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Gail

Another Little Richard story

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Gail

Posted on Sat, Aug. 14, 2004 [:"brown"]Moderator's note-location not specified. Courtesy of MS[/]

Good golly: Little Richard charms bluefest crowd with music and banter

BY SARAH HENNING

NEWS TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER

Little Richard shone brighter than his rhinestone collar Saturday night, charming the Bayfront Blues Festival audience back to the good old days of rock 'n' roll.

The red-suited Rock and Roll Hall of Famer brought plucky energy and all his short-but-sweet hits, opening with a lingering piano solo that launched into "Good Golly, Miss Molly."

But the music was just half the experience, really. Little Richard won the audience over with his rote but cute piano bench banter, which mostly centered on race or his appearance.

"You know I'll be 72 this year. And I'm still pretty," he said from the stage.

His age wasn't really a factor in the high-energy show, made even more dynamic by his remarkable band, many of whom have been with Little Richard for 30 years or more.

The band included just about two of everything, including drum kits, and provided a full sound that sometimes overpowered Little Richard's voice near the end of the show. The stellar musicians pulled out some synchronized moves that were military sharp and swing band cool, freshening up numbers that have been around for 50 years.

Audience members fell over themselves for Little Richard's piano pounders, such as "Lucille" and "Old Time Rock 'n' Roll." Right before that number, he started shouting about wanting black and Jewish and Mexican people on stage. A line of 15 people paraded up and broke it down while Little Richard played, making it feel like an intimate wedding dance. A dance with 15,000 or so guests.

The rock pioneer also got the audience involved with a free voice lesson. Before he launched into "Tutti Frutti," he said "Don't you mess up my song," and specified the correct consonants in "Awop-bop-a-loo-mop-alop-bam-boom!"

The audience also ate it up when Little Richard got sassy, doing his signature: "Shut up!" He often embellished it with phrases like "Don't make me scream like a white lady," which led to raucous laughter. His patience only wore thin once, when he stopped singing lyrics to yell at someone for taking his photograph.

Generally, the song list was as to be expected, except for a corny, patriotic song Little Richard wrote recently and Lil' Johnson's "Keep on Knockin," a swingy blues tune that was the evening's surprise musical gem.

The big disappointment of the show was that it started 45 minutes late, which bluesfest publicist Cyndee Parsons said was due to Little Richard's religious beliefs. As a Seventh Day Adventist, he isn't supposed to work from sunup to sundown on the Saturday Sabbath. Fair enough.

When Little Richard finally arrived on stage, Duluth Mayor Herb Bergson joined him to proclaim it Little Richard Day. The crowd was polite, but it was obviously a bad move to play politics with an impatient crowd.

Bergson got a collective laugh, though, when he said to Little Richard, "You got a better reception than our President, sir." In response, Little Richard grinned and curtsied.

Like the man said. Still pretty.

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Paul Beach

Dear person,

Wow, 72 years old and still able to carry on a musical career of such intensitude. That is impressive. It is good that he is also a Sabbath-keeper. http://www.history-of-rock.com/richard.htm

Mrs. Gray will look on TicketMaster to see if he will be in her area soon.

Sincerely,

Mrs. Gray

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John317

A few years ago a friend of mine who was teaching English at La Sierra SDA Academy invited Litttle Richard to speak at chapel. Little Richard appeared and spoke but refused to sing anything. He was living at the time with his mother in Riverside.

I wish he would write about his personal life. I know he's a lot different personally than his public persona, which is only "for show". It sounds like he must have experienced quite a struggle with his homosexuality. I wonder what his beliefs are and whether he continues to be a Seventh-day Adventist. SDAs need to pray that the Holy Spirit will work on Little Richard's heart and convict him of the truth of 1 Corinthians 6:9. The great news, as Romans 1:17 says, is that God is able to provide power to overcome every sort of sin, heal us and bring us all into harmony with Him. Jim

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