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Monday, March 24, 2008

Delmark Records Update

Delmark New Blues Releases soon!!- Street date - April 22, 2008

* Dave Specter, Live in Chicago, on Delmark DVD- 1794 and CD - DE 794, with special guests Jimmy Johnson, Tad Robinson, and Sharon Lewis -
- Specter is definitely one of Chicago's best guitarists- blues, jazz, funk, soul.- heavy grooves!! (You like Otis Rush, Kenny Burrell, and early Leo Nocentelli?) Not only do you get Dave's signature instrumentals, the new release has not one or two, but 3 special guests! Jimmy "Bar Room Preacher" Johnson and Specter sound so great together- you can tell they really feed off each other's unique styles. Vocalist/harp player Tad "Mr. Blue-Eyed Soul" Robinson is one of the best soul/blues singers anywhere and he and Dave have worked together for years. If you don't already know Sharon "Texas Fire" Lewis, you won't forget her after hearing her original performances on this fantastic new release- one of Chicago's best female blues singers.
Dave Specter's "Live in Chicago" DVD/CD Release Parties!
Wed, May 21: Buddy Guy's Legends, 9:30-1:00, Featuring Tad Robinson & many special guests.
Thurs, May 22: SPACE (Dave's new club!) Featuring Tad Robinson & many special guests., 9:00-?, SPACE = Society for Preservation of Arts & Culture in Evanston, 1245 Chicago Ave., Evanston, IL

MISSISSIPPI HEAT, Hattiesburg Blues, (Delmark CD - DE 795), with special guests Lurrie Bell and Carl Weathersby -
This very underrated Chicago blues band is led by harp innovator/ band leader Pierre LaCocque and dynamic female vocalist Inetta Visor, along with their fantastic new guitarist Giles Corey (check out his guitar and vocals on his spotlight song!) Chris "Hambone" Cameron on keys (including clavinet) and the ubiquitous Kenny Smith on drums. Special guests besides heavies Lurrie Bell and Carl Weathersby are guest vocalist, Devin Thompson, and latin percussionist Ruben Alvarez and the Chicago Horns (Hank Ford, Bill McFarland, and Kenny Anderson) - making for a very full sounding (but not cluttered) blues recording, with some unique twists!
DELMARK CD release party for Mississippi Heat's Hattiesburg Blues
FRIDAY, MAY 30TH, BUDDY GUY'S LEGENDS with special guest Carl Weathersby!!

We are especially excited and proud about these two new blues releases for Spring. They are both wonderful examples of blues recordings that are extremely diverse, each with multiple vocalists sharing the spotlight, both anchored by two of the best and hardest working Chicago Blues bands on today's scene. Almost like ol' school blues/funk/soul revues with everyone struttin' their unique talents with a few numbers while the main band rips it up behind them. You're gonna be blown away with some of the talent here, some old timers and some fresh faces as well.

Delmark 55th Anniv. All Star blues party at Buddy Guy's Legends on March 7th was an absolute blast!

A big heartfelt thank you to all of the artists and fans who performed and attended and gave their support to Bob Koester and Delmark on this historic musical milestone. A very special thanks to guitarist Dave Specter and Delmark's GM, Steve Wagner for making sure the night ran smoothly, acting as MC's for the who's who of Chicago blues artists that performed! Also a very special thank you to the staff of Buddy Guy's Legends! Considering how many artists were involved, the show flowed really well with the all of the artists playing their heart out, and I think we all had a ball to say the least! To quote our friend, guitarist Scott Cable, "One of the best things about the night was that everyone's egos seemed to have been checked at the door- everyone was supportive!" If you can't wait for the DVD to come out, in the meantime you can check out the many great photos on the Blindman Blues Forum website. Thanks to photographers, esp Bill Steber, Jen Wheeler, Brat, Victoria...

The house band(s) who worked so hard all night providing perfect support:
Dave Specter with Harlan Terson (bass), Brother John Kattke (keys) and Marty Binder (drums)
And for the majority of the night - Kenny Smith (drums), Roosevelt 'Mad Hatter" Purifoy (keys) and the always smiling Bob Stroger (bass) with Lurrie
handling rhythm and lead guitar like no one else can.

A list of the Delmark artists who performed:
Dave Specter, Jimmy Johnson, The Big DooWopper, Aaron Moore, Johnny B. Moore (!), Little Arthur Duncan, Lurrie Bell, Shirley Johnson, Eddie Shaw, Tail Dragger, Zora Young, and Byther Smith.
We also had special guests Nick and Kate Moss in fantastic support on guitar and bass-especially backing up The Big DooWopper (wow, was DooWopper having a ball, y'all!) One of the toughest harp players of all, Billy Branch, graced us with his formidable presence on many songs. Branch and our friend Scott Cable (guitarist/producer with Carey Bell, Nappy Brown, Eddie Kirkland) played well with Zora Young (a turning heads guitar solo from Scott!) and Lurrie Bell. Tail Dragger's set was one of the many highlights, with his outstanding regular guitarist Kevin Shanahan and the underrated Davin "Big D "Erikson and Billy Branch on harp, tearing it up hypnotic Wolf style! Our dear friend and Back Scratcher rhythm guitarist extraordinaire Rick Kreher brought down the house with the charismatic crowd pleaser, the down home house rocker, Little Arthur Duncan. I always enjoy the down home raw gritty blues of both Little Arthur Duncan and Tail Dragger, and both of their sets surpassed my expectation.
There were so many musical highlights to mention (and remember) but a few personal ones for me: the ageless vocalist/guitarist Jimmy Johnson (is he really almost 80!) along with guitarist Dave Specter. I wish those 2 funk blues masters played together all the time! The premier blues saxophonist/singer Eddie Shaw sounded really great in his set as well- no one knew he had just left the hospital (same with Tail Dragger!) Eddie has the most distinctive sound on that horn, honkin' Blues saxophone at its best. Delmark's blues piano pounders were well represented by the criminally underrated vocalist/pianist Aaron Moore (still sounding great, even in his late '80's!!) and the wild and raw blues/gospel/soul stylings of street musician Big DooWopper! It was a special treat to have both Zora Young and Shirley Johnson grace the stage with their beauty, charisma, and powerful, yet sensitive vocals. Byther Smith closed out the highly successful night, playing the most intense BB King style you can hear these days.
The big surprise of the night was the return of vocalist/guitarist Johnny B. Moore, who had suffered a stroke a few years ago that severely affected him and his playing. He has improved vastly, and although he is definitely not the Johnny B from before (have you heard his incredible playing on the Willie Kent LP from Big Boy Records, "I'm What You Need" from '89- still not on CD?!), he sounded pretty damn good, especially his vocals. It is very encouraging how his health keeps getting better and better- we wish him the best in his recovery. We send our good friend, blues guitar tone king Jimmy Dawkins get well wishes as he was unable to attend due to illness. He sent his best and really wished he could have been there to celebrate.
Bob Koester and Buddy "Friendly Chap" Guy accepted the Grammy Hall of Fame award for Junior Wells' Hoodoo Man Blues on Delmark, arguably the greatest Chicago blues recording of all time. When Vice Chair of the Recording Academy/Grammy rep and Chicago jazz critic Neil Tesser presented the award, Buddy amusingly exclaimed "We were drunk as a Motherf*&(#er" during the Hoodoo Man sessions. Bob made the comment what a pleasure it was working with Junior Wells and what a nice guy he was, which Buddy jokingly disagreed. Bob K was quite moved by the mayor's proclamation of March 7th being declared Delmark Records Day in Chicago!! Thank you to Barry Dolins from the Mayor's Office of Special Events and Mayor Daley!
Thanks to all the musicians and movers and shakers of the blues scene who attended (forgive me if I missed you):
Lonnie Brooks, Scott Barretta, Michael Frank, Tom Marker, James Porter, Guy King, Justin O'Brien, Dick Shurman, Bruce Iglauer, Steve Sharp, Scott Dirks, Dave Waldman, Grana Louise, Gerry Hundt, Bob Kieser, Steve Tomashefsky, Did i see the obscure Delmark artist AL"WIld Card" Miller in the house?

If you get a chance, check out the April issue of DOWNBEAT with a wonderful feature story on
Little Arthur Duncan by Chicagoan Aaron Cohen: WORKING BLUES - "I've been making neckbone money and I need some turkey or steaks" - find out what this blues purist has to say!

Keep it goin' Bob Koester- you are truly an inspiration and a great American Music hero!

Kevin Johnson
773 539 5001

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