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A Great Musical Weekend

Posted by Jim Yates on Monday, May 26, 2008

Last weekend was a great musical weekend for me - as an audience member, not a performer.

l-r - Clayton Yates, Andy Pryde, Al Black, Gary Peeples, Rick Fines  *** Clayton is playing a mandolin that was loaned to him by his friend and mentor Willie P. Bennett.  When Willie passed, Clay bought the mandolin from his estate.

Friday, my son Clayton phoned to  ask me if I wanted to come up to Peterborough to see him perform an evening of blues with Gary Peoples and Al Black at the Rusty Snail.  They had a great bass player named Andy Pride, Clay played mandolin, Al played drums and mouth harp and Gary played guitar.  Part way through the first set Rick Fines came into the Snail and Gary told him to grab a guitar and join them.  This was a Jackson Delta reunion with Clay and the bass player joining in.  A super evening of top-notch blues playing.  Clay had a good time joking about getting his first Jackson Delta tape whem he was 11 or 12 and when they had a lot more hair.  Gary said,"...and a lot less waist-line."

On Saturday, Maggie and I went to Roseneath, the village where we first met back in 1981, for the spring fair.  Roseneath has a great Fall Fair, but this was their first Spring Fair.  I rode the famous Roseneath carouselle for the first time since 1983.  It sure was a lot easier getting up on those horses in 1983.  As soon as I got away from the merry-go-round, I heard fiddle music and headed over to the stage where The Potter Family was playing.  They were followed by a country group fronted by my old friend Cindy Byers, who played in McCormick for a while.  After them came a blues band whose lead guitarist was Doug Gray (Banjy on the Hangout) and the mouth harp player was Dave Mowatt, who has guested with both Late For Dinner and McCormick, bands that I was a member of in the past.  In the Civic Center I met a fellow who'd hired us for a folk series a few years ago and he reminded me that this was the weekend of the Orono Bluegrass Festival.

When I got home, I phoned Al Kirby and we agreed to meet in Orono on Sunday to see The Foggy Hogtown Boys and Jan Purcell and Pine Road, whose bass player was Dickson Raynard, the old McCormick bass player. The Foggy Hogtown Boys played two great sets.  Unfortunately, Andrew Collins, their mandolin player couldn't be there, but fortunately, Dan Whiteley, another great mandolin player sat in for him.  My favourite part of the day was a duet of John Hartford's Steam-Powered Areoplane, played by Chris Coole on clawhammer banjo and Chris Quinn on three-finger banjo.  My least favourite part of the day was discovering that, after sitting in the sun for the afternoon in sandals with no socks, I had burned my ankles and the tops of my feet.  A great weekend none-the-less!



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