Cletus Black Revue in Concert

Posted: July 23, 2010 in In Concert, Music
Tags: , , , ,

The summer months in Cleveland present the opportunity to take in a concert or two in an outdoor setting. That was the plan for Sunday Night, June 27, 2010, when Cleveland folk-rock singer-songwriter Cletus Black was to take to the stage for a concert on the Mill Creek Falls gazebo stage in Cleveland……….but Mother Nature didn’t cooperate. So to keep the audience (and the band) dry, the concert was moved one hundred feet indoors inside the Slavic Village Neighborhood History Center. Although the outdoor gazebo was designed and built to accommodate the use of electricity, the “History Center” is too small for music amplifiers. The band changed instruments and downsized from a five-piece band with electric guitar and bass to a quartet with Cletus Black on vocals and acoustic guitar, Kevin McCarthy on background vocals and (for this situation) percussion, Dave Morrison on harmonica and background vocals, and Rod Reisman on drums.

Cletus Black is known in the city of Cleveland for his mix of folk, rock and blues in his musical blend. In fact, he is currently promoting his newly released CD entitled One More Card to Play.

One More Card To Play follows in line with Black’s previous releases in that many of the songs on the new album are actually stories set to music. It’s the little moments in life that most of us take for granted that Black seems to put into song: falling in love (“Baby Hi”), falling out of love (“I Find You Gone”), being pushed too far (“One More Card To Play”). One of the songs included on this release (“Straight to Baton Rouge”) is actually the continuation of another one of Black’s songs,  “Creole Witch,” which appeared on his Black Ice CD from 2001. It was even during the performance that Cletus Black and the rest of The Revue did something they had not done until that particular performance- they played “Creole Witch” and “Straight to Baton Rouge” back-to-back in order to tell both parts of the story at one time.

For the concert, the new release of One More Card to Play happened to be a large part of the playlist. Along with “Straight to Baton Rouge,” some of the other album tracks that were played included: “Baby Hi,” “Hold on Tight,” “Love Is On the Fade,” “Behind the Ritual,” the album’s title track of “One More Card to Play,” and a song that turned out to be very apropos to the evening’s setting- “Don’t Push the River,” as we happened to be only a few hundred feet away from the tallest waterfall in the entire area of Cuyahoga County.

While the band The Cletus Black Revue is named after Black, the other musicians involved with the outfit are all fine musicians in their own rights. That’s why after leading the group for over an hour, Cletus stepped aside to allow Kevin McCarthy (usually the lead guitarist) and harmonica player Dave Morrison to have their own time in the spotlight.

With the special circumstances that the audience was under, the concert ended up being very heavy on the original material that night. However, there were times when the band chose to stray from the original material and went with a cover tune or two. During the show, the band played a Robert Johnson song; and for one of the last songs of the night, the band launched into a version of the Johnny Cash song “Ring of Fire”. “Ring of Fire” was the one chance for the evening when the audience was able to sing along with the music, especially since the majority of the songs were unknown to the intimate crowd that was there to enjoy the night of music.

While it would have been nice to hear the electrified folk-rock that the band is used to playing in concert, the change of venues from the outdoor gazebo to the “History Center” made the makeshift acoustic concert that much more enjoyable. Plus, the situation gave several concertgoers even more incentive to purchase music from the band so they could hear what the band would have sounded like had the weather been more cooperative. Sometimes, however, bad weather can be a blessing in disguise.

Cletus Black is currently promoting his 2010 release One More Card to Play. Along with this new CD, the singer-songwriter has a whole library of music to choose from, including his 1999 self-titled disc, possibly the strongest disc in the collection.

To learn more about Cletus Black and his music, check out his website at You can also find him on MySpace at

  1. Cletus Black says:

    Just discovered the review. It turned out to be a very special night for us. One we will remember for a long time. Glad you could be there to share it with us. And thank you for writing about it. Very nice!

    Cletus Black

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