Kid Andersen’s Greaseland studio in San Jose hosted Houston-based blues singer Diunna Greenleaf this week to cut a session featuring Jimmy Pugh as co-producer and organist, and also the producer and talent scout Noel Hayes of South San Francisco.
The record will include Billy Taylor’s “I Wish I knew How it Would Feel To Be Free” — made famous by Nina Simone — “Mama Told me to Not Trust a Man” and something by Sister Rosetta Tharpe. “Mama told me, girl don’t ever trust no man”, rather.
Mark Weiss of Earthwise Productions arranged a special live performance for today at 2 p.m. at Cogswell Plaza, at Lytton and Bryant streets, downtown Palo Alto. (Three blocks from where Earthwise brought a run of 15 shows last month, and Hawktail/Tommy Jordan co-bill last Saturday, game day).
There is an art exhibit that lights up at night at Lytton Plaza, pre-empting the most spontaneous of Weiss’ inclinations upon meeting miss Diunna.
Miss Diunna is celebrating her 64th birthday this week. We still need her, we still feed her as the poet wrote.
This is Earthwise’ first concert at Cogswell Plaza after numerous shows in 27 years at Spangenberg, Cubberley (four spots), Mitchell Park bowl, the JCC, The Art Center, City Hall Plaza, Johnson Park, Cali Ave (near Zombie Runner, facing towards Joannies), Stanford CoHo, Border’s Books, Bell’s Books.
Earthwise welcomes Mary Gauthier free and outdoor at Mitch bowl on Sunday 2 pm October 17. Jaimee Harris and Sylvie Simmons also appear. Simmons and Gauthier both have books to sign as well. (Maybe this is Earthwise Sing and Sign..)
Cogswell Plaza is named for Elinor Cogswell the longtime editor of the Palo Alto Times (where Mark Weiss, concert promoter, busted his novice as a sportswriter and newswriter in 1981 and 1984). The park, remodeled in 2012 to no discernable effect, also features a grove of redwoods dedicated to the five Palo Alto Police officers who died in service, dedicated in 2012.
Diunna Greenleaf is roughly the 100th blues artist to record for Kid, who is from Norway but came here 20 years ago to play with Charlie Baty and the Nightcats. He cut a track with Nancy Wright, Mitch Woods and Bob Margolin for Lions With Wings in 2020 during the covid shutdown that cancelled Earthwise’s series at The Mitch. Earthwise at the Mitch resumes on Nov 12 (Leonard Cohen tribute featuring Sylvie Simmons and others) and Nov. 20 (Barbara Manning SF Seals, The Corner Laughers, Clean Girl and the Dirty Dishes).
“I recommend Ike’s Sandwiches at Lytton and Waverley before the show” Weiss said, who added that he would discuss there should be a Diunna Greenleaf namesake sandwich honoring the performance. “I will bring it up with ‘The Man'” Or his mama.