Like many, I was introduced to the Florida Bluesman through the first “Live at Margaritaville Cafe” recording in the early 90s. Back then he was working with his backing band, The Ingredients. Their two cuts on the album were easily my favorites.
Fans know he was the inspiration for Jimmy Buffet’s “I Will Play for Gumbo,” specifically the verse:
“The sauce boss does his cookin' on the stage,
Stirrin' and a singing for his nightly wage.
Sweating and frettin' from his head to his toe,
Playin' and swayin' with the gumbo
Prayin' and buffetin' with the gumbo”
The key ingredient to a Sauce Boss show, besides the blistering music, is the pot of gumbo he cooks on the stage while playing. Everyone gets to share in the goodness at the end of the night. He has gone on to establish a charity called Planet Gumbo to play shelters and feed the homeless. Good stuff.
Over the years, I would follow his blog and get his newsletters. A travelogue of places played, good eats, and recipes to try at home. About once, maybe twice a year he would come up out of Florida and play somewhere near where I was living, but for a variety of reasons I was never able to get to a live show until last night.
What a blast: Recordings don’t do him justice. Amazing guitar player and showman. He’s in a one man band setting now, so equally impressive is his percussion work. I spent most of the night with a big smile on my face, just rolling with the blues.
And what a gracious man off the stage as well, as he made the rounds thanking everyone for coming, posed for pictures and signed merch.
I wish my Dad, himself a guitarist, could have been there to appreciate him. It’s his fault I’m into this kind of music. As it was, he was studying the pictures I sent him and asking about playing style. He’s moving to Florida in the spring, so I gave him the same advice I’ll give you. If you have a chance to see the Sauce Boss: Do.