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Bob Flurie returns to kick off Blues Fest

June 04, 1999|By LAURA ERNDE

Bob Flurie has performed on stage with such well-known musicians as Huey Lewis, Eddie Money, Boz Skaggs and Country Joe and the Fish.

Now, he plays guitar with a band that bears his own name.

The Bob Flurie Band helped kick off the Western Maryland Blues Fest on Friday by performing a variety of blues styles, from boogie woogie to funk. The lunchtime crowd in front of the Maryland Theatre numbered more than 100.

A small gig for an artist who has played before audiences of 20,000.

Flurie, 49, was born and raised in the Baltimore area. After 22 years in the San Francisco music scene, he moved back east to Leitersburg to be with his mother.

A lifelong musician, Flurie fell easily into the California scene of the 1970s. He played bass for the psychedelic band Quicksilver Messenger Service, whose song "Mona" was recreated by Flurie's band Friday.

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Making his rounds in the California clubs, Flurie met and jammed with famous and not-so-famous musicians.

"They all live there so you're bound to cross paths," he said.

His favorite music partner was Larry "The Fish" Melton, best known for the "no rain" chant at Woodstock. Melton is now a lawyer.

When Flurie isn't on the road or recording albums, he works occasionally as a sign painter.

Even before he moved to the area a year and a half ago, Flurie began connecting with the local music scene.

He put together a band, whose members have changed over the months.

The newest member, bass player Tim Lawrence of Frederick, Md., had his first rehearsal with the group on Thursday.

Lawrence, 46, said it was easy to step into a band with such experienced musicians, including drummer Jack Harris, 44, of Shepherdstown, W.Va., and Kathleen McLaughlin, 42, of Wolfsville, Md.

"We all started when we were kids and we're all old now," Lawrence said.

Flurie said the easygoing style of the Blues Fest opener on Friday reminded him of the West Coast.

"There, this kind of stuff goes on every day," he said.

Another local band helped launch the Blues Fest on Friday.

The three members of the Rhythm Kings went to North Hagerstown High School together in the 1970s.

Guitarist Lew Palladino, 45, and bassist Bob Tantillo, 44, have played together since 1980, when they founded the Top 40 band Shooting Star.

In 1992, they gave up the steady club gigs to play the electric blues music they love.

"That's just the music I grew up enjoying," said drummer Rick Toms, 45.

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