This night was an Orbit Room first, since it’s the first time they’ve featured the awesome harp and vocal talents of the always entertaining and charismatic Jerome Godboo. Godboo was longtime harp player/sideman for rockabilly legend Ronnie Hawkins & The Hawks until recently, as well as front man in his own Jerome Godboo Band/The Phantoms.
Godboo recently toured the world as harp player/lead vocalist/frontman in the Jimmy Bowskill Band and is currently performing with Alec Fraser and Joe Toole in acoustic blues band Broken Joe. His Jerome Godboo Band also features the great Shawn Kellerman (Carlos Del Junco band) on guitar. (Kellerman’s own Shawn Kellerman Band was one of two bands, including guitarist David Gogo , who opened for the great B.B. King at Toronto’s Molson Amphitheatre, Aug. 31, 2005).
Godboo's also in a band with renowned guitarist Pat Rush (Jeff Healey Band; ex-James Cotton/Johnny Winter bands). Jerome & Pat have a regular stint performing some weekends with bassist Fraser at Mayday Malone's in Toronto's west end.
Godboo is a gifted and prolific artist/composer with several great albums of original compositions in various band configurations to his credit. He captured the attention of the Orbit Room attendees this night, with all eyes and ears glued to his every move and vocal/harp expression.
Godboo’s special request for rhythm section this night was the energized Reuben Cherry Blues Band (who’ve played the Orbit many times), led by lead vocalist Scott McCord. He like Jerome loves to entertain, and was right out there in the audience many times, singing out his soul ‘til it ran dry, in this very cool R&B, blues and jazz establishment. The same stage in recent times has featured the likes of the late Domenic Troiano with B-3 great Doug Riley; B-3 wonder Joey De Francesco ; James Brown’s rhythm section; keyboard wizard Brian Auger and the fabulous drummer from the Neville Brothers Band, Wee Willie Green, among others.
On another recent visit Corey Parker , drummer for legendary saxophonist Maceo Parker (James Brown/Funkadelic) was in the Orbit Room audience soaking up the cool vibes of LMT Connection featuring guitarist Leroy Emmanuel, bassist John Irvine and drummer Mark Rogers; with the Neville Bros. Wee Willie sitting in on drums for a few tunes.
This night with Godboo and the Reuben Cherry Band, the atmosphere radiated an energy that was unmistakable and drenching in its effect on the audience. Reuben Cherry winged it on Godboo standards and classic blues by Willie Dixon, Muddy Waters, etc. They backed Godboo as if they’d been at it for years. McCord’s lead vocals were hard-driving all the way; to which Godboo’s harp playing soared to new heights of bluesy creativity.
When Godboo took center stage at the Orbit to sing lead vocals on several numbers, he obviously had the crowd in the palm of his hand. This intense crowd reaction always happens wherever Godboo entertains, as this writer has seen first hand on many occasions.
Godboo’s presence as part of teenage blues guitar wunderkid Jimmy Bowskill’s blues band, is one of the main reasons the Bowskill band went over so well with audiences in blues and jazz festivals as far flung as Europe, Japan and Canada. Godboo is presently entertaining in some of the finest blues clubs and fests with his newly formed Broken Joe acoustic blues band garnering the same rave fans response as he did a few years ago, when he packed Toronto’s famed Diamond Club in his band The Phantoms. (The Diamond is now called The Phoenix, and is the historic venue where the Rolling Stones played a surprise concert in August 2005, preceding their 2005 World Tour).
It's always a great pleasure to be entertained by Jerome Godboo at the numerous venues and band configurations this writer has seen him perform at, including Toronto's Massey Hall with Rompin' Ronnie Hawkins, Levon Helm, Kris Kristofferson and guitarists Buzz Thompson and Domenic Troiano on October 4, 2002.
This night at the Orbit was no exception, and was an awesome night out with the blues, as only Jerome Godboo and Reuben Cherry can make it happen!