Getting Rich on the Blues

Crave some real rhythm and blues? Consult with homegrown R&B vet R. L. Griffin, whose newest 45 Is “I Wanna Be Rich”/”You’re Bringing My Love Down. ” R. L. has been enriching the music scene hereabouts since the mid-1970s, when he phased out his career as a drummer for Big Bo and the Arrows to front his own band. He sings in the robust, emotional style associated with genre archetype Bobby “Blue” Bland.

A bluesman always sets pumped up by imprimatur from abroad, and that’s what R. L. sot last November when he played on a big blues multibill at the Vredenberg Coliseum in Utrecht, Holland. It was his first gig on foreign soil. Now the Dutch know what homefolks have known all along.

Griffin packs ’em in each weekend at his club, Blues Palace, 2715 Meadow, 421-9867. You can purchase his record at the Blues Palace, Sam’s Records and Mr. Blue’s Record and Gift Shop. -Tim Schuller

The Vine of the Times

Is wine an obscene luxury in the post-yuppie, economically fragile New World Order of the ’90s? Grailey Jaynes, (above) owner of Grailey’s Fine Wines, thinks not. His small, comfortable retail store/tasting room at 6330 La Vista, a few doors down from the Lakewood Theater, is a good place to hang out, hear some Etta James and Ray Charles and sample a few labels. Message: You can buy a good vino without taking out a bank loan.

Jaynes, 43, is serious about wine, but not oppressively so. No effete wine snob would work in running togs and tennis shoes, or use a signed Carl Yastrzemski baseball card to hawk a Chardonnay as “Yaz’s Favorite Juice.” A no-bull realist, Jaynes knows that some view wine as a suspect frill. He’s spent much of the time since moving in a year ago “retooling” his inventory; now, about half of his 250-plus wines are under $12. Typical is a sub-$6 Garland Ranch Merlot (no relation to the suburb) and a Pinot Blanc de Blanc for under $8.

Of course, if you want the high-dollar vintages, Grailey’s has ’em. “I want to spend more than that,” said one strolling buyer, wrinkling his nose at an $18 Cabernet.

Jaynes sees wine as a “lifelong learning experience,” and he’s got an easygoing, earthy way of passing on what he knows. “I’m banking on personalized service, not huge volume,” he says. -Chris Tucker