Despite fences, the show will go on

-A A +A

The Los Alamos County Summer Concert Series will continue Friday, although construction around Ashley Pond is underway. Lightnin’ Malcolm starts at 7 p.m. The stage is set up on the grassy area on the west side where the old municipal building stood.
“Delta Blues goes back to the origins of the blues and Lightnin’ Malcolm one of the future greats, a man that understands, respects and loves the genre,” Organizer Russ Gordon said.
Malcolm has been touring the country since his late teens. He has said “music has been on my mind since six or seven, but it took until my teen years to start getting around on my own, and you know, put it into action. I played mostly solo then, singing, playing guitar and kick and snare drums with my feet as a one man band.”
Lightning Malcolm was born in Mississippi, grew up in Missouri and made it back and lives in the Delta.
Malcolm has played with some of the greatest of the Delta singers. He toured with R.L. Burnside. “He played Los Alamos a few years ago with R.L.’s grandson, Cedric. That was a great fundraiser concert for the series that we had at the Blue Window, a fantastic show,” Gordon said.
He also toured with Muddy Waters’ band members such as Hubert Sumlin and Honeyboy Edwards as well Mississippi legends, T-Model Ford (Ford’s grandson, Stud will accompany him Friday on drums), Otha Turner, Jessie May Hemphill, Paul Wine Jones and others.
“Someday, remind me to talk about the outrageous concert we had when T-Model Ford and Paul Wine Jones played Mari-Mac shopping center,” Gordon added. “To this day, I believe that T-Model Ford is probably the only person to play our stage that committed a murder.”
“Lightnin’ Malcolm has played thousands of gigs at the best and the funkiest of America’s juke joints. He talks about how he’d walk in and everybody would be dancing to Al Green, or some other fabulous Memphis area soulman on the jukebox. The bartender would shut off Al Green and send up our man. This was how he was making his living,” Gordon said.
“Failure wasn’t an option you had to win them over with the first song, or you wasn’t gonna get another try! Guitar solos weren’t important but bass lines and rhythm was mandatory for the dancers, and you had to sing with everything you got and once you won them over you was bout to have the greatest night of your life!” Malcolm recalled.
This Delta style of blues music has been popularized by Junior Kimbrough, Mississippi Fred McDowell, Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, John Lee Hooker, Son House, Ledbelly, Charley Patton and Robert Johnson (Johnson was killed by a lover’s jealous husband). Some of the people that are keeping this sound in our lives include the Black Keys, Jack Black of the White Stripes, the North Mississippi All Stars, the Kimbrough family, the Burnside family and Lightnin’ Malcolm. “Malcolm is also touring these days with the No. Miss. Allstars, a great band if you love the very popular Black Keys,” Gordon said.
Mississippi Delta blues artists were a major influence on the British Invasion of the 1960’s. This Invasion led to the birth of early hard rock.
“Listen to Junior Kimbrough play “All Night Long” on youtube and you’ll surely understand what Led Zeppelin was listening to before they got their airplay,” Gordon said. “Listen to Lightnin’ this Friday night, close your eyes and you’ll think you’re listening to a five or six piece band with Lightnin’ playing lead and rhythm guitar, bass and percussion and Stud on the drum kit.”
They’ll be playing Mississippi Hill Country and Delta blues fused with modern funk, reggae, soul and rock.
To see these bands, check out youtube.com. To see more of Lightnin’ Malcolm, visit lightninmalcolm.net, and gordonssummerconcerts.com.
On June 21, the concert series will be performed at Pajarito Mountain Ski area with another Mississippi blues band, the incomparable, Homemade Jamz’ Blues Band for Pajarito Ski Hill Night. Visit
On June 28, the concert returns to Ashley Pond with the Nashville rock band, SIMO. These guys remind me of the 60’s and 70’s bands like Cream, The Who and Hendrix meeting the same as mentioned above, Black Keys and White Stripes. This will be Los Alamos Monitor 50th Anniversary Night. Visit
simotheband.bandcamp.com and on youtube.