Attempting to Recapture Sweet Era of the Bluesette

By Michael Olesker (The Baltimore Sun, 11/18/2005)

“…What kind of place was the Bluesette? You walked in and found yourself enveloped in sound: live rock bands playing weekends until midnight (emphatically loud music, too – loud enough that, one night, the sound broke a thick mirror) and jazz and blues until 5 in the morning. Strobe lights blinked rapidly, giving the only light in a place otherwise dark and crowded, with a dance floor 15 feet long and not much wider than a man’s height.

Urch Perch onstage at the Bluesette (photo courtesy of Don Lehnhoff)

What kind of a time was it? Kid named Wayne Parham, a guitar player, showed up one day from the D.C. suburbs, because he’d heard about this place called the Bluesette where he could play his music and maybe find a place to rent. He found Art Peyton bent over a game of chess, and asked if Peyton had a place. Peyton, who’d never seen the kid before, didn’t even look up from the chess board.

“You 18 yet?” he asked.


“`Cause I don’t want your parents showing up looking for you.”


“OK,” Peyton said, “you can sleep in the closet on the landing for $20 a month.”

Which the kid did, because it was that kind of a time, and that kind of a place. And they were all very young.

Continue reading “Attempting to Recapture Sweet Era of the Bluesette” at The Baltimore Sun.

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