July 20, 2010
- Blues Blast Music Award voting has begun! The voting for the 2010 Blues Blast Music Awards has begun. Voting is open to anyone who is a Blues Blast Magazine subscriber. Subscriptions are free and you can sign up as part of the voting process. Please consider a vote for Dave Riley & Bob Corritore / Lucky To Be Living, which is nominated under the category of "Best Traditional Blues Recording." To see a complete list of all nominees and to vote please click here. The awards, put on by Blues Blast Magazine, will take place on Thursday, October 28th, at Buddy Guy's Legends new location of 700 S. Wabash Ave., Chicago, IL 60605
- Part 2 of the Andre Hobus Blues Photo Library now online! The André Hobus Photo Library features beautiful, candid images of great bluesmen taken during the 1970s and 1980s by Belgium-based photographers André Hobus, Bob Vanderschueren, Claude Meyer, Annique Massange, and Marc De Jonghe. Last year we presented a part 1 of the Andre Hobus Blues Photo Library (Click here to see part 1) and we now proudly present an amazing second installation. Included are spectacular and historic photos of Sunnyland Slim, Freddie King, Big Walter Horton, Sam Myers, Johnny Dyer, Maxwell Street, The Delta Fish Market, Andrew Brown, Eddy Clearwater, Little Willie Anderson, Louisiana Red, Hubert Sumlin, Maxwell Street Jimmy Davis, Pat Rushing, L.V. Banks, Left Hand Frank, Good Rockin' Charles, Smokey Wilson, Wille Kent and more! Click here to see this 8 page photo presentation, and click "next page of Andre Hobus photos" to get to all the pages.
- Blues In The Schools Benefit this Sunday at the Rhythm Room. The Phoenix Blues Society hosts a Blues For Bits Benefit this Sunday, July 25th at the Rhythm Room, 1019 E. Indian School Rd. in Phoenix. BITS of course stands for Blues In The Schools. One can not overemphasize the need to present the blues to the next generations. An awareness of this great music form will help to shape appreciation, and encourage future participation and leadership in the blues community. The Phoenix Blues Society has always stood for an educational outreach as part of its cause. This event includes Hans Olson, Kathy Mabry, Booya, The KC Blues Band, The V-Knights, The Common Ground Blues Band, Hank Tomlin & The Tomcats, and The Blues Hounds. Doors open at 3:30pm, and a full day of music begins at 4:30pm. For more information on this event, and the Phoenix Blues Society click here. For more information on the Rhythm Room click here. Also at the Rhythm Room this weekend are our friends Debbie Davies and Robin Rogers, who appear on Saturday night, July 24th.
- Amanda's Roller Coaster Update. Pre-Party lineup expands! Amanda's Roller Coaster tickets are just about sold out and perhaps by the time you read this, the show will be. If you want to make a last effort in that direction, you can visit the website and put in your request by clicking here. For those new to this news letter, Amanda's Roller Coaster is a spectacular 3 day harmonica happening that takes place at the Rhythm Room on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, October 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. Acts include James Cotton, Billy Boy Arnold, Lazy Lester, Kim Wilson, Paul Oscher, James Harman, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Johnny Dyer, Bharath Rajakumar, Johnny Sansone, Jerry Portnoy, Al Blake, Dave Waldman, Bob Corritore, Troy Gonyea, RJ Mischo, Steve Marriner, Billy Flynn, Scott Dirks, Chef Denis Depoitre, Lynwood Slim, and Vincent Bury. The spectacular backing musicians for this event are Larry Taylor (bass & guitar), Randy Bermudes (bass), Richard Innes (drums), Jason Moeller (drums), Junior Watson (guitar), Billy Flynn (guitar), Jon Moeller (guitar), Mike Keller (guitar) & Barrelhouse Chuck (Piano), plus Hubert Sumlin will perform with James Cotton, and Dave Riley will appear with Bob Corritore. The recently added pre-party on Thursday, Sept 30th, has taken on a life of its own. For the pre-party the host band will be the Nighthawks, who will perform a set, followed by a harmonica showcase that will include an ever growing list that currently includes Bill Tarsha, Martin Lange, Ronnie Shellist, Randy Chortkoff. Raoul Bhaneja, Thomas Fiacco, Little Barry G, Dennis Gruenling, Jerry Swartz, Mark Heffington, Ed Marien, Mr. & Mrs. Alaimo, Ken Johnson, Greg Johnson, and Kim Field! Advance tickets to the pre-party are a separate ticket and can be purchased through Ticketmaster by clicking here. Special thanks to Bill Wax, host of B.B. King’s Bluesville on Sirius/XM Satellite radio, for his recent interview with Amanda about the event.
- Billy Branch interview in Harmonica 411! Jeff Silverman, the proprietor of the Harmonica 411 website, writes to tell us of a newly published interview with our friend Billy Branch. Jeff reports "This not-so-new Kid on the Block talks of his friends; Junior Wells, and more. He offers opinions on the state of the blues harp today and preaches on about the blues like no one but Billy can." Harmonica 411 is a website devoted to the harmonica and its players. To see this website and the Billy Branch interview click here.
- Billy Boy Arnold and Junior Wells remember Sonny Boy Williamson I on YouTube! This video and explanation was provided by harmonica ace / writer Scott Dirks. Here is what Scott had to say:
"The Billy Boy Arnold video was part of a feature that was produced by Mark Baum and the Fox Valley Blues Society in honor of the 60th anniversary of John Lee “’s first recording session in 1937, which took place in the Sky Room club on the top of the Leland Hotel in Chicago. For many years the Leland Hotel was the tallest building between Chicago and (I think it’s 17 stories), and on the top floor was a ballroom and nightclub that was known at various times as the Sky Room, The Sky Club, and The Blue Sky Lounge. As with many hotels of the era, the ballroom featured a live dance band, sometimes broadcast on a local radio station. This was not a blues venue though - it was strictly white dance and pop bands. But in the ‘off hours’ it served as a good place for recording sessions, since it had decent acoustics and was already set up for radio broadcasts, and was acoustically isolated from the guest rooms. The story I’ve always heard is that Sonny Boy’s record label, in order to dodge the powerful musicians union in Chicago, rented the space for the sessions in Aurora so they could be outside the jurisdiction of the union. At any rate, Sonny Boy’s first several recording sessions were held there, along with early sessions by people such as Big Joe Williams, Robert Lee McCoy (who recorded the song “Prowling Night Hawk” there, which gave him his nickname ), Walter Davis, , Henry Townsend and many others., about 40 miles southwest of
Because Billy Boy was mentored briefly by Sonny Boy, and was profoundly influenced by his music, he was invited to be interviewed by Mark Baum and myself for a video production for local cable TV in Aurora. The cable TV studio was literally in the shadow of the Leland Hotel building, which by this time had been converted to Fox Island Place Condos. The management graciously allowed us access to the ballroom (which had in recent years been divided up for use as dance rehearsal studios), so after the interview, we went up and shot video of Billy Boy performing a couple of Sonny Boy’s songs which had been recorded in the same room 60 years earlier, along with one of Billy Boy’s own songs from his recent Alligator CD. The whole thing was produced into a one hour feature which was shown on local cable TV a few months later, coinciding with the Fox Valley Blues Festival, which is held a couple of blocks away from the former Leland Hotel
I attended that festival strictly as a fan, but while I was there, Mark Baum asked if I would do a brief interview Junior Wells, who was playing on the fest. Junior had of course also been deeply influenced by Sonny Boy, having recorded several of his songs including “Good Morning Schoolgirl”, “You Better Cut That Out”, and “Hoodoo Man Blues”. 10 minutes later we were on our way up to the Sky Room again, where we did a brief and completely off the cuff interview with no notes, no preparation, about 20 minutes to go before Junior was scheduled to hit the stage – and maybe most importantly, no air conditioning or open windows on one of the hottest days of the year. Not exactly ideal conditions, but I’m glad I was able to do it, and of course Junior was as gracious as could be and a complete pro. Little did we know at the time, but this was probably Junior’s last interview; not long after, Junior was diagnosed with cancer, ceased public appearances, and died the following January."
Here are the clips:
1) Billy Boy Arnold singing "Good Morning Little School Girl" with Rockin' Johnny on guitar and a intro by Scott Dirks (click here)
2) Billy Boy singing "Black Gal" (click here)
3) Billy Boy singing his song "Man Of Considerable Taste" and end credits (click here)