Little John and Ernie Hale (right)

Little John and Ernie Hale (right)

*Do you enjoy going to a set where you can listen to real live “down home” blues, but can’t seem to find it? Then look no further than Franklin Bell’s Blues Workshop.

It has to be one of South L.A.’s best kept secrets. It happens every Sunday night from 4:30PM to 9PM. You might see anybody there!

As you walk through the gate towards the sound of the music, the first sight, sitting in the driveway is a 1939 Buick – a relic from an era when southern bluesmen became part of the urban blues movement.

Just beyond that, you’re likely to be greeted by Mr. Bell himself (if he’s not playing drums) with the warm friendliness of a true southern gentleman. “Come on in,” he says…”You gonna do a little something tonight?”

If you’re a singer or musician he’ll see to it that you get a chance to perform.

Jamie Powell and Ernie Hale

Jamie Powell and Ernie Hale (right)

Recently, music educator Ernie Hale staged an award ceremony there for the performers including some that he taught. He said, “I am so proud of the fact that some of these great musicians got started in my class.” Some of the honorees included Jamie Powell, vocalist/guitarist; Sammy Lee, harmonica; Little John, vocalist/guitarist; and Lester Lands, vocalist/guitarist. Hale also hung a plaque on the wall at Bell’s honoring many others in the South L.A. blues community.

Franklin Bell (right), Hale (w/mike), with a host of LA's finest bluesmen

Franklin Bell (right), Hale (w/mike), with a host of LA’s finest bluesmen

I’ve mentioned Bell’s in other articles that are online which include a book review by author Kari Fretham titled “Sweetback Blues” about the life and times of colorful bluesman Southside Slim,” and a press release “Who is Ray Goren” about a 12-year old blues prodigy. Also, Bell’s is featured in  Fretham’s upcoming documentary film, Hot Love On Me So Strong THE BLUES OF SOUTH L.A. – premiering June 7, 2014 from 12 noon to 5 PM at Cinefamily Theater, 611 N. Fairfax. Contact (310) 795-1329 for further information on this exciting and much anticipated project.

Bell’s is located at 632 E. Colden Avenue at Avalon Boulevard. There is ample parking and tight security. For further information please call (323) 754-5564. So for some unforgettable blues and some down home soul food, come on out and bring a friend!

Bells 4This article was written by EURweb associate Larry Buford ([email protected])