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Blues Heaven

As though to second that emotion, the sun emerged from behind dark clouds as Chubby coaxed a particularly imaginative solo from his pastel blue Stratocaster on "Little Wing," from his 2006 Jimi Hendrix tribute set, Electric Chubbyland.

Though he stood for most of his set, when he sat, Popa Chubby, 49, looked -- and sounded --like a self-satisfied Buddha of the Blues.

Although an acoustic performer herself, guitarist Rory Block complimented Chubby and the three band-mates for their electric blues expertise. Block, 59, followed Chubby on the smaller Dinosaur Bar-B-Que Stage by giving a scintillating seminar on the history of the Delta blues, focusing specifically on the music of Son House and Robert Johnson.

She opened playing slide on Johnson's "Cross Road Blues," which he waxed in 1936.

Another of Saturday's high points came at the opposite end of Clinton Square when Aykroyd whipped out his harmonica to jam with vocalist Alexis Suter. The co-founder of the Blues Brothers dubbed Suter "the No. 1 contender for next Queen of the Blues."

Sunday lived up to its name as blues skies abounded. Tas Cru was cutely supported by a trio of winsome women singers, followed by Brooklyn guitarist Chris Bergson whose vocals recalled A.J. Croce and whose performance was buoyed by master keyboardist Bruce Katz.

Katz had a busy afternoon. He also fronted his own combo mostly playing organ but climaxing with a barrelhouse boogie-woogie piano tune. Later Katz turned up in headliner John Hammond's quartet.

Rochester-raised and New Orleans-based guitar man John Mooney recalled playing at Syracuse's legendary Firebarn in the late 1970s. He opened his set with "Baby, Please Don't Go," then he played wicked slide on titles ranging from "Dirty Rat" to "Sacred Ground."

A heartfelt tribute to late Syracuse bluesman Roosevelt Dean featured no less than 19 area musicians, including leader Jim Pavente on bass, vocalist Carolyn "Dessie" Kelly, fiddler Pete Daniels, harmonica blowers Pete McMahon and Tom Townsley and guitarists Todd Fitzsimmons, Terry Mulhauser and Mark Hoffmann.

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