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Buck Creek Opens PRJC ’99 Schedule
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Stu Parcher

It was almost like the old days at the Springfield Hilton: the Buck Creek Jazz Band (including banjoist Jerry Addicott, up from Florida) on the stand, fans crowding every table, the dance floor beckoning, anticipation in the air.

   It was the kickoff “special” of PRJC’s 1999 schedule. This one was at the Rockville Elk’s Club on Jan. 30, and Buck Creek made it a doozy. They opened with “Reveler’s Ritual” and the red napkins were out and being twirled before they got halfway through it.

   Leader Jim Ritter’s tune list had 18 entries. The first set included three numbers associated with Duke Ellington to commemorate this year’s centennial celebration of his birth in Washington, D.C. They were “Shout ’Em, Aunt Tillie,” “Saturday Night Function” and “Stevedore Stomp.”

   Then they played “Let Every Day Be Mother’s Day” in honor of Band Mom Anna Wahler. (This night the boys finally got their singing portion down cold.) Then they surprised Anna by calling her up to the bandstand and presenting her with the first copy of their new CD, entitled “Anna’s Boys.” As Ritter explains in his liner notes, at the band’s first appearance before a national audience in 1980 at the St. Louis Ragtime Festival, the band brought out a sign purported to give the true name of the band. It read: “Anna’s Boys.”

   (Brief CD review: The 10 tracks were recorded at the Bessie Smith festival in Chattanooga. They include “Mobile Blues” a fairly recent addition to the BCJB book, and “Downhearted Blues” sung by Chattanooga blues sensation Neshawn Bynum. It ends with a rousing “Sidewalk Blues.” Frank Mesich’s sound engineering is especially noteworthy -- every instrument can be heard with ringing clarity.)

   Several of the CD’s tunes were featured in the subsequent sets plus three which may have been new for the hometown fans (Kid Ory’s “Savoy Blues,” “Dead Man Blues,” and “Carolina’s Calling Me”) since this special was the first evening performance by Buck Creek locally since the Courtyard Concert Cafe closed down a year ago.

   PRJC members turned out en mass to hear Buck Creek’s unique style and sound. Treasurer Tom Pachler reports that paid attendance was 166. Buck Creek will be heard next around these parts at the PRJC Jazz Jubilee, Feb. 28 in Alexandria. They’ll play the last of 6 one-hour sets scheduled for the afternoon, and will take the stand at 6:15.
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