February 21, 2024
Ice Cream Men – Live@Jimmy’s Woodlawn Tap

ICE Cream Men – Live@Jimmy’s Woolawn Tap 

Drummer’s Mix Label

no web site provided

6 tracks – 41 Minutes

Dave Waldman, the leader of the Ice Cream Men, has a long and distinguished career. He grew up in New York and started playing the harmonica as a young teen. He moved to Chicago in 1976 and luck jumped him into the blues scene when he happened to be in the audience when Louis Myers’ band failed to show for a performance. Dave was invited to the stage to play with Louis. In 1980, Dave started playing with Taildragger and Big Smokey Smothers. The backup band for Big Smokey consisting of Dave, Steve Cushing on drums, and Illinois Slim on guitar called themselves the Ice Cream Men.

Dave’s career continued to flourish as he got to tour and record with a vast array of noted musicians including Jimmy Rogers, Wild Child Butler, and Bob Stroger among others. He was also a member of the Legendary Blues band in the 1980’s, who at that time consisted of Billy Flynn and Little Smokey Smothers on guitar, Willie Smith on drums and Calvin Jones on bass. He later played with Billy Flynn’s band on many occasions. In addition to playing the music, he also ran a Chicago blues radio show.

As mentioned above, Steve Cushing also played drums with Big Smokey. He and Dave had regular club gigs in Chicago performing with Big Wheeler. The Ice Cream Men mix provided here was produced by Steve. It was recorded on January 13, 2008, at Jimmy’s Woodlawn Tap. Jimmy’s is noted as having close ties to the University of Chicago. The remainder of the band that played at this show includes Willie Greeson on guitar, who also had a stint in the Legendary Blues Band and Jim Murphy on bass and guitar.

The songs on the album are mostly instrumental opening with “Waldman Shuffle”. “Last Rites” quickly establishes a somber tone with Dave’s harp leading the way. Next “Sensation Meets Mojo” kicks up the heat as the guitar and drums kick into high gear.  A cover of Willie Dixon’s “I Can’t Quit You” does feature a vocal, but it is mixed well behind the instrumentals to the point of almost being inconsequential. “Willie’s Blues” obviously is Greeson’s song primarily featuring his guitar in a slow blues. The album ends with “Warm Up” with Dave’s harp again in the lead.

The album probably holds some historical importance with people who have previously heard the band or frequented Jimmy’s Tap Room. The recording is fairly low grade with the sounds of people talking in the background on some songs, and as might be expected for something called the drummer’s mix, the mix puts the drums in the forefront of most songs.

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