The Simi Valley Cajun and Blues Music Festival is always a good time, if just for the crawfish and the dancing. This year the festival has pulled in some big names and truly historical performers. The event features a Blues Stage and a Cajun and Zydeco stage.
Saturday the Blues Stage will go up the country with Canned Heat, veterans of both Woodstock and the Monterey Pop Festival. As The Beat’s Ed Simon recently explained, “The current lineup of Canned Heat features drummer/bandleader “Adolfo “Fito” de la Parra, a 45 year veteran of the band; Larry “The Mole” Taylor, the original bass player; and Dale Spaulding, who provides lead vocals, harmonica and guitar for Canned Heat. Also on guitar is John “JP” Paulus.” Read Ed’s interview with Fito de la Parra here.
Also on the bill Saturday are Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, the band that helped usher in the return of swing in the 90s, and the guitar-heavy Royal Southern Brotherhood, who truly are music royalty with representatives from famous Southern families the Nevilles and the Allmans. Be sure to arrive by noon to catch opening act Leo “Bud” Welch, a proverbial diamond in the rough. Playing blues and gospel for a select group of friends and family in Mississippi, Welch was a logger by trade. He was discovered by Fat Possum Records and released his first album, Sabougla Voices at the age of 81.
On Sunday, a heavy-hitting lineup opens up for relative newbies, The Record Company. As part of the British Invasion that introduced most of America to its own native R&B, the Spencer Davis Group is known for “Gimme Some Lovin'” and “I’m a Man.” On hiatus since 1974, Spencer Davis put together a new band in 2006. Three of the original members, including Davis, play in the current Lineup. Expect tambourines. Pioneers of psychedelic rock, Big Brother and the Holding Company have continued playing after the loss of Janis Joplin. In spite of her fame, the band has always been an independent entity. After he loss of singer and guitarist Sam Andrew just two years ago, the band soldiers on with original members Peter Albin and Dave Getz. The big question is, will they play “I’m a Caterpillar”?
Other classic acts performing Sunday are Guitar Shorty and Candye Kane. Guitar Shorty is one of the best acts this weekend for people who love traditional blues. At the age of 75, he probably won’t be doing any more somersaults, but his voice, guitar playing and flashy style all stand the test of time. Candye Kane was born out of the same scene that produced X, Los Lobos and the Blasters. She is known for being a bit risque and kitschy, which she can back up with a big, sexy voice.