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Saturday, August 16, 2008

Issac Hayes Memorial, Lee Young RIP

Another update from Bob Corritore


August 15, 2008

Jerry Wexler RIP


Sad news from Bob Corritore in regards to the great Jerry Wexler


August 15, 2008

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Bob Corritore Blues News


The latest from Bob Corritore


August 14, 2008

Tom Gary Blues Band CD Update


Well it is closer to being done. I had to put a different cover since my original photo's resolution was not great enough. So I used a different one. I think it might be done. However, I am waiting to get the disc from the publisher to see if it came out okay. I have a feeling that I may have to redo the whole thing again anyway:-) The CD will be available online once I am sure that it looks good. So hang in there:-)

Press Release: New Blues Trail Marker In Mississippi

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: LYNN ORMAN 847-452-6469
BLACK PRAIRIE BLUES TO BE HONORED WITH BLUES TRAIL MARKER
MACON, MS (AUGUST 19) The Black Hill Prairie Blues will be honored with
a marker on the Mississippi Blues Trail, which was developed under the
leadership of Governor Haley Barbour and is designed to preserve the
state’s musical heritage through more than 100 historical markers and
interpretive sites. The ceremony will take place Tuesday, August 19,
2008 at 11:00 a.m. on the corner of Green and Jefferson Street in Macon,
Mississippi.
“Macon in Noxubee County represents the heart of Mississippi’s own
Black Hill Prairie Blues. As home to some of the state’s most
recognized Blues musicians, including fiddler Eddy Clearwater and
harmonica player Carey Bell, this region has long played an important
role in the development of our unique musical heritage,” Governor
Barbour said. “Noxubee County and the Black Hill Prairie region are a
welcome addition to the Mississippi Blues Trail.”
The roots of blues and gospel music run deep in the African American
culture of the Black Prairies region. Several performers born near Macon
in Noxubee County, including Eddy Clearwater, Carey Bell, and Jesse
Fortune, went on to achieve renown in Chicago blues, while others, such
as Brother Joe May and Robert Blair, became gospel singing stars. In
Prairie Point near the Mississippi-Alabama state line, Willie King
kindled a new blues movement as the political prophet of the juke
joints.
Noxubee County, with the highest percentage of African American
population of any county in eastern Mississippi, has much in common with
the Delta, including a legacy of cotton, blues, and economic struggle.
In antebellum days when slaves sang spirituals and work songs on the
local cotton plantations, those with musical talent also played fiddle
or banjo as entertainers at white social affairs. This musical tradition
carried over into the 20th century, when a number of African American
string bands were active in the county, playing for both white and black
audiences. These included the Duck Brothers (Charlie, Albert, and Vandy
Duck), the Salt and Pepper Shakers (Perie, Doc, and Preston Spiller),
and the Nickersons (featuring fiddler Booger Nickerson).
Another Macon fiddler, Houston H. Harrington, guided a branch of what
would become one of the most prolific families in the blues. Harrington
married Perie Spiller's daughter Hilda and moved to Chicago, where their
sons Joe and Vernon formed a blues band. His nephew, Eddy Harrington, is
well known on the international blues circuit as Eddy Clearwater.
(MORE)
Page -2-
Clearwater, famed for his flamboyant stage act as “The Chief,”
attired in an American Indian headdress, was born just east of Macon on
January 10, 1935.
Yet another Macon product who attained worldwide fame after moving to
Chicago was harmonica virtuoso Carey Bell, whose real surname was also
Harrington. Bell (born Nov. 14, 1936), played with Muddy Waters, Willie
Dixon, and many others, and also fathered a brood of blues musicians,
including renowned guitarist Lurrie Bell and harmonica protégé Steve
Bell. Carey Bell died on May 6, 2007. Vocalist Jesse Fortune, who was
born near Macon on Feb. 28, 1930, also embarked on a lengthy blues
career in Chicago in the 1950s.
Big Joe Williams, one of the most prominent blues recording artists
from the Black Prairies, came from Crawford to perform in Noxubee County
at times. Guitarist Elijah Brown, a friend of Williams, was born in
Macon. Williams (1903-1982) and fellow bluesman John Wesley Macon (c.
1923-1973), known as “Mr. Shortstuff,” both died in Macon.
Guitarist Willie King (born in Grass Hill, east of Macon, on March 18,
1943) and his band have carried on the local blues tradition with
performances at juke joints, house parties, and festivals. In 2000 King
began to draw widespread acclaim for his recordings of
politically-themed “struggling songs,” an outgrowth of his
activities in civil rights in Pickens County, Alabama. Several members
of King's band, the Liberators, have also hailed from Macon, including
Willie James Williams, Willie Lee Halbert, and Johnnie B. Smith. Other
performers active on the local music scene around Brooksville have
included Robert Earl Greathree and Brown Sugar.
For more information on Mississippi blues artists, or to submit
information on blues artists, contact:
Jim O’Neal, Mississippi Blues Trail Research Director (816-931-0383,
bluesoterica@aol.com).
The Mississippi Blues Trail markers are funded in part by a grant from
the National Endowment for the Humanities and by support from the
Noxubee Economic & Community Development Alliance, Mississippi
Department of Transportation, Delta State University and the Mississippi
Development Authority.
To contact the Mississippi Blues Trail office in Jackson, contact Alex
Thomas (601-359-3297, athomas@mississippi.org) or Leigh Portwood
(601-359-3061, lportwood@mississippi.org).
For further information on the Mississippi Blues Trail, go to
www.msbluestrail.org.

Andy Coats Update


oin us if you can …. Hope all is well!

Thurs., Aug. 14 8 pm - mid
Andy Coats and the BankWalkers
The Blue Martini

116 N West St # 100, Raleigh NC
http://www.bluemartiniraleigh.com

Best,

Andy
www.andycoats.com
www.myspace.com/andycoats
http://www.myspace.com/andycoatsandthebankwalkers

Blues At The House Of Blues!

Taylor Hicks performing Born In Chicago. The irony here is that he is playing blues at the House of Blues:-) As most of you know the House of Blues has had such great blues performers as Brittney Spears, Mandy Moore, and Fergie!!!



Taylor at the Chicago House of Blues; March 2007 from Gail on Vimeo.

Illinois Blues Blast


All news BLUES in the US!

FREE Blues Internet Magazine

from IllinoisBlues.com

August 14, 2008

© 2007 - 2008 IllinoisBlues.com

News, photos, reviews, live Blues links & MUCH MORE in this issue! - Scroll or Page Down!


IllinoisBlues.com quick website links: Reviews Links Photos Videos Blues Radio Blues Shows near YOU! Advertise for FREE! The Blues Blast Archives


Hey Blues Fans,

This weekend brings a couple great Blues events. First is the "Boxcar of Blues" August 15th and 16th presented by Knuckleheads Blues Bar in Kansas City, MO. Knuckleheads won the 2008 "Keeping The Blues Alive" award this year as the best Blues Club. See their great lineup in their ad below.

Also, The Friends of the Blues in Watseka, Illinois is presenting Ana Popovic in an early show on Sunday. See the details in the Blues Society news below.

And speaking of great Blues events, we have another scoop for you! Last week we mentioned a few of the Blues artists scheduled to appear at the 2008 Arkansas Blues & Heritage Festival. Now the Blues Blast is first to release their whole lineup. This event, formerly known as the King Biscuit Blues Festival is scheduled for October 9th to the 11th. To see their complete lineup CLICK HERE!


Vote and WIN!

LAST WEEKS WINNERS! Congratulations to this past weeks lucky winners who won FREE Blues Blast T-shirts - Nanci Livermore, in Davenport, IA, Randy Hoffman in Normal, IL and Jay in Memphis, TN.

The 2008 BBM Award voting continues until August 31st! But don't wait till the last day because once you have voted you become eligible for prize drawings every other day!

We are giving away Blues Blast T-shirts, CD's and more every other day until voting ends on August 31st. If you have voted in the 2008 Blues Blast Music Awards, you can WIN!

New winners will be drawn every other day until August 31st. We will notify winners by email. VOTE NOW! The sooner you vote, the better the chance you will be one of the lucky winners. CLICK HERE to vote!


Blues Reviews and MORE!

This week we continue our new series, "The Future of the Blues" with a look at another young man who was destined for Blues greatness at an early age, Derek Trucks. WARNING, the videos of this "kid" at 12 are SO GOOD that it could be discouraging to Blues guitar players! But WOW are they great!

James Walker sends us a review of a new CD from Mississippi Heat. We also welcome three new Blues Blast music reviewers this week. Mike O'Cull a well known Chicago area music writer reviews a new CD by Liz Mandeville. Los Angeles Blues guitar woman Nikki O'Neill reviews a CD from Blind Willies Blues Club in Atlanta and John McCormick reviews a new CD by Lightnin Rod and the Thunderbolts. All this and MORE! SCROLL DOWN


Knuckleheads Blues Bar

Saturday-Sunday, August 15-16, 2008
2700 Rochester St Kansas City, MO 816-483-1456

August 15
Joe Moss, John Nemeth, Trampled Under Foot
8:30pm tickets $15 adv $20 dos
August 16
Steamboat Willie & the Smoothi Kings
Sean Carney, Charliehorse
Mike Zito & the Billy Gibson Band


The Future of the Blues

Our Future of the Blues series looks young Blues artists who will be shaping this music called the Blues for the next generation.

This week we feature a young Blues player, born in 1979, who is at the VERY top of the Blues genre, Derek Trucks.

Derek is the nephew of long-time Allman Brothers' drummer Butch Trucks. He bought his first acoustic guitar at a yard sale at the age of nine. His natural ability quickly emerged and he began playing with other musicians around town. Within a year he joined a band and began touring. He became a "professional" musician with his first paying gig at age 11. He formed his own band at age 12. Soon he was sitting in with other guitarists four or more times his age like the Allman Brothers and Blues legend Buddy Guy. His first major CD release shown here was released when he was 18.

Derek performed at Eric Clapton's Crossroads concert last summer which featured almost every one of the greatest guitar players on the planet. Anyone attending could plainly see that even though he was 28 years old, Derek stood out in the crowd at this historic guitar event which included guitar legends Robert Cray, Buddy Guy, B.B. King, John Mayer, Vince Gill, John McLaughlin, Robert Randolph, Sonny Landreth, Derek' s wife Susan Tedeschi, Johnny Winter, Albert Lee, Jeff Beck, Steve Winwood and Eric Clapton himself. He was as good or BETTER than any of them.

So just how good was Derek at age 12? Again, we have got the answer for you! We found a video of Derek at the age of 12 playing with his band at the Cavern club in Atlanta. Beware if you are a Blues Guitar player and are over the age of 20! This kid was so good at 12 he just might want to make you give up and quit! If that doesn't convince you, check out the second video when he as 15!

Click the links below to see the video on our website

- Derek at 12 years old

- Derek at 15 years old

You can find out more about this artist at his website at www.derektrucks.com . There is a a great bio and complete discography of Derek on the All Music Guide website. CLICK HERE to check it out.

NEXT WEEK - Yet another young Blues player who made his mark in his teen years! Stay Tuned!

We have many more videos of Blues masters on our website. CLICK HERE to view them.


Have YOU Voted for your favorite artists yet?

It is FREE for everyone to vote so CLICK HERE to vote for your favorite nominees. And you could win a free CD, or T-shirt and more!

Not familiar with some of the 2008 nominees? Be an informed voter! Listen to the music of the nominees BEFORE you vote! CLICK HERE to hear some music by these great Blues artists NOW! When you get there, click on one of the nominees links to listen. Please visit our sponsors:



Blues Want Ads

Blues Musicians Place Your Want Ad here for FREE

"workin Blues performers" ONLY can place Want Ads here for FREE. NO Commercial Ads!
Buy or sell equipment , musicians wanted, gigs wanted etc. Limit 100 words.

Booking Agent Wanted

The Michael Packer Blues Band From New York City Is Currently Looking For A Booking Agent (Clubs,Festivals Etc). Their Cd Bleecker-Bowery On Random Chance Records Is In Stores Nationally Distributed By City Hall And Are Receiving Airplay On Over 300 Radio Stations. More Info @ www.michaelpackerbluesband.com or call Windmill Music @ 718-273-1095.

Booking Agent/Manager needed

MO'BLUES, High energy blues/rock band from Argentina with 3 cd's and passport and US Visa seeks representation. moblues@moblues.com.ar www.moblues.com.ar www.myspace.com/mobluesargentina

All ads submitted will be used if space allows. If space is limited, ads will be randomly selected to appear in the Blues Blast. Ads may be edited. Send your ad submission to


David Honeyboy Edwards

Roamin' and Ramblin'

2008 Blues Blast Music Award Nominee
"Best Best Traditional Blues CD

CLICK HERE to purchases Now!

To read the Blues Blast CD review - CLICK HERE


Blues Society News


Send your Blues Society's BIG news or Press Release to:

Max of 125 words, Text or Word file ONLY.


Cincy Blues Society - Cincinnati, OH

The Cincy Blues Society wants to ask other Blues societies a question concerning our memberships. We are wondering if you would be favorable to accepting our Blues society members' i.d. Cards at your events should they have the opportunity to travel to where you are located...this would encourage them to try your festivals and events if they knew they could get in free or at a friendly price if they present their Cincy Blues membership card.

If you feel this sounds favorable to you, please reply to me...Pat (inthehat) at native@fuse.net or check out our website at www.cincyblues.org. Let me know what events you have, also and when they are.
Thanks in advance, Pat (inthehat) If this would not pertain to you, please let me know that also, Thanks!

Illinois Central Blues Club - Springfield, IL

Downtown Springfield, Inc. and the Illinois Central Blues Club have announced The 5th Annual Old Capitol Blues & BBQs scheduled for Saturday, August 23, 2008. The festival is held on Fifth and Washington Streets in downtown Springfield, IL. Festivities get underway at noon with a baby-back rib cook-off and continue through the evening until midnight. Admission is $5 with children 12 and under free. The Blues lineup includes the gospel steel of Calvin Cooke, Howard and the White Boys, the Tarbox Ramblers and Dave Herrero featuring Felix Reyes.

Also during this event the Illinois Central Blues Club will be conducting their Second Blues Challenge. Ten acts are competing for a chance to represent ICBC at the 2009 International Blues Challenge in Memphis, TN. Lorrie Eden Blues Band, the Sofa Kings, Nothin But Trouble, Frank's Creation (Innercity Blues Band), Cabin Fever, Bobby Taylor, Nightlife, The Voodoo Blues Band, Pleasure Chest and Pike Station.

Blue Mondays- Held at the Alamo 115 N 5th St, Springfield, IL (217) 523-1455 every Monday 8:30pm $2 cover - August 18 - Springfield Shaky, August 25 - Peter Karp, Sept 1 - Scott Ellison, Sept 8 - Bill Lupkin & the Chicago Blues Coalition, Sept 15 - Harmonica Wizards Dennis Gruenling & Steve Guyger, Sept 22 - Lil Dave Thompson, Sept 29 - The Blues Deacons, Oct 13 - The Rich Fabec Blues Band, Oct 20 - Too Slim & the Tail Draggers

Friends of the Blues - Watseka IL

The Friends of the Blues presents International star Ana Popovic, August 17, 6:30 PM , Watseka Theatre, 218 E. Walnut St , downtown Watseka IL 815-993-6585 Tickets: $15 www.watsekatheatre.com

The Blues Blowtorch Society - Bloomington, IL

Blues Blowtorch Society presents The Blues Blowtorch Society's Educational Fund Raiser, September 21, 2008 -1:00 PM to 6:00 PM at Tri Lakes Banquet Facilities, 2100 Bunn St., Bloomington, IL

Featuring Black Magic Johnson 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM and Lil' Dave Thompson 3:30 PM - 6:00 PM. Food and Drink for sale by Tri-Lakes Membership. Events for Everyone - How to Start a Band Workshop, Auctions, more! For more Information - Deborah Mehlberg - Entertainment Director 309-662-0996 or E-mail Deborah464@aol.com

Madison Blues Society - Madison, WI

Madison Blues Society Presents "South Madison Blues Kids", a public performance by South Madison youths, ages 7-16, who have been learning to play Blues harmonica and write kid-based blues songs and lyrics. This performance is the culmination of a music education program taught by Joe Nosek, whose band, local blues stars the Cash Box Kings, will accompany and follow the “Blues Kids.” The performance will take place at Penn Park, 2101 Fisher Street, Madison, WI at 3:30 PM Saturday, August 16, 2008. Organizers of this summer night out in Penn Park are encouraging audiences to bring their lawn chairs to come and enjoy an afternoon of free blues music, with some of Madison's newest Blues Artists.

The "Blues Kids" will perform the first set with the band, followed by a full set of Chicago-style Blues by The Cash Box Kings.

The West Virginia Blues Society - Charleston, W.V.

The West Virginia Blues Society will hold its Second Annual Blues Competition on October 4, 2008 at Christopher's Banquet Center in Fairmont, WV. Blues bands and solo/duo blues acts will compete for cash prizes and WVBS sponsorship to the Blues Foundation's International Blues Challenge held every year in Memphis, Tennessee.

The West Virginia Blues Society will have 18 competition slots filled by regional blues acts from all over West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland and other states. The first-place winner of Blues Competition will receive $750 dollars in cash and WVBS sponsorship to the International Blues Challenge in Memphis in early 2009. The second place winner will receive $200 in cash and third-place winner will receive $100 in cash.

CONTACT PERSON FOR COMPETITION PARTICIPANTS: Complete information, application & rules are available online at www.wvbluessociety.org . Deadline for application submission is September 1, 2008. For more information contact Competition Director, Jack Rice at 304-389-1438 or e-mail: bkravenhawk@hotmail.com


Saturday, September 6, 2008
Angell Park, Sun Prairie, WI

Cliff Fredricksen

Laura England & the Mud Angels

Bobby Bryan & the Uptown Allstars

Bobby Evans & the Alimony Blues Band

Rev Raven & the Chain Smoking Altar Boys

Paul Cebar

www.spbluesfest.com


The National Debonaires

New Sounds from Kansas City

2008 Blues Blast Music Award Nominee
"Best Blues Song" for Ain't Gonna Happen Again

CLICK HERE to purchases Now!

To read the Blues Blast CD review - CLICK HERE


www.backdoorslam.com



September 19 & 20, 2008
Grafton, WI

Festival Website: www.graftonblues.org/id36.html

Sue DaBaco & Wise Fools - Zac Harmon - CTA - California Transit Authority - Fruteland Jackson -David "Honeyboy" Edwards - Sharrie Williams - Bryan Lee - Watermelon Slim & the Workers - Tab Benoit - Elvin Bishop


Featured Blues Review (1 of 4)

Mississippi Heat - Hattiesburg Blues

www.mississippiheat.net

13 songs; 63:00 minutes; Suggested

Styles: Chicago Blues (with some Latin twists)

“I need quality assurance! In these recessionary times, money is tight. I am not going to buy a CD on a whim; I want assurance of quality first.”

Does this sound like anyone you know? For fans of Chicago Blues, Mississippi Heat’s Hattiesburg Blues provides confidence of a sound investment (no pun intended) for hard earned dollars.

Start with the record label, Delmark. Founded by Bob Koester 55 years ago, Delmark does not publish light weights. This is Mississippi Heat’s second release on Delmark (8th album overall); that alone should guarantee no duds. Next, check the length of the CD; at 63 minutes, a buyer is definitely getting his money’s worth. Finally, consider the musicians involved; it is practically an all-star line up. To name a few, the man who founded the band in 1991, Pierre Lacocque, is a fantastic harp player, songwriter, bandleader, composer and arranger. He wrote or co-wrote all but two numbers. Lead vocalist Inetta Visor is a Chicago native with a powerful and expressive voice. Guests on guitar Lurrie Bell and Carl Weathersby have established their playing prominence long ago. The Chicago Horns, led by Kenny Anderson with Willie Henderson, Hank Ford, and Bill McFarland, and Latin percussionist Ruben Alvarez add significantly to this disc.

The band has always had an ensemble sound: all musicians are featured. The music is traditional because it is steeped in Chicago's golden sounds of the 1950s. On the other hand, Pierre's blues is unique because he dislikes treading on old beaten paths. He always writes new material, and this album is a combination of Chicago Blues and Latin rhythms.

From the first, bouncing real-deal blues notes of track one, “Tiger Man,” you’ll know you have made the right purchase. Then, when the lyrics sung sexily by Inetta sink in, broad smiles break out. “When he comes home from work, few words will do. At the blink of an eye, we’re doing the cootchie coo....When our business is done, we lay speechless in bed. Our minds can’t think ‘cause we’re halfway dead. We’re sweaty and wasted; our breathing is in synch. We enjoy it so much, we never need a drink. He’s my Tiger Man; I don’t care if his lovin’ kills me.” Pierre seals the deal with a nice harmonica solo in the middle.

Next up, Chris “Hambone” Cameron’s mid-tempo double tracked piano and organ open just ahead of some tasty single picked guitar notes. At 27 seconds in, a man’s formidable blues voice sings “Chicago Is My Home (the title), and I don’t care where the weather goes...I love this city any which way the wind blows.” It is Lurrie Bell guesting on lead guitar and vocals with Spurling Banks on bass, Kenny Smith on drums, Giles Corey on second guitar, and Pierre on harp. Authentic Chicago Blues are on this song like grease on a bacon cheeseburger.

The Latin-Blues can be heard starting on track 4, “How Much Worse Can It Be” with Ruben Alvarez’s bopping conga drums. When the title track, cut 6, opened and before the lyrics started, my wife started singing, “Hernando’s Hideaway” reflecting a distinct musical similarity. Track 9, “Calypso In Blue” is an up tempo instrumental that will have dancers doing the mambo if not the funky monkey.

Other treats include a slow, gospel tinged “Foolish Man” with Devin Thompson guesting on vocals. Here the Chicago Horns perform some innovative scores. Carl Weathersby’s stinging notes perfectly complement the message in Denise LaSalle’s “Soft Hearted Woman” sung with conviction by Inetta.

The set closes with a funky, wah pedal song with an environmental and social conscience. Dedicated to Al Gore, “Nature Is Cryin’” is a welcome addition to efforts to make the world a better place. “Life must be revered; it cannot be kept in a zoo. Peace within ourselves means peace with nature too. Human greed is a strong magnet stronger than compassion. Few of us are seeking the light. If you are not a part of the solution, you’re definitely part of the problem.”

So, plop down those hard earned bucks with confidence; this album is a winner! And, remember, the high cost of living hasn't affected its popularity.

Reviewer James “Skyy Dobro” Walker is a noted Blues writer, DJ and Blues Blast contributor. His weekly radio show “Friends of the Blues” can be heard each Thursday from 4:30 – 6:00pm on WKCC 91.1 FM in Kankakee, IL

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.


Too Slim and the Taildraggers

Fortune Teller

2008 Blues Blast Music Award Nominee for

"Best Contemporary Blues Recording"

CLICK HERE to Vote for Us NOW

To purchase this CD now CLICK HERE


Eden Brent

2008 Blues Blast Music Award Nominee

"Sean Costello Rising Star Award"

www.edenbrent.com

To read a review of this CD, CLICK HERE

CLICK HERE to Purchase this CD now!


Featured Blues Review (2 of 4)

Liz Mandeville - Red Top

Earwig Records

Chicago blues singer and guitar slinger Liz Mandeville shows an impressive array of songs and styles on her fourth CD release on the Earwig imprint. The disc is called Red Top and features 15 original tunes that range from straight-up blues to swing to deeply soulful ballads. Mandeville has logged countless miles on the road in the pursuit of her music and has obviously learned what it takes to keep an audience, be it live or listening to a record, committed and listening. She is backed on the new disc by a combination of session players, her own touring band, and one honest-to-gosh blues legend, tenor sax great Eddie Shaw, who guests on two cuts.

The best thing about Red Top is that the record is as much about great songwriting as great playing. There are no covers here, no standards, no stories you have heard before. Mandeville trusts her own creative instinct completely and the confidence she has shows in the songs, especially in the lyrics. From the playful “Spanky Butt” to the double-entendre of “Scratch The Kitty,” Mandeville puts her own songwriting voice out there to get the party started. Other standout tracks include the deep “National Guard Blues,” “Guilty Of Rockin’ All Night,” and the title cut “Red Top.”

Mandeville has made quite a name for herself on the blues scene with her previous three releases and countless gigs around the world. She also writes short stories and paints, which only adds to her artistry and knowing that, it is easy to see why she chooses to write her own tunes rather than record re-done covers, as so many acts do. Hopefully, she will sell enough copies of this record to make another one and continue the creative cycle. Lord knows we can sure use some new blues songs.

Reviewed by Mike O'Cull

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.


http://topcatrecords.com




Featured Blues Review (3 of 4)

Blind Willie’s - “Live at Blind Willie’s, Volume 1” (Big Bender Records)

www.BlindWilliesBlues.com
www.myspace.com/SweetBettyBlues
www.myspace.com/FrancineReedDmrecords
www.myspace.com/EmpressOfTheBlues

One of America’s finest blues venues, Blind Willie’s in Atlanta, has decided to release its first volume in a series of live CD recordings of their most frequent artists. In an era where too much of our musical experience gets decompressed into MP3 audio quality; edited to death in Pro-Tools systems, and presented by singers on one coast recording to tracks created on another coast, this album shows what music is all about: real emotion and interplay between human beings.

Doing a fine job in capturing the subtleties of a live show on record, “Live at Blind Willie’s, Volume 1” lets us in on the interactions of three outstanding female blues singers, a backup band in top form, and an audience giving the energy back with all of their collective enthusiasm. The Atlanta-native vocalists Sweet Betty, Sandra Hall, and Chicago-based Francine Reed treat us to four songs each, mostly backed up in a good old, heavy riffin’ blues style with trusty old standard blues forms. But so much life is injected into these songs, it almost feels like you’re hearing the blues for the first time, and that’s a rare sensation.

The 4-piece band features stellar performances especially by drummer Mark Yarbrough and guitarist Kenny Kilgore, who is expectedly able to play your down and dirty slide guitar at times, but really surprises you with beautifully tasty jazz blues fills in standards like “All Of Me” (with Sweet Betty) and “Since I Fell For You” (Francine Reed.) The latter song is my personal favorite of the album, as Reed’s vocal phrasing, sheer emotion, and captivating bluesy grit molded with a true command of jazz melody really hit a soft spot. But all three of these singers possess serious chops and a gift for emoting through their deep altos that’ll send most wanna-be blues singers home to keep practicing. Highly recommended.

Reviewer Nikki O’Neill is a singer, songwriter and guitar player in Los Angeles. She fronts the Nikki O’Neill Band – a soul, r&b and rock band. She's included in Sue Foley’s upcoming book “Guitar Woman,” featuring a who’s-who list of great players like Bonnie Raitt, Ana Popovic, Me’shell Ndegeocello, Jennifer Batten, and more. www.nikkioneill.com


Willie Big Eyes Smith

New CD

Born In Arkansas

CLICK HERE to Purchase this CD

www.williebigeyessmith.com


Featured Blues Review (4 of 4)

Lightnin’ Rod & The Thunderbolts - After The Storm

The influx of post-Katrina independent music has been pervasive, to say the least. As we approach the third anniversary of the storm, the emotions elicited by the event remain palpable, and many testaments to the tragedy have surfaced over the past three years. The title track of Lightnin’ Rod & The Thunderbolts’ After The Storm is noteworthy among these, though only because it feels exceptionally out of place in the playful vibe of an otherwise solid, non-Katrina-influenced album. The track and its successor, “Writing on the Wall” form a suite of sorts - a heart-on-the-sleeve smooth rocker, and a minor-key airing of grievances and doubts – neither of which come close to their mark. The need to give voice to the maelstrom of emotion is certainly understandable, but lines like “the future ain’t what it used to be / because freedom’s never free” are inexcusable. In addition, the vow to “fight for my rights and my freedoms” in the midst of a song that presents itself as a Katrina memorial seems vaguely hypocritical coming from a white blues musician from Michigan. Sadly, the songs cast an ideological pall over the album that Rod & The ‘Bolts have to work hard to redeem.

This is not to say that After The Storm is devoid of merit- the band seem to have no trouble working hard, and the back half of the album shines as a result. When messages don’t supersede the music, After The Storm has no trouble rocking. The musicianship is first rate, and “Lightnin’” Rod Wilson’s vocals are a sandpapered delight. Songwriting of the ilk found in tracks “Rosalee” belie no small songwriting talent, and the good-time swing of “Crawling Back Home” makes the listener wish that Wilson would spend less time baring his soul and more time finishing his beer. However, the best songs on the album are the surprises; “I Guess I’ll Just Sing You The Blues,” sung by backup vocalist Danielle Gross, simply smolders; “John The Revelator” works as an understated doppelganger for “Writing on the Wall” (though it also underscores the futility of a three-year-old Katrina tribute), and “Alligator Woman” rocks far harder than the funkless take on a bayou opening lets on.

Despite these diamonds, the album is, on the whole, rough. Given the level of technical mastery of the band, one would expect something slightly more adventurous. After The Storm is obviously a labor of love, but one hopes that the band’s next release will tread some new territory. The bottom line is that Wilson and company aren’t reinventing the wheel and their by-the-numbers modern blues rock can get tiresome, but there’s enough to listen to on the album to make it worthwhile. Take the album for what it is – finely crafted, but nothing new – and you’ll even be able to forgive the fact that you’ve heard the hook from “Narcissistic Fool” several times before.

Review by John McCormick



The Code Blue Band

Tight at Midnight

Intensely energetic R&B, funk, and rockin' Blues

www.TheCodeBlueBand.com

www.myspace.com/ohiocodeblue

CLICK HERE to buy the CD


Riot and his Rhythm Devils

Latest CD Tough Times is available now!

Get ready for THE ORIGINAL DEVIL'S MUSIC!

www.riotdevils.com
www.myspace.com/riotdevils

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