The Night I Chose To See Don Bryant over Santana AND Earth, Wind and Fire.

“Hey, Evan…you want to go see Santana and Earth, Wind & Fire on August 13th?” my concert-loving buddy Howie asked.
Now those are two of my all-time favorite acts. They’re music gods to me. And on any given night, I’d leap at the chance to see either. And together, that was an almost unbeatable package.
But it took me all of maybe three seconds to say, “Nah, man, Don Bryant’s in town.”
Shocked, he responded with an incredulous, “WHO’S Don Bryant!?”
Now those who appreciate that pure old-school Memphis R&B know that Don Bryant is the very, very real deal.
And I “had some of his stuff” from Hi Records, the label Al Green with producer Willie Mitchell made famous. Greats like Syl Johnson and Bryant were recording amazing material on Hi, but kind of got lost in the shuffle when Al exploded in the ’70s. Bryant became a prolific songwriter, penning Ann Peebles’ classic, “I Can’t Stand the Rain.”
So yeah, I knew the man’s mighty impressive resume, and my decision process went something like this-.
One, the man rarely plays NYC, and EWF and Carlos are in town, oh, like every summer EVER. I’ve probably seen Earth, Wind, and Fire fifteen times, going back to the Maurice White days.
And Don Bryant’s 80- it’s not like you go, “Catch him next time…”
So I was a happy fellow heading down to the Blues BBQ down at lovely Pier 76 in Manhattan.
And looking back the next morning, I sure don’t regret it.
Bryant came out like he was on a mission. With a truly great horn-driven backup band, the Memphis-based soul homage outfit the Bo-Keys, he just KILLED. It was nearly 90 minutes of blissful soul music with a charming, gracious showman in great voice; there wasn’t a clunker in the set.
His cover of OV Wright’s immortal Nickel and a Nail was glorious. Just glorious.
The standing ovation was more than earned, and I realized I made the right decision.
No regrets whatsoever.
See you next summer, Phillip Bailey and Carlos, but last night belonged to Mr. Don Bryant.

This and that:

Don Bryant A Nickel and a Nail full band:
Don Bryand acoustic A Nickel and a Nail

Dropping tonight on Wrestling and Everything, Coast to Coast- wrestling historian Darla Staggs and wrestling journalist Jonathan Lyon Schwartz in a Judo Gene LeBell tribute. Co-host Dr. Mike Lano was friends with Gene and will add a lot of insight to his life.

Evan Ginzburg is the Senior Editor for Pro Wrestling Stories and a contributing writer since 2017. He’s a published author and was an Associate Producer on the Oscar-nominated movie “The Wrestler” and acclaimed wrestling documentary “350 Days.” He is a 30-plus-year film, radio, and TV veteran and a voice-over actor on the radio drama Kings of the Ring. He can be reached on Twitter @evan_ginzburg or by e-mail at [email protected].

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