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Tall Dog returns home / November 23, 2010
Atlanta-based blues artist Hugh Vaughan returns to Four Oaks Restaurant and Lounge for another “Black Friday on a Blue Note” concert next Friday, beginning at 9 p.m. Vaughan will present a show of blues and rhythm and blues with a screaming guitar, followed by another couple of hours of music jamming with long-time friends and equally-accomplished musicians.

The year was 1975 and Halifax County native Hugh Vaughan was planting corn on a farm in Durham N.C. “Right in the middle of the cornfield, my friend Robbie said, ‘you just got this call from Macon Ga., they want you to come down and bring all your stuff and plan to stay for a while,’” Vaughan recalled. He and his band, Hi-O-Silver, had been there earlier that spring to play for a week at the legendary Grant’s Lounge. While there, they noticed a group of guys that would come out every night. “These guys invited us to the Allman Brothers Farm.” Vaughan continues, “we went out there and we actually got to play with them.”

Returning to Durham, Hi-O-Silver split up and Vaughan, too proud to return to South Boston, was living in a cabin on a friend’s farm when the call came.

Vaughan went to Macon to play in a band with Jaimoe [Johanson] and Butch [Trucks], both drummers for the Allman Brothers Band. Vaughan explains “they needed another band to keep their chops up. It was not that we were a bunch of guys doing Butch and Jaimoe a favor. It was a bunch of young musicians living together in Macon because Butch needed somebody to play with.”

Remembering the band that came to be called Butch’s Brew, Vaughan states, “Butch had classical training and was an amazing concert drummer. Jaimoe was equally amazing in his own right. You put these two drummers together and you had an extraordinary show. These two drummers needed to play, and we needed the work.”

Vaughan continues, “Butch and Jaimoe were not around as much as we thought they were going to be. So, we put together a band that would be called Tall Dogs when Butch was not there. We played wherever we could and held the band together with hope. After a year or so, we decided we needed to change our name to Tall Dogs all the time.”

Tall Dogs consisted of Joe English, an extraordinary drummer who went on to play with Paul McCartney and Wings; Jerry Sorn, a crazy guitar player who is like bluegrass on acid; Earl Ford on electric trombone, Michael Ewbank, an amazing writer and musician [keyboard] who allowed so much to be added to his music; and me on rhythm guitar and vocals.” Vaughan continues, “we toured mostly upstate New York and played large clubs in Atlanta. We moved everything to Atlanta and were making a pretty good living.” Explaining the band’s break-up in 1979, Vaughan stated, “once Michael left, we did the same circuit, but it was not as memorable. We got back together the next year but that was short-lived, as we could not get enough work to make a living.”

Following his time with Tall Dogs, Vaughan played with a few bands but not with great success. He stated, “I had to learn to play solo. I was forced into it because I did not know what else to do but play.” Vaughan has been playing solo in the Atlanta area for over 20 years. “By the early 1990s, I was relatively established playing on the circuit. I found my own place and went out and started doing what I am doing now.”

Remembering those early years in Macon, Vaughan stated, “I would say it was a lonely time for me. I was in a place totally foreign and learning to trust people I did not know. They were sweet, good people but difficult because I was so far away from everything I knew.”

When Vaughan returns to Four Oaks Restaurant and Lounge Friday, he is back on familiar ground surrounded by an endearing family of friends and fans. “The concert will feature Vaughan playing blues and rhythm and blues for a couple of hours followed by another couple of hours jamming with long-time friends and fellow musicians Carl Meadows, Chris King, Doug Matze, Johnny Watkins, Robyn Robbins and Eddie Elliott.

Presented by Ms. D Productions, the “Black Friday on a Blue Note” concert will be held Friday, Nov. 26, beginning at 9 p.m. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10 and available only at the door.

Reservations are suggested. For reservations, please call 434.572.2066.

For more information about the concert, please call 434-517-1551.

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