Unlike most Valentines Day’s where you wish you had that special someone, this one seemed just right for having the blues. In celebration of their 25th anniversary, WMNF put on an electrifying blues show with the Legendary Little Milton that just about filled Skipper’s Smokehouse to its maximum capacity.
The Valentines Day blues bash also featured two amazing local Tampa Bay blues musicians, Roger “Hurricane” Wilson and Ronnie Baker Brooks as well as a guest appearance by one of the members of Morris Day and the Times.
The night of blues started out with the opening act of Roger “Hurricane” Wilson, who has been playing the blues for 25 years and has played with such great blues musicians as Albert Collins, Taj Mahal, Dicky Betts, B.B. King, and Lucky Peterson.
As soon as the show began, Wilson picked up his guitar and began wailing on it while he nonchalantly strolled around Skippers. Then he jumped back on stage and kicked off the show with some sick slide guitar blues that just tugged at the audience’s heartstrings.
Although Wilson sounded like a hard act to follow, Ronnie Baker Brooks, the son of the living legend Lonnie Brooks, took the stage and showed Skipper’s why he is one of blues music’s fastest rising stars.
He strolled out on stage wearing his signature black Texas style hat, which was reminiscent of the late Stevie Ray Vaughn. It was fitting too, because he jammed out some fast electric blues that would have made Vaughn proud.
He blew the audience away with some funky guitar work — including sweet solos for Buddy Guy’s “Marry Had a Little Lamb” and Little Milton’s “The Blues is Alright” — combined with chunky blues rhythms and some rising bubbly jazz sounds screaming from the keyboardist.
Brooks jammed out a number of great classic blues tunes as well as some of his own mesmerizing songs and a few slow groove songs
Half way through his set, Brooks brought out Jellybean Johnson from Morris Day and the Times. Johnson’s B.B. King/Jimi Hendrix kind of sound made his solo run all over the fret board from high to low.
Not since David Hole, a internationally renowned blues artist from Australia, came to town has Tampa heard such sweet guitar playing.
The appearance of the Legendary Little Milton, who got his music career started in 1958 with his first hit “I’m A Lonely Man” and kept on producing chart toppers throughout his career.
Before Milton even got on stage, his band came out and started playing a funky blues tune that made it seem as though James Brown was about to leap on stage in a star studded cape.
Eventually, Milton came out, but only after his road manager, Scrap Iron, got the whole audience riled up and chanting “Milton.” Once he stepped out on stage, the blues just kept flowing through the night. He sang some soulful lyrics that really hit home and even broke out on the guitar for the last three songs of the set. The band really had an old 60’s R&B sound mixed with some funk and whole lot of blues.
With songs such as “Still Some Meat Left on This Bone” and “Tryin to Put a Juke Joint in My House,” Milton preached the blues, gospel style, with his deep voice and soulful style. The horns really got the audience going as they sneaked into the songs with quick kicks and then wailed till you couldn’t help but dance.
The night was one for lonely blues lovers or the occasional couple that was blue, but everyone that showed up for the show left looking like they had quenched their hunger for the blues that night.