’m a teacher or a preacher.”  He loves church people and club people the same, Wilson-Giarratano quoted from his biography. That intro was followed by a rollicking version of “A Good Woman is Hard to Find.”

“Bishopville is My Hometown” followed with Wilson-Giarratano encouraging the celebration of his music by taking crowd members by the hand to get them up and dancing.  She told another story from the book about the trip to Memphis they took together where he was named an Ambassador of the Blues, which sowed the seed of the idea for telling his stories through the book.

Small invited everyone to call him and book “Drink Small and the Every Now and Then Band,” saying “They are hot, they hit the spot and I guarantee they’ll make you trot!”

Small drew the concert to a close by saying, “I don’t want no confusion in my conclusion,” introducing the farewell offering, “Us Gots to Go,” a rollicking barnburner, “us can’t boogie no more, ‘cause us gots to go,” capping it off with his inimitable basso profundo punctuation, “I gotta go now...”

We hope he stays with us for a very long time.

You can contact Drink Small by liking his official Facebook page at “Drink Small, the Blues Doctor,” and you can hear him each week as Blues Moon Radio’s Artist of the Year (and perhaps millennium) each Tuesday evening between 6-8 p.m. 

Information about his biography can be found at: DrinkSmallBook.com

For his mailing list, please see italics notes below.

Special thanks to Peter Verner of NYC’s Jazz Foundation (www.jazzfoundation.com), to Mary and Stephanie at the Lourie Center and to Gail Wilson-Giarratano and family for their dedication, friendship and support of this living Blues legend. Thanks to WIS, WLTX and WOLO for their interest and coverage.

Clair DeLune is a professor of Roots Music history; an author, and producer and host of Blues Moon Radio since 1990 on WUSC-FM 90.5 and HD-1 Columbia and streaming on the internet at www.wusc.sc.edu. Her Blues blog is updated weekly at www.bluesmoonradio.blogspot.com. She warmly invites Blues fans to like Blues Moon Radio on Facebook, and to get on the mailing list for updates regarding Drink Small and other Blues topics of interest by sending a request to be on the list to BluesMoonRadio@gmail.com with the subject title SUBSCRIBE and your name in the body.

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