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Saturday, July 24, 2010

Phillip Walker RIP

From Bob Corritore

July 22, 2010
RIP Phillip Walker, February 11th, 1937 - July 22, 2010. It is with great sadness that we report the passing of Phillip Walker this morning at 4:30 AM of heart failure. He was 73. Phillip was a great singer and guitarist who was considered legendary, though he never broke through to the success that his talent merited. He played guitar on the Specialty and Chess recordings of Clifton Chenier (Phillip once said that it was him and Etta James singing the backup on Clifton's song "My Soul"). He moved from Louisiana to California in 1959, and released his first record "Hello My Darlin", produced by J.R. Fulbright. Phillip's first full album, produced by Bruce Bromberg and called Bottom Of The Top was released in 1973 on the Playboy Record Label (actually a business division of the magazine). He also made great recordings on Galaxy, Vault, Joliet, HighTone, JSP, Black Top, Rounder, Alligator, P-Vine, MC, and most recently on Delta GrooveAdditionally, Phillip was a noted sideman who contributed to albums by  Lonesome Sundown, Eddie Taylor, Percy Mayfield, and Johnny Shines. Phillip toured frequently with a great band that included his longtime partner, James "Broadway" Thomas, on bass. He was lovingly booked by Tom Radai of Blues Management Group. His passing highlights the loss of the few remaining blues artists of his generation. We salute Phillip for always delivering the true blues, for his kind and giving personality, and for his unique and awe inspiring blues style. To see Phillip Walker's website click here , for an extensive bio click here. So long Phillip, we will miss you.

Video of Phillip Walker

Randy Joe Fullerton RIP

From Bob Corritore

RIP Randy Joe Fullerton, Sept 18, 1949 - June 27, 2010. This news comes in from Will "Smokey" Logg. Bassist Randy Joe Fullerton passed away on June 27 in Dallas, Texas. He was 60. Fullerton was a popular blues bass player in the late 60s and 70s who worked with Luther Allison, Rod Piazza, Paul Filipowicz, Jim Liban, Billy Flynn, Madison Slim and many others. He is probably best known as the young, long haired bass player in the 1970 video of Howlin' Wolf performing Highway 49 at a blues festival in Washington D.C. where he was a capable fill in for Wolf's curtailed bass player. To see this unbelievable video, click here. To see Randy Joe Fullerton's myspace, click here. Randy remained an active performer his whole life and is considered a top shelf bassist by all that knew him. He will be greatly missed.


Here is a video of Howling Wolf singing with Randy Joe Fullerton playing bass

James "Slim" Sroggins RIP

From Bob Corritore


  • RIP James "Slim" Sroggins, April 28, 1953 - July 9, 2010. Phoenix based blues and soul drummer James "Slim" Scroggins was a talented and popular performer in his home town. He died on July 9th at age 57 from complications of blood clots. Over the last 30 years Slim worked with some of the quintessential Phoenix artists and bands including George Bowman, Big Pete Pearson, Fire In The Sky, The Whitehead Brothers, and his own James Matthews Band. He most recently was the powerhouse drummer with Cold Shott & The Hurricane Horns.  Slim stood 6' 8" tall and had a professional and charismatic personality. For more information about James "Slim" Scroggins from the Cold Shott website click here. There will be a marathon memorial concert for Slim on Friday August 6, at the Rhythm Room, hosted by Cold Shott & The Hurricane Horns with many special guests.

Bob Corritore Blues News

From Bob Corritore


July 20, 2010
 "The Billy Boy Arnold video was part of a feature that was produced by Mark Baum and the Fox Valley Blues Society in honor of the 60th anniversary of John Lee “Sonny Boy” Williamson’s first recording session in 1937, which took place in the Sky Room club on the top of the Leland Hotel in Aurora, IL, about 40 miles southwest of Chicago.  For many years the Leland Hotel was the tallest building between Chicago and St. Louis (I think it’s 17 stories), and on the top floor was a ballroom and nightclub that was known at various times as the Sky Room, The Sky Club, and The Blue Sky Lounge.  As with many hotels of the era, the ballroom featured a live dance band, sometimes broadcast on a local radio station.  This was not a blues venue though - it was strictly white dance and pop bands.  But in the ‘off hours’ it served as a good place for recording sessions, since it had decent acoustics and was already set up for radio broadcasts, and was acoustically isolated from the guest rooms.  The story I’ve always heard is that Sonny Boy’s record label, in order to dodge the powerful musicians union in Chicago, rented the space for the sessions in Aurora so they could be outside the jurisdiction of the union.  At any rate, Sonny Boy’s first several recording sessions were held there, along with early sessions by people such as Big Joe Williams, Robert Lee McCoy (who recorded the song “Prowling Night Hawk” there, which gave him his nickname Robert Nighthawk), Walter Davis, Yank Rachell, Henry Townsend and many others.
Because Billy Boy was mentored briefly by Sonny Boy, and was profoundly influenced by his music, he was invited to be interviewed by Mark Baum and myself for a video production for local cable TV in Aurora.  The cable TV studio was literally in the shadow of the Leland Hotel building, which by this time had been converted to Fox Island Place Condos.  The management graciously allowed us access to the ballroom (which had in recent years been divided up for use as dance rehearsal studios), so after the interview, we went up and shot video of Billy Boy performing a couple of Sonny Boy’s songs which had been recorded in the same room 60 years earlier, along with one of Billy Boy’s own songs from his recent Alligator CD.  The whole thing was produced into a one hour feature which was shown on local cable TV a few months later, coinciding with the Fox Valley Blues Festival, which is held a couple of blocks away from the former Leland Hotel
I attended that festival strictly as a fan, but while I was there, Mark Baum asked if I would do a brief interview Junior Wells, who was playing on the fest. Junior had of course also been deeply influenced by Sonny Boy, having recorded several of his songs including “Good Morning Schoolgirl”, “You Better Cut That Out”, and “Hoodoo Man Blues”.   10 minutes later we were on our way up to the Sky Room again, where we did a brief and completely off the cuff interview with no notes, no preparation, about 20 minutes to go before Junior was scheduled to hit the stage  – and maybe most importantly, no air conditioning or open windows on one of the hottest days of the year.  Not exactly ideal conditions, but I’m glad I was able to do it, and of course Junior was as gracious as could be and a complete pro.  Little did we know at the time, but this was probably Junior’s last interview; not long after, Junior was diagnosed with cancer, ceased public appearances, and died the following January."
Here are the clips:
1) Billy Boy Arnold singing "Good Morning Little School Girl" with Rockin' Johnny on guitar and a intro by Scott Dirks (click here)
2) Billy Boy singing "Black Gal" (click here)
3) Billy Boy singing his song "Man Of Considerable Taste" and end credits (click here)
4) Junior Wells interview with Scott Dirks, part 1 (click here)  
5) Junior Wells interview,  part 2 (click here)

Bob Dorr And The Blue Band Update

Well, I'm unprepared. It's a day earlier than I normally get this note out and I have nothing to rant about. Damn...
This evening (Thurs. 7/22) see ya at the Gazeeeeebo Gig in Central Park, in Grinnell, 5:30-7:30p. I started playing in Grinnell at The Eagles Club with The Little Red Rooster Band in 1977. We're talkin' 33 years of playing a gig or two a year in that town. What can I say, I like the place. And occasionally someone brings CAKE!...
Friday night is our only nightclub appearance this summer, starting the night's festivities at The Hub, bub. 4th & Main in beautiful downtown Sparkle City USA. It's modified "geeeezer gig" hours, 7-10:30p, Heath joins Al in the horn section, sometimes our friend Bob Guthart brings one of his 400 guitars (usually the green one) and plays a real cool rhythm part on Good Legs. Pizza by the slice, adult beverages, great in-house sound system, run by professionals, dancing, and actin' the fool and you can still get home to catch the weather forecast on the 10 o'clock news!!! What's not to like, right Avis?!...
I'm really looking forward to Saturday's show at the Bix Street Fair in Davenport. I was a Sudlow Jr. High Tiger in 1966. It seems that every time we go back to the Quads, one or more of my old classmates shows up. And invariably I have to say, "yes, I'm still playing in a band, just like the last time you saw me, as the drummer in Tortoise & The Hair, at the Sudlow mixer in the cafeteria/multi-purpose room, playing Lovin' Spoonful songs and tryin' to make out with Jane Wormley." Yep, same guy. See ya on the 2nd & Main stage 7:30-9:30p. A quick shout out to Wells Fargo Bank in Davenport for continuing to underwrite the cost of our show. Thankyou, thankyouverymuch...
Next week: Thurs. 7/29 RAGBRAI lunch stop, Parkersburg, 10:30 (IN THE MORNING) to 1:30pm...Fri. 7/30 Live At 5-Ottumwa downtown park 5-7:30p...Sun. 8/1 (what? Next week is AUGUST??? YIKES!!) The Parnell Bike Show, out on Main Street 2-6pm...
Yes, it's come to this. I know rent out my voice to the Cedar Rapids HomeShow! This week, I read blurbs about 43 houses in 27 minutes. It airs on the CW TV channel out of Cedar Rapids Saturday at noon, Sunday at 11am. And ya know, while we're talkin' real estate, my wife has a cozy little two bedroom bungalo in a prime Cedar Falls location for sale...
Actually, I wanted to rant about "Tribute Bands". Bands that pretend to be other bands. What? And they're immensely popular. Could you es'plain that to me. Maybe that's why I'm still playing the same towns that I was playing 30-40 years ago. I shoulda gotten in the Kiss Tribute Band, but I have no clue how to put on the make-up. Christ, even Dweezil Zappa does entire shows of his dad's music these days. I thought the reason to be a musician and put up with the late nights, long road trips, load-outs in the rain, making it to the gig in a blizzard, for little (if any) pay was because you got to do it your way, not pretend to do it EXACTLY like the other guy!...
We're in the homestretch for the house remodeling. The painters are s'posed to do their last day, starting in about 4 hours. I've been having some difficulty with my phones so the Quest guy will be here either in five and a half hours or anytime in the four hours following that. Honest to God, it sounds like someone is doing a very bad job of tapping my phone (just because you're not paranoid, it doesn't mean they're not after you...) See yas on the Blue Highway (if they don't take me away before that) Rubbing your washboard tie is great summer fun for all ages, no matter if you're tapping my phone or not, bring CAKE and always remember we love you. Bob Dorr & The Blue Band

Illinois Blues Blast! Blues News!


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July 22, 2010 
© 2010 Blues Blast Magazine
Latest news, photos, reviews, links & MUCH MORE in this issue! Scroll or Page Down!

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Hey Blues Fans,
RIP - Phillip Walker 2/13/37 - 7/22/2010
Sad news from our good friend Bob Corritore:  "It is with great sadness that we report the passing of Phillip Walker this morning at 4:30 AM of heart failure. He was 73.
Phillip was a great singer and guitarist who was considered legendary, though he never broke through to the success that his talent merited. He played guitar on the Specialty and Chess recordings of Clifton Chenier (Phillip once said that it was him and Etta James singing the backup on Clifton's song "My Soul"). He moved from Louisiana to California in 1959, and released his first record "Hello My Darlin", produced by J.R. Fulbright. Phillip's first full album, produced by Bruce Bromberg and called Bottom Of The Top was released in 1973 on the Playboy Record Label (actually a business division of the magazine).
He also made great recordings on Galaxy, Vault, Joliet, HighTone, JSP, Black Top, Rounder, Alligator, P-Vine, MC, and most recently on Delta Groove. Additionally, Phillip was a noted sideman who contributed to albums by Lonesome Sundown, Eddie Taylor, Percy Mayfield, and Johnny Shines. Phillip toured frequently with a great band that included his longtime partner, James "Broadway" Thomas, on bass. He was lovingly booked by Tom Radai of Blues Management Group. His passing highlights the loss of the few remaining blues artists of his generation. We salute Phillip for always delivering the true blues, for his kind and giving personality, and for his unique and awe inspiring blues style. So long Phillip, we will miss you."

Blues Wanderings
We made it out to hear a couple great Illinois artists last week with a trip to the Sugar Creek Arts Festival in Normal. IL to see the Sally Weisenburg Trio.  With Sally on keyboards and keyboard and keyboard bass, Don Berbaum on guitar and Tony Corpus on drums, they treated the crowd to their own brand of R&B, Soul and Blues.
We also caught a set by Joel Patterson and Modern Sounds at a show sponsored by the River City Blues Society. Joel is an amazing guitar player and mixed sounds from Blues, Rockabilly,  R&B, Jazz and Jump Blues.
They even did a tribute to the two great guitarists from the Lawrence Welk Show, Buddy Merrill and Neil Levang. Now that's what we call variety!

In This Issue
Part two of Bob Kieser's review day of the 26th Mississippi Valley Blues Festival. Terry " Gatorman" Lape interviews XM Radio DJ, Bill Wax.
We have four new CD reviews this week! James "Skyy Dobro" Walker reviews a new CD by Julius Pittman & The Revival. Mark Thompson  reviews a new CD by Harper. Greg 'Bluesdog' Szalony reviews a new CD by Smokin' Joe Kubek and Bnois King. Steve Jones reviews a new CD by Tim Woods. All this and MORE! SCROLL DOWN!!!

Ladies Sing The Blues Cruise
A 5 day Carnival Cruise on the Triumph
Ever wish you could afford to take a Blues cruise but know you are in the wrong tax bracket to afford one? Well there is an alternative at a lower cost.
Fan Cruises has announced a five day Carnival Cruise departing from New Orleans December 6, 2010 with Ports of Call in Progreso, Mexico, and Cozumel, Mexico.
This special package includes private concerts by three Blues Ladies and cruise prices, start at just $155 each for double occupancy, (plus plus $259.67 each for fees, taxes and gratuities). This Blues package including three private Blues concerts, private cocktail party with open bar, autograph signings and meet & greet time with the performers.
You can get a cabin for two for around $950 total or get the best cabins they have (Panorama Deck 10 - Forward and Lido Deck 9 - Midship) for a total cost of $1,300 for two people! (You can add a 3rd or 4th person for only $50 & the $259.67 fees each.)
The performers include Pat HunterTerri Lynn & Thunder Blues and Vivian Vance Kelly. No it is NOT a Legendary Ryhthm & Blues Cruise with all Blues all the time but it is a 5 day Caribbean cruise for Blues lovers that is affordable. For more information visit their website at http://fancruises.com

Friday, July 30, 2010
Saturday, July 31, 2010

Festival Website www.prairiedogblues.com
The only Blues festival held on an island in the middle of the Mississippi River!
 Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin on St. Feriole Island

 26th Mississippi Valley Blues Festival - Part Two
We made it to the 26th Annual Mississippi Valley Blues Fest over the Fourth of July weekend in Davenport, Iowa. Here are photos of the great Blues artists they had on the second and third day of this fantastic festival.
The main stage started off on Saturday with the winners of the Iowa Blues Challenge, Steady Rollin' Blues Band. Look for these guys at the International Blues Challenge next February.
Next up was Ana Popovic from Belgrade in former Yugoslavia. Ana is a quadruple threat. She write good songs, sings well, is one heck of a guitar player and is VERY attractive. The band put on one heck of a show.
Next up was California Bluesman Zac Harmon. Zac won the International Blues Challenge a few years ago and is a popular act at festivals.
Next was Vasti Jackson. It was our first chance to hear this artists and we hope it is not the last! Good stuff!
Rosie Ledet & The Zydeco Playboys finished out the night on Saturday. Many Blues festivals include a Zydeco act and the music always gets the crowd going and dancing. But Rosie is in a class by herself! Her way of wringing out every bit of emotion from her instrument is truly unique. She is a real treat to watch even if you are not a Zydeco fan.
Saturdays lineup for the tent stage started off with Little Brother Jones. They were one of two great Piedmont Blues acts and we were quite impressed our first time hearing them. These guys understand and perform this style of Blues as well as anyone we have heard!
Next up was  a duet of Olga Wilhelmine and Cody Dickson. It was a nice changeup of style.
Little Joe McClerran was up next and his band included David Berntson on harp, Robbie Mack on bass and Ron McRorey on drums. These guys were another excellent example of the Piedmont Blues style. They just returned from a trip to Saudi Arabia as part of a US State Department tour.
It was also a rare chance to hear our friend David Berntson actually perform at this festival. He does a harmonica workshop for the kids almost every year at this festival but we never get to see hip really blow! Great stuff David!
Blues Blast Music Awards nominee Ruthie Foster was up next. She wowed the crowd with a fine set of music. If you are a fan of Ruthie be sure to vote for her. CLICK HERE
Billy Branch and the Sons of Blues finished out the night on Saturday in the tent stage. They treated the crowd to a fine set of Chicago Blues.
Sunday July 5
The Jimmy's kicked off the Sunday show on the main stage. They were a great example of a Blues band that uses hors effectively.
Canadian Blues rocker Shawn Kellerman was up next. This guy one great guitar and slide palyer!
Reba Russell Band was up next. They were replacements for Lucky Peterson whose tour took him to the Portland Blues fest for the weekend. They did a great job playing many of the songs from their new CD Eight.
The Legendary Rhythm & Blues Revue finished out Sunday night on the main stage. As usual the band included the award winning guitar playing of Tommy Castro. Tommy is also nominated for the Blues Blast Music Awards so if you are a fan be sure to vote for him. CLICK HERE
For this show the Legendary Rhythm & Blues Revue featured Debbie Davies, Magic Dick and Sista Monica as well as Tommy Castro. Now that's quite a lineup!
On Sunday the tent stage started off with the duo of Bill Simms & Mark LaVoie.
Blues Blast Music Awards nominees Dave Riley & Bob Corritore were up next. These guys are the real deal. Be sure to vote for them if you are one of their MANY fans. CLICK HERE
David Boykin Expanse was up next providing a change of pace and style
Saint Louis Blues artist Kim Massie was up next. She provided a great set of "sassy" Blues!
Last and definitely not least The Nighthawks took the stage. It was our first cahnce to hear them live and we were NOT disappointed.
To finish out the set the Nighthawks brought out legendary Blues guitarist Hubert Sumlin. Now thats what I call a great finish!
In summary, the Mississippi Valley Blues Festival once again showed why they both fans and performers everywhere want to come to this great festival. Kudos to the folks at MVBS.
All Photos and commentary by Bob Kieser.


 Featured Blues Interview
Bill Wax - XM Radio
Interview by Terry " Gatorman" Lape
Photo by Marilyn Stringer
I met Bill Wax, who is the “Proprietor of Low-Fi's Bar and Pool Hall” in the heart of Bluesville, during my recent trip to Memphis. Memphis is located in the western part of Bluesville and of course Chicago, where I hang my hat, is in the northern part.
My good friend Robert Nighthawk Tooms handled the introductions. This meeting occurred while attending a Blues Showcase at the legendary “Rum Boogie” in Memphis. The showcase was held during the past Blues Music Awards. I found Bill Wax to be a real genuine individual. I bugged him for an interview and here it is. Don’t forget to say hello to Bill Wax when you stop in at the bar and pool hall. Enter via the front door marked “XM Radio”.
Blues Blast: Why the Blues?
Bill Wax: I don’t really think I choose the blues, they choose me. I grew up right outside of Washington DC and had access to great black radio stations…WOL, WOOK in Washington, and WEBB in Baltimore. I was exposed to Soul and R and B very early and although I also dug Rock and Roll, it was the R and B that keep calling me back.
I started to check out the artists I heard like Jimmy Reed, Muddy Waters, and others and fell in love with the sound. I used to go to the Howard Theatre in DC when I was in high school and when I saw the music live I was hooked.
Blues Blast: Besides the radio do you play any other instrument?
Bill Wax: I play discs and records. I never have played an instrument. After all these years, I think that has helped me be a better programmer since I have approached the music as a fan not as a musician and most of the audience are fans so it helps me keep in touch with how the audience responds to the music.
Blues Blast: Tell me a little about your radio background. How has it changed since you first started?
Bill Wax: Jeez I have been doing radio seriously since 1978. I did a show while in college in 1968 but it was in 1978 when I started volunteering at a community radio station in Columbia, MO., KOPN, and I was hired to be the Program Director in 1979. I have been involved with radio pretty much since then.
I was Program Director at KBOO in Portland, OR. from 1983 to 1985 or so. I was the producer for Pacifica Radio at the Iran-Contra Hearings and that evolved into me being the Executive Producer of National Programming for Pacifica Radio which lasted for almost 10 years.
During all this time I always had a Blues or R and B radio show on whatever local community radio station was located in the same town I was. I eventually began doing a daily Blues show in Washington DC on WPFW, one hour at lunch time Monday – Friday. It was while I was doing that show that XM Radio heard about me and then heard the show and offered me a position developing and then being the Program Director of Bluesville. I have been with satellite radio since then, now going on 10 years.
The changes have been huge. When I started we played records and ran tapes now we play audio files and files from a computer and I have not seen tape or records for 10 years.
There was a great deal of creativity in radio when I first started and how it seems that there is a lot of monkey see monkey do, so if someone does something that is popular is it just copied everywhere.
There also was room for regional music and radio so that if you drove across the country you would hear different bands and music from region to region, now it all sounds pretty much the same.
Programmers had a great deal of freedom to pick their own music and now it is mostly researched to death and dictated to them by a corporate office. Those are a few of things I have seen change in commercial radio and even to some degree in public radio too.
Blues Blast: Do you have a radio mentor?
Bill Wax: I would say some of the jocks I heard on radio growing up were mentors in the sense I learned something from listening to them…Bob Terry – The Nighthawk, Soul Finger, Mr. C – Carroll Hansen.
When I returned to DC in the late 1980’s there were two men doing radio on WPFW, who I continued to learn from – Jerry “The Bama” Washington and Nap “Don’t Forget the Blues” Turner. I use one of Jerry’s ideas on my shows today and call it “The Wash Cycle” since one of Jerry’s nicknames was Wash. It is playing all the versions of single song done by different artists in one set.
Honestly whenever I listen to other programmers on the air I am always listening for things I can incorporate into my programming.
Blues Blast: What do you like most about your job and of course what do you like the least?
Bill Wax: Well there is a lot to love in what I do today. I get to program a 24/7/365 blues radio channel that is heard all over North America. I have so far been given almost complete freedom to choose the music and the feeling for the channel.
I have been lucky enough to become friends with musicians like B.B. King and Buddy Guy. Last year I did 40 one hour shows with B. B. and had the opportunity to spend a lot of time with him to record the shows at his house. The channel is popular enough that it seems to help the artists out there either by helping sell new music because of our air play or announcing their gigs and helping get folks out to shows.
Also because of the digital rights act we are paying real money to artists for their air play on B.B. King’s Bluesville. I have had the opportunity to feature musicians who were known locally or regionally but not nationally and we have helped them become known in other areas of the country.
On top of all of this I get paid to be the Program Director and host so I can make a living from doing this.
As far as what I dislike- I work long hours usually 7 am to 6 pm five days a week and one day on the weekend for another 4 to 6 hours. I wish I had a staff so we could do more specialty programming.
Blues Blast: I ask the following question to help understand the health of the blues. How many listeners listen to your show?
Bill Wax: We have somewhere between 1.5 million and 2 million listeners to the channel each week.
Blues Blast: There has been a lot of talk over the years about the blues dying and some have already buried it, what is your take on that subject?
Bill Wax: I think that is just plain bull hockey. The Blues are not dying. They have never been a big profit making industry, so I do not understand why folks think they should be now. I admit it is tough out there being a blues musician or record label but the music is still growing and will continue to do so. If slavery and Jim Crow could not kill the music then the current economic climate won’t either. There are blues musicians older and younger in just about every community here in America and Canada and also throughout the world. They might not make their whole living from playing the blues but they continue to play the music.
Blues Blast: This may be a very difficult question for you to answer; do you have a favorite blues artist?
Bill Wax: I have artists I love and they are many. Some are current and some have past. If I was stuck alone somewhere I would not want to be without Louis Jordan, Dinah Washington and Buddy and Ella Johnson.
Blues Blast: How do you foresee the genre 100 years from now?
Bill Wax: Well this is the type of speculation that I am not really good at, but I would guess there will still be acoustic blues and electric blues and they will played on whatever new instruments are dreamed up over the next 100 years.
I also would guess that there will still be traditionalist; who will continue to play the blues on the same types of instruments we are using today. I would also guess that there will still be folks debating whether the blues have died or are dying and then others who keep the music growing by playing and appreciating it.
Interviewer James "Skyy Dobro" Walker is a noted Blues writer, DJ, Master of Ceremonies, and longtime Blues Blast Magazine contributor. His weekly radio show "Friends of the Blues" can be heard Saturdays 8 pm - Midnight on WKCC 91.1 FM and at www.wkccradio.org in Kankakee, IL.
For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.


 Featured Blues Review 1 of 4
Julius Pittman & The Revival - Bucket List
Self Release
9 tracks; 39:23 minutes; Splendid
Style: Horn Band meets Southern Soul vocalist for a Rock and Soul revival
Julius Pittman’s incredibly good CD immediately raised two issues: First, instead of a Soul fan listening to a cover of a classic song like Al Green’s “Tired of Being Alone,” why not just play the original? Secondly, is it possible to record an album with old school stereo separation between left and right speakers like we first heard back when stereo replaced monaural?
Virginia show band and beach music veteran Julius Pittman opens the set with Al Green’s “Tired of Being Alone” done deftly, but in pretty much the original arrangement and vocal style. While that might put off a few, I found it a great sounding reminder of that wonderful song. Also, there are bound to be new listeners out there buying a new CD like Pittman’s unfamiliar with Al Green. I’ll guarantee my daughters born after 1980 have not heard this song. Honestly, I had never heard Robert Johnson’s “Love in Vain” until the Rolling Stones covered it on 1969’s “Let It Bleed” vinyl album. I did now what I did then, I dug back and enjoyed both the original and the new cover.
Whatever happened to discrete stereo separation? Today’s CDs are mixed with almost everything coming right down the middle and only a little uniqueness in each separate channel. “Bucket List” is a refreshing and pleasing reminder of the joyous days of leaving my mono record player behind and playing my new Zenith stereo with short, round speaker towers. It is pretty cool to hear guitar and muted trumpet over there, saxophone and organ over here, and Julius Pittman’s testifying vocal style coming down the middle. For the complete retro-stereo experience, listen through headphones!
Julius Ray Pittman, enduring years of musical frustration, in 2009, saw the opportunity to form a band dedicated to revitalizing Old School Rock & Soul sounds of the Memphis Stax / Volt era. Their 2009 recording “Bucket List” brings sounds and dynamics reminiscent of West Coast horn bands Jack Mack & The Heart Attack and Tower of Power, also sounds of Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings and Buddy Miles.
“My overall concept of the CD was to showcase the band’s influences over the years; hopefully, to gel into a Rock and Soul Revival, without forgetting our blues and Jazz roots,” says Pittman. “Al Green is one of my all-time favorites, and the first time I heard Jack Mack’s first album, “Cardiac Party,” I literally jumped out of my seat,” he recalls. “I knew that’s the kind of band I wanted to be in.”
Pittman wrote four originals that accompany five inspired covers. Following “Tired Of Being Alone,” horns kick start Jack Mack & The Heart Attack’s “Don't Need No Reason.” B-3 Organ, horns, Pittman’s vocals – the song just soars!
The most powerful ballad in the show is Jack Mack & The Heart Attack’s “Willing To Learn,” perfect for a slow-dance with someone special or singing along with Julius' incredible vocal take.
The second-line beat pumping up original tune “Part Time Lover” should fill dance floors while Tommy Chong’s slow dancer “Does Your Mama Know About Me” is as poignant and relevant as it was when Bobby Taylor and the Vancouvers recorded it. Guest tenor Saxman Hugh “Chuck” Williams, a veteran of Albert Collins’ band, brought “A Good Fool Is Hard To Find” into the mix for some killer Rock and Soul.
The Revival features the unique vocals of keyboardist/leader Julius Pittman, guitarist Randy Moss, bassist Audie Stanley, drummer Chris McIntyre, tenor sax player John Stanley, tenor/baritone sax player Howard Smith, and trumpeter/flugelhorn Dave Triplett. Six additional players are studio guests for keys, horns, percussion, and background vocals.
What music fan doesn’t enjoy the sound of great music? This just happens to be great old school soul from the late 60s and the great horn bands of the 70s. Enjoy “Bucket List’s”
Incredibly well done remakes, and to Julius the producer, thank you for that old school stereo – that discrete, it’s allreet!
Reviewer James "Skyy Dobro" Walker is a noted Blues writer, DJ, Master of Ceremonies, and longtime Blues Blast Magazine contributor. His weekly radio show "Friends of the Blues" can be heard Saturdays 8 pm - Midnight on WKCC 91.1 FM and at www.wkccradio.org in Kankakee, IL.
To See James “Skyy Dobro” Walker's CD rating system, CLICK HERE 
For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.


 Featured Blues Review 2 of 4
Harper - Stand Together
12 tracks/47:48
For his third release for Blind Pig, Harper has made several changes – he produced the sessions himself as well as using his touring band, Midwest Kind, for the project. The disc also features a number of tracks with Harper playing the didgeridoo, an instrument used by the native Aborigines of Australia. He also handles all of the vocals, plays harmonica and keyboards in addition to writing all of the songs on the disc. His band consists Gregg Leonard on guitar, Chris Du Ross on acoustic guitar, Chris Wiley Smith on bass, Marc Dixon on drums & percussion and Kurt Wolak on a variety of keyboards.
The decision to use his regular band pays off as all of the tracks bristle with energy and the tight grooves that come from thoroughly road-tested material. Employing the didgeridoo on the opening cut, Harper creates a haunting backdrop on “I Never Want” that transports listeners into mystical territory. “Looking at You” features Harper’s supple voice and a strong performance from Midwest Kind. The big drumbeat and swirling tones from the didgeridoo on “We Stand Together” bring to mind the classic sound of the great Australian band Midnight Oil. “Weaker Man” finds Harper playing some bluesy harp to accompany another strong vocal performance.
On “Chill Out”, Harper makes it clear to a former lover that he never really cared for her as Leonard lays down some tasty guitar parts. Harper showcases his harp playing on “What Are You Gonna Do”, unleashing several runs of cascading notes. The tonal quality and lightening-quick pace of his playing conjure up images of John Popper of Blues Traveler. The band rocks hard on “Damn Shame” while Harper delivers another outstanding vocal on the ballad “Take These Arms”.
There are two elements that are missing from this release. First, there are a few moments where Harper injects a couple tenuous blues references into the proceedings. While Harper successfully blends a number of disparate musical influences into a coherent package, the blues content is minimal. One could easily imagine this recording appealing to fans of the jam-band genre. And while Harper has crafted a disc full of well-played arrangements, he falls short in writing lyrics that pack the punch of his music. Some of the lines border on cliché while other lines are repeated multiple times to the point of overkill. While no one would argue with the sentiment expressed in “Love=Peace=Freedom”, Harper repeats the title more than ten times throughout the track and negates the momentum of the swirling arrangement.
There is no doubt that Harper is a talented performer and engaging vocalist. There is plenty to enjoy on this release as long as you are looking for music that extends beyond the blues tradition to a worldly view, befitting a man born in the United Kingdom, raised in Australia and residing in Michigan. .
Reviewer Mark Thompson is president of the Crossroads Blues Society in Rockford. IL. 
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The Cincy Blues Society - Cincinnati, OH
The Cincy Blues Society presents the 2010 Cincy Blues Festival August 6th & 7th, 2010 at Bicentennial Commons at Sawyer Point Park in Cincinnati, Ohio - a beautiful downtown park located on the banks of the Ohio River. The festival features headliners Candye Kane, David Maxwell and Alexis P. Suter Band on Friday August 6th and Shane Dwight, The Insomniacs, Rick Estrin and the Nightcats and Joe Louis Walker on Saturday August 7th. In all the festival features more than 40 acts on four stages. For complete info visit http://cincyblues.org
The Golden Gate Blues Society - San Francisco Bay Area, CA
International Blues Challenge Competition - The Golden Gate Blues Society Blues Challenge announced. The winning Greater Bay Area band at each competition will go on to compete in the final where one band will be chosen to send to Memphis for The Blues Foundation’s International Blues Challenge. Everyone gets to vote for their favorite band! Free for members, $10.00 at the door for non-members - join TGGBS at the door and be admitted free. All showtimes will be from 2 – 6 pm.
July 18 - Angelica’s Bistro, Redwood City, August 1 - J.J.’s, San Jose, August 8 - Mojo Lounge, Fremont, August 22 – The Standby, South San Francisco. Finals - TBA. For more info visit www.tggbs.org or contact Dorothy L. Hill, President 415-824-3502 – jazzpix2000@yahoo.com or jazzpix@pacbell.net
Alabama Blues Project - Northport, AL
Alabama Blues Project 2010 Summertime Blues Camp will be held July 19-23 at Covenant Presbyterian Church on Hargrove Road in Tuscaloosa, AL. For more information please contact Cara Smith at (205) 752-6263 or cara@alabamablues.org. You may also find out much more about our Summertime Blues Camp by clicking here to visit our 2009 review.
The Washington Blues Society’s local competitions for the 2011 International Blues Challenge will be held on Sunday, June 20th and Sunday, June 27th at the award-winning Highway 99 Blues Club in Seattle. Depending on the number of entries received, there may be an additional competition on July 11th or July 25th. The preliminary solo/duo competitions will be held on either Sunday, June 27th or one of the July dates above. Competition finals will be held on Sunday, August 22nd at the the Snohomish Taste Of Music Festival. For complete info see the website at: www.wablues.org or email president@wablues.org.
Crossroads Blues Society - Rockford, IL
Crossroads Blues Society is producing their very first Blue festival this year. The Byron Crossroads Blues Festival will run from noon to midnight on Saturday, August 28, 2010, in downtown Byron, Illinois.
The festival lineup includes The Resistors, noted artists Filisko and Noden, The Cashbox Kings, Westside Andy/Mel Ford Band and Dave Weld and the Imperial Flames. For more information visit the Crossroads website at: www.crossroadsbluessociety.com
2010 Friends of the Blues shows -  August 10, Sean Chambers, River Bend Bar & Grill, 6070 E. Route 17, Kankakee IL (815) 933-0610 Thursday, July 22, Kilborn Alley Blues Band, 7 p.m., Moose Lodge, N State Rt 50 (Kinzie Ave), Bradley IL (815) 939-3636, Tuesday, August 10, Sean Chambers, 7 pm, River Bend Bar & Grill, 6070 E. Route 17, Kankakee IL (815) 933-0610, August 24, Chicago Kingsnakes, 7 pm , Bradley Bourbonnais Sportsmen’s Club, September 2, Ivas John Band, 7 pm , Moose Lodge, N State Rt 50 ( Kinzie Ave ), Bradley IL, September 21, Shawn Pittman, 7 pm , Kankakee Valley Boat Club,
October 12, Too Slim & Taildraggers, 7 pm , Kankakee Valley Boat Club, October 26, Perry Weber & DeVilles, 7 pm , Bradley Bourbonnais Sportsmen’s Club. For more info see: http://www.wazfest.com/JW.html 
Illinois Central Blues Club - Springfield, IL
BLUE MONDAY SHOWS - Held at the Alamo 115 N 5th St, Springfield, IL (217) 523-1455 every Monday 8:30pm $3 cover. July 26 - Bill Evans, August 2 – Andrew “Jr Boy” Jones, August 9 – Roger “Hurricane” Wilson, August 16 – The Sugar Prophets, August 23 – Bryan Lee “Blind Blues Daddy”, August 28 – ICBC Blues Challenge at the Old Capitol Blues & BBQ, August 30 – Kilborn Alley Blues Band
The River City Blues Society presents Blues shows during the summer season. The shows start at 7:00pm at Good Fellas Pizza and Pub, 1414 N 8TH St Pekin, IL. Admission for all shows is $4 or $3 for RCBS members. Shows currently scheduled are: Wednesday July 28th, 2010 - Andrew "Junior Boy" Jones.


 Featured Blues Review 3 of 4
Smokin' Joe Kubek and Bnois King - Have Blues, Will Travel
Alligator Records
time-51:30
I guess a partnership of twenty-one years will do that to you-create a bond were lyrics, delivery, wit and guitar riffs meld together sounding like they were always there. As long as these two keep making original blues songs that are refreshing, driving, thought provoking while appealing to the 'everyman', the prognosis for the blues looks good indeed. The combination of Smokin' Joe's guitar arsenal and Bnois' warm and familiar tone along with his subtle humor and guitar support make them a powerful blues one-two punch.
Rooted in basic blues, oft-times bolstered by a bit of boogie or rock crunch this disc shows the boys delivering a solid blues set, forgoing some of their rock n' roll detours of the past. Here they use some rock punch to push things along occasionally. The opening of the lead-off title track sounds like ZZ Top. The fuzzed guitar riff that leads into "Out Of Body, Out Of Mind" comes on like classic Foghat. Joe can call on many guitar styles at the drop of a hat....hard driving Texas blues, slashing slide, slow boogie-all the while assisted by Bnois' able guitar skills. Their unique gift of crafting road trip songs continues with the title track and "Out Of Body, Out Of Mind". I love the way they convey a sense of movement. On the latter, an ode to a romance gone wrong Bnois' offers- 'I'm out of body, out out of mind, out of here' and 'I'm seperated from my inner fool'.
They are true to the blues tradition by commenting on issues of the day. "RU4 Real?" has Bnois questioning his girl if she has botox, silicone, real eye color and what other parts are original. "My Space Or Yours?" takes their blues to the present with computer terms describing sex....'I wanna show you my hard drive'. A bouncy jazz-tinged riff bops this tune along. "Sleeping With One Eye Open" warns of the consequences of going to bed with your mate while she's pissed off.
Smokin' Joe's slide work accents the work -week remedies described in "Payday In America". Monday comes and 'gotta get back to sellin' my soul'. Throughout the reassuring quality in Bnois' voice conveys his emotions like a true friend. The slow, smoldering slide re-enforces the plaintive lyrics of "Wishful Thinking".
Hey, just thought of something......not one bum or samey track to be found here. A varied and enjoyable listen provided without the aid of extra musicians. Just the two road dogs along with the driving drums and bass of Adrian Marchi and John Morris respectively. The only outside help was from some co-writers and the able production of Alligator Records honcho Bruce Iglauer. As long as this crew keeps doing it up like this, heartfelt guitar- based blues are in good hands.
Reviewer Greg 'Bluesdog' Szalony is from the New Jersey Delta. He is the proprietor of Bluesdog's Doghouse at http://bluesdog61.multiply.com.
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You can vote anytime until August 31st but why not do it NOW? To cast your vote now, CLICK HERE.
You can listen to music by each of the nominees at a website set up by our sponsor WGLT Blues Radio 24/7 in Bloomington, IL. Be an informed voter and check out the music of the nominees now! - CLICK HERE
(The Blues Blast Music Awards ceremonies will take place Thursday, October 28th, 2010 at Buddy Guy's Legends in Chicago, IL)
Best Contemporary Blues CD
Best Traditional Blues CD
Joe Louis Walker - Between A Rock And the Blues Dave Riley & Bob Corritore - Lucky To Be Living
Mike Zito - Pearl River David Maxwell & Louisiana Red - You Got To Move
Nick Moss - Privileged Eddie C. Campbell - Tear This World Up
Sean Costello - Sean's Blues Fiona Boyes - Blues Woman
The Holmes Brothers - Feed My Soul The Kilborn Alley Blues Band - Better Off Now
Tommy Castro - Hard Believer Mississippi Heat - Let's Live It Up
   
Best Blues Song
Best New Artist Debut Release
Jackie Scott & The Housewreckers -
How Much Woman Can You Stand?
Alabama Mike - Day To Day
Joe Louis Walker - I'm Tide Jackie Scott & The Housewreckers -
How Much Woman Can You Stand?
Mike Zito & Cyril Neville - Pearl River Marquise Knox - Man Child
Pete Anderson - Still In Love Quintus McCormick - Hey Jodie!
Quintus McCormick - Hey Jodie! Shaun Murphy - Livin' The Blues
The Kilborn Alley Blues Band- Better Off Now  
   
Best Female Blues Artist
Best Male Blues Artist
Candye Kane Bobby Rush
Fiona Boyes Joe Bonamassa
Janiva Magness John Németh
Ruthie Foster Magic Slim
Shemekia Copeland Nick Moss
Zora Young Tommy Castro
   
Best Blues Band
Sean Costello Rising Star Award
Magic Slim & The Teardrops Cash Box Kings
Nick Moss & The Flip Tops Damon Fowler
Rick Estrin & The Night Cats Jackie Scott & The Housewreckers
The Holmes Brothers Joanne Shaw Taylor
The Mannish Boys Marquise Knox
Tommy Castro Band The Insomniacs
   
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 Featured Blues Review 4 of 4
Tim Woods - The Blues Sessions
Earwig Music Company
12 tracks
Tim Woods has 25 years of experience in the blues. A session in June 2005 with David “Honey Boy” Edwards, Homesick James, Sam Lay and Pinetop Perkins inspired Tim to the point of recording with these greats. “The Blues Sessions” was hence recorded over a six-month period in studios in Clarksdale, Atlanta and Chicago. Featured on the CD alphabetically are: Allen Batts, Joe Craven, David “Honey Boy” Edwards, Michael Frank, Shannon Hoover, Big Jack Johnson, Aaron Moore, Eric Noden, John Primer, Bobby Lee Rodgers, Jeff Sipe, Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith, Ike Stubblefield, Bob Stroger, Lee Williams and Terry “Big T” Williams. Four Willie Dixon cuts, three Honey Boy Edwards tracks, and one each from Howlin’ Wolf, Roosevelt Sykes, Big Jack Johnson, himself and an un-authored traditional number comprise the dozen tracks presented here.
Woods opens with “Deep Ellum Blues”, a beautiful acoustic piece with Noden and Smith supporting him. Folks my age will recognize it as an old folk song covered by the Dead. The interplay of Woods and Noden is a great start to a disc full of Tim’s great work and the blues greats surrounding him.
Dixon’s songs like “Do the Do” get great covers here. Primer and Woods guitar work on the this is quite nice while Woods and Big Jack Johnson bend notes together on songs like “Built for Comfort”. Woods and Honey Boy sing and play together on “Bad Whiskey and Cocaine”, “Wind Howlin’ Blues” and “Drop Down Mama”, giving us traditional Delta blues done up like they used to be. The Dixon covers are updated a bit except “Spoonful” where he goes acoustic and traditional sounding; another well done effort with Noden and Smith showing less can be more.
This is a nice mix, and he finishes up with an uncredited but apparently original track with some cool organ work by Stubblefield and jumping rock-a-billy guitar work by he and Rogers. A dozen tracks of tight and well done studio tracks showcasing Woods’ two and a half decades of experience and his ability to blend and mix it up with some other talented folks who enjoy playing together and also do it quite well! His acoustic and electric guitar are equally well done and his vocals are all spot on and bluesy. If you like traditional blues from the Delta and Chicago, this album will warm both your heart and your ears quite well!
Reviewer  Steve Jones is secretary of the Crossroads Blues Society in Rockford. IL.
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