photos by Jacob Blickenstaff
"Before Kansas City was recorded by everyone from the Beatles to Peggy Lee, the song was first released in 1952 as K.C. Loving by an obscure Houston pianist named Little Willie Littlefield.The Stomp is coming to Lincoln Center in July. More pictures from Day One of this year's New Orleans fest, Howard Tate (who has a NYC date of his own coming up) included, below...
The single became a regional hit in the Los Angeles area, where Littlefield was recording for Federal Records, but it would be up to Wilbert Harrison, Trini Lopez, James Brown and Hank Ballard to turn Kansas City into a top 25 hit on the national pop and R&B charts. Littlefield remained a fascinating, mysterious footnote to pop-music history.
The annual Ponderosa Stomp festival in New Orleans exists to bring such footnotes to life. This showcase for the semi-legends of rockabilly, blues and R&B was founded eight years ago by Ira Padnos, a local anesthesiologist and record collector who goes by the moniker of Dr. Ike and favors thrift-shop fezzes and Indian headdresses atop his unruly bush of dark curls. His extravaganza has grown from a local bar to this year's two-night stand at the French Quarter's House of Blues, with 37 sets spread out over two stages.
And so, on Tuesday, the first day of the eighth-annual Ponderosa Stomp, there was the 77-year-old Littlefield, dressed in a dark-blue brocade blazer and grinning with delight beneath his comb-over." [Jazz News]
Cowboy Jack Clement
Teenie Hodges (Hi Rhythm Section)
Otis Clay with the Hi Rhythm Section
Lil Greenwood + Bo-Keys
Texas Johnny Brown
Dale Hawkins with James Burton + Deke Dickerson
Legendary Stardust Cowboy (with Klaus Flouride on Bass from the Dead Kennedys)
Ray Sharpe with the A-Bones
Kenny and the Kasuals
The NY Times has an article with more information.
Day Two coming soon