"Harmonica" Curtis Blake joined Daddy I and the Baby Boys for the first set at the 5 Corner's Saloon. During the first set Curtis and Daddy I were performing some "laid back" blues showcasing the smooth guitar leads of Daddy I. Daddy I, originally from Chicago, is the brother of Dave "Biscuit" Miller who is the bass player with the Lonnie and Ronnie Brooks blues band. Daddy I (Ivan Wallace) got his start playing the blues in garage bands growing up in Chicago. Friends with Markiss and Michael Coleman, he learned his sophisticated guitar licks from some of the best up and coming young blues men on the Chicago blues scene. Ivan also cites B.B. King and Miles Davis as major influences on his guitar style.
Daddy I's guitar playing has a smooth, jazz influenced sound that is totally captivating. In July, Daddy I was on tour in Japan with the R&B band of Alexander O'Neal.
After moving to the Twin Cities in 1983 with his brother and their R&B group called the Clever Band, Ivan spent the next decade playing with his own group and touring and recording with Sonny Rogers and Lady Blue. During this time he also has been playing in and R&B band called Black Light and the reggae band Les Exodus. Last fall when the Biscuits and Blues club opened in Minneapolis, Ivan formed the blues group Daddy I and the Baby Boys and played there on a regular basis. More recently he has been playing straight-ahead Chicago blues, backing up Mojo Buford.
Joining Daddy I on stage at the Five Corner's were bass player Fredrico Lawler , drummer J.R. Robinson and Mike "the hook" Deutsch on keyboards. Long time friend and mentor Markiss also joined Mojo and the group with some sizzling guitar during the second set.
George "Mojo" Buford has been playing harmonica since the 1950's and was a regular member of Muddy Water's last touring band in the 1980's prior to Muddy's death. Mojo plays a mean and meaty harmonica in the classic Chicago blues style. His harp playing is straight-ahead, gut-bucket blues played with emotion and unbridled enthusiasm. Mojo always has a smile on his face and shows quite a bit of spunk on stage for his 67 years. During the break he commented that he had been playing harmonica for many years but it wasn't until he met Muddy Waters and Otis Span that he "really" learned how to play the blues. He jokingly said "Muddy turned my black ass blue."
It was on a 1962 tour with Muddy Waters that Mojo Buford was offered a house gig at the Loon Club on Lake Street in Minneapolis. The money was good so he packed up and moved to the Twin Cities, bringing the blues to town along with him. Since that time Mojo has played with just about everybody in the Twin Cities and is, without a doubt, one of the most important influences on the Twin Cities blues scene. He got his nickname in the early 1960's from fans at the Madison BBQ on 29th and Nicollet, who would ask him to play "Got My Mojo Working" sometimes 3 or 4 times a night.
During the show at the Five Corner's Mojo performed many of the classic Chicago standards as well as some of the material from his recent releases "Still Blowin' Strong," and "Home Is Where The Harp Is." He and Curtis Blake performed some entertaining harp duets during the night that set the house rocking. Mojo is performing on a more regular basis around town now, so be sure to catch one of the Twin Cities' living blues legends.
See the January 1997 issue of the Twin Cities Blues News (issue #12) for an in depth interview with Mojo Buford.
Blue Loon Records offers two excellent Mojo CD's including the critically acclaimed 1996 release "Still Blowin' Strong."
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