Last week, Dr. Lauren Onkey, Vice President of Education here at the Museum, and I traveled to New Orleans to meet with the mythical “Dr. Ike” to discuss this year’s Ponderosa Stomp. This outrageous series of shows will take place in late September at the House of Blues. Once again, this line-up is a music lover’s fantasy featuring Hall of Famer, Duane Eddy. I urge everyone to go to www.ponderosastomp.com and see the incredible list of who will be there. The Museum is proud of its long sponsorship and involvement with this unique celebration of the “lost history” of this music we call rock and roll.
Ira Padnos, a.k.a. Dr. Ike, is the architect of this extravaganza and is my kind of fanatic. Towards that end, Lauren and I were lucky enough to cap off an evening listening to some of Ike’s incredibly rare blues 78s in an unparalleled New Orleans environment surrounded by Sam Padnos’ fabulous art (Ira’s wife) and a lot of wacky Mardi Gras paraphernalia.
I should add that this night started with a wonderful dinner with Hall of Fame Inductee Dave Bartholomew, and his son, Ron. Like so many, Dave Bartholomew was a victim of Katrina and left New Orleans for a time. I’m happy to report that he is back living in the Big Easy.
What a delight it was to be with Dave and hear so many of the stories from one of the great composers, arrangers, and performers of the rock and roll era. Naturally, we discussed future programs and events here in Cleveland involving this legend who was featured in the last episode of the new hit series, Treme, which is set and filmed in New Orleans.
The next day was another one for the books. Lauren and I were literally “Going to the River” and then across it (a foreshadowing of who we were on our way to see.) After a short drive, we were at the new home of Antoine “Fats” Domino, one of the true pioneers of rhythm and blues and rock and roll….and an inductee in the first class of 1986.
As we all know, Mr. Domino was unfortunately front and center during the Katrina crisis, having lost his home and the majority of his possessions. Having said that, it was fabulous to see him situated in his new digs with many of his gold records and other awards having been replaced.
His lovely daughter, Adonica, was such a gracious host for our visit. We had sandwiches and Cokes with her Dad, who looked terrific. Antoine talked about his remembrances of Cleveland, the clubs he played here and Alan Freed. It truly was a thrill for Lauren and I to chat and laugh with the man who so impacted the world with his music and was there when it all started. Again, we discussed possible ways to collaborate on future projects, so keep your fingers crossed.