As day two of Jazz Fest (Saturday April 23, 2016) dawned, we were anxious to see Clarence “Frogman” Henry perform with the Bobby Cure Band & New Orleans Classic R&B Review.  After a quick breakfast at the Ruby Slipper on Canal Street, we hurried to catch the shuttle to the Fair Grounds.  We arrived at the Fair as it was opening but were again met with long lines of attendees.  We were fortunate that the first act was at the Gentilly Stage, closest to the gate, allowing us to hear the first couple songs by the Bobby Cure band while we were still in line.  Once inside we found the area in front of the Gentilly stage packed with people.  We were able to squeeze our way into standing room in the middle of the crowd.  The singers appeared a long way off, but the two giant screens offered a great view of the performers.

Bobby Cure and his Band gave us some great classic New Orleans R&B.  Then they brought out the first special guest of the set, Robert Parker.  Robert Parker is best known for his million seller recording of “Barefootin'” (NOLA label).  The 85-year old local music legend gave a stellar performance, singing “Barefootin” and several other songs.  Next up was Sammy Ridgley, younger brother of the late bandleader Tommy Ridgley.  Sammy also gave a dynamic performance.  He was followed by popular R&B singer Al Johnson, whose 1960 hit “Carnival Time” is a New Orleans standard.  79-year-old Clarence “Frogman” Henry entered the stage by way of a walker but he performed one of the hottest sets of the day.  Singing two of his hits, “But I Do” and “Ain’t Got No Home,” Clarence had the crowd rockin’.  But things really came alive when he extended it into a finale and the rest of the R&B legends joined him on stage.

From there we worked our way over to the grandstand where Irma Thomas was being interviewed by Scott Billington at the indoor Allison Minor Music Heritage Stage.  Irma gave a fascinating account of her music career.  We then took some time to eat Fried Oyster Po’ Boys and serach for CD’s and merchandise.  Then it was back to the Allison Minor Music Heritage Stage, where Tommy McLain was being interviewed by Steve Armbruster.

We’ve long been fans of Tommy McLain.  His “Sweet Dreams” was a Top-20 hit back in 1966.  We’ve always liked the flip side, “I Need You So” and were thrilled when Tommy sang part of the song during his interview.  I (Charlie) took the audience microphone to ask Tommy about the first label, JIN Records, that “Sweet Dreams” before it went national on the Jamie-Guyden distributed MSL label.  Tommy said the JIN label was owned by Floyd Soileau and only about 500 copies of “Sweet Dreams” were pressed on JIN and sold locally in Louisiana.  We’re fortunate to have a copy in our archives.  Afterwards we got the chace to talk to Tommy and have photos taken with him.

Click on the first photo to enlarge it and then use the side arrows to go to each photo in order. See our next post for DAY 3 – The Gospel Tent with the Rocks of Harmony, the Electrifying Crown Seekers, the Zion Harmonizers and much more!]