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This part of the story is about me meeting and playing

with Michael Bloomfield and takes place in Sausalito,

California 1979.
Being unemployed in a place like Marin County was not easy I can tell

During the daytime, I would go to the stairs right in the middle of town,
where you could see the park and the boats coming over the San Francisco
Bay. There I’d play my horn at the same place where I saw the hippies
panhandle (ask for money) in the late 60‘s. I would make enough money
to get something to eat plus to put some gas in my car. I’d then drive to
one of the clubs in San Francisco or Oakland at night to jam.

One warm summer day I sat playing one of the few melody’s I knew.I was
a bit shy and would play with my eyes closed looking only when I heard
the sound of coins landing in my sax case. This time was different, when I
looked up their stood Bloomers! (That’s what his friends called him when
he wasn’t around) I quickly closed my eyes again, for along time and I
kept playing the same melody. I opened my eyes only when I believed he
was gone. ``Oh no he’s still there!`` I thought. So I closed them again and
played for maybe two minutes or so, but no, he’s still there. So finally I
ended the tune. He walked part way up the stairs, and hands me a twenty
and said “Not bad.” I was so ashamed I thought it sounded like shit. He
said “Come down to the Sweet Water tonight and sit in with me.” “Great!
See you there” I said. This was not the first time I met Bloomers.

In fact the reason he stopped when he saw me was that recognized me

from years ago 1967-70 when my friends and I would sneak back stage to
as many concerts as we could. We where unstoppable. One time we were
back stage at a Steve Miller Band and the Electric Flag concert . I tried to
talk to Steve Miller, but he said “Piss off kid!” or something like that.

Michael waved me over and said “Have a seat.” I remember he was so

calm almost majestic even. I sat there and didn’t say a word. After some
time he looked over at me and said “You look just like Sam Cook.” I
smiled, he smiled back. Then he took his guitar and walked to the stage.
My friends and I would go to the Fillmore West or
Winter Land almost every weekend. There where also a
lot of free concerts in Golden Gate Park that we‘d liked
to go to. The best was the Muir Beach Tavern where
there used to be bands playing and that’s where most of
the real hippies went to groove in the 60’s.

I remember bands like Jefferson Airplane, The Moby Grape, Quick Silver
Messenger Service, Clover, The Electric Flag, The Grateful Dead to
mention a few. So we saw even Michael on occasion and each time he
would say with a smile “Sam Cook…” This time was very different. This
time I wasn’t just a kid that looked like some one. I was a musician that he
had heard and invited to play with him.

When I got to Sweet Water the band hade two-sax players. Ben King
Perkoff who I have known for years, he was and still is my best friend, on
tenor sax, and Hart Mac Knee on baritone sax. I had a blast. The next day
Ron Bukovich the guitarist called me and asks if I wanted to join in the
band. I sad “Hell Yeah!” I know now to choose my words more carefully.
Playing in that band was some kind of hell. Remember hell isn’t all-bad.
But the bad was very bad. All we did was drink as much as we could,
chase women and for the most part play bad. Sometimes we played pretty
good and would have fun.

We did some small tours around California. On the first tour the bus broke
down on the way to the first gig. So we hitchhiked, and got a ride with all
our stuff! Amps, drums and everything in a big truck! We made it to the
gig late but we made it…!

Another time we where on tour and should play three night’s at the same
place for some politicians in Sacramento. A ten hour drive from S.F. and
Michael drove home after the first night!

When it was time to play, no Bloomers! We had to play two of the three
nights without him.
Michael told us he was doing this band for us and we should make
something out of it. That he believed in us that’s why he made this band.
He could not stand our unserious attitude constant partying and fighting.
So he went home.

This didn’t help our reputation much.

We had a European tour booked that got cancelled because we had the
same agent as David Crosby, for one reason or the other Crosby didn’t
show up to his part of the tour so they cancelled both bands. On some
gigs things got strange when Michael refused to play the guitar. Well, he
loved to play the piano. And was quiet stubborn about it. The audience’s
yelled “Play the guitar!” or “Super Session!” He wasn’t bad on piano but
people payed to hear him play the guitar.

Things got hard under President Ronald Reagan. Living

out of my car was getting old. I was in need of a real
place to live. Michael said I could stay at his house for
He would stay up at night playing the piano. Friends would come over like
Nick Gravanittis and Dan Hicks. Bob Dylan came by and took Michael on
tour with him for a week or so. I don’t care what all the magazines or
books say, I lived there for over a year and at that time he did not take
heroin, coke or speed. He liked to drink wine and some times, not often.
He took prescription medication for insomnia and nothing more. So if you
heard something else that’s not true. There were things that happened that
lends me to suspect foul play. Michael was very nice, sometimes too nice
for his own good.

The last year of his life Michael spent most of his time reading and
listening to music; he had a large library of books and records. More than
often he would stay up practising the piano.

(“Cruising for a Bruising“)

After being in the band for about one year Michael started recording this
It was the first time I had recorded with someone that wasn’t unknown.
We in the horn section mostly relied on making a show. Dancing and
waving our horns in unison.
So we did the same in the studio. This made our playing a bit clumsy but
I remember Norman Dayron and Michael laughing at us often, and having
a good time through the sessions. Michael had me come in the studio on a
separate day to lay-down a harp track on “Snow Blind“. First they played
the track for me and told me some of the tings they wanted to hear. I
played through the track and said, “Can I try that again?“ “No.” said
Norman thru my headset. Later Michael told me that first time is always
the best. Michael and Norman both stud up and came towards me making
me quite nervous. They took turns speaking first Norman, he said, “
You’re the best!” and then Michael “Yes your the best harmonica player
around and you can tell people that we said so!” Well I never did until
now. I guess it was hard for me to believe. He played with Paul
Butterfield and Mark Adams, two of the best blues harp players ever.
Mark played on Michael’s earlier albums as well. I don't think they meant
I was the best technical blues harp player around. I believe they knew I felt
every note I played, and instinctivly knew how to fit in to sound pictures
and wanted me to feel confident about my abilities.

Michael was the first touring band that I played with

and it was pure torture. The best tour we did was as a
warm up act for Elvin Bishop.
That was the best I heard him for a long time. I know they had a
competition with each other. Suddenly it was a very different Michael. It
was Michael Bloomfield the legend!

We where shocked, even we sounded good? But Elvin’s band at that time
was awesome! We where blown away but Michael held his own. Nothing
like a little competition to put you on your toes. Strange tour for us, at
every concert you would look out in the audience and what would you
see? A sea of cowboy hats. (Good old boys.) And after each gig I would
have to laugh at racial jokes.

Elvin was a lot of good time fun. He would jam all night and day long
back stage, in the hotel, tour bus anywhere. I remember him as very
friendly generous and happy in that good old southern way.

When I moved in to Michaels house.

He gave me a gun, a small nickel-plated 38. And said “You should keep it
handy…” He said, “If some people come from New York, they can spend
the night but nothing more. They can get very nasty so watch yourself.
You can stay here for free if you can watch over the house…”

Michael went to Europe and left me to watch over the place. After a week
their two men from New York I let them stay two night’s on the third day
I told them they had to leave. They got nasty, they threatened me and
rammed my car with theirs. And they kept coming back trying to
threatend me. Oh yes they where junkies. The worst kind of junkie, mean
and up to no good. They drove all the way from N.Y. to take advantage of
Michael and they weren’t going to let me get in the way. I final hade to
pull out the gun on them and told them to “git.” When Michel got back I
told him what happen he looked worried but not surprised.

Michael came home from Europe. Depressed and without his usual sense
of humour. I stayed in my room mostly and tried to stay out of his way
the best I could.

I decide to quit the band. I got a full time job poring concrete on Opera
Plaza. My christian practice at the time was not popular with the other
band members. Plus I loved Bloomers but was frustrated with the bands
attitude.Michael died two weeks after I moved out.

Meeting and playing with Big Mama Willie Mae

Luther Tucker ask me if could give him a ride to a gig in Oakland.He told
me to bring some instruments just in case. On the way to the gig he ask
me to stop at a liquor store. He bought two half pints of something. He
got back in the car wrapped one of the bottles tightly in its small brown
paper bag. “Watch this “he said. Hitting the bottom of the bottle with
palm of his hand. The seal of the twist top brakes. Then he drinks it down
in one breath. “Dang Luther” I said.

We got to the gig. Luther says I’ll introduce you but if you want to play
you have to ask her yourself. Luther says, “ Mama this boy name be’s
Derrick. Mama says “ yeah? And la de da”. I said “Mama can I play”
Mama” I don’t know can you?” she says.

I heard laughing in the backroom coming from the band. I stuttered ye ye

yes I’mmm not to bad. Mama”. "What you play boy?” I said "S s s sax
and ha harp". “Harp?” she says. "Well we don’t need no harp I play the

I said "I know". She said "Ok we well see what you can do." Mama could
sound angry, but she wasn’t it’s was just her way. I had saw her play live
a few times before. Once at Winterland. Janis Joplin brought her on stage
and introduced as the songwriter to Ball and Chain then they sang it
together. Then I heard her play with five-harp players in her band. What a
great show that was. And I saw her play an outside concert around 1971.
There were a lot of people smoking pot.

Mama hated pot. Her first song (Don’t smoke that stuff around me.)
Looking angry with all the pot smokers. And for her next number (That
evil weed) a slow minor blues. Mama was glairing and pointing at anyone
smoking anything.

I never heard this song before or after. I suspect she made them up on the

Then she was big maybe about 230 pounds. When I met her she was about
120 pounds. “Mama said I’d call you up. Bring my medicine to the stage
when you come.” Mama’s medicine was 10% milk 90% gin in a large
glass. I am not joking or exaggerating.
So mama calls me to the stage like this “Well, come on if your coming”.
And says “Did you bring my medicine son? “ “Yes mama” I said. Most
people in the audiences believed that she was my mama and I her hen
pecked son. Mama talked me through a solo on a slow blues and I mean
every note. “Now go up high, take it easy now, not that high, now go
down, play it strong now, like you mad at it“. The crowed loved it. Man I
was in!

I was hired to play sax and some harp. And of course to bring Mama her
medicine. We did about five fantastic gigs or so with that band, Mark
Naftlin, Harvey Brooks, Luther Tucker and myself. I Can’t remember¨the
drummers name but as I recall he was playing with Anthony Broxton, he
was great.

The touring I did with Mama later was not quite the same. Now this was a
very good band but coast a lot of money. Mama’s sister did the booking
but she worked with agents like Charles Morhead or to us (Moe-head)he
was grumpy but fair.

Eddy Ray here we are backing up Soony Roads at the the San Francisco Blues-

He wanted a much cheaper all Black band. So he hired the Eddy Ray
R&B Band. Eddy was a long good looking smooth singer guitar player.
When we played in black clubs the girls would have competitions just
who could scream the loudest, cry, or faint and make the biggest scen.
Then a crew of their friends would carry her out of the venue.

The horns where the trumpet player Rudy and me. Eddy Rays band was
Mammas band then. Mama hade another stroke and was confined to a
wheel chair.

But she still was taking her medicine and got a new agent. The money got
funny and the band sounded often bad, and I don‘t mean good. So I quit
just in time to miss the worst reviews Mama received in her life.

Percy Mayfield and Mark Naftalin

Eddy Ray would get some great gigs backing the most famous blues
singers. We where hired to back up Percy Mayfield. Now I got tired of
being embarrassed at shows. So when I found out nobody in the band
knew his music I called someone who did. Mark Naftalin. There was a
tuned piano at the club so he just had to show up and play. So he did. A
good thing because he knew every song and what key it was in. Eddy
whom knew none of this left the stage in the middle of a song, and hide in
the bathroom. He was totaly humiliated by this music lesson he was
receiving from Mark.

Now playing with Percy was special. Someone would take a solo and
Percy would whisper to me “Hay Bobby what song are we playing?” He
apparently forgot what song we where playing, and thought that I was
Bobby Forty, my saxophone coach at that time. He would do this several
times a set.

Mark led us through the songs and the gig went well. After I get to hear
from the agent. “Don’t bring your white honky friends around no moe!!!”.
“I know you like them honkeys”. “You and your honky friend fucked up
the whole show!”.

Well that wasn’t true Mark saved two shows! Mark did a lot of gigs and
records with Percy after that.

I met Butter at a place called the Tree House in San Rafael Calif.

Something had gone wrong with there tour so they got booked at the Tree
House for that week. I use to go there often for the Prim Rib. The food
was great there.

Suddenly I hear this unmistakable harp sound. It was Paul warming up.
They hade a soundcheck so we stayed for a while. He was very friendly.
He asks if I wanted to sit in on the sax. “Id be happy to” I said. Paul
didn’t know to many people in San Rafael. So I invited him over to my
house. Paul came over every day that week, brought an accustic guitar
with him wich he played constantly. I asked him for harp lessons witch
irritated him, but he reluctantly said yaeh.

He would play the guitar and I played the harp. I thought I sounded pretty
good so I asked him what he thought. He said” What a bunch of shit”.
“What? ” I asked. “Totally fucking worthless crap”. “Why?” I asked.
“First of all don’t try to sound like somebody else, especially me! Second,
play melodies not licks. Listen to the words, there’s hints to what you
should play". This changed my concept of playing music. I stopped
copying after that.

I went to some of Paul’s out of town gigs. I remember a guy in his

twenties coming up to him and asking him “ Can you give some advice to
a young upcoming harmonica player?". Paul said “Yaeh, quit!”.

Paul played and sang perfectly. From the time he put the harp to his lips,
he would go in to some kind of trance. He played with a very strong
vibrato. There was something about him when he sang and played. The
only way i can describe it is that he was majestic, even surreal. I always
wondered why he sang with one hand behind his back. I thought it was
because he was just being cool. He would keep one hand behind his back
to avoid feedback from his mic.

Paul liked to play with two Fender Twins hooked up together. He played
loud and their was something very, as matter of fact, about the way he did
everything he did on stage.

The Ice Man

Luther Tucker asked us if we would mind backing up Albert Collins for a
seven day tour. Apparently Albert and Luther where good friends. At the
first rehearsal I was warming up my harp, Albert looked over angrily and
said “Stop! I thought you played the saxophone”, I said “I do but I play
the blues harp to".
” I hate the harmonica",he said, "the only thing I hate more than the
harmonica is harmonica players!”. “Ok let’s hear you”. After a song and
short solo he said "Your ok". So I don’t know any harp players that played
more than one song or so with Albert. He had a very long guitar cord and
he would walk all over. Down the isle upstairs or even outside. We had a
lot of fun. The horn section witch was Ben King Perkoff on tenor sax,
Victor Rodriguez on baritone sax and myself on alto sax and blues harp.
We would follow him around the audience as he played. Some times he
would come to a table and sit down, and we would surround the table.
Sometimes we would stand on chairs and fan our horns back and forth in
time to the music.

We played at the North Dakota club for a night. A film crew was filming
for a pilot to some movie. Anyway at one point Albert told us to leave the
stage. In tempo to a fast march we field off the stage. Once gone he started
a funky grove. Freddy Roulette, who was in audience, jumped up on a
table and did some kind of spider dance table in time to the music truly
amazing. After twenty minutes Freddy took his slide guitar and they talked
back and forth.

Like this. “Hi Freddy how are you”. “Cool Albert let’s get down”. And
they went on and on like this. Talking guitars. Now Albert loved to
gamble so before and after every gig he would play craps with the band.
He won all the money he should have paid the band exccept mine, I don’t
gamble. At the end of the tour he told me.”I like you! You're pretty smart.
You’re the only one who got paid!”

Albert Collins Victor Rodriguez Derrick walker Red


I knew Red since 1976. Elvin Bishop took me over to his

house to get some encouragement on the harmonica.
Little did I know that we would
met up again I Europe. I went to Europe in 1983. I played with Red
Archibald and the Internationals and spent time with Red on and off stage.
Red was very mischievous. At the same time had a kind giving hart. He
was the first person to give me a job when I came to Europe. Red Past
away Dec.25 2006

He could raise hell but somehow charm everybody anyway. On stage we

had to dance spin and twirl and play like we where on fire. He could play
a ten minute harp solo and get a standing ovation every time. Then take
ten minutes to tell some corny joke. Even though you herd the joke many
times, you had to laugh. "Don't clap, throw money".

"We're not hear for the season, we're for one reason and that's a little bit
of rhythm and blues just like this" or "If my dog had your face..." he
would say often.

Red was one of a kind. I had to saved his life more than once or twice,
and i'm not joking. I was his sax player and bodyguard when we where
not playing. One night after a gig Red some of us out for some drinks.
Red started singing playing the harp and dancing on the bar. Some guys
started saying we don't like Americans. So Red says to them; "If it weren’t
for us you would be speaking German right now!" This got them so mad
we had a fight. Not just a fight they wanted to hurt us. Red and I against
nine of them, the others where two girls? Well they were no help.

Red and me, we really held our own and got away!! We had many story’s

like this one.

That’s us in Amsterdam 1984, about halfe way in to a three month tour of

Germany, Holland, Belgium.We did 72 dates on that tour at festivals, rock
concert halls and schools...

We were very attached to each other. Joann says;"We where soul-


T.T. Fingers
T.T. Fingers is a fantastic singer and slide guitar player. He was the first
to teach me the street scen in Europe. You could not find a stronger
performer any where. He’s one of the musicians Luther Tucker told me to
look up when I got to Europe. You could never find a better teacher for
the street. Or a more passionate friend. With a voice like Lou Rawls and
Elmor James, and could play Hendrix solos. Most people didn’t notice he
had only two fingers in until they got real close. T.T. Fingers, Red
Archibald , Fro Miller and Professor Washboard set the standard for
what I call professional street playing.

TT and I played the streets, small gig’s and festivals in Belgium, Holland
and Sweden.
Bob Christopher, A Texas style guitarist, Peter Pango Pango Morse bass
player, singer and anything else he decided to do, and Gianni Manente on

drum’s. They Where Luther’s Tuckers band during the time

he lived in Europe. Luther and his wife Jill Baxter told me. "Those guys
need you over their!" They also told me ”your going on the torture tour”.

We formed a band called The Blue Shades . We had a house

band gig at a place called the Blues Corner. Bob and I took a trip to
France. That was one of the greatest times. Just the two of us on the
streets of Paris. French people love blues and jazz with a passion.

They would say that we "lived the life". In Paris I met a Swedish guy

name Pix (Per).

Pix invited me to Sweden for the first time and put a band together for me.
And for some reason they called it the Bonkers.

After I had been in Sweden for a week or so. I met an agent Tomas Janter
that booked Michael when he came to Sweden. He put us on tour. Mostly
hotels and pizza restaurants. We had a big bus with beds, cold beer, lights
and good soundmen…

The agent wanted me to bring the American musicians I played with in

Europe to. This we did twice. The first time was magic, the second was

That’s when I wrote the song “Call Me a Doctor“. TT was always sick or
something and asking for a Doctor…After that I put together a new band

called The Black & White Blues Band.

I took them on a three month street tour; Germany, Holland, Belgium,

France and Spain.

They were fresh and picked street playing up well, and became very
popular. Three good looking Swedish boys and myself. We killed the
audiences and that’s what made the band so tight. When we got back to
Sweden, nobody could believe it, they left Sweden like three sweet young
boys. When they got back they were harden professionals. They achieved
what I like to call the awareness. (The ability to read the audience, know your
surroundings and communicate).

Over the years the band members were Kalle Salomonson, Robert Halldin, Fredrik Dahlöv, Kent
Bergström, Marc Gransten, Per Sjöholm (Pix,) Patrik Juslin and Kalle Drugge.

And they had to survive without a safety net. This change them greatly.
They where no longer shy. Oh no, they where in your face, and loving it.
We took a couple of house band gigs, and played festivals.
We were a band for over 13 years.

Witch brings us about up to date.The Blue Souls has ben performing for
six years now. In clubs and at festivals in Norway, Germany, Italy,

Belgium,Holland and Switzerland .

This is a funny revue if you can read Norwiegan;)

The Blue Souls backing band for Zora Young & Jimmy Dawkins.

+King Perkoff.

But what dose the band look like today? Jair Rohm Parker Wells,
James Bradly Jr,Olle Boson and Derrick Walker

When Derrick is not on tour with the Blue Souls. He host a blues jam
session at Stockholms (Wirströms Pub.)

So what was it like playing on the Streets of Europe? Well one picture is
worth a thousand words. Derrick & Wild Bill Dirken, Stockholm 1986.

Derrick, Filthy McNasty, King Perkoff and Hairy spider man, Amsterdam 1988.

Did we enjoy ourselfs? Yes we where "Living the life";) Oslo


Big Walker Productions