COLUMBUS — When it means friends, good food and dancing the night away to the music of Jesse Robinson and the 500 Pounds of Blues Band, Bill “Howl-N-Madd” Perry and the Black Prairie Blues Band, who wouldn’t want to have a bout of the blues?
Throw in drawings for a new Takamine acoustic guitar autographed by artists including Colin Linden and Blind Mississippi Morris, T-shirts, CDs, posters and other bluesy bonuses, and you have the Columbus Arts Council’s Fall Blues Ball.
The event Friday, Oct. 9, from 7 p.m.-until at the Rosenzweig Arts Council (RAC) will bring an “outdoor festival indoors” say organizers, taking worry about the weather out of the equation. And don’t be concerned that attending a “ball” requires a special wardrobe. Casual and relaxed will be the order of the evening.
“This state is so well known for the blues, and we’re happy to be celebrating Mississippi musicians at the ball,” said co-organizer Beverly Norris.
Tickets to the fundraiser supporting the varied programs of the Arts Council are $20 in advance, $25 at the door, and include a down-home Southern-style barbecue buffet. A cash bar will be available.
“Don’t miss these three great bands in one night,” urges CAC executive director Rachel Smith Hurt of the talent assembling for the ball.
Bill “Howl-N-Madd” Perry of Abbeville (near Oxford) has the distinction of being one of the first singers to appear on “Soul Train” and is a regular at Morgan Freeman’s Ground Zero Blues Club in Clarksdale. The high-energy bluesman contributed to albums by Buddy Guy and Chuck Berry and has released five of his own. His CD “Reason I Sing the Blues” went to No. 1 on XM Radio.
Perry appeared in Cuba Gooding’s 2009 action thriller “The Way of War,” as well as Gene Simon’s Family Jewels Show this spring.
In his long career, the smooth Jesse Robinson a “seventh son, thirteenth child, baby boy and preacher’s son” has performed with blues greats including Guy and Junior Wells. A frequent musical ambassador for the Mississippi Economic Council, he was also band leader for blues singer Bobby Rush from 1981-86. Robinson was featured in the 2003 documentary film about Jackson’s Subway Lounge, “Last of the Mississippi Jukes.”
The Black Prairie Blues Band brings together some of the region’s strong talent Big Joe Shelton, Caleb Childs, Willie James and Ed Swan.
Shelton, a International Blues Challenge finalist, has seen his most recent CD, “Black Prairie Blues,” and the single “Devil Lives in Memphis” score solidly on blues radio.
Music will lead off with the Black Prairie musicians at 7:15 p.m. Oct. 9, followed by Perry near 8:30 p.m. and Robinson and the band about 9:45 p.m.
This event, as well as the Arts Council’s Columbus Day 5K Run and Walk at 8 a.m. Saturday, supports the CAC’s Young People’s Artist Series, gallery shows, Omnova Music Series, classes and major cultural presentations including the African Children’s Choir in March 2010.
With the 2009-2010 season off and running, the Arts Council membership drive is well underway, with support levels to fit every budget, from “Intern” to “Star.”
“We would not be able to exist without local sponsorships and the donations of individuals who value the arts and all they add to the community,” said Hurt.
Jan Swoope/The Commercial Dispatch