Bessie and the Back Eddies play Vallican Whole

Bessie and the Back Eddies will be playing the Vallican Whole Community Centre in the Slocan Valley on Saturday night.

Saxophone player Clinton Swanson is the band leader for Bessie and the Back Eddies who play Vallican Whole on Saturday.

Saxophone player Clinton Swanson is the band leader for Bessie and the Back Eddies who play Vallican Whole on Saturday.

Write this down: April 28, Vallican Whole Community Centre, bring dancing shoes!

On Saturday, Bessie and the Back Eddies, best roots and blues group at this year’s Kootenay Music Awards, will hit the stage at the Whole, get you up and dancing — and then won’t let you quit till you drop.

The doors open at 7:30 p.m., the dancing starts at 8 p.m., and it costs $12 to get in. The organizers, who have become some of the band’s biggest fans, guarantee it will be the best $12 you’ve ever spent.

Bessie and the Back Eddies are a seven-piece old-school R ‘n’ B show band that mixes style and class with more than a bit of mischief.  The elegantly powerful vocal stylings of Bessie Wapp are backed by a dynamic three-piece horn section and an all-acoustic rhythm section.  Their repertoire dips into the songbooks of Ruth Brown, Etta James, Bessie Smith, Dinah Washington, and Nina Simone. They take off from there and deliver it all, from the swing of the big band sound and the grooviness of soulful R&B to the sass of burlesque classics and the raunch of down-home blues.

This appearance at the Whole has special meaning for Bessie Wapp, “The first amplified band I ever played in was Carnival, the brainchild of Clinton Swanson, bandleader of Bessie and the Back Eddies. I can’t believe it was 20 years ago! That band was only together for the summer of ’93, but it was great and I’ll never forget the night we played the Vallican Whole.

“The place was packed and we played over three hours of music!”

There are still people around who will tell you Carnival’s appearance at the Whole was one of the finest of many amazing nights at the Kootenays’ finest dance hall.

The other members of Bessie and the Back Eddies are: Tim Bullen (trumpet), Keith Todd (trombone), Clinton Swanson (saxophones), Marvin Walker (drums), Jesse Lee (acoustic bass), and Colin Spence (piano).

This gig is a bit of a homecoming for several of these players as well. Clinton grew up in the Slocan Valley, Walker confesses he has “always loved playing at this hall,” and Lee played at the Whole with Aspen Switzer.

This is simply an event you don’t want to miss. Bring your lover, bring your friends, bring your mother.

Clinton Swanson says it all: “The Vallican Whole is like another world.  A gathering place in the middle of the woods where magic seems to happen. I have been wanting to play the Whole again for quite sometime and it has finally come together. The music always flows at the Vallican Whole.”

The Vallican Whole Community Centre is at 3762 Little Slocan River Road. For more information call 250-226-7624. To watch a promo video of Bessie and the Back Eddies: