As early as 2004, English blues fan Charlie Monck began his quest for love in Kansas City, coming here to fan a hopeful flame that he had kindled over the internet. Though it worked out to be a friendship only with the lady friend in question, Monck’s love for blues found its rightful home in Kansas City. Since then he has been making the pilgrimage to KC blues haunts like B.B.’s Lawnside, Knuckleheads, and even new blues joints like Gigi’s about twice a year. The Kansas City Blues Society has been so impressed with his love and dedication to our local blues scene, that this year they presented him with a KCBS award honoring his faithfulness.
Says Monck of the award, in truly British style, “it is truly a very great honour.”
One of the greatest rewards that the Kansas City Blues scene derives from Monck’s visits is his constant, inspiring travelogues, posted nearly every single day during his visit. One of them follows in its entirety. We will have the privilege of Monck’s presence in the Kansas City area for only another day, but here are some words to enjoy him by, if you haven’t had the pleasure of his acquaintance.
Charlie Monck in his own words:
Saturday, June 26, 2010 at 11:33am
Mary Bridget Davies was just brilliant. I arrived at BB’s early (Micki and Jim were already there), thinking that it might get busy, and it was good that we did. For those who don’t know, she is an actress and singer who starred in the Broadway show “Love, Janis” about that famous icon, and she has also toured withe the reincarnated Big Brother and the Holding Company and also Jefferson Starship.
She has a great voice, full of depth, and as soon as she and her band launched into their first song I knew that we were in for a treat. Sadly there seemed to be a slight problem with the PA which meant that her voice did not project as well as it might in some areas of the room, but this was sorted out during the interval.
Her band, comprising keyboards guitar bass and drums, was just superb. Particular mention should be made of the guitarist, who played some wonderful stuff, and also (and here I must borrow a phrase that Janey Merrick might use!) the weapons-grade bass playing!
Mary’s sets comprised a lot of blues standards, such as “Baby What You Want me to Do” and “The Thrill is Gone”, all played and sung to perfection.
What was rather confusing at times was when there was a random round of applause from the audience, such as you might expect after someone in the band had taken a solo, except that very often no solo had occurred! I eventually realised that some of the people at the back were watching a game of rounders (baseball!) on TV, and were clapping when someone scored a run or took a wicket or whatever it is that you do in that game ;-)
Mary and her band like to play! You got the impression that they would have been happy to go on until the wee small hours if they could have done so. It was a fantastic evening, and was beautifully rounded off by Mary singing, solo, that iconic Janis Joplin song “Mercedes Benz”, with what sounded like the whole of BB’s singing along …
… it was the perfect end to a perfect gig.
As a postscript, I will merely repeat my summary of last night … I arrived back at Value Place with a Parkville Blues Festival VIP pass hung around my neck. Whoever you were, madam, it’s a great honour, but not a lot of bloody use since the Parkville Festival was two weekends ago!
Meet Charlie Monck on Facebook.com and follow his notes.