H-Bomb Ferguson, with his bulging eyes, rainbow-colored fright wigs, and an elastic face that would’ve done Lon Chaney proud, is one of modern blues’s most outrageous showmen. But he’s much more than Cincinnati’s favorite–and strangest–son. Like Lefty Dizz and other great blues clowns Ferguson wails his songs from the heart. While he’s no great technician–his percussive keyboard attack can get repetitious, and his voice lacks sufficient suppleness to convey a range of emotion outside the bounds of roaring exuberance and back-alley grit–the man is relentless. Hair glistening in the stage lights, he’ll scream, pound, wail, mug, and wreak general havoc on an audience until there’s nothing left to do but get into the spirit and flow with it. Whether such antics can sustain interest over the course of an evening is a matter of conjecture–I’ve only seen him in short, intense spurts in festival settings, so I can’t say–but don’t worry: when H-Bomb grabs you, you stay grabbed. Tonight and Saturday, Rosa’s, 3420 W. Armitage; 432-0452.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/James Fraher.