Little Freddie King & The Howling Diablos at Memphis Smoke

Little Freddie King and The Howling Diabloes

One of our highlights of 2008 was the Big City Rhythm & Blues Tour for 2008 with Little Freddie King and his manager and drummer Wacko Wade. New Orleans' blues legend and icon decided he wanted to come to Michigan to meet his friends, Shirley Mae Owens and Robert Jr the aftermath of Katrina, Freddie found himself in a motel in Houston,Texas. He was reluctant and afraid to return home. With pressure from his band, fans and longtime friend and drummer Wacko Wade and a little help from Gimme5! A Fundraiser and Habitats For Humanities, Freddie is back home in the upper ninth ward. We wanted little Freddie to bring his southern blues to the rest of the country, he rarely played outside of Louisiana, so we welcomed him with open arms and prepared a few gigs. We started out at Royal Oak, Michigan’s Home of the Blues—Memphis Smoke, playing with and without Tino Gross and The Howlin’ Diablos. Freddie drew out of a deep bag and put on a great show. Then we took him across the river to Windsor, Canada where Ted Boomer and the Canada South Blues Society had the Howlin’ Diablos and Little Freddie King over there for two wonderful shows! We got Little Freddie back across the border in Detroit about 4 am after a three-hour wait in the USA/Canada Tunnel! At noon we poured Little Freddie in our vehicle and drove to Zingerman’s Roadhouse in Ann Arbor while Freddie wowed the Roadhouse with his prowess around a guitar and a huge slab of bacon! Then it was off to Kalamazoo, once the home of Gibson Guitars and to the Club 411—a great new blues club in town owned by former radio personality Marty Spaulding who turned over the keys to the new Big City Rhythm & Blues Land Yacht (read more later). Little Freddie got up to play two songs with local musicians and 6 songs later with the crowd on its feet Little Freddie and Wade said goodbye, jumped into the van and off we went to Billy’s in Grand Rapids (East Town) where we were met by Western Michigan Blues Society’s President, Felix Ybarra. The crowd at Billy’s was there for Rev. Peyton’s Big Ass Band but were knocked out that the New Orleans’ Little Freddie King was in the house. Off into the frigid night we headed to one more stop, Dreamers in Muskegon where our friend Linsey Alexander was waiting with his big ass Gibson. Everyone was warm and thrilled when we walked in. More heat to follow. Little Freddie got up and really worked his guitar on the soul circuit crowd and pushed Linsey up with Freddie and together they resembled what the Allman Brothers or ZZ Top create—Guitar Heaven! Thank-you Dreamers! Exhausted we roared back to Detroit around 5 am and put Freddie on a 9 am flight back to The Big Easy! Thank-you Freddie! Our tours help everyone, the magazine, the club, the artist and the fans! Keep your eye out for more in 2009!

(left) Little Freddie King at Billy's, Grand Rapids, MI
(right) Little Freddie king And Wacko Wade visiting Big City Blues Home Base
Little Freddie King and Wacko Wade visiting Son House's grave

Little Freddie King on his "Drive-By" Tour, Zingerman's Roadhouse, Ann Arbor, MI

Little Freddie King and Wacko Wade at the original Zingerman's Deli, Ann Arbor,
"Bringing home the bacon"

Little Freddie King at Club 411, Kalamazoo, MI

Little Freddie King and Linsey Alexander at Dreamers, Muskegon, MI