I met Tony Owens in 1990 after hearing much about him from our mutual friend Earl King. Our Jazzfest show had been rained out (something that had happened so rarely in the history of the festival up to that point that it was front page news in the Times Picayune) and Earl King was beside himself. Anyone who knew Earl will be surprised to hear that he really wanted to play and he called the Jazzfest office numerous times during the day trying to get us on the schedule later in the festival. We were already paid in full once we were officially cancelled and every day is fully scheduled months in advance but Earl insisted on trying to get us seen. We agreed to meet for dinner to hear about his progress and were waiting for him to arrive at our home base, the Bayou Plaza Hotel. Earl was late as usual and we were sitting in the lobby when we saw a well dressed man in a silk shirt and purple leather pants stride in, singing to himself, and ask to use the hotel phone. I remarked to our group that this looked like a cat that knew his way around town and we should follow him to dinner if Earl stood us up. We all had a good laugh but when we overheard him looking to be connected to our room I stood up and introduced myself and found out that I had finally met one of Earl's closest friends, Tony Owens. Tony informed us that Earl would meet us at the restaurant as he was running late. We all piled into a vehicle and had a wonderful evening listening to Earl and Tony tell stories.

Before we left town Tony rummaged around in his briefcase and dug out a cassette that had a remake of his big hit Confessing A Feeling as well as a few other "newer" tracks on it. I asked Tony to get me copies of his other material but...

Tony and I kept in touch and when we returned to play Jazzfest with Earl every year I would ask him for his promotional materials. Finally in 1994 we were scheduled to play the fest in the afternoon and the Howlin' Wolf at night. In addition Earl was to make a cameo appearance during an Allen Toussaint led concert at the Saenger Theater. We weren't certain just when he would arrive as things are notoriously not on time during Jazzfest so we spoke to Tony and worked up a few numbers in case Earl didn't make it by showtime:

Ace Of Spades
Nothing Can Change This Love
Love & Happiness
Confessin' A Feeling
Something You Got

The show went well and Earl showed up before we ran all five songs but we had the beginnings of a show with Tony!

Tony sang with us a few more times on Earl King shows and usually was around to lend support and hang out anytime we were in town. We often accompanied him to different joints around the Treme and the crowds were always extremely appreciative if he would sit in. We were introduced to a who's-who of New Orleans musicians, artists, chefs and bon-vivants by Earl and Tony and we continued to try to line up a real gig for us to play together. In 2002 Tony was approached by Antoinette K-Doe to put together a memorial show at the Mother-In-Law lounge during Jazzfest for her late husband Ernie K-Doe. Tony called me up and I said, yes we would do it. He said the money would be real short and I said yes, we would do it but Antoinette had to at least give us free drinks. We had an enjoyable (if woefully unrehearsed) evening and the New Orleans musicians were stunned to see Antoinette handing us free drinks. She doesn't give away a drink to anybody!

Called the 1st Annual Ernie K-Doe R&B Tribute it was to take place on May 2nd, 2002 and featured:

Tony Owens
Al "Carnival Time" Johnson
Oliver "La-La" Morgan
Rico Watts
Red Morgan

as well as a few uncredited performers.

Click here to see some photos from the event.


Click here to read a short story and see photos from our eventful 2002 Jazzfest.


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