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© 2010 Blues Blast Magazine
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Hey Blues Fans,
WOW have we ever got a JAM PACKED issue for you this week! Tons of photos from the Chicago Blues Fest and a few from the Urbana Blues Brews and BBQ's Festival.
And speaking of festivals, there is another legendary one this weekend as the Mississippi Valley Blues Society presents their 27th Annual Festival in Davenport, Iowa.
On Friday they feature The Kinsey Report, Mud Morganfield, Bernard Allison, Lil' Ed and the Blues Imperials, Little Pink Anderson, Caroline Shines, Lurrie Bell and Shirley King.
On Saturday the Blues Society is having a FREE festival day so there is no admission charge and features Ana Popovic, Zac Harmon, Vasti Jackson, Rosie Ledet and the Zydeco Playboys, Little Brother Jones, Olga Wilhelmine with Cody Dickinson, IBC winner Little Joe McLerran, Ruthie Foster and Billy Branch and the Sons of Blues as well as performance by the Quad City Symphony Orchestra with music to accompany a big Fireworks display call Red, White and Boom.
On Sunday the festival will have more great music with performances by the The Jimmys, Shawn Kellerman, Reba Russell Band, the Legendary Rhythm & Blues Revue featuring Tommy Castro, Debbie Davies, Magic Dick and Sista Monica, Bill Sims Jr and Mark LaVoie, Dave Riley and Bob Corritore, David Boykin Expanse, Kim Massie and The Nighthawks with Hubert Sumlin.
We will bring you full coverage of all the fun in an upcoming issue. If you make it to this great fest, look for the Blues Blast photographer and be sure to say hello! For more info see their ad in this issue or visit their website at www.mvbs.org
We made it out to the first day of the Blues, Brews and BBQs in Urbana, IL last weekend. This newcomer festival was the third for the folks at Fluid Events and it was a great FREE show. We got to hear sets by Candy Foster, Big Bill Morganfield and Bernard Allison.
We also heard Louisiana Blues man Bryan Lee at a show sponsored by the River City Blues Society earlier this week. And even better yet, Bryan let 15 year old guitar wonder kid, Matthew Curry, play a few tunes with his lead player Brent Johnson.
Now that's a pretty darn good week of Blues wandering!
In This Issue
Part Three of our Three part coverage of the Chicago Blues Festival. We have four new CD reviews this week! James "Skyy Dobro" Walker reviews a new CD by Becki Sue & Her Big Rockin' Daddies . Steve Jones reviews a new CD by Houndstooth. John Mitchell reviews a new CD by Morry Sochat & the Special 20's. Ian McKenzie reviews a new CD by Magic Slim and the Teardrops. All this and MORE! SCROLL DOWN!!!
Chicago Blues Fest Coverage Part 3
Chicago Blues Festival - Saturday June 12, 2010
On Saturday the Chicago Blues Fest continued with more great Blues. First up was Ramblin Rose on the Front Porch Stage. She sang songs from her CD Woman in Heat.
Soon after we caught Toronzo Cannon and the Cannonball Express on the Gibson Crossroads stage.
He played a great set with a creative climax. Torronzo explained that he was going to sacrifice a guitar in honor of the many Chicago artist who recently passed away including, Koko Taylor, Chico Banks and Phil Guy. We were in the right place at the right time to catch it all for you!
We also saw Matt Hendrix,
and Jarekus Singleton and Keeshea Pratt.
Bobby Dixon Blues Band had a great set that got the crowd going.
Sugar Blue showed the folks how a lead harp player should sound!
Nora Jean sang one of her GREAT sets proving again that she is among the best female Blues singers out there today.
David Honey Boy Edwards had a well attended set and showed the folks he is still out there doing what he loves as he nears the ripe YOUNG age of 95 years old.
Andre Williams also had a fine performance on the Saturday Front Porch Stage,
Sonny Rhodes played a great set showing the crowd how well a lap steel sounds when played by an expert Blues man.
Then we headed over to the main Petrillo Music Shell for the days headliner acts starting off with Nellie "Tiger" Travis.
Later Nellie brought out her special "guest: listed on the event schedule and it was none other than Blues Blast Music Award nominee, Jackie Scott.
Jackie proceeded to show that she belonged on the big stage by playing a great set of music from hew CD "How Much Woman Can You Stand" .
Next up was singer and guitar player Bobby Parker & The Blues Night Band who played a solid set of tunes.
The final act of the night were all the guys who played on one of last years best Blues music releases, Chicago Blues: A Living History. This cebrated recording won the 2009 Blues Blast Music Awards for Best Traditional; Blues release and were nominated for a Grammy and a Blues Music Award.
The group included some of the biggest names in Chicago Blues including, Billy Boy Arnold, Billy Branch, John Primer, Billy Flynn, Lurie Bell, Carlos Johnson, Kenny "Beady Eyes" Smith, Felton Crews and Matthew Skoller.
This group is a close to Chicago Blues Royalty as one can get and it showed in the great set they played! After the final notes we headed off to rest up for a 5th day of great Blues!
Chicago Blues Festival - Sunday June 13, 2010
The final day of the Chicago Blues fest kicked off with Linda Tillery and the Cultural Heritage Choir on the Front Porch Stage.
Next we got to hear another of the 2010 Blues Blast Music Awards nominees when Quintus McCormick took the Gibson Crossroads stage for an impressive set. He played tunes form his Delmark Records CD, Hey Jodie!
Nick Moss sideman Gerry Hundt played a one man band set on the Windy City stage.
He was followed by the Cashbox Kings which featured Billy Flynn, Jimmy Sutton and Kenny "Beady Eyes" Smith.
Bobby Rush played a set on the Mississippi Juke stage showing he is a great performer even as a solo artist.
Following Bobby were the young sensations, The Homemade Jamz Band.
Alligator recording artists Guitar Shorty played a set from his latest CD
As the final afternoon came to an end we headed over to the main Petrillo Music Shell for some of the days headliner acts starting off with Vivian and Vance "Guitar" Kelley.
The Chicago Blues Reunion was next and featured Barry Goldberg, Corky Segal, Nick Gravenites, Harvey Mandel, Sam Lay and Charlie Musselwhite.
The Final performers of the Chicago Blues Festival were a group named T.K. Soul who closed out a wonderful event.
Put this festival on your calendar for next year. Promise you won't be sorry if you do!
Comments by Bob Kieser. Photos by Bob Kieser and Marilyn Stringer (Where noted).
Featured Blues Review 1 of 4
Becki Sue & Her Big Rockin' Daddies- Big Rockin Boogie
13 tracks; 52:38 minutes; Suggested
Styles: Electric Blues, Rockabilly, Rock and Roll
Skyy Dobro singing: “Yes, I get by with a little help from my friends...”
Fellow Blues fans often help me by turning me on to a new artist and CD. Through a “Friend of the Blues,” Kurt Foor, I was introduced to a very entertaining CD by a Northwest USA band that’s new to me, Becki Sue & Her Big Rockin’ Daddies. “Big Rockin’ Boogie” appears on Tim “Too Slim” Langford’s label, Underworld Records and contains eight originals and five covers.
Kurt convinced me when he reported, “I enjoy just about the whole album. I enjoy Becki Sue's vocals and Tom Boyle's guitar work the most on the album. Sometimes women's vocals can be annoying to me, for example [Skyy deleted the name], she’s a fantastic guitar player and writer but please -- find a singer!”
Indeed, Becki Sue & Her Big Rockin’ Daddies is a ton-of-fun band. They call themselves a “high-energy, low-down, powerhouse, hip-shakin' Blues band.” They can be Blue or swing like Rockabilly and Rock and Roll cats – plus one chick. Becki Sue’s big voice, to which Kurt referred, provides great vocals with a sassy attitude and a style reminiscent of the great Texas Blues belters, Angela Strehli and Lou Ann Barton. She and the band even do a Strehli cover, “Can’t Stop These Teardrops,” as a slower Blues with a nice mid-song sax solo by Jim King.
Powered by the versatile Jim King on sax, incredible Blues harp, and vocals and the thoughtful and creative guitar work of Tom "T-Boy Neal" Boyle, this band takes off like a rocket with the very first song, “Rocket in My Pocket.” Up front with King is Becki Sue blasting along with the saxophone. Her fuse is lit! The band is backed by the award-winning, "nailed-to-the-floor" rhythm section of Les "Wildchild" White on upright bass and Jeff "Mr. Foundation" Hayes on drums. All members add harmony and backing vocals.
Kurt Foor, aka The Coal City Clubman, added, “Most of the songs have a good hook and are catchy, like “Mr. Lies,” “Big Rockin' Boogie,” an instrumental “Meat on Toast,” and “Neighbor Tend To Your Business.” Tom Boyle's guitar is especially good in his original “I'd Walk A Mile” which I crank up the stereo on.” One may hear some borrowed licks, but hey, that’s the history of Blues.
Shuffle Shoes and I first played on our Friends of the Blues Radio Show the title track, but Becki Sue doesn’t sing lead on that dance floor stomper. We’ve since played some of the songs Kurt listed as his favorites which have become mine, too. “Mr. Lies,” the second track, is simply killer with wailing harmonica and life’s lessons lyrics. “...you told me I’d be yours ‘til the end, then you made a pass at my best friend...might as well call you ‘Mr. Lies,’” sings Becki Sue as the narrator – too soon sad; too late wise. Another mutual favorite is Magic Sam’s “What Have I Done Wrong” given the full band and full sound approach.
Huey P. Meaux’s song “Neighbor Tend to Your Business” was previously recorded by the Fabulous Thunderbirds, and they’ve just been outdone by BS&HBRD. The shimmering guitar sets up Becki Sue’s indignant vocals while Jim King lays down another one of his fabulous harp runs.
Friends, keep helping me out! Recommendations like this entertaining and fun CD by Becki Sue & Her Big Rockin’ Daddies are always a bonus. Now if I can just get a Friend to write my review for me...actually I think Kurt just did!
Reviewer James "Skyy Dobro" Walker is a noted Blues writer, DJ, Master of Ceremonies, and longtime Blues Blast Magazine contributor. His weekly radio show "Friends of the Blues" can be heard Saturdays 8 pm - Midnight on WKCC 91.1 FM and at www.wkccradio.org in Kankakee, IL.
To See James “Skyy Dobro” Walker's CD rating system, CLICK HERE
Featured Blues Review 2 of 4
Hounds Tooth - Soul Rockin’
Hailing from Milwaukee, Hounds Tooth is comprised of Jared James Nichols and J .D. Optekar sharing the guitar and vocals with Bob Noll and Jeff Oscarson on bass and drums. They are a powerful and tight band with a good sound. Original tracks by Optekar predominate on the CD with three nice covers of Duke Robillard, Don Nix and Leon Russell songs. The band has a very good modern electric blues sound; the guitar work and steady back line are all quite impressive.
The title track opens to a heavy, somewhat familiar but powerful blues rock groove. The guitar work really impressed me; not over done, good licks, controlled power. Nichols and Optekar can rock it out when they need to and show restraint when they should, marks of good axe men. “Blues is Truth” opens the CD with a groove that gets the listener ready for more. It also gives you a good idea how Optekar relates current day life in his lyrics. Robillard’s “Jumpin’ Rockin’ Rhythm” is a Chuck Berry styled blues rocker that the band took to quite nicely. Nix’ “Goin’ Down” and Russell’s “Me and My Guitar” are also well done.
“Black Coffee” features a guest vocalist, Gabe Marchan, which for me was the highlight of the album. It was an interesting song with more nice lyrics by Optekar, and Marchans’ singing was by far the best effort of the ten tracks. The vocals on “Black Coffee” are strong, emotional and even. Nichols’ higher pitched vocals on his three tracks are focused but Optekar’s vocal style confused me at times. He modulates his baritone voice and it seems to get a little off key when he does; I wondered why even try and take that approach. It sort of seemed like “Kanye West does the blues”, but without the electronic effects. I could have done without that, but others may find that his style has some charm.
Solid guitar work, well written and well done original songs mixed with some unique cover songs makes this Milwaukee band’s inaugural CD a hit. I’ll be catching up with these guys at a festival in the Midwest soon and I recommend that you do, too!.
Blues Society News
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The West Virginia Blues Society - Charleston, WV
The West Virginia Blues Societ presents the Charlie West Blues Festival July 17, 2010 at Charleston’s Appalachian Power Park. The “USO style” show will be a tribute to The WV National Guard. It’ll be a great day of music, and a great way for us to support the local families of our WV National Guard men and women who are serving active duty overseas.
Featured at the WVBS “Charlie West Blues Fest” will be national touring act The Jimi Vincent Band, Memphis, Tn. International Blues Challenge finalists, Mojo Theory, from Columbus, O., , WVBS Appalachian Blues Competition winner, Kristine Jackson, CrossRoads Band and rounding out the show will be Bryan Lee straight from New Orleans. The festival is free for all military members and their families, with military I.D. Veterans as well. Gate admission for the event will be $15. Food and beverages will be sold onsite. $ 30.00 for VIP Tickets. VIP Tent Party’s for $ 900, inc. 30 VIP Tickets ,wings, beer, pop and water. Gates open at 5 pm. Advance ticket sales at 304-344-2287. Best Western Charleston Plaza has room packages for the Festival, just say, "Charlie West Blues Fest". Ph. (304) 345-9779 1010 Washington Street East East Charleston, WV 25301. For more info visit www.wvbluessociety.org
Alabama Blues Project - Northport, AL
Alabama Blues Project 2010 Summertime Blues Camp will be held July 19-23 at Covenant Presbyterian Church on Hargrove Road in Tuscaloosa, AL. For more information please contact Cara Smith at (205) 752-6263 or email@example.com. You may also find out much more about our Summertime Blues Camp by clicking here to visit our 2009 review.
Los Angeles Blues Society - Los Angeles, CA
The Los Angeles Blues Society is pleased to present a NO COST Guitar Workshop hosted by Bernie Pearl, Sunday July 11th, Noon - 1:30 PM. This is a hands-on group session (bring your guitar and amp) to be followed by our 11th Open Blues Jam from 2PM - 6PM hosted by the Rebellious Blues Dogs at Zendeja's Restaurant, 665 W Arrow Highway, San Dimas, CA. For more info visit www.lablues.org.
Washington Blues Society - Seattle, WA
The Washington Blues Society’s local competitions for the 2011 International Blues Challenge will be held on Sunday, June 20th and Sunday, June 27th at the award-winning Highway 99 Blues Club in Seattle. Depending on the number of entries received, there may be an additional competition on July 11th or July 25th. The preliminary solo/duo competitions will be held on either Sunday, June 27th or one of the July dates above. Competition finals will be held on Sunday, August 22nd at the the Snohomish Taste Of Music Festival. For complete info see the website at: www.wablues.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Crossroads Blues Society - Rockford, IL
Crossroads Blues Society is producing their very first Blue festival this year. The Byron Crossroads Blues Festival will run from noon to midnight on Saturday, August 28, 2010, in downtown Byron, Illinois.
The festival lineup includes The Resistors, noted artists Filisko and Noden, The Cashbox Kings, Westside Andy/Mel Ford Band and Dave Weld and the Imperial Flames. For more information visit the Crossroads website at: www.crossroadsbluessociety.com
Columbia College - Chicago, IL
The 2010 Youth Blues Camp will be held at Columbia College Chicago Music Center, 1014 S. Michigan Avenue, Chicago July 4 – 9, 2010 by Artistic Director, Fernando Jones. For complete information visit www.BluesKids.com.
The Friends Of The Blues - Watseka, IL
2010 Friends of the Blues shows - Saturday, July 03, Reba Russell Band, River Bend Bar & Grill, 6070 E. Route 17, Kankakee IL (815) 933-0610, Saturday, July 8, Sugarcane Collins, Bradley Bourbonnais Sportsmen’s Club, July 9, Sugarcane Collins, Watseka Theatre Club Cafe Watseka, IL, August 10, Sean Chambers, River Bend Bar & Grill, 6070 E. Route 17, Kankakee IL (815) 933-0610 September 21, Shawn Pittman, Kankakee Valley Boat Club. For more info see: http://www.wazfest.com/JW.html
Illinois Central Blues Club - Springfield, IL
BLUE MONDAY SHOWS - Held at the Alamo 115 N 5th St, Springfield, IL (217) 523-1455 every Monday 8:30pm $3 cover. July 5 - Little Joe McLerran, July 12 - Michael Charles Band, July 19 - Laurie Morvan, July 26 - Bill Evans Birthday Bash
River City Blues Society - Peoria, IL
The River City Blues Society presents Blues shows during the summer season. The shows start at 7:00pm at Good Fellas Pizza and Pub, 1414 N 8TH St Pekin, IL. Admission for all shows is $4 or $3 for RCBS members. Shows currently scheduled are: Thursday July 15th, 2010 - Joel Paterson and Wednesday July 28th, 2010 - Andrew "Junior Boy" Jones.
Friday, July 30, 2010
Jonathan Tyler & Northern Lights Big James & the Chicago Playboys Guitar Shorty Jon Justice Eddie Turner
Saturday, July 31, 2010
Eric Sardinas Shaun Murphy Band Big John Dickerson Show Debbie Davies & Robin Rogers Band Vernon Ray Harrington Sena Ehrhardt Band Hounds Tooth
Festival Website www.prairiedogblues.com
The only Blues festival held on an island in the middle of the Mississippi River!
Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin on St. Feriole Island
Featured Blues Review 3 of 4
Morry Sochat and the Special 20s – Eatin’ Dirt
Galaxie Records 2010
12 tracks; 40.43 minutes
A new name to me, 40 year old Morry Sochat (pronounced “Socket”) is Chicago based and this is his third CD. The previous one was produced by no less a figure than Nick Moss, but this time Jimmy Sutton is at the controls and the band really responds. The sleeve notes inform me that the horn section is a recent addition and it certainly works for me, adding a depth to the sound and colour to the solos available to the band. The band draws its name from a make of harmonica by Hohner, in case you were wondering!
The basic line up features Morry on vocals and harp, Ted Beranis on bass, guitars from Jim St Marie and Shoji Naito, drums from Marty Binder and a horn section of Chris Neal on sax and Dave Corcoran on trumpet and keys. Famous friends also contribute: Billy Flynn, Dave Herrero and producer Jimmy Sutton add guitar on a track each; John Kattke plays piano on one track.
Most of the material is written by Morry, with bassist Beranis providing the title track and there are two covers. Opening with the title song, the band really swings in classic Chicago style, the song propelled by some Elmore-style slide from Naito and a punchy horn chart. Second track “She’s a Betty” is an absolute treat, with guest pianist “Brother” John Kattke setting the keyboard alight through a real foot stomper of a song, terrific horn riff and a rock n’ roll style guitar break. Definitely one for the dancers!
Morry’s harp introduces “Someone to love”. Morry is on the lookout for love, but does not sound too particular, as long as the girl looks good when she puts on her evening gown! Billy Flynn provides a strong guitar break. Track 4 is a homage to the Windy City, “Meet me in Chicago”. As well as paying tribute to their home town the band plays a relaxed, almost jazzy feel here, with the trumpet solo reminding us that blues and jazz were once very much part of the same music – you could imagine Louis Armstrong playing this solo in his prime. “Empty Pockets” is one of those tunes that draws on Otis Rush’s “All your Love” riff to tell a classic blues story of struggling to keep your head above water over a dramatic guitar break (Dave Herrero) and strong horn support in the background.
“Apple of my eye” is an upbeat swinger led by Morry’s harp and a nice stop/start rhythm. Morry is in love again and this time the fruit analogies fly thick and fast, with the girl compared to a list that includes peaches, watermelons, raspberries and apples - a real fruit salad of a song! Track 7 is “Natural Born Lover”, a fast shuffle with a strong harp solo and driving piano from Dave Corcoran. A nice lyrical twist is when the lady cop puts the handcuffs on herself rather than the author when she arrests him for speeding!
The cover of “Mother in law Blues” features some good guitar and harp underpinned by rolling piano – classic Chicago blues. “Riot up in here” is great, a real slice of rock n’ roll, featuring producer Jimmy Sutton’s guitar over rocking piano and intense drumming – another one you can’t sit still to! “Telephone Blues” is a slow blues written by Little George Smith in the 1950’s and previously covered by Jimmy Witherspoon. It is a feature for Morry’s harp which takes on quite an eerie feel to accompany the tale of a relationship ending. “Yo-Yo” is a mid-paced tune in which the author likens his state of mind to a yo-yo because his lover blows hot and cold in their relationship. The album concludes with a drum roll intro to “Fried Chicken and Waffles”, essentially a showcase for each soloist – guitar, trumpet, guitar again, sax, piano, bass, drums and concluding with Morry’s tribute to a dish that does not sound much like healthy eating!
I very much enjoyed this CD and recommend it. The sound qualities are excellent and there is plenty of variety with such a large band. The band plays mainly around Chicago, but as Morry is originally from Texas they get there from time to time as well as regular trips to St Louis and Las Vegas. Catch them if they come your way.
Reviewer John Mitchell is a blues enthusiast based in the UK. He also travels to the States most years to see live blues music. He went on his first Legendary Blues Cruise in January 2010 and had such a good time he will be back in 2011!
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Band Leader Looking For A Label & Gigs
Koko Taylor's band leader Vino Louden is alive and well ...back from a terrible vehicle accident and near death experience playing and singing the blues. Looking for a label and gigs. Contact at 773-318-2492 www.myspace.com/vinolouden
Guitarist Seeking Work
Older/experienced guitarist who played with Texas Bluesman, Johnny Clyde Copeland before his passing away looking for gig with touring band. Also available for recording session work in and around Northern Il., So. Wisconsin area. I can be reached at….@....email@example.com or 815-235-6020 from 7:00Am to 3:30Pm Mon.-Fri. or @ 608-214-7868 after 3:30pm or weekends. Have gear,will play….
Blues Music Reviewers Wanted
Blues Blast Magazine is looking for reviewers to review new Blues CDs, DVDs and books. If you have a background and experience with Blues music and like to write we can provide new music releases for you to review. Person must be willing to write a minimum of one review every other week. Reviewer keeps the CD/DVDs for writing the review. If interested please send a sample of your writing and a short bio of your Blues background to Please include your phone number with the reply.
|Listen to music by each of the nominees at a listening site set up by our sponsor WGLT Blues Radio 24/7 in Bloomington, IL. Be an informed voter and check out the music of the nominees now! - CLICK HERE|
Best Contemporary Blues CD
Best Traditional Blues CD
|Joe Louis Walker - Between A Rock And the Blues||Dave Riley & Bob Corritore - Lucky To Be Living|
|Mike Zito - Pearl River||David Maxwell & Louisiana Red - You Got To Move|
|Nick Moss - Privileged||Eddie C. Campbell - Tear This World Up|
|Sean Costello - Sean's Blues||Fiona Boyes - Blues Woman|
|The Holmes Brothers - Feed My Soul||The Kilborn Alley Blues Band - Better Off Now|
|Tommy Castro - Hard Believer||Mississippi Heat - Let's Live It Up|
Best Blues Song
Best New Artist Debut Release
| Jackie Scott & The Housewreckers - |
How Much Woman Can You Stand?
|Alabama Mike - Day To Day|
|Joe Louis Walker - I'm Tide|| Jackie Scott & The Housewreckers - |
How Much Woman Can You Stand?
|Mike Zito & Cyril Neville - Pearl River||Marquise Knox - Man Child|
|Pete Anderson - Still In Love||Quintus McCormick - Hey Jodie!|
|Quintus McCormick - Hey Jodie!||Shaun Murphy - Livin' The Blues|
|The Kilborn Alley Blues Band- Better Off Now|
Best Female Blues Artist
Best Male Blues Artist
|Candye Kane||Bobby Rush|
|Fiona Boyes||Joe Bonamassa|
|Janiva Magness||John Németh|
|Ruthie Foster||Magic Slim|
|Shemekia Copeland||Nick Moss|
|Zora Young||Tommy Castro|
Best Blues Band
Sean Costello Rising Star Award
|Magic Slim & The Teardrops||Cash Box Kings|
|Nick Moss & The Flip Tops||Damon Fowler|
|Rick Estrin & The Night Cats||Jackie Scott & The Housewreckers|
|The Holmes Brothers||Joanne Shaw Taylor|
|The Mannish Boys||Marquise Knox|
|Tommy Castro Band||The Insomniacs|
Featured Blues Review 4 of 4
Magic Slim and the Teardrops - Raising The Bar
Eleven tracks: 44mins 47 secs
Born Morris Holt in Grenada MS in 1937, Magic Slim has paid his dues. After moving to Chicago in 1955 he returned to the Magnolia state shortly thereafter and did not return to the windy city until ten years later. Following his delayed return, in 1966, he recorded Scufflin'", followed by a number of singles, recording work which lasted into the mid 1970s. He recorded his first album in 1977, Born Under A Bad Sign, for the French MCM label. He has been nominated a significant number of times for Blues Foundation, blues music awards and before the name changed, won the W.C. Handy Award as 'Blues Band Of The Year' for the sixth time in 2003.
This CD his ninth outing for Blind Pig (including a DVD) and features (of course) Slim (vocals, guitar); Jon McDonald (guitar, background vocals); Andrew Howard (bass guitar, background vocals); B.J. Jones (drums, background vocals). The band is tight and Slims axe work AND vocals are exemplary. The outstanding track is IMHO, Cummins Prison Farm Blues, a denunciation of that appalling prison in Arkansas which in 1968 became the centre of attention when three human skeletons were found on the farm; the remains of inmates who had been subjected to torture. An investigation found "a prison hospital served as torture chamber” and identified a doctor “as chief tormentor." The revelations included allegations of electrical devices connected to the genitalia of inmates and court cases declared that prison conditions rose to the level of unconstitutionally cruel and unusual punishment.
Less harrowing, but no less well played and sung are superior versions of JB Lenoir’s, Mama Talk To Your Daughter, Roosevelt Sykes’, Sunny Road Blues and Little Milton’s 4:59am. Not one track here that falls below the highest standard
This is Chicago Blues of the very best quality. Strongly recommended. Slim has indeed raised the bar to a new level. Can’t wait for the next one!
Reviewer Ian McKenzie lives in England. He is the editor of Blues In The South , a monthly flier providing news, reviews, a gig guide and other good stuff for people along the south coast of England. Ian is also a blues performer (see www.myspace.com/ianmckenzieuk) and has a web-cast Blues radio show on www.phonic.FM in Exeter (Wednesdays: 1pm Eastern/ 12 noon Central).
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