Blues for the Cure
Since the year 2000, the annual "Blues for the Cure" benefit concert has become a local tradition and a major fundraiser for the Susan G. Komen Foundation for breast cancer research. Now, with the release of a new "Blues for the Cure" CD, Mick Marti
Thursday, December 30, 2004
Sally Katen is one of the lucky ones. She is a breast-cancer survivor.
In September of 1999, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. It still bothers me to talk about it, but my friend, Marina Texeiria, who owns the Torch Club, brought me enchiladas and said, ‘When you get better, let’s do a benefit.’ “
Thus was born the Blues for the Cure. Sacramento blues musicians rallied around the cause, and “Blues for the Cure” was born.
MUSIC: Aaron King, “24 Hours of the Day” first verse “I don’t know why I love you, I don’t why I feel this way, but I want to love you, baby 24 hours of the day … ” fade)
Hosted by the Torch Club in Sacramento, “Blues for the Cure” was designed to showcase top Sacramento artists, while raising funds for the Komen foundation.
“The first benefit went off really well for a benefit, and we did another. Our third year, the Komen asked us to do a CD.”
And that’s when the “Blues for the Cure” really started making a difference. The 2004 CD raised $80,00.00 – all because blues musicians were willing to lend their talents. One of them. Jimmy Pailor, knows what it means to have support in a time of need. When working on his band’s equipment van, his right hand was mangled, leaving him devastated.
MUSIC: Pailor, Fratis & Taylor “Sweet Sixteen”; first solo, “Take it, Jimmy” (use guitar solo as bed and fade)
“I had that situation with my hand where I got that infection. Sacramento totally came together and helped me out with money to live on while I was in the hospital. Being a guitar player, having your hand all sewed up is an impossible task to work, and we don’t make money when we not working. They had three benefits for me and raised thousands of dollars.”
Pailor sees the Blues for the Cure as a way of giving back what Sacramento gave to him.
“It’s more money than I would make at any gig that I play, and it makes me feel like I’ve done this big deal. It makes me know when I lie down at night that I’m in the right business.”
The Blues for the Cure may seem like an oxymoron, but, according to Jan Kelly, another cancer survivor and a past president of the Sacramento Blues Society, it’s quite the opposite.
“I think people that don’t know the blues think it makes you sad. For me, this has uplifted me and made me feel good. And, as I was going through my cancer treatments, I even took CDs with me to listen to them while I was going through the radiation. The music itself is just very uplifting and joyous.”
MUSIC: Mick Martin/Blues Rockers/Dana Moret “Way Down South”
So every year blues fans, musician and cancer survivors get together and celebrate the fact that so much has changed in the last 15 years. As Sally J. Katen says, it used to be a death sentence.
“We’ve come so far in finding a cure. Early detection is the key. You find a lump, go get it taken care of. It may be nothing. But don’t let it go. Early detection will save your life.”
Sally Katen is busy planning next year’s benefit concert. Meanwhile, The Blues for the Cure Vol. 3 CD is available now in stores or through www.bluesforthecure.com.