On his own SMP (Seat of My Pants) label, Alexandria’s Wayne Kahn has released The Blues You Would Just Hate to Lose, Vol. I, a CD featuring 12 live tracks by local blues musicians performing at venues as varied as Chief Ike’s Mambo Room and Andrews Air Force Base. Kahn’s motivation for the CD is basically two-pronged: to make peace with a calling he truly loves and to bring an unappreciated blues scene to the forefront of the city’s attention.
“I went into the music business because I was starstruck, which turned out to be the wrong reason,” the 43-year-old Kahn says. “But when Lennon was shot, I backed off the industry altogether. I wasn’t finding what I really wanted.” After a lengthy period of disdain for all things musical, Kahn was lured back by the sheer power of the local blues artists. “Their talent is phenomenal, but there aren’t enough clubs for them to play in. It’s very frustrating to hear people say there isn’t a good blues scene in D.C.”
With admittedly less-than-high-tech equipment, Kahn has captured some hefty performances on Blues: Big Jesse Yawn and His Blues Men deliver a rumbling version of the Willie Dixon classic “Little Red Rooster” that slow burns into a howling finish, Robert Lighthouse funks up “Goin’ Back South” with some slick harmonica work, and the East West Blues All-Stars would make Lightnin’ Hopkins proud with a sublimely raunchy “Back Door Man.”
The Blues You Would Just Hate to Lose, Vol. I is available at Joe’s Record Paradise in Silver Spring, Md., or by contacting Kahn at 5386 Taney Ave., Alexandria, VA 22304. (703) 823-2161.
Phantasmagoria will host a CD release party Oct. 1 featuring several of the album’s artists, including Nap Turner and Big Jesse Yawn.