There’s one song that percussionist Daryl Boudreaux made certain was on the playlist for the seventh annual “R.E.S.P.E.C.T. — A Tribute to the Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin.”
The MidAmerica Talent event is Friday and Saturday at Bunkers. Among the performers: Jamecia Bennett, Ginger Commodore, Kathleen Johnson, Germain Brooks, Rhonda Johnson, Tony Axtell, Brian Ziemniak, Troy Norton and Brian Kendrick. In addition to the greatest hits of the Queen of Soul, some of Aretha’s “hidden gems” also will be showcased. Boudreaux’s favorite was written by Jerry Leiber and Phil Spector. That’s the only clue you’re getting as I start this interview by asking the percussionist why he’s called Peach Cobbler.
Q: Peach Cobbler?
A: Some years back we were doing a Marvin Gaye tribute and a lady at my church had made some peach cobbler. I had it in my car. I told vocalist James Brown, who sings with Jaybee & the Routine, that I was going to cut him a slice. He never received it. That’s been an ongoing joke the past 10, 15 years. Whenever I work with MidAmerica Talent’s Jeff Taube and when he e-mails me he refers to me as Peach Cobbler. I’ll text an image of a slice of peach cobbler and say, “It’s on its way” but it never seems to arrive.
Q: Could you make a peach cobbler?
A: [Long pause] I know how to hire people and ask people. I’m good at that ... I [can prepare] gumbo and étouffée.
Q: With a name like Boudreaux, I imagine so.
A: Oh, yeaaaaah. My dad’s from a town between Lafayette and Lake Charles. When I first had étouffée, I wanted no part of it. It didn’t look like anything I was used to eating ... So one summer we were down in Louisiana and my cousins were in the kitchen, and I said, “I want to learn how to make this étouffée.” They said, “Come on.” And I’ve never forgotten. That was back in 1998.
Q: I am guessing you played with Aretha?
A: No. The closest I would have come to Aretha is the Sounds of Blackness. They did something with Aretha and Luther Vandross. The band didn’t perform with Aretha, only the vocalists.
Q: Do you have a 9-to-5 job or do you mainly pay bills by performing?
A: I was a full-time musician. Then I got poor. [Laughter] No. Poorer ... I am working at Park Avenue United Methodist Church. I am building facilities supervisor. I’m a janitor. I got fancy with it. [Laughter]
Q: Hey, that’s where Prince married Mayte. You arranged that?
A: No. But we did support his family having a private celebration of life there August the year he passed. It was basically family and close friends. It was really nice. I also played. They asked that we not say anything, and we didn’t. No one knew about it until a family member posted it. We covered all the windows so there was no [view] via cameras. No press was invited. No one sitting in trees. They really did a good job of keeping it quiet. Certain documents had to be signed for privacy amongst the staff here.
Q: How did you know Prince?
A: We met when he moved to live with his aunt. We were like 13 years old. At that time we went to a junior high school called Bryant. We would walk to school, and after school we learned we both liked music so he would bring his guitar over, and at that time I was playing drums. We would just jam after school. In the summertime, we would come to Park Avenue Church. They had a summer program and we would play basketball and go to the camps. You know, we were kids.
Q: What’s your favorite Aretha Franklin song?
A: “Spanish Harlem.” Let me tell you why: percussions — congas, tambourines, shakers, drums, cowbells, the pretty sounds. It’s “Spanish Harlem,” but when we play it live we put more of a West Africa feel on it. If Yohannes Tona, who is not playing this MidAmerica show, is playing bass; when he and I get together on a song, it’s just a movement. You’ve got to move. You can’t keep your hips still. It gets in your bones.
C.J. can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and seen on Fox 9’s “Buzz.” E-mailers, please state a subject; “Hello” does not.