Houston pianist Carol Fran, who recently suffered a stroke, has been a fixture on the Gulf Coast blues scene for more than 50 years. Not only did she record regional hits of her own, she worked with legends like Slim Harpo, Lazy Lester and Lee Dorsey and toured extensively with the Joe Tex Revue. This isn't Fran's first run-in with bad luck; in 1964 she had a regional hit with "Crying in the Chapel," sales of which led to the record being picked up by a larger label. But before it could be distributed, Elvis Presley released the song, effectively washing out any hope of Fran's version selling well. However, when she ran into Elvis years later in California and told him the story, the King wrote her a $10,000 check right on the spot. The list of pickers and singers filing onto the Continental stage to help defray Fran's medical costs is staggering, with some of Houston's saltiest players: Calvin Owens, Milton Hopkins' Hit City Blues Band, The Lady D, I. J. Gosey Blues Band, Trudy Lynn, Texas Johnny Brown, Sweet Momma Cotton, The MegaTones, Ardis Turner & The Naughty Boys, Mickey Mosley, Iola Broussard and Sandy Hickey. Undoubtedly, many more of Houston's blues folk will be there, leading to a high likelihood of unusual, and unusually spirited, jams.
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