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Interview:
The Upbeat: Garfield Blues Band
 

By GARY GRAFF
Of the Oakland Press

» See more SOUND CHECK

Name: Garfield Blues Band

Formed: 1968 in Detroit

Sound: Blues

Members: Garfield Angove, vocals and harmonica (Bloomfield Hills); Paul Carey — guitar (Detroit); Mike Marshall — bass (Harper Woods); Shawn McDonald — piano and vocals (Wyandotte); RJ Spangler — drums (St. Clair Shores)

Influences: Frontman and band leader Angove cites Louisiana-born harmonica legend Little Walter as his primary influence, although he adds, “I don’t really sound all that much like Little Walter. But that was the guy. In, like, 1967, ’68, I got my hands on ‘The Best of Little Walter,’ and that was just a revelation.”

Day Jobs: Angove works in configuration management at General Dynamics in Warren, while Marshall is a computerized manufacturing machinery instructor. Carey, McDonald and Spangler are full-time musicians.

Old Friends: Of the current Garfield Blues Band lineup, only bassist Marshall dates back to the original lineup with Angove. “We used to both hang out at the Chess Mate, which was a unique (Detroit) blues and folk club back in the 1960s. The great bluesmen were still alive, so I went down there and saw the Rev. Gary Davis, Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters ... Then I joined Sam Lay’s band and started playing a the Chess Mate myself.”

Track Record: Besides his association with the Sam Lay Blues Band, Angove also has played with Koko Taylor, Johnny Young, Mighty Joe Young, the Detroit Blues Band and the Millionaires. He also sat in with Muddy Waters on a number of occasions. “Muddy was a very gracious, dignified guy who was friendly. A lot of guys weren’t that friendly to young, white players especially. But Muddy was very gracious, and I think he especially liked harp players.”

Hear ’em: The Garfield Blues Band has never released an album of its own, but it’s contributed tracks to compilations such as “Blues From the Heart” and “Christmas in Detroit” series. Angove also has recorded with the Detroit Blues Band and the Millionaires, as well as with Willie D. Warren and the Blues Disciples.

See ’em: The Garfield Blues Band performs Friday (Jan. 15) as part of the 16th annual Anti-Freeze Blues Festival at the Magic Bag, 22920 Woodward Ave., Ferndale. Jeremy Spencer, Jeff Grand/Jim McCarty/Bobby East and John Latini also are on the bill. Doors open at 7 p.m. and tickets are $25 each night. Call (248) 544-3030 or visit www.themagicbag.com.



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