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Saturday, April 12, 2008

Iowa Blues Challenge Update

Just got this via email courtesy of Serena

Press Release-2008 Iowa Blues Challenge

Congratulations to the Avey Brothers for advancing from the first round of the 2008 Iowa Blues Challenge held Thursday, April 10th at Zimm’s.

Coming up this Thursday, April 17th 8pm at the world famous Blues on Grand, is the second round featuring Hot Tamale & the Red Hots, Double Clutch, Case Of The Blues, The Blues Bureau and The Soul Searchers.

The 2008 Iowa Blues Challenge features head to head competition culminating in a three band Final round to be held May 17th, 2008 at the Hotel Fort Des Moines at 10th & Walnut in Des Moines, Iowa.

For the 15th year, the Central Iowa Blues Society, in cooperation with the Mississippi Valley Blues Society and Lizard Creek Blues Society, presents the 2008 Iowa Blues Challenge, an all-Iowa Blues band contest. This contest is open to any Iowa Blues band that has not been nominated for the Blues Music Awards (Handy’s).

The Iowa Blues Challenge features one of the finest prize packages, for a contest of this kind, in the country. Prizes are awarded to the top bands, including---cash, travel expenses, recording time, as well as spots in the Mississippi Valley Blues Festival in Davenport, IA; the Nitefall on the River in Des Moines, IA; 2009 Simply the Blues Fest in Fort Madison, IA and the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tennessee.

The 2008 Iowa Blues Challenge is proudly sponsored by Central Iowa Blues Society, Mississippi Blues Society, Lizard Creek Blues Society, Budweiser, Citadel Broadcasting/94.9KGGO & 98.3WOW, Junior's Motel, Rieman Music and Russell Bird Foundation.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Illinois Blues Newsletter

All news BLUES in the US!

FREE Blues Internet Magazine


April 9, 2008

© 2007 - 2008

News, photos, reviews, live Blues links & MUCH MORE in this issue! - Scroll or Page Down! quick website links: Reviews Links Audio Interviews Photos Videos Blues Radio Blues Shows near YOU! Advertise for FREE! The Blues Blast Archives

Hey Blues Fans,

Tell them you heard it here first because we have BIG news for you this week. We are pleased to be the first to release the entire lineup for the Chicago Blues Festival.

For their 25th year, they have went ALL OUT to bring you so much Blues talent it boggles the mind. We have the complete schedule on our website at: (It is not posted on their Festival website yet!)

The lineup includes Katherine Davis, Erwin Helfer, Eric Noden, the Stone Academy Blues All Stars, Fernando Jones Columbia College Blues Ensemble, David "Honey Boy" Edwards, Billy Branch, Louisiana Red, Paul Kaye, Aron Burton, Johnny Yard Dog Jones, Pinetop Perkins, Willie Smith, Bob Margolin, Bob Stroger, Kenny Smith, Inetta Visor, Nuwki Nu, Keith Frank and the Soileau Zydeco Band, Little Willie Littlefield, Patricia Scott w/J.W. Williams, Big Ray and Chicago’s Most Wanted, Sharon Lewis and Texas Fire, L.C. Ulmer, Jimmy Burns Blues Band, Piano C. Red, Charles ‘Wsir’ Johnson, Jim O’Neal , Louis Jordan, Tommy McClennan, Hammie Nixon, Big Time Sarah, Duke Robillard, Plas Johnson, Red Holloway, Johnny Winter, James Cotton, Jo Jo Murray and Joy Hills, Peaches and the Groove Shakers, Tear Drop Sessions, Little Arthur Duncan, Les Getrex and Creole Cookin’, Omar Shariff , Bryan Lee & the Blues Power Band, Joe B Band, Larry Taylor’s West Side Blues & Soul Band, The Taylor’s Family Band, Rising Star Fife and Drum featuring the Thomas Family, Afrissisppi, Harmonica Hinds, Jimmy Johnson, Howard Mandel, Bill Milkowski, Lonnie Brooks, Bob Porter, Ernest Dawkins, Bill Gilmore and Bill Dahl, Ruby Andrews, Cicero Blake, Sugar Pie DeSanto, Willie Henderson, Eddy “The Chief” Clearwater, Ronnie Baker Brooks, Otis Clay, Koko Taylor and Her Blues Machine, Shorty Mack and the Magnificent R&B Blues Band, Liz Mandville and the Blue Points, Charles Hayes and the Hayes Family Band, Otis Taylor, Don Vappie, Guy Davis, John Hammond, Milwaukee Blues All Stars, Stokes and Milwaukee Slim, Bumble Bee Bob, Chick Rogers, PG Man, Theodis Ealey (Brothers Reunion), Cedric Burnside, Little Malcolm, T-Model Ford, Rosa’s All Star Jam Band Featuring James Wheeler, Steve Arvey, Quintus McCormick, Guitar Red, Lil Ed and the Blues Imperials, Barbara Lynn with Lil’ Buck and the Buckaroos, Buckwheat Zydeco, Victory Travelers, Marie Knight, Tony Joe White, Davell Crawford, LaVelle White, Geraldine and Donald Gay, Davell Crawford, Paul Geremia, John Boutte, Rodney Brown, Big James Montgomery and the Playboys, Charles Wilson, Kenny Smith, Dancin’ Perkins, Larry Hoffman, Nate Lawrence, Karen Carroll, Charlie Love, Lurrie Bell, Bobby Parker and B.B. King.

With more that 110 Blues performers, that's what we call a GREAT lineup. And oh yea, admission to this fantastic event is FREE. The 25th Annual Chicago Blues Festival runs Thursday June 5th through Sunday June 8th in Grant Park. They will have continuous music and extended hours of 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. You can visit the Festival website at: Best get your hotel reservations NOW! We already did and we will bring you complete coverage of all the fun. (Me thinks we will have blisters on our feet covering this Blues monster with 7 stages!)

MORE Blues Reviews

Chicago editor Lordy reviews a show by The Bad Idea Band at The Pump Room in Worth, IL. James Walker reviews the new CD by Samuel James. Ben Cox reviews new a CD by Maurizio Pugno & Sugar Ray Norcia and Karen McFarland reviews a new CD by Bob Levis.

Supporting the Blues

Welcome to a couple new advertisers this week. is a website where independent Blues musicians can sell their CD's. Unlike other sites such as CDBaby, you don't have to look for the Blues music here cause that is all they have at this site. All Blues artists looking to market their music should check it out and fans should definitely take a look as a way to grow your Blues CD collections.

And speaking of Blues CD's, we also welcome Topcat Records. Topcat is a Blues label specializing in Texas Blues. We will have a review of a couple of their new releases soon! See their ads below and support our advertisers. They are helping "Keep The Blues Alive".

Chicago Blues Update

Live Blues reviews by Chicago Blues editor Lordy

Blues Beat: Chicago (Photos by August Lord)

The Bad Idea Band at The Pump Room

Thank you to Mary of the Pump Room Bar in Worth, IL for providing live blues entertainment several times a month. This shot & beer place is clean, biker friendly, and just plain friendly. There is a large raised, well lit stage, ample dancing room and their mixologists have the double scotch on a rock perfected.

Tonight’s band was The Bad Idea Band. As with many bands, the lineup is seldom the same, but with this band, leader Ray Sukash lays back and encourages that night’s members to make a unique chemistry. The bottom line here is to see them often. They didn’t ease into party mode, they jumped in with a very large sounding “Let the Good Times Roll”. Louie Jordan would have approved as bassist C.C. Copeland sang his animated version.

Before they started, I asked another new member of the band if he had played with Copeland before. No. Well just don’t get real close because he takes up far more room than his slight frame predicts. I’m still talking about the first song now. Sax man Jay Moynihan (Buddy Guy, etc.) became the entire horn section on this one. He executed his fills and the effect was a big band sound not commonly heard at this bar.

Regular piano man Marty Sammon was on the road with Buddy Guy, so tonight’s man on the keys was “Wally” Walroth. Wally had played with Ray “The Flame” for years, and was another factor in tonight’s rich sound. Ace drummer Myron Robinson just made everything fit, and added a great Soul and R&B sensibility. Myron was largely responsible for filling the dance floor. “Killer” Ray Allison is another Buddy Guy alumnus. He was Buddy’s drummer, but is now a “killer” guitar player, frequently fronting his own band about town. At the center of this music factory is Ray “The Flame” Sukash. The nickname no doubt comes from his guitar chops, but I think he should be credited for putting together groups of star players who seem to always show up sans ego.

There were microphones in front of Ray, Wally, Myron, C. C. and Killer Ray. True to any great R&B revue, they all used their mics in solo and for several great harmony parts. Don’t wait for the Bad Idea CD to hear this stuff. They mix it up and I have never heard the same show twice. So get out and support The Pump Room Bar and The Bad Idea Band. Did I mention there is no cover? In return you get an unforgettable night of live entertainment.

CLICK HERE to visit Lordy's website at

To see a Chicago Area list of upcoming events CLICK HERE

If you know of a Chicago Blues event or news, please send it to

Looking for Blues CD's by independent artists?

Looking for a way to market your bands Blues music?

At you can find independent Blues artists and their music.

Blues Fans can browse and purchase music from the independent Blues artists.

Blues artists now have a place to sell their Blues music to fans worldwide!

Streaming Blues Link of the Week

The Blues: The Radio Series

The year 2003 was a good year for the Blues. Congress declared 2003 the Year Of The Blues and one of the things that happened was that public radio stations nationwide broadcast "The Blues," thirteen hour-long programs hosted by Grammy Award-winning bluesman Keb' Mo'. We noticed that although the Year of The Blues is long past, the website is still up and working. AND all 13 of these award winning radio programs offered as archives are still there!

This great series starts out with Episode 1: "The Birth of the Blues" (Click link to hear episode in Windows media player) This first program starts with the basics - a great explanation of what the Blues is with examples. Taj Mahal give a great explanation of how Blues came out of the African music tradition. The rest of the series follows the development and growth of the blues and explores various styles of the from the Delta, to Memphis, to Chicago and Texas. Finally the 13th episode concludes with a look into the future of the blues.

It is a great series filled with interviews and songs from some Blues greats and legends. It was designed to be educational and it is, but man it is some great listening! This website if full of Blues information and links too so start listening to an episode and while listening be sure to check out some of the other great information here. Enjoy, and tell them the Blues Blast sent ya!

Check out other great Blues Music Streams Click HERE

Other IMPORTANT News Help Save the music! CLICK HERE to Keep Blues Radio Alive!

Bull Riding and Blues?

After many failed attempts to secure a Country Band for for the Redneck Rodeo in Fort Madison, Ia on April 26th, The Rodeo decided to try something different.

Start time for the rodeo is at 7:00 PM and at 9:00pm, Eric Sardinas And Big Motor will perform followed by Freebird - The Ultimate Lynyrd Skynyrd Tribute Band

This should be a great time and very interesting. For advanced tickets($10 and $12 at the door) contact Nichole at 319-470-3068.

The host hotel is the Travelodge(formally The Iowan) and there number is 319-372-7510. If you have not seen Eric Sardinas LIVE and Outdoors, don't miss this.

Blues Want Ads

Place Your Blues Musician Want Ad here for FREE

Gigs Wanted

The SaNa Band, based in Atlanta GA, is looking for touring gigs inside and outside the US from May through August. The band is lead by Sandra 'SaNa' Foster, who is a bassist and lead vocalist. SaNa teaches at Clark Atlanta University and wants to tour during the summer. Please check out the website at and give her a call at 404-344-8893.

Keyboardist Wanted

Established blues-soul band near Round Lake, IL (Northern IL) seeks pro keyboardist for gigs and some recording. We are a working band with very solid musicianship and a decent following. The ideal candidate will play both organ and piano, sometimes simultaneously. Only acoustic piano, Rhodes and Hammond organ sounds needed. We do blues, soul, some funky jazz and some eclectic, rootsy originals. Please contact for more information.

Equipment wanted

Want to buy a 14 or 16 inch floor Tom , must be champagne color. Would like it to be Ludwig , but interested in other. Need it to match a set. Contact

Guitar for Sale

This is a true "Blues" Custom Telecaster Style Thinline guitar w/double F holes & binding (white) finished in a brilliant BlueTrans. Stain w/clear lacquer.(about the color of this type) Humbuckers w/3-way toggle, and 1 volume,1-tone knob. All gold hardware. Bolt-on Maple Neck w/rosewood fretboard, mother of pearl Gibson-style fret markers. Custom made in US w/quality parts-This is an eye-catching one of a kind great looking, playing & sounding guitar.comes w/gig-bag . Pics available- need the money, need to sell asking $985.00 or BO contact Boston, Ma. location

Guitar Player Wanted

Wanting a lead Guitarist w/the tone/style/stage presence and professional musician looks (I.E. NO T-Shirts, Jeans etc. Rag Muffin' look!) that can front and sing lead! MUST play in the style of SRV, Chris Durante', Wes Jeans, Lance Lopez, ETC., Etc.! Must live in Texas or move here and get a day {flexible} gig OR, have a supporting Ol' Lady! This IS Really Da' Bluz'! A Big equipment van is a plus! NO junkies, or sexual deviants! Contact (972) 790-5172

"workin Blues performers" can place Want Ads here for FREE. NO Commercial Ads!
Buy or sell equipment , musicians wanted, gigs wanted etc. Limit 100 words.

All ads submitted will be used if space allows. If space is limited, ads will be randomly selected to appear in the Blues Blast. Ads may be edited. Send your ad submission to

The Rutledge Youth Foundation’s Annual Harley Raffle
Kickoff Party

A Night Of The Blues

Friday, April 25th, 2008 - 7:00 PM – 12:30 PM

Capital City Bar and Grill
3149 S. Dirksen Parkway - Springfield, Illinois

FREE Admission

Rutledge Youth Foundation 217-525-7757


Tombstone Bullet

With special guests

(Guitarist for Koko Taylor’s Blues Machine)

Elizabeth Eckert (of American Idol)

Luca Giordano (Italian Blues Artist)

Brother Ray and the Blades
(Former Tonguesnatcher Review members and

Blues Link of the Week

The Official B.B. King website

We are REALLY excited about this years Chicago Blues Fest and one of the reason is that the Festival has "Blues Royalty" in the Lineup. Names like David "Honey Boy" Edwards, Johnny Winter, James Cotton, Koko Taylor and the King himself, B.B. King! To celebrate this great event we chose the Kings official website as link of the week. After more than 60 years and 10,000 performances this one man has had quite an impact on this music called the Blues. Check out the History link on his website to see why we are excited to see the great artist once more. Enjoy and tell him the Blues Blast sent ya!

For more Blues links, CLICK HERE to visit the Links Page

Thursday, May 22 - Saturday, May 24, 2008


Phone: (708) 524-6050

A Symposium on the Legacy of Blues & Gospel Music

Dominican University (located just minutes from the Chicago Loop) hosts the Blues and the Spirit Symposium, emphasizing the heritage of African-American Chicago and exploring the shared roots of Blues and Gospel.

  • Panels and presentations with Timuel Black, Portia Maultsby, Horace Maxile, Paul Garon, Sterling Plumpp, Gayle Dean Wardlow, Barry Dolins, Jim O’Neal, Marie Dixon, Bob Davis, Bob Koester, Fernando Jones, Bob Marovich, David Whiteis, Scott Barretta, Salim Muwakkil, Sandra Pointer-Jones, Suzanne Flandreau, Bob Riesman, Stephanie Shonekan, Morris Phibbs, Bob Jones, Billy Boy Arnold, Stan Mosley and others

  • Blues Workshop with Billy Branch and Gospel Workshop with James Abbington
  • Multimedia Presentations, Raeburn Flerlage Photography and Outsider Art Exhibits
  • Musical Appearances by Larry Taylor, James Wheeler and Bob Stroger
  • Bronzeville Tour with a stop at the Blues Heaven Foundation, located in the former Chess Records
  • Chicago Blues Club Crawl
  • Otis Clay and Sharon Lewis in Concert CLICK HERE to see schedule and registration information

Blues Society News

Send your Blues Society's BIG news or Press Release to:

Max of 125 words, Text or Word file preferred.

Illinois Central Blues Club Springfield, IL - Blue Mondays

Held at the Alamo 115 N 5th St, Springfield, IL (217) 523-1455 every Monday 8:30pm $2 cover
April 14 - Pleasure Chest with Robert Sampson, April 21 - Bryan Lee, April 28 - Kilborn Alley Blues band

Mississippi Valley Blues Society - Davenport, IA

The Mississippi Valley Blues Society presents the Quad-City Round of the Iowa Blues Challenge on Saturday April 12 at 8 p.m. at the Rock Island Brewing Company in Rock Island, IL. Admission is $8, $6 for MVBS members. The four bands entered this year are—Pocket Deuces, Slim and the Bulletproof Boys, The Smokin’ Mojo Kings, and Blues Explosion.

Also The Mississippi Valley Blues Society presents John Nemeth featuring Junior Watson on Saturday April 19 at Blueport Junction in Davenport, IA. The show starts at 8:30 with the Chris Avey Band; admission is $10, $8 for MVBS members. For more information contact Steve Brundies at 563-508-7660

Friends of the Blues - Watseka, IL

The Friends of the Blues presents 2 "Early" shows. Thursday, April 17 at 7:00pm Smokin’ Joe Kubek and Bnois King will be performing at Brandon Casey’s, 235 N Kinzie Ave (Route 50), Bradley IL and
Tuesday, April 22 at 7:00PM , Larry Garner will be at Brandon Casey’s. For more information call 815-802-0202.

Mississippi Action for Community Education - Greenville, MS

31st Annual Mississippi Delta Blues & Heritage Festival - Poster Contest. (MACE) is accepting entries for the poster design for the 31st Annual Mississippi Delta Blues and Heritage Festival to be held on September 20, 2008. The theme for this year’s festival is: "Rollin’ Goin’ Home to da Blues".

Winning entry will receive $500 cash. Entry deadline is April 30, 2008. Mail entries to: Mississippi Delta Blues Festival Poster Contest, 119 South Theobald Street, Greenville, MS 38701. Contact William Brown at 662-335-3523 or for more info. Visit , for contest rules and application form.

The Blues Blowtorch Society - Bloomington, IL

Blues Blowtorch Society presents Too Slim and The Tail Draggers Thursday, May 08, 2008 in a 7:00 PM Early Show at NV Ultra Lounge, 107 East Beaufort St. Normal, Illinois 61761 Tickets are $5.00 At The Door

Featured Blues Reviews

Samuel James - Songs Famed For Sorrow And Joy
NorthernBlues Music

13 songs; 53:45 minutes; Library Quality
Genre: Delta Blues; Solo Acoustic

Samuel James must wonder, “Is it irony or evolution?” The Blues music scene that reveres its one-man-and-his-guitar originators, like Robert Johnson and Son House, today is mostly band oriented. From clubs to live-music-fans to the record buying public, mainly the interest is in groups and ensembles. The solo artist is not totally dead, of course. For example, the Blues Foundation has a “Solo/Duo” category for its annual International Blues Challenge in Memphis.

While struggling for a larger share of attention, a solo artist occasionally comes along with undeniably creative and joyous talent, as proven by first-listens to a new CD. Such an artist is Portland, Maine’s Samuel James. Still in his twenties, James’ genius is found in his ability to take the pre-war blues idiom and passionately move it into the 21st century without revivalist intent or butchering it into a rap mess. With musical influences ranging from Skip James and Kokomo Arnold to Gus Cannon and Charley Patton, James is a master of finger style on acoustic guitars, slide on resonator guitars, banjo, harmonica, and piano. Vocally, James’ mid-register singing makes one think – yep, this is the voice of blues!

James’ musical lineage stretches back to his grandfather (b. 1890) who played guitar in contemporary blues styles of the era. James’ father was a professional pianist and trombone player. Samuel learned to tap dance at five, learned piano at eight, and toured the Northeastern circuit professionally by 12. Samuel lost his mother at age 12 and spent his teens in foster homes. At 17 he reunited and rekindled a relationship with his father. Beyond inheritance came acquisition -- Samuel James fully discovered his musicianship after a girlfriend broke his heart.

This album is James’ second CD and his debut for NorthernBlues Music. The CD was recorded by numbers: One artist, five days, nine mics, two guitars, one banjo, both feet for percussion, 100% acoustic equals thirteen original songs by James. “It was the hardest week of my life, which is saying something considering I grew up black, in Maine, in white foster homes,” he said. The CD was produced by David Travers-Smith.

The set opener is a ragtime number that might have fit better along about track five. “The ‘Here Comes Nina’ Country-Ragtime Surprise” track does introduce us immediately to deft finger picking and James’ voice that grows on the listener faster than a horror movie viral plague.

Slowing the pace slightly, “Sunrise Blues” showcases intricate double-picking as James simultaneously sustains the bass rhythms and lead melodies. The anxiety of the protagonist facing the electric chair comes keenly through as he can neither know his alleged offense nor end his suffering through suicide.

In “Big Black Ben” the protagonist, unfairly harassed by the local sheriff, gets his revenge in a most satisfying way for him and a most unexpected manner for the listener.

Each song is a story, often, a humorous tale or a tale from history (“The Sad Ballad of Ol’ Willie Chan” – 1870’s Coolee Railroaders), of the discomfort from wrong turn lovers, or small town racism, or a folk tale. The songs reflect that, lyrically, James is among elite bluesmen - the clever songster and storyteller. His songs are often written as linear stories, novels in musical format with the denouement sometimes coming in the final seven seconds. Some song titles are, themselves, a story – for example, “Sugar Smallhouse and The Legend of the Wandering Siren Cactus, and the hard-driving “Runnin’ From My Baby’s Gun, Whilst Previously Watchin’ Butterflies From My Front Porch.” The latter’s an instrumental, by the way.

When James does stop singing to do another instrumental like “Wooooooo Rosa,” one’s first instinct is to do a quick search at Youtube to see if there is a video available. That would be the only way to improve this seven minute masterpiece.

Fifty four minutes later, one realizes that he has been listening more carefully than normal to catch the details of each story-song. That makes Samuel James a rare breed in the blues world, indeed.

James is steeped in the traditions and has created his own voice that speaks with clarity. The historical torch has been passed to him from both today’s elder masters and yesterday’s originators. He is carrying it very well.

Reviewer James “Skyy Dobro” Walker is a noted Blues writer, DJ and Blues Blast contributor. His weekly radio show “Friends of the Blues” can be heard each Thursday from 4:30 – 6:00pm on WKCC 91.1 FM in Kankakee, IL

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.

Maurizio Pugno & Sugar Ray Norcia - Look What I Found Out!
Pacific Blues

Run Time: 69:51

Bear with me for a moment. I had to do some research on this guy after I heard this CD. Relatively unknown outside of his homeland in Italy and blues fans across Europe, Maurizio Pugno (pronounced POON-yo) has been one of the most well-travelled and well-respected blues and jazz guitarists for over 25 years. Touring with the likes of Sugar Ray, Tad Robinson, and Dave Specter to name a few when they’ve chanced to be on European soil has been Pugno’s calling card as a celebrated accompanist. After a chance meeting backstage at a blues festival in 2004, Pugno and one of the most celebrated vocalists in blues today Sugar Ray Norcia met up and struck up a friendship. After four years, the two decided to get together in a medieval church in Italy and record the fifteen tunes we’ve received here. Ranging from bop jazz, to swing, to soul-blues and Chicago blues, this album really spans the spectrum of great traditional American music. Normally, I’m very hesitant and dare I say a bit prejudice when it comes to foreign folks trying to replicate the earthy and rich tones of great American jazz or even blues for that matter, because Italy is a long way from the grit of Maxwell Street or the Delta.

However, after Pugno’s rich hollow-bodied guitar took off into the first notes of the jazzy-blues of the first track “Opening Act,” conjuring thoughts of T-Bone Walker at times, I was hooked. Then, Sugar Ray Norcia steps in on the horn-driven Roomful of Blues sounding “That Crazy Girl of Mine” and you know everything is going to be alright. Pugno’s Italian cast of musicians won’t be household names to folks but I’ll mention them here because they are quite brilliant, especially the highly-touted organ and piano playing of Alberto Marsico. Follow that up with the Leg Horns, Gio Rossi on drums, Lucio Villani on upright bass, and some guest appearances by Pugno’s old band the Rico Blues Combo and you have quite a combination on some well-seasoned musicians.

From Jimmy Reed’s lumpty lump on “It Must Be You” and “I Love You Baby” accompanied by the great harmonica work of Norcia to the funky soul-blues of “A Mind to Give It Up,” the band and Pugno’s playing offer surprise after surprise. Also, check out the updated big band version of the Muddy Waters’ classic “I Love the Life I Live.” Also, if you aren’t quite convinced of organ man Marsico, you need to check out the aptly-titled gospel-jazz of “The Preacher” and you won’t have to look further.
Like I said earlier, if you are a little hesitant about seeing an unknown foreign guy, here’s where you put those aside and go with it. Norcia is well worth it and Pugno will convince you, too that sometimes, even if being far removed from the source of the music, one can still manage to pour good tasteful and heartfelt style and emotion into it.

Check Maurizio Pugno out on Myspace at or at Pacific Blues. The album is only available for purchase at Pacific Blues or from his page.

Reviewer Ben Cox is a Blues Songwriter, Musician, DJ and Journalist.

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.

Bob Levis - Barstool Blues

Big Paw Records

Run Time 73:33

The CD spine says that Barstool Blues is an album by Bob Levis, but the liner notes tell a different story. Big Paw Records executive producer Mark Thompson of the Crossroads Blues Society wanted to showcase Bob Levis’s lead guitar playing, and he’s succeeded here by bringing in a whole stable of credentialed sidemen.

Levis himself is considered to be the ultimate rhythm guitarist, having held that position in the Kingston Mines house band for 17 years; he has also worked and recorded with Otis Rush and Lonnie Brooks. On Barstool Blues he plays lead guitar on all 13 tracks, and you can tell that those years in the background have payed off in a powerful, fluid, distinctive style all his own.

Everything on the album was recorded live in the studio—The Fuse in Rockford—giving the album an authentic sound. And the performances do sound fine, infused with the gritty energy of Chicago blues.

Levis’s tasteful guitar is joined by the guitars of his compatriot in the Barstool Bob Band Dave Wood on 5 tracks, Larry Pendleton on 1 track, and Steve Ditzell—alumnus of the Koko Taylor and Junior Wells/Buddy Guy bands—on 4 cuts. Lonnie Brooks himself plays and sings on Little Walters’ “Can’t hold out Much Longer.”

Keeping the beats nice and tight are Marty Binder (ex-Albert Collins sideman) or Dennis “Link” Leary on drums and Brother Dave Kaye, bass. Providing the fills are Jimmy Voegeli on piano and organ—the piano is especially impressive and adds that Otis Spann touch to those cuts—and Westside Andy Linderman, Ted Lawrence, and Big Jim Johnson on harmonica.

With the exception of an instrumental penned by Levis and the final number, the jumpin’ “Getting’ Out of Town” by Big Jim Johnson, Barstool Blues is an album of covers, with three by Levis’s mentor Otis Rush (including an appropriately heavy version of “Double Trouble” and the up tempo opener featuring Levis’s searing licks, “It Takes Time”). The standards “Mystery Train” and “Blues Before Sunrise” get interesting treatment here.

While the instrumentation—especially Levis’s playing—and choice of material is outstanding on Barstool Blues, the vocals are weak throughout, whether sung by Voegeli, Ditzell, Johnson, or Pendleton. That makes it hard for me to pick a favorite cut or one number that stands out from the rest. Another drawback is that too often the lead and rhythm guitars are both mixed up front, taking away from the producer’s stated purpose that Levis as a lead guitarist deserves “an opportunity to display his prodigious talent to a wider audience.”

Despite these minor flaws, the deep feeling is there in the music on Barstool Blues. Producer Thompson also notes that he and Levis agreed that “things could be a little ragged but the music always had to be right—had to have that deep feeling, that honest approach that is the hallmark of the finest blues performances.” The disc is available on-line at .

Reviewer Karen McFarland is a former officer and long time board member of the Mississippi Valley Blues Society. She is also a member of the board of directors of the Blues Foundation.

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.

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Get the Blues word OUT!


With the new year, Blues festival promoters and Blues societies begin work planning a great 2008 Blues season for all. Festival committees are hard at work booking Blues performers, planning their advertising budgets and getting ready to put on the next great Blues show.

For those of you doing the planning for these great Blues events, remember that the Blues Blast &'s website are great ways to promote ANY Blues event or product. In fact we believe we just might have THE best Blues advertising vehicle anywhere to promote YOUR Blue event!

New Blues CD's.....

For less than the cost of one small display ad in your local newspaper, you can advertise your festival, club show, new CD or any Blues product to a VERY targeted Blues audience. We promise great results getting the Blues word out for you.

Blues fans WANT to know about your Blues event of product. Call Bob at (309) 267-4425 or send an email to for a confidential quote today! covers Blues all over the US - NOT just in Illinois! also offers paid/sponsored advertising for Festivals and Club Owners, Recording Companies and Performers selling their own music or performances. We can put your Blues advertisement on our homepage at: either as a sponsored event or as a featured event, product, recording or merchandise. We get 400,000 hits A MONTH on our website!

Nearly 10,000 Blues Fans, Musicians, Recording Companies, Club Owners, Blues Societies and Festival Promoters in all 50 states and in 30 countries read our weekly Blues Blast internet magazine. With paid advertising you can feature your event or product in the largest FREE internet Blues magazine delivered right to your inbox each week.

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Bob Corritore Newsletter

The latest from Bob Corritore

April 9, 2008

  • Bob's Busy Week of Performances:

Thursday, April 10, 2008: Bob Corritore will appear with Dave Riley on the KTVK (Phoenix, Arizona - channel 3) show "Good Morning Arizona" at 8:30am to promote the 25th Annual Gibson Glendale Jazz & Blues Festival.

Friday, April 11 and Saturday, April 12, 2008: Bob Corritore will appear at the Rhythm Room Phoenix, AZ with the Rhythm Room All-Stars featuring Big Pete Pearson, with Chris James, Brian Fahey, and Patrick Rynn. Each night will have a bonus midnight show by Dave Riley. Doors open at 8pm, cover charge is $7. The Rhythm Room is located at 1019 E. Indian School Road, Phoenix, AZ 85014. Rack Shack Barbecue will be available at these events. These nights will be patio smoking only events; no indoor smoking will be permitted.

Sunday, April 13, 2008: Bob Corritore will appear with Dave Riley at the 25th Annual Gibson Glendale Jazz & Blues Festival. Dave and Bob's set will be in Historic Downtown Glendale on the Blues Stage from 5pm-6:15pm. Also performing on that day will be Roomful of Blues, David "Fathead" Newman with Papa John DeFrancesco Trio, Blues Band, Dennis Rowland, Cold Shott and the Hurricane Horns, the Chuck Hall Band, and more. For More information on this event including the Saturday lineup, which includes Big Pete PearsonTommy Castro and Mark Hummel, click here. Admission is free.

Monday, April 14, 2008: This is a benefit show for Candye Kane, who has been diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer. It takes place at Candye's Phoenix home, the Rhythm Room. Candye will be there and will perform just days before her big surgery. Bob Corritore will appear with Dave Riley and with Big Pete Pearson & Rhythm Room All-Stars (with Big Pete Pearson, Chris James, Brian Fahey, Patrick Rynn and Bob) Also on bill are Sistah Blue, The Rocket 88s, Mike Eldred, The Flamekeepers (Chico Chism's last band), Kevin Casenhiser, Joann Powers, Darryl Porras, Jim Glass, Tommy Grills, Rich Brydle, Rich Arnold, Gordie Lynde, and many others. The Rhythm Room is located at 1019 E. Indian School Road, Phoenix, AZ 85014. Doors open at 6pm, a minimum donation of $10 is asked, with opportunities to win gift raffles. This night will be a patio smoking only event; no indoor smoking will be permitted. Please support this event and help our dear friend Candye.