Hearne: Muddy Waters Jr. to Headline Thanksgiving Breakfast Dance

The hippest, funnest thing you can do this Thanksgiving (with your clothes on, of course)…

No question, the annual Thanksgiving Day Breakfast Dance at the Kansas National Guard Armory in KCK, off I-70 on 18th Street.

The 60th edition of KC’s annual blues music fueled event goes down from 9 am to 2 pm starting Thanksgiving morning, featuring Muddy Waters Jr. and the local blues band Levee Town.

Never heard of Muddy Jr.? Take a number.

“I had reservations about Muddy Waters, Jr. at first but then the musicians I talked to said he’s unbelievable – he sounds just like his dad,” says KC Blues Society founder Roger Naber. “Then he came on my (blues) cruise last January and he did sound like his dad.”

A word of caution:

“He’s going on at 10:15 am for an hour, because he has to fly to Chicago afterwards, so the people who normally come at 11 or 11:30 am, they’re gonna miss him because he’ll be out of the building in an hour.”

The significance of KC’s annual breakfast dance?

“The importance of the breakfast dance is it’s the real culture of the blues in Kansas City,” Naber says. “It’s the show to go to – it’s been going on since the mid 1960s.”

The wildest thing Naber’s ever seen at the early morning blowout?

“Oh I don’t know if there’s anything really wild, but back around 1983 there were three of them in town,” Naber says. “I had one at the Missouri guard armory with ZZ Hill, Little Milton and Bobby Bland and across town Albert King was playing at another venue and Tyrone Davis at a third. And we had 1,000 people at ours and had to turn people away.”

What to expect:

Well, people get dressed up – they get dressed up like it’s the New Year’s Ball – they totally get dressed up, they go all out. You’ll see fur coats on men and women, men wearing hats and colorful suits and dresses. They wear their best clothes for stepping out.

“It’s at the Kansas National Guard Armory which is not your typical music venue but it’s something people in the inner city have used for years and t’s totally safe. Uniformed police officers are all over the place.”

As for the white suburbanite crowd with an appetite for incredible live blues music a la Knuckleheads Saloon

“It’s perfectly okay,” Naber says. “It’s a community of people having a good time together and wanting the people next to them to have a good time. It’s a big indoor picnic where dress up.

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