On May 2, 2003 Chris Kleeman and Bob Stannard opened for nationally acclaimed Blues/Folk Artist, Chris Smither at the Dorset Playhouse

Smither was born in New Orleans and his roots clearly shows in his music.  A fabulous foot-stompin’ musician with a great voice.  Plus, like many musicians we’ve met who have been on the road since 1966, a real good guy!

On June 1st, ’03, we opened for Maria Muldaur….

And after the show a few friends were treated to a little impromptu music.  Keyboardist, Chris Burns, just couldn’t keep his hands off the late Eugene List’s 100 year old Steinway.  I told him that if he kept playing I might be forced to go back and get my harps.  He said, “Get ‘em” and the rest is history.  We were joined by guitarist, Mighty Mike Shermer and then the lady herself.

On August 2, 2003, we opened for Blues Legend, BUDDY GUY

Joey Molland of British famed Rock Band,BADFINGER, with Bob after a show in Boston in September, ’03.

“It was a real thrill to be able to meet and play with Joey Molland after listening to his music for half my life!  He’s a gracious and decent human being.” – Bob Stannard

As you can see by now, music has been pretty good to me over the past few years.  Just when you think it couldn’t possibly get any better….it does.On Labor Day weekend of ‘ 03 I had the pleasure of going to Hyannis to meet up with Herman “Rosco” Ernest III and Dr. John who were performing at the Cape Cod Melody Tent.  From there I went to Harry’s; the best Blues Bar on the Cape; maybe all of New England.  I had been invited back to Harry’s by the club’s owner, Laddie, to meet and possibly play with Delta Bluesman, David “Honey Boy” Edwards.  The following photos were taken on August 31 and September 1.  Let it suffice to say for now that this was a once in a lifetime experience and a true honor to play with a man who I have dubbed  the “Hope Diamond” of Blues Players.

Bob Stannard has played with Kings…

BB & Stephen

Bob Stannard was born and raised in Dorset, Vermont, USA to a family of plumbers.

So why did he decide to become a Bluesman?

“I don’t think the decision was mine”, says Bob.  “I believe the instrument chose me”.

I started playing the harmonica in 1969 when I went away to college.  I was a drummer at the age of 11 and when I brought my drums to school, set them up in the dorm and banged away, I was told I would be kicked out of school if I did that one more time.  Figuring that I should save up those expulsions for something really good, I decided to take my drums home.  I never played them again.

I bought a C Marine Band harmonica and just started playing.  I’ve never had a lesson or any personal instruction.  I have, however, learned from the best players that ever lived by simply listening to their music and listening to what they’re playing.  People  like (in no particular order of preference): James Cotton, Big Walter Horton, Little Walter Jacobs, Kim Wilson, Charlie Musselwhite, Jr. Wells, Carey Bell, Norton Buffalo, Sonny Terry, Sonny Boy Williamson (both of them), Paul Butterfield, Jay Bird Coleman, Chuck Darling, John Mayall have all contributed in one way or another to my style of playing.

Without any formal instruction, I believe it took me much longer to figure out just what many of these great players were doing with a “Mississippi Saxophone”.  I’ve learned to play through sheer determination and a longing for mastering this “tin sandwich”.  After 34 years of playing I can compare my feelings on this instrument to my Martial Arts training; the more I learn – the less I know.  I am still lifetimes away from mastering this instrument.  If anything, it may have mastered me.  -  Bob Stannard

Bob with BB’s Manager, Floyd Lieberman BB King and Chris Kleeman

 

 An Evening with Blues Legend John Hammond

On Sunday, January 5, 2003, Chris Kleeman and I had the privilege of opening for the legendary John Hammond at the Iron Horse in North Hampton, Mass.  John had played there 25 years ago; Chris about 15 years ago.  This was my first appearance there.  Great room; great sound!  Amazing man.
I Discovered I had a “G” harmonica in my coat pocket and asked John if he would “humor me”.  John Chris and I played a little before we went on.

John Hammond is one gracious and generous man.  You can feel his presence in the room.  After his show I reminded him of how Tom Waits described him on the album they did together a year or so ago.  Tom said, “John has a soul that can harden diamonds and handle snakes”.  Drenched with sweat from a most passionate performance, John replied, “Tom sure has a way with words, doesn’t he?”  Boy, he sure does!

Update!  I had the rare pleasure of performing with John on stage on Sunday, October 8th, 2006.  The Bottom photograph was taken by my son-in-law, Danny Hairston!

I would like to thank Judy Laster of the Woods Hole Film Festival for showing the documentary on Honey Boy and exposing me to this great man.  I also want to again thank Laddie for giving me the chance to play with Honey Boy Edwards….an experience I’ll never forget!And finally, I want to thank my niece, Amy Holford, for her persistence.  If not for her, these photos would not exist.  Thanks Babe!

 

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