Liner Notes: Live At The Roadhouse (Paul deLay et al...)

On February 8-12, 1984, four outstanding Northwest blues and r&b bands converged at the Jolly Roger Roadhouse in Seattle, Washington. The talent of these musicians who have been playing out of the Northwest, some for more than 20 years, was captured on tape for this historic compilation album. It is the first of its kind to feature only blues and r&b players of the Northwest.
"Bigtime Bluesman," Isaac Scott, originally from Arkansas and now a leading blues artist in the area, brought his electric gospel blues to the stage. "

Also playing the skidroad bars of Seattle's First Avenue in the early '70s was Tom McFarland. Originally from Oregon, McFarland moved from Seattle to the Bay Area where his original topical tunes, and his jazz-influenced guitar work, made him a popular contemporary bluesman [who] has toured and played with the likes of Otis Rush, John Lee Hooker and Lightin'' Hopkins.
Another Oregonian, harp player and vocalist Paul deLay, started playing in folk and jug bands some fifteen years ago. Eventually he settled into blues and r&b with the Portland band, Brown Sugar. Today deLay delivers a steady and very popular dose of danceable blues and vintage r&b. Check out his jumpin' version of "Tiger In Your Tank."

Curtis Salgado for more than five years played with bluesman Robert Cray. It was while playing with Cray that Salgado so impressed John Belushi and Dan Ackroyd that they dedicated their first Blues Brothers album to him. Salgado's strong and earthy vocals are perfect for his '60s soul sound which is exemplified here in "I Got To Find A Way."

There was no place more fitting for this historic recording than the Jolly Roger Roadhouse. It has a history all its own. Originally named the China Castle, the Roadhouse was constructed during Prohibition. Atop the building is a two-tiered tower from which a guard could alert patrons to impending police raids. Since the repeal of Prohibition laws, the China Castle has been renamed the Jolly Roger Roadhouse and has become a thriving legitimate restaurant and music venue. In the past two years it has become a Northwest blues headquarters for players and fans from many parts of North America.

The right players and the right club were major components in the making of Live At The Roadhouse. So do what the audiences did on those rainy, chilly February nights-witness, get down, dance or just listen to a bit of living history.

-Roberta Penn, Seattle, WA spring 1984

The blues fit the Jolly Roger Roadhouse like red beans fit rice. Just mention Seattle and blues in the same breath and anyone who hung around the Northwest in the '80s invariably sighs and invokes the name of this legendary nightclub. Ghosts from the Jolly Roger's speakeasy-brothel days showed up every night to hear America's hottest blues acts. We all showed up and partied 'til the wee wee hours for the same reason, and added a few ghosts of our own. More blues got lived and played at this club than there are notes in a Buddy Guy guitar solo.

It's fitting that the Roger has burned to the ground-I think the hot nights and legendary jams eventually caught up with the place. Rumor has it, though, that when it's quiet out on Lake City Way you can still hear a 12-bar slow blues burning in the night.

-Don Campbell, Editor, This Week magaine, and former Paul deLay Band bassist. Portland, OR January 1994