PORTAGE LA PRAIRIE, Manitoba - Happy-go-lucky blues musician ''Slidin' Clyde'' Roulette, from La Prairie, has been playing the blues professionally for 38 years. Roulette's childhood dream was to be a musician and to play his music, one way or another. Raised on his mother's big band music and his father's country music (his family is from the Long Plains and Sandy Bay reserves in Manitoba), he also grew up going to pow wows and learning about his Ojibway culture and ancestors.
It was evident at a young age that Roulette was a gifted musician. By age 12, the guitarist was a member of his older brother's band. At 14, he jumped the fence at a rock concert, where he ended up meeting Janis Joplin; and by 17 he had performed with Willie Mabon, who wrote ''I Don't Know,'' a song recorded by the Blues Brothers and James Cotton. Eventually, Roulette was given the nickname ''Slidin' Clyde'' by Big Dave McLean who, to Roulette, was the highly respected ''patriarch of the blues'' from his area.
Roulette has played with the some of the best blues musicians throughout the United States and Canada. He has spent a lot of time jamming with family and friends, helping to make their musical dream a reality.
After all these years in music, Roulette never cut his own album until February. His band, The Slidin' Clyde Roulette Band, released ''Let's Take a Ride.'' This 14-track compact disc features some great blues tunes, eight of which were written by Roulette.
''Let's Take a Ride'' contains aboriginal song stories that are uniquely blended with a bit of rock, country, honky-tonk and harmonica, which has created Roulette's own style of the blues.
The first track on the CD, ''Redman,'' proudly tells the story of the past and present life of his people and is accompanied by Roulette's legendary singing guitar. On the track ''Goin' to Brownsville,'' Roulette speeds up the beat as he tells a story about his love for an Indian woman.
The band will tour this summer throughout western Canada.
Roulette explained that he stays humble by working as a security officer at a local bingo hall. He said, ''The night before, I am at a club playing the blues in front of an audience, feeling good. Then the next night, I am asking a couple to move their car out of a no parking zone and what did they do? They yelled and screamed at me. ... See, things can change from day to day. But I will always have my music.''