Blues band wraps up concert seriesPublished 11:35pm Wednesday, September 21, 2011
The last Thursday night free concert of the season, blues band Code Blue, will play from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Niles Riverfront Amphitheater.
Originally a five-piece blues band that was launched in the late 1980s, Code Blue virtually from the very start has been a featured performing act and has played most of the major blues rooms and festivals in southeast Michigan.
Featuring the voice and guitar work (lead guitar and slide) of “Little Brother Arthur David” Littsey, the band is known for its hard-driving “Chicago-influenced” style of blues. Arthur’s growl will remind listeners of either Louis Armstrong or the Howlin’ Wolf, and his guitar will either take concert-goers along the banks of the Mississippi, the cotton fields of the delta or the smoke filled barrooms of Bourbon Street.
But this band is not “Little Brother Arthur David” by himself. Much has been said and written about the dynamic rhythm section of Johnny “Ace” Adams on bass guitar and Tommy “Tomcat” Mayer on the drums. Very reminiscent of the tight sound of Stevie Ray Vaughan’s sidemen “Double Trouble” (Tommy Shannon and Chris Layton), these two provide the foundation that propels the sound of Code Blue like a train dieseling down the track.
An added treat for at any performance is Isaac “Little Top” Littsey on keyboards. Isaac is the older brother of “Little Brother” and is more or less responsible for giving Arthur his stage name.
“Little Top” follows in the tradition of another great keyboardist, namely Booker T. Jones (of the MGs). His rich Hammond organ sound clearly adds another ingredient to the mix turning it all into a rich “blues stew” that is not only tasty, but very funky too.