September 14, 2002
|Just southwest of Corsicana, and seventy-five miles south of
Dallas lies the town of Wortham, TX. It's just a two stoplight town, and both of those
flash yellow. But eighty years ago, Wortham was the hometown of blues legend Blind Lemon
Jefferson. Since 1997, Wortham has honored Blind Lemon with the Wortham Blues Festival.
This was the first year I went, but it won't be the last. There's an awful lot to like about this little festival. On a perfect September evening, a crowd of a thousand or two came out to see some great regional blues talent, with acts from Dallas, Austin, and Houston. It's affordable - $7 to get in. Parking was free and convenient. There's no beer sold, but you're welcome to bring a cooler or your own. About eight food stands, and I think six of those sold barbecue - a true Texas fest! Folks set up lawnchairs far enough back from the stage to allow plenty of room for dancing up front, and hundreds of folks did get up and boogie.
I arrived to find local Dallas country blues preacher KM Williams busking off to the side of the crowd. Later he would play on stage in between scheduled sets. A nice surprise, but in hindsight, not unexpected, as no one in these parts plays Blind Lemon like KM does. Then came great sets by Dallas mainstays Robin Banks and Texas Slim. Houston's Sonny Boy Terry was a highlight - some truly great harp playing. My first time seeing him, so I don't know if his sound is always that soulful, or if he was inspired by the presence in the audience of harmonica great Sam Myers. WC Clark closed it out. He was good, but the Fest was running about an hour late, and I had a lonely ninety minute trip home. Since I'd seen him at Alleyfest in June and will see him again in two weeks in Austin, I left halfway through his set, and drove home satisfied.
|As the crowd gets ready for some blues, one young fan dreams of stardom.|
|Dan Calhoun Band|
|KM Williams plays some Texas country blues.|
|Texas Slim and the Love Machine.
Joey Love (left) and Slim.
|Robin Banks and Hash Brown on guitar keep the front row fans entertained.|
|"Sonny Boy" Terry|
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Photos copyright © 2002 by Swag