PINETOP STAGE

BY M.S.WARDRIP

Blind Cat Robbins from Coldwater, Mississippi was late for the show but an anxious crowd welcomed him when he was introduced to play. He was one of the last original Delta-Blues musicians from that era. He knew he was late and was worried about getting paid, so he put on an extraordinary performance. The show was so intense, some said he actually levitated off the floor for a few seconds in a most supernatural way. He floated in the air.

“Blind Cat” had that charisma that came with being an old black southern bluesman. He learned how to woo the crowd at an early age. He could have them at his command in no time. Blind Cat would slowly create a groove in his music that would grow and grow to a climax in any direction he wanted to take it. Sometimes he would put the whole crowd in a trance and then stop playing. In the silence he would look at their eyes and faces as they daydreamed. Then he would start the groove back up and wake them up and have them dancing in the aisles. He ruled the air with his unique and original music. Blind Cat always had something up his sleeve. Blind Cat was crafty.

The show at the Pinetop Stage was always one for the real music fans, the crowd was always satisfied with the lineup. It usually consisted of one name act and a few locals. Blind Cat was supposed to open for Newton Galley Blues Band, but since he arrived late, they let him have the top billing for the second half of the show. He blew their minds. Never before or since has such a majestic performance entertained the audience so well. Blind Cat literally took them on a trip into outer space.

He opened the set with a chilling rendition of “Love Me or Kill Me”, an old Rat-Scat Blues tune from the 1920’s. Rorey Sims first recorded it in Memphis, Tennessee with Alma Ray backing up the vocals. People in attendance were instantly mesmerized by the mastery of his music. It was like nothing anyone had heard before. It lifted them up out of your seat and gave them a feeling of euphoria. In the second tune, a lightening bolt jumped up on the stage and burned through the music. It danced and lit up the night as people jumped an enjoyed themselves. A third tune convinced them that they were among true royalty of the Blues when he laid it out for them with “Smokey Glass Shadows” an old Bluesey tune written by Jules Renfrow of Chicago fame in the 1940's. They swayed back and forth in unison to a note-for-note Blues master. The lights went down and a sound so strange and unfamiliar circulated through the thick night air at the old amphitheater, a sound that intensified as it drew them in. Soon, the whole crowd was chanting along. “Wah Sa Bo, The Filipino”, an original international Blues tune by Blind Cat Robbins.

In that particular concert, everyone in attendance knew that something special was in the air, something supernatural. The wind rose and laid down with the spinning of each verse and chorus. The notes went round and round and it brought the house down. People were standing on their chairs, on the tables, up in the trees and all huddled around the spotlight where Blind Cat displayed his creativity. Black Cat took them home with “Blues Train Is In Town”, one of his babies, his best song. Things at Pinetop Stage were never the same.

Blind Cat played the last note of the last song ever played there. After that no one ever performed there again. The stage sets empty in an overgrown forest. At the end of the last concert, Blind Cat Robbins slowed down the sing, made it quiet and with intense dexterity, took off his guitar, held it up in the air and let go… it floated and kept playing the Blues…. by itself. Thousands of Blues fans were there who witnessed this phenomena. Soon, as the guitar floated in mid air, Blind Cat and the whole band rose up two feet off the ground and played and sang on. As the Blues intensified and went on, what I would term, “Galactic Blues” came out of the speakers and as the crowd pushed and rushed toward the stage, were lifted up in the air, swirled around like a tornado and spun in a spiral straight up into the air and the entire band and Blind Cat were evaporated in the clouds to never be seen or heard again.

Blind Cat took that crowd into outer Blues space. The Pinetop Stage sits empty waiting for the next Bluesman to show up and take us on a journey. Are you ready to go? The song is entitled, “Down and Up” by Drippy and The Drops, which reached number three in the TOP TEN of the Galactic Cosmic Blues Chart. Based in San Francisco, the Blues magazine, “LOW DOWN BLUES”, was quick to recognize the group and has noticed they are poised to take off. World famous record producer Ian Combsworth was quoted as leaking the next big music business news, “Drippy and The Drops” are the next musical superstars. They are destined to rise to great heights!”

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