Playing with Karen Kent I got my chops on harp, expanded my blues “vocabulary” and met other musicians. George Griffin was one. His trio featured one of the best rhythm sections I’d heard. George wanted a sideman and he invited me to sit in with the band, again and again. Once the guest appearances started to conflict with Karen’s gigs, I was asked to make a commitment. I signed on as a G-Man. As I remember it, they were called “Doubleshot” and I suggested the name “G-Men.” We became a tight, hard-workin’ blues (mostly) band. We had a Southern rock influence, and we worked in a few ballads (as you'll see and hear in the video clips and downloads provided below).
George blended in his original songs with good covers, and I got to add a few original songs of my own. Moreover, George was committed to going as “big time” as he could, so we played anything/everything that came our way and hit the studio to record “Caught Between the Sun and the Moon.” The CD title certainly captured the unique feeling I had loading up at Norm’s the morning after a gig that began at midnight.
We played with a slight – some might say pronounced – chip on our shoulder, as we felt overlooked by the local scene. George aggressively marketed us and booked us throughout the metro area. One reviewer described us as having “…heart and just-so-damned-glad-to-be-here enthusiasm.” We placed third in a “blues band” competition (the two ahead of us appear in the book, “Magic City Nights”), and we received a nice compliment from the MC Alan Hunter (one of the original MTV V-jays) at the awards ceremony that I used to promote us (in the photo gallery below). One street paper gave our CD a great review and my song “City of Thieves” and my lead on “Hayley” were singled out (also in the photo gallery).
I've heard that three to five years is about the natural life expectancy of a bar band. I found that short shelf life occurs regardless of good intentions and original aspirations. When we placed third in a local blues band competition for the 2nd straight year, George needed to figure out the direction of the band. I realized it time to leave (there is an mp3 below of one of the three numbers we played that night below. I'm playin' the first and last leads on it). In November ’99 I signed off. To be clear, it was a great trip and we had a lot of memorable gigs. I’m grateful for the experience and the time in the studio. Enjoy the accompanying downloads (I play the leads on “Morning Light” and “New York City,” and harp on "Rebel Rose" and “Candyman” – I was told this song was played at a strip club over in Bessemer, but what do I know?). I hear George still plays the B'ham metro area, and Seebie is back in his band.
At the 8 Second Ride early on
Same gig, and Seebie steps out on bass
Got to step out with one of my favorite blues numbers. Yes, it's the Nighthawks arrangement with the Magic Sam riff.