Goin' Fishin'

Arizona's tight-knit blues community is about to lose its longtime ambassador, Big Pete Pearson

He says younger blues bands are "not working at some of the bigger and well-known named clubs like the Rhythm Room, Char's or the Melody Lounge. I think it's because some club owners won't let these bands in because they don't think they're big enough to hold a good crowd. Well, they gotta let them start somewhere. This is the way I got started. Nobody knew what I was gonna be able to do when I started until I did it. Some of these blues bands need a chance to be heard.

"If they can't do it, then pull them back. But don't cut them short."

Valley music fans have a chance to see Big Pete Pearson for a few more months.

They might encounter him standing outside a club, his light-blue eyes closed, head bobbing, and waist gyrating, as he waits to be called to the stage.

Or they may see Liberdy, a bartender at the Rhythm Room, pour him another snifter of Christian Brothers.

Perhaps they'll watch him sit and talk with a young woman in a little black dress, or sway on the dance floor to the sound of the Blues Sevilles.

But after the first weekend in May, the stage will be silent and Big Pete will be gone fishin'.

"I don't want to see him stop. But I'm being selfish," says Ken Cahill, a co-owner of the Rhythm Room.

"He will be retiring in his mind, but somewhere, sometime, he will sing again," W.C. Clark predicts.

Dale Baich is a Phoenix attorney and student of the blues. Contact him at dalebaich@aol.com

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