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Friday, June 6, 2008

R L Burnside: Feelin Good

R L Burnside recorded live!

Furry Lewis: Going To Brownsville

Furry Lewis in sepia tone. Very nice!

Muddy Waters: You Can Lose What You Never Had

WOW! I have never seen this before! Muddy singing and walking down a railroad track, to a train station that is the stage! According to the host site the video is from the American Folk Festival in 1964! I am not sure why the audience starts laughing around the 2minute mark. They also talk during the song as well, which to my ears is disrepectful. Perhaps the kids didnt know who was playing, or understood just how important that man on the stage was. Those people didn't realize how lucky they were to see Muddy Waters in his prime. Very sad. However, Muddy keeps on going and looks cool doing it!

Bob Dorr And The Blue Band Update

By Bob Dorr

Well I'm sittin' at my new computer and get a call at 1:43am from the University of Northern Iowa automated warning system that there is a tornado warning! YIKES! Since the killer tornado of May 25, (the death count is now 8) that passed less than 20 miles from my house, I've been a little more worried about Mother Nature and her year long rage. I can't imagine EVERYTHING I own and have accumulated (yes, I admit I'm a pack rat) in my life being swept away in 2 minutes. I'm not convinced I could find the resolve, exhibited by the people in Parkersburg or New Hartford, to persevere. I'll have to take inspiration from their courage...

But did I mention that I have a new computer? It's smarter than I am. It's sleek and slim. It can take me places I've never been before. I'm thinkin' it's the perfect date...

Tonight! (Fri. 6/6) We're cruisin' the Mississippi River with the Friends of KUNI. (proceeds go to the station) When I was at the station Thursday afternoon, it looked like we're down to less than 50 tickets available (there are only 300 spaces on the boat) We leave the Ice Harbor in Dubuque at 7:30p and cruise the river til 10p. Advance tickets are $15. If there are any left at the dock, they'll be $20. The weather prognosticators are saying that the expected storms on Friday should be finished in the late afternoon and cruise time should be partly cloudy. Don't miss the boat! Need more info or tickets:

Saturday marks our return to the Riverside Casino, south of Iowa City. We do 3 shows between 8:30-mid in the Show Lounge...

Next Thursday, 6/12, marks our second appearance at the Sturgis On The River Festival in Davenport. This is a three day festival with lots of great food, entertainment, and motorcycles/gear. We play the Chopper's tent 9:30-11:30p...

Next Friday 6/13 we've designated as the Blue Band's Birthday Party in the Park. Yes, we're celebrating our 27th B-day on Friday the 13th! (our actual b-day is Tues. the 10th) It all happens as part of the Downtown Waterloo Fridayloo Celebration in Lincoln Park, Waterloo. We play 5:30-9:30p. There is NO admission charge. You're probably already planning to BRING CAKE...

And next Saturday (6/14) has us back at our favorite casino nightspot-Prairie Meadows in Altoona. (suburban Des Moines) The buffet is great and it's fun to watch the horses race before we play (10p-1a)...

Wait a second, the phone is's now 2:36am and the UNI automated warning system is calling to say that it's ALL CLEAR! (why is it raining harder now, than it was 10 minutes ago?)...

2008 Tour shirts have been ordered and should be available in two weeks. Sales on our new disc New Year's Eve Pimento have been better than expected. Thank you for helping us by making a merch purch...

So far the summer dates have been inspiringly fun. I'm not sure that we can top Mark Webber's singing of Not Me at the Mt. Horeb Wisconsin Summer Frolic! Next year, he promises to know all the words...

Here's something I haven't said in a long time: The price of gas actually went down 4 cents at the College Hill Kwik Star today. Gee, it's "only" $3.80 a gallon. Thanks also for the generosity at the tip jar, you have made it a little easier for all of us to get to the job...

Now that it's "ALL CLEAR", the lightning is getting so regular that I think I'm going to have to turn off my date (!) See ya on the Blue Highway, buy a tie and play along with the two "tie songs" on our new disc, we're certainly interested in celebrating our birthday a week early this weekend, if you'd like to BRING CAKE! We love you, Bob Dorr & The Blue Band

Bo Diddley Funeral Arrangements

Here are the funeral arrangements for Bo Diddley courtesy of Bob Corritore.

June 6, 2008

  • Bo Diddley Services: On Saturday, June 7, 2008 there will be a public viewing for Bo Diddley from 1-2pm at Showers of Blessings Harvest Center. Funeral services will be from 2-5pm at Showers of Blessings Harvest Center. The services will be followed by a memorial tribute from 6-9pm at MLK Center (Non-religious, band will play, city officials will make presentations). Showers of Blessings Harvest Center (church) is located at 2615 SE 15th Street, Gainesville, FL 32641; Tel.: (352)375.3589, Fax: (352)375-5613 or on the web at Martin Luther King Center is located at 1028 NE 14th Street, Gainesville, FL 32601; Tel. (352)334-5053.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

LInks Update, and Stormy Weather

First I updated the links section. Blogger has a new blog link so that blogs that are linked to my blog are automatically updated and a small snippet of the post is shown for you to read. So if your favorite link is missing check out the blogs I read section and it is probably there. The only link I deleted completely was the draft Al Gore website. I don't see a reason to draft Al, even though I like him, I think that Barack Obama is a pretty good choice:-)

Second, the weather has been very strange. The weather service all day said that severe weather was a guarantee. So I stayed around close to home. The bad stuff stayed way west and is currently south east of me. However, the wind up here is really bad. It is so bad up here that there are high wind warnings out!! I have lost a tree branch, but still have electricity. It should be interesting to see what the damage is like in the morning around town.

Hopefully, I will resume normal posting tomorrow.

BTW, if you are in Chicago be sure to stop by the Chicago Blues Fest it is going on NOW!!!!!!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Amazing Brick Sculpture

I had posted this video over a year ago, but it has since been deleted by youtube. The artist Mark Gates is a friend of mine and spent a long time taking a pile of bricks and building a nice sculpture out of it. What is sad about the sculpture is that it is now gone. Sometime over the winter the bricks were carted away. However, that is what Mark was planing. He builds projects with the idea that they are not suppose to last, and become either part of the environment, or are used for other purposes. Hopefully, he will create some more cool stuff that I can showcase here.

Time Lapse - Sculpture Made Of Flint Bricks - The best video clips are right here

Taylor Hicks: Low Down

Just got this in an email of a video of Taylor Hicks and his band in rehearsal. According to the emailer they got the okay to post this so here it is. This is a great soul tune by Hicks. BTW, if you do own the video and want it pulled contact me please.

Hampton Ham Jam!!! September 20th Hampton Iowa

This sounds like a great time in late September in Iowa. Hampton Iowa has its Ham Jam coming up this fall. Check out the talent it sounds great!

Just wanted to let you know that Main Street Hampton will be holding Ham Jam on Saturday, September 20, 2008. Music begins at 11 a.m. and the bands this year are Anthony Gomes, Big James & The Chicago Playboys, Root City Band, Matt Woods & The Thunderbolts and one more band to be announced. We would appreciate it if you would put this on your calendar. Thanks so much and hope you think about attending. This year's event will start with the "Running of the Hogs"! Thanks again!
Debbie Kalousek
Main Street Hampton
5 First Street S.W.
Hampton, IA 50441
FAX: 641-456-5660

Walk For Autism Changed

This is important news for people and blues lovers in Des Moines. They have changed the venue for the Autism Walk set for Saturday due to flooding. So those of you in Des Moines who plan to catch the King B's at the walk they will be at Valley High School Stadium in West Des Moines NOT WATER WORKS!

Here is the stuff you need to know from Sabrina from the Central Iowa Blues Society.

The location for the Autism Walk set for Saturday, June 7th at Gray's Lake has been changed. It is now going to be at Valley High School Stadium in West Des Moines. Registration starts at 9AM and the walk will begin at 10AM. There is plenty of parking and walking and biking trails in the area. There will still be shuttles for those that need to get to and from parking lots. The band, The King B's, will still play.
The potential for flooding in Gray's Lake increases each day and Water Works, which has handled the overflow, is closed. So the move was necessary. There will be volunteers to direct traffic at Valley High. There will also be volunteers at Gray's Lake in case word does not get to folks who are not aware of the move.

Illinois Blues News Update

Here is the latests from Illinois Blues. I would like to let readers know that I unfortunately have edit out some of the articles due to space considerations. To see the whole news letter check out the Illinois blues website HERE.

All news BLUES in the US!

FREE Blues Internet Magazine


June 4, 2008

© 2007 - 2008

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

Hey Blues Fans,

This is a BIG Blues week! The 25th Annual Chicago Blues Festival runs this Thursday June 5th through Sunday June 8th in Grant Park in Downtown Chicago. They will have continuous music from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. each day. Admission is FREE!!!!!!!

They have 7 stages of entertainment this year and feature over 100 Blues performers representing a wide range of Blues styles.

The lineup features some of the BIGGEST Blues names including David "Honey Boy" Edwards, Pinetop Perkins, Willie "Big Eyes" Smith, Bob Margolin, Johnny Winter, James Cotton, Eddy “The Chief” Clearwater, Lonnie Brooks, Ronnie Baker Brooks, Koko Taylor, Lil Ed and the Blues Imperials, Buckwheat Zydeco, Lurrie Bell and B.B. King. Plus nearly 100 MORE!!! This will be the largest single Blues Fest in the US!

We have the complete schedule with links to information about most of the artists on our website at: and the Blues Blast will be covering the whole event and will have reviews and pictures next week. See ya there!

Blues Wanderings

We made it to a local watering hole, Shenanigans in Pekin, IL this weekend to see Russell Miller and 6V6.

Russell plays some real honest to goodness Blues. He and fellow guitarist Randy Hoffman, bass player Steve Mckimson and drummer Gene Duncan know the business end of a Blues song.

They played many originals and some great covers at a tiny bar in Pekin with about 20 Blues lovers cheering them on. If they come near your town they are definitely worth a listen. You won't be disappointed!

Blues Reviews This Week

Speaking of the Chicago Blues Fest, James Walker reviews a new CD by an artist who appeared at last years Chicago Fest, Wanda Johnson. Ben Cox reviews a new CD by Bettye LaVette. Bill Porter reviews a new CD by Big Joe Shelton. Chicago Editor Lordy reviews a performance by Chicago Express at Harlem Avenue Lounge. All this and much More! SCROLL DOWN!

Blues Link of the Week

Willie Dixon is remembered as one of the Chicago Blues greats. A fantastic musician and songwriter Willie devoted much of his time in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s to the organization he founded, BLUES HEAVEN FOUNDATION. His vision was to allow the echoes of great American Blues to continue to develop, to encourage a new generation of blues greats and to provide for the on-going welfare of senior Blues musicians.

BLUES HEAVEN FOUNDATION’S mission is to help artists and musicians obtain what is rightfully theirs, and to educate both adults and children on the history of the Blues and the business of music. To achieve this mission, they have successfully executed several programs, including The Muddy Water’s Scholarship, Music Clinics, Music in the Garden/Record Row Festival, and Emergency Assistance. The Blues Heaven Foundation is located in the former Chess Records Studios, 2120 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago. Visit their website and check them out. Tell them the Blues Blast sent ya!

They are also hosting one of the best after hours parties following the Chicago Blues Festival each evening this week. Check out the details of these limited seating events at:

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

Mud Angels

A Bolt From The Blue

"A wealth of vocal & guitar melodies, performed by front woman Laura "Torch" England and guitarist Kenny Cobb." - Blues Blast Magazine

To Purchase this CD CLICK HERE

To read the Blues Blast CD review CLICK HERE

Blues Society News

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

Max of 125 words, Text or Word file ONLY.

Willie Dixon's Blues Heaven Foundation - Chicago, IL

Dixon Landing Music has teamed with legendary bluesman Willie Dixon's Blues Heaven Foundation to sponsor "HOT BLUES NIGHTS... LIVE AT 2120!" ( This 3-day event, held June 5th - 7th at the historic former Chess Records Studios, 2120 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago, will be an after hours party when the Chicago Blues Festival retires each evening. The line-up schedule includes:
Thursday June 5th - Nellie "Tiger: Travis, David "Honeyboy" Edwards, The Blues Experience with Cash McCall, Alex Dixon, Steve Bell and Billy Branch Friday June 6th - David Jacobs-Strain, Billy Branch And The Son’s Of Blues, The Blues Experience With Cash Mccall, Alex Dixon, Steve Bell and Muddy Waters Jr. plus other Special Guests Saturday June 7th - David Jacobs-Strain, Lurrie Bell & Family, The Blues Experience featuring Cash Mccall, Alex Dixon, Steve Bell and Muddy Waters Jr. This is a limited attendee engagement......only selling approximately 115 tickets/night! Tickets are available at Additionally, the museum will be open from June 5th - 8th for tours.

The Henderson Music Preservation Society - Henderson, KY

The Henderson Music Preservation Society presents the 2008 W.C. Handy Blues and Barbecue Festival in Henderson, KY to be held June 7-14, 2008. Lineup includes, Bernard Allison, Ronnie Baker Brooks, Ana Popovic, Chubby Carrier and the Bayou Swamp Band, Eddie Shaw and the Wolfgang, Zac Harmon, Big James and the Playboys, Alexis P. Suter, Tad Robinson, Organiks, The Daddy Mack Blues Band, BooBoo Davis Band, The Beat Daddys, Jimmy Duck Holmes, Dennis Stroughmatt and Creole Stomp, The Stella Vees, Velveeta Jones, Small Train - Featuring Jesse Sellers, Mojo Peddlers, Huckleberrys, Hog Maw Blues Band, Chad Nordhoff and Blues 4U. For more information visit or contact:

The West Virginia Blues Society - Charleston, WV

The West Virginia Blues Society presents the Charlie West Blues Fest, June 28, 2008 at Coonskin Park, Charleston, WV. $12 Advance/$15 gate. The LINEUP includes Blues Crossing, Chad Freeman & Blue Revolution, Biscuit Rollers, The Carpenter Ants, Jill West & Blues Attack, Izzy & Chris, Patrick Sweany Band and Johnnie Rawls Blues Review. For more information please visit

Madison Blues Society - Madison WI

Madison Blues Society’s 6th Annual Blues Picnic is Saturday, June 21, 2008 from Noon to 9:30 PM at Warner Park in Madison, WI. Fantastic line-up of local and regional blues bands including Shari Davis & the Hootchy-Kootchy Band, Joe Nosek's Blues Kids, Cash Box Kings, Danny Miller Band, Mud Angels, Paul Filipowicz and Otis & the Alligators. The show is FREE and open to the public.

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 - June 9 Shawn Kellerman from Ontario, Canada, June 16 Deak Harp Blues Band from Illinois, June 23 HARPER from Australia, June 30 Levee Town from Kansas City

The Blues Blowtorch Society - Bloomington, IL

Blues Blowtorch Society presents the 2008 Central Illinois Blues Challenge on September 21, 2008 at the Tri-Lakes in Bloomington, IL. The winner will be sent to Memphis in early 2009 to compete as our representative in the International Blues Challenge. This year we are limiting the number of bands to five. To be considered bands must apply by July 18, 2008. The solo/duo acts competition is to be determined based on interest. For further information and submission guidelines, please contact Deborah Mehlberg, Entertainment Director at:

Willie Big Eyes Smith

New CD

Born In Arkansas

CLICK HERE to Purchase this CD

11th Annual Prairie Dog Blues Fest

Friday, July 25, 2008

Bobby Bryan Band Davina & the Vagabonds
Jason Ricci & New Blood
Walter Trout & the Radicals Moreland & Arbuckle

Saturday, July 26, 2007

The Bourbon Brothers Charles Walker Band
Nick Moss & the Flip Tops Kilborn Alley Blues Band
The Groove Hogs Bernard Allison Brandon Scott Sellner

Festival Website

The only Blues festival held on an island in the middle of the Mississippi River!

Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin on St. Feriole Island

Featured Blues Review (1 0f 3) SCROLL DOWN For More

Wanda Johnson - Hold What You Got

Erwin Music

14 songs; 56:02 minutes; Suggested

Style: Variety: blues, soul, R&B, pop, and gospel

Hey Skyy,
I attended the Chicago Blues Festival last year and saw a really great female singer performing named Wanda Johnson. She had a strong, ear catching voice that covered a wide range. I had never heard of her before, but that is the beauty of a huge, free festival like Chicago’s – I get to see new-to-me artists. She was on the Front Porch Stage on Sunday afternoon, June 10.

Anyhoo..... why haven’t more people heard her? Why don’t you do a review of her? You review all these big name artists from the big labels, but why not give the little guy a break? She sang a cute song about being a “low maintenance woman who was allergic to mink.” Ain’t that funny?Yer fan,
Justin N. Quiry

Dear Justin,
I have never heard of her either, but that doesn’t mean a damn thing! Simple answer: so much blues; so little time. I could spend the rest of my life just trying to catch up on the dead artists, let alone the contemporary ones.

Good news, however, I did get Wanda Johnson’s latest album to review. And, you are so right – she is great! Good thing I did find out about her because she is moving up so fast that I was in danger of being the last-to-know.

Wanda Johnson is a natural-born singer and entertainer who hails from a large family in a farming community in upstate South Carolina. Born in 1963 one of nine all-girl children, she has been performing semi-pro since the early 1990s.

Wanda is quickly gaining notoriety as a new star on the international scene. With three European tours under her belt, numerous USA festival appearances (including Chicago and Pocono), and three CDs in worldwide distribution ("Call Me Miss Wanda," "Natural Resource," and "Hold What You Got"), 2008 is going to be a big year for Wanda Johnson. Her website schedule shows continuous gigging in the Southeast with overseas touring in France, Macau (China), Poland, and the Czech Republic.

She writes much of her own music, and five of the fourteen numbers on this latest CD are penned by her. Performing live and on this CD, Wanda is, almost without exception, accompanied by Shrimp City Slim, aka Gary Erwin, the Charleston SC based label owner, producer, pianist, and composer who contributed seven album tunes.

Erwin’s deft keyboard work is a big part of the fun on the CD, and his band includes Silent Eddie Phillips – guitars, LaMont Garner – drums, Jerome Griffin – bass, Mike Kincaid – tenor sax, and Juke Joint Johnny – harmonica. All but the last two add backing and harmony vocals.

For blues purists, “Girlfriend,” a shuffle by Patricia J. Pruitt, is a 12 bar killer. Erwin opens with two fisted Chicago blues piano to accent the sad story revealing a man stealing best friend. The mid song slide-guitar solo is so completely greasy it’s just plain, down-in-the-dirt nasty. Man, I love it so much it will be on my radio show this week!

The catchy title track also opens with some bouncing piano before clever estrogen-laced lyrics send a message to women that my male brain probably can’t fully comprehend. “Hold What You Got” seems to celebrate full bodied women who should be proud of themselves as they are. “Hold what you got / don’t add no more to it. Hold what you got / don’t take none away....” And, “...that [formerly] skinny girl is a grown woman who can hold what she got / now she’s a big-legged woman / and not too bad on the top / I ain’t even jealous of you girl / hold what you got.”

Many a joke has been created by men about the “perfect woman.” Most include something about a father who owns a liquor store. In “Allergic To Mink,” Johnson beats all us men to the punch (line), “I’m a low maintenance mama, allergic to mink.” In this mid-tempo romp, each line is punctuated nicely by alternating harmonica, piano, guitar, and sax giving the song more of the creativity that makes the whole album a winner.

Most of the songs run three to four minutes which is significant. Too many times it seems, if an artist can not find a muse to craft a solid song, they can always improvise one ponderous extended guitar solo after another. But, that wears thin and ultimately exposes the truth.

As I said at the top, I know essentially nothing about Erwin Music and Wanda Johnson. But, all I need to know is contained in this wonderful release revealing there are some hugely talented musicians and composers and one rising star of a singer in South Carolina.

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.

Click image above to visit our website for tickets and more info!

Featured Blues Review (2 0f 3) SCROLL DOWN For More

Big Joe Shelton - Black Prairie Blues

Hey blues lovers; have I got a CD for you! Want to go to an authentic Mississippi juke joint with ribs, cat whiskey and blues? Pick up Big Joe Shelton’s latest CD: Black Prairie Blues. You’ll be transported to the northeast, “Black Prairie Region” of the Mississippi blues trail in a heartbeat. Every song has a killer feel, powered by a solid rhythm section featuring bassist Ean Evans (Lynyrd Skynyrd, Outlaws) and drummer Bryan Owings (Delbert McClinton, Amazing Rhythm Aces). This CD is electric, driving blues with a Southern barrel house feel.

You’ll get your hard earned dollars worth on this 15 song CD. Joe wrote or co-wrote every cut, which makes him a triple threat: singer, song writer and Mississippi saxophonist. Being from Chicago, I didn’t know what a Mississippi Saxophone was. It’s a blues harp and oh boy, can Big Joe work those reeds! Joe’s sound favors the big, fat harp sounds of Little Walter and James Cotton. And why shouldn’t it? After all, he moved from the deep South to Chicago in the 70’s, where he honed his blues licks listening to Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy and the flourishing Old Town Chicago blues scene from Maxwell Street to the South Side.

Joe’s vocals remind me of the growling sound of Howlin’ Wolf’s six-foot-four delivery. No Bee Gee’s falsetto on this album! You’ll hear plenty of honest, dig down and bare-your-soul BLUES. The listener will surely find lyrics they can relate to on this real life tapestry of life.

Haven’t we all been at a relationship “crossroads” and anguished over track 15’s simple question: “If you don’t want me, be a woman and tell me so. I’ll just pack my things and go.” This track is punctuated by Edwin Daniel’s, six string pentatonic perfection. Instrumental performances are strong on every cut. Other cuts feature Drew Dieckmann’s tasteful blend of Clapton-meets-Cropper guitar riffs and Uncle Wayne’s, ”no-doubt-about-it” approach to the blues . Big Joe immerses himself with top notch musicians like 2003 Living Blues Artist of the Year, Willie King. Keyboards are perfectly blended by the talents of Bobby Shannon and John Simpson. The songs are strong and the production is good.

The liner notes and lyrical content reveal Big Joe’s positive message, as illustrated in “Hope we Live to See the Day (… where we love one another like the Good Book says…). Give this “new” artist (with over 30 years’ experience) a chance.

If you like the electric Delta Blues flavor of R. L. Burnside, Mark Hummel, Slick Ballinger and Jr. Kimbrough, you’ll like Big Joe Shelton. To purchase this CD, CLICK HERE.

Reviewer Bill Porter is the front man for the Bill Porter Project an Illinois based Blues band.

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.

11th Annual Briggs Farm Blues Festival
July 11 & 12, 2008
Nescopeck, Pennsylvania, USA
Camping On Site

Nora Jean Bruso, Big George Brock, Johnny Rawls, Lonnie Shields, Clarence Spady, Bobby Kyle, Colin John & Michael Hill, Kelly Richey Sarah Ayers Band, Donovan Roberts, Mickey Jr. Acoustic Blues Revue Mark Armstrong, Bret Alexander 570-379-2003

Chicago Blues Update

Live Blues reviews by Chicago Blues editor Lordy

Blues Beat: Chicago (Photos by August Lord)

Chicago Express at Harlem Avenue Lounge

It often seems that you no sooner think of someone or something, and it shows up. In the past few months we have seen The Chicago Horns, The Chicago Rhythm & Blues Kings, Nu Blu and Big James & The Chicago Playboys. All these bands feature full horn sections in their presentation of the blues. It seems that I take horns for granted on recordings where they often go unnoticed. Hearing them live, and in your face however, is a totally different experience.

I find myself hearing old recordings with new horn-sensitive ears. Again, no sooner do I have these horny thoughts, than Chicago Express plays at Harlem Avenue Lounge. This septet fronted by singer Burt Cosby, sports saxophones, trumpet and trombone (and flute). The saxophones were handled by Clif Lee, and the brass by Larry Bradley. They both chipped in with lead vocals, harmonies and contagious showmanship. Bradley’s to-do list also included flute and harp. Lou Weckler thumped the five string bass and Jeff Nelson was the lead guitar player. Tony Buckner was on keys and Frank Galasso rounded out the veteran troupe from behind the red Pearl drum kit.

The band announced that they have been playing together for twenty-one years. That means in the short span between me being forty-ish and now, they have developed a noticeable tightness. Speaking of which, think of the horn riff on the song Tighten Up. I didn’t think much of it when I heard the record years ago, but it sounded new and interesting hearing live horns belt it out. Think about the song Low Rider and whereas I used to focus on the deep voice singing it, I now hear the horn riffs responding. Larry Bradley had a novel way of doing the round robin solo presentations by the members. Take note and watch for it when you see Chicago Express live (affirmative nods are in order). Cosby’s blues pipes were as convincing as the instrumentalists were, in both hard and soft tunes. His introduction to one song was “we’re goin’ down to where the mans hang out.”

Include that in the same set with “Gonna Sell the Bitches Car and Buy Myself a Cool Guitar”, and you would think they wouldn’t be hired for any bra-burning gigs. In reality, The Chicago Express plays a variety of gigs, including weddings. I won’t hold that against them because they gave me a song with a lead and three harmonized responses (Knock on Wood). I have always been a sucker for layered voices. I had high expectations when I saw the word Chicago in their moniker, and I was not disappointed.

CLICK HERE to visit Lordy's website at

To see a Chicago Area list of upcoming events CLICK HERE

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The Code Blue Band

Tight at Midnight

Intensely energetic R&B, funk, and rockin' Blues

CLICK HERE to buy the CD

Featured Blues Review (3 0f 3) SCROLL DOWN For up

Bettye LaVette - Scene of the Crime
Anti- Records
Run Time: 41:27

Bettye LaVette is one of those good stories of the record business. She’s the kind that you don’t hear and see every day. She has never sold her sound or her soul to the big labels to sell records. Her unabashed style and grace coats every song. With 2005’s “comeback” album I’ve Got My Own Hell to Raise, LaVette finally started getting credit and nods from the record labels and the Grammy nominators. With 2007, the world came calling and Scene of the Crime delivered. Recorded in the landmark FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama; LaVette returns to familiar territory where she recorded the 1972 sessions of Child of the Seventies which remained shelved by Atlantic Records for almost 30 years.

Bordering on a cover album, similar to the formula of Hell, LaVette crisses and crosses between genres interweaving her inspired interpretations with each vocal phrase. LaVette wraps her raspy vocals around Eddie Hinton’s "I Still Want to Be Your Baby (Take Me Like I Am) with a stern conviction when she preaches: “I’ve Been This Way Too Long to Change Now.” Much like contemporaries Little Milton and Solomon Burke, LaVette doesn’t shy away from country and western. With the second track of the album “Choices,” LaVette revives a late-catalog George Jones classic about redemption and personal epiphany with Spooner Oldham offering a beautiful piano solo. It is in these bare minimal settings with just vocals and an instrument or two that LaVette’s beautiful vocal nuance is allowed to spread its wings.

If Tina Turner were to come back to her roots at classic R&B and soul, she would find herself out of business already because LaVette has taken the throne. Drifting back and forth over Don Henley, Ray Charles, Willie Nelson, John Hiatt; this album was a shoe-in for folks to take notice of it. However, it is the Elton John album cut from 1970’s Tumbleweed Connection, “Talking Old Soldiers,” that landed LaVette the hallmark of her career. With the defiant, expressive, anecdotal sounds in each lyric of the ballad; you would believe that LaVette had lived every letter in the story of the old hag drinking at the bar that she’s singing about.
The Drive By Truckers, the subsequent backing band for this set, delivers the knock out punch on “Before the Money Came (The Battle of Bettye Lavette).” With this being the lone original track of the album, the Truckers & LaVette give us a dose of what the FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama used to shell out. With the soulful rock pouring out of the walls, Patterson Hood turns in a Duane Allman-like solo you can’t help but tap your foot along with. All the meanwhile, LaVette spins her proud and defiant autobiography with a preacher’s conviction and pride.

Finally, LaVette puts you to bed again with the bare minimum arrangement on the country & western cheating song "I Guess We Shouldn't Talk About That Now.” As LaVette’s vocals fade out the track, you the listener will yearn for more. You’ll play it again and again picking up something new each time you listen. With LaVette being a victim of timing for a release year, she probably should’ve won something big for this album. However, that’s been the story of LaVette’s career. She’ll take the lumps and sing about it later. Then, you’ll buy the album.
Visit Bettye on her MySpace at: .

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

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Bluesfest International
July 10 - 13, 2008
Windsor, Canada

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Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Freddie King: Have You Ever Loved A Woman

Cool song, great video.

Freddie King: Hideaway

Freddie King was known as one of the great guitar instrumentalists. Here he plays one of the tunes that he was best known for called Hideaway.

Freddie King: I'm Tore Down

Wow! I guess this TV show that has some of the best blues videos that I have seen was shot in Dallas Texas! I would have never guess that! Although Dallas does have a long history of some outstanding blues, so it actually makes a lot of sense! A very cool clip of Freddie King!

Blues Before Sunset Update

Just in from Blues Before sunset

Hot Tamale & The Red Hots Kicks Off Concert Series June 6

If you want to be entertained, hear great music and meet some one-of-a-kind people, you must see this band! Their energy both on stage and off is second to none!

Again this year, we welcome Hot Tamale & The Red Hots to open the 2008 Blues Before Sunset series at the State Historical Building June 6.

Lead vocalist, Cindy Grill, has been singing professionally for 27 years. She has a dynamic range and the soul of a true blues vocalist. She follows the long line of great female blues vocalists not only in talent but in showmanship as well.

Alan Smith, guitar and vocals, fell in love with the guitar at the age of 13 while growing up in England. Like most young Englishmen in the 50’s, he heard American Roots music interpreted by young Brits. His early influences were the Shadows, the Beatles and the Stones. After moving to this country at the age of 14, he continued to play and learn different styles. Alan has played in several bands in the Des Moines area including Neon Blues and Cousin Eddie. He is an eclectic listener and digs the guitar from A to Z (Atkins to Zappa).

Kevin Bodtke, another founding member, lends the true blues soul with his harmonica. Kevin has a unique style of blues in this area, using his “harp” to lay down a rhythm like many of the old greats (Sonny Boy, Little Walter, etc.). This gives the music a fuller sound that lets you know you’re hearing the blues!

Drummer Bobby Cassady is no stranger to the Des Moines blues scene. Bobby has played with probably every musician in this town at one time or another. He even played with Fat Package and they won the 1998 Iowa Blues Challenge and then went on to compete in Memphis at the International Blues Challenge.

Rod Moulin also plays bass with Hot Tamale. Another veteran of the Des Moines blues scene, Rod lays down a rock solid bass line that the blues was built upon. Rod has been playing with the band since November 2005, when it opened for Dr. John at the Val Air Ballroom.

Blues Before Sunset is family friendly, free and open to the public. Beer, wine, bottled water, soft drinks available for sale and an assortment of food vendors will be selling hot foods. People attending the event should plan to bring their own seating.

Blues Before Sunset is sponsored by the State Historical Society of Iowa and Central Iowa Blues Society with promotional support proudly driven by 100.3 The BUS and Capital 106.3, “quality music from then and now” and additional support by Baratta’s restaurant.

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Isolated thunderstorms (30% chance), high of 78, winds SW 18 mph. Sunset: 8:46 p.m. Reminder: Blues Before Sunset will only be cancelled in the event of severe weather. Rain won’t do us in. If it’s raining, we’ll still be outside, but under the Locust Street portico of the Historical Building. Your excuses not to come down have officially run out.


Bring a can of food (or other nonperishable food item) as a donation to the Food Bank of Iowa and receive ONE free can of beer (or beverage of your choice). Limit one per person. Help us support the Food Bank!