Doheny Beach Blues Festival


You didn't have to go very far to beat the 83-year-old B.B. King at his own longstanding game, and a bunch of guitar guys did just that on the second day of the Doheny Beach Blues Festival in Dana Point, Calif.

One of them was the Rolling Stone cover boy and 30-next-month prodigy Derek Trucks. He spent many minutes being prodigious, ingenious, virtuosic and deadpan before he was joined by the great Elvin Bishop for a scorching jam that put a smile on his legendary frozen puss.

This was a highlight of a day full of them.

New Orleans native Kenny Neal provided blues with a feeling, as the saying goes, to take command of his set with the Legendary Rhythm & Blues Revue. Coco Montoya, a former drummer and a protege of the late Albert Collins, poured it on with flawless execution and a rich flow of ideas.

Harp player Phillip Walker and the Hollywood Blue Flames purveyed a laid-back, 1930s and '40s feeling with no help from screechers.

Buckwheat Zydeco's band, however, was almost completely unconvincing.

That could not be said of King, of course, who has forgotten more about the blues than all of the above have known. He ladled out Southern courtesy in his endearing way, but when it came time to play his guitar, it came out fumbly and disconnected.

But as he said more than once, he's 83. (partialdiff)