BWW Review: LOW DOWN DIRTY BLUES at Herberger Theater Center

BWW Review: LOW DOWN DIRTY BLUES at Herberger Theater CenterIf you've ever wondered what kind of music led to The British Invasion of the 1960s, go see LOW DOWN DIRTY BLUES, now through April 22 at the Herberger Theater in Phoenix, Ariz.

This all blues revue claims to include the greatest hits of Muddy Waters ("Big Leg Woman"), Howlin' Wolf ("Spoonful"), Ma Rainey, Pearl Bailey and more.

Picture if you will, a gritty, little night club in Chicago featuring a convergence of blues musicians: a honkytonk pianist (Steve Schmidt), upright bassist (Calvin Jones), and 12-bar blues guitarist (Chic Street Man a.k.a. Jelly).

As hostess with the mostess, Big Mama (Felicia P. Fields) swoons to Jelly's rendition of John Lee Hooker's "Crawlin' King Snake" and Robert Johnson's "Come On In My Kitchen" (covered by Eric Clapton in 2004) before snuggling up to Shake Anderson during Willie Smith's "Rub My Back" and Denise LaSalle's "Don't Jump My Pony".

Billy Crystal's jazzman might ask, "Can you dig that? I knew that you could." But this cast insists that white people just don't get it, as Big Mama shakes her head at one woman's request to sing her favorite "blues" song..."Margaritaville".

BLUES is a well-crafted salute that celebrates the humor and pathos of the genre, but leaves most of the high energy songs behind at the end of Act 1. The second act is like the B-side of an album that never quite regains its strength.

Tickets are available on the Arizona Theatre Company website with limited table seating for anyone brave enough to let Big Mama shake her money maker at you.

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From This Author Lee Cooley

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