Blue Collar Blues at The Chubby Pickle
December 10, 2021 – by Joe Riggio
On December 10th, J v Archer Entertainment produced another exciting Blue Collar Blues Night show at the JSJBF member venue, The Chubby Pickle. Back as the gracious host band were the always popular Incinerators led by ax man/vocalist and JSJBF board member John Fernandez and the closing act was an “up-and-coming” band of new collaborators full of veteran bluesmen Kelley, Ellis and Flynn.
First up were The Incinerators. The band was as tight and exciting as ever with John leading the way with his lyrical guitar solos aided by their second guitarist Rich Coccoli with equally expressive soloing. The rhythm section of Steve Smith on bass and Chris Martell on drums was as rock solid as always and sent many of the tunes soaring. Would be remiss if I did not mention the band’s secret weapon, Little Miss Kimmie, who brought the house down on “Let the Good Times Roll” and “Have My Husband”. The band did outstanding versions of many classics as well as lesser known blues songs, really working the choices and arrangements to suit their strength, which are many, not excluding this night Gary Neuwirth filling in on harp for regular band member Marcos. The true gems of their 75-minute set were the originals “Discarded”, “Sundown” and “Dirty Blonde” which feature Kimmie and John’s vocal harmonizing not often heard in the blues setting traditionally.
After a brief intermission Kelley, Ellis and Flynn took the stage. The lineup consisted of the usual trio Kevin Kelley on guitar and backing vocals, Tony C Ellis on bass and vocals and Jim “JAMO” Flynn on drums and backing vocals plus, much to the delight of all in attendance, they brought along veteran keyboardist Bob Stasiak for the event.
They are known for their exciting and creative interpretations of blues peppered with blues rock and even some R&B flavor. They kicked off their set with a smooth and melodic take on “Put the Shoe on the Other Foot”. Tony C Ellis took lead vocals most of the night and really impressed with his sweet tone and Kevin and Jim harmonized very well all night as well. The set was full of flavorful solos all around from all four players. Stand outs of the set were a unique quitter in
tone, but deeper in intensity take on “Folsom Prison Blues” where Bob got to change sound on his Nord Electric adding some darkness to the number. Also, a stand out was “Ruby Baby” with a real R&B feel and excellent soloing by Kevin and Tony and tasteful fills rhythmically by Jim and tonally by Bob. They closed the night with their take on the classic “Hound Dog” leaning away from the Elvis version with more of a nod to Big Mama Thornton. The crowd cheered for more so I gave the thumbs up to an encore and the band chose another classic “Chain of Fools” delivered in full three-part harmony with extended soloing that ended in glorious applause. It was truly an amazing night of blues.
The next Blues Collar Blues Night is scheduled for Friday, February 11, 2022 guaranteed to be full of love just in time for Valentine’s Day, mark your 2022 calendar.