It was one of those nights when spirits were high and some people were made high by spirits and funny mixed in with the fun.
Where to begin? Was it Mikey G shouting out "Power Mushrooms!" when Jay "Bird" Koder sent out the song Valdez in the Country to him? Or when "Bird" responded to him with "Time to get your fungus on...?"
I don't even know who started it or when but it was a night a cheers and jeers and nicknames thrown about.
"Bird" dubbed Jarrod Lawson "the Locksmith of Love" sometime during the night and I think it might have stuck.
During the "Bird's" solo in the second song of the night, it was a beautiful, airy improvisation and Peter encouraged from the audience, "Take your time! Take your time!" echoing the sentiment we all had that we didn't want to end too soon.
It had been a while since Peter and his lovely lady Traci were with us and they brought the fun humor and their fine dancing back to the Candlelight. Peter keeps everyone within earshot laughing but he takes the music seriously. And their dancing is serious, too.
All the dancing styles were represented on Monday night. From Peter and Traci to the interpretive and freeform dancers to the solo dancers. It wasn't limited to the audience, either. As Rhonda was carrying her tray of empties and the "Bird" was on the return trip from his stroll into the audience, they got into a bottleneck between the tables and they extracated themselves through a funky little dip and swirl without a pause or a misstep.
Perkins had begun his professional career as guitar player but was involved in a barfight that left the tendons of his left hand severed from a knife wound. He switched to piano and we're glad he did.
He played with Muddy Waters' band and so many other blues greats like Sonny Boy Williamson and Earl Hooker. However, he would not have an album that showcased him alone until 1988's After Hours. He was 75 years old at the time.
As the SoulMates prepared to play the Perkins composition, Reinhardt "Nose" Melz asked about the tempo and "Bird" responded with "Slow shuffle. It wants to go 12/8 but don't let it!" Some songs have a mind of their own. The keyboard work that Jarrod handed in was something Perkins himself would have loved. Sweet and soulful.
Forgive the history lesson above but Jay "Bird" gave us a little history lesson about the Candlelight Cafe, also. The place was built in the 1930's and remains the oldest blues club on the west coast still playing live music seven nights a week. It was originally named something else but it has been the Candlelight Cafe and Bar for more than 40 years now. Sadly, the place is destined for demolition by Portland Tri-Met and is scheduled for closing at the end of March, 2012. Clearly, government has no soul.
Jonah and Monica are those kind of people that just steal your heart the minute you meet them. They are soulmates drawn to the SoulMates.
So Monica escorted Jonah to the front as Jarrod sang his soulful rendition of "Happy Birthday to You."
Here's another history lesson--that song was composed in the mid-late 1800's by sisters Patti and Mildred Hill.
Seriously? It took two people to write that song?
But in addition to that song just for Jonah, the SoulMates gave him his birthday wish by singing the Otis Redding song, Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay. It was the first time I have heard the SoulMates do that song and it was worth the wait. Once again, it was that vocalization by Jarrod that turned it upside down.
But swirling in the center of all that soul was the introduction of another song previously unheard from the SoulMates. The song was The Color of the Day. Amazing. "Bird's" guitar work was so smooth and melodic. The chord changes were just breath-taking! Reinhardt has nosed into the groove, as always, and Jarrod simply owned the song. The lyrics were haunting.
And I recognize the price that must be paid for salvation
You know that I want ya to figure out
Just what you started in lookin'
When it ain't no backseat praise to put ya under
Do you feel when it's safe to say
How your childhood was all over
Now that you've grown up
You've gone and thrown it all away
It was sad. It was sweet. It was the SoulMates. There was some discrepancy, however, about who wrote the song. Jarrod said that it was written by Remy Shand. I said that it was written by Jarrod.
Of course, we were treated to compositions by Jarrod with Everything is Clear which featured more of that Reinhardt groove. But for me, Jarrod's magnum opus remains Everything I Need. Thankfully, we got to hear that one in the second set. This again is why I always say..."Never leave at the end of the first set." You just miss everything!
Besides, leaving before midnight means missing Valentine's Day with the SoulMates and who would want to miss that? When the clock struck midnight, it was then Valentine's Day. But then one is reminded of the last line from the Rodgers and Hart classic-- Each day is Valentine's Day.
Especially when you are with your SoulMates.