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Saturday, June 30, 2007

Iowa Blues Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony

Due to the Iowa Blues Hall of fame induction ceremony, and upcoming 4th of July holiday, I will be posted sporadically for the next few days. If you need a blues fix find one of the videos and click on the video link below the post. That will call up all the videos on the site!!! Right now there are 192 videos on site!! So enjoy watching some great blues, jazz, R&B, doo wop, soul, and funk!!

Saturday Night Fish Fry: Blues Grove

Blues Grove internet radio comes from Australia. The owner of the internet station is an actual DJ in Australia where she has been playing the blues for years. To listen to Blues Grove Click here. To check out her myspace page go HERE.

Remember that internet radio will go away soon. Only a few more weeks before the door closes on internet streaming. This also may affect podcasts so if you haven't contacted your congress person do so now! Just click on the banner at the bottom of the page to save internet radio!


Friday, June 29, 2007

Mississippi Fred McDowell: My Babe

Great delta guitar blues of Mississippi Fred McDowell.

Otis Spann: The Blues Don't Love Anyone

Otis Spann with Willie Dixon and SP Leary. The master of Chicago Boogie Woogie piano!

Pete Johnson, Albert Amons, Meade Lux Lewis, and Modrian

I am not sure if the above painting looks like boogie blues piano greats Pete Johnson, Meade Lux Lewis, and Albert Ammons, but according to an article in the UK Telegraph, it is the three bluesmen interpreted by the great modern artist Mondrian!

The art exhibit takes place in England here are a few of the particulars from the website

'Eye-Music: Kandinsky, Klee and All That Jazz' is at Pallant House Gallery, Chichester (01243 774557), from today until Sept 16.

Finally, here is the paragraph dealing with the blues and art.

From the UK Telegraph:

On October 3, 1940, the night that Mondrian arrived as a refugee, his friend Harry Holtzman took him to hear the three jazz/blues pianists Pete Johnson, Meade "Lux" Lewis and Albert Ammons, who performed as a thunderous trio.

"His response," Holtzman recalled, "was immediate. He clasped his hands together with obvious pleasure. 'Enormous! Enormous!' he repeated." By that, in his idiosyncratic English, Mondrian was not referring to the size of the piano players - though they were all pretty hefty - but to the impact of their music.

Two of his late masterpieces, Victory Boogie-Woogie (1942-44) and Broadway Boogie-Woogie (1942-43; pictured above but not featured in the Pallant House show), were named after that rambunctious genre. And as the critic David Sylvester pointed out, their accelerated visual rhythm, in contrast with Mondrian's earlier work, is comparable with the driving "eight to the bar" pace of the music.

Must Have Game For Blues And Jazz Lovers

This comes from PC World. UC Berkley students are creating a kind of second life type environment that you can go back in time and experience the great music scene of Oakland California in the 40s and 50s. The photo on the right shows the actual street and the digital street below! The article doesn't say when this game will be available. However, it sounds like it is going to be an online environment. This sounds cool. For more info Click HERE.

Stompy Jones: Mondine

It is amazing what type of gems you run across on myspace. Here is a band that I didn't know existed. Stompy Jones, is a throwback to the 40/50 jump blues. When I first saw the video I thought they were British, because the video has almost a English look to it, but they are from San Fransisco! Great band, cool tune in the Louis Jordan tradition! Check it out!!!

Stompy Jones - Mondine

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Richard Carr: Suger

This is from a friend from Myspace named Richard Carr. This is a rock'n song! I think it was originally by Albert King.

Matt Woods And The Thunderbolts

These guys are unoffically the best blues band in Iowa! They won the Iowa Blues Challenge put on by the Central Iowa Blues, Mississippi Valley Blues , and Linn County Blues Societies. These guys are also good friends of mine. I briefly had a band with Scott Cochran, and Michael Swanger, with Jeff Baker on guitar as we backed the legendary Jimmy Pryor. Matt Woods came on to the Des Moines scene about the time I was leaving, but him and his friends put on a killer set on the very last Iowa Blues Showcase! Here is Matt and the guys doing a little nasty slide thing.

Matt Woods & The Thunderbolts

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Thursday, June 28, 2007

Hambone Blues Jam Austin Minnesota

Austin Minnesota is home to a cool blues fest this weekend. The Hambone blues jam takes place Tomorrow Friday June 30th. Little Charlie and The Nightcats are headlining so it should be a fun time. For More Info Click Here.

Des Moines Arts Festival

While the Des Moines Art Festival is not a blues festival, it is a huge gathering of visual and performing artists. Also, it has a few good blues bands as well:-) The pre fest started tonight at Blues On Grand with a live radio broadcast of one of the hottest blues performers in the US, Watermelon Slim! I must admit that I missed that one, and should have posted about it, since they streamed the show live on the internet on KUNI. Anyway, people in the upper Midwest should try to catch this fest. BTW, the fest winds up with the Iowa Blues Hall Of Fame induction at Blues On Grand! So the might BOG starts and ends the fest!!!

Here is the schedule from the Des Moines Art Festival website.

Thursday, June 28

Des Moines Arts Festival and Iowa Public Radio present LIVE! Load-In Thursday at Blues on Grand
Join us in downtown Des Moines as we celebrate the load-in of the 10th anniversary edition of Iowa's most celebrated festival at LIVE! Load-In Thursday on June 28! Curt Snook of WOI 90.1 FM will take his live show on the road with blues artists Watermelon Slim and The Workers from 7-8:30 p.m. at the legendary Blues on Grand (1501 Grand Ave.).

Friday, June 29
U.S. Cellular Stage
3:30 p.m. - Roxi Copland Trio
5 p.m. - Big Wooden Radio
7 p.m. - Iowa Blues Hall of Fame Band

Meredith Corporation Stage
4 p.m. - DiJohn
6 p.m. - Inner Rain
8 p.m. - Stallions versus Unicorns

Prairie Meadows Performing Arts Stage
4 p.m. - Kelly's Clan
6 p.m. - Hot Club of Des Moines
7:30 p.m. - Party Gras Classic Jazz Band
9 p.m. - The 34th Army Band Rhythm Majors directed by Sergeant First Class Roscoe Porch

Saturday, June 30
U.S. Cellular Stage
10 a.m. - The Heroes
11 a.m. - The Trained Professionals
Noon - Bob Hillman
1 p.m. - Forty Watt Bulb
2 p.m. - Josh Davis
4 p.m. - The Tyler Thompson Band
5 p.m. - Dick Prall
6 p.m. - Benjamin Wagner
7 p.m. - Randy Burk and the Prisoners
8 p.m. - The Nadas
9:30 p.m. - All-Star Jam

Meredith Corporation Stage
10 a.m. - Nic Arp
11:30 a.m. - Las Guitarras de Mexico
1 p.m. - Lojo Russo
2:30 p.m. - Homemade Headtrip
3:30 p.m. - Isiserettes
4:30 p.m. - Deja Voodoo Band
6 p.m. - Little Mojo
8 p.m. - Blue Island Tribe

Prairie Meadows Performing Arts Stage
10 a.m. - Nurturing a Student's Vision Visionary Artists' Ceremony
Noon - Clubhouse at the Playhouse
1 p.m. - Iowa Dance Theatre/Tap Des Moines
2 p.m. - Makeup Application Demonstration by Bobbi Brown Cosmetics exclusively at Younkers Jordan Creek
2:30 p.m. - Des Moines Playhouse-Selections from Disney's High School Musical
3 p.m. - Foy School of Irish Dance
4:30 p.m. - Roberto the Magnificent
6 p.m. - Party Guise
8 p.m. - WORLDPORT

Library Loading Dock Concert for Teens
If you love to listen to local garage bands, you will want to head to the Central Library’s loading dock where local bands will be perform on Saturday, June 30, from 5-9 p.m. From rock to hip-hop and high school to professionals, you can see (and hear) them all for free!

Sunday, July 1
U.S. Cellular Stage

11 a.m. - Lady Blue featuring Tina Haase Findlay
1 p.m. - Electric Junction
3 p.m. - The Kissers

Meredith Corporation Stage
11 a.m. - Box Brothers Band
1 p.m. - The Sons of Gladys Kravitz
3 p.m. Swing Crew

Prairie Meadows Performing Arts Stage
11 a.m. - Des Moines Poetry Slam
12:30 p.m. - The Railmen Lincoln High School All-Male Dance Squad
1:30 p.m. - Roberto the Magnificent
3 p.m. - Capitol City Swing
4 p.m. - Clubhouse at the Playhouse

Red White And Blues Riverfront Festival

Cool Free Blues fest in Corvallis Oregon. Looks like it is mostly local blues, but I personally lke these kind of local festivals. The fest is known as the Red White and Blues Riverfront Festival and is taking place on July 3rd, and the 4th. For more info check out the Corvallis website.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Ray Charles: I Can't Stop Loving You

This is Ray doing country music! Ray could play and sing anything and it would sound great:-) Jimmy Pryor loved covering Ray's country tunes, and this was probably Jimmy's favorite Ray song. I only wish I could have played it better for the old man:-(

Watermelon Slim: Smokestack Lighting

Wow! talk about playing slide guitar in an unorthdox fashion. Much like Jeff Healy except, Slim plays it LEFT HANDED, and with the strings basically BACKWARDS!!! Very cool!

North Mississippi All Stars: Teasin Brown

Short clip of the North Mississippi All Stars performing Teasin Brown. Also the first part is a short interview about Luther Dickenson and the influence of great Otho Turner.

Blog Critic Review: North Mississippi All Stars

A new band to me, but obviously a band that has been around for awhile. They have a couple of releases and have played with many of the RL Burnside family, including the legendary RL himself. Blog Critic has a review of their New DVD Keep On Marching which was released yesterday June 26th 2007. It sounds like a fun disc. If you happen to see it you should pick it up to see some interesting Mississippi hill country blues.

Blog Critic Review: Watermelon Slim, The Wheel Man

Probably the hottest blues band in the country right now is Watermelon Slim and the Workers. Slim was nominated for six BMA's and while he was shut out, he is still getting tons of good press, and great reviews. Blog Critic has a review on his latest release, The Wheel Man. This is some good ol down home in your face pass the delta and give me some Cajun music please! For the review click HERE.

Triangle Blues Society Blues Challenge Hillsborough NC

Got an email from former Iowa Bluesman Andy Coats about the Triangle Blues Society Blues Challenge. The show is in Hillsborough North Carolina, and here are the particulars from the email.

Come on out for the best local blues in the Triangle!


--->2007 Triangle Blues Society Blues Challenge 8pm $10 21&up

Blue Bayou - 106 S. Churton St., Hillsborough 919-732-2555

Scheduled to appear:

Andy Coats

Bad Mojo

Clark Stern

Contagious Blues Band

Electric Church

Hip Sauce



Full details at

Hope to see you there!



Janiva Magness: You Were Never Mine

Janiva Magness singing a nice melancholy blues song. This is from a radio show called woodsongs old time radio hour. As a lot of you from Central Iowa know I have wanted to have a show like this in Iowa. In fact, I still have 18 2 hour shows on CD ready to go. I am still waiting on the Internet radio debacle to clear up. If that happens then I will start broadcasting the old shows on the internet.

Anyway while we wait enjoy Janiva Magness!!!!!!!

Howlin Wolf: May I Have A Talk With You

Another great wolf track from the Daily Motion website. Classic Wolf, Classic Chicago Blues.

Chattanooga's The Big Nine

Much like Center Street in Des Moines, Beale Street in Memphis, and Vine Street in Kansas City, Chattanooga's Ninth Street was the African American business and entertainment district of the city. The Chattanooga Pulse has an excellent article about the history of the Big Nine, and the progress going on around the district. Unfortunately, progress has away of destroying past gems of our history, and the reality is that very few African American business districts remain in the US. On one level that is good news, that we no longer have the segregation that existed in the past the created the need for a black business district. Yet, on the other hand, it is sad to see something that created so much great art, and music go away. I suppose that Beale Street is one answer, and yet, it is just a facade of what really existed in Memphis. Also the Vine district in KC is just a shell of what it was in the glory days. While the Jazz and the Negro league museums are wonderful additions, most of the great clubs and old buildings are long gone. However, at least KC and Memphis have something of their past. Des Moines has nothing left of Center Street. Lets hope that Chattanooga takes a good long look at the Big Nine and does what is best for both culture and commence.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Black Snake Moan

Black Snake Moan, not the Blind Lemon Jefferson song, but the movie is now out on DVD. If you are a blues fan it has an interesting sound track, that Samuel Jackson performs on. There is also an interesting review of the movie here, at Underground Online. I would say that this movie IS NOT safe for kids. Just trying to find an image I could use for this post took some hunting:-) Personally I think this could be an interesting flick, so I will probably buy it when I see it up here in the wilderness:-)


Here is another review from the Houston Chronicle. I read the comments and one of them struck me as interesting. They called the movie race baiting, and said what would happen if the woman was black and the man was white. To be honest I am surprised that more people weren't upset with a white woman shackled by a black man. This is a movie that couldn't be made 30 years ago, and 50 years ago they would have hung the film maker for even thinking of making a film like that. Think about it, a movie about the blues, sex, violence, and the black man teaching redemption (although his way is unorthodox:-) to a white woman, this movie would never have been made until the early 80s at best. No it is not race baiting. We have come way to far for that. Misogynist perhaps, racists not.

Ray Charles Obit From Historical Rants Blog

I have been updating the blog that will not die, and I ran across this great Obituary that I wrote for Ray Charles when he passed away a few years ago. I really, liked it, so here it is.

Ray Charles died of liver failure today. he was i believe 73 years old. much too young if you ask me. Ray was a great treasure to the world. he deserves parades, vigils, and three hours of programing about his positive impact on our lives. His America the Beautiful is one of the greatest patriotic songs I have ever heard. It always brings tears to my eyes.

However, I doubt any of that will happen. People underestimate the power of music and popular culture. One cold war historian once said it wasn't the cold war that brought the soviet union down, it was the Beatles, Blues Jeans, and Coca Cola. In other words our best offense was showing the people of the east what they could have if they wanted it. In the end it was the people who ended the cold war. when the borders fell in Poland and elsewhere in eastern Europe thousands from East Germany and Russia fled west which opened more holes till finally the walls came down.

Ray and the blues played a small part in it, certainly those in eastern Europe could understand the want and desire found in the blues, rock and roll, soul, R&B, and other black root music. Blues is a music that has changed the world for the better, and hopefully continues to this day.

Ray was our greatest ambassador to the music because he was talented in all forms of AMERICAN music. he played not only the blues, but soul, jazz, gospel, and County and Western. In fact, Ray was a big influence on our own Jimmy Pryor. Jimmy played country music for many years after the blues waned in the 70s. Most of Jimmy's country music came from the Ray Charles catalog.

Since I am a piano player I have always loved Ray Charles, but I have never played much of his music. I am a pretty good player, but I just cant play like Ray. I have tried for years, but Ray Charles had that touch that unless you know exactly how to do it, it just doesn't sound right. I have always loved Ray Charles too much to do bad cover versions of his songs.

God Bless you Ray, may you be at peace, and may you finally get to see all the wonderful things that you sang to us.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Jerry Lee Lewis: Whole Lotta Shaking Going On

The Killer playing his one of his hits. Although he is no Albert Ammons, Pete Johnson, Or Otis Spann, he did open the doors to boogie woogie piano playing to white audiences. This is footage from the old Tonight Show with Steve Allen. This is the famous clip where Jerry kicks out his chair, and Steve Allen throws it back across the stage! I must admit that this is not one of Jerry's better performances, actually it is pretty sloppy, but it is energetic.

Skip James: Devil Got My Woman

The late Skip James is probably one of the most underrated delta blues players in the blues pantheon. Skips haunting voice, and spooky melodies seem almost from another world. Skip was a contemporary of Robert Johnson, Son House, and countless other delta blues guitar players. Skip was discovered by the same talent scout and furniture shop owner, HC Speirs, as Robert Johnson. I know, HC Speirs owned a furniture store, but realize that he sold Victrolas and in the deep south who better than a guy who sold the machines to find the kind of African American artists who would sell records to the people who bought the machines! Besides one of the great blues labels at the time was Paramount. Not the movie studio, but a furniture manufacturer in Wisconsin who made records!

Skip James is recorded here at the Newport Jazz festival (which answers a previous question:-) This is a great haunting tune. give it a listen and look!

Eric Clapton and Doyle Bramhall Play And Record In Famous Robert Johnson Recording Studio

Check out the beginning of the video. You will see Eric and Doyle entering the famous building in Dallas that I just posted about. Eric is playing and singing a Robert Johnson song. Of course he explains that he needs two guitar players to cover Robert's playing. I think he is exaggerating a bit. I know a lot of delta players who can do it.

Interesting Idea For Robert Johnson Recording Studio

An interesting article(Click here to read it) popped up on the Google news line. Apparently the old office building that one time held the recording studios used to record Robert Johnson in Dallas Texas, now houses the homeless. Apparently it is an eyesore to the movers and shakers of Dallas, but to blues fans it is holy ground. The article was written by Rick Tracey who is a local Dallas musician. I think he has a great idea to turn the building into a Robert Johnson museum.

I fear that if the building is in the heart of Dallas, then it is in a prime real estate area, and the movers, and shakers of Dallas will never permit a museum to get in the way of profit. However, once in awhile, organized people with vision can accomplish magical things. In Des Moines, Iowa, one of the gems of the city is the old Mason's building, which was destined to be torn down to make room for the new library. Yet, some creative and tenacious people gathered together to save the place, and turn it into a great show place of music, and drama. It also turned into a cash cow for the city. Bringing in tons a people into downtown Des Moines who would never had stayed for a show in the past. What if the people of Dallas put together a museum, and performance area dedicated not only to blues, but to all of the music that was spun off the blues? Sound like a winning formula. Lets hope that the city leaders of Dallas give some thought in to the building, before tearing it down.

Willie Dixon Honored in Vicksburg.

More Mississippi tourism news. A highway marker, a mural, and a jam session this Thursday celebrate the life of hometown hero Willie Dixon. The Vicksburg Post has an remarkable article on the proceedings and a few nice quotes from Willie Dixon's daughter, Jacqueline. For more info on the ceremonies click HERE.

Cool Show Alert: Des Moines iowa.

An old friend of mine, Jamie Grim from Des Moines is playing in a cool show tonight at House of Bricks, located on east 6th and Grand. Jamie is a cool blues rock guitarist and plays with Johnny Reeferseed and the High Rollers. Looks like they are the opening act for Blowfly, and Blueprint of Soul Position. It is not an all ages show, but it looks like 16 year olds can go to the show. House of Bricks caters to an all ages crowd and sometimes the lineup to get into the place can stretch around the block. Sounds like a fun show!

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Sunday, June 24, 2007

Artist Of The Week: Bobby Bland

The artist of the week is Bobby Bland. Bobby Bland is one of the most underrated blues and souls singers around. Bland has never garnered the success in soul music that other artists of his day achieved. However, to blues fans he has always been considered one of the best. Bobby's version of Stormy Monday is the best cover version of T-Bone Walkers great song. (maybe even surpassing the master himself) Bobby Bland also did many shows with BB King, and their live recordings together are some of the best recorded blues in the dismal 1970s. To hear more of Bobby, and perhaps BB, check out the Google tool bar on the side, and give Bobby a try!

Photo Of The Week: Big Daddy, John East, and Jimmy Pyror

The photo of the week was taken at Razzmatazz just before we were kicked out of Urbandale Iowa for playing dance music! Pictured are Dennis "Big Daddy" Cain, John East, and Jimmy"Midnite Cowboy" Pryor. Dennis is the master of country blues, and plays many different styles of blues, while John East is a jump blues master on guitar. Of course, Jimmy was a great performer, with his own style. What was fun about Razzmatazz was that for the month we were there we quietly played blues, and had a small jam session. The owner loved us, and we had a small crowd of players who jammed with us. Unfortunately, a little known law in Urbandale banned dancing in most clubs. If it sounds like something out of footloose then you are not far off. The Urbandale city council didn't want live music and dancing since it might lead to heavy drinking and law breaking! EEEECCCCCCCCCCCCCCCKKKKKKKKKKKKK!!!

In retrospect it is pretty funny. At the time I was very angry. However, we landed on our feet and moved the show to downtown Des Moines, where we lasted another couple months before we got fired by a drunken bar manager, but that's another story!