We've Got the Blues in Kenosha

10/10/2017 - Gary Eckstein

Arts & Culture, Downtown, Nightlife
Blues at Fusion in Kenosha, WI

On Sunday, October 22nd at 7pm, Fusion will be hosting a blues concert featuring Kenosha’s own Frank Falduto and his Paddio Daddy-O’s band, along with some incredible musical guests, which I’ll get to in a couple of paragraphs (tickets on sale at Fusion for $10.00 each). Frank is well known in Kenosha, having taught at the Unified School District for nearly four decades.  Frank came of age during the Beatles era and although he played guitar casually for many years, he buckled down about 17 years ago after meeting his wife Heather (a professional musician), and developed the skills needed to go pro.

In addition to his work in education, Frank has also done work as a journalist and photographer. Somewhere near the intersection of love, work and hobbies, he formed the Patio Daddy-O’s – a regularly featured band playing throughout the area with Frank on guitar/vocals, Heather on bass guitar and Mere Perkins on drums. Patio Daddy-O's is more than a band, it's a home base for a community of Blues artists and an incubator for aspiring musicians.

To appreciate how important this event is, you’ll need a short history of Chicago Blues music. The Golden Age of Chicago Blues was roughly 1953 to 1963. This was the time and place when electrified guitars came together with African Americans with roots in Mississippi, a city teeming with energy and raw musical ambition. In this confluence of people and circumstances, a powerful new sound emerged.  The Chicago blues musicians of this era laid the foundation for Rock and Roll artists like the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Who, Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughn and many others.

Names associated with this era include Willie Dixon, Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, Freddie King, Elmore James but there were a number of other artists. Of course, there were many outstanding musicians who played in their bands. In the blues world, a person’s status is enhanced by one’s connections to the Golden Age of Chicago Blues and that pantheon of stars. On October 22, you’ll have the opportunity to experience the music of people who played with the legends – but they are also stars in their own right.

Merle Perkins is one of the finest living blues drummers on planet earth. He is a member of the Chicago Blues Hall of Fame and has played/recorded with Buddy Guy, Albert King, Freddy King, James Cotton and a list so long, you could write a book about it. Lurrie Bell will be at Fusion on guitar. Lurrie, a Grammie nominee, grew up in a blues household – his dad was the legendary harmonica player Carey Bell and Lurrie was mentored and schooled in the Blues by Willie Dixon. Lurrie played in Koko Taylor’s band but also has recorded many albums with many artists and has toured the world as an ambassador of the Chicago Blues.

The performance at Fusion will feature the vocals of Tail Dragger Jones (James Yancey Jones). He was given the nickname “Tail Dragger” by none other than Howlin’ Wolf himself, because as a young man, Jones had a habit of being late all the time. Mojo Mark C. will be playing harp – he is noted for his work with the legendary Eddie C. Campbell but google his name and you’ll see that his recordings and videos pop up everywhere on the internet.  Heather Tackett Falduto will be featured on bass – Heather plays for a Mississippi-based band called Super Chiken but on Oct 22, she will being laying down the sweet bass lines that keep the rest of the band focused and in sync.

So if all this isn’t enough – you can come to Jack Andrea for a free meet and greet from 2 to 3pm. You can meet the artists, get autographs and share their memories and experiences with them. They will also play a few songs in the back courtyard, in the style of an old-time Blues tent show. This will be a blast!

While you are there, Jack Andrea is a great place to enjoy a bite to eat and to shop! Pick up Kenosha memorabilia – t-shirts, mugs, ornaments and the like are all available. It’s my go-to place for Kenosha-themed gifts when friends and family come to visit. The on-site café offers great sandwiches, soups, and treats from the old-fashioned soda fountain, too! It’s sure to be a wonderful day filled with Kenosha Fun!

Gary Eckstein

Community Blogger

From Montello, WI. MA in Sociology. Former Army Reserve and National Guard Officer. Instructor at UW-Parkside and Carthage College. Husband to Varsha. Photographer. Guitarist and Lover of blues.