SOUTHSIDE SHUFFLE SOUL..Walking Through The Heart of The Blues-BY JOHN EMMS


Recently I was walking through the Heart of the Blues 800 kilometers from my home.

You know, it felt good.

Didn’t know a soul or hardly a face in thousands of people.

Sure, I had some musical friends I wanted to see and had my guitar strapped into the backseat along with our band

But I felt a kinship in a crowd that I could not put my finger on.

We’re all searching for something, right?

Been to many festivals, played a few too.

But what was this extra feeling?

Maybe Southside Shuffle had the Soul? The Vibe?.  But was it more than just the music?

Yes, we all know the healing power music can bring

So what is this magic ingredient that I felt at Southside Shuffle that I have not felt at other music festivals

From my observation it could be the look I caught in a fan’s eye as Chuck Jackson wrung out his soul  during a knockout performance of Joe Cocker’s version of With A Little Help From My Friends with the killer chops of The Mad Dogs Englishmen tribute show grooving in.

That fan was gone. Caught up in the moment.

Then again, maybe all the people down front knew that  Jackson and staff had put the work in to make It happen again.

15 years again that is

Maybe it was when David Vest stopped his show and said here is a heartfelt song and wish for Lester Chambers (Time Has Come Today) and then sung People Get Ready a song that Chambers was assaulted for singing after mentioning Trayvon Martin.

That my friends is the real thing.

Maybe it was the gospel of Thornetta Davis or Danny Brooks, the roots of The Weber Brothers and the uptown blues of master guitar man Jack De Keyzer that had fans in euphoria

Heck, it could have been the joy on the faces as people jammed in the Spice Lounge to welcome our band The Shaftmen.

Some fellas from 800 kilometers away singing original songs bred from mining life in Timmins Ontario.

What has Mining and the blues go to do with life in Port Credit Ontario?

Apparently a lot.

Maybe it was everyone’s fave rock n’ roll soldier Sab bravely yelling out 19 more fffffffff…times recovering from recent and ongoing medical treatment.

Heck, that Sab cat has got the cajones eh?

I can’t list everyone but I do know one gospel truth.

You have to believe in people.

I have seen it up close.

You see,  when volunteers, musicians, regular folk, and good corporate sponsors with ties to the community work very hard, the end result is the healing power of music.

Today I spent some time with my grandson.

Hey, Poppa did you enjoy yourself?

Yes, James I did, and it’s good to be back home with you

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, radio host and founding member of The Shaftmen www.theshaftmen.com

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September 2013

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