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Thursday, October 30, 2008

R L Burnside: Poor Boy Long Ways From Home

R L Burnside was one of those iconic bluesman that lived in the hill country of Mississippi. He and his large family have done more to keep alive the blues of Mississippi than anyone else. Here is some great footage of R L doing some classic blues.

J B Hutto: Thank You For Your Kindness

This is some rare footage of JB Hutto taken from a classic movie from either the late 60s or early 70s about the then dying Chicago Blues scene. Just like today many people seem to think that the blues is dying when the older blues players die, but in reality the blues lives on in the younger players. Unlike Rock And Roll, that really died in 1959, blues has lived on for well over a 100 years. Just like in the early 70s things when things looked bleak for the blues things will look good for the blues again, and probably much sooner than we all think!

Fenton Robinson: You Don't Know What Love Is

Classic Fenton Robinson

Tom Gary Blues Band On CD BABY!!!!!

Okay, enough of the mad emails! You have spoken and I have listened. You can also order my latest album either on CD, or MP3, by going to CD Baby!!! Also for a limited time only as a special gift to my readers you can get a discount if you buy more than one at CD Baby. To be honest I am loosing money on this deal, but given the economy, I really don't want a bunch of cds sitting around either. So click HERE to order from CD Baby.

TOM GARY BLUES BAND: Yesterday And Today

BTW, for Storm Lake and NW Iowa fans. We will have another CD release show coming up around the second or third week of November up at the old Mason's building. More info coming later, we are still on a holding pattern as we wait for harvest to be done. Up here in NW Iowa not only do I have band members in the field, but a lot of fans are out there as well! Thanks for keep America fed!

Delmart Records Update Happy Birthday Bob!!!!

A big happy birthday to Bob Koester founder of Delmark records, blues historian, and all around great guy!!

Today is Delmark's Bob Koester's 76th Birthday!! Bob has been in great spirits as of late, swimming everyday, and still working at Delmark and Jazz Record Mart 6 days a week- Truly an inspiration!
If you want to say hello, you can always call Bob at Delmark , 773 539 5001, or email him at (which might take him a while to respond!)

Big Band Swing on Delmark!

John Burnett Swing Orchestra Delmark CD Release Party - Best Big Swing Band in Chicago Area

Sunday, November 9, 2008 - at the famous FitzGerald's night club/roadhouse in lovely Berwyn, IL

Sunday, November 9 - 6 to 9:30 p.m.
as part of 90.9fm WDCB Public Radio's
"Sunday Big Band Jazz Party"

6615 Roosevelt Road, Berwyn
(708) 788-2118
$10 cover

John Burnett Orchestra's NEW CD on Delmark
"West of State Street/East of Harlem"
with special guest, trumpeter Randy Sandke and vocalist, the Fabuolous Frieda Lee!!!

The John Burnett Orchestra's new CD West of State Street/East of Harlem is here! This “all-star” band has recorded with and performed with such legendary jazz icons as Buddy DeFranco, Louie Bellson, Byron Stripling and more. John Burnett can also be heard weekday mornings on WDCB, 90.9FM, classic radio show, “All Things Jazz.”

"West of State Street/East of Harlem"

1. Flight of the Foo Birds
2. Groovin' Hard
3. How Sweet It Is
4. Randy Sandke Intro
5. Night In Tunisia
6. Anytime, Anyday, Anywhere
7. Struttin' With Some Barbecue
8. Ten Cents A Dance
9. One O'Clock Jump
10. Hello Dolly
11. Little Jazz Boogie
12. Witchcraft
13. How Long Has This Been Going On?
14. Sweet Georgia Brown
15. Begin The Beguine
16. April In Paris
17. Love For Sale

"West of State Street/East of Harlem"
with special guest, trumpeter Randy Sandke
released on Chicago's own Delmark Records

The John Burnett Orchestra
is directed by John Burnett. "West of State Street/East of Harlem" features special guest, trumpeter Randy Sandke, and includes such fine musicians as:

The Band
Vocals --The Fabulous Frieda Lee
Saxes --Bob Frankich, lead alto, Nick Mazarella, alto, Doug Stone, lead tenor, Anthony Bruno, tenor, Bruce Mack, baritone
Trumpets --Terry Connell, lead, Mike McGrath, Greg Duncan, Tony Pons
Trombones -- Bryant Scott, Adam Gross, Dana Legg, Bill Walsh, bass
Piano -- Mark Burnell
Guitar -- John Moran
Bass -- Paul Martin
Drums -- Bill Byan

The John Burnett Swing Orchestra specializes in all forties style big band swing - keeping alive the sounds of Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey, Benny Goodman, Count Basie and others. Each musician is highly professional and most have played with many of the top American big bands such as the Miller, Herman and Buddy Rich Bands. In addition to swing music the orchestra performs current big band jazz charts and many vocal ballads such as those of Frank Sinatra, Joe Williams, Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughn. Vocalist Frieda Lee has toured with the late great Joe Williams and Kevin Mahogany to name but a few. The orchestra, is directed by John Burnett; morning host of 90.9FM WDCB - Public Radio From College of DuPage - Chicago's leading jazz radio station. John hails from England and attended the Royal Academy of Music. The orchestra consists of five saxes, four trumpets, four trombones, piano, bass, drums and at least one vocalist. It is rapidly establishing the reputation of being one of the best bands in Chicago; grabbing the attention of both old and young alike. Typical venues where the orchestra has appeared include jazz festivals, The Jazz Showcase in Chicago, The Green Dolphin Jazz Club in Chicago, Fitzgerald's Night Club In Berwyn, the famous Willowbrook Ballroom in the western suburbs, and major hotels such as Chicago's world-renown Drake Hotel.

"As they said about Duke Ellington, John's band is his instrument, and he plays it with all the commitment and authority of the great bandleaders of the past.-" Randy Sandke
"They are helping to keep the big band swing alive and they are succeeding, too!" - Buddy DeFranco


New Reviews of 55 Years of Delmark Blues and Jazz

55 Years of Delmark Jazz
Various Artists

Review by Thom Jurek, All Music Guide

Delmark Records is more than an institution in the jazz and blues world. Founder and owner Bob Koester celebrated 55 years by issuing two collections of seminal blues and jazz recordings by artists across the spectrum of both genres. This double disc contains a CD with 17 cuts by legends and obscurities in jazz, including King Curtis, Sun Ra, Coleman Hawkins, Art Hodes, Curtis Fuller, Kalaparusha Maurice McIntyre, and Malachi Thompson. Some of the new cats include the Deep Blue Organ Trio, Ted Sirota, and Eric Alexander. Disc one is loaded with excellent and sometimes rousing performances. There is also a DVD in the package, with performances by Ari Brown, Fred Anderson, Ritual Trio, Chicago Underground Duo, and Nicole Mitchell. For the price, this set is literally unbeatable.

Rate Your Review by Jenell Kesler

Daddy O's and Kittens, don your best porkpie hat, and slip into your black ribbed turtle necked sweaters, it's time to do some serious celebrating. Those Hip Cats at Delmark Records are having a birthday ... yeah, the folks who've been bringing us the finest quarter notes and poly tonalities are now 55 years old. No jive ... for more than half a century my speakers have rumbled, sparked, floated, and brought my ears more pleasure than I dare even think about. And how have these purveyors of the Blues and Jazz chosen to celebrate? Why by doing something so cool for us, the fans, that you won't believe it.

Delmark's catalog is deep and expansive, yet these folks are just too hip to rest on their laurels, even out doing their 50th Anniversary collection by a mile ... and that one has traveled with me around the world and back. But here they've layered an ultra fine collection of unexpected tunes by artist with whom they've had a deep and satisfying relationship ... and dare I say that some of these beboppers where just finding their footing when Delmark made the scene.

The package is brilliant, a superb cover speaking the language of Jazz in illustration; and why they never released it as a poster commemorating this event is beyond me. There are two discs found here for your exploration: Disc One is a music selection with thirteen tracks to blow you away, and sweet enough to bring you right back for more, while Disc Two is a DVD, where you get to see the artists do it live. I've seen live material before, but this is more than I could have hoped for. Delmark has tried, and succeeded in making this a very personal experience, one you can relate to. It is evident that these folks not only bring you the music, but they are fans of the music first and foremost. The live performances are just what you would expect to see and hear had you been to the venue, focusing on the artists and their playing, their instruments, their mouth and hand movements ... all of this brings a very personal experience to the viewer.

Yves Francois opens the package, which was a treat form me, with the song "Lester Leaps In," not the track I would have expected as the lead, but then, that just shows you were their heads are at. Other artists include, King Curtis, Deep Blue Organ Trio, Sun Ra, Art Hodes, Eric Alexander, George Lewis, and a host of others who will knock your shoes off. Now bear with me, because the live material is even better: Nicole Mitchell rolls out a ten minute version of "The Creator Has Other Plans For Me," Ari Brown stunned me with "Richard's Tune" coming in with nearly fourteen minutes of unexpected pleasure, Jazz O' Maniacs lay out the shortest number, but unforgettable non the less, with "My Baby" timing in at three and a half minutes, Fred Anderson, The Ritual Trio, and The Chicago Underground Trio all come in with tracks that run with precision and grace, marvelously balanced, and skillfully executed in the sixteen minute range. Just disc two alone is worth more than you ever dreamed.

And those shoes that got knocked off while playing the first disc ... don't bother putting them back on, your socks are out the window at this point. Yeah, you're barefootin' it tonight

55 Years of Delmark Jazz (CD and DVD)

1 Lester Leaps In -Yves Francois 3:13
2 Goin' to Town -Deep Blue Organ Trio 7:41
3 Dynamite at Midnight -King Curtis 3:12
4 Saro-Wiwa - Ted Sirota's Rebel Souls 9:34
5 Equinox -Curtis Fuller 5:40
6 It's Crazy -Francine Griffin 4:11
7 Doctor Jazz -George Lewis 5:05
8 Black Metropolis -Malachi Thompson 9:12
9 In My Morning Song -Kalaparush 3:24
10 Mode for Mabes- Eric Alexander 8:41
11 Bu-De-Daht -Coleman Hawkins 3:12
12 Brainville -Sun Ra 4:12
13 Panama Rag -Art Hodes 4:01

1 The Creator Has Other Plans for Me [DVD] -Nicole Mitchell
2 Richard's Tune [DVD] -Ari Brown
3 My Baby [DVD] -Jazz O'Maniacs
4 Flashback [DVD] -Fred Anderson
5 Big M [DVD] Kahil El Zabar's Ritual Trio
6 Power [DVD excerpt]- Chicago Underground Trio

55 Years of Delmark Blues- New Reviews!

All Music Guide Review by Thom Jurek

Delmark Records is more than an institution in the jazz and blues world. Founder and owner Bob Koester celebrated 55 years by issuing two collections of seminal blues and jazz recordings by artists across the spectrum of both genres. This double disc contains a CD with 17 cuts by legends and obscurities in the blues field: the late Junior Wells, Magic Sam, Syl Johnson, Roosevelt Sykes, Sleepy John Estes, J.B. Hutto, and Jimmy Dawkins are a few of the legends this set features. Add to this a killer little DVD of performances and recording studio footage from the likes of Carey and Lurrie Bell (separately), Byther Smith, and Tail Dragger, among others, and you have a terrific package that's made all the more so by a killer price point. Review by Jenell Kesler

Oh man, here we go again! Now I know that my head has been seriously bent by the blues, but I've always fancied that my feet were firmly rooted in the Mississippi mud, and the air I breathed was straight from the South Side of Chicago. And all of that was proven true when this flaming hot set was passed to me under the table, like some sort of illegal package ... and let me assure you that Delmark's '55 Years Of Blues' is so tasty it should be illegal.

But that's not where the confusion lies. When I got home and popped open this package, the dilemma hit me like two tons of red bricks. Disc One is composed of music by artists with whom Delmark has had a long and passionate relationship. While Disc Two is a DVD comprised of ten tracks that are nothing short of "smoking," with many of the performances going down at some of the best blues clubs around. So now you can see my dilemma ... do I want to just listen, or do I want to watch? Of course I opted to watch, and was hands down sure that I'd made the right decision. But that was before I dropped in the first disc and tried to kick back with my feet on the coffee table, and just listen; which proved all but impossible, as the tunes took hold of my feet and set them to dancing the night away. I tell you true, I love compilation material, it rolls with a different set of rules, each track jumping and sparking better than the last. So here I am, holding this package again, trying to deside weather I should listen or watch ... and I have no doubt that this dilemma will haunt me for the rest of my days.

The DVD is bright and clear. A great deal of effort has been taken to feature the artists doing what they do best, without making it all feel staged and processed. The music disc draws deeply from the Delmark catalog, floating seventeen tracks that are sure to please you time and time again. I've been around long enough to know the music of all the artists featured here intimately, but even I was pleasantly surprised at the songs chosen from this outing. Junior Wells jumps in with an unexpected version of "Little By Little," Jimmy Burns laid me flat with an ultra fine rendition of "Country Boy In The City," John Estes blisters with boogie woogie and piano jive courtesy of Sunnyland Slim on "I Ain't Gonna Sell It," and not to take a back seat to anyone, Zora Young steps out and owns "Till The Fat Lady Sings." Other artists include: Detroit Jr., Big Joe Williams, Willie Kent, Jimmy Dawkins, Magic Sam, Lurrie Bell, and a host of others who are not to be missed, or taken lightly.

There is not one single track that I would replace or skip when playing. '55 Years Of Blues' is a stunning release by Delmark Records [where, if they don't have it, you don't need it] who have devoted their lives to preserving and nurturing the blues.

Happy Anniversary my friends!!!

55 Years of Delmark Blues (CD and DVD)
Various Artists

1 Little by Little - Junior Wells 4:28
2 I Ain't Gonna Sell It - Sleepy John Estes 3:13
3 Call My Job -Detroit Jr. 4:27
4 Evening Train- J.B. Hutto 2:46
5 Suffering Mind -Barkin' Bill 3:55
6 Coffeehouse Blues -Big Joe Williams 3:25
7 Keep on Loving Me- Syl Johnson 4:44
8 Do You Love Me? -Willie Kent 4:47
9 Baby What You Want Me to Do -Bonnie Lee 4:21
10 Blue Mood -Floyd McDaniel 2:51
11 Fine & Brown [alternate take]- Roosevelt Sykes 2:58
12 I'll Be Your Mule -Steve Freund 4:26
13 Please Love Me -Otis Rush 3:39
14 The Right String But the Wrong Yo-Yo- Speckled Red 2:28
15 Feel So Bad -Jimmy Dawkins 7:37
16 Not for the Love of You -Shirley Johnson 3:07
17 I Don't Want No Woman- Magic Sam 3:02

18 Tend to Your Business [DVD] -Tail Dragger
19 Country Boy in the City [DVD] -Jimmy Burns
20 Baby Please Don't Go [DVD] -Lurrie Bell
21 Broke and Hungry [DVD] -Carey Bell
22 Judge of Honor [DVD] -Byther Smith
23 In Too Deep [DVD]- Dave Specter
24 Leaving Mississippi [DVD]- Little Arthur Duncan
25 Cool Twist [DVD] -Mississippi Heat
26 'Til the Fat Lady Sings [DVD] -Zora Young
27 My Head Is Bald [DVD] -Tail Dragger


New Sleepy John Estes Review, On 80 Highway - Featuring Previously unreleased 1974 recordings with the vastly underrated Hammie Nixon on harp, additional vocals, and Kazoo!


Men aren't the only cats who dig the blues, and Sleepy John gave women something to hang their hats on as well, though if you ask me what exactly that is ... I'm gonna shrug my shoulders, and just beg you to believe me.

There are alot of folks [self professed blues aficionados] out there who are going to try and tell you that 'On 80 Highway' John Estes doesn't produce with the emotional aspects and power found on his earlier albums ... but that could hardly be further from the truth. See, it's important to look at music with both your eyes and your ears, and here John has definitely captured a moment in time. That moment was 1974, just three short years before his death in 1977; the same year that Elvis Presley took his leave. What is important here is that Estes has taken a step back and forward at the same time, establishing an impeccable line between traditional songs, and how this music gets reworked and reinvented.

Listen, there's no way I'm gonna try and convince you that John Estes is a top flight blues guitar player ... what I am going to tell you is that John Estes is a real blues guitar player. This is a guy who sounded old when he was a youngster. With a wave of his hand [this bluesman, who had been lost and rediscovered, yet never really leaving Brownsville, and blind at the time of this recording] dismissed the technical shortcomings you may hear. 'Cryin' the Blues' is a term that gets tossed around with too much ease, but not with John Estes, who's playing is at times rough, and with the occasional bum chord, actually does cry the blues. But like a fine piece of furniture, complete with the knots and distresses, these aspects only go to make the music all the more real.

Now, Estes' shaky voice is weathered and worn, like comfortable sheets smoothed by years of use, and his emotional vocalizing does not need to be counter balanced in any manner. But Hammie Nixon, a long time friend and sidekick of John, provides exciting textures to the songs. His kazoo and harmonica work ranges from manic to reserved and subtle ... acting almost as a shadow for Sleepy John.

The stunning Delmark Record Label [where, if they don't have it, you don't need it] released this gem, which sounds both historical and fresh under their hand; bringing us seventeen previously unreleased tracks, that provide one of those precious hours that makes life worth while.


Check out the new Living Blues with a wonderful tribute article by Justin O'Brien to the late Little Arthur Duncan

2008 Living Blues Awards - Delmark Winners

The 2008 Living Blues Magazine Award Winners are In!

Delmark Artist Winners!

Lurrie Bell - Blues Artist of the Year (Critics and Readers' Poll)
Most Outstanding Musician (Guitar)

Bob Stroger - Most Outstanding Musician (Bass)

Kenny Smith (and WIllie Big Eyes Smith!) - Most Outstanding Musician (Drums) - Tie!

Robert Lockwood, Jr - Steady Rollin' Man - Historical Reissue of Year


- traditional Chicago Blues and Jazz with A FEELING!!

Look for more Delmark on vinyl early next year, including new releases and reissues!

Check out the Delmark MySpace page with photos, DVD trailers, and blogs!


GO OBAMA!!!!!!!

Kevin Johnson, Delmark promotions director
773 539 5001

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Amos Milburn: Chicken Shack

Here is a rare clip of the great Amos Milburn. Amos was a great boogie piano player that has never gotten the attention of a lot of the pioneers of 50s Rhythm and Blues. Thanks to the internet we can enjoy him again!

Mud Morganfield: Walking Through The Park

Muddy Waters oldest son Mud Morganfield performing in England. Great clip!

Tyrone Davis: Can I Change My Mind

Tyrone Davis's and one of his best known soul tunes. Excellent song! Please give it a listen!

Illinois Blues Blast

All news BLUES in the US!

FREE Blues Internet Magazine


October 29, 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,

It was a busy week for Blues shows!

First, we made it to the The Deep Blue Innovators Blues Festival last Saturday in Monmouth, IL to hear Lurrie Bell, Matthew Skoller Band, Charlie Hayes and Michelle Malone. (See festival review below)

To see pictures of all the fun, CLICK HERE.

(Be sure to catch Lurrie Bell at the Blues Blast Music Awards show this Sunday. Details Below or CLICK HERE)

On Sunday we made it to Pekin, IL for the River City Blues Society's Fall Festival Fundraiser. The show featured the Kilborn Alley Blues Band and Russell Miller and 6V6. Kilborn had a fill in player for harp man Joe Asselin. Deak Harp did a great job filling in and the band was spot on for this benefit show. (Be sure to catch Kilborn Alley at the Blues Blast Music Awards show this Sunday. Details Below or CLICK HERE)

Last but not least we made it to the Blue Monday show in Springfield, IL to hear Gina Sicilia. This was our first time to catch Gina live. Won't be our last time! We were really impressed!

Gina has a new CD called Hey Sugar. (See review HERE). Her guitar player Dave Gross is a real talent as evidenced by the Luther Allison song "Cherry Red Wine". He was smoking on that number. Luther would have been proud. (Be sure to catch Gina Sicilia and Dave Gross at the Blues Blast Music Awards show this Sunday. Details Below or CLICK HERE )

Blues Blast Music Awards this weekend in Chicago

It was amazing that every show we went to last week had at least one of the artists performing at the Blues Blast Music Awards show this Sunday at Buddy Guy's Legends in Chicago.

The winners you voted for will be announced there so don't miss all the fun and performances by Magic Slim & the Teardrops, Lurrie Bell, Nick Moss & Gerry Hundt, John Nemeth, The Kilborn Alley Blues Band, Dave Riley & Bob Corritore, Eden Brent, Sugar Ray Norcia, Teeny Tucker, Tim "Too Slim" Langford (from Too Slim and the Taildraggers), and Gina Sicilia with Dave Gross.

Why not join us? Tickets are still available. Most of the gang from the Blues Blast will be there including James Walker, Tom Schlesinger, John McCormick, Mike O'Cull, Bob Kieser and Lordy. So come on down and say Hello!

For tickets and complete discount hotel details CLICK HERE

Blues Reviews and MORE!

SIX REVIEWS THIS WEEK!!! James Walker reviews a new CD from Dorothy "Miss Blues" Ellis which he says made his top 20 for the year. Bob Kieser reviews the Saturday show at the Monmouth Blues Festival. Tom "THE ENERGIZER" Schlesinger reviews the new Jimmy Thackery CD. Gary Weeks reviews a new CD from Rory Block. John McCormick reviews the new CD by Jimmy Sweetwater and Mike O'Cull reviews a CD by Scottyboy Daniel Blues Band. All this and MORE! SCROLL DOWN!!!

Blues Blast Music Awards Show

Sunday, November 2, 2008
Buddy Guy's Legends
Chicago, IL.

Tickets are only $25. For tickets and complete information CLICK HERE

Don't miss performances by Magic Slim & the Teardrops, Lurrie Bell, Nick Moss & Gerry Hundt, John Nemeth, The Kilborn Alley Blues Band, Dave Riley & Bob Corritore, Eden Brent, Sugar Ray Norcia, Teeny Tucker, Tim "Too Slim" Langford (from Too Slim and the Taildraggers), and Gina Sicilia and Dave Gross.

The show starts at 7:00pm and doors open at 6:00pm

CLICK HERE for Discount Hotel information

Visit the Blues Blast Music Awards Myspace page for more info at

Blues Society News

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

Please submit a maximum of 125 words in a Text or Word format ONLY. Press releases not formatted

Mississippi Valley Blues Society - Davenport, IA

Eddy “The Chief” Clearwater will play a fundraiser for the Mississippi Valley Blues Society on Friday, Nov. 7, at the Redstone Room in Davenport. The night will also include a silent auction of blues memorabilia including framed photos. Doors open at 6 p.m., with Ellis Kell and “Detroit” Larry Davison playing from 6:30-7:30. The first of Eddy Clearwater’s two sets begins at 8:00 p.m. Admission is $20.00, which includes hor d’oevres as long as they last. For Info contact Bob Covemaker 309-373-1181 or Karen McFarland 563-508-6596

Chicago Blues & Bluegrass Festival - Chicago, IL

The Chicago Vlues & Bluegrass Festival on November 22nd, 2008 is a one-day festival hosted by the Congress Theatre. It features 12 hours, 16 bands, for only $31 to help eradicate congenital heart defects in children. A portion of the event’s proceeds will contribute to the research efforts of the Chicago-based Saving Tiny Hearts Foundation. The lineup includes: Lil Ed & the Blues Imperials, David Grisman, The Avett Brothers and many more. Check out for more info.

Illinois Central Blues Club - Springfield, IL

The Illinois Central Blues Club Solo/Duo Challenge will be held at The Alamo on Saturday, October 25, 2008, from 6pm - 10pm.

Blue Mondays- Held at the Alamo 115 N 5th St, Springfield, IL (217) 523-1455 every Monday 8:30pm $2 cover - November 3 - Frank Herrin and Blues Power, November 10 - Delta Highway, November 17 - Chris Bell and 100% Blues Power, November 24 - Russell Miller and 6V6, December 1 - Nick Moss and the Flip Tops, December 8 - The Workers (Watermelon Slim's Band) with special Guest Bill Lupkin, December 15 - Studebaker John, December 22 - Scottie Miller and the Uptake Inhibitors, December 29 - Sally Weisenburg and the Famous Sidemen

The 25th International Blues Challenge

February 4-7, 2009 in Memphis, TN

Advance tickets, host hotel information, merchandise and preliminary event schedule are available at

Featured Blues Review (1 of 5)

Miss Blues - Bad Prospects

Skinner Audio

9 songs; 39:05 minutes; Library Quality

Styles: Straight Blues, Female vocal

Imagine discovering Muddy Waters. Actually, at some point, we all did. That is how I feel about being introduced to Dorothy Ellis, known as “Miss Blues.” She is currently well known regionally in Oklahoma as a singer, songwriter, and author, but right from the first listen to her third CD, it is clear that here is an artist with depth and special talent. The first time you heard Muddy Waters, didn’t you just feel it and know it? Same here!

The album liner notes provide no bio information, but her websites reveal that Miss Blues had been performing for around 60 years before she released her first recording. Liner notes are also usually full of hyperbole to be taken with a grain of salt. Not this time, take this as the gospel truth: “Miss Blues is a traditional blues artist you must get to know.” For purists, here is a gold mine of a find! By the way, she was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in 2004.The liner notes continue, “She is rapidly becoming known by blues [fans] the world over, and for good reason. She is the real deal all the way to the bottom of her soul. Her vocals are spellbinding, and with her heart-wrenching delivery of each song, she paints a tapestry that takes the listener on a journey through the pain and suffering that has been the first-hand story of her life.” From a Carl Gustafson interview, Ellis is quoted, “I developed a primal scream crying out for, and to, all my sisters, who sometimes suffer in silence with no-good men folk….”The album, with nine songs of which seven are written by Miss Blues, is further made a winning standout release by her crack band, The Blue Notes. Robb Hibbard deftly plays most lead guitar, Chris Henson plays some rhythm guitar and lead on the great, jazzy instrumental track he wrote, “Midnight Cry.” Don Skinner co-produced, wrote and sings “It’s Gonna Rain,” and plays bass on all tracks. Joe Skinner is the other co-producer who also drums on several cuts, trading off with Mike Hardwick. Mark Lyon – rhythm guitar, Ron Harmon along with T.Z. Wright - keyboards, Robert Riggs - harmonica, Frank Zona – Saxophone, and Jim Johnson – rhythm guitar on one track – round out the studio crew.

“Blood Running Cold” opens the set with an instantly likeable full band sound. Then, the voice seals the deal! “...she gives you something you actually need, an honest voice in a distorted world.... expressing the pain and feeling of those who suffered,” writes Gustafson. In this song about a relationship going wrong, you realize, visualize and actualize that this woman has lived the blues.

“Billie’s Blues” comes next, a slow, moody blues with Robb Hibbard showcasing his fret board talents. Similarly, track three, the title track, is a slow number about poverty and struggle.

“Rub Board Boogie” with Miss Blues as a rub board expert has Joe Skinner on the accompanying organ instrumental. Too bad it is only one minute and forty nine seconds long.

Love turns to hate in another Ellis original “Trapped (in a bad situation).” This may be the best cut, but it is really hard to like one more than the others – that is how good this CD is!

“Bad Prospects” is a title that reflects the mood of the lyrics, but “Abnormally Great Prospects” would be the apropos phrase for chances of finding a real, deep-blues CD! Simply, do not miss this one!

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.

David Honeyboy Edwards

Roamin' and Ramblin'

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

CLICK HERE to purchases Now!

To read the Blues Blast CD review - CLICK HERE

Live Blues Review

The Deep Blue Innovators Blues Festival , Monmouth, IL

Saturday, October 25, 2008

By Bob Kieser

To see ALL the pics of the Saturday performers CLICK HERE

So maybe you thought the festival season was over. No way! We made it to the The Deep Blue Innovators Blues Festival last Saturday in Monmouth, IL to hear Lurrie Bell, Matthew Skoller Band, Charlie Hayes and Michelle Malone. They all put on a great show.

Galesburg, IL guitarist Charlie Hayes was joined by harp player Joel Fleming to open the show. It was the first time we heard Joel and this guy played some really sweet sounding harp. Check him out if you get the chance.

Next up was Chicago harmonica sensation Matthew Skoller. We haven't seen Matthew for more than 10 years and it was great to experience his fine harp playing again. He had a very tight band of Chicago music pros that left the crowd yelling for more.

Following Matthew the show featured "Moanin" Michelle Malone from Atlanta, GA. Never heard of her before but we are definitely in the big fan column now. Michelle does it all, she plays great acoustic and electric Blues guitar, she handles the business end of a slide like Bonnie Raitt, sings as well as Cheryl Crow, writes great songs and even broke out the harmonica for a song or two. WOW!

We asked fest promoter Paul Schuytema where he found her and he said he heard Michelle on the House of Blues radio hour and decided to book her. GOOD call Paul!

After Michelle we were ready for the main act, Blues icon Lurrie Bell. Fresh off his win as "Blues Artist of the Year" in Living Blues readers poll, Lurrie came ready to put the Blues hammer down. He had a great band that included a great Chicago rhythm section.

Our hats off to Paul Schuytema and company for putting on a great event. We hope to see this event back next year so stay tuned and make sure you don't miss it next time!

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.

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!

Featured Blues Review (2 of 5)

Jimmy Thackery and the Drivers - Inside Tracks

Telarc Blues

What is Blues? Is it just 12 bar slow, down and dirty Blues? Is it only Robert Johnson's 29 recordings done over and over? I got into a deep discussion back in 1997 on The 6th Ultimate Blues Cruise (Before The “Legendary Blues Cruise”) not once, but twice about the subject. Once was while listening to Jimmy Thackery perform.

Thackery went from his normal recorded songs to “Hey Joe” (Jimi Hendrix style) then went into “The Star Spangled Banner,” note for note like Hendrix. I was really digging it, when my friend said, "That ain’t Blues" and left this fantastic guitar slinger to go listen to another band on the ship. Jimmy then did my favorite, “Red House Blues,” and knocked me out! That, my friend totally missed. Later, I got into a heated discussion with a lady from Chicago, who had never heard Hendrix doing Blues, and she said he had never done blues and couldn't.

Doesn't an artist have the right to do anything they want - to write and sing what they feel? Well, Jimmy Thackery has been tagged a “Bluesman” or at least been thrown into the blues genre ever since he played with the Nighthawks back in the 70's and 80's.

Jimmy Thackery and the drivers, new release, called “Inside Tracks,” is a very well done CD. It is almost all new material and written by Jimmy, with the exception of “Promised Land,” by Chuck Berry. The first cut “All because of You,” sounds like it should be played in a country Honky Tonk bar. It has very good lyrics and guitar (of course) coming from one of the Masters of the Stratocaster, but it sure doesn't sound like Blues to me.

Next is “Blinking of an Eye.” It’s a fantastic, slow and sad ballad about life and love and how fast it goes by. It’s about how we all take it for granted and think we have more time to say or show someone something until it is too late. Very good lyrics again, and vocals, though I thought that Jimmy brought in Travis Tritt to sing this one. I had never heard this country voice that comes out of Thackery before.

My personal favorite, track 8, is “That Dog Won't Hunt.” Again great lyrics said very cleverly done about a cheating woman with another man.

I think this CD is put together very well. It shows how good of a writer Jimmy is. Excellent guitar skills are shown here, although I kept hearing Mark Knofler from Dire Straits and Chet Atkins in there. But, I mean that as a compliment because that is how good of a guitar God this guy is. If you haven't heard him live "shame on you," you should. He puts on one heck of a live show!

But, back to my original question of “what is Blues?” I have heard and seen a lot of blues from this talented guitar slinger many a time before, but in my opinion there is none on this CD. But don't let that stop you from buying a great CD by this great guitar player!

Tom "THE ENERGIZER" Schlesinger is a long time Blues lover and fan, and is a veteran to many Blues Fest in the Midwest and Florida. He is also a veteran to The Ultimate Blues Cruise and The Legendary Blues Cruise through the Caribbean and a founding member of The Friends of The Blues.

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Featured Blues Review (3 of 5)

Rory Block - Blues Walkin Like A Man

Stony Plain Records

As she did on her last release The Lady and Mr. Johnson, Rory Block continues to embrace country blues traditions. Her latest outing Blues Walkin Like A Man celebrates the music of Son House who was just as important as Robert Johnson.

Meeting Son House in 1965 when she was just fifteen had a profound effect. Even Son House himself was astounded that a teenage girl could play a Willie Brown song with great assurance. It just didnt seem possible.

Cutting an entire cd of Son House songs is an undaunting risk. Rory manages to pull it off without losing the authenticity of these blues classics. Songs that are cloaked in the mystery of jukejoints, empty whiskey bottles and the hobo jungles of locomotive trains.

Vocal overdubbing is sparse. When it does appear on "I Want To Go Home On The Morning Train" and "Dry Spell Blues," the feeling is of being in a Baptist church then a recording studio. Block's slide playing is a toxic rhythm oil giving "Preachin Blues" its salvatory splendor. "My Black Mama" is a graveyard mojo of Block standing at the crossroads wearing a long black veil.

Rory can sing gospel with the best of them. "Grinnin In Your Face" is a haunting accapella. "Death Letter" is sinister in spirit with Block's aggressive acoustic attack.

If you are looking for a time portal to go back into the era of levee camps and field hollers, where true acoustic blues predated electricity, Rory Block can take you there. It can only enrich your life.

Review by Gary Weeks

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Featured Blues Review (4 of 5)

Jimmy Sweetwater - Jimmy Sweetwater

It’s hard to object to an album like this six-song EP from San Francisco blues harp mainstay Jimmy Sweetwater. A study in essence, its bare-bones production and simplicity of composition is almost punk-like in its economy. The only things you’ll hear on this album are Jimmy’s voice, Jimmy’s harp, pal Craig Ventresco’s guitar, and the fuzz of a four-track recorder. In an age of Pro Tools, these six songs are a welcome change of pace.

On such a traditional blues record, it’s difficult to talk about the merits of specific musical aspects. The guitar work is more than competent, Sweetwater’s harp is on fire, and his voice has a surprisingly emotive range. But this really only describes half of the album’s allure. Over the course of six covers, Jimmy Sweetwater gives us a living artifact, a testament to where the blues came from, and concurrently, a commentary on where the blues have gone.

A contention that can justifiably be raised is that Sweetwater offers nothing that we haven’t heard before. His choices in songs are excellent, but it doesn’t change the fact that this album’s foremost concern is the cultivation of a previously existing sound. Still, it feels unnecessary to point this out, and even more unnecessary to fault Sweetwater for his archival nature. Unlike some artists who seek to bring the blues back to the Delta, Sweetwater’s attempts are heartfelt and honest. This may be a history lesson, but it’s a living history lesson.

The only true fault of the album lies in its production, which is uneven from track to track. Half of the tracks are gritty and unpolished, while the others sound inexplicably clean. Even on a single song, the production varies from track to track. For example, on “I’m Gonna Move to the Outskirts of Town,” both the harmonica and guitar have a muted, “home recording” feeling to them, while the vocals are impeccably clean. It would have been preferable to retain the “home recording” sound on the entirety of the album, as the songs produced in this manner have a grit to them that makes the reminiscent nature of the album all the more potent.

Regardless of this small snafu, Jimmy Sweetwater’s self titled EP will please most any blues fan. He may be playing songs you’ve heard, but you haven’t heard them this way in a long time. Highly recommended.

Reviewed by John McCormick

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Featured Blues Review (5 of 5)

Scottyboy Daniel Blues Band - Flip The Switch

Soundgate Productions

Scottyboy Daniel and his blues band play real, ensemble-style West Coast and Chicago blues with the kind of drive, feel, and authenticity that can only come from a labor of love. The band is based in the Kansas City, MO area and seems to be one of the big dogs in its region, making the finals in the 2008 KC Blues Challenge. One listen to Flip The Switch, their latest CD release, and it is easy to see why Scottyboy and friends are able to draw a crowd.

Daniel blows a harp that is not only mean, but is swinging and mellow as well, with one of the best recorded tones heard in recent years. He gets the tone that most harp guys seek and fall short of and then couples that with an economical, melodic soloing style that lights up the room. The rest of the group (guitarist Dave Hays, bassist Matt Browning, and drummer Ghan Bunyarattaphant) is equally good and function together as a rhythm section with a pocket that won’t quit. Guitarist Hays is a great foil for Daniel’s harp and displays a real knack for this type of blues, never going over into excess and always keeping it real.

The band doesn’t break any new ground as far as the tunes on the album, and, honestly, it doesn’t really matter. These guys are clearly devotees of the old ways and have studied them well. What makes an impact upon first listening is the sense of discipline within the band and how they keep the lid on the pressure cooker, so to speak; they never boil over and turn into blues/rock, but are always listening to and supporting each other.

“Flip The Switch”, “K Street Stomp”, and “Cried Last Night” are all winners, but there are no real dead spots here. Flip The Switch is a good effort from a group that should be a pleasure to watch develop. .

Review by Mike O'Cull

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