Thursday, October 25, 2012
Homer Simpson once asked, “Is it Bacon Day?”
Saturday the answer to Homer’s question is a big fat yes thanks to the inaugural Monterey Bay Bacon, Blues & Brews Festival at the Fairgrounds. As pork fanatics and foodies alike discover bacon is tasty with anything, from decadent chocolate to sweet and savory peanut butter and jelly to creamy lobster salad, Les Dudek and his guitar chops will show similar range.
Dudek has meshed impressively with just about every musician he’s accompanied through his four-decade career. The guitar phenom was only 21 when he was invited to play with the Allman Brothers on recordings of “Jessica” and “Ramblin’ Man,” the biggest hits on the classic Brothers & Sisters. Dudek says he co-wrote “Jessica” – the bridge section – but never got credit, adding he believes his talent threatened the Allmans’ lead guitarist Dickey Betts and that’s the main reason he wasn’t asked to join the band permanently. But Dudek didn’t have much trouble finding steady work: He contributed to four Steve Miller Band albums – including the seminal Fly Like an Eagle – and toured extensively with them. Dudek worked with everyone from Cher to Boz Scaggs to Stevie Nicks and was even invited to be a member of the original incarnation of Journey – but on the same day, the president and vice president of Columbia Records offered him a solo record deal (with Scaggs attached). Dudek jumped on the latter.
“It was a Cinderella story,” he says.
He concedes he sometimes ponders what may have been if he took one of the alternate forks in the road but ultimately, he has no regrets as long as he’s able to continue to make his guitar sing.
Dudek’s solo career never brought him near the fame of the folks he’s worked with, but he did score a couple radio hits in the ’70s. The highly produced “City Magic” rides a wave of Doobie Brothers funk alongside southern rock colored by Dudek’s Allman Brothers-seasoned guitar solo. “Old Judge Jones” is also saturated in southern rock but adds rootsy electric blues.
In February, Dudek will head to Japan for the release of Delta Breeze, his first album in nearly a decade.
“I’m not going to pin blues or jazz or Cajun or southern rock to it,” Dudek says of the album. “It’s all of those things: a delta breeze.”
It’s also much simpler than his previous work and not over-produced; it’s merely guitar, bass, drums and vocals.
“I can hear places where keyboards might be cool but I’m keeping it raw like early Zeppelin,” Dudek says.
In addition to Dudek, innovative guitarist Volker Strifler, harmonica demigod Harpin’ Jonny and zydeco-blues-Americana outfit the Pete Contino Band, will provide music that sizzles like… bacon. The Turf Club after party will feature the Memphis soul of Rollin & Tumblin followed by a mystery jam session.
MONTEREY BAY BACON, BLUES & BREWS happens noon-6pm (after party 6-9pm) Saturday, Oct. 27, at the Monterey County Fairgrounds, 2004 Fairgrounds Road., Monterey. $40 advance; $50 door; $75 VIP advance; $85 door: $10 after party. 855-237-3362, www.TicketDerby.com