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Rick Estrin Has The Look

Published On February 20, 2013 | By admin | News

Veteran bluesman dresses for the role

By Sarah Linn —

With his sharp suits, slicked-back pompadour and pencil-thin moustache, Rick Estrin looks every inch the dyed-in-the-wool bluesman.

“If you’re an entertainer or a preacher or a pimp, you gotta be sharper than the audience,” explained Estrin, who credits soul singer Rodger Collins and blues guitarist-turned-pimp Clarence “Fillmore Slim” Sims with teaching him how to dress to impress. “When you go out there, you gotta look good.”

Hailed by the San Francisco Chronicle as “an amazing harmonica player, a soulful lead vocalist and a brilliant songwriter,” Estrin has been entertaining audiences across the globe for 45 years. He and his band, The Nightcats, perform Saturday at the San Luis Obispo Veterans Hall; The Strata-tones open the 21-and-older show.

Born in San Francisco in 1949, Estrin’s introduction to the blues came courtesy of his beatnik sister, a fan of legendary blues musicians Jimmy Reed and Champion Jack Dupree. She gave him a copy of Ray Charles’ “The Genius Sings The Blues” when he was 12.

“I was just drawn to that kind of music,” recalled Estrin, who picked up the harmonica at age 15. “I was a lot more interested in that than in school.”

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