Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Johnny Nicholas recalls John Sinclair, Ann Arbor Blues and Jazz Fest'

Clipped from:

Call it what you want, but to Johnny Nicholas it's the blues
By Margaret Moser, Fri., July 20, 2012...
Rembitika had slid into Nicholas' past by the time he ventured to a popular college town that started with the letter "A" and boasted a notable music scene. In the Seventies, Ann Arbor, Mich., teemed with youthful creativity, a lively and politically aware music populace, and the Ann Arbor Blues and Jazz Festival. That was all it took to convince Nicholas, who returned to New England, completed bookings, and hopped the fence along I-95. With a duffel bag and guitar, he hitchhiked to Ann Arbor.

Once there, he jammed seven nights a week with old and new friends, and Johnny Nicholas & the Boogie Brothers landed a slot at the town's 1972 festival. Live double record Ann Arbor Blues & Jazz Festival 1972 glitters with soul and blues stars Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf with Hubert Sumlin, Bobby Blue Bland, Freddie King, Koko Taylor, Willie Dixon, and Sun Ra. Nicholas' band got its shot too, plus they backed Johnny Shines for "Dust My Broom." Also making her major-label debut with Sippie Wallace was Bonnie Raitt.

"[Festival producer] John Sinclair of the White Panther Party decided to rename us because he thought it was cool we had a chick playing bass in the band," recalls Nicholas. "The poster came out and there it was: 'The Boogie Brothers with Sister Sarah Brown'!"

He still chafes at the slight, while laughing, decades afterward, "It was supposed to be Johnny Nicholas & the Boogie Brothers!...



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