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Friday, July 24, 2009

Blues Historian Review: Jason Ricci And New Blood, Done With the Devil

Jason Ricci has certainly paid his dues, and his new release Done With The Devil is one of the best blues CDs that I have had in my hands since starting Blues Historian. There is an old saying that to play the blues you have to live the blues. Ricci has certainly faced the blues head on in a political climate that until the election of Obama, didn't like different. (click here for more info.) This is one brave man. Yet, this is about not only the guts of a great performer, but also a CD of increadable blues. Ricci's last release Rocket Number Nine was eclectic, but great, Done With The Devil blows that away. The title song itself ties in the old legend of the devil and blues, but with a new twist. Ricci rejects the devil, and in my mind he is rejecting all of the dream weavers in the music business who try to stick forks in you. They are a sneaky bunch, and having delt with promoters, bar owners, blues societies, etc. my whole life, I was thinking they are a devilish lot:-)

Ricci is an amazing harp player. He just burns throughout the disc. Both he and the guitarist, Shawn Starski, just blow the doors off on this CD. This is the real deal folks. Smoke will come out of your speakers when you play this music! I now that there are going to be some purists who think that all harp players should sound like Little Walter, or the Chicago sound, but people like myself who were lucky enough to be around Kansas City in the mid to late 80s, know real harp,(check out Lee McBee, John Paul Drum, Mo Paul, and the late Provine "Little" Hatch) and they will recognize Ricci's enormous talent. Ricci is phenomenal on his harp. Furthermore he has the credentials to back it up. He played with Junior Kimbrough, and RL Burnside. That is the real deal folks.

The whole album rocks pretty much from beginning to end, with a few jazzy, eclectic numbers thrown in. He has a very touching and rocking salute to the late bluesman Craig Lawler, called Holler For Craig Lawler. (for more on his amazing life click HERE) His song Broken Toy whether autobiographical or not, is almost heart wrenching, because it talks about what it is like to be a misfit, and not fitting in. The very last song, Enlightenment, is an interesting idea. It is more reminiscent of his earlier CD. The only song that really has anything close to the punk blues label that some have thrown on him is I Turned Into A Martian. it certainly has some punk sensiblities in it, that it is quick, with funky background vocals, but then when he rips into his solo, it is all Charlie Musselwhite!

I know I say a lot of the CDs that I review are must haves, but this is one of those disks that people will treasure for a long time. It is time more people discover this kid, his harp playing, and his amazing band. Get out there and do your job and spread the word people!! Jason is the real deal!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Blind Tom Wiggins

Just received this from email. Just thought you might find this interesting.

Slave Pianist, America's Lost Musical Genius
(Overlook Press, 2009)

Cover of Ballad of Blind Tom

Tom's is a story with
bottomless complexity, touching on race and sanity and slavery and art. But ultimately his life makes us think about what it means to be human.

An exciting narrative full of powerful visual imagery. An irresistible read.
An incredibly rich insight into the period as well as the man.

If you’re an avid reader of African American history or a student of early American entertainment, you’ll want this book.

A compelling story suitable for any music history collection
Meticulously researched and footnoted...a remarkable tale.

Wonderful...Goes a long was towards putting Wiggins career in proper perspective.

Purchase The Ballad of Blind Tom at


"I am astounded. I cannot account for it, no one can. No one understands it," a St Louis man uttered after watching Blind Tom perform in concert in 1866. Few other performers on the nineteenth century stage aroused as much curiosity as "Blind Tom" Wiggins. Born a slave in Georgia in 1848, by the time he died Hoboken in 1908, he was an international celebrity and his name was a byword for inexplicable genius.

Blind Tom possessed extraordinary musical gifts. He had an encyclopedic memory and could imitate, either vocally or musically, any sound he heard. These bewildering powers rocketed him to fame, though no one could agree whether he was a legitimate concert pianist or a glorified sideshow freak.

For the first time, author Deirdre O'Connell pieces together the two worlds of Blind Tom Wiggins: the brutally racist society in which he lived and the symphony inside his head.


R.J. Smith, Los Angeles Times
The name Blind Tom means nothing today, but in Civil War-era America, he was one of the greatest music stars going. Sightless, African American, he was born into slavery and was probably autistic. He was afraid of strangers and clung to his guardians. He would slap those who laughed at him and shove women off the piano bench when their playing offended him.

Whooping and sputtering, he would twist his body into knots, standing on one foot and leaning forward, hopping around the room in fits of vigor broken up by somersaults and twirls. He ate with his hands, when he didn't put his face down into his food. And he was called a genius by those who heard him play the piano. Blind Tom had freakish listening skills and an amazing talent for reproducing what he heard. He could play back complicated music he'd listened to but once; he could translate the external phenomena that transfixed him -- rainstorms, trains, sewing machines -- into impressionistic musical fantasies...
Tom's is a story with bottomless complexity, touching on race and sanity and slavery and art. But ultimately, his life makes us think about what it means to be human.

Such material is catnip for a theory-driven writer. Thankfully, Deirdre O'Connell isn't one. In The Ballad of Blind Tom, Slave Pianist she lays bare the ambiguities and leaves most of them at that. Few books ask as many questions, yet while too many questions can leave us begging for resolution, O'Connell mostly gets out of the way. She airs the unknowable stuff -- but then gets on to the next chapter of this all-but-forgotten mystery man's brilliant career.

Jon Black, Living Blues Magazine
The improbable rise to fame and fascinating but tragic personal life of this largely forgotten American musician is the subject of The Ballad Of Blind Tom, Slave Pianist. Ballad is the creation of Australian writer and filmmaker Deirdre O'Connell. Her previous works include a documentary film for the Jimi Hendrix estate. On The Ballad Of Blind Tom O'Connell's skill as a filmmaker has served her well - she has created an exciting narrative text full of powerful visual imagery.

Sonic Boomers' Roy Trakin reviews The Ballad of Blind Tom and selects it for his Half-Years Best
O'Connell's expert research traces the origins of the blind Civil War era slave, classical pianist prodigy and expert mimic who became one of the country's most celebrated entertainers, with a blend of savagery and unexpected brilliance that made him the forerunner of everyone from Ray Charles to Susan Boyle.

Fresh Air's Rock 'n' Roll Historian, Ed Ward

It's a credit she manages to sugar-coat the pill of the horrid story of Tom's exploitation and brutalization enough to keep the reader on the page.

Mary Fitzgerald, The Observer (UK)

The musical genius of Thomas Wiggins was feted by Mark Twain and Willa Cather during his lifetime, by Dizzy Gillespie after his death, and mimicked by countless impersonators. He was the first African-American ever to perform at the White House. Yet he has since faded into obscurity...

It's a story full of contradictions and confusion. According to 19th-century white planter ideology, Tom was "sub-human"; according to African-American folklore, he was a "spirit child" blessed with the gift of "second sight"; according to more recent interpretations, he was an autistic savant. The greatest strength of this book is that it sides with none of these views. Instead, O'Connell embraces all "the holes, contradictions, outright lies and distortions and the tiny nuggets of truth" and reimagines the cacophony Tom might have heard in the turbulent world that surrounded him.

Publisher's Weekly
O’Connell’s vivid, carefully researched narrative reflects the tenor of the times, the culture of the Old South, the chaos of emancipation and Blind Tom’s single-minded devotion to his performances.

Deirdre O'Connell is an Australian writer and filmmaker, who has worked for the
Jimi Hendrix Estate with Alan Douglas and Peter Neal plus underground artist, Martin Sharp and author, Robert Lawlor. A number of her documentaries on environmental issues have been broadcast on the BBC. She continues to work in broadcasting and community cultural development.

To find out more about Blind Tom Wiggins,

Andy Coats Update

I forgot to include this in my earlier message this week …. Come on out for some “RR and B” -- Roots, Rock, and Blues.

Saturday, July 25, 10 pm - 2 am
Andy Coats & the Bank Walkers
O'Malleys Irish Pub

5228 Hollyridge Rd., Raleigh NC

Hope to see you there, and don’t forget the Blue Horn Lounge on Thurs!



Murali Coryell Update

Upcoming gigs for Murali Coryell

Friday, July 24th, 2009
Murali Coryell Band w/Dorian Randolph-drums & Steve Aldi-bass - 7:00pm
Mariners Harbor

1 Broadway
Kingston, NY 12401
(845) 340-8051

Sunday, July 26th, 2009
solo acoustic - 2:00pm-5:00pm
Torches on the Hudson

90 Front Street
Newburgh, NY
(845) 568-0100

Price: Free

Friday, July 31st, 2009
Murali Coryell Band w/Dorian Randolph-drums & Steve Aldi-bass - 7:00pm
Cooperstown Blues Express

Milford, NY

Price: TBA

Saturday, August 1st, 2009
Hudson River Blues Cruise - 9:00pm
The Teal

T.R. Gallo Park
Kingston, NY
(845) 750 6025

Price: $60 includes food and non-alcoho

Anyone interested in attending can call John Fisher at 518-265-9131 (cell), or send the $60 check payable to "Coleman High Class of 1984" to John H. Fisher, 991 Deans Mill Road, Ravena, New York 12143

Saturday, August 1st, 2009
Murali Coryell Band w/Dorian Randolph-drums & Steve Aldi-bass - TBA
Downing Park

Route 9W
Newburgh, NY

Price: Free

Sunday, August 2nd, 2009
National Guitar Workshop

Purchase, NY

Murali teaching August 2-7. When you sign up please let them know Murali Coryell recommended NGW

Saturday, August 15th, 2009
Private Party

Rotterdam, NY

Thursday, August 20th, 2009
Born to Play: Live Acoustic Performances in 700+ Gap Stores - 7-9pm
The Gap

21 River Road
Wilton, CT
(203) 762-2740

Price: Free

Wilton Campus

Saturday, August 22nd, 2009
Private Party

Philadelphia, PA

Sunday, August 30th, 2009
Murali Coryell Band w/Dorian Randolph-drums & Steve Aldi-bass - 2:00pm
Memorial Park Gazebo

5th St and West Catherine St
Milford, PA

Milford Borough̢۪s Music in the Park 2009

Saturday, October 3rd, 2009
Billy's Lounge

1437 Wealthy St. SE
Grand Rapids, MI

Price: $5

Sunday, October 4th, 2009
Buddy Guys Legends

754 S. Wabash Ave.
Chicago, IL 60605
Price: $10

Illinois Blues

The FREE Internet Magazine - All news BLUES in the US!

© 2007 - 2009

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,

The 2009 Blues Blast Music Awards voting is open until August 31st. You can win free prizes in our weekly drawings for voters. HAVE YOU VOTED YET? To vote now CLICK HERE.

If you are not familiar with all the artists nominated visit the "listening page" our friends at GLT Blues Radio 24/7 created where you can sample the music of the nominees BEFORE you vote. To check out the website and begin listening to these great artists now, CLICK HERE.

Blues Wanderings

We went went to the Nothin' But The Blues Festival last weekend. The show featured some great Blues acts including Harper, Big James and the Chicago Playboys and Sharrie Williams pictured below.

We will have a complete review and photos of all the fun next week.

In this issue - Blues Reviews and MORE!

Mike O'Cull reviews a new CD from Cal Williams Jr. Eric Steiner reviews a new CD by Dave Acari. Steve Jones reviews a new CD by Rich Berry. Mark Thompson reviews a CD by Mike Benno. Joan Turner reviews a new CD by Homemade Jamz Blues Band. Gary “Wingman” Weeks reviews a new CD by Sean Chambers

Bob Kieser reviews day two of the IH Mississippi Valley Blues Festival.

Our Blues Video of the Week is Blues Blast Music Award nominee Joanne Shaw Taylor playing "Blackest Day" from her Debut CD.

12th Annual Prairie Dog Blues Fest

Friday, July 31, 2009

Queenie & The Blue Cats Curtis Salgado The Groove Hogs Ana Popovic The Swamp Kings

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Perry Weber & The Devilles, Dave Weld & The Imperial Flames Jimmy Thackery & The Drivers Johnny Rawls Lil' Brian & The Zydeco Travelers Davy Knowles & Back Door Slam Jon Justice

Festival Website

The only Blues festival held on an island in the middle of the Mississippi River!

Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin on St. Feriole Island

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.

Keyboard Player Available For Gigs

Great Keyboard player available for gigs. Can play piano, organ and back up horn sounds and much more. See current solo site and current band site at: Contact "Detroit" Mike at 574-202-7603

Singer Looking For Band

Blues& Jazz singer with original songs looking for a band, check out click the bottom of home page to hear my best selling single. James Van Buren

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

Tab Benoit Kenny Neal Band Ronnie Baker Brooks Davy Knowles & Back Door Slam Kelley Hunt Reba Russell Band Nathan Keck & the Underground Blues Division The Cate Brothers Josh Garrett and the Bottomline Steve Smith and the Sneakers Stewart Mann and the Statesboro Revue Shae and Ethan

For tickets and complete information:

Featured Blues Review 1 of 6

Cal Williams Jr. - Morning Star

Self Release

Cal Williams Jr. is a fine, understated acoustic blues and slide guitarist from Australia and seems to be generating a big noise ‘down under’. He has been voted South Australian Songwriter of the Year three times, has performed at a variety of leading U.K. venues and festivals including the Leeds In-The-City Festival, the Famous Spiegeltent, the Edinburgh Festival fringe, the Beverley and East Riding Festival, H2004 and H2005 Scarborough Beached Festival, Musicport World Music Festival, Baysound Festival and The St. Ives September Fringe, and has recently put forth his latest recorded effort, Morning Star.

One listen and it is easy to see why Williams has been successful at his work and why he has shared stages with the likes of Billy Bragg, KT Tunstall, and Martin Simpson. His thing is folk/acoustic blues music with an occasional hippy vibe thrown in for good measure. Morning Star has a gentle, soothing quality and is a great alternative when you want some blues, but don’t really need the sting of a Stratocaster.

Williams’ laid-back vocal delivery and gorgeous acoustic guitar sound drift out of your speakers and envelop you and pull you into his musical world, which could be compared to the one inhabited by icons like Ry Cooder and Rory Block.

The album’s opener, the instrumental “GreyHound”, begins with an almost New Age feel, which catches the listener off guard. This is supposed to be blues, right? Well, these are Cal’s blues, and he plays them as he pleases, with all of his influences thrown in. The track does develop more rootsy flavor as it progresses, which should make the stalwarts happy.

“Mexico City Blues” is like listening to an acoustic Canned Heat with Skip James singing lead and has a very cool 70’s sort of thing to it. Through it all, Williams paints vivid pictures of landscapes and the people within them and is obviously as much of a songwriter as a guitarist. Cal Williams Jr. is one that blues fans who are looking for something a bit different may want to keep their ears pealed for.

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.

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.

2009 Blues Blast Music Awards Voting Is Open

The Blues Blast Music Awards recognize the best Blues performers and their music. Our nominators included Radio stations, Blues DJ's, Blues Bloggers, Blues Critics, Journalists, Festival Promoters, Managers, Musicians and Blues Societies. They have nominated the BEST in Blues Music today. To vote now CLICK HERE.

BE AN INFORMED VOTER - If you are not familiar with all of the 2009 nominees, GLT Blues Radio 24/7 has a created a "listening page" where you can sample the music of the nominees BEFORE you vote. To check out the website and begin listening to these great artists now, CLICK HERE Voting continues until August 31st. Details of the Awards show on October 29th, 2009 at Buddy Guy's Legends coming soon.

Best Contemporary Blues Recording

" At Least I’m Not With You” The Insomniacs

"Love Me Tonight" John Nemeth

“Live at Chan’s Vol 2” Nick Moss

"Clean Getaway" Curtis Salgado

"What Love Will Do" Janiva Magness

"Never going Back" Shemekia Copeland

Best Blues Band

Nick Moss and The Flip Tops

Lil Ed And The Blues Imperials

Kilborn Alley Blues Band

Mannish Boys

The Insomniacs

Watermelon Slim and The Workers

Best Traditional Blues Recording

"Chicago Blues: A Living History" Various Artists

"Sweeheart Like You" Guy Davis

"All Original" John Primer

"Lowdown Feelin" Mannish Boys

"Blues Attack" Shirley Johnson

"One Kind Favor" BB King

Best Male Blues Artist

John Primer

Bobby Jones

Nick Moss

Lurrie Bell

John Nemeth

Elvin Bishop

Best Blues Song

“Bad Year Blues” Albert Castiglia

"At Least I'm Not With You" - The Insomniacs

"Mr. Coffee" Chris James & Patrick Rynn

"20 Years of B.B. King" Curtis Salgado

"Let Life Flow" Kenny Neal

"See That My Grave is Kept Clean" BB King

Best Female Blues Artist

Shirley Johnson

Robin Rogers

Diunna Greenleaf

Shemekia Copeland

Eden Brent

Janiva Magness

Best New Artist Debut

"Stop And Think About It" Chris James & Patrick Rynn

"White Sugar" Joanne Shaw Taylor

"Austin To Chicago" Dave Herrero

"2 Man Wrecking Crew" Cedric Burnside & Lightnin' Malcolm

"Livin It" Guy King

"Mississippi Number One" Eden Brent

Sean Costello Rising Star Award

Eden Brent

Kilborn Alley Blues Band

Joanne Shaw Taylor

Albert Castiglia

Dave Gross

Cedric Burnside and Lightnin' Malcolm

Blues Society News

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

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

Magic City Blues Society - Birmingham. AL

Magic City Blues Society presents Junk Yard Juke, August 15, 2009, 3:00 p.m. at 430 41st Street South
Birmingham, AL (behind Tres' Taylor's Art Studio) featuring Spoonful, Jonny Grave and Elliott & The Untouchables. Bring your chairs and coolers. Admission: $10. For more Information, contact Lee Mitchell 205-822-1705

Washington Blues Society - Seattle, WA

The Washington Blues Society IBC 2010 Competition - WBS will host local competitions to send a band and a solo/duo act to the 2010 International Blues Challenge (IBC). The semi-final band competition will be held Sunday, July 26th at the Highway 99 Blues Club in Seattle. The semi-final solo/duo competition will be held Sunday, August 9th at Seattle’s New Orleans Creole Restaurant. Finalists in each category will compete in the finals on Sunday, August 23rd at the Highway 99 Blues Club. If the WBS receives more than 10 applicants in either category, the Board may select applicants via a lottery at the July 14th Blues Bash at the Red Crane in Shoreline. One winner in each category will represent the WBS in the 2010 IBC in Memphis, January 20-23. Judges will evaluate each act using the Blues Foundation criteria (, and not be affiliated with the WBS Board or any contestant. Contestant applications are due July 13th from, and IBC rules are at More info: Eric Steiner (

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: July 29 - Jon Justice Band, August 5th - The Dave Chastain Band

The Natchel’ Blues Network - Norfolk, VA

The Natchel’ Blues Network and Beach Events Presents the 16th Annual Blues at the Beach Festival, September 11-13, 2009, Beachstreet Pavilion - 17th St. Stage, Virginia Beach VA. Free and open to everyone. The lineup includes Eddy “The Chief” Clearwater, Sherman Robertson, The Deanna Bogart Band , Li’l Ronnie’s Blues Harmonica Revue, The JW-Jones Blues Band w/ Little Charlie Baty, Nick Curran, Matt Wigler, The Buddy Parker Band, Planet Full of Blues and The Blues Cats.

Blues workshops will be presented on-site over the course of the weekend, featuring national and local artists TBA. The workshops are part of the festival, and are free and open to the public.

For further information concerning the Blues Festival weekend, please contact: Mark Johnson, 757-344-6637 (C) or visit the Natchel Blues Network at

The Arkansas River Blues Society - Little Rock, Arkansas

The Arkansas River Blues Society presents a monthly Blues jam at Juanita’s, 1300 Main Street, Little Rock, Arkansas the first Tuesday of every month. The next jam will be September 1, 2009, at 8 pm. The jam will feature a different house band each month. G - Funk The Tree Trunk will be our house band. You can check this band out on our myspace site. Admission is $5 for the public and $3 for members of ARBS. Participating musicians are FREE and this is an open jam. For more information contact Babs at 501-920-7783 or check out

Friends Of The Blues Shows - Kankakee IL

The Friends of the Blues 2009 Blues concert Series shows for July.

Tuesday, July 28 – CHICAGO KINGSNAKES, 7 p.m. Early Show, Bradley Bourbonnais Sportsmen Club, 2672 Chippewa Drive, Bourbonnais IL (815) 937-0870. Some Great Chicago Blues!

Central Mississippi Blues Society – Jackson, MS

The CMBS presents Blue Monday at Hal & Mal’s (200 Commerce St., Jackson, MS) every Monday night. Doors open @ 8:00 and music begins @ 8:30. Cover is $5.

The Blue Monday Band is comprised of the “best of the best “ musicians in the Central MS area. Featured artists are King Edward, lead guitar/vocalist and Pat Brown, Abdul Rasheed and Dennis Fountain as vocalists. Other regular band members are Dwight Ross and Rick Lewis (drums), Keith Collins (bass), Johnny Sharpe (keys) and Malcolm Shepherd (CMBS President) on Congas. Most of these musicians appeared in The Last of the Mississippi Jukes.

The Blue Monday Band plays the first set and then the event turns into a jam. For more info see: or call Peggy Brown @ 601-613-7377

Illinois Central Blues Club - Springfield, IL

The Illinois Central Blues Club will be conducting its Third Annual Blues Challenge during the Old Capitol Blues & Barbeque, August 29, 2009 beginning at noon. Deadline to apply is July 15, 2009. Official rules can be viewed on the ICBC’s website, . The Challenge includes both the band competition and the solo/duo competition on the same day. The winner of the band challenge will receive $1,000 and the winner of the solo/duo challenge will receive $500 in travel monies to represent the Club at the Blues Foundation’s International Blues Challenge (IBC) in Memphis, TN January 20-23, 2010. Inquiries regarding this press release should be directed to Mark Edmiston, President of the Illinois Central Blues Club, at (217) 679-0721 or e-mail

BLUE MONDAY SHOWS - Held at the Alamo 115 N 5th St, Springfield, IL (217) 523-1455 every Monday 8:30pm $2 cover - July 27 Bill Evans

Featured Blues Review 2 of 6

Dave Arcari - Got Me Electric

Buzz Records

Dave Arcari’s CD sounds like it’s straight out of Greenville, Mississippi rather than this Scottish guitarist’s Glasgow. Dave Arcari has released a CD with a baker’s dozen of ragged and rough-hewn blues built around his National steel guitar, and he’s an in-demand, award-winning bluesman across the pond. Last year, Dave was a featured player at the North by North East festival in Toronto (Canada’s response to the call of Austin’s SXSW), and he was a finalist in the best male solo artist category in the United Kingdom Indy Music Awards. He’s touring 150+ nights a year throughout the UK, with stops in Germany, France, Estonia, and Finland. Dave also has a considerable rock resume, but I’m glad that he’s focused on that National (as opposed to those everpresent Marshall stacks).

Got Me Electric is Dave’s got four other well-regarded blues CDs (Blue Country Steel, Something Old/Something Borrowed Volumes 1 and 2, and Come With Me), and I hope that his latest Buzz records release gets him greater recognition and airplay stateside.

There are 10 original cuts on Got Me Electric, but especially appreciate his fine, gentle, and nuanced playing on the classic “Soul of a Man,” and ragged, forceful delivery on “One More Heartbreak.”

Fans of troubadour-styled acoustic blues will warm to the story behind “Parcel of Rogues,” the upbeat, country-blues inflected “Hear Me Coming,” and the plugged-in and ragged (guitar done Hound Dog Taylor-style, vocals stretched to their breaking point a la the Wolf) tribute to Robert Johnson, “Walkin’ Blues.”

This year, Dave will play the prestigious Smokie Blues Festival in Carnoustie, and the bill also features international blues acts like Papa Mojo, Dr. Bendix, and one of my favorite young guns of British blues, Ian Siegel. Dave’s keeping some pretty good company, and I’m glad he got himself electric.

Fair warning: if you like your blues smooth with crooning vocals, I’m sorry to say that this CD is not for you. However, if you appreciate blues played on a National steel guitar with a few rough edges now and then with vocals to match, I highly recommend Got Me Electric. .

Reviewer Eric Steiner is the President of the Washington Blues Society, the proud recipient of a 2009 Keeping the Blues Alive Award from the Blues Foundation. For more information, you can email Eric at and visit

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.

Featured Blues Review 3 of 6

Marc Benno - I Got It Bad

Blue Skunk Music

10 tracks/32:14

Older listeners may remember Marc Benno from his partnership in the late 1960’s with Leon Russell in the Asylum Choir. The guitarist cut several solo recordings in the following decade. After a long absence, Benno started issuing new recordings six years ago on his own label. This title is a re-issue of a project from 2004 that features eight original tunes and two more that Benno co-wrote with Gary Nicholson.

The photos that accompany the disc all feature Benno with his 70’s vintage Fender Stratocaster. He handles all of the guitar parts and lead vocals as well as adding keyboards on several tracks. The rhythm section consists of Jack Barber on bass and George Rains on drums. Both were long-time associates of the late Doug Sahm. Additional support comes from Al Gomez on trumpet, Louie Bustos on tenor sax and Sauce Gonzalez on Hammond organ and piano.

Benno has a clean, fluid style on guitar with a definite Texas feel that one would expect from a musician that started out his career in Austin. The lone instrumental, “Tip Jar,” is a concise example of Benno’s guitar sound, which favors tone and feel in place of speedy runs up & down the guitar neck. On the slow blues tune, “My Baby’s a Gambler”, Marc punctuates his gritty vocal with taut guitar licks that make this track one of the highlights of the disc. The opening tracks benefit from the presence of the horns. “Terminal Case of the Blues” is a rough-edged rocker while “Alone in San Antone” is a swinging shuffle, the kind of tune that Sahm used throughout his career.

Benno’s voice fails him a bit on “Texas Oil Driller”. He has a limited range and can’t quite muster the power that the track requires. But Jim McFarlin shines on piano and Benno overdubs a slide guitar part in addition to his Strat work. He fares better on “Too Bad You’re Good”, a tune better suited for his singing capabilities. Gonzalez provides superb support on the organ. He turns in his strongest vocal on “Chance on You”, singing at the upper end of his range without straining his voice. The disc closes with another hard-driving track, “Thing or Two”, with more fine guitar work from Benno.

While Benno may not be the most compelling singer, he definitely is a guitar player worth a listen. He also ably demonstrates his talent as a songwriter throughout the disc. Other than the short playing time, I Got It Bad is a strong collection that certainly deserves another chance to reach a wider audience.

Reviewer Mark Thompson is president of the Crossroads Blues Society in Rockford. IL

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.

Blues Video of the Week

Joanne Shaw Taylor
"Blackest Day"

This week we feature Blues Blast Music Award nominee Joanne Shaw Taylor performing the last song on her debut CD live this past April.

This girl ain't no sissy guitar player!

Check out this video to see what it means to play like a girl! We need more female Blues guitar players!

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


For other videos on our website CLICK HERE.

Live Blues Music Review

IH Mississippi Valley Blues Festival - Day Two - July 3rd,2009

The 25th Mississippi Valley Blues Festival day two in Le Claire Park in Davenport, Iowa featured some huge Blues names and a few new ones that may be around for awhile. Kicking off the show on the main stage this day was one of the new ones, the Avey Brothers.

The Avey Brothers won the 2008 Iowa Blues Challenge sending them to Memphis to compete in the 2009 International Blues Challenge last February. They have proved they have staying power by winning the 2009 Iowa Blues Challenge to represent the state of Iowa in Memphis again next January at the 20010 International Blues Challenge. They kicked it up a notch for this show with "Detroit" Larry Davison sitting in on harp.

Starting off on the tent stage banjo master T. J. Wheeler. He got the crowd singing and clapping along.

Wheeler served as a great warm up for a true legend who took the stage next, David "Honeyboy" Edwards. Most folks know that Honeyboy is the last of the original Delta Bluesmen. As he will tell you, he was there the night Robert Johnson was murdered.

There was a slight delay as Honeyboy and his good friend and partner Michael Frank waited for Hawkeye Herman to find a guitar. Honeyboy insisted that Hawkeye play the set with him and Michael and it was a great combination.

We've caught Honeyboy's show quite a few times in the last couple years and this was the most energetic set we have ever seen him do. Not bad for a guy who just turned 94 years old the week before the fest!

Back on the band shell stage, Iowa Bluesman Ellis Kell played a hot set of blues. His guitar playing is pretty amazing. His slide playing got the crowd going too.

Next up was Eugene Hideaway Bridges all the way from Huston, Texas. Eugene is the real deal. Man this guy can wail on the guitar. His singing and songwriting skills are awesome too making him the complete package. He is definitely a "must see" if he plays anywhere near you!

Back in the tent stage Fiona Boyes hit the stage and easily won over the crowd with her solo set, playing a mean guitar and singing songs from her last CD. She is a master storyteller too and this Australian Blues woman will definitely change your idea of what it means to " play like a girl"! This gal knows what to do with the business end of a guitar.

Next up on the tent stage was jazz artist Dee Alexander. She provided a nice break from the constant Blues by showing a jazzy side of the Blues.

Back on the band shell stage Ric E Bluez provided a great set of soul Blues for the crowd.

The evening finally brought the headliners on both stages. On the tent stage Sugar Pie DeSanto provided a bawdy set of blues that the crowd loved. At the age of 74 this little lady is a ball of musical energy bounding form one side of the stage to the other and jumping off the stage at times to get up close and personal with her audience. This is another of those "must see" acts so look for her near you and check her out!

The final act on the Band Shell stage was Eddy "The Chief" Clearwater. You know you are in for a great performance when ever Eddy performs and this evening was no exception. Eddy had the crowd going and was a fitting end to day two of the 25th Mississippi Valley Blues Festival.

We would be back the next day for one more day of great Blues. Stay tuned next week for day three!

Review and photos by Blues Blast editor Bob Kieserl

Featured Blues Review 4 of 6

Rich Berry - Headin’ South On a Delta Breeze


11 tracks/38:01

When you think about Kansas City, what first comes to your mind may be good barbeque. Well, in addition to good barbeque, there also happens to be a bluesman there who can play and sing traditional folk blues who just might surprise you. Rich Berry has played music regionally for over 40 years and he’s lately been on the move to perhaps become a national act. He participated in the International Blues Challenge in Memphis in 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2009 in addition to playing a lot of festivals over the last few years. His style is traditional acoustic blues and his stated and obvious influences were the masters of the Mississippi Delta and Chicago blues.

Berry sings and plays both guitar (acoustic and resonator with slide) and harp. 10 of the 11 tracks feature Rick playing and singing solo while the other one includes Jim Brown on bass. His guitar picking is nicely done and the harp is clean and bright. His voice gives his music a lonely, airy tone with headiness, which fits the tone of most of songs; they tend to be about loves lost, gained, regained, maintained or destroyed. Ah, the blues!

“The Devil Takes Care of His Own” is a spiffy little song about…well, you can guess what it’s about. He sings that he’s carrying a mojo with him (the old black cat’s bone) and a Saint Christopher medal that all hang from his mike and that have been blessed by a voodoo queen. But he claims he’s still looking over his shoulder because “The Devil Takes Care of His Own.” In another nice cut, he owns up to his responsibilities in bad relations and admits in song and title, “I’ve Got No Alibi.” “Make a Fuss” is another great track and there are 8 other equally good tracks, not overly complex, but all just straight up and regular blues that are executed by man who really seems to enjoy playing and singing.

Rick’s songs are about his life, your life, my life, anyone’s life. They are filled with simple complaints, pleas, wishes, hopes and dreams; a regular guys’ life’s set of woes and pleasures. He sounds as if he’s your neighbor, strumming while blowing harp or singing. Pop a beer or grab soft drink, get a chair or comfy seat, turn on this CD and sit back and relax to the blues in a neighborly way as it was, is and always will (or at least should) be!

Reviewer Steve Jones is Secretary of the Crossroads Blues Society in Rockford. IL

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Featured Blues Review 5 of 6

Homemade Jamz Blues Band - I Got Blues For You

Northern Blues Music

Fans hungry for more from this amazing North Mississippi trio will find a feast in this sensational new album from Northern Blues Music.

The Perry siblings, Ryan, sixteen, lead guitar and vocals; Kyle, fourteen, bass; and Taya, ten, drums, burst upon the blues music scene in 2007, placing second in the band category in the International Blues Challenge in Memphis against a field of a hundred and the rest is legend. Not only were they the youngest blues band to sign with a major recording company, their smash debut album for Northern Blues Music, Pay Me No Mind, rocked Billboard Charts for seven weeks and garnered the band a nomination for the coveted Blues Music Award for Best New Artist Debut, 2008.

Their momentum continues. Homemade Jamz has been featured on the TV programs “Today Show,” (NBC), “All Things Considered” (NPR) and “Sunday Morning News” (CBS) and is in demand for festivals and other events everywhere.

And their music keeps getting better. I’ve Got Blues For You features twelve tracks, eleven of which are original numbers penned by their father Renaud Perry, who not only creates the unique handmade guitars Ryan and Kyle play but joins in with some rich harmonica work on several songs, including the rocking “Hobo Man” and the smoking title track “I Got Blues for You.”

Ryan’s wailing guitar work and throaty vocals backed by Kyle and Taya’s strong percussion keep the beat jumping on the Titus Turner cover “Grits Ain’t Groceries,” and from the up-tempo “Hard Headed Woman” to the sweet love ballad “Heaven Lost an Angel” to the traditional low down blues grooves of “In the Wind,” this album is a winner.

An immediate sensation from day one, Homemade Jamz proves once again they are no flash in the pan. I’ve Got Blues for You is a powerful follow up to the band’s knock out debut album. Their music is only getting better. Two thumbs up for I Got Blues for You!

Reviewer Joan Turner is a writer and blues fan from North Mississippi Hill County who frequently covers the Deep South blues scene. Her reviews, articles and fiction have appeared in over 700 print and online publications worldwide, and her article “The Ghosts of Mississippi” was voted Best Nonfiction Article of the Year in the Preditors’ and Editors’ Readers’ Poll, 2005.

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.

New CD From

South Side Cindy & The Slip Tones

This Time

To listen & purchase this CD now - CLICK HERE

Featured Blues Review 6 of 6

Sean Chambers - Ten Til Midnight

Independent Release

When you grow up listening to players like B.B. King, Howlin Wolf, Jimi Hendrix and Muddy Waters, you're getting the best education in learning how to play the blues. And when you work your way into becoming Hubert Sumlin's guitarist and bandleader, then that's an additional feather in your hat.

Not bad for Florida's own Sean Chambers who has just released his third cd entitled "Ten Til Midnight." Traces of Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan can be found in Sean's playing. Yet they are only reference points for a brand of blues rock that owes to a wide spectrum of influences and not pigeonholed to limited sources.

When you listen to Chambers' rendition of Luther Allison's "All The Kings Horses," the guitar-work sounds like Walter Trout when he was starting out at the age of twenty. Sean has strong backing from drummer Paul Broderick and bassist Tim Blair. But the contributions of other players can't be ignored. Gary Keith's harmonica provides jukejoint nuance in the upbeat "Blues And Rock 'N' Roll." Jack Henriquez hits them piano keys heavily on Eddie Jones' "You're Gonna Miss Me" which is a spiritual cousin of Muddy Water's "Cant Be Satisfied."

Sean is hitting his stride as a songwriter. He pours a bleeding heart into "In The Winter Time" with his Strat that just bends, twists and howls notes. He does a pretty good Billy Gibbons vocal impersonation of ZZ Top's riff-rocker "Brown Sugar."

It might be difficult for Chambers getting away from the strong grasp of Muddy Waters. The slide dobro of "I Don't Know Why" and electric slide of "When I Get Lonely" both bear the seal of Mckinley Morganfield.

Chambers is not signed with any big label yet. Once he shops this release around, he shouldn't have any problems in hooking up a company who love their guitar players loud with rocking doses of the blues.

Review by Gary “Wingman” Weeks

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.

A new CD from Michael Packer

Rikers Island Blues

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