Back in the 1980s, only a fool would have pinned Ike Turner as the half of the Ike and Tina duo who would enjoy lasting fame. Even these days it's a hard concept to swallow. But while Tina has retired after a stellar career as a rock and soul vocalist, Ike seems in no hurry to slow down; the music he puts out these days sounds like the work of a somewhat bitter old man who still knows how to rock. And that's just what you'd expect from Ike, especially since he reinvented himself as a blues great.
Despite his history of cocaine and wife abuse, Turner has some kick-ass credits to his name. As the piano player on the 1951 recording "Rocket 88," he can arguably be said to have participated in the first rock 'n' roll song. This number, along with many other standards, is featured on his May release, Here and Now. Along with his backing band, the Kings of Rhythm, Ike brings his tunes to the 15th Annual Sound Advice Blues Festival, which happens Friday through Sunday at the Fort Lauderdale Stadium Festival Grounds.
But Ike won't be the only legend moanin' the blues at the festival. John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers, among the originators of the 1960s British blues movement, will also entertain. The list of alumni of Mayall's band reads like a British blues fan's Christmas list; it includes such names as Jack Bruce, Eric Clapton, Mick Fleetwood, Peter Green, and Mick Taylor, and that touches only the ludicrously impressive surface. Old-school delta bluesmen such as Pinetop Perkins and Howlin' Wolf protégé Hubert Sumlin will also be in the lineup.
But between the graybeards is the up-and-coming crowd, including national acts such as Keb' Mo' and local bands such as Heidi and the El Cats. All of it will make for a weekend-long orgy of crying guitars and gloom-and-doom lyrics, the sort of catharsis that only the blues provides.