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Friday, September 12, 2008

Bob Dorr And The Blue Band Update

Part two from Bob Dorr

OK, so where were we? Porky's. I'm gonna miss that place...

But where are we goin'? Clear Lake! I'm excited to get the chance to return to The Surf Ballroom. It's been years. We've been invited to be part of the Hobie Cat Sailing Regatta awards celebration. I'm told that people from around the world will be sailing the lake and ready to party TONIGHT (Friday) The cool thing is that the regatta is opening the doors to the Surf for this show to the public FOR FREE!! This is their posting on our chat page: Hey Blue Band Fanatics! Come to Clear Lake's Surf Ballroom on Friday, Sept. 12th for a FREE to the Public Bob Dorr & the Blue Band Concert! With the purchase of a Raffle Ticket, Donation of a Good Quality Used Winter Coat, or a Sack Full of Non-perishable food, you get admission to see the Legendary Band! Miller Lite, Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, & Hobie Fleet 10 are proud to sponsor this great event. Raffle ticket proceeds go to support the Parkersburg Relief Fund, Girl Scout Camp Tanglefoot, and the Clear Lake Sailing School! Even your ticket purchase goes to a 501 (C) 3 you could possibly deduct the ticket purchase...see your accountant on that one! We are hoping to pack the house! Doors open at 8:00 PM, band starts at 9:00 PM! Need I say more? BE THERE!! (bringing CAKE is optional)...

Saturday night we're going to FB & Co, on the bank of the Wapsipinicon River in Waubeek IA (about 20 minutes NE of Cedar Rapids) This is kind of a make-up date for the Memorial Day weekend postponement (The day the F5 tornado cut it's path of destruction across our state) and an attempt to raise some funds for FB & Co (it's literally on the bank of the Wapsi. Flood damage was everywhere) and raise some money for Tim Kula, who owns the place and suffered a stroke in the early part of the year. He's really been hit with the Double Eyed Whammy. Help us generate some $$ for him and his fabled place. It's an early evening gig, 7-10p, and will definitely happen, rain or shine (we'll go inside the bar if it rains) and we're scheduled to have the full 6 piece band with us...

I'm really tickled (!) with how this week's Backtracks rock'n'roll history radio show turned out. It's comprised of two boxes of 45 RPM records that I bought at an auction this summer for a grand total of $13! You can listen to it on your way out to Waubeek at 90.9 FM, you can listen to it anywhere on the planet at the show airs 7-10pm...

And speaking of radio shows, in addition to my regular weekend shows, I'll be the host of Night Music, next Tues. and Wed. night (9/16-17, 7-10p) and the host of The Exchange (talk radio) Friday morning (9/19-10am)...

Heath had an ATV accident that resulted in X-Rays on his foot/heel/achilles tendon, which so far have been negative as far as any breaks are concerned. He also suffered a cut on his thumb that went to the bone. He insist he's ok to play the date at the Surf, but if he's sitting down, you know why. Maybe bringing CAKE would cheer him up!...

Famous Dave's in Minneapolis has undergone some management changes. Hopefully this won't interfere with our scheduled Nov. 22 date there. Minnesotans, don't hesitate to call Dave's (612) 822-9900 and let 'em know you're looking forward to our visit!...

And speaking of Fall/Winter work, WE NEED SOME! We've got LOTS (too many) of open dates starting Halloween weekend and running thru the end of the year. YIKES! Let your office party planners know about us...

I'm beat. There's more yawns than words. I gotta go. See ya on the Blue Highway (USE YER DAMN TURN SIGNALS!) keep rubbin' that washboard, pray for a Cubs/White Sox World Series and always remember we love you... Bob Dorr & The Blue Band

Ed Eaves RIP

Another great Iowa blues bassist has left us way to early. Ed Eaves who played with many people, but is mostly remembered as playing with Brian "TAZ" Grant, and Dale "Saxman" Jones, has died at the age of 52. He suffered a stroke a couple of days ago and never recovered. I was lucky to have met and jammed with Ed a few times. He was a great guy. He and the late Jimmy Smith were one of the first Des Moines blues players that I had the opportunity to play with when I first moved back home in 1991. Taz was late for a gig at the old Kapplan Hat company and Ed found out I played piano. So he and Jimmy had me play for about a half hour until Taz could make it. Jimmy and Ed were quite the combo so it was pretty scary playing with them, but they made it fun.

Update Special thanks to Barbra who sent me a photo of Ed.

Update 2 Services have changed for Ed's Sunday Service from Bethel AME to Union Missionary Baptist 1348 McCormick (off east 14th & University).

Memorial service arrangements Sunday, Sept. 14 from 5-8 p.m. at Bethel A.M.E. Church and Tuesday, Sept. 16, at 11 a.m. at Cornerstone Family Church.

Cannon Mortuary is handling arrangements ‹ 515- 244-5253.

He died Sept. 8 at Mercy Medical Center. He was 52.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Backstage Boogie Band Update

My good friends from Des Moines, The Backstage Boogie Band featuring Harlan Thomas, and the vocal stylizations, of Rick Mosqueda, are playing in Central Iowa in the next few weeks. Check them out to see Iowa Blues Hall of Famer, Harlan Thomas Playing the old 88s.

9-20 sat 1 pm dale valley vineyards stuart,ia

9-26 fri 9 pm kennys pub waukee

10-3 fri 7 pm white oak vineyards cambridge,ia

10-11 sat 9 pm main gate bar dsm

Bob Corritore Blues News

September 10, 2008

Illinois Blues Blast

Illinois Blues - - Blues news across the USA.

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September 11, 2008

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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,

We made it out to Springfield, Illinois for their weekly Blue Monday show this week.

It was quite a Blues party as we were treated to some real Blues from Chicago harmonica ace Bill Lupkin. Bill is the real deal and his latest CD Hard Pill To Swallow in on the Blue Bella label. To make it even better Bill brought along Atlanta Bluesman Felix Reyes on guitar.

We mentioned before that Felix is the man a 12 year old Sean Costello turned to for guidance as his legendary talent was developing. Felix took Sean under his wing and later took him to Memphis. The rest is history!

We think we hear Sean's playing in the licks Felix plays but Felix insists that with Sean it was always a two way street, he learned as much from Sean as Sean did from him!

Recently Felix seem to be hanging out in Chicago and playing with many of the best Chicago touring bands. If you get a chance to hear Felix, don't miss it!

The Blue Monday shows are sponsored by the Illinois Central Blue Club and have been going on each Monday continuously for more than 20 years.

Their upcoming lineup is impressive. They have Harmonica Wizards Dennis Gruenling & Steve Guyger , Lil Dave Thompson, The Blues Deacons, Kilborn Alley, Too Slim & the Tail Draggers and Gina Sicilia with David Gross in the next few weeks. And the cost for these great shows remains just $2. How can you beat that?

Check out their show schedule in the Blues Society News section below.

Delmark Records Presents a memorial for Little Arthur Duncan

Delmark records and Rosas Lounge present a benefit show for the family of Chicago Blues legend Little Arthur Duncan on Friday, September 19, 2008 at Rosa's Blues Lounge in Chicago, IL. The show starts at 9:30pm and includes performance from the Back Scratchers and MANY special guests including Tail Dragger, Zora Young, Billy Boy Arnold, Eddie Taylor, Jr., Rick Kreher, Illinois Slim, Michael Azzi and Twist Turner. The show is at Rosa's Lounge at 3420 W. Armitage (Kimball and Armitage), Chicago, IL for more info call 773-342-0452

Blues Reviews Coast to Coast and MORE!

It has been a busy Blues week for our staff writers as we bring you EIGHT (yes Eight) Blues reviews this week. We have four live show reviews and four CD/DVD reviews. From California in the West, Nikki Oneill sends a review of a day at the Long Beach Blues Fest. From Belfast, Northern Ireland in the East, Irish Bluesman Ciaran "Ciarz" Gorman sends us a review from the Big River International Blues And Jazz Festival. From right smack in the middle, James Walker sends us a review and pictures of a show by Web Wilder in Champaign, Illinois. Plus Lordy is back with his Chicago Blues update telling us of a show by Mr. G and the Mystery band at Bill Blues Bar.

Four CD reviews this week too! James Walker reviews a of a new CD from Monica Dupont. You want to know about this one! Mike O'Cull reviews a new CD by Watermelon Slim. Gary Weeks sends in a review of the new Experience Hendrix DVD and Nikki Oneill reviews a new CD by Irma Thomas. All this and MORE! SCROLL DOWN

The 25th International Blues Challenge

February 4-7, 2009 in Memphis, TN

Advance tickets, host hotel information, merchandise and preliminary event schedule will be available at beginning October 1.

Live Blues Review (1 of 3)

Nikki's West Coast Report

Long Beach Blues Festival - Day 2 (August 31, 2008)

Getting ready to celebrate their 30th anniversary next year, the Long Beach Blues Festival decided to try out their new location at the Rainbow Lagoon Park straight across from the Long Beach Marina. To an outsider, the festival seemed to be running like clockwork: all the artists started right on time, nobody seemed to be having a bad gig, and the crowds just hung out on their beach chairs and blankets, enjoying the music and the terrific Southern Californian weather, giving the security guards and police staff nothing to fret about.

First a cautionary note: Blues Blast did not attend the first day of the festival, which featured Chuck Berry, John Mayall, Pinetop Perkins with Bob Margolin Band, The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Roy Rogers and the Delta Rhythm Kings, and Roy Young. This is a report from the second and last day, with Booker T Jones Band and Taj Mahal Band being the co-headliners of the night.

Serbian guitarist/vocalist Ana Popovic was first to get on stage, delivering wah-wah and slide-driven blues-rock solos in line with Hendrix and Stevie Ray. As a guitar player, she is very competent and can definitely hang with the best of players, so her next big challenge would be to cultivate a unique signature “voice” on the instrument. Her band’s enthusiasm and love for the music is genuine, although they addressed the crowd as if they were at a rock arena concert.

As a singer, Popovic applies a lot of passion and has a good and versatile voice. It seems that her mission is to bring blues to the larger masses by fusing it with other styles like rock and funk, and performing it with a certain amount of flash and flair. The fact that her latest album, “Still Making History,” has spent 18 weeks on the Billboard blues charts proves her concept to be successful. Yet the most apparent weakness in her show are the songs - a very generic and somewhat dated mix of rock, blues and tired funk riffs, with lyric lines like “you give me love fever.”

Funny enough, the song that outshined her originals turned out to be T-Bone Walker’s “The Hustle Is On.” It brought the whole band up several notches, and Popovic’s extended solo improvisations were stellar. No wonder the crowds lined up outside the tent where she was signing autographs afterwards.

Blues Blast also spotted another terrific guitarist and local artist in the festival crowd - Laurie Morvan, hanging out with friends and checking out the bands.

Joe Lewis Walker and his band followed, delivering a fiery pure-blues set with a barb-wire voice and a guitar playing style that had just that urgency, immediacy and ability to project that you want to hear in a soloist.

In a dapper black and white suit and killer voice, Eddie Floyd paid tribute to the great Stax Records songbook. Telling stories about the classic songs he penned for Wilson Pickett and Otis Redding, people created little dance routines as they got their hot dogs and beers to the sounds of “6345789” and “I’ve Never Found Me A Girl (To Love Me Like You Do.)”

With Floyd in great form, the only downside seemed to be that his band was slightly unrehearsed. That revealed itself in one of his Otis tributes, where “Sittin’ On The Dock Of The Bay” morphed into “Fa Fa Fa Fa Fa (Sad Song.)” The band just didn’t lock in and seemed to have trouble with a section transition in a song. On the other hand, their raw and inspired version of “Get On Up And Play” was one of the highlights of the entire day. We also got reminded of the loss of Isaac Hayes, as Floyd told us they were supposed to be doing a show together just two weeks before his death, and then played a red, hot version of “Soul Man.” Of course we also got to hear “Knock On Wood” for the grand finale.

Right next to the main stage, the festival had set up an additional smaller platform for local and up-and-coming blues and R&B talent playing in between the main sets. We got to hear Hendrix-flavored blues from Dennis Jones Band and more straight-ahead, rugged sounds from The Average Johnsons. The greatest crowd response went to New York-singer Arielle Verinis and her band –a young group of soul fans, who played a really fine R&B set. They included Prince’s “How Come You Don’t Call Me Anymore,” where Verinis sounded like an earthier Joss Stone.

Harp maestro and singer Charlie Musselwhite was in a great mood, taking us from R&B back to the blues with a cool set full of raw Chicago-style and electric country 12-bar gems.

If the festivals’ heavy emphasis on the traditional 12-bar format was a little overwhelming for some visitors (including yours truly), Booker T Jones and his incredibly tight Bay Area-based band were the few experimenters of the night – venturing into jazz, funk and reggae, yet never turning their back on the blues as they created these hard-grooving fusion soundscapes. They gave us “Green Onions” pretty early in the set, as well as other sweet Hammond soul instrumentals. Booker T told us about his first meeting with Bill Withers, who anxiously had wondered if his latest song was any good. This tune turned out to be “Ain’t No Sunshine.” The crowd also went nuts when he casually mentioned another song he wrote for Albert King, and then went into “Born Under A Bad Sign.”

Always a man who loves to perform and give back to the blues community, Taj Mahal and his band ended the night and the festival with his typically spirited set of folky, shamanistic blues. One of the most prominent figures in contemporary blues, his role in renewing this genre, especially the acoustic tradition, can’t be emphasized enough. Being kind of a musicologist, he explores his own African heritage by bringing the blues into the sonic worlds of gospel, R&B, jazz, Latin, Zydeco and West African music, and then back home to country blues again.

These two headliners were a fabulous ending to the 29th Long Beach Blues Festival, giving us a great idea where the blues came from and where it’s heading next.

Report & Review by Nikki O’Neill

Photos by Nikki O’Neill


For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.

EG Kight It’s Hot In Here

Her first CD in four years from six time BMA award nominee and Koko Taylor songwriter.

It's Hot in Here," features her blazing guitar work and fiery, resonant voice. Patriot-News

EG Kight has hit a home-run with this excellent album. The Planet Weekly

Tickets for this Hammond, Indiana show
go on sale Friday, 08/22/08 To Purchase Tickets CLICK HERE

Live Blues Review (2 of 3)

Big River International Blues And Jazz Festival - Belfast, Northern Ireland

25th August 21 - 25, 2008

Review by Ciaran "Ciarz" Gorman

Photos by Michael Beattie

A Blues festival in Belfast, Northern Ireland?? You betcha!! And Belfast loved every minute of it! With over 160 artists playing across the city center’s bars and clubs, it was definitely Blues heaven for 5 days.

In only it's second year, the Big River Festival was proud to present some serious international headline acts, not to mention a host of local talent to entertain the masses.

Friday night kicked off with Steve Cropper and The Animals at Mandela Hall. Steve was in great form, even though an airport security official in London had confiscated his guitar strings just in case he garroted a fellow passenger. I've always rated Michael Powers as a steady axeman, and he proved to be just that throughout the festival, pleasing crowds everywhere he played. I do hope he meant it when he said he'd be back for sure.

Saturday was devoted to remembering the Irish Greats. Rory Gallagher, Sam Mahood and Jim Daly. The whole world knew and loved Rory. He was a phenomenal guitarist and a very humble and sincere human being who played with an unrivalled passion and energy. Rory loved Belfast and Belfast loved Rory. He remained loyal to his Belfast fans throughout the darkest days of "The Troubles" when very few artists were brave enough to play Northern Ireland. Rory's original rhythm section, Gerry MacEvoy on bass and Brendan O'Neill on drums were on hand with Dennis from Nine Below Zero on guitar and vocals. Double Vision and Willie Byrne were also on hand to provide a fitting tribute to Belfast's adopted son. Sam Mahood was a local Soul legend who passed away last year. Sam was a major influence on Van Morrison and mentor to local rising star, Lee Hedley. Lee fronted Sam's original big band at St Georges Market on Saturday to the delight of almost 2000 musos. For me though, the Jim Daly tribute was what i'd waited a lifetime to hear. As a teenager, i had first heard Jim playing Blues piano with his band in a local bar. Jim was the grandfather of Belfast Blues. He'd played with Sonny Terry and Brownie Magee, Howlin' Wolf and many many others before i was born. He'd brought them to Belfast in the 60's and he was the real deal. Jim Daly introduced me to the Blues and I loved him for that.

Sunday evening was the most awesome night ever. My band, The Pontiax, were playing The Rotterdam, one of Belfast's oldest and most iconic bars. A two hour slot turned into seven and a half hours when former British Blues harmonica champion, The Reverend Doc turned up without his band. Rev Doc and The Congregation are a superb Blues band with a big following throughout the UK and the pressure was on when The Pontiax were asked to step in. We did our best and the Doc had the audience hanging by a thread with a blistering performance. We would have played all night long but the bar had to close. My left hand is still aching but we made a lot of new friends that night including Rev Doc.

Monday brought this years festival to a close at St Georges with a storming jam session led by our very own Rab McCullough. Rab has played all over the world including the States and is a very skilled and respected Bluesman. Joined on stage by Michael Powers, Charlie Woods, Jackie Flavelle and Aaron Liddard (Amy Winehouse's sax player), Rab belted out some great standards to an appreciative crowd. When the lights came on after midnight and we all went our separate ways, I noticed i had the Blues again. Roll on 2009!! Hey hey, the Blues is alright!!

"What Goes Around” – a new CD from Michael Osborn!

"Michael Osborn is one of the best blues guitarists around, he can really lay it down". - John Lee Hooker

"Michael Osborn is one of the authentic blues guitarists today. His style goes straight to the heart of the blues and he’ll steal your show if you don’t watch out!” – Robben Ford

CLICK HERE to purchase

Blues Want Ads

Blues Musicians Place Your Want Ad here for FREE

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

Band seeks Agent

Back The Jimi Vincent Band from Savannah, Ohio is currently looking for representation/agent. Call Jimi @
419-685-0466, email

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

Eden Brent

2008 Blues Blast Music Award Nominee

"Sean Costello Rising Star Award"

To read a review of this CD, CLICK HERE

CLICK HERE to Purchase this CD now!

Blues Society News

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

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The Natchel Blues Network - Norfolk, VA

The 15th Annual Blues At The Beach Festival is September 12-14, 2008 at 17th Street Stage (17th St & Atlantic Ave.), Virginia Beach VA. The event is Free and open to the public. Friday performers include Grant Austin Taylor, Ruf's Blues Caravan 2008 "Guitars and Feathers" w/ Deborah Colema n, Candye Kane, and Dani Wilde. Saturday performers include The Bobby "Black Hat' Blues Band, Blues Dance Workshop, The Sean Carney Band, John Nemeth, Lurrie Bell and Kenny Neal. Sunday performers include Straight Up Blues Band, David Maxwell’s Maximum Blues and Jimmy Thackery & the Drivers.

For further information visit theNatchel' Blues Network at or call 757-456-1675

Mississippi Valley Blues Society - Davenport, IA

Hawkeye Herman and Friends are performing a benefit concert for the Mississippi Valley Blues Society at the Redstone Room in Davenport, IA on Tuesday Sept. 23. The music starts at 7:30, and admission is $10 For further information contact Karen McFarland at 563-508-6596 or check out

The Rowan Blues and Jazz Society - Salisbury, NC

The Rowan Blues and Jazz Society is presenting its 10th Annual Blues and Jazz Festival, October 11 in Downtown Salisbury, NC at 2p.m. It is featuring the Homemade Jamz Blues Band featuring Ryan, Kyle and Taya Perry and Dad, Big Bill Morganfield, Joe Robinson Jazz Band, Larry Davis Jazz, Ladies Auxiliary Blues Band, and Bob Paolina. Bring your own chairs and blankets, Variety of vendors and family friendly. For more information go to our website Contact 704-636-2811.

Second Wind Cancer Retreat - Atlanta, GA

Legendary singers Bonnie Bramlett and William Bell are among the many artists scheduled to perform at BluesFest ‘08, benefiting the Second Wind Cancer Retreat, on Sunday, October 5, at Blind Willie’s blues club in Atlanta. Other artists scheduled to perform at the benefit include Liberty Jones, Men in Blues and Ike Stubblefield and Friends. Doors opening at 3:00 PM and music scheduled to run from 4:00 – 8:00 PM. Tickets are $15 and will be available at the door, with no one admitted under 21 years of age. This non-smoking event is also dedicated to the memory of blues guitarist Jeff Healey, who passed away from cancer in March.

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 - Sept 15 - Harmonica Wizards Dennis Gruenling & Steve Guyger, Sept 22 - Lil Dave Thompson, Sept 29 - The Blues Deacons, Oct 6 - Kilborn Alley Blues Band, Oct 13 - The Rich Fabec Blues Band, Oct 20 - Too Slim & the Tail Draggers, Oct 27- Gina Sicilia with David Gross

The Blues Blowtorch Society - Bloomington, IL

Blues Blowtorch Society presents The Blues Blowtorch Society's Educational Fund Raiser, September 21, 2008 -1:00 PM to 6:00 PM at Tri Lakes Banquet Facilities, 2100 Bunn St., Bloomington, IL

Featuring Black Magic Johnson 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM and Lil' Dave Thompson 3:30 PM - 6:00 PM. Food and Drink for sale by Tri-Lakes Membership. Events for Everyone - How to Start a Band Workshop, Auctions, more! For more Information - Deborah Mehlberg - Entertainment Director 309-662-0996 or E-mail

The West Virginia Blues Society - Charleston, W.V.

The West Virginia Blues Society will hold its Second Annual Blues Competition on October 4, 2008 at Christopher's Banquet Center in Fairmont, WV. Blues bands and solo/duo blues acts will compete for cash prizes and WVBS sponsorship to the Blues Foundation's International Blues Challenge held every year in Memphis, Tennessee. Complete information is available online at

Too Slim and the Taildraggers

Fortune Teller

2008 Blues Blast Music Award Nominee for

"Best Contemporary Blues Recording"

CLICK HERE to Vote for Us NOW

To purchase this CD now CLICK HERE

The BEST Way To Promote YOUR Next Blues Project!

BANDS, BARS, AND LABELS: Is your promo material getting you the gigs and business you desire? If not, call music journalist and copy writer Mike O'Cull for all your promotional needs. Mike is a veteran music journalist and musician and writes for the Illinois Entertainer,, and and can deliver the highest quality promotional writing around quickly and at a reasonable price.

Mike's specialties include bios, press releases, liner notes, and web content. Full press kit design, including graphics, is also available. Clients include The Joe Moss Band, Carl Davis, TruSoul Entertainment, B.A. S. Entertainment, and many others. Samples available on request. Email , call Mike O'Cull Music at 847-608-0357, or visit us online at for more information.

Mention the Blues Blast for a $10 new customer discount.

Chicago Blues Update

Live Blues reviews by Chicago Blues editor Lordy

Blues Beat: Chicago (Photos by August Lord)

Mr. G & The Mystery Band at Bill's Blues in Evanston, IL

It's not too often that I get up to Bill's Blues in Evanston, but Osee Anderson was to record a live show and that would be worth the trip. Evanston is a North suburb of Chicago. It is nestled between Chicago on the South and the Artic circle on the north. Bill Gilmore provides my favorite type of blues venue; a blues bar. The cozy bar is a short walk from the Davis Street stop of the metra and purple line. An additional retro touch was the poor reception on the television, in spite of the rabbit ear antenna. I guess I'm spoiled now by the clear flat panel televisions that have become commonplace.

Osee had to cancel due to a medical emergency involving his brother. As it turns out, my pilgramage deep into Cubs territory was still a worthwhile endeavour, as Mr. G & The Mystery Band would be entertaining. The Mystery Band moniker derives from it being a mystery who's going to be in the band on any particular night.

Mr. G is a harp player, singer, songwriter and band leader. While waiting for the band to enter and set up, I met Mr. Orlando Condon. It turned out that he was the mystery bass player. The reason why I didn't know him already, he explains, is because he is all about jazz (as opposed to blues). Jazz is blues, that went to college. I didn't mean it as a compliment, but that's how he took it, so all is good. If you get a chance to view the pictures from this gig, check out Condon's big smile on a jazzy blues tune.

The band fills in as Brian James on keys, Aaron Almon on drums and Mr. Mike Wheeler on guitar and vocals. Don't miss a chance to hear Michael Wheeler play and sing whether as part of the Mystery Band, Big James & The Chicago Playboys or the Mike Wheeler Band.

Mr. G. calls out a funky blues in B to get things rolling. A favorite of mine was Somethin' Cookin' in my Baby's House. They vamped through a single chord song, that had my mind in tension, wanting to go the four, and they made it damn interesting. My peripheral vision could barely make out the Olympic gymnastics on the black and white TV-asauras, with the shaky lines running through the picture. What grabbed my attention was that the little girl's floor routine seemed to synch perfectly with the band's drinkin' song in F. I was amazed at the talent. The Olympians weren't bad either. Me and My Dog, I Wanna Go it Alone and other songs which Mr. G promises to put on a recording project kept the Olympic fans happy.

As the Northwestern University students drifted in for late night study, the band wound down. As usual, three sets of wonderful live Chicago blues left me wanting more. I'm giving you more than a week's notice that Mr. G & The Mystery Band will be appearing at The Harlem Avenue Lounge on Saturday evening September 20th. Please don't even ask who will be in his band that night, because it is likely that Mr. G. doesn't know yet.

CLICK HERE to visit Lordy's website at

To see a Chicago Area list of upcoming events CLICK HERE

The National Debonaires

New Sounds from Kansas City

2008 Blues Blast Music Award Nominee
"Best Blues Song" for Ain't Gonna Happen Again

CLICK HERE to purchases Now!

To read the Blues Blast CD review - CLICK HERE

Featured Blues Review (1 of 4)

Monica Dupont - Life Goes On

Modern Blues Records

10 songs; 35:57 minutes; Suggested

Styles: modern electric blues, no rock

If “honesty is the best policy,” then, honestly, I had never heard of California’s Monica Dupont until I was sent this CD. In doing some background research, I came across this quote by Ralph J. Gleason, “Monica sings like Muddy Waters and looks like Mary Tyler-Moore.”

Since literally everyone has a unique voice sound, is it possible for some people’s voices to be “more unique” than others? In Monica’s case, “yes!” If ever there was a voice made to sing the blues, she has one.

This blues singer/songwriter returns after a 25 year absence from music, at the age of 60, with an album of diverse and rewarding modern blues! Her seven original songs and three covers showcase that powerful, unique vocal style.

While on the Oakland blues scene from 1975 to 1983, she played all of the blues venues in the Bay Area scene. Her band was the only Blues band chosen by BAM magazine to play at the historical "Rock against Racism." When not fronting her own band, she was regularly hired as a sideman (or side-woman in this case). In her career, she fronted bands led by such blues greats as Mel Brown and Luther Tucker. Dupont recorded several notable records, including, "Try To Find Another Man" and "Screamin' For My Freedom." She was also a respected songwriter for many local musicians, like "Lamb" and Janis Joplin.

Monica stopped playing music in 1983 at the height of her career, when she suffered a stroke.
Following eight months of grueling therapy, Monica moved to Los Angeles and became a successful television writer and show host, as well as creating and publishing a book of art and poetry titled "Windows."

In 2004, after having returned to San Francisco, some of her early recordings were re-released on a CD called "Early Eighties" on Hoddyman Records, and Monica started getting airplay all over the world, as well as receiving favorable reviews and fan letters. Encouraged by this, she called old music friends and asked them to record a CD with her. All of the great musicians on this result are connected to her from the "old days" of Oakland Blues. Monica sings on each track and adds rhythm guitar on most, and producer Gary Novak adds a mixture of drums, bass, piano, guitar, organ, and background vocals to all tracks but one live number.

To open the set, Dupont performs a jumping classic from JB Hutto, “Too Much Alcohol.” “Wolfie” Wichter creates the opening notes on harmonica soon followed by Jimi James on lead guitar. At 20 seconds in, we hear this incredible voice. When you get this album and play it for a friend, DO NOT tell them anything before popping it in. I guarantee there will be immediate questions. Microwave Dave adds some tasty slide guitar, but it is just left in the mix with no solo – too bad.

Slowing the tempo slightly, Monica sings her own, greasy “Sittin’ Around” with Mr. Harmonica “Blowout” Mark Hummel taking a nice mid-song solo. Shawnka Shepard adds to the rhythm on piano.

“A Bigger Place” proves this band can swing, too, with the help of Bobbie Webb on saxophone. The song reflects that it is American to be excessive – especially in our accumulation of “stuff.” Where else in the world do people need either a “bigger place” or a rental storage unit?

For upbeat dancing, try the boogie shuffle, “Shakin’ the Sheets.” The most surprising number is Johnny Preston’s 1950s Native-American-love-denied hit (written by JP Richardson) “Running Bear” in which Bobby Young is on board for lead guitar. For a Delta Blues duo track, Ron Thompson slides the steel on the only live cut, “The Man From New Orleans.”

Easing on over to the jazzy side of blues, “Mr. Cool” finds Blaine Hoopes on saxophone, Buzzy Linhart on vibes, and Kenneth Nash on percussion. This song is so cool that it just might be the answer to global warming.

The final cut is the title track, a slow reflective number dripping with heart rending emotion, “...I played a losing game, but Life Goes On, just the same.”

Blues fans take note: this album is real-deal and well worthy of your attention. Honest, I wouldn’t lie!

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

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David Honeyboy Edwards

Roamin' and Ramblin'

2008 Blues Blast Music Award Nominee
"Best Best Traditional Blues CD

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To read the Blues Blast CD review - CLICK HERE

Live Blues Review (3 of 3)

Webb Wilder - Live at The Highdive

Champaign, IL Friday, Sept 05, 2008

What is the genre or style label for Webb Wilder, Dr. Duke Tumatoe, and Vince Vance? Whatever it is, it includes people who are really great musicians, who are witty, eccentric, quirky, and irreverent with imaginative and humorous lyrics.

If you were not there, you’re probably lucky you missed Webb Wilder, live at the Highdive.
You would have had too much fun listening to raucous, roots-rock, rock and roll, drinking beer, eating Jupiter’s pizza, and dancing at stage front. You would have run into friends and met like-minded party people (Webb-heads (?) and enjoyed their company.) Oops, there would have gone your guilt complex - because what did the doctor tell you about that?

My M.D., Dr. Drupy Drawerz, wants me to live long enough to be well preserved, old and neglected in a nursing home. He knows careful avoidance of Webb Wilder shows (and this night’s opening act The Delta Kings) will help one arrive at the grave in near perfect condition, not sliding in sideways yelling, “Woo-hoo, What a ride!”

Playing original songs like “Human Cannonball” and “Tough It Out,” all blues based rock and roll with a little twang, Nashville’s Webb Wilder has practically become an institution in the Midwest since the band’s inception over two decades and nine albums ago.

Usually playing in some smoke-choked gut bucket, like The Olde Horsehoe Road Inn, Webb Wilder welcomed this smoke-free Illinois venue because he knew fresh air might just blow the stink off his string bending, fret sliding, and drum smashing demons: Bob Williams – guitar, Tom Comet – bass, and Jimmy Lester – drums.

In one 90 minute set, John Webb McMurray (“Webb Wilder”), a native of Hattiesburg MS, deftly demonstrated through twenty songs and one encore cover, “Jumping Jack Flash,” why this singer, guitarist, bandleader, filmmaker, and humorist – “roots-rock's only true Renaissance man and The Last of the Full Grown Men” - is not to be missed.

We also learned the Webb Wilder Credo: "Work hard, rock hard, eat hard, sleep hard, grow big, wear glasses if you need 'em."!

Photos by Susan Walker

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.

2008 Blues Blast Music Awards

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Buddy Guy's Legends in Chicago, IL.

Confirmed Blues artists performing are Tim "Too Slim" Langford from Too Slim and the Taildraggers, Lurrie Bell, Dave Riley & Bob Corritore, Steve Gerhard and Mo Bailey from the National Debonaires, The Kilborn Alley Blues Band, Magic Slim & the Teardrops, Lurrie Bell, Teeny Tucker, Gina Sicilia and John Nemeth! Ticket info will be available soon.

Featured Blues Review (2 of 4)

Irma Thomas - Simply Grand

Rounder Records

Irma Thomas’ last album of 2006 – the Grammy awarded “After the Rain” – was a personal triumph and a powerful tribute to the victims of Hurricane Katrina, which almost claimed her life and caused a huge stir in the media, with rumors circulating about her supposed death. With that being said, her latest Rounder release feels like the calm after the storm. Highly understated and subtle in its performance, this album takes several listens before you appreciate it.

On this disc, the great soul singer is paired in a series of duets with 13 pianists. Sometimes the chemistry is undeniable, as it is with Dr. John, who’s history with Thomas goes back to 1959 when he played on her very first recording “You Can Have My Husband (But Don’t Mess With My Man.)” There’s a playful funkiness and great swing feel going on between the two in “If I Had Any Sense I’d Go Back Home” and the excellent new song “Be You.” Another connection is happening in Randy Newman’s “I Think It’s Going To Rain Today”, with the writer himself at the piano, playing at a very slow and wistful tempo as she ponders on the song’s theme of human kindness. She sings most of the songs in a reflective, easy and rounded manner, instead of showing off her soul pipes. But she gets more passionate in “Underground Stream,” a catchy soul-gospel tune penned by pianist partner David Egan, which became my immediate favorite on this disc.

As with many concept albums of today, where older artists are supposed to get stripped down and raw (like Rick Rubin’s work with Neil Diamond) or teamed up with younger talents, the concepts and pairings don’t always sound as interesting as they look on paper. Sometimes I wish producer Scott Billington could have changed up the formula of 13 pianists backing up a vocalist, playing a brief solo and then going back to accompanying. The overall sound of the recording is fine, but occasionally the vocals sound a little low and distant in the mix. The duet with Norah Jones at the keys is pretty bland; the collaboration with John Medeski sounds slightly disjointed and the volume level of his piano overrides her vocals, as if they weren’t recording in the same room. The song “Overrated” has an odd and slightly more contemporary R&B melody that takes time to grasp, and the arrangement isn’t providing much help… the song simply sounds like it needs more work.

But none of these minor missteps take away from Irma Thomas’ dignity and grandness as a singer. Her expressiveness and sense of nuance is beautiful. A few upper register notes sound a little challenged, but she predominantly stays within her warm and smoky contra-alto, making “Simply Grand” a sophisticated treat to listen to.


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Featured Blues Review (3 of 4)

Experience Hendrix DVD

Label-Experience Hendrix

Label number-14381-3918-2

For the last several years, the family of guitar god Jimi Hendrix have reaped the whirlwind of the guitarists' legacy. Releasing DVD/CD recordings ranging from his Woodstock appearance to his infamous Monterey debut, it's no wonder that Jimi is bigger in death then he is in life.

The DVD Experience Hendrix is no special exception. Featuring renowned blues artists such as Buddy Guy, Hubert Sumlin, Jimmy D. Lane and other hotshot celebrities, Experience Hendrix is indeed a celebration rather then a funeral death march.

When you look at the DVD jacket, you see these performances were taken from Seattle's Paramount Theater and the San Diego Street Scene. What are the years? That's not mentioned. You would assume this footage is something culled over a period of time.

The Native American blues/rock band Indigenous is no longer the family affair it once was. Only guitarist Mato Nanji stands holding the flag which is a pity. Him and his young siblings tear through an obscure "Hear My Train A Comin" with Nanji channeling Hendrix' spirit with uncanny ability that it resembles a personal exorcism of the soul.

Because the footage jumps from one year to the next, the continuity is broken and becomes fragmented. But it is easily overlooked. Stevie Ray Vaughan's rhythm section of bassist Tommy Shannon and drummer Chris Layton are the perfect foil for guitarist Kenny Wayne Sheppard and his vocalist Noah Hunt. Their spot-on rendition of "I Don't Live Today" is just as frightening with Sheppard ripping power chords from his Monterey Pop Strat.

The lowest point is Living Color's appearance. Getting Frank Marino, Popa Chubby, Chris Duarte or Walter Trout would have been a better investment on the dollar. Hotdogging and acting like clowns on a trampoline is not a way to pay tribute to Jimi. Hendrix was a showman with some restraint. Living Color just goes way over the line. Their segment is something to fast forward on the dvd.

Since Hendrix had some blues roots, it's only natural to see Hubert Sumlin and Jimmy D. Lane rip through "Killing Floor." Guitar magazine writer and musician Andy Aledort joins Hendrix cohorts Billy Cox and Mitch Mitchell for the Isle of Wright stamp of "Freedom." An ensemble cast comes to the stage for a guitar war on "Voodoo Chile." Another low point. Too many guitars turn this into a riff fest of mismatched personalities. Singer Paul Rodgers tries his best to wail above the fortress of sound. He doesn't strain which is a difficult situation since everyone is cutting heads all at once. It's the price you pay when you front an orchestra of Fender Guitars screaming like hellhounds.

Thirty-eight years after his death, Jimi Hendrix still remains at the forefront of being a guitarist who revolutionized the instrument to go beyond the parameters of normalcy. He has to be enjoying the fact that youngsters play "Red House" at blues jams all over the world. Now that's what you call leaving your mark. Not too shabby. Right?.

by Gary Weeks

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.

Featured Blues Review (4 of 4)

Watermelon Slim and the Workers - No Paid Holidays

(NorthernBlues Music)

Bill “Watermelon Slim” Homans has built a career in the blues in a relatively short span of time, releasing four albums in the last five years and touring constantly. Slim sings, plays Dobro slide guitar and harp, and has the kind of life story that could only be lived and not fictionalized. He learned to play in an Army hospital after enlisting in the Vietnam-era military, with a Zippo lighter as a slide. Since then, he has been a truck driver, watermelon farmer (hence the name), a funeral officiator, and a small-time crook. He also has two Masters degrees, one in history and one in journalism. In the early part of our new century, Slim suffered a near-fatal heart attack and refocused his life on the blues. His latest record, No Paid Holidays, shows Slim and his band at their best over the course of 14 tracks of funky, deep-down, play-it-like-you-mean-it blues that would certainly rock any house in the world.

Slim is raw and no one will ever mistake his voice for B.B. King’s, but his rough edges only add to his charm. Slim is the kind of wild-eyed American musical visionary this country used to breed in bunches and that has been in woefully short supply as of late. Technical perfection fades in the name of heart, groove, and sincerity, which is as it should be, and Slim radiates that “X” factor that makes it all ok. From the fun and funk of “Call My Job” to the deep “Bloody Burmese Blues”, Slim sings it as he has lived it and that is what makes No Paid Holidays so instantly appealing. The disc packs just the right amount of city, swamp, juke joint, and back porch to appeal to a wide range of blues fans. Although he is new on the scene, Watermelon Slim is an all-night worker and could end up a favorite of many long-time roots-music supporters.

Mike O'Cull

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.

Willie Big Eyes Smith

New CD

Born In Arkansas

CLICK HERE to Purchase this CD

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