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January 8, 2009
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News, photos, reviews, live Blues links & MUCH MORE in this issue! - Scroll or Page Down!
Hey Blues Fans,
There is a renewed interest in Chess Records. Chess was the holy grail of Blues record labels. They recorded some of the biggest Blues legends like Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Bo Diddly, Willie Dixon, Jimmy Rodgers, Little Walter and Etta James.
Interest in Chess Records has been spurred on by the recent release of the movie Cadillac Records which loosely portrays the story of Chess Records.
Our good friend Arnie Goodman is a well known music photographer and runs the website Blue Storm Music. Arnie is also a music collector and you can browse his website to buy some great Blues music both new and vintage!
Arnie sent us a great set of photos of some of the great vintage Chess album covers from his collection. They are on his SmugMug site. CLICK HERE to check them out.
While you are there check out some of his other great photo galleries by clicking on the Blues Music link on the top left of the page. Arnie has some great photos of about any big music star you can think of.
Thanks for sharing Arnie!
This week we made it out to the Wednesday Blues series put on by the River City Blues Society in Pekin, IL. Their series this week featured Studebaker John. Quite a show! John played guitar and slide like the devil and had the room in the palm of his hand. Then he switched to the harp blowing like he had 4 lungs. Kenny on drums was really a standout. Their series continues next week with the Scott Holt band.
Blues Reviews and MORE!
Blues Review this week - James Walker reviews a new CD from Stan “the Man” Hedges. This week we welcome a new Blues Blast reviewer, Belinda Foster who reviews a new CD by Brad Vickers & His Vestapolitans. Also this week our Blues link of the week returns and and we have a classic video by Eric Clapton and the Who. All this and MORE! SCROLL DOWN!!!
Blues Link of the Week
We have often mention the great Blue Monday series of the Illinois Central Blues Club in Springfield Illinois. In fact it is our favorite Monday hangout where this Blues society has been bring in national and regional Blues performers every Monday for the last 23 years!! WOW! (Stay tuned for the 23rd anniversary bash coming later this year)
Famous Monday Blues is a website on the other side of the "pond" in Oxford, England. Philip Guy-Davis has been bringing England's Blues fans a Monday night Blues series since 1984! Their website is about their Blues series. They also have a great Links page that includes links to many of Europe's best Blues websites and many others. (Including IllinoisBlues.com). Be sure to check out their links page!
Tell them the Blues Blast sent ya!
For more Blues links, CLICK HERE to visit the IllinoisBlues.com Links Page
Featured Blues Review 1 of 2
Stan “the Man” Hedges - Two Mule Parade
12 songs; 54:18; Suggested
Style: Delta Blues, Gospel, Americana, Roots music
So much blues; so little time! I’ll be the first to admit that I did not encounter all the great CDs of 2008. I did log in at over 125 album encounters, but when I was handed this album in late December, I discovered I had missed out on a great debut CD by a man who once turned down Buddy Guy himself with an offer to come to Chicago to “put him to work.”
Simply, this CD should deeply move people searching for something different, satisfying and real. The project is an eclectic work of provocative art mixing New Orleans grooves and Kansas City shuffles with “Fat Back” rockers, gritty storytelling, stellar acoustic and electric guitar work, and wonderful additions of harmonica, keyboards, and background vocals.
“Two Mule Parade” is longtime Tennessee Blues Guitar-Slinger Stan “The Man” Hedges’ first solo project. For Hedges, now 51, it’s been a long time coming, but with these 11 original songs and one cover, it’s payday for listeners. Having drawn many accolades over the years for his guitar work, Hedges is shown here to be a complete package, Singer/Songwriter, Storyteller/Guitarist who has paid his dues and developed a captivating style.
Hedges’ intriguing lyrical art is consistently found creating rich characters and providing eye-opening social commentary. It starts in the first track, “Angola Cowboy” with the story of a misunderstood ex-con who is struggling in the outside world. Musically, the blues open strong with “Chicago” Charlie Fink’s harmonica over both piano and drumming by Shannon Wickline.
At 12 seconds in, we hear Hedges’ deep, laidback baritone/bass vocals comparable to JJ Cale, Dr. John, and, on some numbers, Tom Waits. Miranda Louise accents Hedges’ singing with her higher register background vocals. What a great mix!
Hedges’ killer slide guitar work opens “I Can Hear the Delta,” a picturesque longing for that rich musical culture. “A lot has changed, but it’s still the same....I hope the Delta heritage don’t go down in flames/Cause I can still hear the Delta calling my name,” he sings.
The grooving minor-blues “Won’t stand the Light of Day” is a chilling and scathing attack on racism-past and present. Some great chromatic harp from “Chicago” Charlie Fink accents the overall effect of lyrics about the race issue like, “I don’t know where it’s going, but I can see where we been.... [If you are] Denying segregation [in 2008] just take a look around / Who lives next to you...?”
The title track is a weirdly nostalgic acoustic-swamp-jazz narrative like a shot of Tennessee sour mash whiskey – smooth, but with a burn. Literature teachers could easily pop-quiz or final exam their students for interpretation of these poetic and accessible, yet challenging lyrics.
Hedges has a sly sense of humor shown in the Jump Blues “Snappin’ Turtle Blues,” and “Butter Yo’ Biscuits” is Delta Blues-with-a-smile in this resonator slide number.
The closing instrumental “Kentucky Skin Tag Salad” is a grooving head-cutting contest where Stan on guitar and keyboardist Shannon Wickline absolutely tear it up.
Reportedly, every single song on the CD has received "Airplay in Rotation." The album has appealed to listeners, Radio programmers and DJ's around the world. That is a tremendous testimonial. I just added it to my final “best of” list for 2008!
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.
Saturday, January 17th, 2009
Visit 9 of Chicago’s famous Blues clubs featuring 12 live blues bands!
For more Info CLICK HERE
Blues Video of the Week
(From the Rock Opera Tommy)
This week we offer a very interesting video. While this is not really a "Blues" video it is still interesting and historically significant. The video is from the 1970's movie version of the rock opera Tommy. It is a song called Eyesight to the Blind and the guitar and vocals are handled by Eric Clapton himself. In this clip Tommy's parents take him to a church where Marilyn Monroe is worshiped in hopes of curing his blindness. The set is lavish and very campy! They don't make this kind of movie anymore! CLICK HERE to check it out.
Check out other great Blues Videos Click HERE
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Blues Music Reviewers wanted
Blues Blast Magazine is looking for reviewers to review new Blues CD's and live music shows. If you have a background and experience with Blues music and like to write we can provide new CD's for you to review. Must be willing to write a minimum of one to three reviews a month. Reviewer keeps the CD's for writing the review. If interested please send a sample of your writing and a short bio of your Blues background to email@example.com
The River City Blues Society presents
Wednesday Blues featuring
Scott Holt Band
January 14, 2009 - 7:00pm
The Dragons Dome
To see Map- CLICK HERE
Admission $3 or free with new Society membership
Featured Blues Review 2 of 2
Brad Vickers & His VESTAPOLITANS - ‘Le Blues Hot’
20 songs; 69 minutes 43 secs; Meritable
Styles: Down Home Blues, Rag-Time, Skiffle, Hokum, jazz-blues with slide guitar, electric and upright bass, fiddle, clarinet, tenor sax and percussion
If you’re looking for something a little different than what you might typically have in your blues collection, ‘Le Blues Hot’ would be a good consideration. It’s a skillful delivery of the many forms of American roots music, all the while giving you an enjoyable education in music ethnocology. Eleven of the 20 tracks are originals.
The line up includes Brad Vickers on guitar and vocals; Margey Peters on electric bass, fiddle, percussion & vocals; Jim Davis on clarinet & tenor sax; Barry Harrison on drums and percussion; and special guest Dave Gross on guitar & upright bass; VD King provides percussion on the final track.
Brad has recorded with some of the best in the industry, like Pinetop Perkins, Hubert Sumlin; and sax/clarinet player Jim Davis brings his veteran connections through Hubert, Paul Oscher while drummer Barry is known for his work with Johnny & Shemekia Copeland. The entire list of credits is quite lengthy and impressive, so be sure to study the CD jacket!
Each track of ‘Le Blues Hot’ ties in together as the musicians showcase their personal zones with playful doses of everything from original old-timey blues, swing, jazz, ragtime, skiffle and hokum. Skiffle and Hokum? Here’s a little enlightenment:
Skiffle is a type of folk music with jazz, blues and country influences, usually using homemade instruments like a washboard or kazoo, for example. It’s similar to jug band music, first popular in the U.S. in the early 1900’s in New Orleans and represented here in Tracks #1, #6, and #7 “Freight Car”, “Where Can My Baby Be” and “Hesitation Blues”. Hokum, by the way, is a song type that uses analogies or euphemisms to make sexual innuendos. It goes back to early blues recordings, like Dinah Washington’s Long John Blues…
I’m a little surprised there are so many tracks here, 20, so it could be challenging to find the time to get through them all in one listen. But if you can’t, then just work your way through them over time; your favorites will definitely start to emerge.
My track highlights include #2 “Baby Please Don’t Go” which delivers that familiar Delta blues style with rustic but sufficiently appropriate fiddle work by Margery Peters. The fiddle scratches out the words “Baby Please Don’t Go” with Brad’s guitar answering back. Dave Gross on upright bass contributes his share of the Delta spirit. This is a very nice rendition with just enough hint of slide.
#3 is “Dogs Don’t Sing”--Brad carries the tune in this traditional song and story with just enough credibility to make you believe he’s really got the blues so bad because, “…I’ve been your dog baby since I’ve been your man.”
#4 is “I Don’t Want To” with Brad and Margery--I don’t what it is about these two folks when Margery brings in the harmony to Brad’s vocals, but it works. I get these visions of an old timey couple participating at a neighborhood hoedown, just for kicks-- unpretentious, keeping it real, making it credible.
My favorite out of all 20 tracks is #10 “Our Real Good Thing”—grab your favorite adult beverage then sit back and listen to the words in this playful cute song. You’ll be able to sing along the first time without even knowing the words because it’s simple yet cleverly written. Brad and Margery, again on vocals, somehow make it work…this one will put a big ole smile on your face!
I enjoyed the band’s personal interpretation of the familiar standard #11 “On the Sunny Side of the Street”. With Track #14 “Hands Off”, Margery’s solo with her unique voice and style just goes to prove you don’t have to be a Whitney, Celine or Mariah to get your point and story across as an entertainer.
Another personal favorite is #16, “Gonna Quit You”. There’s great lyrics by Brad, like ‘haven’t been to college but I sure been to school…I’m wise as a hoot owl, don’t treat me like no mule, I gotta quit ya baby before I be your fool’…Margey harmonizes just enough to add delightful layers to an already catchy song…”you can lead me like a horse and feed me like a hog’ gotta quit ya before I be your dog’.
Track #18 is “Mississippi Shadows”, where the violin themed start reminded me of the Jaws theme but then quickly took me to a Clarksdale Juke Joint with the local musicians and characters we all love there (although, I can say I’ve never heard or seen a clarinet in a Clarksdale juke joint, but it works here).
If it’s a slick high tech studio production and recording you’re looking for, this may not be the CD for you. However, if you’re into the house band sound and styles of bluesy jazz and skiffle root music, then be sure to pick this one up for your collection.
Belinda Foster is a Columnist and Contributing Writer for Greenville SC Magazine “Industry Mag” and former manager of Mac Arnold & Plate Full O’Blues. She currently books blues-rock-jam musicians and is a devoted promoter and support of live blues root music and history. Her column “The Upstate Blues Report can be found on line at www.industrymag.net
For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.
Blues Society News
Please submit a maximum of 175 or words or less in a Text or Word format ONLY.
River City Blues Society- Peoria, IL
The River City Blues Society's Wednesday Blues Series in Central, Illinois are early shows each Wednesday at 7:00pm, featuring the best traveling regional and National Blues musicians. The shows will feature a budget priced cover charge of $3.
For the month of January all shows will be held at the Dragons Dome at 3401 Griffin Ave in Pekin, IL. This location is just 3 blocks from the previous location at the Captains Wheel. The Captains Wheel is closing for remodeling on December 21st and will open under new management in January.
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 - Jan 12 - Tombstone Bullet, Jan 19 - Groove Daddies, Jan 26 - Juke Joint Duo / Cedric Burnside and Lightnin Malcolm, Feb 2 - Big Jeff Chapman, Feb 9 - Jim Suhler, Feb 15 - Shawn Kellerman, Feb 23 - Deak Harp
Phoenix Blues Society - Phoenix, AZ
The Blues Blast 2009 will be held on Saturday, February 21st, 2009 at the Mesa Amphitheatre. The 20th anniversary of this Blues festival sponsored by the Phoenix Blues Society will start at 11:00 AM. Headlining the show is Janiva Magness. Other artists appearing at Blues Blast are: Omar & the Howlers, The Juke Joint Duo of Cedric Burnside & Lightnin' Malcolm, The Mikel - Meridith Band, Kathy Mabry, Kevin Casenhiser and a special Phoenix Blues Artist Showcase and Retrospective featuring many of the Valley's finest Blues Musicians. Here's a partial listing of the line-up: George Bowman, Bob Corritore, Terry "TD" Davis, Nancy Delessandro, Jim Dorholt, Brian Fahey, Jim Glass, Chuck Hall, Mario Moreno, Hans Olson, Big Pete Pearson, Jimmy Peyton, Johnny Rapp, Rochelle Raya, Paul Thomas, Scotty Spenner. For more info contact firstname.lastname@example.org or check out the website at http://www.phoenixblues.org/
CLICK HERE to Purchase this CD
Blues Blast Magazine is proud to be a media sponsor of the 25th International Blues Challenge. The silver anniversary of this great Blues competition promises to be one the best ever put on by the Blues Foundation.
In case you are not familiar with this event, it is an international search for the best undiscovered Blues band on the planet. Each year the Blues Foundation's 160 affiliate Blues societies from all over the globe hold "local" or "regional" Blues challenges.
They send the winners to compete in the semifinals in Memphis in February. There are categories for both bands and solo/duet acts.
In 2008, 100 bands and 60 solo/duo acts filled the clubs up and down Beale Street for the semi-finals on Thursday and Friday. This is a Blues show you do not want to miss. It is literally the worlds largest gathering of Blues Bands!
Beale Street is the legendary Blues Mecca in Memphis. Each club on Beale has 6 or 8 acts competing in the semi-finals. By the rules of the competition, each act plays exactly 30 minutes all using the same stage setup for a panel of judges and a packed crowd of Blues fans. They are judged on Blues content, vocal and/or instrumental talent, originality and stage presence by a different panels of judges each night (See scoring criteria HERE).
The scores are averaged and the top scoring act from each club advances to the finals that are held at the Orpheum Theater on Saturday. (To see some photos of last years fun CLICK HERE)
Tickets to this historical event are just $75 and include entrance to all the clubs on Beale Street both Thursday and Friday and the finals on Saturday. CLICK HERE to get yours now.
Be sure to get your hotel reservations NOW too as some of the host hotels are already sold out! CLICK HERE for hotel info
Live Blues Calendar
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Performance dates submitted by Musicians, Clubs, Blues Societies and Blues festivals.
IllinoisBlues.com is not responsible for errors or omissions.
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