Live from Boulevard Music: Bernie Pearl - Somebody Got to Do It!
Bernie Pearl's second solo CD Somebody Got To Do It! finds the blues guitarist returning for another live acoustic set recorded at Boulevard Music in Culver City, California. Taught by the blues masters themselves - Mississippi Fred MacDowell, Mance Lipscomb, Lightnin' Hopkins - when you listen to Bernie play you know you are hearing the musicians' personal music stamps intertwined with his unique picking style and warm singing voice. As Bernie says, I learned it from sitting next to Lightnin' Hopkins and I know how it's supposed to feel." But ask him to categorize his style of blues and he will say, My acoustic playing reflects the amplified, and my electric style reflects the acoustic country blues. I don't know how to describe it because I learned from everyone."
On Somebody Got To Do It! Bernie covers: Albert King's Laundromat Blues," Mississippi Fred MacDowell's 61 Highway," Write Me A Few Lines," and I Believe I'll Carry My Hook," Eddie Boyd's Five Long Years," Mance Lipscomb's Bumble Bee" and Rocks and Gravel Boogie." Also included is Bernie's own Blues For Lightnin'" an improvisation evoking Hopkins' haunting Texas blues.
This CD follows his 2002 release Live From Boulevard Music. Fans may also remember Bernie from his work with Harmonica Fats: Blow Fat Daddy, Blow (released and nominated for a Handy in 1997), Two Heads Are Better (released and nominated for a Handy in 1995), I Had To Get Nasty and the 1990 Live At Cafe Lido with a guest appearance by Papa John Creach. Bernie is also noted for producing Papa John Creach's last album Papa Blues as well as backing the musician on the recording.
In 1958 Bernie's brother Ed opened a coffeehouse/gallery/folk music center" in Los Angeles called the Ash Grove that ran for 15 years and hosted country and folk artists, such as Doc Watson and Tom Ashley, Bill Monroe, Maybelle Carter, Flatt & Scruggs and the Stanley Bros. But, the blues was the club's mainstay. It was Bernie's job to chauffer the artists around town before and after the shows and he took lessons from the blues greats, learning about the genre in their personal conversations as well as through their music. The first bluesman I saw at the club was 'Lone Cat' Jesse Fuller. I studied with Brownie McGhee, with Sonny Terry quietly riffing nearby. I got to meet and play with Lightnin' Hopkins, Mance Lipscomb, Fred MacDowell and a host of others. When Big Mama Thornton fired her guitarist on opening night, I got the gig." At the Ash Grove he also led bands behind J.B. Hutto, Johnny Shines & Walter Horton, Koko Taylor, and Freddie King and got to know and work with great L.A. bluesmen George Harmonica" Smith, Pee Wee Crayton, Eddie Cleanhead" Vinson, Lowell Fulson and Big Joe Turner, among others. Bernie booked Howlin' Wolf, Albert Collins, and Albert King in their Los Angeles debuts.
Bernie took his blues knowledge to the airwaves originating the Nothin' But The Blues show on KPPC in 1968 and was L.A.'s first all blues DJ on FM radio. When he went to work at KLON (now KKJZ) in 1980, Bernie suggested a family style blues festival. As director and booker Bernie played a major role in founding the first KLON Blues & Gospel Festival, now known as the Long Beach Blues Festival. Bernie continued to book the festival until 1990 (with the exception of 1985 - 86) and won a Handy in 1987 as Blues Producer of the Year in part for his production of the Long Beach Blues Festival that same year and numerous other local shows.
Bernie Pearl is playing regular shows in Los Angeles including hosting the Monday Night Blues Jam at M'Dears on Western Avenue. He will record a studio album in 2008.