Houston almost lost Pete Mayes during his recent stint in the hospital, where he underwent a quadruple bypass. The bluesman suffers from numerous diabetes-related complications, including the loss of both legs. Through it all, Mayes somehow has maintained an optimistic spirit as he continues to walk along this narrow bridge called life. Why is it that we wait until times like this to recognize our most-treasured musicians and celebrate their lives?
Mayes played guitar with greats like Junior Parker and Bill Doggett. He has fronted his own band, the Houserockers, for 40 years. Mayes still owns and maintains the historic Double Bayou Dancehall, which once served as a regular venue for Amos Milburn, Lightnin' Hopkins, Big Joe Turner, Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown and scores of others. It was there that Mayes, then just 16 years old, first heard T-Bone Walker and was put on the path his life was to take.
The local blues community is honoring the man and his music with a homecoming and benefit to raise money for Mayes's continuing medical expenses. Guests include Lala Wilson, Milton Hopkins, Ashton Savoy, Texas Johnny Brown, Ardis Turner, Big Robert Smith, Andy "Too Hard" Williams, Bert Lewis, Earl Gilliam, Johnny Prejean and Conrad Johnson. Don't be surprised if a mystery guest or two walks to board. Host band is Gene Kelton & the Diehards.
Mayes's favorite tag is "love you madly." Well, we love you, Pete, and hope that a lot of folks turn out to echo the sentiment.