Artists may come and artists may go, but Detroit born legend James Montgomery has performed in the forefront of the blues for over four decades. In my younger days, I first saw him perform locally around the New England circuit with his own James Montgomery Band and the Shaboo Allstars. James always had fantastic musicians that knew how to keep a funky groove including the late great Matt Murphy and Charles Calmese. When I saw James fronting these bands, he had an energy onstage that I had never seen before. It was great musicians playing off of each other, never knowing what to expect next other than that it would be exciting and funky.
In 1973, James had a Capricorn Records release, ''First Time Out'' which I really dug. Later he caught everyone's attention when he released a funky version of the Huey Piano Smith song, ''Don't You Just Know It'' under the title ''The Gooba Gooba'' Song, produced by Allen Toussaint.
Not only is James a musical star in his own right, but he also had an extensive history with some of my other musical heroes and influences. This includes Johnny Winter and James Cotton both of whom he had very close relations with. James is also currently working on James Cotton's biography. James Montgomery also has a long friendship and musical relationship with my bandmate and drummer Bobby T Torello as a result of both touring with Johnny Winter.
I felt there was a musical compatibility with our tastes in music and mutually respected artists, past and present. In 2016, I asked Bobby to contact James to see if James would front our band for an upcoming performance scheduled in Hartford CT at Black Eyed Sally's Southern Kitchen and Bar. Although we were not needing additional vocals or an additional harmonica player, what a thrill it would be to have a blues legend and frontman that our the band honored and had a strong mutual respect for. I was surprised and overjoyed that James agreed, and it was a great show and wonderful experience.