Poluck pens ‘nice tribute’ to blues singer

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Drummer Sam Carr, Joel Poluck and Floyd Lee. SUPPLIED

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Joel Poluck has written the closing chapter of his expertise with the person who referred to as himself the last of the real Mississippi bluesmen.

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The Sault Ste. Marie native spent more than a decade playing with Floyd Lee in New York City and touring the United States and Europe. Poluck performed rhythm and lead guitar.

The Bawating Collegiate and Vocational School graduate recorded 4 albums with Lee as part of His Mean Blues Band. Lee died in 2020. He was 86.

“Floyd had a fantastic voice, a cool man, a great character, a lot of vitality,” stated Poluck. “He was enjoying the kind of blues that I appreciated, a tough avenue model of (American blues musician) Jimmy Reed style. Very primary, however very highly effective.”

When Lee died, Poluck considered his musical associate “and everything that we did collectively and our music.”

Poluck compiled lyrics of songs he wrote for Lee, posters and poems in his new guide, Songs for Floyd: Blues Poems and Other Things. He launches his title, and companion CD at The Artesian, 514 Queen St. E., on Thursday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

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Lee recorded about three dozen songs Poluck wrote together with the instrumental P-Patch Blues, a nod to the neighbourhood he grew up in, Devil at Your Doorstep, Mean Blues and the last single Lee did, Jaws of the Black Dog. Plenty more, similar to It Ain’t Right, 34th Street Station Blues and No Heroes Welcome, never received reduce.

“I don’t assume he cared about a music profession,” stated Poluck. “He simply loved playing and singing. His focus wasn’t being a big name in the industry, however he was gifted enough that he became a big name within the business.”

He played with Lee “top to bottom” in New York City, with performances on streets and practice stations, together with Penn Station and Grand Central Station, outside Radio City Music Hall and beneath Madison Square Garden.

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“It was at all times a unique scene, a different crowd,” stated Poluck. “You could possibly be enjoying to 3 individuals or you could be playing to 200 folks. It was at all times something different and you’re not on the mercy of a bar proprietor and their guidelines and regulations. It was extra freedom to play within the streets.”

Out-of-town gigs cropped up when Lee recorded 4 albums (Mean Blues, Full Moon Lightnin’, Ain’t Done Nothing Wrong, Doctors, Devils & Drugs on Poluck’s Amogla Records. That’s Algoma backwards. The label’s logo relies on a wolf his grandfather, Art Luxton, did for Wolf Week that was organized by Sault Star writer J.W. Curran in 1932. Mean Blues came out circa the 9/11 attack that felled the World Trade Center in the Big Apple.

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“We wanted to get out-of-town,” mentioned Poluck. “The timing to get out was excellent.” Concert dates included appearances in Arkansas, Mississippi, Illinois, Ohio, Maryland, France and Switzerland.

“We had fun and made some good music,” mentioned Poluck. “We’re gone, but the music’s still going. The music’s still there. It doesn’t go away. For some cause, the music’s all the time there being played. There’s no promotion with it, however it’s just caught on and saved going and rising. Now it’s performed more than once we were taking part in.”

Floyd Lee & His Mean Blues Band has its personal channel on YouTube.

Walter Trout (Canned Heat, John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers) included Red Sun, a music Poluck wrote for Lee, on his 2019 album, Survivor Blues. The disc was recorded in the studio of Robbie Krieger, former guitarist of The Doors.

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Poluck started taking part in acoustic guitar when he was in Grade 8 at St. Bernadette. He had his own electric guitar when he was 17 and played at Sault venues including Eastgate Hotel and Centennial Bowling Lanes. Poluck studied music in Los Angeles and took in shows by blues greats together with B.B. King, Buddy Guy, Otis Rush, Jr., and Charles Brown.

“A lot of different players that are inspiring to play,” stated Poluck of his live performance experiences in the City of Angels. By the time he met Lee he was “pretty immersed in that style of music.”

Songs for Floyd and CD prices $40. Hardcover and e-book versions can be found on amazon.ca. Poluck calls his first revealed effort “a good tribute to Floyd and of our friendship and what we did collectively.

“It’s one thing gentle,” he said. “I didn’t wish to write a tell-all tale of all our adventures. That’s slightly a lot.”

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On Twitter: @Saultreporter

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