Chicken Legs is a midsummer night's dream for several stalwarts on the Washington club scene. Coming together for the first time in rehearsal only 36 hours before they opened, the quintet began a two-night stand at the Cellar Door last night. Friday and Saturday they move on to the Childe Harold and they disband Sunday at the Psyche Delly in Bethesda.
For one week, Chicken Legs may be the hottest bank in town. The reason lies in the makeup of the band. Catfish Hodge is on guitar and lead vocals, taking a break from his own band. Pete Ragusa is the yeoman drummer from the Nighthawks and bassist Freebo is on leave from Bonnie Raitt and studio work. Less known because they are mostly studio-bound in Philadelphia are lead guitarist T. J. Tindall and keyboard player Cotton Kent, both immensely talented.
Despite their brief rehearsal period, these musicians have jelled into a unit that shames many glib pretentious bands with much longer runs under their belts. And they're playing mostly originals by Hodge, admittedly based on some standard blues and rhythm 'n" blues changes. The few rough edges are easily understood and more easily forgiven in the exuberance of performance.
The concept of one-week banks doing one-night stands is becoming a tradition during Washington summers. Another grouping known as Bobby and the Nightstars appears later this month. It is empathy that allows friends from different bands to come together this strongly. It speaks well of the musicians, the clubs that are willing to take chances and the audience, which last night gave Chicken Legs a joyous and extended reception, appreciating their achievements as well as their efforts.