As many of you know, H-Bomb Ferguson passed away recently. A tribute in his honor happens next week. I can’t help remembering H-Bomb and the countless times I saw him perform.
Published reports put H-Bomb at age 77 at the time of his death; I question this since I remember him as being in his 70’s a decade ago. Around this time I was still at Miami University and I trekked weekly to Clifton to see H-Bomb Ferguson play on Sundays at Cory’s on Vine Street.
Things I remember about H-Bomb Ferguson:
- H-Bomb Ferguson wore crazy wigs. Every week it would be different; sometimes he’d wear a Twisted Sister-like long blonde wig, sometimes it would be a purple Tina Turner and often it would be both, as he would change the wig at every break between sets.
- The ladies loved H-Bomb Ferguson. Not only did he have a (very) young wife, a number of women would ooh and ah at him while he played. The times I spoke with him, he was charming and kind and a wink over the shoulder was often directed my way (the first time he did this, I tripped, sending him into peals of laughter).
- There were rumors of H-Bomb Ferguson’s death for the last several years; in addition to the confusion about his actual age, he would disappear occasionally, only to resurface playing the blues in a louder and more raucous fashion than before. The rumors only added to the mystique of this immensely talented musician.
- H-Bomb Ferguson played the piano and sang the blues with a lotta heart and a lotta soul. And that, more than anything, will be his legacy.
The H-Bomb Ferguson Tribute will be held next Sunday, January 7th at the Southgate House in Newport and begins at 5 pm. Bands playing include H-Bomb's band, the Medicine Men; Uncle Russell Givens, Bo Chambers, Scoot Jacobs, Sonny Hill, Ricky Nye and many more will be honoring H-Bomb’s memory. In addition, scenes from the recent John Parker documentary on H-Bomb Ferguson will be shown as a montage during the show.
Minimum donation is $5 at the door and proceeds benefit the family of H-Bomb Ferguson. Hope to see you there.