For years, until the pandemic shut everything down, the weekly shows hosted at the Odyssey East by bassist Joe Pratt and his Source One Band made the cozy venue one of the most important remaining strongholds of blues and soul-blues on the south side. Pratt’s resume includes stints with the likes of Artie “Blues Boy” White, Otis Clay, and Johnnie Taylor, and his bandmates include keyboardist Stan “Preacherman” Banks (who formerly played with blues legend Koko Taylor) and drummer Lew Powell (who currently plays with R&B singer Benny Latimore). At this show, they’ll lead a musical tribute to Sir Walter Scott, the Source One Band’s lead guitarist, who passed away last year. A member of one of the most important families in Chicago soul and R&B, Scott began his career during the doo-wop era; along with his brother Howard, he led some of the city’s finest show bands, most notably the World Band, who backed virtually every blues and soul-blues vocalist to appear in major south-side venues from the 1960s till the ’90s (and accompanied many of them on the road). Scott also became a first-call session man, appearing on myriad soul and R&B recordings. Over the decades, he worked with luminaries such as Bobby “Blue” Bland, the Manhattans, the Jackson 5, Natalie Cole, the Dells, Ike & Tina Turner, the O’Jays, Denise La Salle, Tyrone Davis, and the Chi-Lites (for whom he served as musical director).
The featured vocalists at this tribute will be New Orleans Beau and Honeydew, two of Chicago’s premier soul-blues stylists. As if to acknowledge Scott’s irreplaceability, two guitarists will join the group for the night: Randell Mathews (formerly of the Albert King band) and Lee Holloway. The list of guest performers is subject to change, but among those confirmed according to Pratt are emcee Mr. Lee Kirksy & Company, guitarist Max Valldeneu (World Band, Platinum), and a whole raft of singers: Marshall Thompson (founding member and former leader of the Chi-Lites), Gurtha Scott (Sir Walter’s niece), Vickie Baker, Louisiana Al, Joe Barr, Randy Johnson, and Jesi Terrell (formerly of the World Band and now a rising star in contemporary southern soul-blues). Howard Scott will be in attendance, and the Source One Band will honor his and Thompson’s musical legacies during their set. The evening also includes a special tribute to Sir Walter from PUBLIC i, who are returning to Chicago for the occasion; they currently work as a show band in Las Vegas, but Pratt has played with them for more than three decades. This is a free outdoor event with catering from Shirley Scott, who’s married to Howard. You’re welcome to bring your own chair, but no coolers are allowed–the bar will be open for drink service. v