Walter “Wolfman” Washington turns 73 on December 21, so that means it’s time for the Maple Leaf’s annual Birthday Bash.
Slated for Saturday, December 17, the 11pm show will feature a performance from Walter “Wolfman” Washington with special guests Ivan Neville, Stanton Moore, Cristian Duque and more. The night will celebrate the music of the blues and R&B guitar master, who has been a fixture on the New Orleans music scene since he began playing with Lee Dorsey as a teenager.
“During the Dew Drop (Inn) days, you only had to go two, three blocks, you’d find four people who had three big hits,” Washington recalled for a 2013 OffBeat feature. “You could walk down the street anywhere and hear music: more guitar players in certain neighborhoods, and more horn players in others, but music everywhere. You could sit in a club, they wouldn’t even have to be playing and you would know they were musicians by the way they conversate. You’d have to go in them clubs, battle with different musicians—that’s how you get recognition. And still you could walk down the street with your instrument and them cats would come up to you and say, ‘Let me show you how to play that.’ They’d teach you things. Thank God I caught on the tail end of that era…”
The Wolfman may be a living legend, but he won’t be the only person with a birthday party at the Maple Leaf on Saturday. The venue will also host a celebration for iconic pianist James Booker, who would have turned 77 this weekend (Booker passed away in 1983). As previously reported, that show will kick off at 7pm and last until 9pm.