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Saturday, June 2, 2007

A Big Thank You From The Blues Historian!!!

Hey! I am amazed at the amount of hits we have received here at the Blues Historian Blog! In only our second month of existence we are averaging 1,000 hits a month, almost 2,000 page view a month, and the average visitor is staying for just a little over 3 minutes. When I started this blog I was only expecting a few hits a day, so this has been a pleasant surprise! Thank you for keeping the blues alive!

Also if you want some free press, send me your fest, show, band, or CD info so I can add it to our blues news.


Tom Gary
The Blues Historian

Hey Canada! Roots And Blues Fest!

This sounds like a great time up in Canada. Plus you have plenty of time to plan for it. Salmon Arm British Columbia on August 17-19 is having it annual Roots And Blues Fest. Here is the list of artists from the Roots and Blues website:

Roots and Blues Schedules:
Summer 2007 - Coming Soon

Roots and Blues Performers
Click to view details

2007 Roots and Blues Performers
60 Acts on 7 Stages
Andy Palacio & the Garifuna Collective
African rhythms combined with Latin flavours, warm, powerful voices and perfectly blended percussion.
Corb Lund & the Hurtin' Albertans
Alt-country songs with a strong sense of roots savvy from this Juno Award-winning band.
David Francey
A Juno-winning songwriter and one of Canada's most revered folk poets sings songs that go straight to the heart and stay there.
Devon Allman's Honeytribe
" infused with an eclectic mix of Delta blues, soul and the same vein of Southern rock once popularized by his father's band."
Highly original modern dub with a socially conscious pulse.
Ellika & Solo
Brilliant fusion of Swedish fiddle and Senegalese kora and the winners of the BBC Radio3 “Boundary Crossing” award.
Super funky blues and R&B with an undeniable groove... "These boys boogie with heart."
Galant tu perds ton temps
Traditional Québécois songs and rich a cappella harmonies sung by five glorious voices.
Irish music with pulsing energy, vision and jazzy tones with a reputation for knock-out shows.
Green Fools Theatre
This astounding group of stilt walkers will engage audiences of all ages as they rove around the grounds.
Jim Byrnes and the House of Refuge
The legendary blues musician, backed by Zubot and Dawson, creates music that is inspired and soulful.
John Boutte
Best Male Vocalist 2006 Offbeat New Orleans Music Awards - "John Boutté has one of the most beautiful, soulful voices in the country."
Kiran Ahluwalia
This Juno Award winner performs ghazals and folk songs of India for the 21st century.
Les Gitans de Sarajevo
Music from the Balkans and Eastern Europe, that pushes traditional Gypsy airs into a modern context.
Lil Brian and the Zydeco Travelers
A mix of contemporary urban black sounds and their own modern form of zydeco, rhythmically and lyrically sophisticated and unbelievably funky!
Los de Abajo
"Unique Mexican sensibilities with plenty of ska, a shot of salsa, a shed-load of punk, and some high-speed Colombian cumbia ..."
Luke Doucet
Wry & candid writing, blending elements of country, blues and surf rock
Matt Andersen
Hybrid blues, roots and rock delivered with a soulful voice and ace guitar work.
Mia Dyson
“The 24-year-old's deep husky voice, the amazingly executed distorted Telecaster and lap steel, create a sound which penetrates your soul.”
Michael Franti and Spearhead
Rhythms and textures that suggest reggae in a rock context with lyrics that are smart, thought provoking, and political.
Mighty Popo Trio
A Rwandan/Burundian whose music is steeped in African tradition.
Percussion-driven Pacific chants and Maori nu-folk with lyrics concerned with indigenous, environmental and spiritual issues.
Celtic, bluegrass and Latin world music fusion so good that each of their last five albums have been nominated for Juno awards.
Paul Oscher
A veteran of the Muddy Waters band, a multi-instrumentalist and the winner of two 2006 Blue Music Awards.
PF Sloan
"There is no question his songwriting is still as strong as ever more than 40 years after he wrote Eve Of Destruction."
Rachelle van Zanten
"A fabulous slide guitarist, a great voice and a strong songwriter with excellent pop and rock sensibilities." - Ottawa Citizen
Their West Coast vibe will have you swaying to their infectious pop, rock and ska beat.
Reno jack and Sunday wilde
A unique sound with lyrics that capture themes of grief, love, ectasy, torment and addiction.
Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band
Raw Delta Blues pounded out with crazed fury ..."They sound like Robert Johnson on crack... they get one hell of a sound."
Ruthie Foster
"She can give up the gospel a la Mahalia, shake up the soul like Aretha, or dig deep into the blues the way Big Mama Thorton once did.”
Siegel-Schwall Band
The legendary blues band "first album in thirty years is a wondrous return to its glory days." - Billboard
T. Nile
"Best New/Emerging Artist" -Canadian Folk Music Awards and "Critics Favourite New Discovery of 2006" - Penguin Eggs
That 1 Guy
One of the most insanely genius musicians, he delivers earthshaking future funk from ”the magic pipe” to accompany his madcap lyrics.
Vargas Blues Band
"Vargas is like a rainbow, he feels the same passion as I do when we embrace world music. He has a brilliant future." - Carlos Santana
Washboard Chaz Blues Trio
"Their bare bones approach, toe-tapping, beer fueled melodies and plaintive vocals are sure to bring a smile to your weary face."
Xavier Rudd
A unique multi-instrumentalist solo artist whose songs balance acoustic soul, manic fretwork, rhythmic stomps and exotic percussion.


The above links don't work If you want to check out the links to the artist site GO HERE

Bo Diddley Back Home

Sorry I was late on this, last weekend Bo Diddley was released from an Omaha hospital and returned home to Florida to undergo rehab. Bo suffered a stroke after playing at a Council Bluffs casino in Iowa. It is good to see Bo is home, and hopefully he will be back up and playing again. Get Well Bo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Margarita And Salsa Festival

Oh Boy! This sounds like a winner. Maybe not for the acts, which are not half bad, but margaritas and salsa!! Sound like good eats and drinks! The festival takes place Saturday June 9th in Midland Texas. From what I can tell from the website Delbert McClinton Johnny Lang, and Leon Russel are the advertised acts. It is probably a little on the rock side, and I have to say that Leon is looking good with the long white hair. He has gone beyond grey:-), but the show still sounds like worth seeing.

Blood Sweat And Tears: Got To Get You Into My Life

This funkified version of the Beatles Got To Get You Into My Life predates the Earth Wind and Fire version that was part of the ill fated Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band THE MOVIE! Probably the worse film ever put on celluloid. Talk about destroying the careers of everyone who touched it! If you have had the misfortune of watching Robert Stigwoods attempt to turn the Beatles classic hits into disco songs then you know what I am talking about. Perhaps the person whose career was hurt the most was poor Peter Frampton. Frampton was a decent guitar player, and had some artistic credibility with the album Frampton Comes Alive. But, the attempts to make him a teen idol, ( which really was going on before the film) destroyed his career.

If you are going to cover the Beatles, then BS&T did it right. BS&T was one of the first jazz rock, fusion bands. They started in 1967 with the legendary Al Kooper on lead vocals, Steve Katz on guitar, and some of the best session guys around. Kooper left after the first album, and the amazing David Clayton Thomas took over. Over the years the band fell apart, replaced members and has finally called it quits. However, they were perhaps one of the tightest bands in pop history. BS&T played everything from soul, blues, jazz, and everything in between. This video is a great example of BS&T from the mid 70s.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Sgt Peppers 40 Years Old Today

It was 40 years ago today, Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play! Amazingly it has been 40 years since the Beatles released Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band. While not blues in any way, it is nonetheless one of the most important albums released during the rock era. Although many Beatlemaniacs, might argue that the British release of Revolver is the best, and a few might pick Abby Road, or the White Album. I think Sgt. Pepper for what it represents of the fashion, music, recreational drug use and the early hopefulness of the mid 60s is what makes this album such an historical beacon. I also feel that Pepper helped open up popular music, and popular taste into many other areas of music. It also made other musicians try to duplicate the psychedelic sounds. With the blues Muddy did Electric Mud, and Howling Wolf also dabbled in it. Hendrix probably was the best to take the blues and cross it with psychedelic music. So happy birthday to Sgt Pepper!

Kim Wilson Interview

From the South Bend Tribune, comes an interview with Kim Wilson of the FabulousThunderbirds. He has an interesting take on blues, and blues rock. He doesn't mention people by name, but to say he is upset with guitar players who wank on their guitars all night is an understatement:-) I also like his respect for the music and who came before him. Wilson learned the blues from some of the greats, and still believes in making music like they did. Read all about it here.

Central Illinois Blues Challenge

Just received this from the Illinois Blues List:

The Blues Blowtorch Society presents....

2007 Central Illinois Blues Challenge
& Central Illinois Wine, Rhythm & Blues Festival

Sunday, June 3

Mackinaw Valley Vineyard

33633 Illinois 9,
Mackinaw, IL 61755
(309) 359-9463
15 miles west of Bloomington on Route 9

* 8 Different Vineyards Represented
* Admission $12.00

Barb Hamilton will open the show at 12:30

Eight bands competing - 30 minute sets

Bridget & The Boogiemen 1:15

Knights Of Crisis 2:00

Rooster Alley 2:45

The Low Down Blues Band 3:30

Southside Cindy & The Sliptones 4:15

Trouble No More 5:00

Kim Massie Band 5:45

Melvin Taylor 6:30

Sounds like fun! If you are in or around Mackinaw Illinois on Sunday be sure to check it out. Also anyone from the the area please post the results in the comment section or email it to me. THANKS

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Brownsville Station, featuring Cub Koda: Smoking In The Boys Room/Barefootin

Boy, people wore ugly clothes in the 70s! Okay, I did too, but at least I was a little kid:-) Cub Koda and Brownsville Station doing, Smoking In The Boys Room and Barefootin.

The Sepia Club, Circa 1966

I took this picture at the Center Street Exhibit at the State Historical Society. It is a photo from the Des Moines Register that dealt with urban renewal. The building with the old Miller beer sign is the Sepia. However, by 1966 the Gray brothers had sold the club and it was then called the Collins Club. just a few door down was The Nip (it is the one with the Hamms beer sign). The Nip was a rough and tumble bar that Jimmy used to bar tend in his first couple of years in Des Moines. In its day the Sepia was the main rival of the Bilikin. The Sepia Club had a bandstand and stage shows, plus fine dinning was available. People who came to the Sepia Club or the Bilikin dressed up. In fact, many people came and parked on the street and watched the young couples strolling down the street, and listen to the hot blues and jazz floating out of the buildings. Of course it is hard to believe what the club was like in the 40s and 50s during its heyday from the picture above. by 1966 most businesses were beginning the slow move from Center Street to University Ave between 6th Avenue, and 12th street.

Cincinnati Blues Challenge

People in Cincinnati be ready for the battle of the bands. According to the Cincinnati post, the Cincinnati Blues Challenge is Sunday put on by the Cincy Blues Society. go here for more details. The blues challenge info is about half way down the page. BTW, anyone from Cincinnati, please email, or leave a comment on who wins! I doubt that I will see it on the wire. THANKS!

Black Diamond Blues Festival, Pittsburg CA

Pittsburg CA Blues fest this weekend put on by the Bay Area Blues Society. I believe this show is near Oakland CA. For more details click HERE.

Jeff Healy: Roadhouse

Jeff Healy performing the Doors song Roadhouse. Jeff is an outstanding guitarist who is blind, and plays the guitar on his lap. He had a couple of huge hits in the late 80s, but has been quite in recent years.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Joe Lewis Walker Interview

An interview with Joe Lewis Walker from the Free Times in Columbia South Carolina. Also you might want to check out the Bar B Que article on the best BBQ in South Carolina. Nothing goes better with the blues than some good old fashioned BBQ! In Kansas City I used to go to Bobby Bells, Gates and Sons, Zarda's, and the Westport BBQ. That was some good eating! Of course by the time I returned to Des Moines I was over 200 Pounds!

Ronnie Baker Brooks Interview

Ronnie Baker Brooks the son of Lonnie Brooks carries on the blues tradition. Here is an article from the Times Bulletin, from Van Wert, Ohio about Ronnie Baker Brooks. This goes back to what I wrote about several weeks ago, about how many people think that the blues is dying. I assume they are young, because the blues has always seemed like it was dying, and then boom it is back bigger and badder than ever. People like Lonnie and his son Ronnie keep the blues alive and well. The idea that the blues is dying is really laughable. Looking at all the blues fest going on and it is easy to see that the music is going on. There might not be as many bar gigs as there were ten years ago, but bar owners will eventually see that booking the blues brings in the money. You can only do karaoke, and DJs for so long before bar patrons start to get bored. All I can say is bring back the blues!

Janiva Magness Pasadena Weekly

It is interesting that after Janiva Magness got such a bad review from Blog Critic, that she went on to win female artist of the year at the BMA's and has had several nice articles printed about her including one here at the Pasadena Weekly. Of course if you go here, you can read what I think about music critics. Although Blog Critic has had some decent reviews, for the most part most people who write about music have no idea what they are talking about. I have always theorised that those who cant play, but want to play write about it. It is sort like the old adage about those who cant, teach:-) hmmmmmmmmmmm where does that put me:-)

Billy Preston and Ray Charles: Agent Double O Soul

Billy Preston the unofficial 5th Beatle and underrated soul singer, performing with the legend Ray Charles

John Lee Hooker: Boom Boom Boom

The great John Lee Hooker playing Boom Boom Boom, in true delta style just him and guitar!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Stevie Wonder: Superstition

Here is another classic song covered by Stevie Ray Vaughn, but written by someone else. Superstition by Stevie Wonder.

Jimi Hendrix: Voodoo Childe

A blues staple at least since Stevie Ray Covered it. Here is the original by the master himself.

Lowell Fulson

Here is a short clip of Lowell Fulson.

Blues Before Sunset

I suppose it is funny that a show that I started, and had a hand in developing would pass by me unnoticed. It is also probably pretty funny that no press release or email came my way to let me know about the up coming shows at the historical building. However, I came across this on the Google news wire, and here is the schedule for the Blues Before Sunset shows at the State Historical Society Of Iowa. These are good bands, and if you are in Des Moines Iowa on a Friday afternoon it is a great way to enjoy your day. even if the people who put it on are a bit dense:-)

June 1 Hot Tamale & The Red Hots
East Village Blooms ‘n’ Blues Festival
June 8 SumpinDoo
June 15 Matt Woods & The Thunderbolts
June 22 Backstage Boogie Band
June 29 Soul Searchers
East Village Bike Night
July 6 Blues Bureau
July 13 The Other Brothers
July 20 Jonny & The Rectifiers
July 27 Fat Tuesday & The Greasefire Horns
East Village Bike Night
Aug 3

Blue Band

Blog Critic: The Rough Guide To African Blues

Anytime you explore the roots of the blues you travel in dangerous territory. Many people have many theories on the birth of the blues, and a good way to start an argument among blues purists is to discuss the roots of the blues. Blog Critic, has a brave reviewer attempting to delve into the territory, while criticising The Rough Guide To African Blues.

The album is an collection of African Singers who sing blues, or blues themed music. It sounds like an interesting CD, and the review is definitely thought provoking.

Location Of The Bilikin: Des Moines Former Hot Spot Of Blues and Jazz

This lovely grassy knoll was once the hottest spot in Des Moines. From World War I to 1969 on this lonesome hill was the legendary Bilikin theater. The Bilikin originally opened up as the Lincoln Theater sometime around 1917. Then in 1919 it became the Bilikin. The large building held many businesses in its day. Not only did it have a two floor nightclub, the upstairs known as the Empire Room for Jazz, and Swing, and downstairs the "Hole" known for the blues, but in the basement facing Center Street were several businesses. Ironically one of the most popular barbershops located in the Bilikin facing Center was owned by the Gray brothers. The Gray brother cut hair by day, and had the best jump blues/jazz band in the city. However, they didn't play at the Bilikin they played at their own club the Sepia Club located a block and 1/2 east of the Bilikin.

The location above is now a green space in the far northwest area of Methodist Hospital's parking lot. The urban renewal movement of the late 60s brought an end to the historic theater, and musical venue.