April 5, 2003

Professional Gambler, Peace Marcher and Modern Troubadour


DARRYL PURPOSE arryl Purpose has led a dark and interesting life, one that never ceases to fascinate. Lured as a teenager by the glamour of the world of gambling, Darryl Purpose learned how to do it well and was once was known as the best blackjack player in the world. But he found himself empty in his success in this sometimes shabby and shadowed world, and he pursued other directions. In the mid-1980s, he joined The Great Peace March, a group of activists who marched across the country in protest against nuclear weapons. This led to another march in the (then) Soviet Union and the first-ever outdoor stadium rock concert there, featuring Bonnie Raitt, Santana, James Taylor, and Darryl's band, Collective Vision.

ince 1996, Darryl has pursued a career as a full-time songwriter and performer. "Purpose has finally realized his calling as a dramatist for the dispossessed, a chronicler of those Americans who, by choice or by chance, live on the heart's back streets, rising up through the crooked lines like leaves," writes Michael Tisserand in the liner notes from his newest album A Crooked Line.

t is this knack for telling stories that makes the songs of Darryl Purpose stand out. He says, "It emerged when I was doing a lot of live shows. I discovered that I could tell a gambling story or a story about the Peace March, and people would react. Then the stories started seeping into the songs." The often dark characters presented in those story songs live all around us, often invisibly, and sometimes we find that they are us. From unrequited love in a bicycle repair shop in Mr. Schwinn to the joy of love found in Last Great Kiss to the search for family lost in Bryant Street, from the savvy gambler in Dangerous Game to the redeemable vagabond in You Must Go Home for Christmas to the total commitment of Travelers' Code, Darryl Purpose expresses the worries and desires that reside deep within the hearts of all of us.

ith his distinctive baritone voice, his smoothly proficient finger-style guitar technique which has earned him an endorsement with Taylor Guitars, and with his sense of drama and storytelling in his lyrics and music, Purpose delivered a charismatic performance that captured our audience. His huge supply of interesting stories from his activities as a peace activist, professional gambler and modern troubadour made this a very fine evening indeed.

Praises for his performances from others:

  • "America's most original narrative story-teller since Harry Chapin"
      Q Magazine

  • "Darryl Purpose's music hits all the vital areas: the heart, the mind and the gut... Purpose delivers these tales in language that is precise and unflinching, with a voice that rings true from experience. These songs never let go."
      New Orleans Gambit Weekly

  • "A physically imposing man, hat firmly on head and dressed in black, he bordered on the menacing, until he opened his mouth. Then his natural warmth and charm blazed through."
      Michael Mee, Southern Reporter

    Link to Darryl's web site         Listen to MP3 clips:    

Our open mike tonight featured solo performances by:

  • Barry Be
  • Ron Greitzer
  • Alan Michaelson
  • Ron DeGennaro
  • Larry Lewitt
  • James O'Malley
  • If you weren't here tonight, you missed yet another of the very best programs of the year ...