By Smoky Weiner
At the new Home Team BBQ on Sullivan’s Island, my significant other and
I saw Big Bill Morganfield and his band play the blues. He played several songs written by Muddy Waters, which is not unusual for your average blues band. What made this compelling is that Muddy Waters’ real name was McKinley Morganfield, and he was Big Bill’s father. A picture of his dad was right there on the wall of the stage and I thought of how odd that must have been for him. Also in the band was bass player and singer Mookie Brill, who has played with numerous blues luminaries throughout the years. Mookie himself can vocally imitate Muddy and other blues greats, but that wasn’t needed as Bill had the timbre in his voice that only DNA can give. Every now and then he uttered a sound or a syllable that sounded like Muddy was there singing it. We went back Saturday just to hear them again.
A few days later, the same significant other and I saw the Michael Jackson tribute band, “Who’s Bad?”, which fortunately was around long before his demise. They were okay, but it made you see that the man is just not going to be easy to imitate. The lead singer did a pretty good job, especially in the way he vocally imitated both Jackson’s early and later years. I thought that the guitarist was extremely good, but that the rhythm section did not distinguish the songs’ rhythmic signatures very well. They played the disco rhythms when the singer was doing the Jackson Five stuff and that was clearly not working for me. Other than that, they were very energetic and had the crowd involved. The show was sold out. Now they need to go to Vegas.
On another island note, I sure miss “The Shanty” (now Poe’s), and the late, great Thomas Barnes. Thomas owned The Shanty as well as the old Blind Tiger downtown and the Outback on Folly Road that is now the home of Buffalo South. He died of leukemia a couple of years back, not long after his cook, the late great violinist Hawke Morfii, was killed on his bike riding home from work. I also miss Bert’s, but I was very glad to see Bert’s owner Tim Runyon sliding around his old place in its new form as Home Team BBQ. HTB (as I will now acronym it) really did a nice job with the place in about every way. It has more light and it looks earthy without looking artificial. Check the schedule and go see Skye Paige or Louis Dixson or one of the blues bands they have there now. They are bringing music and food to Sullivan’s that wasn’t there before. The past was great, but the future looks very promising and we know that’s not always the case when a place changes hands. Some of you remember that before The Shanty, that building that is now Poe’s was called The Doghouse. I think it should be re-opened with our own Governor as proprietor. After all, he’s going to need a job and who knows more about a doghouse than him? I, Smoky Weiner, will officiate the grand opening.
Smoky Weiner is everything that is Charleston’s barrier islands. Primarily from Folly Beach, Smoky can be found anywhere good music is heard and if you’re lucky, you might catch him playing with his own band, Smoky Weiner and the Hot Links. Smoky also hosts a weekly jam at Bowens Island (1870 Bowens Island Road) every Wednesday at 8pm. He provides the drums, bass and amps. Admission is $3 for musicians and $5 for the general public.