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Saturday, September 1, 2007

Salty Dog

Salty Dog has a great podcast show that you can easily access by clicking here. Podcasts are nice because you can listen to the shows whenever you want to. I download a lot of podcasts and listen to them at night when I go to bed, because reception can be kinda of sketchy up here in the great void of NW Iowa:-) Especially in the Summer, when every freaking thunderstorm makes the Am band unlistenable. So podcasts have been great for me this summer.

You can also access Salty Dog's podcasts from the small banner at the top left side of the blog. If you would like to see his website then click on the link in the link section. He has some great stuff, and it sure is nice to listen to some cool blues whenever you like, wherever you are:-)

BVU Upsets Bethal University!!!!

I know many people will wonder what football has to do with the blues. Baseball and blues certainly go hand in hand, especially in Kansas City, when the Kansas City A's, and the Negro League Monarchs played near 18th and Vine, then catching some blues and BBQ after a game was a no brainier. However, in KC, it has become also customary to tailgate, and what is better than blues and BBQ! Today was a great day for a football game, as you can tell from the above photo BVU has a nice little stadium right next to Strom Lake. The sky was blue, the grass was green, and even though it was warm, there was a nice cool breeze off the lake! PERFECT!

BVU has some new uniforms, and at first I didn't like them, but they grow on ya, especially when they win:-) Last year they were blue and white, this year they brought back the gold for the alumni so they were very happy

It seemed like most of the first half was played in BV's end of the field, but Bethel coundn't score, and BV drove the field at the end of the half to take the lead 7 to zip. The second half started good for Bethel with a field goal, but BV drove the field, and scored a TD. Bethel's next series they threw an interception which the Beavers returned for another touchdown. At this point Bethel with about 10 minutes left scored two quick touchdowns to come within 5 of BV. Bethel had a couple chances late, but the Beaver defense stiffened, and BV won. Here is a clip of the last play of the game. Sorry for the quality. I was planing on buying a new camera for football season and I haven't got around to it.

BVU Upsets Bethel!!
Video sent by bluesman2001

It was a great game and a great day. Now to eat some dinner, or supper as we call it in the midwest, and then listen to some internet blues radio! Ah, yes a perfect day:-)

Friday, August 31, 2007

Paul Butterfield Blues Band: Driftin Blues

A really nice clip of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band at Monterey !

Luther Vandross: A Change Is Going To Come

The late Luther Vandross, was a great soul singer, and here he covers Sam Cooke's great civil rights anthem, A Change Is Going To Come. Luther was amazing it is sad that he left us way to young.

Cool Blues Fest In Tulsa Oklahoma This Weekend.

I wish this stuff would show up faster, or people would email info for cool shows like this one. From Tulsa World, come information about an increadable blues fest this weekend in the town of Rentisville Oklahoma. It starts TONIGHT, and runs until Sunday. It is called Dusk to Dawn Blues Fest. It will be held at The Down Home Blues Club, located on the corner of John Hope Street, and DC Minor Ave, in Rentisville. 35 bands, and hours and hours of great blues until Sunday. If you are in the area you need to get there, and check it out! To read more CLICK HERE.

Here is the line up from Tulsa World.


When: Doors open at 4 p.m. Friday-Sunday.

Where: 701 D.C. Minner Street, Rentiesville, Okla.

Admission: $15.00 per day, children under age 12 admitted free, available at gate or by phone, (918) 473-2411.



Outdoor Main Stage
5 p.m. – Roger H. Wilson/Selby Minner
6 – Battle of the Bands
7:15 – Wild Card
8:30 – One Arm Bandit
9:45 – D.C. and Selby Minner
11 – Joanna Connor, “the Slide Queen”

Indoor Club Stage
6 p.m. – Odd Sheep Out
7:15 – Berry Harris
8:30 – OK Ollie
9:45 – Harry and Debbie Blackwell
11 – Jam
midnight – D.C. and Selby Minner
1:15 a.m. – Joanna Connor, “the Slide Queen”
2:30 – All Star Jam
3:45-5 – All Star Jam

Back Porch Workshops/Kids Village Stage
6 p.m. – Jahruba
7:30 – Joann and puppets
8:30 – Tony Mathews
9:15 – Roger “Hurricane” Williams


Outdoor Main Stage
5 p.m. – Snakeboy and Cathy Rae Shiner
6 – Checotah Jazz Band
6:45 – Garrett “Big G.” Jacobson
7:50 – James Walker
9 – D.C. and Selby Minner
9:45 – E.G. Kight
11 – Larry Garner
midnight – James Peterson

Indoor Club Stage
6 p.m. – Pat Moss Deep Blues Dance Band
7:15 – Wanda Watson
8:30 – Miss Blues
9:45 – Pat Moss Jam
11 – D.C. and Selby Minner
midnight – E.G. Kight
1:15 a.m. – Larry Garner
2:30 – James Peterson
3:45-5 – All Star Jam

Back Porch Workshops/Kids Village Stage
6 p.m. – Jahruba Drum Circle
6:45 – Perry Thomas
7:15 – Lee McWaters
8:30 – Blue Fire/Jonathan Fox/Jahruba
11 – Reggae Kids Jam


Outdoor Main Stage
5 p.m. – Smilin’ Bob
6 p.m. – Gospel w/ Tommy Ray O’Dell, Mt. Olive Star Choir
7:15 – Blind Dog Smokin’
8:30 – D.C. and Selby Minner
9:45 – Michael Burks
11 – James Peterson

Indoor Club Stage
6 p.m. – Blues Extravaganza w/Lonny Pearson and Satin Doll
7:15 – Red Dawn with Cecil Gray
8:30 – Walter Watson Pure Silk
9:45 – Jam
11 – D.C. and Selby Minner
midnight – Michael Burks
2:30 a.m. – James Peterson
3:45-5 – All Star Jam

Back Porch Workshops/Kids Village Stage
6 p.m. – Wewoka Blues Band
7:15 – Jahruba
8:30 – Jimmy Hobbs
9:45 – Tony Mathews

Blues In Schools

A nice story from the Missourian, in Columbia Missouri about a blues in schools class taught by T J Wheeler. What is cool about the story is how the students are learning about the blues before he gets there, and even using skills that they have already learned to help them understand the blues. Here is a cool quote from the story:

Wheeler’s residency has not yet begun but his influence is already being felt at the school. Sisson’s classes, for example, have been learning a bit of blues history: that the blues rose out of a practice known as the “field holler” in which slaves on plantations would follow a call-and-response pattern of singing about religion, suffering and, more veiled, escaping.

Sisson said that because she is a traveling teacher without a room of her own, she lacks a piano and relies on a similar technique. “We echo-learn our songs all the time,” she said, “so we learn our songs much like the blues developed.”

“Grant teachers are excited about this opportunity and are talking about blues in their classrooms,” Borduin said.

I can relate to being a traveling teacher, and just think about trying to teach music without a piano! YIKES! I would think that she has the blues just trying to teach kids to sing without a keyboard!

I think these kids are going to have a great time, and it is good for the blues, that the kids hear it at an early age, and know what it is. They are more likely to keep listening to it as they get older. I have had a couple of kids that I taught 14 years ago who are in college who have emailed me to tell me they still like the blues. So it really does work, and it is fun to do!!

To read the article Click HERE.

Chris Thomas King Interview

The BBC has a great slide show, and interview of Chris Thomas King. King portrayed delta great Tommy Johnson in O Brother Where Art Thou. It is a very nice interview about Katrina and its affect not only on King who lost his home, but also on the city of New Orleans itself.

Click Here to see it.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Booker T And The MGS: Green Onions

The Great Booker T, and his legendary band the MGs with Steve Cropper and Donald Duck Dunn. NICE!!

Sly And The Family Stone: Dance To The Music/ Music Lover

A little funk for you on a Thursday night. Hey, it actually Friday somewhere. Party Time!!!!

Holmes Brothers Interview

The Statesman Journal from Salem Oregon, has an interview with the Holmes Brothers. These guys are a hard working group that always put on a good show. Read about HERE.

10th Annual Blues Masters At The Crossroads

Serena emailed me this great show taking place in the heart of Kansas. Blues Heaven Recording Studios located in an old church is having their 10th annual blues show in October. For more information about this great show go to their website HERE. If you look at the lineup for this event, you would be a fool to miss it. The Studio is located in Salina Kansas at 201 S 8th Street. Tickets are 40 dollars for each day. Check out the website link above for how to order tickets.

Here is the schedule of players and info about the artists direct from the website:

Friday, October 19
Eddie Cusic

Eddie Cusic, also known as "Eddie Q," was born in Wilmot, Mississippi in 1926. As a 12 year old, he fashioned a strand of bailing wire to a wall on his family's farm and using a broken bottleneck, created a lyrical whining effect on the strings of this homemade diddly-bow. He'd heard blues performed at suppers and community get-togethers. At age 15, Cusic bought himself a six-string acoustic Gene Autry model guitar and his studies increased in seriousness.

At the beginning of the 1950s, Cusic formed a three-piece band called the Rhythm Aces that included then-unknown Little Milton Campbell. The group played clubs in Leland and Greenville, Mississippi and at juke joints in the surrounding countryside. The band split when Cusic joined the army in 1952. Later, as Campbell gained fame, he often attested to the early influence Cusic had on his guitar playing.

Coming out of the service, Cusic settled in Stoneville, Mississippi where he worked in a Ford automobile plant and at a USDA meatpacking plant. He later worked at a quarry. While his focus had shifted from music to supporting his family through the more conventional day jobs, Cusic never did give up on his playing, and he still performed at area venues and festivals, often teaming with guitarist James "Son" Thomas. In just the last decade, Cusic retired from those day jobs and is finally available as a full-time musician. A renewed interest in American roots music has brought well-deserved attention to Cusic's traditional playing style. He recorded his long-overdue debut in 1998, titled I Want To Boogie, for Hightone Records.

"I come up the hardest way you can think," Cusic says. "I think about hard times is how I get my blues."

The Howlin' Wolf Band
featuring Hubert Sumlin, Henry Gray, Sam Lay and Calvin "Fuzz" Jones
Hubert Sumlin
Hubert Sumlin needs no introduction among blues guitar connoisseurs. His are the famous licks that backed hit after hit by the great Howlin' Wolf for almost 25 years. He's the one Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Keith Richards, Jimmy Page, Carlos Santana and John Mayer have all named as one of their absolute favorite musicians. Rolling Stone Magazine included Sumlin on its list of the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time in 2003.

Sumlin was born in 1931 in Greenwood, Mississippi. When he was 7, his family moved to Hughes, Arkansas, and Sumlin began fiddling around with a string that his brother had nailed to a wall. Sumlin became so proficient playing this twine that his mother took a week's $5 paycheck and bought her son a guitar.

"I can still remember that day," Sumlin says. "My mom worked at a funeral parlor four miles away. She had to walk eight miles a day there and back to work. It was a Friday and I ran and met her. I loved that guitar, man. Played it all the time. I still have what's left of it."

When he was about 10, Sumlin sneaked out to a local juke joint and stood on a pile of Cocoa Cola crates to see Howlin' Wolf. Drawn in by the music, he fell through the window and landed right on the stage. The club owner tried to throw out the underage boy, but Wolf insisted that young Hubert stay and sit on the stage while he played. He later took the boy home to his mother and asked that he not be punished. A few years later, Sumlin and James Cotton started a band together. Howlin' Wolf heard about them in West Memphis and soon brought Sumlin to Chicago. Soon, Sumlin, then just 18, would contribute to some of the deepest, darkest, most primitive and powerful blues the world has ever known.

Sumlin in the past few years has survived a near fatal heart attack and surgery to remove a cancerous lung. "I ain't done yet," he's fond of saying.

Henry Gray
He returned to his native Louisiana in 1968 and in plenty of time to become known as one of the greatest of that rich blues scene, but Henry Gray made his truly indelible mark on the blues while in Chicago in the 1950s and '60s. In those days, Gray was in the company of Otis Spann and Sunnyland Slim as the most in-demand players of the time. And of course a 12-year run with the great Howlin' Wolf forever secured Gray's place in blues history.

Gray was born in January 1925 in Kenner, Louisiana to parents who encouraged their son's interest in piano but forbade his passion for the blues. By age 15, Gray had secretly advanced himself to the point of securing a paying gig. He finally got the nerve to tell his father he aimed to be a bluesman. "When my father saw that I could make money playing the blues, he liked it alright," Gray recalls.

Gray arrived in Chicago in 1946, fresh from a stint in the Philippines during World War II. Strongly influenced by barrelhouse master Big Maceo Merriwether, Gray's rapidly escalating talents were soon in heavy demand. After starting out with Little Hudson's Red Devil Trio, Gray appeared on classic sides by Jimmy Reed, Bo Diddley, Jimmy Rogers, Little Walter, Billy Boy Arnold and Morris Pejoe before joining the Wolf in 1956. He can also be heard on many of J.D. Miller's Louisiana Excello recordings of the '50s and '60s.

Gray left Wolf's band in 1968 and returned to Alsen, Louisiana to help his mother with a family fish market business shortly after his father had died. He didn't stay out of music long, however, and has for the past 40 years stayed busy on the international festival and club circuit. Since 1988, he's made at least six recordings as a bandleader.

Sam Lay
Alabama-born Sam Lay, 72, was an anchoring member of the Howlin' Wolf Band during the early and mid-1960s. And his mastery of the shuffle beat (and his own trademark double shuffle) kept him in high demand throughout the '60s, '70s and '80s on jobs with Little Walter, Magic Sam, Muddy Waters, Otis Spann, Jimmy Reed, Bo Diddley and Willie Dixon to name a handful.

Lay and Little Smokey Smothers tutored white college students like Paul Butterfield when they ventured down to their hangout, The Blue Flame on Chicago's 39th Street, during the early 1960s. Both Lay and Jerome Arnold were later recruited to tour with Butterfield and to back him on the groundbreaking Elektra album, The Paul Butterfield Blues Band, in 1965 in what is generally considered the first integrated blues band. Lay also played drums on Bob Dylan's 1965 Highway 61 Revisited album.

Lay left Butterfield in 1967 to join Willie Dixon on one of his European tours. A couple years later he was part of the Muddy Waters-led all-star group that recorded the popular Fathers and Sons album in 1969.

Lay is owed another debt by blues fans for helping to get the late Jimmy Rogers back into performing after his decade-long hiatus during the 1970s.

In addition to his full card of support work, Lay has long led his own bands and recorded his own CDs. He's a zany showman who has ridden his motorcycle onstage, worn outrageous wigs and helmets, and who, relatively recently, has become a noted guitarist.

Calvin "Fuzz" Jones
As the bass player for the Muddy Waters Band for nearly two decades, Calvin "Fuzz" Jones laid the bedrock for some of the best blues ever performed. Along with Pinetop Perkins, Willie "Big Eyes" Smith and Bog Margolin, Jones formed what was essentially the final Muddy Waters Band. They worked behind the master until 1980 when they left to form the Legendary Blues Band, a project that Jones and Smith continued to lead into the 1990s. The collective rhythmic feel and personality of Jones, Perkins, Margolin and Smith became synonymous with Chicago Blues and has made each of those men a legend in their own right.

Born in 1926 in Greenwood, Mississippi, Jones learned to play the violin and bass guitar at an early age. His music took him to Chicago where Jones worked with Waters, Howlin' Wolf, James Cotton, Big Daddy Kinsey, Kim Wilson, Snooky Pryor, Otis Spann and many others.

He's since returned to his native Mississippi but still works occasionally with his old cohorts. In 2004, Jones first performed at Blue Heaven Studios as part of Kenny Wayne Shepherd's 10 Days Out…Blues From The Backroads project.

Chicago Bob Nelson

He was born in Louisiana, probably is best known in Atlanta and now lives in Boston, but in the 1960s, Bob Nelson was mostly found in Chicago's blues clubs. So steady was Nelson's attendance on each end of the city that Muddy Waters took to calling him "Chicago Bob."

Born in Bogalusa, Louisiana in 1944, Nelson's family became dairy farmers in a move to Kentwood, Louisiana when he was around 10. Nelson's father, who played harmonica and upright bass, was friends with musicians Lazy Lester, Slim Harpo, Lightnin' Slim and Silas Hogan. The young boy learned from visiting musicians and heard Zydeco, Cajun, Swamp Pop and blues at barbeques. By age 8, he was playing harmonica.

Nelson spent his childhood summers visiting an aunt in Chicago. He was too young to get into the clubs, but he heard Jimmy Rogers, Big Walter Horton, Johnny Shines and others on Maxwell Street. He'd listen diligently to the music and then rush to his aunt's house to try to recreate the sounds on his harmonica. In the mid-1960s, Nelson moved to Chicago and became a fixture at the clubs, sitting in and occasionally touring with Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Earl Hooker, Buddy Guy, Junior Wells and JB Hutto.

In 1965, Nelson joined the band of Luther "Georgia Boy" "Snake" Johnson and moved with him to Boston. For the next 10-plus years, Nelson was a regular in Johnson's outfit though he'd regularly leave to join John Lee Hooker or Muddy Waters on the road. When Johnson died in 1976, Nelson took over his band. A couple years later he moved to Atlanta, a city he liked since visiting on tours with John Lee Hooker.

Nelson became the lead singer and harp player for the Heartfixers, a band that featured Tinsley Ellis on guitar. He stayed with that group for five years, recording two albums. In 1986, Nelson actually helped in the physical construction of Atlanta blues club Blind Willie's. Shortly after it opened he led the house band all the way until 2000. During that period, he recorded for the King Snake, Wild Dog and Planis Phare labels.

Health problems stalled Nelson's career for a couple of years. After recovering from heart surgery in 2002, Nelson moved back to Boston where he performs regularly and recorded Flyin' Too High for 95North Records in 2006.

Lazy Lester
Leslie Johnson was born June 20, 1933 in the small town of Torras, Louisiana and was raised mostly in Scotlandville, a suburb of Baton Rouge. As a boy, he worked at a grocery store, where he purchased a harmonica and Little Walter's famous "Juke" record. Lester began to blow harp and later learned to strum his brother's guitar.

It was in the mid-1950s that fate turned Lester's way. Lester was living in Rayne, Louisiana at the time and was on the bus riding home. Lightnin' Slim, who was already an established recording artist, was also on the bus and was headed to Crowley to cut a record at Jay Miller's Studio, where so much of the material for the Nashville-based Excello Records was being recorded. Lester stayed on the bus and accompanied Slim to the studio. When they got there, the scheduled harp player didn't show for the session. Lester told Slim that he thought he could handle the harp parts for the session. Remarkably, Slim and Miller gave Lester that chance, and he did not disappoint. A classic pairing was born, and Lester became a mainstay on Slim's Excello recordings and his gigs.

Miller was impressed by Lester's work, and in 1957 Lester debuted as a lead artist on Excello. Before Lester's debut record release, Miller had decided that "Lazy Lester" had more of a ring to it than "Lester Johnson." Lester's first legitimate hits came in 1958 with the release of "I'm A Lover Not A Fighter" backed with "Sugar Coated Love." Those two songs established Lester as a star. He hit again with the follow-up record, "I Hear You Knockin'"/"Through The Goodness of My Heart." Lester remained a regular Excello artist, making 15 records for the company.

In 1975, Lester moved to Pontiac, Michigan. He retired from music until the late '80s when he recorded Lazy Lester Rides Again for the Blue Horizon label, winning a W.C. Handy Award. That led to a deal with Alligator Records. Since, he's recorded twice for Antone's and one direct-to-disc for APO Records.

The Muddy Waters Band
featuring Pinetop Perkins, Steady Rollin' Bob Margolin, Willie "Big Eyes" Smith and Calvin "Fuzz" Jones
Pinetop Perkins
Pinetop Perkins has made a living playing blues since 1926. He's created a style that's influenced three generations of piano players.

Born Joe Willie Perkins in Belzoni, Mississippi in 1913, this great piano master actually started out playing guitar at house parties and honky tonks. One very rough gig in the 1940s forced Perkins to switch instruments. Perkins was performing at a club where, earlier, a man had locked his girlfriend in the bathroom. When the woman finally escaped, knife in hand, Perkins, who was on break, was the first person she saw. She hacked away, causing serious tendon damage in Perkins forearm and ending his ability to properly grip a guitar.

Perkins switched to piano and came under the tutelage of Clarence "Pinetop" Smith, who with "Pinetop's Boogie" had one of the more popular tunes from the boogie-woogie era. Perkins started performing the song himself and eventually started using the name "Pinetop."

Perkins worked primarily in the Mississippi Delta throughout the '30s and '40s and spent five years with Rice Miller on the King Biscuit Time radio program on KFFA in Helena, Arkansas. He also toured extensively with Robert Nighthawk and backed him on an early Chess session. After briefly working with B.B. King in Memphis, Perkins barnstormed the South with Earl Hooker during the early '50s. The pair recorded for Sam Phillips' famous Sun Records in Memphis in 1953.

But Pinetop is perhaps best known for holding down the piano chair in the great Muddy Waters Band for 12 years, replacing Otis Spann in 1969. Pinetop helped shape the Waters' sound of the 1970s with his brilliant piano solos.

In 1980, Perkins and other band members left Waters to form the Legendary Blues Band. Perkins left Legendary earlier than the others to finally, after all those years as a sideman, concentrate on a solo career. Since, he's recorded extensively, been featured on many nationally syndicated news and music shows, appeared in numerous movies and headlined nearly every major blues event worldwide.

Steady Rollin' Bob Margolin
There are no musicians better qualified to continue the tradition of Chicago Blues than those who learned directly at the feet of the masters. And Steady Rollin' Bob Margolin learned from the master. From 1973 to 1980, Margolin played guitar in the band of Muddy Waters, touring and recording and learning to play Muddy's music exactly as Muddy wished. The lessons were not polite nor were they gentle, but they most certainly have been enduring.

Margolin was born in Boston in 1949 and raised in nearby Brookline, Massachusetts. Inspired by Chuck Berry, he started playing guitar in 1964 and soon joined a rock band. He followed the path of Berry back to the blues and was especially taken by the music of Muddy Waters.

In August 1973, Margolin went to a Muddy show at Paul's Mall in Boston. Muddy had seen Margolin in opening acts previously and knew that the younger guitarist was trying to learn the "old school" style. Muddy had just lost long-time guitarist Sammy Lawhorn and hired Margolin basically on the spot. Margolin dedicated himself to giving Muddy what he wanted on the bandstand. In fact, Muddy grew to trust Margolin to be the conduit between their style and unfamiliar musicians, bringing Margolin with him on special gigs like the Band's Last Waltz concert, and recording sessions like The Muddy Waters Woodstock Album, when the rest of the band stayed behind. All the while Margolin absorbed – on the stage, in the studio, from the informal lessons and scolding.

In 1980, Muddy's band dissolved over business problems. Margolin formed his own band and applied the lessons he'd learned. He's since recorded as a leader for the Powerhouse, Alligator, Blind Pig, Telarc and Steady Rollin' Records. He maintains a packed touring schedule, produces reissues of Muddy's late-'70s Blue Sky albums for Sony/Legacy and is also a senior writer for Blues Revue magazine.

Willie "Big Eyes" Smith
Willie "Big Eyes" Smith was born in Helena, Arkansas in 1936. At the age of 17 he ventured to Chicago where he saw his first Muddy Waters performance. He was so taken by the music that he stayed in Chicago and picked up the harmonica.

In 1954, Smith formed a trio with drummer Clifton James and gigged around the city for a few years. Around the same time, he played harp in the groups of several other artists, including Johnny Shines, Arthur "Big Boy Spires" and Bo Diddley. That's Smith's harp work on Diddley's 1955 classic "Diddy Wah Diddy."

Smith got to know Waters and was inspired to learn drums by Fred Below, Waters' drummer at the time. In 1957, he switched from harp to drums in Little Hudson's Red Devil Trio. And after gigs or between sets, Smith started to sit in on drums with Waters' band. Waters invited Smith play drums on a 1959 recording session and in 1961, Smith replaced Francis Clay as Waters' fulltime drummer.

The mid-'60s were lean times for the blues, and Smith found himself working in a restaurant, driving a cab and collecting welfare. He packed his drum kit in the closet for the several years. One night in 1968, Smith decided to attend a Waters. He asked to sit in with the band, and the next day, Waters asked Smith to rejoin him for another historic run that lasted until 1980.

Smith then co-founded the Legendary Blues Band with Pinetop Perkins, Louis Myers, Calvin "Fuzz" Jones and Jerry Portnoy. The group was nominated for six Grammy awards, recorded four critically acclaimed albums on the Ichiban label, backed up Buddy Guy, Howlin' Wolf and Junior Wells, toured with Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones and Eric Clapton and appeared in the movie The Blues Brothers as street musicians backing John Lee Hooker.

Calvin "Fuzz" Jones
As the bass player for the Muddy Waters Band for nearly two decades, Calvin "Fuzz" Jones laid the bedrock for some of the best blues ever performed. Along with Pinetop Perkins, Willie "Big Eyes" Smith and Bog Margolin, Jones formed what was essentially the final Muddy Waters Band. They worked behind the master until 1980 when they left to form the Legendary Blues Band, a project that Jones and Smith continued to lead into the 1990s. The collective rhythmic feel and personality of Jones, Perkins, Margolin and Smith became synonymous with Chicago Blues and has made each of those men a legend in their own right.

Born in 1926 in Greenwood, Mississippi, Jones learned to play the violin and bass guitar at an early age. His music took him to Chicago where Jones worked with Waters, Howlin' Wolf, James Cotton, Big Daddy Kinsey, Kim Wilson, Snooky Pryor, Otis Spann and many others.

He's since returned to his native Mississippi but still works occasionally with his old cohorts. In 2004, Jones first performed at Blue Heaven Studios as part of Kenny Wayne Shepherd's 10 Days Out…Blues From The Backroads project.

James Cotton

The musical pedigree of Grammy Award winner James Cotton consists of a veritable who's who in the world of the blues. Inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 2006, the Smithsonian Institute in 1991 and winner of countless W.C. Handy Awards, he has shared the stage with Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, B.B. King, The Rolling Stones, Johnny Winter, the Allman Brothers, Santana, Bonnie Raitt, Led Zeppelin, Janis Joplin, Sam and Dave, The Grateful Dead and many others.

Cotton was born July 1935 in Tunica, Mississippi. He was orphaned at the age of nine and raised for the next six years by his mentor, Rice Miller (Sonny Boy Williamson II). As a young teenager, Cotton began gigging around Memphis with people like Hubert Sumlin, Joe Willie Wilkins and Willie Nix. He befriended Howlin' Wolf and joined forces with him, playing Mississippi and Arkansas juke joints for two years. During that time, Cotton hosted his own afternoon radio show in West Memphis, Arkansas and also recorded "Cotton Crop Blues" and "Straighten Up Baby" on Sun Records in 1953.

In 1954, when Muddy Waters needed a harmonica player to replace Little Walter, he found Cotton playing a club in Arkansas and took him to Chicago. Initially, Chess Records insisted on continuing to use Little Walter on Muddy's recording sessions, but finally in 1958 Cotton made his Chess debut backing Muddy on "She's Nineteen Years Old" and "Close to You."

In 1966, Cotton formed his James Cotton Blues Band, which continues today. He recorded for Vanguard, Prestige and Loma before making his first full-length album in 1967 for Verve Records with a band that included guitarist Luther Tucker and drummer Sam Lay. Cotton has since recorded for Capitol, Alligator, Blind Pig, Tomato, Telarc and several other labels.

The year 2007 marks Cotton's 63rd as an entertainer. Though throat problems have ended Cotton's once-ferocious singing voice, he remains a masterful instrumentalist.

Michael Burks
Michael Burks plows through the blues with relentless power in a show noted for incendiary burn and sweat-drenched passion. A meaty, honest guitar tone and real investment in his craft have made Burks one of the blues world's fastest rising stars.

While he was a W.C. Handy Award nominee in 2000 for Best New Artist, Burks is in fact a seasoned veteran in every sense. Born in Milwaukee in 1957, Burks was immediately surrounded by the blues. His father, Frederick Burks, worked in a Milwaukee steel mill by day and spent his evenings playing bass in the city's blues clubs, often backing touring legends like Rice Miller. But the elder Burks' fingers were crushed in a press that made castings for engine blocks, ending his ability to pick the notes on his bass. Still, Frederick Burks encouraged his young son by showing him chords on the guitar and giving him a stack of classic blues 45s from which to listen and learn.

Michael Burks' first gig came at age six, when, during a family trip to southern Arkansas, Burks took the stage with his cousin's band and thrilled an unsuspecting audience. When he was 13, Burks visited his mother in California and won an audition over 20-some other guitarists for a spot in a touring pop band called Michael Clay & the Fabulous Souls. Shortly thereafter, Burks and his father returned to his father's native Camden, Arkansas and opened a juke joint called Bradley Ferry Country Club where Burks played in the house band four nights a week until the club closed when he was coming into adulthood.

For the next 13 years, Burks worked a day job as an electronics mechanic at Lockheed Martin. The weekends were for music, and he used the limited time he had to build a local following. Finally, in 1993, Burks became a fulltime bluesman.

After years of performing without a record, Burks released his self-produced debut, From The Inside Out in 1997, confidently announcing his intention to take the blues world by storm. Blues Access deemed the record to be "the most impressive Indie in recent memory." The gigs and the acclaim have really picked up for Burks since he signed with Alligator in 2001 and released Make It Rain followed in 2003 with I Smell Smoke.

Saturday, October 20

Mojo Buford

George Buford's nickname comes from perhaps his old boss' most popular song. In the 1960s, fans requested Buford's version of the Muddy Waters staple "Got My Mojo Working" so often that Buford became known simply as "Mojo."

Buford, who was born in 1929 in Hernando, Mississippi, moved to Memphis when he was 12 and soon took up harmonica after meeting and seeing the performances of artists like B.B. King and Little Walter.

In 1954, Buford moved to Chicago and formed a group called the Savage Boys. After meeting Muddy Waters, the group eventually changed its name to the Muddy Waters Jr. Band and served as the fill-in group for Muddy's Chicago club gigs when Muddy was on the road. Buford said that while he'd been playing harmonica and blues for years prior, he didn't "really" learn the blues until he met Muddy. "Muddy turned my black ass blue," Buford has said.

In 1959, Buford replaced George "Harmonica" Smith in the Muddy Waters Band and toured all around the country for the next three years. One gig came in Minneapolis at the Loon Club. There, Buford was offered a job as the house act. The money was good, and so he moved to Minneapolis in 1962 to begin his own group. Around that time, he recorded a couple of LPs for Vernon and Folk-Art, and this is also when he first adopted the "Mojo" moniker.

Buford returned to Muddy's band in 1967 for a year and then put in a longer stint in the early 1970s. He then returned to Minneapolis, where he lives today, and worked with Sonny Rogers, S.P. Leary, Lazy Bill Lucas, Pat Hare, Pee Wee Madison and others. He returned to Muddy once again in 1980, replacing Jerry Portnoy and becoming Muddy's last harmonica player.

Buford has recorded as a bandleader for Mr. Blues, JSP, Blue Loon, Fedora and P-Vine. He still performs regularly and has worked relatively recently as the singer for James Cotton's outfit.

Big George Brock

"You don't hear blues today. You think you do, but you don't. I'm talking about the younger generation. You're hearing crossover. To me, blues is…I don't know. Big George Brock. That's about as close – not close – it is the blues." – Sonny Payne, the regular host of KFFA's King Biscuit Time radio show in Helena, Arkansas since 1951

Heavyweight Champion of the Missouri Blues Harp, Big George Brock is taking on all comers. "I am the only musician with a gold belt. Whenever I look at the belt on the mantel, I feel a sense of pride. I challenge any musician who thinks they're bad enough to remove it from my waist." Brock brings that same bravado to the stage.

Born in Grenada County, Mississippi in 1932, Brock did not come from a musical family. Of his two parents and 16 siblings, he was the only one who pursued music. His father bought him a harmonica when Brock was nine years old and by age 12, he was performing at Saturday night fish fries with friends Lee Kizart and Big Jack Johnson. Brock was also an accomplished boxer in his youth, not hard to envision when you see this enormous man with catcher-mitt hands. When Brock cups a harp it looks like King Kong trying not to hurt the girl.

Brock moved to St. Louis in 1953 and continued as a blues performer. He soon opened his Club Caravan, which booked acts like B.B. King, Howlin' Wolf, Muddy Waters, Jimmy Reed, Gatemouth Brown and Albert King. Brock performed with them all. While he had many opportunities to record – including with Chess Records – and to tour, he preferred staying in St. Louis and operating his club. Brock finally closed Club Caravan in 1970, under tragic circumstances. Brock had thrown out an unruly customer. The man returned with a gun and fired at Brock. The bullets missed and sprayed through the kitchen wall, hitting and killing Brock's wife. Brock, in his mourning, closed the club.

Brock didn't make his recording debut until he was in his 60s when he released a pair of self-produced 45s followed by an LP and a CD reissue. In 2005, Cat Head Records released Brock's Club Caravan, and in 2006, APO Records released Heavyweight Blues, recorded at Blue Heaven Studios.

Robert Parker

Robert Parker knocked the socks off the nation in 1966 with his smash "Barefootin'," a tune that jumped to No. 2 on the R&B charts and No. 7 on the Pop charts. Covered by Wilson Pickett, Rufus Thomas, Johnny Winter, Pee Wee Crayton, Jimmy Buffett, Tommy McLain, Alabama, Barefoot Jerry, Johnny Rivers, Pete Townshend and a slew of others, it'd have to be considered a standard by now, 41 years later.

Parker, born in New Orleans in 1930, was actually an accomplished alto saxophonist before "Barefootin'," having recorded or toured with Earl King, Fats Domino, Ernie K-Doe, Irma Thomas, Joe Tex, Huey "Piano" Smith, Frankie Ford and Professor Longhair. In fact, it was Parker who named Fess' group, "Professor Longhair's Shuffling Hungarians." You can hear Parker's alto sax on the 1949 Fess hit "Mardis Gras in New Orleans" on Atlantic. He made his bandleader debut with a regional hit on the Ron label in 1959 with "All Night Long," a two-part instrumental.

But "Barefootin'," which was released by the NOLA label, unlocked an easy-delivery, smooth vocal style, making Parker one of the relatively few New Orleans R&B, soul and funk artists to break beyond regional acclaim. Parker recorded 11 45s and one LP for NOLA between 1966 and 1968, though only "Tip Toe" made any additional chart noise, peaking at No. 48 R&B and No. 83 Pop.

In 1969, Parker moved to Silver Fox Records and later to SSS International. In the '70s, he signed with Sansu, a label operated by Allen Toussaint, the incredible musician and producer. Toussaint reunited Parker with Wardell Quezergue, who had produced Parker's NOLA output, and some fine if under-appreciated tunes resulted.

Jean Knight

Jean Knight's 1971 no-nonsense ripping of macho male arrogance took her directly form the kitchen of Loyola University to a five-week stay at No. 1 on the charts. "Mr. Big Stuff" went double platinum, and Knight will never be forgotten.

Born in New Orleans in 1943, Knight began performing just out of high school. She quickly caught the attention of local musicians who were willing to accompany her. In the mid-1960s, Knight recorded a demo and submitted it to producer Huey P. Meaux, who then signed her to his Jet Stream and Tribe labels. The singer adopted the professional last name "Knight" rather than go by her harder-to-pronounce birth name of "Caliste."

It seemed a promising career was underway, and indeed Knight did find success in New Orleans but not beyond the city. She took a day job as a baker at Loyola University.

Then, in 1970, Knight went to Malaco Studios in Jackson, Mississippi at the insistence of Ralph Williams, who'd written some songs he wanted her to record with producer Wardell Quezerque. The key track from the sessions, "Mr. Big Stuff," was shopped to labels far and wide. Nobody was interested. But when King Floyd's "Groove Me" – another song recorded at Malaco – became a No. 1 hit and went Gold, Stax reconsidered and released "Mr. Big Stuff" in 1971. The song became an instantaneous smash hit, racing up the charts to No. 1 R&B and No. 2 Pop and garnering a Grammy nomination for Best R&B Vocal Performance.

Knight's follow-up song, "You Think You're Hot Stuff," also charted in 1971 (No. 19, Black Singles; No. 57 Pop) and her "Carry On" hit No. 44 Black Singles in '72.

In 1981, Knight signed with the Soulin' label and recorded "You Got The Papers (But I Got the Man)," an answer to Betty Wright's "I've Got the Papers On The Man." Then in 1985, she hit No. 50 on the Pop chart with her cover of Rockin' Sidney's "My Toot Toot" for the Mirage label. She recorded for Ichiban in 1997 and for Formaldehyde in '99.

Clarence "Frogman" Henry

A set of the best traditional Zydeco from the genre's living masters, including Major Handy and Fernest Arceneaux and a backing band that includes Buckwheat Zydeco and Lil' Buck Sinegal
Fernest Arceneaux
Fernest Arceneaux was born in August 1940 near Lafayette, Louisiana to a family of sharecroppers. His father played accordion in the old traditional French style, frequently at suppers, picnics and fais-do-dos (traditional Cajun dances where children would be lulled to sleep so that the adults could party). Fernest soon developed an interest in music, learning accordion from his father.

By age 12, Arceneaux was skilled enough to accompany his father and also to land his own gigs. In the '60s and '70s, he picked up the guitar and bounced around with rock 'n' roll and R&B outfits. But in 1978, at the insistence of Zydeco King Clifton Chenier, Arceneaux returned to the accordion and zydeco music. Shortly thereafter he earned the title "The New Prince of Accordion." His group Fernest and the Thunders mounted the first of many European tours and within months had recorded their first LP.

And while Arceneaux's recorded at least six albums and appeared in concert worldwide, he is completely unknown to any mainstream audience and even most casual zydeco fans. He truly is a backwoods, down-in-the-swamps find. This is the real zydeco music of Louisiana, and Arceneaux is among the very last of the pioneers. He's the one who taught Buckwheat Zydeco to play the accordion.

Guitarist Paul "Lil' Buck Sinegal," who will back Arcenaux at his Blues Masters performance, played with Chenier for years. Sinegal says that Chenier would gladly invite any accordion player to sit in at his gigs; anyone, that is, but one man – Fernest Arceneaux. Why? Chenier was worried he might steal the show.

Johnnie Bassett

Thornetta Davis
It's a shame that Motown Records is no longer in Detroit making stars out of local talent because it's easy to envision Thornetta Davis as another Diana Ross. Davis, with a commanding yet melodic and smooth voice, is comfortable with all makes of traditional blues, R&B and ballads and has positioned herself as one of Detroit's brightest stars.

Davis was born in Detroit in 1963 to music-loving parents who boasted a large record collection. As a child, she was particularly taken by the Motown radio hits and began singing regularly around her family's flat. At 15, she sang publicly for the first time at a local talent show. By 19, she'd joined a Top 40 R&B group, gigging for low pay around Detroit.

Finally, in 1987 Davis gained some more meaningful attention – and pay – when she joined the Detroit soul band Lamont Zodiac and the Love Signs as a backup singer. Soon, the lead singer had left the group and the band changed names to The Chisel Brothers featuring Thornetta Davis. Davis and the group played some prominent gigs that included opening slots for artists like Ray Charles, Gladys Knight, Smokey Robinson, Bonnie Raitt and Etta James.

In 1991, Davis contributed backup vocals to Bob Seger's The Fire Inside record. Also that year, she began singing backup with the alternative rock band Big Chief. She recorded two albums with the grunge rockers on the Seattle-based Sub Pop label. When the group disbanded in 1996, Sub Pop signed Davis as a lead artist and released her debut, Sunday Morning Music. The record received very favorable reviews including a rave in the national Entertainment Weekly magazine. The song "Cry" was featured on the HBO hit drama The Sopranos.

In 1999, Davis furthered her name with an astounding performance at the Lillith Fair, hosted by Sarah McLachlan at Michigan's Pine Knob Theatre. That same evening, she accepted two Detroit Music Awards for Best R&B/Blues Vocalist and Best R&B Group. Since, her haul of Detroit Music Awards has grown to 20. In 2000, Davis opened the VH1 Vogue fashion awards at Madison Square Garden with fellow Detroit star Kid Rock. And in 2001, Davis was inducted into the Detroit Music Hall of Fame. Davis recorded Live at the Music Menu in 2003, and the release has increased her national exposure to where she's now booked more than 200 dates a year.

Gary Smith In Hospice

Gary Smith, (With guitar) one of Des Moines great blues guitarists is in Kavanah House, a Hospice out on the westside of Des Moines. Gary was one of those legendary jam masters, who ran some great blues jams in the city. He took over the Sunday night jam at the Hull Ave, after I left. He also had a great band called the landsharks, among many others over the years. I will update the information as soon as it comes in. In the meantime keep Gary in your thoughts.

Rick Mosqueda, Dave Andrews, and Gary Smith.


Just talked to Gary on the phone. He is in good spirits and is staying at Kavanah House for awhile while his stomach gets better from Chemo Therapy. He plans to return to home once he is well. He did say he has his guitar with him, and that is a good sign! Get better Gary and hope to see you soon on the jam cirrcut:-)

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Billie Holiday and Count Basie: God Bless The Child, and Now Baby

Billie Holiday sings perhaps one of her best known tunes, God Bless The Child, with the
Count Basie orchestra.

Nat King Cole And Natalie Cole: Unforgetable

A very cool remix of Nat from the 50s and his daughter from the 90s.

Ap History Blues

If this kid put as much effort into his AP history class as he did with this video, then perhaps he wouldn't have the Blues! ACK! LAZY, LAZY, LAZY!!! Dude read your text book, listen to the lectures, and take the test its that freaking easy.

Hard Times For Musicans

Michael Swanger, a good friend of mine, and writer for Cityview, a Des Moines independent newspaper, has an article about the tough times faced by musicians, and clubs. (CLICK HERE) I think perhaps the most sobering part of the article dealt with Des Moines beloved blues club Blues On Grand.

Locally, we said goodbye to Hairy Mary’s last month, a stalwart of the local punk and rock scene for more than a decade. The Lighthouse Coffeehouse, a leading folk music venue will close its doors at the end of the year. And now we hear from the manager that Blues on Grand, Des Moines’ only blues bar in a town full of blues fans, might soon close.
This is not good news at all. Blue On Grand is not only important for the quality of life in Des Moines, and for local blues fans, but also for national touring acts who look at Des Moines as one of the dependable stops on the tour. As I have always said support your local blues band, and blues bar owners, because once they are gone, it maybe a long time before you see anything like them again.

Bringing Back Music To New Orleans

We all know about the mess that New Orleans has become. Two years after Katrina many parts of the Big Easy, are still in a shambles. However, the LA Times, has a nice article about a music community being built in New Orleans. Harry Connick JR, and Branford Marsalis, along with Habitat For Humanity, have come up with a cool plan to help low income musicians buy a house. It is a neat idea for a town that still needs some good news. Check it out HERE.

Blind Lemon Blues Festival

This looks like a small show held at a local blues joint, but I like its spirit. It is a show dedicated to acoustic blues and Blind Lemon Jefferson. It is September 15th, at Poor Davids Pub, in Dallas Texas. Here are some particulars from the Website. (Click Here for More)

September 15, 2007

7 pm - 1:30 am

Poor David's Pub

1313 South Lamar Street

Dallas, Texas 75215

2007 Festival features an all acoustic blues line-up in honor of Blind Lemon Jefferson


Bob Brozman

Aaron Burton & Cheryl Arena

Texas Slim & JMac

K.M. Williams

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

BF Burt Interview

Iowa native and all around good guy, B F Burt was interviewed by the Press Citizen of Iowa City. It is a nice interview, and I can say that Burt is one of the good guys. I met him when the Blues Instigators first played Des Moines at Connie's. He and the guys were a nice bunch of guys, and they played the blues with a lot of heart. I also remember when B F and his current band of Instigators, played last year at the historical building, during the tribute to Jimmy Pryor. They let Jimmy sing for a crowd for what I think was his last performance. They gave Jimmy a great send off that day, and I am very grateful.

For the interview Click HERE.

Bo Diddly Suffers A Heart Attack

Bo Diddly has certainly suffered from a bad case of the blues this year. First it was the stroke at the Omaha airport, and now he suffered a heart attack during a checkup at the doctor. Thank goodness he was at the doctor when it happened. Not much word on his condition, only that he had a stint put in, and is in intensive care. Click HERE for more details.

A hat tip to Serena for the tip:-)


According to the AP, Bo Diddley is in stable condition, awake, and conscious.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Otis Taylor Interview

The Las Cruces Sun News, has an interview with the legendary Otis Taylor. Its a good one, read it all right HERE.

15 Year Old Blues Player in Sheboygan Wisconsin

According to the Sheboygan Press, 15 year old Sequoia Virgin is turning into a blues prodigy. (See Story Here) On one hand I like the fact that young people are into the blues. However, I still wonder just how good you can be at the blues at a young age. As on the great blues masters once said : The music is easy to learn, but it takes a lifetime to master. According to Sequoia:

"I seem to have a voice that's made for the blues" she said without any hint of pretension. "I really didn't know much about blues music and I haven't had any exposure to it around here, so I can't explain why it all just fell into place. All I know is that I want to do this for the rest of my life."

Her love of blues music led Sequoia to want to know more about its history and people, so she dug in at Mead Library and was both enchanted and saddened by what she discovered.

"Now that I know more about the terrible suffering slaves endured, it's added a richness and depth to my interpretation of their music. I can see that the blues was a way for them to communicate, and even though I realize I'm very young and it's not PC for me to be playing the blues because it isn't my culture. We all suffer in different ways just by being alive. That's why the blues can resonate for everyone, if they just relax and let it in."

Just to clarify, blues came after slavery, but work songs, certainly were used for communication during slavery. I feel pretty good that as she gets older, and searches deeper into the blues and the true history of the blues , that she will turn out all right. After all the music is what gets you in, its the story of the blues that holds you. Good Luck Sequoia!! Keep on playing the blues!!

Blog Critic: Stacy Mitchhart Gotta Get The Feeling Back

An interesting review of Stacy Mitchhart's new release Gotta Get The Feeling Back. Mitchhart is from Cincinatti and plays delta style guitar. It is a great review so check it out HERE.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Harry Carey: Take Me Out To The Ball Game

This is how Take Me Out To The Ball Game needs to be sung at a Cubs game. If there is one thing I can't stand is having celeberties sing the 7th inning streatch at Cubs games. I mean enough already. I can't stand it. I didn't like it when they started it after Harry died, and I really don't like it now. What they should do is let Ronnie do it! Ron has sang the song more often than anyone else this year, and he has figured out how to do it right. If Ronnie is leaving the booth this year, then give him the job of singing the 7th inning stretch full time next year if he wants it! It's just not going to be a real cubs game if Ronnie isn't involved, so stop the silly celebrities, and let the 6 time gold glove, perennial all star, and the best third baseman in the national league in the 1960s SING THE SONG!!!

Artist Of The Week: Sue Foley

The lovely Sue Foley is this weeks artist of the week. I was lucky to see her play at a small club in Des Moines known as Connie's Lounge probably ten years ago. Sue had a great band, and it was cool to see her in such a small place. I also had the chance to talk to her after the set, and gave her one my cassette tapes. I must admit that she was really kind to take my homemade tape release. She even promised to listen to it on the way to the next gig. I don't know if she really did, but it was really nice of her to be so kind to a struggling blues musician, that I will always be grateful that she took the time to talk to me. As always the videos are found on the left side of the blog in the Google video box.

Photo Of The Week: Jimmy The Midnite Cowboy Pryor

I have been so freaking melancholy this month. I think a lot of it has to do with the one year anniversary of the death of my mentor Jimmy Pryor, and the death of my good friend John Woody Wood. I suppose that I need to accept that this is part of life, and part of the blues. Especially the blues, since we more than any other art form celebrate our older performers. I think that is why I have always loved the blues. It fits into my love of history since we see our blues players as living history. So when they go, even when they have been with us for years, it still hurts. You think of Pop or Rock music, and a lot of them fade away and disappear only years later to end up as a blurb in a newspaper Obit. (Yes, I know the Stones are still going, but they are an exception)

Of course, it not true that all blues performers get that respect. Some have faded away into history, and that is sad. I really believe that if an old blues performer lives in your area and has the desire and need to play, then find them a gig. I think we did a great job in Des Moines searching out those players. Hopefully, other towns can follow our example. Get active and find those jewels of blues history, and give them another chance to shine!