Tale Of A Legend...

Sparks Of Insanity By Vinny "Bond" Marini Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Here in Memphis, we have a community radio station staffed by volunteers. It is WELV and can be heard at 89.9 on the FM dial. Now, y'all are saying "Big deal, I can't hear it"...well, actually you can because it is also be heard on your computer HERE.

The format is all over the musical spectrum with shows that, of course, feature the blues but you can also hear Celtic, World Music, even Hawaiian Guitar.

There is one show that I absolutely adore and it is broadcast on Friday evenings from 9:00pm until midnight. For the last 6 months the show has been a collection of "Best Of" shows. and that is a damn shame.

The show is called Captain Pete's Blues Cruise. The host of the show has been on WEVL for 26 years spreading the blues to all who listened.

Tragically, on July 15th, 2008, Dee "Captain Pete" Henderson was shot to death by his nephew while tending the lawn in his backyard. Mr. Henderson - actually everyone called him Captain Pete - was 74 years young at the time of his murder.

Henderson grew up on a plantation in Clarksdale, Miss., the son of sharecroppers. That's where he learned to love the blues.

"He grew up listening to legends like Howlin' Wolf playing on the back of a flatbed truck in the cotton fields," station manager Judy Dorsey said. "He was the blues. Where are you going to turn on the radio and listen to someone who was born in the Mississippi Delta on a plantation?"

It is said that Captain Pete was especially proud to have won a "Keeping the Blues Alive" award from The Blues Foundation in 1992.

In an article in the local paper from 2006, the story of how Dee Henderson became the keeper of the blues was told.

In 1980, WEVL was a small station - a 10-watt secret that only residents of the center city of Memphis could hear. Captain Pete put a large antenna on his home and boosted the signal so he could pick up the signal.

One night he called the DJ on the air and began telling him stories of listening to Howlin' Wolf. Over time, he relayed enough blues knowledge during frequent calls to WEVL that the station manager, Judy Dorsey, and others gently cajoled him into becoming a disc jockey.

He was dubbed Cap’n by friends for his love of fishing and Pete because “he looked like a Pete,” said one of his daughters, Sandra Palmer, and his folksy demeanor made him one of WEVL’s most popular personalities.

“Once, he put on a Little Walter record and it had a few really bad skips,” said Steve Franz, 44, a former WEVL disc jockey living in Tucson. “He faded down the record, laughed, and said, ‘Well, that’s the blues, folks.’ ”

Originally, the call to police was made by his nephew, Cortez Thomas, 30, who was later charged with first-degree murder in the case.

Ms. Palmer, who is a Memphis police lieutenant, said detectives had told her that Mr. Thomas had confessed to shooting Mr. Henderson twice with Mr. Henderson’s shotgun.

She said that her father had lived in another house nearby since his wife’s death and that Mr. Thomas lived alone in the family home. Mr. Henderson routinely dropped by the home, where he had raised seven children with his wife, Annie Bell Henderson, who died in 2005, Ms. Palmer said.

“He said that he shot him and he planned to shoot him,” Ms. Palmer said of Mr. Thomas, who is her nephew. “He still couldn’t tell them why.”

On the day of Mr. Henderson’s funeral, inside the sweltering Cathedral of God Holy Word Temple in North Memphis, hundreds paid tribute as Mr. Henderson lay in his coffin wearing a white, soft-brimmed captain’s hat. Morris Cummings, 55, a harmonica player who is known as Blind Mississippi Morris, wailed a tribute before the cortege departed for the cemetery, detouring past WEVL and then down Beale Street, a route requested by Mr. Henderson long ago.

The station is now 4,800 watts and can be heard in three states, s well as on the internet.

If you are around one Friday evening, hit your computer and listen to this man. He does not have a DJ's voice...he has the voice of the blues. He often cracks himself up and his infectious laugh surrounds you.

His knowledge of the blues is immense...if you love the blues, Captain Pete's Blues Cruise is a must listen.

If you are just looking for a station that will broaden your music knowledge, WEVL.org is the place to find it.

-Some information taken from articles written in the Memphis Commercial Appeal & The NY Times

The news is out folks...


Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band have announced a forthcoming world tour.

Apr 1 San Jose, CA HP Pavilion at San Jose Tickets on sale Feb 2

Apr 3 Glendale, CA Jobing.com Center Tickets on sale Feb 2

Apr 5 Austin, TX Frank Erwin Center Tickets on sale Feb 7

Apr 7 Tulsa, OK BOK Center Tickets on sale Feb 7

Apr 8 Houston, TX Toyota Center Tickets on sale Feb 7

Apr 10 Denver, CO Pepsi Arena Tickets on sale Feb 2

Apr 15 Los Angeles, CA LA Memorial Sports Arena Tickets on sale Feb 2

Apr 21 Boston, MA TD Banknorth Garden Tickets on sale Feb 2

Apr 22 Boston, MA TD Banknorth Garden Tickets on sale Feb 2

Apr 24 Hartford, CT XL Center Tickets on sale Feb 2

Apr 26 Atlanta, GA Philips Arena Tickets on sale Feb 2

Apr 28 Philadelphia, PA Wachovia Spectrum Tickets on sale Feb 2

Apr 29 Philadelphia, PA Wachovia Spectrum Tickets on sale Feb 2

May 2 Greensboro, NC Greensboro Coliseum Tickets on sale Feb 6

May 4 Hempstead, NY Nassau Veterans Mem. Col. Tickets on sale Feb 2

May 5 Charlottesville, VA John Paul Jones Arena Tickets on sale Feb 2

May 7 Toronto, ONT Air Canada Centre Tickets on sale Feb 6

May 8 University Park, PA Bryce Jordan Center Tickets on sale Feb 2

May 11 St. Paul, MN Xcel Energy Center Tickets on sale Feb 2

May 12 Chicago, IL United Center Tickets on sale Feb 2

May 14 Albany, NY Times Union Center Tickets on sale Feb 2

May 15 Hershey, PA Hersheypark Stadium Tickets on sale Feb 2

May 18 Washington, DC Verizon Center Tickets on sale Feb 2

May 19 Pittsburgh, PA Mellon Arena Tickets on sale Feb 2

May 21 E. Rutherford, NJ Izod Center Tickets on sale Feb 2

May 23 E. Rutherford, NJ Izod Center Tickets on sale Feb 2

May 30 Landgraaf, Holland Pink Pop Festival Tickets on sale March 7

June 2 Tampere, Finland Ratinan Stadion ON SALE

June 4 Stockholm, Sweden Stockholm Stadium SOLD OUT

June 5 Stockholm, Sweden Stockholm Stadium SOLD OUT

June 7 Stockholm, Sweden Stockholm Stadium SOLD OUT

June 9 Bergen, Norway Koengen SOLD OUT

June 10 Bergen, Norway Koengen SOLD OUT

July 2 Munich, Germany Olympiastadion ON SALE NOW

July 3 Frankfurt, Germany Commerzbank Arena ON SALE NOW

July 5 Vienna, Austria Ernst Happel Stadion ON SALE NOW

July 8 Herning, Denmark Herning MCH ON SALE NOW

July 11 Dublin, Ireland RDS Tickets on sale Jan 30

July 16 Carhaix, France Festival des Vielles Charrues Tickets on sale Jan 30

July 19 Rome, Italy Stadio Olimpico ON SALE SOON

July 21 Turino, Italy Olimpico di Torino ON SALE SOON

July 23 Udine, Italy Stadio Friuli ON SALE SOON

July 26 Bilbao, Spain San Mames Stadium ON SALE SOON

July 28 Benidorm, Spain Estadio Municipal de Foietes ON SALE SOON

July 30 Sevilla, Spain La Cartuja Olympic Stadium ON SALE SOON

Aug 1 Valladolid, Spain Estadio Jose Zorrilla ON SALE SOON

Aug 2 Santiago, Spain Monte Del Gozo ON SALE SOON

Tomorrow, we will do our review of the new CD...

For today..a little taste...the title track...


19 Of Your Sparks

  1. First of all, thanks for the birthday wishes, both today and last Wednesday. You rock, my friend!

    About the station - did I ever mention that Memphis is THE perfect place for you to live? It just seems so right.

  2. Turnbaby Says:
  3. Quite interesting but very very sad.

  4. Bond Says:
  5. SONGBIRD: Hoping you have a wonderful day...on your REAL birthday...today!
    s far as Memphis, I do believe that it was destined for me to end up here...for the music...for the history and for the woman I found!

    TURNBABY: Very sad...one Friday - when you are not out singing it up - check him out...

  6. What a great story with such a sad ending. Thanks for the history...

  7. katherine. Says:
  8. yes...sad but interesting tale.

    Springsteen in SJ...hmmm...

  9. ...excellent reporting, Sir...diggin' the Bruce...

  10. Bond Says:
  11. BUD: Even with the sad ending, I had to share

    KATHERINE: Check it out one Friday evening..he really is great
    Yeah, i thought of you when I saw SJ

    PHFRANKIE: TY Sir...I totally dig the new album

  12. Starrlight Says:
  13. Well that is a sad story. Talk about a story out of a blues song...

  14. Star8278 Says:
  15. Bruce huh? Looks like he'll be in philly for two shows, doubt i'll make it but, he's definitely a legend.

  16. leelee Says:
  17. Yes interesting but sad.

    Man I just love The Boss! good song!!


  18. Meribah Says:
  19. It's so sad when people just "snap" like that. I've been reading quite a few stories lately about people killing their family members, and it makes me wonder what was going on in the heads of the killers.

  20. Fred Says:
  21. I have XM, and with the recent XM/Sirius changes, they added E Street Radio to the line-up. Every time I listen to the station, I think of a dear departed friend.

  22. Tug Says:
  23. Tragic ending to a beautiful story...the ending is the kind that you would think of fitting for the blues...

  24. Bond Says:
  25. STARR: YOU have to listen one Friday night...you will be hooked

    STAR: Yup Bruce and a chance to win the CD tomorrow

    LEELEE: Come on by tomorrow for a listen AND A READ

    MERI: So true...you wonder.

    FRED: I am sure it is tough...his memory lives on with many of us

    TUG: SO fitting...if you love the blues, you have to check him out one Friday.

  26. Mimi Lenox Says:
  27. I hope to buy tickets on February 6 for The Boss. I think we should go.
    Perhaps there'll be a "we" by then.

    What a sad story here today.
    Thanks for sharing.

  28. Travis Says:
  29. I might have to give a listen. What a tragic thing to happen.

  30. JohnH985 Says:
  31. Sounds like a great radio station. We have our own version on WWOZ which is a great local station. I'll have to listen to WEVL and Cap'n Pete. He sounds like a great man, it's a shame something so tragic had to happen.

    I wish Bruce was coming to New Orleans. The last time he was here was for Jazz Fest right after Katrina. One of the best concerts I have ever seen.

  32. What a sad story. I will definitely be checking out the online broadcast of that station, though.

    I'll also try to remember to check it out the next time I'm up that way for work.

  33. Patti Says:
  34. Thanks for sharing this interesting but sad story about Captain Pete. The Friday evening shows must be great!

    Vinny, can you believe little ol' not-very-musical me saw B.B. King in person twice? A journalist friend and I even interviewed him backstage. 'Tis true.

    Ah, but that was the 80s..

    Name dropping, I know.

    Have a great Thursday.


Music On The Couch