On April 9th, Joseph Vincent Riggio, via his J v Archer Entertainment Group, produced the spring Blue Collar Blues show at the JSJBF member venue, The Chubby Pickle. Back as the host band were the always popular Incinerators In a change of direction, Joseph has instituted a Musician Exchange Program with Mikey Junior and his Tri-State Blues Revue out of the Philadelphia area headlining. Mikey, guitarist Roger Girke and bass player Jimmy Prichard are no strangers to the JSJBF, having competed in the IBC representing the Foundation and making the finals in that prestigious event in Memphis.
First up were the Incinerators and with the emphasis being on harp, Marcos Orozco’s playing was in abundance, shining on songs like “Good Times Roll” and “Discarded”. The band was tight with John Fernandez leading the way with his expressive guitar and the solid rhythm section of Steve Smith on bass and Chris Martell on Drums propelled the music to new heights. Their secret weapon, Miss Kimmie brought the house down on “Voodoo Woman” and “Have My Husband”. The band did an outstanding version of one of my personal favorites J.B. Lenior’s “Talk To Your Daughter”. Joseph made sure the sound was dialed in all night long.
After a brief intermission, Mikey Junior and his Tri-State Blues Revue took the stage. Mikey, whose father is also a musician, has honed his skills over his entire adult life and has an imposing stage presence as well. They kicked off their set with “Elevator Woman,” and Mikey’s vocals and harp playing were matched by Roger Girke’s emotive guitar. Jimmy Prichard, who’s most recent gig was a four- year stint with Albert Castiglia, was in the pocket for this show, which is all the more impressive as these three don’t play together! Drummer Kevin Otis was solid all night long, matching the professionalism of the band. This high energy set had some subdued moments, including an exquisite instrumental version of “Summertime” which showcased Mikey’s mastery of the “Mississippi Saxophone”. The song then morphed into a rollicking version of “Willy and the Hand Jive”.
This great evening of the Blues drew to a close with Peter V joining the band for a terrific rendition of “Black Cat Bone”. Just when you thought it was over, Mikey called for a Harmonica Hoedown with Gary Neuwirth and Marcos Orozco joining in to finish the night with “The Blues Got Soul” and “Mannish Boy”. The latter reminded me of a night many years ago when Mikey jumped up on the bar at the Stone Pony during a show recreating the “Last Waltz” and brought the house down with his version of this Muddy Waters classic. What a night for Blues fans! We were in harmonica heaven.