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Friday, March 27, 2009

Illinois Blues News

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Latest news, photos, reviews, 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 have news of more Blues fest lineups this week. The Mother of all Blues Fests, The Chicago Blues Festival has released their complete lineup. The fest runs June 12-14, 2009 in Grant Park in Downtown Chicago. Admission is free.

The festival lineup include more than 65 artists with 5 stages of music each day running from Noon to 9:30pm daily .

Here is a partial list of performers:

Friday, June 12, 2009 - Big Bill Morganfield and Mud Morganfield, Pinetop Perkins, Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, Andrew Jr. Boy Jones, Charlie Musselwhite, Mary Lane, Grana’ Louise, Charles Wsir Johnson, Eddie Taylor Jr., Donna Herula, Sam Lay, Shirley Johnson and Eddie C. Campbell.

Saturday, June 13, 2009 - Ray Allison, Lil Ed and the Blues Imperials, Lurrie Bell, Cyrus Hayes, Travis “Moonchild” Haddix, Jeremy Spencer, John Primer, Samuel James, Terry Harmonica Bean, Eden Brent, Little Dave Thompson, Walter Scott, Miss Peaches, Trudy Lynn and Bettye LaVette.

Sunday, June 14, 2009 - Lee Boys, Lou Pride and the Blues Disciples, Vernon Harrington and the Atomic Blues Band, Tre’ and the BlueKnights with Lady Kat, Ernest Lane and the Kings of Rhythm, Eden and John’s East River Band, Jerron “Blind Boy” Paxton, Dom Flemons, Ben Payton, Big Jack Johnson, David Honeyboy Edwards, Devil in a Woodpile, Grady Champion, Johnny Drummer and the Starlighters and Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings.

To see the complete lineup and schedule with links to the artist biographies CLICK HERE.

Get your hotel reservations NOW!

Urbana Blues Brews and BBQ's festival - June 26th & 27th, 2009

June 26th and 27th, 2009 is the Urbana Blues Brews and BBQ's festival in Urbana, Illinois. This is the second year for this festival and the promoters, Fluid Events made one major change you should know about before you hear of the GREAT lineup they have.


Free as in NO ADMISSION charge at all! Based on our current state of the economy such a thing is great news.

Ok but now their lineup:

Friday - June 26th Show starts at 5:30pm with The Blues Deacons, followed by the Kinsey Report and Sonny Landreth

Saturday - June 27th The Impalas, Gina Sicilia, Steady Rollin' Bob Margolin, Eddy The Chief Clearwater, Pinetop Perkins w/ The Willie "Big Eyes" Smith Band and Buckwheat Zydeco

Blues Blast Advertising Special Ends on March 31st

For a limited time, you can advertise your Blues event or CD in Blues Blast Magazine for less that the cost of a small ad in your local newspaper. If you reserve and pay for your ad space by March 31st, 2009 we are offering a special combo rate of $100 a month to get both a weekly Blues Blast magazine ad AND a sidebar ad on our website (Minimum of 2 months).

SO for $200 your ad will run in eight issues of the Blues Blast and be on the website for 2 months. Your ad will be seen by THOUSANDS of Blues fans!

Ads can be scheduled for any dates in 2009. Space is limited during some summer festival season times and will be sold on a first come first served basis. See our ad below for more details or email to reserve your ad now.

Blues Wanderings

We are always fans of young Blues players. Last February we told you about a young guitarist from Illinois named Matthew Curry.

We ran a review of a show by The Legendary Blues Review in Bloomington, IL. That night Matt got the chance to sit in with the band and it was an amazing performance by the 12 year old guitarist.

We also ran a video of Matt going toe to toe playing lead with Ronnie Baker Brooks, Tommy Castro, Magic Dick and Deanna Bogart.

CLICK HERE to see that amazing video.

CLICK HERE to read the review.

Now at the age of 13 Matt has formed his own band called "Matt Curry and the Curfew". We got to hear them last Friday at a club in Bloomington, IL.

Matt has teamed up with a group of seasoned Blues musicians and has found his singing voice. He really sounded great singing too.

The band played a mixture of original and cover tunes.

We predict you will hear more from this young man including a new CD soon! Stay Tuned.

In this issue - Blues Reviews and MORE!

James Walker reviews a new CD from Joe Bonamassa. Ben Cox reviews a new CD by Cool Disposition. Belinda Foster reviews a new CD by Motor City Josh. Eric Steiner send us a review of a new CD by Billy Gibson and a CD by Big G and the Real Deal.

Our video of the week is a clip of Luther Allison, Eric Clapton & Otis Rush at 1986 Monteux Jazz Festival. All this and MORE! SCROLL DOWN!!!

For tickets and info CLICK HERE

Blues Society News

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

Please submit a maximum of 175 or words or less in a Text or Word format ONLY.

Friends Of The Blues Shows - Kankakee IL

The Friends of the Blues has started their 2009 Blues concert Series. Here are thie shows for April.

Tuesday, April 14- Too Slim & The Taildraggers, 7:00 Pm, Legacy Bar & Grill, 135 N Kinzie Ave (Route 50), Bradley Il 60915. (815) 936-1649.

Saturday, April 18 – Reverend Raven & Chain Smoking Altar Boys, 8:00 PM, Kankakee Valley Boat Club, Cobb Boulevard, Kankakee IL(815) 936-1699

Tuesday, April 21 – Damon Fowler, 7:00 PM, Kankakee Elks Country Club, 2283 Bittersweet Drive, St. Anne Il. 815-937-1228

Arkansas River Blues Society - Little Rock, AR

The Arkansas River Blues Society has settled in to its home base at Jazzi's, 5200 Asher Ave. in Little Rock. The jam is held on the 1st Wed. of each month. A different house band is featured each month and on April 1st it will be Jess Hoggard and Southern Soul featuring Charles Wood. The May house band is Unseen Eye from Hot Springs. Recent house bands have been Joe Marks and NTO, Joe Pitts Band, Mike Dollins and the Cruise Bros., Big John Miller Band, N-2 Blues, and John Craig. Regular jammers have been Dan Sokoloski, Jawbone and Jolene, Charlotte Taylor, Ed Bowman, Charles Wood, and G-Funk the Tree Trunk. Joe Pitts brought in a touring band from Italy called Shanghai Noodle Factory. Jam begins at 8:30 and runs till midnight. People are friendly and the food is good. You can find out about special events by visiting the MySpace page at

Mississippi Valley Blues Society - Davenport, IA

The Mississippi Valley Blues Society presents Bob Dorr and the Blue Band at the Redstone Room Saturday March 28 Davenport, IA ( 129 Main Street). Doors open at 7:30 and the music begins at 8:30 Admission is $10. The show is a fundraiser for the MVBS. For more information Contact: Karen McFarland, (563) 508-6596

The Mississippi Valley Blues Society presents the duo of Hal Reed and Donald Kinsey for its Blues in the Schools Artists in Residency Series for April. Hal and Donald will conduct their “Generations of Blues” workshops at nine area schools and four Open to the Public performances between April 6 and 10.

Free, Open to the Public Performances are Monday, Apr. 6, 11:45 a.m. at CASI, 1035 W. Kimberly, Davenport. IA. Monday, Apr. 6, 4:00 p.m. at M.L. King Center, 630 9th St., Rock Island, IL. Wednesday, Apr. 8, 7:00 p.m. at Mojo’s in the River Music Experience, 129 Main, Davenport, IA. Thursday, Apr. 9, 1:30 Bettendorf Public Library, 2950 Learning Campus Dr. Bettendorf, IA. For more info contact call the MVBS office at 563-32-BLUES or Hal Reed at 563-650-4303

Illinois Central Blues Club - Springfield, IL


Held at the Alamo 115 N 5th St, Springfield, IL (217) 523-1455 every Monday 8:30pm $2 cover - Mar 30 - Frank Herrin & Blues Power, Apr 6 - Blues Deacons, Apr 13 - Too Slim & the Taildraggers, Apr 20 - Pleasure Chest, Apr 27 - Nothin' But Trouble

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 feature a budget priced cover charge of $4. The shows are held at the Dragon's Dome, 3401 Griffin Ave in Pekin, IL.

Shows scheduled are: Apr 1 - Reverend Raven & The Chain Smoking Alter Boys, Apr 8 - Third Degree Blues Band, Apr 15 - Too Slim & The Tail Draggers, Apr 22 - Damon Fowler Group, April 29 - Bob Dorr & The Blue Band, May 6 Shannon Curfman, May 13 - Scott Ellison, May 20 - Deak Harp, May 27 - The Insomniacs

Featured Blues Review 1 of 5

Joe Bonamassa - The Ballad of John Henry

J & R Adventures

12 songs; Time 64:28; Meritable - Style: Rock; Pop

The necks of eleven guitars were visible just above the stage-side wall at the Mississippi Valley Blues Festival in Davenport, Iowa. Had the MVBF folks created a guitar store for the artists, or did all these belong to one player? Befitting a young, absolutely amazing guitar player like Joe Bonamassa, they were all his. He used a different guitar on most every song, even switching guitars in mid-song once or twice.

Since his birth in May 8, 1977 and his phenomenal guitar prodigy story (see bio below), Joe Bonamassa has emerged as a major artist and a major money making business machine complete with merchandising, production, agents, and theatre-show touring including a coming appearance at the Royal Albert Hall. Move over Eric Clapton?

Just as one’s physical body makes dramatic changes between the ages of ten and twenty, Joe’s music has gone through extreme changes as his genius evolves. Gone are the early recording days when he was a young guitar slinger playing with a three-piece band that showcased his fiery, high-octane style. His recordings in the early 2000s showcased a rollicking boogie blues monster playing instrumental excursions and free style blues-rock.

Since meeting producer Kevin Shirley, Joe has toned down the guitar histrionics, polished his singing, and concentrated more on songwriting. “The Ballad of John Henry” continues the journey away from what Joe was a few years back. While Joe considers this to be his “finest work to date” and to be a “Blues” album, it isn’t, and it isn’t!

For example, why would a guitarist of Bonamassa’s caliber indulge in power chord plodding like a heavy metal band? The opening to the title track is heavy thuds, for 47 seconds. But, the most glaring example is track 5, “Story of a Quarryman.” This song is like a stale white bread sandwich with delicious meat in the middle. It opens with plodding power chords for 2:25 minutes. Then, in the middle we get 68 seconds of the wonderful string picking and note bending and blending for which Joe is famous. At the end is 1:25 minutes of more head banging, heavy riff drivel.

“The Ballad of John Henry,” his seventh studio album, isn’t totally devoid of any redeeming values, however. For example, “Stop” is as good as “...Quarryman” is bad. It is still Joe Bonamassa playing mostly fantastic guitar to which his voice is equal, the songs are good, and the band is superb. Produced by Kevin Shirley, the album features seven tracks penned by Bonamassa himself. There are also five covers, including a strong vocal on Tom Waits' “Jockey Full Of Bourbon,” Tony Joe White’s “As the Crow Flies,” and the Newley/Bricusse song “Feelin' Good.”

Like his eleven varied guitars, this is his most varied album. This leaves the listener with choices: if one song or song passage doesn’t trim your hedge, perhaps the next one will.

Born in Utica, NY on May 8, 1977, the now L.A.-based Joe Bonamassa’s musical experience began with playing guitar at age four on a short-scale Chiquita given to him by his father, a guitar dealer and player himself. By the time he was seven, he’d stepped up to a full-scale model and was uncannily mastering Stevie Ray Vaughan licks. At ten, he was gigging at venues in upstate New York, where he came to the legendary B.B. King’s attention. After initially hearing Bonamassa play, King said, “This kid's potential is unbelievable. He hasn't even begun to scratch the surface. He's one of a kind.”

By the time he was twelve, Joe was touring with King, which led to opening slots for many other stars including Buddy Guy, Foreigner, George Thorogood, Robert Cray, Stephen Stills, Joe Cocker and Gregg Allman.

After a collaborative stint in the band Bloodlines, Bonamassa’s solo debut was 2000’s A New Day Yesterday. The powerhouse original “Miss You, Hate You” remains a cornerstone of Joe’s repertoire, as does the slide guitar showcase “Cradle Rock.”

He followed it up in ’02 with his first #1 album So, It's Like That. Blues Deluxe came next in 2003 (the “Year of the Blues”) and is Bonamassa’s soulful tribute to the genre.

Bonamassa’s forward propulsion of the blues continued with 2004’s Had To Cry Today.

Enter Kevin Shirley: Spring 2006 saw the release of You & Me.

With 2007’s Sloe Gin, Bonamassa’s music continued to evolve as did his own identity as one of contemporary music’s most profoundly talented stars.

Note: Joe is also highly respected for his Blues In The Schools program, which educates students nationwide about the legacy and influence of the blues.

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
To See James “Skyy Dobro” Walker's CD rating system, CLICK HERE

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.

Advertising Special

Blues Blast Magazine advertising rates slashed

(Ads must be reserved by March 31st, 2009)

Blues Blast Magazine is a great way to promote the Blues. More than 12,000 Blues fans, Blues society members, festival promoters, record companies, artists and Blues publishers read our Blues Blast magazine each week. They are located in all 50 states and in more than 60 countries. We get more than 800,000 hits and more than 10,000 visitors a month on our website.

If your Blues Society is organizing a Blues Fest we offer cost effective advertising that really "Gets The Blues Word Out"! If you are a Blues performer, we can help promote your new CD. We know times are hard and Blues music is the Music for the times! So for a limited time Blues Blast Magazine is offering "recession prices" on festival and CD advertising.

Normal 2009 Advertising rates are $30 a week for Blues Blast magazine ads. Website ads are $40 per month for a small ads on the sidebar of the homepage and $55 per month for a larger ad on the main homepage area.

BUT, for a limited time, you can advertise your Blues event or CD in Blues Blast Magazine for less that the cost of a small ad in your local newspaper. If you reserve and pay for your ad space by March 31st, 2009 we are offering a special combo rate of $100 a month to get both a weekly Blues Blast magazine ad AND a sidebar ad on our website (Minimum of 2 months).

SO for $200 your ad will run in eight issues of the Blues Blast and be on the website for 2 months. Your ad will be seen by THOUSANDS of Blues fans!

Ads can be scheduled for any dates in 2009. Space is limited during some summer festival season times and will be sold on a first come first served basis. To get more information email

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.

Blues Music Writers wanted

Blues Blast Magazine is looking for reviewers to review new Blues CD's. If you have a background and experience with Blues music and like to write we can provide new CD's for you to review. Person must be willing to write a minimum of one review every other week. 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

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

Its "MOJO MADNESS" At WGLT In Normal, Illinois The Whole Month Of March !!! 89.1 & 103.5, And On The Web At Just Click On "Listen"

Listen to GLT Blues every weekend in March for MOJO MADNESS! It's your chance to win tickets to the Illinois Blues Festival in Peoria on Labor Day weekend as you call GLT to vote for your favorite blues artists. Here's the deal:

We've seeded and bracketed 32 great blues artists from yesterday and today for a blues tournament we're calling "MOJO MADNESS." MOJO MADNESS is just like the NCAA Basketball tournament every March, except YOU decide the winner of each round with your phone votes. If you're the 89th voter in a particular match, you'll win concert tickets. You may call to vote as often as you like, but you can only win once during the tournament. Every person who wins concert tickets by being the 89th voter qualifies for the Grand Prize: A Black Cat Bone ... that is, an iPod with songs from all 32 artists who made it into the 2009 MOJO MADNESS bracket.

Look at and download your own MOJO MADNESS bracket so you can keep track of the winners, as well as the date and times of each MOJO MADNESS match. Here's the link to the bracket:

The first "match' this week is Friday night from 8pm - 9pm, featuring Koko Taylor vs Willie Kent. Listen Live and phone in your votes at 309 438-8910 Here are the matchups for this weekend:

This Weeks Matches

  • (#1)Friday Mar 27 (8:00pm) - John Lee Hooker vs. Albert Collins

  • (#2) Saturday Mar 28 (1:00pm) - Koko Taylor vs Albert King

  • (#3) Saturday Mar 28 (3:00pm) - BB King vs. Howlin' Wolf

  • (#4) Saturday Mar 28 (5:00pm) - Buddy Guy vs Stevie Ray Vaughan

  • (#5) Saturday Mar 28 (7:00pm) - Muddy Waters vs Eric Clapton

  • (#6) Saturday Mar 28 (9:00pm) - Winner of #1 and #2 above

  • Sunday March 29 (1:00pm) - Winner of #3 and #4 above

  • Sunday March 29 (3:00pm) - Winner of #5 and #6 above

Week Three Winners

  • Koko Taylor vs Willie Kent = Koko Taylor

  • BB King vs. Bo Diddley = BB King

  • Big Momma Thorton vs Howlin' Wolf = Howlin' Wolf

  • Buddy Guy vs Freddie King = Buddy Guy

  • Pinetop Perkins vs Stevie Ray Vaughan = Stevie Ray

  • Muddy Waters vs Luther Allison = Muddy Waters

  • Eric Clapton vs Etta James = Eric Clapton

For more info, go to To tune in to GLT Blues Radio 24/7 and Play MOJO MADNESS simply CLICK HERE

Blues Video of the Week

Luther Allison, Eric Clapton & Otis Rush

This week we feature a video from a 1986 that has Blues greats Luther Allison, Otis Rush and Eric Clapton playing "Every Day I Have The Blues".

It doesn't get any better than this!

To see this cool video on our website, click the play button below.


For other videos on our website CLICK HERE.

The Simply The Blues Festival May 8th and 9th 2009 in Fort Madison, IA.

May 8th -Bobby Rush, Sugar Blue, porterdavis, Patrick Hazell and the The Smokin Mojo Kings.

May 9th - Johnny Drummer, Liz Mandeville, Michael Frank, Chris James and Patrick Rynn, Bob Corritore, Harper, The Soul Of John Black, Shannon Curfman, 2009 International Blues Challenge band winner JP Soars And The Red Hots, IBC solo/duet winner Little Joe McLerran, Rich Berry, The Avey Brothers and Brad McCloud and the Case of the Blues. For more information go to

Featured Blues Review 2 of 5

Cool Disposition - Jumping In the Mudd

Giddyap Records

Run Time: 66:58

How is it that a band can sound totally different than what you expect? It happens all the time to me. I read the title of this one and was expecting a very honest homage to the great Muddy Waters. Instead, what you get is very little of Muddy and a whole lot of big band, Left Coast blues swing. This Minnesota five-piece jump, jives, and wails like they’ve been hopping up and down California’s coast with George “Harmonica” Smith and William Clarke for decades. Instead, you’ve got a bunch of seasoned Upper Midwest blues veterans who count Mojo Buford as a mentor.

The band kicks into high gear on the opening cut “What Comes Around” with full tilt big band blues jump. Guitarist Dan Schwalbe compliments the baritone bravado of vocalist Mickey Bauer’s deliver y here with a series of licks a la early era B.B. King. Think of those Crown and King sides that the King of the Blues cut and you’ll see where this one comes from. The swing doesn’t stop there. The rhumba-beat “Mixed Messages” and the call and response of “She’s My Girl” are all about that great Forties era big band swing. The band is air tight and Bauer’s blues shouter mentality along with clever lyrics (which are his own) is as good as any other band falling into this type of subgenre. Sue Orfield’s horn arrangements add some great punch behind Schwalbe’s well-phrased guitar work and Harold Tremblay’s less-is-more approach to the harmonica. Tremblay definitely succeeds when he’s playing more of a rhythm role on the album, adding brass section-like layering underneath all that swing.

The band does deviate from this sound into some other influences. The Jerry Lee Lewis meets zoot suit swagger on “Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is” shows how good of a vocal interpreter Bauer is. The beat is slightly slowed down to Cool Disposition’s more laid-back pace, which suits them to a tee. I don’t think the song would’ve worked had they played it in Jerry Lee’s frantic paces. Bruce McCabe on piano is a fine guest and displays his solid ivory work on the boogie woogie of “Dog Walker Blues.” He keeps the left hand right in the pocket while flowing into a solid top-end solo on this one. It reminded me a lot of the work of boogie-woogie legend Roosevelt Sykes. This band isn’t afraid to step down into the swamp either. “Time Keeps Ticking” sounds eerily borrowed from Slim Harpo’s “Scratch My Back” in places, tremolo-bound guitar and acoustic harp and all. The more R&B based “Every Hour Everyday” also has a sizable Excello Records feel to it as well.

There are some home runs and some misses here, and to some fans these songs might even run together a bit. The album though is a solid pallet of what these artists intend to paint with their live shows and their image. They are strongly and strictly in the traditional veins – just check out “Minimum Wage” and you’ll hear some scathing reactions to the guys who loathe the “Mustang Sally” crowd. This album is rock solid and is completely a ton of fun from start to finish. Cool Disposition is a good reminder that you sometimes can find good surprises in strange places.

Reviewed by Ben "the Harpman" Cox. Visit his website Juke Joint Soul

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.

The River City Blues Society presents

Wednesday Blues 7:00pm Early Shows


Apr 1 - Reverend Raven & The Chain Smoking Alter Boys

The Dragon's Dome
3401 Griffin Ave, Pekin, IL.

To see Map- CLICK HERE

Admission $4 - One free admission with new Society membership

Featured Blues Review 3 of 5

Motor City Josh with Special Guest Jason Ricci - Forty Four - a Tribute to Howlin’ Wolf

Ford Music Co.

13 Tracks; 45 minutes 50 seconds; Suggested

Style: 60’s Chicago Blues meets 70’s Rock-n-Roll Blues

If you want to set the mood (or if you’re itching for some background music to pair with an existing mood) that recreates those good time feelings we’ve all unabashedly and publicly displayed at an outdoor blues festival like Helena or the Juke Joint Festival, then pop yourself in some Forty Four. Josh’s 10th CD release takes the best of Howlin’ Wolf’s songs from Chess Record’s songwriter Willie Dixon on tracks 2-6 and 9-12, paired them with Chester Burnett himself, aka Howlin’ Wolf’s song writing on Tracks 1 and 7 and added a final dose of St. Louis Jimmy on Track 13 to help you set your own true blues festival or Chicago-Delta mood any time anywhere.

Title Track 1 Forty Four is a southern rock Howlin’ Wolf twist. I guarantee if you played this in a college-kid packed beer venue, they’d be hootin’ and hollerin’ with a few ah-hoo’s of their own, not connecting the fact that Josh is passing a blues torch. That’s the beauty of blues root music, now, isn’t it--turning it on to our general unsuspecting younger generation who only thinks they don’t like blues? And since Josh had blues and gospel loving parents who taught him well, he’s a great one to be passing the torch.

The Howlin’ Wolf-man grabs your attention—with a little clever Ford Music Company technology—when he intro’s Track 2’s Spoonful with “you damn sure got the blues, you damn sure got the blues”! You know you’re about to get the real deal Delta authentication with Howlin’ Wolf himself interjecting in his famous husky scratchy voice “I’m gonna tell ya what the blues is, when you ain’t got no money you got the blues.” Jason Ricci knows how to adorn the track (and all the others) with period perfected harmonica licks that compliment Josh’s vocal and guitar phrasing while keeping Howlin’ Wolf proud all the while.

Track 3-Allman Brothers look out; Josh just took Evil is Goin’ On and rocked it out. I can visualize the late night outdoor festival crowds dancing with beers held high in the air—and a Bic lighter or two…Josh definitely is deserving of the coveted end of the night line up where it all hangs lose. Come on, all you festival producers/promoters/bookers..

Track 4-Back Door Man—what can I say, I’m back in Clarksdale on this one…and hey, I like a back door man, “men don’t know, but the little girls—they understand.” Ok, and Ricci, you know how to give Josh his props yet give us listeners that blues harp we crave.

300 Lbs of Joy, Track 5, makes me realize just how confident Howlin’ Wolf was in his stature, presence and size! He actually was a 6 foot tall 300 lb man known for intimidation entertainment because he had the chops, licks, and attitude to bring it. Josh just wanted you guys to know this--300 pounds of muscle and man, this is it, look what you get!

From the great piano solo in Track 6’s I Ain’t Superstitious to (one of my personal Howlin’ Wolf favs) Track 8’s Smokestack Lightnin where the ah-hoos and ooh-hoos make you do the nasty to all the best of the best allowing us to reconnect to Howlin’ Wolf (and if you don’t, then Josh makes sure you will with the likes of Sittin’ On Top Of The World. Little Red Rooster, Built For Comfort (People Magazine would have a field day with Howlin’ Wolf because don’t call him fat—he’s built for comfort not speed—Jessica could have used your help man!), Meet Me in the Bottom, Wang Dang Doodle to final track 13’s Goin’ Down Slow—you’ll be happy that Josh revealed his truest Delta-gone-Chicago-Blues influence while keeping the blues alive in today’s not-so-easy world of blues proponents and torch-passers. Thanks Josh! And for the readers: since you’re already at your computer reading this, go ahead and check out Josh’s website to see where you can catch a show, buy a CD or book him at your next festival. Thanks for supporting live blues music everyone; oh, and don’t forget to buy his CD while you’re there.

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 supporter of live blues root music and history, making frequent trips to “The Crossroads” and Clarksdale Mississippi, birthplace of the blues. Her column “The Upstate Blues Report” can be found on line at

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.

Featured Blues Review 4 of 5

The Billy Gibson Band - Live At Rum Boogie Café

Daddy-O Records

Eric Steiner’s Rating: Highly Recommended, Reference Quality

I’m pretty biased about Billy Gibson. Let me say that right up front. Each time I’ve seen The Billy Gibson Band live in Memphis, or Billy himself at this year’s St. John Blues Festival in the US Virgin Islands, I’ve been floored by Billy’s showmanship, mastery of the Mississippi saxophone, and his deep knowledge of the vocabulary of the blues.

This CD features Billy Gibson, a nominee for “Newcomer of the Year” at the Blues Music Awards last year playing in the 2007 Keeping the Blues Alive Award venue, Rum Boogie. Is this a recipe for blues success or what?

That said, I am wild about this set recorded live at the Rum Boogie Café on Beale Street in Memphis. There’s eight long jams to satisfy your harp-fueled blues jones on this CD, and each track gives bandleader (and harpman) Billy Gibson opportunities to strut his considerable harp chops. Listen to Billy’s interpretation of Willie Dixon’s “Pretty Thing” or Eddie Taylor’s “Bad Boy,” and you’ll know that he’s studied the elders of the blues and reinterpreted them anew. “Bad Boy” is also on Billy’s DVD, Live at the North Atlantic Blues Festival, and I highly recommend that set also. Live at Rum Boogie closes with a spot-on cover of “Polk Salad Annie,” and while songwriter Tony Joe White is considered by many to be the “King of Cool” for that oft-covered American chestnut, I’ll suggest to his royal highness that Mr. Billy Gibson rightfully take his place as the Prince of Cool for the way he reinterprets this classic tune with blues riffs to spare.

Reviewer Eric Steiner is the President of the Washington Blues Society. The Washington Blues Society is the proud recipient of a 2009 Keeping the Blues Alive Award from the Blues Foundation

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.

Featured Blues Review 5 of 5

Big G & the Real Deal - Chicago Blues Party

Toucan Cove/Universal Records

Eric Steiner’s Rating: A Solid Chicago Blues CD

Big G & the Real Deal’s 14-song Chicago Blues Party features tight ensemble playing that effectively represents the halcyon days of post-war Chicago blues. The set kicks off with “Can’t Lose What You Never Had,’ showcasing Tom Albanese’s strong harp attack. The band’s set list is comprised of blues classics, such as “It’s Too Late, Brother,” “Messin’ With the Kid,” “Bring It On Home,” and many other well-known songs from the traditional Chicago blues songbook..

There is quite a deep well of experience on this CD. Producer/keyboard player Phil Balsano was with the rock outfit Tantrum in the 70’s, while Tom Albanese has lent his considerable harp chops to Chicago’s Trouble No More, a band fronted by the late L.C. Walker, and more recently by Deb Seitz. Drummer Tim Scruggs has anchored the 101st Rock Division around the world, and he has shared the stage with Koko Taylor, Dave Mason, and a diverse range of musicians. Bassist Mickey Gentile has played with lead guitarist George “Big G” Millspaugh in the Southern blues band Pearl Handle for over 10 years, and John “Butch” Willard turns in many impressive guitar solos at this party.

While I have these songs from the original artists or from other cover bands, I hope that Chicago Blues Party will help the band get noticed again and return to the Chicago Blues Festival, Buddy Guy’s Legends, or the House of Blues. I’ve heard “Sweet Home Chicago” more times that I can count, but the guys turn in a solid version of this classic – although my favorite version of the former is from Lonnie Brooks on the Alligator-WXRT FM album from 1989, Blues Deluxe. While I may wish that the vocals were stronger from time to time, on balance, Chicago Blues Party features a group of very talented musicians playing some of the finest post-war blues songs with strong ties to Chicago. If you like contemporary covers of classic Chicago blues songs, you’ll enjoy Big G & the Real Deal’s CD. Sample the band at

In doing a little homework on Big G and his band, I ran across an article in Midwest Beat. I was that paper’s blues columnist for several years, and learned from fellow Beat writer Ernie Thomas that their debut 2003 CD, Chicago Nocturne, was released on the YHM label: After listening to Chicago Blues Party release, I’m going to look for this gem, too.

Reviewer Eric Steiner is the President of the Washington Blues Society. The Washington Blues Society is the proud recipient of a 2009 Keeping the Blues Alive Award from the Blues Foundation

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Bob Dorr And The Blue Band Update

From Bob Dorr. Check out the deal of the century that Bob is doing! Man, if I needed a Winnebago I would be buying it myself!!! I highlighted it in red so you can't miss it!!!!!
It's not usually about the money for me (how much money can there really be for a half-time, hourly, weekend Public Radio announcer and aging small-time band leader?!) but this week's about the money, honey....

Iowa Public Radio kicks off it's Spring on-air fundraiser in just a few hours (6am, Friday morning) and I'm scheduled to do A LOT of begging in the next five days. Surrounded by state cut backs, I think this fundraiser could really be a make or break proposition for IPR employees. I'm hoping to get your call of support during one (or all) of the shows I produce. I'll be trying to persuade you to part with some of that hard earned money, tonight, (Fri) for my Iowa music show Down On The Corner from 9-11pm (I'll actually be starting at 7pm, helping with the American Routes show) The new toll free number to call is 866-537-6055...

Then Saturday, The Blue Band travels to my old hometown, Davenport, (home of the Sudlow (Jr. High) Tigers) to help raise money for the Mississippi Valley Blues Society, whose operating budget was washed away by last year's floods. This is the rescheduled date from Dec. 21 when Mother Nature's winter fury made it so that we could not get to Davenport. Keep an eye on the sky, as I saw on the Weather Channel (you know yer getting old when you live for "your local on the 8s") that Mother may be screaming that nasty four letter word SNOW once again. The show runs 8:30-11:30 (doors open at 7:30) at the Red Stone Room at The River Music Experience, 2nd & Main in D-town. Mark Zimmerman (another Sudlow Tiger) at Zimmerman Motors in the Quad Cities is sponsoring our band's appearance. Please help me talk him into playing drums with the band (we were in rival bands at Sudlow) for a song or two! MVBS will also be auctioning off a couple of tickets for a Cubs game in April. Al & Heath will be in the horn section, it should be lots of fun for a good cause...

It's a good thing I'm schizophrenic (and so am I) because while we're playing the MVBS fundraiser, I'll also be fundraising my Saturday night rock'n'roll history show, Backtracks, on Iowa public Radio! If I had to pick just one show for you to help, it's Backtracks. I LOVE doing that program, so keeping it fiscally viable is a top priority for me. If you can't make the MVBS/Blue Band show in Davenport, please tune in and support Backtracks with a tax deductible pledge at 866-537-6055 or Better yet, make a call of support from your cell phone, while you're driving to Davenport! Backtracks starts at 7pm, so tune in on your way. The best of all worlds would be if you pledged while coming to the MVBS fundraiser and brought CAKE to the RME!...

I also will be IPR fundraising on Sunday Night Music, 6-10p, helping with Live From Studio One Monday starting at 7pm, and helping with All Things Considered on Tuesday afternoon 3-7pm. It brings to mind the old Temptations song "Aint Too Proud To Beg"...

And, with all that going on, I almost forgot to tell you that, yes, we will have copies of the brand new New Year's Eve CD with us on Saturday and also hope to have a little CD Release party at the First Friday Celebration (Geezer Gig) next week (4/3) at The Hub. That should be a great night. We play 6-9p and then Davis' other band, Stable Daze, will be recording a live CD late into the night. (I think those rockers usually play until 4 or 5 in the morning) (or not)...

I'm having some trees on my property that are interfering with electrical wires cut down. The whirring of chain saws and grinders starts at 9am. I gotta try and get some sleep. See yas on the Blue Highway (if Mother Nature allows) rub that washboard tie while you're makin' that pledge call to Iowa Public Radio (I really need that job, HELP ME!) CAKE always helps with fundraising (and with fundraisers' attitudes!) and always remember, we love you. Bob Dorr & The Blue Band...

PS, in case you haven't stopped by the Chat page recently, the "challenging" times are forcing us to try and sell our 1999 Winnebago Rialta LARGE conversion/cargo van. 82,000 highway miles, 6 cylinder, front wheel drive, can sleep 4 while rolling down the road, gets nearly 15 mpg, with 3 times the square footage space as a standard conversion van. Purchased brand new from Winnebago in Forest City IA for $49,900, we're asking $10,000 or best offer. There is a picture of it in today's Waterloo Courier. Call 319-277-4007 to hear more or set up a test drive. And here's the perk of reading this all the way to the end, if you mention that you read this post script, I'll take off $2000 on that price! bd