Hubba Hubba gets down for the 24th Bunny Hop at Pandora's
South Walton, be forewarned: Hubba Hubba is poised to take the stage for the 24th time Easter Sunday for its annual Bunny Hop.
The iconic band that was formed 24 years ago when local musician Billy Garrett introduced Franko "Washboard" Jackson from New Orleans to legendary former Elvis guitarist Duke Bardwell. The band performed its first Easter Sunday Bunny Hop at the old Bailey's on the Bay in 1990, and has performed every Easter Sunday since.
The original members of the group consisted of Bardwell, Jackson, Garrett, and Bill West. West is now deceased.
The current players are Bardwell, Jackson, and Garrett, along with Doug Dickerson, and Case Cooper. Bardwell and Dickerson play guitar; Garrett plays bass; Jackson plays washboard; and Cooper plays drums. Bardwell leads on vocals, said Jackson, with the others taking turns, except for Cooper. Cooper is coming down from Memphis just for this gig. He formerly played with the group while living here several years ago.
When these guys come together and take the stage, all the locals come out to play.
"We're a funk band," Jackson says. "We play funky blues; a lot of blues, matter of fact … and funk, and good ole rock and roll."
And throw in some good ole edgy lyrics, and that would explain the group's popularity.
The only trouble is, over the years, each of the members drifted into performing other gigs with other people, and to be able to see the official Hubba Hubba group perform together is a rare treat these days.
"We used to perform as a group a lot, but now, we only get together six to 10 times a year," said Jackson. "This is the fourth time we have played in 2013. We all have our own gigs going on."
Jackson has a steady gig at Shorty's in Grayton Beach on Sundays, performing with some members of the former WaCo Ramblers and the Tennessee Firearms, and occasionally with The Steenos.
But when the group does get together, it all just flows.
"Playing with Hubba Hubba is a hoot," said Jackson. "We have all played together so long that the songs just flow easily."
Jackson said the annual Hubba Hubba Bunny Hop is the second or third longest ongoing event held in South Walton, and with its longevity, the band members have pretty much seen it all.
What is the wildest thing they have seen from their vantage point onstage through the years? Jackson refuses to answer that question.
"No comment," he said. "I plead the Fifth."
The Hubba Hubba Bunny Hop begins at Pandora's in Grayton about 4:30 p.m. Easter Sunday — a perfect time to sit back and chill out after a long day of hunting eggs.