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Weeklong Blues Salute Draws Greats

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SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Love is just like a faucet

It turns off and on

Sometimes when you think

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it’s on, baby

It has turned off and gone

--Lyrics by Billie Holiday

Lyrics like those from the early ‘40s classic “Fine and Mellow” epitomize what Willie Dixon calls “the wisdom of the blues”--the emotion-drenched music that confronts joy and pain with equal propensity.

“The blues are the true facts of life expressed in words and songs, with feeling and understanding,” says bassist-composer Dixon, author of such well-known songs as “The Seventh Son,” “Spoonful” and “Little Red Rooster.”

Dixon will join B.B. King, Gregg Allman, Johnny Winter and Etta James in a concert June 8 at the Pacific Amphitheatre that highlights Benson & Hedges Blues ‘91, a weeklong salute to the blues that begins next Friday.

The festival, now in its second year in Southern California, also will include six club dates, a photo exhibit, a program of film shorts, a boat cruise, a workshop demonstration and three free musical events.

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The club dates will feature singer Bobby King & Padlock on June 1 at the Mint in Los Angeles and three June 4 programs: guitarist Arthur Adams at Sausalito South in Manhattan Beach, singer Dee Dee McNeil at Cafe Lido in Newport Beach and Harmonica Fats & the Blues Players at Birdland West in Long Beach.

The blues cruise, featuring singer-guitarist Albert Collins, will be from 7:30 to 11:30 p.m. next Friday, boarding from the Catalina Cruises landing in Long Beach. The week culminates with the Pacific Amphitheatre concert. One dollar from each ticket sold to the finale will be donated to Shelter Partnership, an organization that helps the homeless.

The free outdoor concerts will include the Johnny Otis Show at 2 p.m. June 2 at the Hyatt Hotel in West Hollywood and Lowell Fulson plus the Bernie Pearl Blues Band at noon June 6 at the Tom Bradley Court of the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza. Information: (800) BLUES91.

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