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Friday, April 24, 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,

This time of year is the heavy CD release season. We are receiving quite a few CD's for reviews and we have been trying to beef up our volunteer review staff to handle the load. You will notice quite a few reviews this week and for the next few weeks as we try to get them reviewed for you. (Seven reviews in this issue) If you want to help by reviewing some of these great disks, check out our Blues want ads section for further information.

Blues Wanderings

We made it to the Alamo in Springfield, Illinois this week to see an Illinois band called Pleasure Chest. Playing between sets was delta dobro player Donna Herula. Donna also sat in the second set playing electric slide guitar.

This gal knows the business end of a guitar. Donna is scheduled to perform at the Chicago Blues Fest in June. Make sure to see her if you go. Also be sure to catch Pleasure Chest if you have the opportunity.

We also made it out to see a show by the Damon Fowler Group. Damon is a guitar wizard! He played songs from his new CD and blurred the lines between Blues and country guitar wowing the crowd with his guitar picking and lap steel prowess. Make it a point to see these guys. You will NOT be disappointed!

In this issue - Blues Reviews and MORE!

We have a boatload of reviews in this issue! James Walker reviews a new CD from Lightning Red. Dale Clark sends us a "vintage" review of a 2007 CD by Randy McAlister. Mike O’Cull reviews a tribute CD of Blues mandolinist James “Yank” Rachell. Eric Steiner reviews a new CD by Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne.

We welcome 3 new reviewers this week. Michael Packer sends us a review of a CD by Scotty Boy Daniel Blues Band. Bruce Williams reviews a new CD by Kurt Crandall and John Harrelson reviews a new CD by Taj Mahal.

Our Blues videos this week are of Blues mandolinist Yank Rachell (with Sleepy John Estes) and a clip of guitar legend Luther Allison. All this and MORE! SCROLL DOWN!!!

Blues Want Ads

Blues Musicians Place Your Want Ad here for FREE

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Buy or sell equipment , musicians wanted, gigs wanted etc. Limit 100 words.

Blues Drummer Seeks band

Blues drummer looking for work, full time or set in, no need for rehearsal, I know blues. I have toured with James Peterson, did a gig with W.C. Clark. 51 years old 40 years on drums. Play in the style of Casey Jones. Contact Skully 269 637-1463

Information Wanted on Chicago's Club 708

Looking for information about an old south side Chicago blues club called the 708 Club that was at 708 E. 47th Street, Chicago and was run by Ben Gold and his brother. Interested in information from about 1954 to 1959 because the 708 Club was called, “The southside’s leading blues house,” by the Chicago Defender in 1957. Also, according to several sources the club played host to Muddy Waters, the 4 Aces, Howling Wolf, Memphis Slim, Jimmy Rogers, Willie Mabon, Otis Rush, Billy Boy Arnold, Little Walter, Snooky Pryor, Magic Sam, James Cotton, Buddy Guy and David “Honeyboy” Edwards; among many others. Records indicate that the club closed in early 1959. Want to find out why. Contact

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

Information Wanted

Still looking for members of the Aladdin Records group The Rolling Crew who did Home on Alcatraz and Cryin' Emma. I found out that one member was Cleo Page. Who were the other guys? Contact John Lee Williamson, Conjur Root Records

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

The Simply The Blues Festival For tickets go to

Featured Blues Review 1 of 7

Lightning Red - The Groovemaster

LR Productions

12 songs; Time 49:37; Fine

Style: Texas Blues; Folk; R&B

Lightning Red is an Austin, Texas Blues guitarist, singer, and songwriter who has recorded five CDs prior to this one. His professional name comes from his long, sun-blond-red hair and from his high school days when he tried to play guitar faster than anybody else (“lightning fast”). The Texas guitar hero is an artist who exudes blues with a sun-weathered face, a nice ragged guitar sound, and a gritty and convincing voice.

The album has all original songs with an energetic, stripped down and gut-level sound combining low-down funky shuffles with rocking boogies and “funk-driven, modern power-jazz instrumentals.” Studio guest artists include L.Z. Love with gospel influenced soulful vocals and Austin’s own Jimi Lee on blues harp. Red handles all guitars and lead vocals while Austin Krecz drums and Chuck Krecz tickles the keyboards.

I particularly enjoyed “The Shake,” an instrumental where the band affects an infectious groove, “Cavern Crawl,” another instrumental, “Do the Revolution” with its catchy slide guitar hook intro and throughout, “No Matter What” where Jimi Lee’s shines on harmonica, and “Change Is Gonna Come” with Red’s slide and vocals with L.Z. Love.

Born Wayne Bak near Chicago and “educated” by the music of Luther Allison and Buddy Guy, Red relocated to Texas mid 1970s. According to his bio, “as a three year old, he'd sit directly in front of the saxophone sections of Count Basie, Jimmy Dorsey, Duke Ellington and all the other Big Bands playing the military base circuit that weaved through Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.
After befriending Luther Allison and soaking up the sounds of Buddy Guy, Otis Rush, Mike Bloomfield, B.B. and Albert King in and around Chicago, Red began touring the Midwest and Canada.”

“In 1976, Austin became his home and touring base. While performing at the Armadillo World Headquarters during the latter 70s, Omar and the Howlers, W.C. Clark and "little" Charlie Sexton were brought onstage and introduced their music to the community. Red soaked up the music of The Fabulous Thunderbirds (Jimmie Vaughan, Kim Wilson) at Antone's and met a struggling "Little" Stevie Ray Vaughan.”

He has toured Scandinavia and Great Britain repeatedly, with two consecutive appearances at The Great R&B Festival in Colne, England, and he was interviewed on Radio New Zealand [national broadcast]. This and a number of other Australian interviews featured cuts from his highly acclaimed CD release “Tortured Mind.”

His most recent concerts have been in an acoustic duo format with singer extraordinaire LZ Love, as well as Texas performances with Red’s hot electric band to support this new CD.

EDITORS NOTE: Lightning Red also appearing at the Eureka Springs Blues Festival in Eureka Springs, Arkansas on May 29th-31st.

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.

May 9, 2009 - Downtown Shreveport, Louisiana

For complete performer info and tickets visit

For tickets and info CLICK HERE

Blues Society News

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Friends Of The Blues Shows - Kankakee IL

The Friends of the Blues has started their 2009 Blues concert Series. Here are their currently scheduled shows. Saturday, May 2 – Everyday People, Watseka Theatre downtown Watseka, IL

May 11 – Shannon Curfman, Kankakee Elks Country Club Kankakee Elks Country Club, 2283 Bittersweet Drive, St. Anne IL. 815-937-1228, May 26 – The Insomniacs, Kankakee Elks Country Club Kankakee Elks Country Club, 2283 Bittersweet Drive, St. Anne IL. 815-937-1228, May 30 – 2nd Annual Blues & BBQ Festival, Watseka Theatre, downtown Watseka, IL June 16 – Joanne Shaw Taylor, River Bend Bar & Grill, 6070 E. Route 17, Kankakee IL. 815-933-0610 Aug 11 – Laurie Morvan, Kankakee Elks Country Club 2283 Bittersweet Drive, St. Anne IL. 815-937-1228

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 - Apr 27 - Nothin' But Trouble

River City Blues Society- Peoria, IL

The River City Blues Society's Wednesday Blues Series features the best traveling regional and National Blues musicians each Wednesday at 7:00pm. The shows are held at the Dragon's Dome, 3401 Griffin Ave in Pekin, IL. Admission is $4. Shows scheduled are: April 29 - Bob Dorr & The Blue Band, May 6 Shannon Curfman w/ opening act Barb Hamilton, May 13 - Scott Ellison, May 20 - Deak Harp, May 27 - The Insomniacs

For complete info visit:

Featured Blues Review 2 of 7

A Tribute To James “Yank” Rachell - Various Artists

Yanksville Records

James “Yank” Rachell is most likely the best blues mandolin player and songwriter most people have never heard of. Not just an instrumentalist but also a fine and prolific songwriter, Rachell performed from the 1920s until his passing in 1997 and left a substantial legacy for those following him in the blues scene.

This album, a tribute to the man and his music, shows the depth of Yank’s influence and how much his songs have become part of the music we all love. Artists giving themselves to the project include John Sebastian, David Grisman, Andra Faye, Rich DelGrosso, and many others, all taking their shots at Rachell’s songs and playing style. The tunes are a gas from start to finish and are a bit refreshing to those used to hearing nothing but guitar-based blues.

Rachell’s best-known song is “She Caught The Katy,” which was used as the theme song for the original Blues Brothers movie and is covered here with a funky groove by Karen Irwin. Other standout tracks are “Texas Tony” by Tim O’Brien, Sebastian and Grisman’s live take of “Tappin’ That Thing,” and “Moonshine Whiskey,” which features Jerome Mills on vocals and Mike Butler playing Rachell’s Harmony mandolin.

Through it all, the songs and performances are inspired and entertaining, making this no mere history lesson, but a record that begs to be played over and over. It is a fitting homage to a lesser-known player who deserves a higher profile. Those looking for new blues to listen to this summer would do well to look here.

Reviewer Mike O'Cull is a noted Chicago music writer and Blues Blast contributor. Visit his MySpace page at:

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.

Featured Blues Review 3 of 7

Randy McAllister, Dope Slap Soup

Reaction Records [2007]

Unless you really have something important to say with it, it is probably not as useful to readers as some critics think, for a reviewer to weigh down a piece of music with a lot of “genre” judgments. It robs the reader of an opportunity to hear something fresh in a piece of music; it sets up too obvious and not necessarily fair comparisons. Expectations stifle our experience and are a stale substitute for new thought.

So, I say with embarrassment, that my first reaction to this album was, “This isn’t blues! It’s country music.” If you are making a reconnaissance of the contemporary blues scene by reading these Blues Blast reviews, you can safely pass over Randy McAllister. But it would be a pity to dismiss Dope Slap Soup too quickly. There is a lot to enjoy here, and a musician who may become a good companion to you, a friend who is able to take you somewhere new on your musical journeys.

This album is framed around the myth that McAllister is the balladeer from “Dope Slap, Texas,” a rustic escape so far off the main road no mapmaker has ever found it. This might be a clever device, but the thing about the album is that its coherence is not framed so much by a tiny West Texas burg as by the musician’s life on the road. The two song lyrics on the album that hit me hardest are the two comic numbers, “Baptist Church Van” about riding home from Dickson, Tennessee in the back of a U-Haul truck, and “$127.00 Sandwich” about writing a bad check on the road between shows. There is something about these songs that ring of the highway the way nothing in the album depends on the fictional “Dope Slap.”

So, if McAllister is a man of the road, what has he taken from all those miles? All of the songs here are Randy McAllister originals; and he is a fine song writer, able to craft lines that fit his own breath and speech, to make rhymes that work without intrusion, and to fashion whole narratives (more like country music) and not just suggestions of stories (as is so common in blues and rock). McAllister sings his words as if he is delighted to share them with us.

The band here, the quality of the production of the recording too, is simply excellent. Four guitarists, two drummers, two B-3 and piano players, and bass player Sonny Collie back McAllister. Benita Arterberry-Burns and Angie McWhirter do magnificent supporting vocals. McAllister drums on one song, and throws in harmonica. These drummers do not just ride along and occasionally fill; there has been actual design and composition in the percussion throughout this album.

hese guitars, keys, harp, and backing vocals pull from the great American popular music sound-scape (including some really nice blues borrowings), supporting McAllister’s stories and helping him communicate.

As in so very much of our blues music, the lead singing on Dope Slap Soup is good enough, at its best good, never great. Is this more than anything else the public test the blues, and we your blues critics too, are failing? We reviewers are calling bad singing “good” and tolerable singing “great,” and the public meets both our assessment and our beloved music with knowing indifference? Would anyone pay serious money, the kind of money that could get our Texas troubadour out of that jankety Baptist church van and into proper transportation, to hear Randy McAllister sing? My estimate is that not too many people would do it.

Don’t get me wrong: McAllister is exactly the guy we take advantage, if the album is any indication—a skillful, energetic, and good humored live act-- who begs us to swing from Dickson to Peoria on his way back to Dope Slap, and will do it for $5 covers or skimpy festival contracts, until he just won’t beg anymore. This is the nether world of most of our blues players today. Our music is hinged on our most subtle instrument, not the electric guitar but the human voice—and our great voices are very, very rare. Too few of us will get out from in front of our televisions to hear a Randy McAllister. Too many of us don’t think there is anyone worth discomforting ourselves to go see on a week night or for more than $3 cover. We are waiting, with no particular hope, for the great voice with the great song.

And that brings us back to the genre judgment with which I started. The singing here goes to the heart of the difference between country music and blues, and why no matter what guitar chop you point to arguing Dope Slap Soup is a blues album, you will be more wrong than right. Male country singing today is all assertion, never any ambivalence or self-doubt; our blues singers at their best are still vulnerable people, practice a poor person’s irony, wink and let you know they know they are full of it. There is none of that in Dope Slap Soup. McAllister comes off as unchangeably confident in everything from his failed finances to his assessment of women, to the music itself. Maybe this is too fine a point, but I don’t think so. Blues is pain while country is pissed off. Country has answers where blues has inarticulate groans. Blues is worn-out grownups; country is old men who wish they were adolescents. Some artists hyphenate the two musics, but most only borrow licks.

The upshot about Randy McAllister for us is that if he can deliver this show live, he and his are simply better all-around musicians, more promising entertainers, than a great many I hear. His blues craft is good enough, if you are on the committee for a blues festival or book for a blues house, you have to take his application seriously. I get the feeling, if you gave him a chance, he will be your new friend, and if you don’t end up in Dope Slap, you will, at minimum, ride some happy miles that direction. But you can’t climb on board thinking you are heading for the future of the blues.

Reviewed by Dale Clark

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.

Blues Video of the Week 1 of 2

Yank Rachel & Sleepy John Estes
Mailman Blues (1966)

This week we feature a video by Blues mandolin master James “Yank” Rachell and Sleepy John Estes.

The video is from 1966 and features Sleepy John on vocals and guitar and Yank proving that mandolin can be a Blues voice too.

Yank continues to inspire Blues mandolin players today such as David Grisman and Rich DelGrosso. His legacy is further evidenced by the review of the tribute Yank CD in this issue which features both Grisman, and DelGrosso

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


For other videos on our website CLICK HERE.

The BEST Way To Promote YOUR Next Blues Project!

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

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

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

Featured Blues Review 4 of 7

Scotty Boy Daniel Blues Band - Flip the Switch

Soundgate Productions

The Scotty Boy Daniel Blues Band hails from Kansas City. Harmonica ace Scotty Boy is heavily influenced by William Clarke. I called up two harp players I know here in New York City and played them a couple of Scotty Boy notes over the telephone. They both said "William Clarke". The recording especially the harp is well produced although I bet the live version of this band is better. More intense.

The disc starts out with a Kansas City style jump blues instrumental called 'Flip the Switch' which is also the title of the album. The CD then goes into "Days on End" a Chicago blues that shuffles along nicely. The band brings it down for "Tricky Woman". There is some "down in the groove" guitar work by Dave Hays and Scotty Boy can sure blow.

"K-Street Stomp", is another instrumental, I am sure gets the crowd on it's feet and dancing when they play live. On "Club Tavern", Scotty Boy invites his fans to join he and his band for a night out. Good touch! There are some great blues lyrics by Mr. William Clarke on "Must Be Jelly", Scotty's Boy mentor.

"Cried Last Night' is my favorite track on the album. Guitarist Dave Hays takes over on the vocal and the cat can sing and play a mean slide guitar. Down home blues with a Delta feel. Dave also shows his vocal skills on the slow blues "Little Girl' . "Blue Midnight" is a Little Walter instrumental and is another outstanding addition to the CD.

"I'm Going Get Drunk' a Scotty Boy original reminds me of my old friend George Thorogood, slide guitar, some harp and even the vocal sounds a little bit like George. The album concludes with Eddie Taylor's "Train Fare", cool song and "Darkness Falling" which is probably the time Scotty Boy and the band are setting up the stage for their next gig.

'Flip the Switch" is an enjoyable listen. Some fine harp (nice tone) from Scotty Boy, excellent guitar from Dave Hays but I think the band should let Dave sing some more songs including adding some harmony to help Scotty Boy's vocal. Tight rhythm section Matt Browning on bass and Ghan Bunyarattaphant on drums (what a name). If I am ever in Kansas City I would catch the Scotty Boy Daniel Blues Band live and I am sure I would be guaranteed a good time. They swing!

Reviewer Michael Packer is a singer-guitarist from NYC who fronts his own band "The Michael Packer Blues Band". He has been performing for over 40 years and has recorded on major labels Atlantic and RCA.

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.

The Smokie Blues International Festival - August 14 - 16, 2009

The Golf Hotel, Carnoustie, Scotland

For tickets an info or

Featured Blues Review 5 of 7

Kurt Crandall - Get Wrong With Me

Yesteryear Records

From the first notes of the opening cut of this album, “Shorty’s Got To Go”, it becomes clear that this music is fun! As bandleader Kurt Crandall rips into the vocal part, it’s like the ghost of Cab Calloway is smiling from overhead, because there’s a swinging, nostalgic vibe to this music. Crandall delivers crisp diatonic and chromatic harmonica lines over his uninhibited and honest vocal styling throughout the album. His precise technique and sweet tone on the harp are exposed on “Get Wrong With Me”, a duet with Kansas City legend Myra Taylor on vocals. From a lifetime of singing jazz, one can hear all her 91 years of existence within her haunting voice and little throaty nuances as it contrasts with Crandall’s more direct and earnest vocal approach.

The band on this record features tasty guitar playing by Karl Angerer (album co-producer), very solid drumming by Mike Schlick (Dave Specter & The Bluebirds) and the legendary Kenny Smith, outstanding upright work from Jimmy Sutton (Mighty Blue Kings, Jimmy Sutton’s Four Charms), and all centered by the great piano of Mike Sedovic (Kansas City’s main man on piano). The band easily maneuvers from a simple shuffle like “Dissatisfied” or a Chicago tinged blues number like “Take My Love”, to the jazzy and more sophisticated sound of “Gourmet Ice” , and throughout the session sound like they’ve honed their chops on the road together.

Tracks 1,3,6 & 9 feature background vocal arrangements that really add a warmth to this release. Jaisson Taylor and Lester “Duck” Warner combine their considerable vocal talents to create delicate harmonies like in “Speak Up” and then sound like a seasoned 50’s doo-wop group in “Annie”.

With this album, Kurt Crandall has made his footprint on the blues scene and demonstrates his mastery of jump, jive and swing blues. This is an outstanding record with a lot of variety, and but the thing that really comes through is…this music is fun!

Reviewer Bruce Williams is seasoned Blues musician (Junior Wells, Lefty Dizz and The Chicago Fire, Jimmy “Fast Fingers” Dawkins, Mark Hannon Blues Band). He learned the blues from some of Chicago’s masters and has shared the stage with legends such as Willie Dixon, Jimmy Rogers, Sammy Lawhorn, Hound Dog Taylor and Jimmy Johnson. His band appears at clubs and festivals throughout the Midwest. He hosts a weekly radio program on WRLR FM Public Radio and produces music out of his home based Highland Lake Records

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.

New CD from Alex Dixon Band

Rising From The Bushes

For more info CLICK HERE

Dixon Landing Music

Blues Video of the Week 2 of 2

Luther Allison

Watching You Watching You/Cherry Red Wine
This video shows Luther in his prime. Anyone who see this is left without any doubt why he consistently polls in the top ten Blues guitar players of all time.

The real treat here is is not just his guitar playing, this man was also one of the best Blues singers ever and it is clear here.

He plays two guitar in this video and has his longtime sidekick James Solberg playing second guitar

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


For other videos on our website CLICK HERE.

Featured Blues Review 6 of 7

Taj Mahal - Maestro

Kan-Du Records

Looking at the liner notes, I was prepared to dislike this CD. I love Taj, I have many of his recordings and I’ve seen and heard him many times. However, the propensity among modern artists and producers to have other “name” folks fatten their personnel lists bothers me. It is often a waste of musical space. Ah, Taj Mahal, though, is a musician’s musician. He ain’t wasting nothin’.

Employing his Phantom Blues Band, a killer ensemble, he interprets Slim Harpo’s “Scratch My Back,” his own “Slow Drag” and a burning cover of the Bo Diddley take on “Diddy Wah Diddy.” Taj also does a remake of his own “Further On Down the Road” with this unit. I’m thinking that he was thinking of his guitar partner Jesse Ed Davis when choosing this tune. Davis was co-writer on this simple statement. Before his death he was Mahal’s partner-in-crime.

The title “Slow Drag” is a little misleading. In the early 20th century this was, in African American culture, a dance tempo. It was a sort of Black Tango, sexy and intimate. This tune is much more a ‘cakewalk’ step. The lyrics reference jail time, Taj employing irony, part of the African American lyric tradition. It does manage to touch the early part of the last century because of the banjo. Randy Newman and Ry Cooder have both traveled in this artistic zone.

“Scratch My Back” has none of the laconic nature associated with the original or even most covers. Likewise, “Diddy Wah Diddy” is a Taj Mahal reading, owing little to any other version.

The band called the New Orleans Social Club is loose and nasty, reflecting those NOLA values [Two Meters and a young Neville are present]. The two tracks on which they work are right where they should be. In Taj’s hands Fats Domino’s “Hello Josephine” is not the rollicking celebration of the 50s. Mahal updates the song as something funky, a swamp thang. The back-to-back organ and piano solos are the kind of playing that is a joy. “I Can Make You Happy” is a straight paean to Howlin’ Wolf. Taj uses the gift of his voice to ‘do the Wolf.’ The coolest facet of this song is Taj has managed to write a Wolf-style one-chord riff (Think Smokestack Lightnin’” or “How Many More Years”) but it is based on two chords and inverted from what most musicians would conceive.

Los Lobos joins with Mahal for a very nasty lo-tech cover of Big Joe Turner’s “TV Mama.” The decidedly ‘retro’ attempt to evoke 1953 is successful. I’m not sure it was necessary, but it works very nicely. I can’t help but enjoy the “big wide screen” metaphor… I’m so tired of ‘booty’ references. “Never Let You Go” is something you need to be aware of, Hawai’in Reggae. I’m sure it didn’t take long to teach the East L.A. vatos to reach across the cultural line to do a good job on this tune because they all are committed to tradition as well as progression. Bass player Conrad Lozano handles the Jamaican rhythm admirably.

Ben Harper, knighted by Taj in 1992, contributes “Dust Me Down.” The metaphor misses the mark but it stands as a nice partnership between the Maestro and the student [Harper’s grandparents were friends with Taj].

The Ziggy Marley Band does a subtle job on “Black Man, Brown Man.” In the 40s and 50’s this song would have been a coded criticism/commentary like the seemingly banal “Yellow Bird” or “Sly Mongoose.” In this new millennium it serves as a reminder for the marginalized to retain a connection with their lineage. No anger at ‘Babylon,’ no killing of the Sheriff, just a reminder.

“Strong Man Holler” won’t reveal anything new, but it is a smoldering cut. The topic of lust has been better addressed, but this is a good, sweaty blues tune. Billy Branch brings that Chicago harp sound that reinforces the sentiment.

“Zanzibar” is out of place as the sixth track, but an acceptable song because, like everything Taj Mahal does, it is sincere. It won’t hurt you to hear one of the great Nigerian kora players and a ‘genuine’ African vocalist provide this texture in the middle of a lesson about American vernacular music. If you are a fan of Ry Cooder, you’ll understand. If you are not, there’s something else you should do.

This might be a killer introduction to the range of modern Blues and a little bit of “World Music” for your wife or son. Taj Mahal delivers the ‘rill thang’ without being scary to none but the narrow-minded.

Reviewer John Harrelson has been playing Blues since 1965 and worked in virtually every genre of music; Folk, Country, Jazz, R&B and Rock. He holds a Ph.D in Historical Musicology from the Claremont Graduate University and a B.A. in Anthropology and Ethnomusicology.

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.

New CD by

BJ Allen


Blue Voodoo


"From fun to funky to soulful ballads and back again" - Blues Blast Magazine

To read the complete review CLICK HERE

Available now at:

Featured Blues Review 7 of 7

Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne - Can’t Stop Now

Electro-Fi Records

Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne’s third Electro-Fi release, Can’t Stop Now, features 11 tracks that range from traditional (as in T-Bone Burnett) jazz-tinged blues, two-fisted barrelhouse and boogie, and some tasty funk. “You Cured My Blues” is a traditional ballad lead by some nice guitar work from the late Jeff Healey, and the set’s opening “Boogie Woogie Mama” is classic piano blues. If you appreciate classic blues piano from Marcia Ball or the late Katie Webster, you’ll enjoy this CD from Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne.

“My Sweet Little Peach” is buoyed by Chris Isaak’s drumbeats, and while more than a few blues fans may wince at the rap portion of this song, it mixes several musical styles together from the opening funk to the cut’s closing note. The Washington Blues Society’s own all-star horn section of Scotty Harris, Randy Oxford and Ron Hendee punctuate the lively “Let’s Have Some Fun,” and other guests that support Blues Boss on this CD include Dave “Hurricane” Hoerl of The Twisters (hailing from British Columbia), and Gus Thornton (who played bass on Johnnie Johnson’s last CD, Johnnie Be Eighty. And Still Bad CD).

Kenny Wayne honors Johnnie Johnson’s memory with a spirited cover of “Tanqueray,” and “Johnnie J. Was Good,” which features another of Johnnie’s sidemen, Rich McDonough, on guitar. Canadian blues fans have honored Kenny with many well-deserved awards, including a 2006 Juno (Canada’s Grammy) for Let It Loose (Electro-Fi), three prestigious Maple Blues Awards for Best Piano Player, and a dozen nods from Real Blues Magazine, published in Victoria. Pick up Can’t Stop Now for some great piano-fueled blues!
While Kenny tours frequently in Western Canada, he’s got a rare Midwestern gig at Buddy Guy’s Legends on April 17th. Sample Kenny’s music at his website, and check out other outstanding Electro-Fi artists at the label’s web site.

Reviewer Eric Steiner is President of the Washington Blues Society in Seattle, Washington. The Society was the recipient of the 2009 Keeping the Blues Alive Award in the blues organization category

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.

The River City Blues Society presents

Wednesday Blues 7:00pm Early Shows


April 29 - Bob Dorr & The Blue Band

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

To see Map- CLICK HERE

Admission $4

Live Blues Calendar

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Delfeayo Marsalis Live At The Pearson Lakes Art Center

Press release from the Pearson Art Center at the Iowa Great Lakes

To Broaden Horizons Through the Arts

PRESS RELEASE- For immediate release- pictures on request

What: An Evening with Delfeayo Marsalis

When: Thursday, May 14, 2009 7:30PM

Where: Pearson Lakes Art Center

Cost: members - $20, non-members - $24, students - $12

The Pearson Lakes Art Center presents An Evening with Delfeayo Marsalis

[Okoboji, IA] – The Pearson Lakes Art Center is privileged to bring Delfeayo Marsalis to the Iowa Great Lakes for one night only: May 14, 2009. We suggest you join us for Dinner is Served prior to the performance. Dinner is Served is a new option with select PLAC performances in which we host a catered meal prior to the performance. This meal will be catered by Minervas Restaurant and begins at 6pm. At 6:45 we will host our Curtain Talk, a pre-show discussion of the genre and band, with the performance to follow at 7:30pm in the Lauridsen Performing Arts Theatre. This will be an evening of fine food and music.

Delfeayo Marsalis was born in New Orleans, Louisiana on July 28, 1965. He began studying trombone at age 13, and attended the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts high school. He was classically trained at the Eastern Music Festival and Tanglewood Institute. In 1983, Delfeayo performed Gordon Jacob’s Trombone Concerto with the New Orleans Philharmonic and received the Outstanding Performance Award from the Jefferson Performing Arts Society for his presentation of Marcello’s Sonata #6.

Delfeayo attended the prestigious Berklee College of Music, majoring in both performance and audio production. He has since produced over 75 major-label recordings-several of which have received Grammy awards and nominations-including works by: Harry Connick, Jr., Marcus Roberts, Spike Lee, Ellis, Branford and Wynton Marsalis. His production skills earned a 3M Visionary Award in 1996 and a cover article for the industry source, Mix magazine in 1997.

As a trombonist, Delfeayo has toured internationally with legendary jazz artists Art Blakey, Abdullah Ibrahim, Elvin Jones, Slide Hampton and Max Roach, as well as touring with his own modern jazz ensemble. During a tour with the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, he was filmed as part of the Ken Burns documentary,” Jazz.” A mainstay on the New Orleans modern jazz scene, he has released three solo albums to critical acclaim, Pontius Pilate’s Decision in 1992, Musashi in 1997, and Minions Dominion in September 2006. Along with late trombone master J.J. Johnson, several music reviewers have labeled Mr. Marsalis as one of the freshest modern voices on the instrument to arrive in the 90’s.

If you enjoy Jazz music you will LOVE this evening of music. The name says it all! Marsalis! Call the Pearson Lakes Art Center at 712-332-7013 or go to for tickets and information. Tickets are $20 for members, $24 for non-members and $12 for students. Dinner is an additional $18.95 and reservations are required by May 12th at 4pm.

Sponsored by the Goodenow Foundation

Thanks to our Gold Corporate Partners: Bank Midwest; Signe Kim Lauridsen-Jones; Liberty Bank; & Wells Blue Bunny and Silver Corporate Partners: United Community Bank; Spirit Lake Hy-Vee; Midwest Coca-Cola; Northwest Federal Savings Bank; The Inn at Okoboji; the Bud Pearson Fund for Art Education; Tom Fuhrman’s Edward Jones Investments; Kum & Go; Piccadilly Circus Pizza/LandMark Products, & Gene Krueger Construction

For questions please call Andrea at 712-332-7013 x 107 or