Farewell and Rest In Peace to the great,although never fully (commercially) appreciated Johnny Winter. I still remember as a high school junior, too many years ago, playing the dualing guitars on the song "Mean Town Blues" to my friends, over and over- on a vinyl LP of course. That was from the album "Johnny Winter And- Live" with Rick Derringer who of course is a star in his own right ("Hang on Sloopy" and "Rock n Roll Hoochie Koo." After that I became a big Johnny Winter admirer. Fast forward to the present day... we play "I'm Ready" which JW recorded when he revived Muddy Waters' sinking career, as well as "Bright Lights, Big City" which he played with Susan Tedeschi on the 2011 CD "Roots." We play it acoustic and couldn't possibly copy Johnny anyway, but that is where it came from. I remember saying to Solly, "check out this song, I think it would be cool if you and I would sing it together like that!" Farewell Johnny, you affected and inspired millions of people and that includes me! Wherever you are right now, I hope you find a qualified friend up there for one more bad-ass rendition of Mean Town Blues. Play it loud so I can hear you!
Many thanks to Walter and Luise Seemayer for letting us play at the 25th anniversary celebration of Luise's architect business! It was a great party, and a packed house! We had fun, and it seemed like the audience did too, especially when some people started dancing, that was very cool. Thanks to my buddies Solly Aschkar, Mano Maniak and Hubert Hofherr (who came and played even though he was not feeling too well for several days!). You are the greatest! Thanks to the guests who sang along with us and helped us "rock the house with the blues." And a special thrill for me was that my daughter Margaret was there, to see me live on stage for the very first (hopefully not last) time! Walter and Luise, I have already marked my calendar for the 50th anniversary celebration!
From our show on 10 June 2014 in Augsburg
Short Critique Fine Acoustic Blues in Abraxas
By Eric Zwang-Eriksson
Despite the competition from the Grenzenlos Festival, the beer garden of der Rabe at Kulturhaus Abraxas was jam packed at the concert by New York City-born guitarist and singer Pat Gifford. The fact that he now lives in the environs of Munich was hardly to be heard in the solid blues music presented by Pat Gifford & Friends.
Three acoustic guitars and a harmonica were sufficient to breathe new life into the classics from blues history. The acoustic accompaniment took the pieces back to their roots, with willful interpretations of popular songs like "Bright Lights, Big City," "Sweet Home Chicago," "Walking The Dog" and "I'm Ready".
Bandleader and namesake Pat Gifford appeared low-key, limiting his guitar playing to pure accompaniment. Mano Maniak was featured on the second acoustic guitar and stood for earthy Boogie Woogie. His playing was raw, his solos were powerful. Solly Aschkar on the third guitar impressed with her tight rhythms and mastery of the bottleneck slide, and functioned as a link between the introverted Gifford and extroverted Maniak. Hubert Hofherr on the Blues Harp revealed himself as an outstanding soloist, all in all even a little too much.
The members of the quartet also displayed their individual vocal timbres, which gave the two-hour concert a wealth of diversity.
We had such a wonderful time playing at Zum Hinterhof Zache last night. The audience was fantastic, the atmosphere was so warm and friendly. And every time we play together, we get to know each other better, which makes things more relaxed, spontaneous, and opens up new possibilities on stage. Technically everything worked fine, the sound was good. There was even a 1/2 page photo of us yesterday in the Suddeutsche Zeitung, mentioning our show. Unfortunately it didn't come out a day earlier, but that's life! Thanks to everyone who supports us and listens to our music, I hope to meet every single one of you eventually! Our next show is at Der Rabe in Augsburg, 10.06.14 at 20.30. Hopefully the weather will cooperate and we can play outside in the Biergarten!
We had a great time playing at der Rabe last Tuesday. It was a little touchy when we first arrived because their PA did not work. Fortunately I had thought at the last second to bring my power mixer. So we hooked that up and got some sound… out of one speaker! They had a bad speaker cable and as soon as it was fixed, we were ready to go.
Most people were pretty amazed when we told them (after the show) that we had ONE rehearsal with all 4 of us. This is how it goes when you work with professionals like Mano, Hubert, and Solly. You prepare the best you can ahead of time, and then the rehearsal is to iron out the last wrinkles. It also made the music very fresh for all of us, because we had to LISTEN and LOOK while the others were playing and singing!
We got excellent feedback from the audience, the guy who does the booking asked us to come back, and we got a very nice review in the Augsburger Allgemeine newspaper. Here is a link to the German version: http://www.augsburger-allgemeine.de/augsburg/Zeitlos-schoen-id28081822.html
And I used the Google translation engine to help make a translation into English. If you know German you will see that it is not a word for word translation, this is just not possible. But I am pretty sure I got the main points right!..
Timeless beauty Pat Gifford & Friends pay tribute to the blues with three guitars at Abraxas By Eric Zwang-eriksson Der Rabe was full for the concert of the acoustic quartet, which with three western guitars and a Blues Harp created purebred acoustic blues at its finest. It could have sounded exactly the same, thirty or more years ago, this timeless beautiful music in a timeless, beautiful acoustic interpretation. Muddy Waters' "I'm Ready" opened the two-hour concert and showed at once where it was headed – to the middle of the multifaceted world of the blues. Multifaceted, because various manifestations of the blues got together here. The sound palette reached from "Roadhouse Blues" by The Doors, on classics like "Bright Lights, Big City" and "Sweet Home Chicago" to "Lay Down Sally" and "After Midnight" by Eric Clapton, then spiced with original songs of the band members - and a little bit of Country. Multifaceted also, because four instrumental individualists had gathered together here, who, together with their different voices, interpreted the blues. Along with New York City-born Pat Gifford, blues veteran Mano Maniak and Solly Aschkar (equipped with a fantastic, earthy voice) played guitar with power. Mano and Solly also played the demanding slide guitar. Meanwhile, Hubert Hofherr unleashed his high-speed virtuoso blues harp solos. It is the feeling, the expression of emotions, that the blues, if it is authentic, engraves; the restrained energy that breaks loose during the solos. Pat Gifford and his friends knew how to use this energy. As homogeneous as this quartet was, nonetheless each individual member could express his specific musical color. That was what made the evening so exciting: the diversity, as expressed in the repertoire as well as in the formation. ---------------------------- I am not sure we could have had a better review with TWO rehearsals :-)
PS Be sure to check out The Red Sleeves too!