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BB King and Ronnie Peterson


The Blues Room and Johnnie Walker Scotch Whisky present international Blues star Ronnie Peterson, The man B.B. King called "an amazing guitarist and an amazing performer".

Ronnie is appearing with his trio ; Eran Porat on drums and Michael Frost on bass. Ronnie plays the Blues in the old school style. Check out a sample of his new CD "Pass It On" in our downloads section.

Download a sound byte of Ronnie Peterson in action
from our sound gallery.

listening to a legend

Someone has passed a buck to me - it seemed like when I was assigned to cover the American blues muso, Ronnie Peterson's show at The Blues Room.

   The message came like a razor sharp command. As if a twentysomething lad knew much about blues music. The little bit of knowledge at the back of my head has it that the blues was one of the first music genres to reflect black people's experience of freedom in the United States.

Though emancipation did not bring them economic empowerment, blues music gave them the freedom to travel. Black men took to the road in search of work. The journeys made on foot and by train gave rise to the figure of the male blues singer- a black man with a guitar traveling the countryside singing about his life; this rural genre became known as country blues.

Much in the same way, The Blues Room in Village Walk Sandton, brings you a modern version of the blues from Tuesday to Saturday nights. The best international and South African bands play four Shows a night.

To reach this cozy venue you have to go down a flight of steps- inside is the basement-like room cluttered with chairs and tables. Once inside you can order from an a la carte menu. Also on offer is an extensive list of international and local wines. Reservations for dinner are strongly recommended, we were told as we were ushered to a guest table.

Before we could place an order the American blues muso, Ronnie Peterson was already strutting his stuff, doing some of the songs from his new release "Pass It On" (on sale at the Blues Room). The two dance floors which wrap around the stage on two different levels provide the audience with sufficient space to dance up a storm.

Peterson's background in this music genre goes back to when he was a teenager. Influenced by B.B. King, he started listening to King's "Live And Well" at the age of ten. At the tender age of 17 he was hired by the legendary blues singer Latimore to become his touring and recording guitarist. He spent his college days playing with the greatest names in blues and soul music, including Johnny Taylor, Tyrone Davis, and B.B.King.

His friendship with B.B.King continued and at King's Jerusalem show in 1996 he joined him in "When Love Comes To Town", the song King recorded with U2. Peterson is a skillful guitarist and vocalist who mesmerizes his audience with skills honed over many years of live and recorded performances.

International acts over the years at The Blues Room are the main attraction for the regular clientele (mostly white, middle-age audiences). The owner, an ex-New Yorker and guitarist George Worthmore, tells me that the international acts mostly offer the audience a melting pot of blues, soul, jazz and sometimes African-styled sounds.

In fact, Gito Baloi once played his hypnotic mix of African and Caribbean styles there. Though the atmosphere is upscale and adult, it is still casual and very friendly.

The Mail and Guardian
The Guide, Live Music Section
written by Phillip Kakazab