Perry Gangur, in his own words, this is how the Black Cherry Perry’s Medicine Show evolved: “In 2003, I had a life changing experience. 2003 was the 100th anniversary of WC Handy discovering and then publishing blues music. I took a trip to the Mississippi Delta, just south of Memphis, to see it all for myself. I met a young gypsy woman in West Helena, Arkansas who completely changed everything for me. She told me about my past, my present and what my future could hold. My challenge was to use my new path to heal myself by immersing myself into my music and performance, and to help heal others along the way.
“In 2005, I met ailing Canadian blues veteran Back Alley John, in Calgary Alberta, who took me under his wing. In addition to harp lessons, Back Alley let me sit in with him at his jams and gigs. After a while he was too sick to host his jam at the Point on 17th. I was asked to take it over.”
That same year Black Cherry Perry’s Mississippi Medicine Show came into being and has developed into a dynamic original recording act that reaches back into the heart of the Mississippi blues of the last century. This a music that is so dark and powerful that it has virtually changed the face of modern music. Where would we be without the music of Robert Johnson, Bukka White, Son House, Skip James, Mississippi John Hurt and Elmore James? The blues stars were and are big time entertainers. Audiences are looking for a show. They want to be entertained. They want to let their hair down, and they want to cut loose. In Black Cherry Perry’s Mississippi Medicine Show we have some theatrical background, and we can’t just stand there. The music takes over us… It’s like we’re men possessed”.
For the Studio 64 show Perry enlisted the help of guitarist Quintin Rybuck, Willy Garcia on drums and the “goto” Calgary bass player Tommy Knowles. The idea was to not just collect a group of fine blues musician together but to “put on a show”. To that end the evening was a success. The opening song was the appropriately named Mississippi Medicine Show. Perry dedicated the tune Bar-BQ Bob to a long time friend in Vancouver. Other songs included T-Bone Walker’s Shuffle, an original tune called Mama’s Kitchen and a magnificent cover of the classic J.J.Cale’s They Call me the Breeze with a great open guitar riff and a chuga-chuga rhythm and bass line.
Call me the breeze I keep blowing down the road Well now they call me the breeze I keep blowing down the road I ain’t got me nobody I don’t carry me no load
Othe tunes included Where’s there’s Smoke there’s Fire, Choke the Chicken, and Disco Blues.
This concert was the end of the Spring Season, and it is now time to turn our thoughts and expectations to the coming fall season.
As always special thanks should go to the staff and volunteers that make the series possible and we also need to thank the new sponsors Overtime Beer Works.