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It was late night during the Chicago Blues Festival 1997, and after catching an Otis Rush and Carey Bell show at the House of Blues, I walked to the restaurant to see if I could have something to eat. To my surprise, Robert Ealey was singing with U.P. Wilson. What a great show I had the chance to see! I stood right beside the band, forgot about eating something and took a few pictures of that night. Once they finished their last set, I got a CD and Robert's autograph. Love it!
Man It was early 80's somewhere on Trail Lake Dr. This old hippie had never did a open Jam night ,was'nt old back Then LOL. I think John Randal and J. Wolfgong were there,Well I brought Cymbols and hardware, I looked like a bull in a china shop.tha whole bar laughed,and Robert asked me WTF,we have a house kit ofcourse i had no clue...any way sat at the table got a beer,barely could see, u know, had every thing i owned,, drum mountain,,.Music was great Robert called everyone up man it was awesome. Ofcourse i was last,Ealey asked if i needed help i left it all on the table . Robert looked at me not knowing,and said what songs u know. All and any, he Smiled and we took off.after some 1 handed Jammin blues and the smoke settled off his guitar and drums cooled down and the dancers recoverd. Ealey walked up to me, Apologized shook my hand, The bar bought my drinks And complimented my drummin and then we drank.I made some new friends jammed my first open mic.. the cool thing was there was only 2 thoughts that went through my mind,,How in world did that man play with one hand on the neck of that guitar swingin from the lights keepin the crowd on their feet throwing that guitar around like a rag doll and never missed a lick!!! R.E. is one of a kind hes a bad man on that Ax Best Ive Met.My other thought was,,,Dam I got to take all my gear home now, i need another beer!!! One of my best Memories ever. After 40 years of drummin he set me up to be able to jam with any muscian any time any where. and i never took any thing to a open mic everagain,Just me and my sticks,sometimes that buzz id catch at the bar waitin to play! Thank u Brother 4 shaking my hand and saying sorry and giving me one of the best nights in my music career. in a blink of an eye, u taught a young hippy drummer that a great muscian is humble and kind.i carry that to the grave. RIP Robert Ealey, Cant wait to Jam in Paradise. Dont worry i wont bring any hardware or cymbols. Ill play the house Kit. PEACE!
I miss you forever in my heart
Always will love you daddy
the invisible harp man. Robert played the best invisible harp Ive ever heard..Most people probably never knew her wasnt holding one.
As a youngster in Fort Worth growing up on the Near Southside, I remember sneaking into the 40/50 Club on Fabons Street to hear the blues and being chased out by its owner. I didn't know who was singing when, but I knew I liked what I was seeing and hearing. As a young man I decided to visit the Bluebird to see what caused people from all over... to come to a small hole-in-the-wall "house" converted into a club in Como, on Horne Street. I saw Robert Ealey and I never forgot how much he gave to every song. There was more than sweat pouring from him and the energy that he filled the space with, was thicker than the smoke that also filled the room. I saw the looks on people's faces and listened to the responses people made to the words to his songs. It reminded me of "church." I never forgot that and now that I find my own self singing the blues around this town... I realize the significance of this legacy... and I can only hope to continue to uphold the standards set by people like Robert in their dedication and in their giving to this community of "church" some of us come to know as the "Blues."
I remember back in the early '70s seeing Robert and the Five Careless Lovers at the old HOP on Berry St.... They had the joint a-jumpin' (like they always did!) and we had a blast late into the evening!
My wife and I had recently purchased a little house on the west shore of Lake Worth, and we were working on improving the place, as our small budget allowed... One of the things we decided to do was improve comfiness by adding insulation, and we contracted with Sears Home Improvement (We could put it on our Sears card!) to have a crew come out and add blown fiberglass to our attic, and the installation was scheduled early the morning following our late night at the HOP diggin' on Robert!
Right on time at 9:00 AM this box-bed bobtail truck comes rollin' down our dirt drive, and I go out to meet them, slightly bleary eyed and hung-over...
There was an older black gentleman driving this rig with a couple of young chicanos riding along, the driver chomping on the short remains of what was once a cigar... As I showed them attic access, I kept feeling there was something familiar about the driver, and I finally told him he looked awfully familiar... and he said "I'm Robert Ealey son!" and my jaw dropped to the floor!
We spent the rest of the morning enjoying the scenary of my one and a half acre waterfront back yard while knockin' down a few cold ones and enjoyin' "other" refreshments as Robert explained to me how hard it was to make a living wage in the music business, while his helpers knocked out the insulation job!
I was amazed that he had the stamina and commitment to his music to perform almost every night and still show up for work the next morning! He had to really love his music to do that, and anyone who's heard Robert knows HE DID!
Loved it when Robert said, "Neck tie" for next time! So many BlueBird memories of Reg and The Juke Jumpers, Freddy, Albee, xtc... and the coffin handle on the girl's restroom wall! ThX!