Friends and fans of ailing bluesman "Philadelphia" Jerry Ricks flocked to the Commodore Barry Club yesterday, feasted on a lineup that included Shemekia Copeland and David Bromberg and swapped stories of the guy who "did a lot more than teach music," as one organizer put it.
And raised more than $20,000 for his recovery.
The money is needed to pay for his medical expenses and rehab in Croatia, where he is recovering from brain surgery. Ricks started getting headaches in August, and has not left the hospital since being diagnosed with a non-malignant tumor. He doesn't have insurance, according to his partner of 17 years, Nancy Klein. Croatian musicians have put on their own benefit for the bluesman who moved to the Balkan country six months ago.
At Sunday's benefit here, about 325 patrons listened to an afternoon and evening of blues and folk. They snapped up autographed guitars, CDs, t-shirts and other memorabilia -- all donated so Ricks could benefit from their sales. Top money - $500 - went to a black and white portrait of Ricks, taken by Jef Jaisun, the Seattle photographer, at West Coast blues festival.