Infirmity, Fruit and Fun
The Blind Lemon Peel All-Stars host a pop-up blues party in Santa Monica
Unless you really know the blues, you don’t know the blues. So says longtime Playa del Rey resident David Hale, a lifelong bluesman on a mission to expand Westsiders’ understanding of the genre’s range and variety.
Hale, aka Blind Lemon Peel — “all blues names seem to start with infirmity and end with fruit,” he explains — heads to the Santa Monica Pier on Friday to host the Blind Lemon Peel Pop-Up Blues Festival at Rusty’s Surf Ranch.
“What I’m looking to do is enlarge the reach of the blues in the community, because most people have a very limited blues vocabulary,” Hale says. “The reality is there’s Texas blues, Chicago blues, Delta blues, Memphis blues, the Philly blues-funk-soul thing, and then you’ve got West Coast blues. We do gospel, soul, funk — all of it blues, but different variations.”
The very lineup of the Blind Lemon Peel All-Stars speaks to a wide range of musical talent.
Before touring East Coast and West Coast clubs for decades, Hale learned from one cousin who hung out with Ry Cooder at McCabe’s Guitar Shop back in the day and another who played keyboards with Brownie McGhee and Sonny Perry.
Drummer Craig Kimbrough played with Solomon Burke for 20 years and does the Cajun thing with Swamp Dogg. Bassist Ray Brundidge toured for eight years with James Brown, and harmonica player Fred Saunders toured with Mötley Crüe.
Supporting the Blind Lemon Peel All-Stars and joining them during parts of their set are Tony D and the Blues Bandits (Santa Monica locals by way of Chicago) and singer Alyssa Baron.
— Joe Piasecki
The Blind Lemon Peel Pop-Up Blues Festival pops off at 9:30 p.m. Friday, July 8, at Rusty’s Surf Ranch, 256 Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica. Tickets are $7. Call (310) 393-7437 or visit facebook.com/blppopupbluesfestival/.