Macon blues legend returns to the Grey

MusicFile Productions and Savannah Stopover recently announced that Blues legend Robert Lee Coleman will return to Savannah. He will perform Saturday, Nov. 14 as part of the Stopover In the Yard Series at The Grey. This will be the sixth concert since the series began in June. Coleman recently played Revival Fest in Savannah Sept. 12.

As a member of James Brown’s legendary band, The J.B.’s, Coleman played with the Godfather of Soul from 1970-1973.

“If you were playing good, he would tell you that,” recalls Coleman. “If you played bad, he would fine you first, and then if you didn’t straighten up, he would send you home. That’s the kind of guy he was.”

A lifelong resident of Macon, Georgia, Coleman joined Brown’s band following a six-year stint with R&B great Percy Sledge. Playing a Gibson Firebird, the guitarist put his stamp on such tracks as “Revolution of the Mind,” “Make It Funky” and, most notably, “Hot Pants,” for which he came up with the signature riff.  Coleman returned to his hometown after leaving Brown and settled into a life of playing local gigs and painting houses to pay the bills.

Thanks in part to the Music Maker Relief Foundation, 70-year-old Coleman is currently enjoying a resurgence of sorts. Besides performing the occasional show, he has recorded an electric blues CD, “One More Mile,” that is split evenly between original songs and cover tunes.

“We cut ten songs in one night, and all but two were done first-take,” he said. “The engineer says we broke a record.”

Doors open at noon Nov. 14. First-come-first-served tickets are available for $21 the day of the show. Tickets include southern fare prepared on the outdoor grill by Chef Mashama Bailey and a choice of beer, wine or Chatham Artillery Punch. More information will be posted on the Facebook page for the Stopover in The Yard series.

The Grey is located at 109 Martin Luther King Blvd, Savannah.