The scene was the El Barco, a sprawling roadhouse kind of place with a generous stage, good sound, satisfying hamburgers and just about any tequila that would want. It is one of my favorite places for get-down rock and roll and dancing. No matter who is there, the band is hot, the beer cold and a good time is had by all.
So I had to be there when the beloved Lakeside Bluesman Blue Jay Slim oversaw the induction of his Blues Machine band into the Blues Hall of Fame Sunday night at El Barco. Blue Jay Slim and his US band, The Tone Blasters which included his wife Mindy were inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in Delaware in 2013. Blue Jay himself was inducted into the Mexico Chapter of the Blues Hall of Fame in 2017 and was named a Blues Hall of Fame Ambassador in Mexico in 2018. So he was the right guy to sward the honors to The Blues Machine Band he now plays with.
Framed Great Local Blues Artists certificates were presented to bassist Sergio Casas, drummer Chelo Gonzalez , keyboard player Christian Jimenez, and guitarist Javier Villasenor, Javier accepted a certificate for his brother Abraham Villasenor, who was not present for the award. Induction into the Blues Hall of Fame signifies that the inductee has been recognized by their peers as outstanding players worthy to join a community that includes such greats as Mose Allison, Greg Allman, Jeff Beck, Elvin Bishop and Brazil’s Tiffany Harp.
The certificates came from the Blues Hall of Fame.com, an international organization consisting of performing blues artists and friends and fans in state and national chapters around the world. Membership is free and open to anyone who loves the blues. Nominating and inducting blues artists is transparently conducted by other blues artists, fans and the general public. As Blues Hall of Fame Ambassador to Mexico, Blue Jay was practically glowing with pride as he handed the certificates to his band members.
Of course, the ceremony was preceded by a rollicking blue s concert featuring standards like John Ellison’s 1967 “Some Kind of Wonderful” first released by Soul Brothers Six, to his own originals like “Don’t Look Up”, a song about how to walk the cobblestone streets populated by many dogs in Lakeside. Mindy joined Blue Jay on stage with backup vocals and beamed as he sang “Some Kind of Wonderful”, making sure we all know the song was about her. The dance floor was packed during the music and when the certificates were presented, a veritable forest of cellphones and cams sprouted in front of the stage to record the event for Facebook and Instagram.
While blues is not a major genre in Mexico, the success of Mexican-American blues rockers Los Lobos and the Mexico City-based pop-blues singer Cecilia Toussaint keep it live and in front of audiences in Mexico. But with bands like Blue jay Slim and The Blues Machine tasking home Blues Hall of Fame awards, it can only grow.
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