A near capacity Ruth Eckerd audience began an evening of ‘Hippiefest’ fun and festivities with British Blues legend Kim Simmonds of Savoy Brown. Since 1966, Simmonds has been founding member, lead guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter of the band. Savoy Brown was part of the UK blues progression that helped to regenerate and popularize blues music in America throughout the 60’s. Kim Simmonds /Savoy Brown are the epitome of what rock and roll was and should always be. Deep-rooted, pure, artistic, manifesto, virtuoso, everlasting … these are the components that should land Kim Simmonds in the rock and roll hall of fame. Savoy Brown was also responsible for launching classic rock favorites Foghat. Simmonds is genuine rock and roll heritage. He opened the show with “Going to the Delta” spotlighting a track from his latest album with the same title. Simmonds ensued with “Nothing Like the Blues” and “Cobra,” more tracks from his latest release Going to the Delta. Kim Simmonds concluded his set with “Poor Girl” from the 1970 release Looking In followed by a rousing applause from a jubilant Clearwater crowd which truly appreciated rock prodigiousness throughout the night.
Onstage next and quietly slipping behind a huge set of drums was the heart, soul, original voice and beat of Rare Earth, a very hip band of musicians that played an incredible mix of music comprised of rock, funk, soul, and psychedelic fusion. Rivera became the undisputed leader of Rare Earth, the only white band to score hits with the Berry Gordy, Jr. Motown Record label. In 1974, Rare Earth was the opening act for the California Jam …sharing the stage with Earth Wind & Fire, The Eagles, Seals & Crofts, Black Oak Arkansas, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, and Emerson, Lake and Palmer.
While each of the acts on the bill had the same supporting musicians, most likely to save time between acts … Vanilla Fudge had (3) original members onstage. Legendary drummer/singer/songwriter/ Carmine Appice … lead singer/ keyboardist/composer/ Mark Stein, and lead guitarist/ vocalist … Vince Martell. ‘The Fudge’ opened with “Take Me for a Little While” from their debut album Vanilla Fudge (1967). The band dedicated their next song to Johnny Winter, a profound and beautifully performed Curtis Mayfield composition … “People Get Ready.” Carmine Appice’s vocal rendition of the song was awe-inspiring. The band followed with the Jr. Walker & the All-Star classic hit “Shotgun” which was performed by Vanilla Fudge on ‘The Ed Sullivan Show’ in 1969.
Winter entered the stage wearing an all-white outfit, coordinating perfectly with his long blondish/white hair. Edgar’s appearance and persona exhibited ‘professional rock star and performer’ all the way! Winter expressed his gratitude to everyone for letting him continue with the series of ‘Rock ‘N’ Blues Fest /Hippiefest’ concerts as a tribute to his late big brother Johnny Winter. An emotional Edgar Winter stated that performing music helps him with the healing process. Winter performed an interesting mix of rock, jazz, and the blues. The second half of his set was devoted to Johnny Winter. Edgar Winter always lights up his audiences with charismatic and energetic performances. Winter’s eclectic musical styles crossover into multiple genres including …blues, jazz, pop, and country, but he’s especially revered as a rock hero. Edgar Winter opened his set with the Chuck Berry penned classic “Johnny B. Goode” which was also a favorite of Brother Johnny’s.
Al Kooper (The Blues Project, Blood, Sweat & Tears, Bob Dylan, and responsible for the success of Lynyrd Skynyrd… Country Music’s shining new star -19 year old Mary Sarah … Folk/Rock singer & songwriter Jonathan Edwards (“Sunshine”) and …Legendary keyboardist Keith Emerson (The Nice, Emerson, Lake & Palmer)
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