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The Iowa Blues Showcase is on the AIR
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The Iowa Blues Showcase is on the AIR
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Friday, July 16, 2010
Yup that is me mentioned below in Colfax playing with the Blue Band! Come see the blues historian in action Sunday night 7pm in Colfax Iowa.
The pressures and anxieties of having to entertain readers of these notes is giving me a headache. Or it could be the fumes from this week's stain and varnishing of the trim woodwork on the remodeling of the house. It's kind of like what I imagine sniffing glue must be like, only living inside the tube of glue. I could go on and on about this week's adventure in living in a construction zone and probably will after the important stuff...
Saturday night (7/17) we've been invited to be part of the Nevada (the city east of Ames, not the state east of California) Firemen's Street Dance. This is a celebration of the fire department's 150th anniversary year and an attempt to raise some operating cash for the department's expenses next year. It's not often that we get to play in the Ames/Marshalltown area, so bring the kids, bring the kids' kids, and support a good cause while dancing in the streets of Nevada (sounds like some cowboy/western movie like Cat Ballou) (if you don't remember the movie Cat Ballou, you might be too young to read these notes) As some regular Blue Band players actually have lives outside of the band (what? there's life outside of the Blue Band?) (who knew?) it's going to be a special and possibly one-of-a-kind collection of players, with Sam Salomone bringin' out his big organ and Eddie McKinley, on loan from The Diplomats of Solid Sound, playing tenor sax. Wow, the sound of the goodle days with 6 pieces and only one horn player! We play 8-11pm, off of 6th street, in greater downtown Nevada. I've been told there is a rain location, I just haven't been told where that is...
Sunday night (7/18) marks our first EVAH appearance in Colfax. I know, it's hard to believe that in our 29 year history we've never played Colfax IA, but hey, there's a first time for everything! Normally the Colfax Party In The Park happens on Saturdays, but this is also part of a local Fair that's going on and Sunday night is the wrap up of the festivities. Mason City trumpet man Doug Huey will join Heath in the horn section and Iowa Blues historian and piano man extraordinaire Tom Gary will join us on keys (it's getting to the season where you can't tell the players without a scorecard) We start at 7pm, play a couple sets before the fireworks and one set after the fireworks on the Anspach Stage in Women’s Club Park located on 13 East Division Street. Ooooo, ahhhhh, FIREWORKS!!! Maybe there will be CAKE too!!...
Next week, Thursday (7/22) is our annual appearance at the Grinnell Central Park Gazeeeebo gig 5:30-7:30p, followed by Friday night's Geeeezer Gig, our only nightclub show of the summer, at our home in Sparkle City, The Hub, 4th and Main, with modified, summer geeezer hours, 7-10:30p and Saturday (7/24) has us in the city of the Sudlow Jr. High Tigers, Davenport IA, for the annual Downtown/Bix Street Dance, 2nd & Main in D-town. I love playing that gig, as many people from my high school (the Davenport Central BLUE Devils) stop out and we tell stories about when we were all very different people! (ya shoulda seen me throw that ball!) And don't forget about our RAGBRAI show this year, Parkersburg For Lunch, Thursday July 29 10:30am (that is not a misprint, we start playing at 10:30 IN THE MORNING) until a little after 1pm...
So the good news is that I now have an operable kitchen sink for the first time in over 3 months! How I got the sink and faucet is an "interesting" story. I hesitated to go along with the idea of getting granite counter tops because I'm just getting to the age that I hate to buy something that I know will outlive me. But my wife is WAY younger than I am, so granite it is. We drove to Des Moines to pick out the stone in March. It was finally delivered last Tuesday. The plumbers came the next day to hook up the sink faucet. At last, I could finally wash out my own coffee pot in my own sink once again! I thought. But NOOOOOOOOO. When the granite counter top maker made the ever living stone counters, he cut a precise hole for the sink. Cool. And a perfect hole for the faucet fixture. Very cool. But the plumber discovered that we ordered a sprayer along with the faucet and there was no hole for the sprayer, which apparently is directly hooked to the water line with the faucet so you have to have the sprayer hooked up or every time you turn on the faucet, water will spray all over the brand new cabinets. Boooo. And since we are planning on the cabinets outliving me also, we needed that hole in the rock solid granite countertop before I was gonna get any water to wash out the coffee pot. I would have thought that there would have been a drill bit strong enough to bore thru granite in Sparkle City. There's not. So we had to get the counter maker to come back. He lives in Norway (thankfully the small town west of Cedar Rapids, not the country west of Sweden) It took him two days to get back. Apparently absolutely nothing else could get done on this remodeling project until the one inch hole in the granite was drilled because all of the other contractors stayed away for those two days also. It was devastating to think that nothing else would get worked on until the hole was drilled (rim shot). The man came from Norway and was finished drilling the hole (insert your own joke here) at 3:55pm. The plumbing contractor sent a guy out immediately to hook up the sprayer. Unfortunately, that plumber discovered that the other two plumbing guys stopped hooking up everything else (like the garbage disposal) in the drain after they discovered that we had one less hole than we needed (no joke here, this is serious stuff) and it was already 4:20pm and he couldn't work past 4:30pm so I wasn't gonna get to wash out my coffee pot again. Do you know how difficult it is to eat CAKE without coffee???...
And I haven't even started to tell you about the varnish fumes that started on Monday (then sat there until Thursday, presumably because the hole wasn't cut in the granite) and then picked up again today meaning that pretty much as soon as I had gotten rid of the fumes from Monday they were replenished today. That'll have to be for another time. I wish I could blame this headache on the fumes, but I have a feeling (sick as it may be) that not sleeping in the last 20 hours has something to do with it and maybe, now that the hole was drilled, (do yer own joke one more time) some more contractors might show up in about four hours. YIKES!!...
See ya on the Blue Highway, wear yer zydeco tie and rub it with the firemen (they'll be there to put you out if you spontaneously combust from rubbing it to much) bring CAKE when you stop over to see my new sprayer (!) and always remember we love you. Bob Dorr & The Blue Band
Thursday, July 15, 2010
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Hey Blues Fans,
We are headed to the Nothin’ But The Blues Festival in Bloomington, IL this weekend to hear Denise La Grassa, Hounds Tooth, Duke Tumatoe and Big Ray on Friday, Sugarcane Collins, Blurkelzurps, Chicken Shack, Lazy Lester, Toronzo Cannon, Thornetta Davis and Chubby Carrier on Saturday. This is the ninth year of this festival and it is one of the few festivals we know of that was actually started and presented by an African American festival Promoter.
Eric Tapley was the driving force behind this great event. His sudden death this May 22nd left the future of this years festival in doubt. However, Eric's family and fest sponsors, Blues Blowtorch Blues Society and WGLT radio, decided that the show had to go forward in honor of the great work Eric has done with this event. There will be a short memorial at the beginning of the fest each day. Eric's smiling face will be greatly missed this year!
We will have photos of all the great performers at this event in an upcoming issue. For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit the festival website at www.nothinbutthebluesfestival.com
In This Issue
Bob Kieser reviews day one of the 26th Mississippi Valley Blues Festival. James "Skyy Dobro" Walker interviews Australian Bluesman Sugarcane Collins. Marilyn Stringer reviews the Monterey Bay Blues Festival.
We have four new CD reviews this week! James "Skyy Dobro" Walker reviews a new CD by Teeny Tucker. John Mitchell does double duty with reviews of new CDs by Stringbean and a new re-issue CD from Delmark by Willie Buck. Mark Thompson reviews a new CD by Boogie Bone. All this and MORE! SCROLL DOWN!!!
Ladies Sing The Blues Cruise
A 5 day Carnival Cruise on the Triumph
Ever wish you could afford to take a Blues cruise but know you are in the wrong tax bracket to afford one? Well there is an alternative at a lower cost.
Fan Cruises has announced a five day Carnival Cruise departing from New Orleans December 6, 2010 with Ports of Call in Progreso, Mexico, and Cozumel, Mexico.
This special package includes private concerts by three Blues Ladies and cruise prices, start at just $245 each for double occupancy, (plus plus $199.67 each for port fees, taxes and gratuities). This Blues package including three private Blues concerts, private cocktail party with open bar, autograph signings and meet & greet time with the performers.
You can get a cabin for two for around $900 total or get the best cabins they have (Panorama Deck 10 - Forward and Lido Deck 9 - Midship) for a total cost of $1,300 for two people! (You can add a 3rd or 4th person for only $50 & $199.67 fees each.)
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
26th Mississippi Valley Blues Festival - Part One
We made it to the 26th Annual Mississippi Valley Blues Fest over the Fourth of July weekend in Davenport, Iowa. This festival is a favorite of fans and artists worldwide because of the consistent quality of the artists they book. This year was another example of the magic they create each year.
On Friday night the theme for the first day of this 3 day festival was "Blues In The Blood". Every act that played was a descendant of a Blues legend. They always feature two stages, a "main" stage on the Le Claire Park Band shell and a "tent" stage.
Starting off the fest on the main stage was The Kinsey Report which featured Lester "Big Daddy" Kinsey on guitar and lead vocals, his son Donald Kinsey on bass, Nick Byrd on guitar and Ralph Kinsey on Drums. Great start to a great festival.
Mud Morganfield was up next on the main stage. Son of Blues legend Muddy Waters, (aka McKinley Morganfield) he had an all star band which featured Harmonica Hinds, Eddie Taylor Jr. on guitar and Kenny "Beady Eyes" Smith on drums.
Bernard Allison took over next showing the crowd that he truly has the blood of Blues legend Luther Allison flowing in his veins. His band featured Rusty Hall on keyboards, Jose James on saxophone and Jassen Wilber on bass. Bernard definitely inherited his fathers guitar playing skills and he even played beyond his scheduled set time as his legendary father was often known to do.
Legend has it that Luther once played a 4 hour set in the middle of a hot summer day in a tent in Nebraska. Luther's drummer who was drenched in sweat was so exhausted he nearly fell off his chair, but Luther liked to play until the crowd was satisfied and that trait has NOT skipped a generation in the Allison blood line!
Lil' Ed and the Blues Imperials finished out the night on the main stage. With his brother Pookie Young on bass and Mike Garrett on rhythm guitar Lil' Ed finished of the night on the main stage with a trademark killer set of Blues.
The "tent" stage was going on with a great lineup at the same time! Alvin "Little Pink" Anderson kicked off the show on the tent stage on Friday. He is the son of Piedmont Blues guitar legend Pink Anderson and he showed he learned quite a bit from his daddy about how to please a crowd.
Caroline Shines was up next on the tent stage. She is the daughter of Blues guitarist and singer Johnny Shines. Johnny Shines was a very original slide guitarist who influenced many great Blue players including B. B. King. Johnny also played for three years with Blues legend Robert Johnson.
Caroline fronted a band that included some local talent and it was evident that her singing is from the heart and infused with her father's great Blues tradition and talent.
Lurrie Bell's Chicago Blues Band was up next. The son of Blues harmonica legend Carey Bell, Lurrie is one guitar player we NEVER get tired of hearing. His playing is truly from the heart. He had a great band with him that included Chicago sidemen Willie "The Touch" Hayes on drums and Melvin Smith on bass. Melvin is well known for his work as part of Blues legend Koko Taylor's band.
Closing out the night on the tent stage was Shirley King. Shirley is the daughter of the B.B. King. As the daughter of the "King of the Blues" expectations were high for our first chance to hear King. We were not disappointed as she showed us that she knows a thing or two about how to put on a GREAT show. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree as the saying goes!
WOW! What can you say after hearing so any great performers? No filler or additives of local or regional artists this day. This one day lineup was better than most festivals have for an entire three day festival. We headed off to rest up for more great Blues on the next two days of this great fest.
All Photos and commentary by Bob Kieser.
NEXT WEEK - Photos and commentary on day two and three of the Mississippi Valley Blues Fest!
Featured Blues Interview
Interview with Australian Bluesman Sugarcane Collins
Note: Sugarcane Collins is scheduled to perform at the Nothin’ But The Blues Festival in Bloomington IL at 1 pm, Saturday, July 17, Sugarcane Collins won the Australian 2007 Chain Award for “Blues Album of the Year.” An extensive world traveler, in 2009, Collins became the first Australian Bluesman to perform in Argentina, and this year, he performed at the Kas Rock & Blues Festival in Turkey
James Walker for Blues Blast: Tell us about your USA Tour 2010. Any Festival appearances upcoming?
Sugarcane Collins: 2010 is my 5th trip to the USA, and I will be appearing at two Blues festivals and will be doing assorted gigs in Mississippi, Illinois, and Washington State. First up festival is the Nothin’ But The Blues Festival in Bloomington IL on Friday July 16th and Saturday July 17th. They have a great line up, and I'll be kicking off Saturday's program with a one hour acoustic set starting at 1 p.m. I'll have CDs and T-Shirts with me for sale. I then head up to Washington on July 19th and will be playing the Rock Cut Blues Festival and various other gigs and eventually flying out of New Orleans on September 1st.
I usually fly in and out of New Orleans, and I had a couple of wonderful weeks down there just kicking back and reacquainting myself with all the Big Easy has to offer. The music and food options are endless. I enjoyed the sounds of Modern Jazz, traditional Jazz, Acoustic Blues, Jug band Blues, Electric blues, Cajun and Zydeco whilst eating catfish, crawfish, cornbread, jambalaya, filet gumbo, po'boys and washing it all down with an Abita Amber or two, the local brew. In my opinion New Orleans is the true heartbeat of the USA. Don't let this city go down. It is more important to this country than most people might think.
I've already been in Clarksdale MS where I stayed with my buddy “Rat” at the Riverside Hotel (if you're going down that way tell him Sugarcane sent you). I played for another buddy, Bobby Tarzi, at the Delta Amusement Blues Cafe. Also, I spent the day with T Model Ford celebrating his 90th birthday. Man, they breed the Bluesmen tough down in the Delta. He was still jamming at Red's at 1 a.m. in the morning!
Blues Blast: In addition to getting young people involved, what is going to keep the Blues Alive?
Sugarcane Collins: I think we need more blues artists writing songs that go beyond the old time traditional blues themes of love and money. No doubt these subjects are forefront in our lives but how often do we need to hear about ‘I love my baby but my baby don’t love me?’ Let’s face it, that line and variations thereof, pretty well sums up the lyric content of most blues records. Add the endless guitar pyrotechnics, and in my opinion, we have an art form lacking edge and lacking relevance. Where are the songs that reflect other current concerns? Songs about our threatened environment and the social injustice that abounds, not just in this country, but all over the world. Michael Hills ’ Blues Mob and Otis Taylor spring to mind as artists with a broader palette, but who else?
Blues Blast: In 2006, you released your “masterpiece” CD, "Way Down the River" in the USA to critical acclaim. Is it still getting airplay on US radio?
Sugarcane Collins: It was always going to be a big call for a white boy from Australia to do an album that dealt with the earliest days of the Blues, you know, all that cultural stuff at the very core of the Blues like slavery, segregation, brutality, hostility. But hey, the Blues community over here really embraced the album and gave it reviews I could only have dreamed of and airplay usually only reserved for the very best US releases. And yes, I'm happy to say that "Way Down the River" still gets played over here on a number of stations, most importantly on the XM Satellite Radio station channel “Bluesville,” and I'm getting royalty checks every six months to prove it!
Blues Blast: How did it fare in your home country when you released it there in 2007?
Sugarcane Collins: There is no doubt the wonderful reviews, airplay, and sales that "Way Down the River" enjoyed over here in the USA were a big help in making the album the big success it has been in Australia. It still gets airplay, sells strongly with my distributor and at my website, and it received highest possible honors when it was crowned 2007 Australian Blues Album of the Year.
Blues Blast: Any plans for another album?
Sugarcane Collins: I put down 7 or 8 tracks in 2009 and will be finally coming down off the road mid next year to spend some quality time in the studio and really get stuck in. I tend to book a week or two of studio time and splash around the sounds and then go away for a month or two and listen, listen, listen. I just keep on repeating the process till I reckon it's done. Then it's more listening and imagining, then doing the mixes I want for the separate songs. It's going to have a strong Australian flavour in the storytelling and lyrics and all kinds of Blues feels and rhythms in the sounds, but don't expect it out until 2012.
Blues Blast: Where have you visited / played since being here in the Midwest in 2006?
Sugarcane Collins: I was definitely born under a restless moon! I've been to India, and I've been twice to Vietnam, which is one of the friendliest places I've ever been. I'd tell the American folks that, like yourselves, Australia went to war against Vietnam, but they harbor absolutely no hard feelings against either of us. You would have a great holiday over there, not too mention how much our dollars buy!!
Interviewer 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.
Monterey Bay Blues Festival - 25th Anniversary
Celebrating 25 years, the Monterey Bay Blues Festival proved, once again that they know how to bring in the best performances to make everyone happy. The festival runs from Friday evening through Sunday on the last weekend of June, and is located at the Monterey Fairgrounds. And although the weather can be foggy at times, Sista Monica and her Gospel Choir and band sang the sun in on Sunday morning, filling the Arena Stage and the entire fairgrounds, with uplifting and inspirational songs from her CD "Singing in the Spirit". It was truly a moving experience. Later that day she moved the entire choir & band to the Garden Stage and got down and funky!
Opening the festival on Friday night, the performances ranged from nostalgic blues with Lydia Pense & Cold Blood to some good old bump'n' grindin' blues from Chick Willis and Bobby Webb.
On the main Arena Stage Lenny Williams took us down soul street and the night ended with a group unheard of by many - Confunkshun. Whew-FUNKY they were!! The entire arena was on the dance groove when I arrived and the energy was off the charts. The festival was in full swing.
SATURDAY: During the day, the Garden Stage brought Johnny Rawls with Big Daddy Cade, 17-year old harmonica wizard Kyle Rowland, backed by a full band and his singing debut, and the always lively blues woman, Kaye Bohler.
The President's Stage was high energy with AC Myles, one of the happiest and most talented performers I have ever met, Laurie Morvan-the smokin' self proclaimed "skinny blonde", and Phil Gates-who ripped through his set and had the crowd trying to dance the fog away.
Both daytime stages included harmonica player Aki Kumar, from the incredible foursome Tip of the Top, wild guitar playing Pat Wilder and her band Serious Business, and the more traditional Tori Lynn Washington, bringing soul and blues to the afternoon.
The main Arena lineup included some new performers for me - Jesse James, Latimore, and Myrick "Freeze" Guillory (Queen Ida's Son) and the Nouveau Zydeco. What a treat to hear new sounds!
And ending the evening, one of my favorites was the Mel Waiters Show & Blues Review, including Hollywood on guitar, Micah Brown on sax, Chandra Calloway matching Mel in song, and the well-dressed, smooth dancing band ending the night on a big note.
Sunday brought sunshine and more great performances. Mike Hammer and The Nails, winner of the Monterey Blues challenge, followed Sista Monica's Gospel Choir, who was then followed by a technically stunning acoustic performer by Rory Block, and "what is there to say but perfection" set from Ruthie Foster and her family band. (I am quoting myself...)
The other stages brought us JC Smith's band, Shane Dwight closed the President stage, and TYT was the soul and blues act to see on the Garden Stage.
The indomitable Candy Kane (and I have to include the bay area's rising blues guitar star Laura Chavez) rocked the Arena, followed by the bay area's own Tommy Castro band, and this year's festival honoree, Teeny Tucker, who performed with the honor music student band, prior to her set.
The final Arena show, Eddie Levert, Dennis Edwards & Johnny Gill's "Timeless Voices" was a beautiful way to end the festival but it wasn't quite over for us Blues Cruisers. We headed over to the Garden Stage and spent the rest of the festival with the muli-talented, and everybody's friend, Deanna Bogart. Deanna zoomed up and down the keyboard, wailed on the sax, sometimes at the same time, and mesmerized the crowd until late Sunday night. She brought up, sang to, danced and spinned with a 4 yr-old guitar player, with the same encouragement she was given at that age. Deanna was the perfect ending to a wonderful festival.
A big congratulations to Monterey Bay Blues Society for 25 years of keeping the blues alive in Northern California. And thanks to all the fine staff and volunteers for all your hard work! Next week - Portland Waterfront Blues Festival.
Photo & commentary by Marilyn Stringer (go to MJStringerPhoto.com for an eventual full set of photos)
Featured Blues Review 1 of 4
Teeny Tucker - Keep the Blues Alive
11 tracks; 47:29 minutes; Suggested
Styles: Electric Blues, Soul/ Gospel
The easiest thing I ever had to do was fulfill her request and “make room for Teeny.” The bouncy, second track on her fourth CD implores, “Make Room for Teeny,” and right from the first notes in the first song I was clearing her path – no elbow to the ribs or kicks to the shin needed!
Teeny (born Regina Westbrook, only daughter of Tommy “Hi-Heel Sneakers” Tucker) had already got her proverbial foot in the door when I caught her appearance at the 2008 Nothin’ But the Blues Festival in Bloomington IL. The time I spent with her then revealed a sincere and warm personality beyond her incredible singing voice and stage show.
Following her 2008 critically acclaimed CD, “Two Big M’s,” Teeny Tucker and her band lay down one of the best CDs of the year! “Keep The Blues Alive” features eleven entertaining and enjoyable tracks of music, and shows off another of Teeny's many talents, that of songwriter. She co-wrote eight of the eleven songs, usually with musical partner and guitar player extraordinaire Robert Hughes. With only two cover songs, the album’s originality is spread across many topics and styles reflecting her many influences.
Listeners’ tastes are as varied as the listeners themselves, but the mid-tempo track one, “Ain’t That the Blues” is as good as it gets for me. Telling the story of a blind twelve year old girl whose mother died of aids, Teeny’s somber yet soaring vocals paint a rich, poignant picture. The background vocalists (Mary Lusco-Ashley, Paula Brown, Jackie Tate) add emotionally to the texture while Hughes’ guitar equally sets the mood. This is not a happy ending story, it is unbearable – thus the title.
Another song that just instantly begged radio play (and got it first on our Friends of the Blues Radio Show) is Teeny’s (and Eric Blume’s) up tempo original “I Live Alone.” This is a dance inducing, romping shuffle that features Scott Keeler’s popping bass line and David Gastel on harp in sync with Hughes’ guitar – then each taking a killer solo. Darrell Jumper keeps everyone in time on drums.
What is better to an older man than chatting up (hitting on?) a younger woman? “Old Man Magnet” provides humor (?) as Teeny relates some past encounters: “I’m an old man magnet, and they stick to me like glue!”
Of the two covers, “Heartbreak” by Joe “Cornbread” Thomas and C. Hoyle is a strong re-work featuring exquisite Hammond B3 organ by Linda Dachtyl. The keys fill the bottom while guitar and harp pump up the rhythm. Teeny’s vocals showcase her four-octave range on both sides of a tasty organ solo. I plan to air this song this week!
The other cover is “I Got My Mojo Workin,’” and it is a natural for a “Keep the Blues Alive” album. Teeny’s version is great, but honestly, isn’t this song about to join “Mustang Sally” and “Sweet Home Chicago” on the most over-played list?
Acoustic guitar fans will enjoy the heartfelt tribute to the late Piedmont Bluesman John Cephas (titled “John Cephas”). The set closer, “Respect Me and The Blues” finds Robert Hughes as the lone accompaniment to Teeny's simple spoken/sung messages and experiences about giving her respect and her choice to sing Blues (not R&B).
Join me and “Make Room for Teeny” in your listening rotation. Once you hear her mature and sophisticated appeal, you’ll find it easy to let her in and impossible to let her go.
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
Stringbean – Layin’ Low
15 tracks; 59.12 minutes
Although credited to Stringbean only, this is a band album by Stringbean and the Stalkers who come from New Jersey. Stringbean is Ken Sorensen, guitar, harp and vocals, with guitar by Joe Murphy, upright bass by Dan Mulvey, drums Sim Cain and keys Neil Thomas. All material is written by Ken except for covers of Muddy’s “Mean Red Spider” and Leadbelly’s “On a Monday”.
Whilst it is great to see bands attempt their own material I felt there was not enough variety of pace to sustain interest throughout. Some of the tunes have a hypnotic sound, a little like hearing “On the road again” for the first time (try “Going Over The Hill” or “Showplace Boogie” as an example). Several tracks follow a similar pattern, so I looked for ones where there were some different tones to the disc. Strangely (as it is not something I usually enjoy) one of the tracks that is a bit different was track 7 “Off My Back” which has a reggae groove but it stands out here simply for not following the usual pattern.
“The Rain Outside” is an acoustic tune with some effective harp underpinning a slow, sad tune. Title tune “Lay Low” has a more upbeat approach and a good guitar riff running through the song. I enjoyed both these tunes, as well as the energetic, almost country feel of Leadbelly’s “On a Monday”. Overall I found the CD tough going, even after several plays.
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!
Blues Society News
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The Cincy Blues Society - Cincinnati, OH
The Cincy Blues Society presents the 2010 Cincy Blues Festival August 6th & 7th, 2010 at Bicentennial Commons at Sawyer Point Park in Cincinnati, Ohio - a beautiful downtown park located on the banks of the Ohio River. The festival features headliners Candye Kane, David Maxwell and Alexis P. Suter Band on Friday August 6th and Shane Dwight, The Insomniacs, Rick Estrin and the Nightcats and Joe Louis Walker on Saturday August 7th. In all the festival features more than 40 acts on four stages. For complete info visit http://cincyblues.org
The Golden Gate Blues Society - San Francisco Bay Area, CA
International Blues Challenge Competition - The Golden Gate Blues Society Blues Challenge announced. The winning Greater Bay Area band at each competition will go on to compete in the final where one band will be chosen to send to Memphis for The Blues Foundation’s International Blues Challenge. Everyone gets to vote for their favorite band! Free for members, $10.00 at the door for non-members - join TGGBS at the door and be admitted free. All showtimes will be from 2 – 6 pm.
July 18 - Angelica’s Bistro, Redwood City, August 1 - J.J.’s, San Jose, August 8 - Mojo Lounge, Fremont, August 22 – The Standby, South San Francisco. Finals - TBA. For more info visit www.tggbs.org or contact Dorothy L. Hill, President 415-824-3502 – email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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
The Friends Of The Blues - Watseka, IL
2010 Friends of the Blues shows - 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 19 - The Laurie Morvan Blues Band, July 26 - Bill Evans, August 2 – Andrew “Jr Boy” Jones, August 9 – Roger “Hurricane” Wilson, August 16 – The Sugar Prophets, August 23 – Bryan Lee “Blind Blues Daddy”, August 28 – ICBC Blues Challenge at the Old Capitol Blues & BBQ, August 30 – Kilborn Alley Blues Band
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: Wednesday July 28th, 2010 - Andrew "Junior Boy" Jones.
Featured Blues Review 3 of 4
Willie Buck – The Life I Love
17 tracks; 66.18 minutes
Now here is a real classic recording! Delmark have re-released an album originally recorded in 1982 and issued on a limited basis on Bar-Bare records, this release adding 5 tracks recorded live in Chicago in 1984. This is a fine band playing the classic Chi-town sound, with lots of reminders of Muddy Waters, not least due to the inclusion of a young John Primer, fresh from a stint in Muddy’s band. The band also features brothers Dave and Louis Myers on bass and guitar, Moose Walker on piano and Jerry Porter on drums (replaced by Jodie North on the live tracks). On the studio tracks there are two harp players, Little Mack Simmons on all tracks, plus Dimestore Fred on nine of the tunes. The personnel on the live tracks is not known, but the instrumentation is the same, so may well be the same team.
Now in his seventies, Willie Buck (real name Crawford) has been singing the blues in Chicago for over 40 years and still performs in the Windy City. This release should bring him back into the spotlight, as he has a fine voice for the blues. Obviously with a band like the one on display here the music is spot on and Willie’s voice stands up well to the test. There are definite comparisons with Muddy, not least as there are several of covers of songs from the Muddy canon, such as “Champagne and Reefer”, “She’s All Right”, “Nineteen Years Old”, “I Want You To Love Me” (aka “I Wanna Be Loved”) and “Got My Mojo Workin’”. Willie offers us two songs from his own pen, “How Can I Be Nice To You” and “There’s A Time”. We also visit BB King for “I’ve Got Aa Right To Love My Baby”, Jimmy Reed for “Found My Baby Gone”, Little Walter for “Everything’s Gonna Be All Right” and Al Green for “Sweet Sixteen”. The title song “I Live The Life I Love” is a Willie Dixon tune, again probably best known from Muddy’s version.
All these 12 tracks are well produced and move along much as one might expect from an expert crew. I particularly enjoyed the pacy version of “Everything’s Gonna Bbe All Right”, with great piano and “Got My Mojo Workin’”, a tune that we hear far too often in poor versions, but done well here with the two harp players in joint action. Willie’s two self-penned songs also work well and we hear plenty of early John Primer throughout, not least in slide mode on “Nineteen Years Old”.
The live tracks are not as well recorded, Willie’s voice being a little distorted and the overall mix rather ‘muddy’ in comparison to the studio tracks. I imagine that with no other full length recordings available from Willie Delmark wanted to present as much of him as possible, but in reality the live tracks are dispensable. For the record they do not repeat any of the songs on the studio album, being Mel London’s “Sugar Sweet”, Willie Dixon’s “Don’t Go No Further”, Sonny Boy Williamson’s “Checkin’ Up On My Baby”, Muddy’s “Blues Had A Baby” which emerges from a long version of “Just to be with you”, attributed to Bernard Roth, but best known by Muddy from his “Real Folk Blues” album.
Overall a welcome reissue which will certainly appeal to lovers of classic electric Chicago blues and fans of the musicians featured here. I hope it raises Willie’s profile and gets him some belated recognition as a great blues singer..
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
| You can vote anytime until August 31st but why not do it NOW? To cast your vote now, CLICK HERE. |
You can listen to music by each of the nominees at a website 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(The Blues Blast Music Awards ceremonies will take place Thursday, October 28th, 2010 at Buddy Guy's Legends in Chicago, IL)
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|
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Featured Blues Review 4 of 4
Boogie Bone - Bone-a-Fied
Boogie Bone is a five-piece ensemble that hails from Portland, Oregon. The group favors rockin’ blues with a heavy beat on this program of original tunes written by guitarist Steven Dee Williams and associate producer Jason R. Pope. The rest of the band includes Howlin’ Jake Johnson on vocals, Todd “Spud” Stevens on drums, Henry Gavaldon on bass and Steve Synder on sax, harmonica, flute and keyboards. Synder also wrote all of the horn arrangements.
“Avenging Angel” is a fierce tune about an unusual subject, John Brown the abolitionist. Johnson weaves a vocal that shows he can live up to his nickname. The band hits the after-burners on “Lovin on the Run” with Synder’s tenor sax spicing up the rocking track. When the tempo slows down on “Don’t Mean a Thing”, Johnson delivers a sensitive vocal with Synder adding a sax solo that captures the late-night feel of the track. On “Boogie Bone Boogie”, the group explores the jump blues genre and turns in a performance that would have been a perfect fit for the soundtrack to the Swingers motion picture. Williams fires off a couple of brief but impressive guitar solos.
There are several tracks that venture away from the group’s boogie formula. “Long Goodbye” sports a Caribbean rhythm and features Synder on flute with Williams adding some acoustic slide guitar. The overall effect is the Beach Boys meet Jethro Tull in Jamaica! The closest they come to a ballad is “My Way Home” with another strong vocal from Johnson with his high-pitched voice and Synder switching to harp.
There are a couple of other highlights. “I Don’t Know” is another horn-driven arrangement and Synder shines again on his sax solo as does Williams, who gets some room to stretch out and rips off a blistering solo. The humorous “Blues Police” opens with a police siren and then shifts to the standard boogie chord structure. The lyrics tell the tale of a band working hard to satisfy the patrons of a club and keep the dance floor full, only to fall victim to club owner who accuses them of playing “. that damn rock & roll. “
One line telling adds: “We never thought there were so many rules about how you’re supposed to play the blues!”
Based on this recording, Boogie Bone seems to be one of those bands that can deliver a great live show. They mix appealing material and strong arrangements in a variety of styles into a coherent package that might not be all that unique but the spirited performances win out in the end. Their good-time, up tempo boogie sound on a weekend evening would certainly be the perfect antidote to the long work week!
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