By, Tom Baldino
On the last day of September, well-travelled blues man Johnny Burgin, made his way up the East Coast from his home in Norfolk, Virginia, to entertain an appreciative audience at the Red Bank Woman’s Club. The JSJBF, in partnership with Al Gold, presented Johnny on guitar, bass and vocals with his band, Marie Martens on bass, slide guitar, and vocals and drummer Steve Dougherty on drums. They kicked off the evening with the Yardbird’s gem “Drinking Muddy Water” and you could tell it was going to be a fun evening. Johnny’s signature guitar stylings, coupled with the rock solid and road-tested rhythm section, made the songs, including the originals “Teddy Bear” and “Pink Champagne” come to life. Another original “Smoke and Mirrors” had great funky groove and featured our own John Dammacco on percussion. “I Got to Find Me A Woman” showed BB King to be a big influence on Johnny, but it would be wrong to pigeonhole him as he displayed throughout the evening. Another influence who Johnny devoted a CD of interpreting his material, Howlin’ Wolf was represented by a terrific version of “Smokestack Lightning.” The first set ended with BB King’s “Every Day I Have the Blues” to the delight of all in attendance.
The second set was a pleasant departure from the first with Marie strapping on the six string and with slide in hand proceed to do some of her originals, including “Move Over,” “Momma Don’t Allow Me,” and “Later Baby,” with Johnny playing bass on the last tune. They also did a great version of the Allman Brothers “Done Somebody Wrong.” Marie then went back to bass, and you could tell the band was really enjoying playing for us and the feeling was mutual. Johnny then dipped into his “Greetings from Greaseland” collection for a fine version of “Cold Chills,” followed by a new tune, “Getting My Blues On” which will be featured on an upcoming CD. If the rest of the songs are as good as this one, it will be an excellent addition to his collection. He then invited Al Gold up to play Marie’s guitar on Little Walter’s “Mean Old World” and “It Ain’t Right,” joined on both by our soundman for the night, Gary Neuwirth, on harp. He then did another great original “When the Bluesman Comes to Town,” and finished with Little Smokey Smother’s “Monkey Man.” Johnny told the story about playing the song on the main stage of the Chicago Blues Festival in 1991 on a cold and rainy day with the elderly Yank Rachell at his side playing Mandolin. He proceeded to give us a taste of what that sounded like during the song on his guitar. What a great way to end the evening!
To learn more about Johnny and where he’s playing, go to WWW.JOHNNYBURGIN.COM . Be sure to join us for the last Reckless Steamy Nights show on October 28th, featuring Goldenseal.