Updated: Jun 9
I was brought to Russia by a club named Sinatra. They needed a residential singer of House music. So they flew me to Russia, from California. I signed a six month contract with the club. But Sinatra went out of business before my contract expired...Russian Style.
Russian style means there was no warning of the club was closing. Everyone just showed up to work, and the doors were chained and locked. The chef, waitresses, Go-Go dancers, etc stood in front of the building, stunned. A week earlier, I had walked out because the club owed me a couple of weeks pay. I was told to come back in a week, and everything would be settled. My driver (Sinatra provided me with a driver and apartment) picked me up, and we headed to work. When we got there, everyone was standing outside. The owner´s phone was shut off, and there was nothing we could do. Sinatra owed me pay, and my landlord had just informed me that they had stopped paying my rent a month earlier.
Of course, I had given up my apartment in California, as well as all of my furniture. Since I had several more weeks left on my visa, I decided to find a job at another club. But NO ONE would allow me to preform. I was an alien to them at the time. No one had Black, American singers working at their night clubs. And the clubs werent willing to take a chance on me. To this day, I am still the ONLY American singer living in Moscow.
Feeling exasperated from being rejected by the night clubs, I decided to search for Blues clubs. Though I was an odd duck in Moscow, I knew Blues clubs would be more open to me because The Blues is "Black people´s" music. I googled "Blues Clubs in Moscow", and
BB Kings popped up, with several other clubs. Of course, with a name like BB King, it was my first and easy choice. BB Kings was the ultimate destination for blues music fans in the heart of Moscow. The club had low ceilings, smoky atmosphere and wooden tables with signatures etched in them. The bar served up strong drinks, and everyone was down to earth, dressed in informal wear.When it comes to music, they only featured the best. The blues band was professional, with a tight sound that obviously came with years of practice. They played all the classic blues songs in an intimate setting that made me feel like I was right in the middle of a juke joint.
The night I showed up, BB Kings was having a Jam session, which means anyone could perform. So, I put my name on the roster under "singers". I bought me a glass of wine, and sat at the bar to wait my turn. The club was packed, and i got plenty of stares. Some smiled at me, and I smiled back. But no one spoke to me.
When my name was called, I walked on stage with wine in hand. There was a pianist, guitarist, drummer, and bassist. Without saying a word, the pianist handed me the microphone. It was clear, they didnt know English. But i was sure everyone knew Areatha Franklin. "Do you know Dr. FeelGood?" I asked the pianist. He quietly spoke with the rest of the band, then turned to me.
"Da," he said. No other word was spoken between us. The drummer counted in the band, and music began to play. By the end of the end of the night, I had a few new friends, a free tab for the night, and a booked show for the next weekend. That night sparked years of performing every weekend with my own band, that continues to this day. A week later, the the barman sent me a recording of Doctor Feelgood. I didnt know they had recorded the performance, and It didnt mean much to me, until now.
I discovered it on my computer a few weeks ago. It means alot to me, because it marks the beginning of my journey as a self-employed singer in Russia. Now, I am making the song available for you to hear. No editing, raw, live audience, mistakes and all. Dr. Feelgood can be found on all streaming platforms. Please enjoy, and Stay, Foxy!