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This Weeks Winning Voters
We drew five more weekly prize winners today from those who have voted. Allen Harrison and Jody Applewhite both won Blues Blast T-shirts. Eileen Denny won an advance copy of the new Shane Dwight CD A Hundred White Lies. Karen Ward won a copy of Robin Rogers' Back In The Fire CD. Jorgen Husfloen won a copy of Grady Champion's new CD, Dreamin'.
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Good Blues To You!
In This Issue
Terry Mullins has our feature interview with Bernard Allison.
We have five CD reviews for you this week! We welcome new reviewer Gene Rankin. Gene reviews a new CD from Glenn Kaiser. Steve Jones reviews a new CD from Davina and the Vagabonds. Gary Weeks reviews a new CD from The Jeff Golub Band. Mark Thompson reviews a new CD from The Legendary Rhythm & Blues Revue. Greg “Bluesdog” Szalony reviews a new CD from Lou DeAdder. All this and MORE! SCROLL DOWN!!!
Featured Blues Interview - Bernard Allison
In the long and rich history of the blues, the path going south to north, from Mississippi to Chicago, is a well-traveled one.
Plenty of unknowns have left the rural pastures of the Magnolia State with little to their name, only to end up as legends after their feet hit the concrete in the Windy City.
But as has been proven, that’s not the only path to stardom in the world of the blues.
There’s the path that starts out in Chicago and winds up in Paris, France.
While not the closest or the usual one, it is the path that the late, great Luther Allison traveled to stardom.
It’s also the path that his youngest son, Bernard, continues to travel to this day.
“I’m in Europe more than half the year. I’ve got set tours over there (in Europe) that I do every year. They’ve been fixed for years,” Bernard Allison said. “The biggest one is the tour that my dad started in 1976 with John Lee Hooker and B.B. and Muddy and Taj and Sugar Blue. And that tour was passed down to me when my dad passed away. So I’ve continued that, as well as tacked on stuff that I’ve created on my own. So it’s really grown.”
Kinda gives new meaning to the old “have guitar, will travel” adage, doesn’t it?
“The interesting thing is, I basically grew up with that (European) fan base. So that makes it like I’m almost at home,” Allison said. “I was introduced to the fans by my dad. And now they’ve grown to expect Bernard Allison to play around those certain times of year. So I try to play over there in pretty much the same months and same places that my dad used to.”
One of the biggest shames in the history of the blues is the way that Hall of Famer Luther Allison never really received the widespread love and adoration from fans in the United States that he richly deserved, until right before his death in 1997, just days before he would have turned 58 years old.
However, it didn’t take Luther Allison very long to become a certified star over in Europe – especially in Paris – where he was immediately embraced as the embodiment of true American blues.
These days, not only as a tribute to his late father, but also as a way to say ‘thank you’ to the legion of fans overseas who made it possible for his dad to continue to play the blues, Bernard Allison, the youngest of Luther’s nine kids, sees to it himself that the European blues community is well taken care of.
“My European fan base is who has put me in the position that I’m in today. I do a lot of dates in the United States and could probably tour over here the whole year, easily. But I have to be loyal and have to stick to the word that I promised my dad. That comes first,” he said. “So I’m trying to keep the Allison tradition that my father created going, for sure. That’s something that I promised my dad and my family that I would continue. And hopefully, if not another family member, then some other youngster can come in and take over when I say that I can’t do it anymore.”
Not wanting to leave his stateside fans feeling left out, Bernard Allison is taking care of those who can’t travel to see him with his newest project – a live two-CD or single DVD set, titled Live at the Jazzhaus (Jazzhaus Records).
Slated for a late September release, Live at the Jazzhaus is an audio and visual document of the way the Bernard Allison Group has been burning up stages all across Europe the past year.
“Yeah, it’s basically what Bernard Allison is doing now. We wanted to capture the moment with the band that I’m using before going on to the next project,” he said. “I just want to make sure people are kept up-to-date, step-by-step with what I’m doing, because I had just released my last studio album, The Otherside, just the year before. And that album really hasn’t kicked in gear here in the States, so I wanted to follow up as soon as I could with this live one.”
Live at Jazzhaus boasts blistering workouts of a number of songs off The Otherside and Chills & Thrills, Allison’s two latest albums, along with a white-hot reading of the classic “Rocket 88.”
“This unit (George Moye, bass; Toby Lee Marshall, keyboards; Jose James, sax, percussion; Erick Ballard, drums; Mike Goldsmith, guitar) I’m playing with is pretty intense, because they all come from different genres of music,” Allison said. “Yeah, it’s all blues-rooted, but it captures the direction of each one of the players. I’m really proud of it. These guys are just fantastic players and we really have a good time. They have absolutely no egos. And our Allison family motto is, ‘Leave your ego, play the music, love the people.’ And I’ve really got the right guys now that represent that. They’re just as hungry as I am and play for the love of the music, not for the money.”
Bernard’s passion for playing the blues was absorbed from his legendary father, even though there were long stretches of time when Luther was apart from his family, with them in Peoria and him on the other side of the globe, working hard to provide for his loved ones the best way that he could.
“He wanted us to finish school and we knew that the only way that dad could support the whole family was to make music and to travel,” Allison said. “So we saw very little of him, other than holidays when he would come back to Peoria. But one thing he wanted all of us to do was to stay in one place so we could finish high school. After that, he said, ‘it’s your choice what you do.’ But he insisted we got our educations first.”
And once his own education was out of the way, Bernard relocated to Paris in 1989, with intentions to stay just long enough to play on a live album with his father, and then to record his own solo debut (The Next Generation).
But as often-times happen, plans change and Bernard ended up staying in the City of Lights for 12 years, working as his dad’s bandleader for a majority of those years.
“Dad was really into the way I wrote music and arranged songs,” Allison said. “And he was interested in learning to play open-tuning slide, which Johnny Winter had taught me. Dad was playing everything in standard (tuning), so I showed him open-tuning and then he was on fire.”
Not only did hanging and jamming in Paris re-connect Bernard and Luther musically, more importantly, it also re-connected them as father and son, even through that dynamic was not as straight-forward as it sounds.
“Our relationship was more like brothers. And the main reason I wanted to stay, was to get to know my father and spend time with my dad – more so than for the music. I knew the music would come, but to get to really know my dad and just hang with him was just a blessing,” Allison said. “We really got a chance to bond, man-to-man. He called me B.A. and I called him LuLu. It wasn’t dad or pops or son … so we had our nicknames for each other. That was one of the smartest moves of my life – going to Europe. I already knew Luther Allison the musician - I had all the tapes. But I got to know Luther Allison the man, the friend, the father.”
And like father, like son - B.A. would find out just what LuLu had to go through in order to put food on the family table.
“He explained to me that someday I might be in the same situation that he was in when I was young, having to choose between taking care of your family here or going somewhere you can be successful and support your family,” said Allison. “And that was totally the case with me in raising my daughter Dominique, who just graduated from ISU and just had her first child. So now I’m a grandfather. But if I would have stayed in Peoria, there’s no way I could have supported her and put her through college. It would have been impossible. There’s just not enough venues there, so I had to go to Europe.”
However, Bernard’s first exposure at what it was like to be a part of a working blues band came a few years before he made his trek across the Atlantic Ocean.
Still in his teens at the time, Bernard played for the Queen of the Blues, Koko Taylor, in her Blues Machine for three years.
“If it wasn’t for Koko and Pops Taylor, I wouldn’t be the musician I am today. First of all, they taught me how to play behind someone. I learned how to play in a rhythm section behind a vocalist,” he said. “They also taught me the do’s and do-not’s of the road. When I joined Koko’s band, I was 16 years old. I really wasn’t of age to be in the clubs that we were playing. So they basically adopted me and were my guardians on the road. So I give them all the credit. I mean, I was a baby out there with the Queen of the Blues.”
Bernard’s next big task was finding his own identity. And as he found out, it took awhile for some fans to realize that Bernard Allison was his own man, with his own personality and style.
“It did take a few years to break out of the ‘let’s go see Luther’s kid play’ thing,” he said. “They never used to call me by my name. It was always ‘Luther’s kid.’ So it wasn’t easy to break out of his shadow, but I did manage to do it. But you know, I’ve always been different than my dad. We’re two different guitar players and two different singers. For years in Paris, I had an eight-piece band with a horn section. It sounded something like Albert Collins meets Big Twist or something. It was different from Chicago or straight Texas blues.”
With Luther Allison being the kind of man that never met a stranger and a person that was so-beloved by those that knew him, it’s no wonder that so many people saw Bernard as just being “Luther’s kid.’
“My dad just had so many friends all over the world. Not just the ones that knew him through music, but the ones that knew him on a personal level,” said Allison. “People that knew he loved to fish and talk about the days in Peoria when he used to work at Keystone and Caterpillar. People just couldn’t believe how humble he was, how he just could jump on stage and then tear it up for a couple of hours.”
With the way that blues music always seems to get the short-end of the stick when it comes to being a widely-popular form of entertainment, taking a back seat to things like the disposable pop stuff that’s crammed down people’s throats, it’s a wonder that there’s still a batch of up-and-comers that continue to be interested in playing the blues.
“I think that years ago when MTV came out and saturated a whole generation and you didn’t see any blues, or any blues rock, it just threw everything off,” said Allison. “Blues has never been able to sit at the top of the mountain anyway, but I always say every genre of music is like a number on the clock. Everyone has their turn, so all these phases and fads go in and out, but the blues and jazz and gospel never go out, but they never reach 12, either. God bless guys like Buddy (Guy) and B.B., guys like that who are still out there doing it after all these years.”
And whether he calls Paris, France or Peoria, Illinois home, Bernard Allison’s agenda remains the same.
Leave your ego, play the music, love the people.
“My dad always said that you have to go out and give 110-percent all the time and be loyal to your fans. That’s what will make you happy,” he said. “And that’s what I do. I could care less if I top the charts with a number-one seller. That means nothing to me. It’s the respect of the people that I’m trying to reach that’s important to me.”
While releasing a studio album and then a live CD/DVD in the span of about 12 months indicates a busy year, the way things look, Bernard Allison’s plate shows no signs of emptying any time soon.
“I’ve got quite a few ideas that are being tossed at me, so you may very well see some more Bernard Allison in different situations. It’s just a matter of time,” he said. “There’s talks of the “Who’s Your Daddy? Tour,” with me and Ronnie (Baker Brooks) and Shemekia (Copeland), along with an album. That’s a great packaging. If we get the proper support, that could be a Showdown II. Then, we’re looking at a pairing of maybe Bernard Allison, Eric Gales and Lance Lopez. So we’re just all putting our heads together, because we all understand things are getting tougher. There’s just so many great players out there that need to get that one big break. I was lucky because I moved to Europe. So I try to help everybody that I can. I try to turn people on to whatever I can, because this music (blues) does not belong to me. It was passed down to me. It wasn’t my father’s, either. John Lee Hooker passed it on to him. That’s what it’s all about – passing the torch and keeping it going. You have to enjoy every day, because tomorrow’s not guaranteed. I want to leave the Allison stamp on as many continents as possible, because I love to play.”
Interviewer Terry Mullins is a journalist and former record store owner whose personal taste in music is the sonic equivalent of Attention Deficit Disorder. Works by the Bee Gees, Captain Beefheart, Black Sabbath, Earth, Wind & Fire and Willie Nelson share equal space with Muddy Waters, The Staple Singers and R.L. Burnside in his compact disc collection. He's also been known to spend time hanging out on the street corners of Clarksdale, Mississippi, eating copious amounts of barbecued delicacies while listening to the wonderful sounds of the blues.
Featured Blues Review 1 of 5
Glenn Kaiser - Cardboard Box
Glenn Kaiser plays, among other guitars, the now iconic cigar-box guitar, and the man does know how to play and sing. He writes songs for modern times, and they ARE the blues as they should be written, played and sung.
The strongest tunes on the CD are focused on the life of the homeless in Chicago (or in any big city). "Loading Dock", "Repurposed" and "Poverty Blues" are bitter, political, and timely without being preachy or doctrinaire.
.The title tune, "Cardboard Box" follows a family's descent from a house to the street and it is hard to use the word "elegant" to describe how he does it, but it is. "The Protest" brings a female singer, Ami Moss, into the mix, and she's well-worth your time.
Weaknesses? The A Capella "Hold Me", which is almost a filed holler but is more a sermon than a blues, the lament of "Opportunity Dance", and the exhortative "Life Your Life For A Change" which, nevertheless, has great singing and playing.
This man has clearly lived the blues, for he plays and sings like some of the best of Chicago's bluesmen. Buy it!.
Reviewer Gene Rankin is a retired lawyer, a blue-water sailor, and a blues musician and enthusiast for over 50 years.
Featured Blues Review 2 of 5
Davina and the Vagabonds - Black Cloud
Davina Sowers and her so-called group of Vagabonds are quite the unique band. Led by Sowers and her quite unique vocal style that reminds me of a mix of a white girl doing minstrel shows mixed with Broadway musicals and a little bit of the late Amy Winehouse (but not depressing). She can sing her heart out and does so, making one grip at their seat or laugh depending on how she wants to make the listener feel. She and the band are from Minneapolis; the band is comprised of Darren Sterud on trombone, Dan Ekmeer on trumpet, Michael Carvale on upright bass and Connor McRae on drums; this is quite the retro act. All original cuts here, written by Davina, and I must say they were all quite good!
The band open and close the CD with their "Vagabond Stomp", a New Orleans-styled instrumental marching song (if a marching song can include piano, that is). It sets the tone at the start and closes the set with this incredibly fun band's seminal stuff. I was really set to listen to this CD when I heard the opener and it did not disappoint me. The title track is the second track and it introduces the listener to Davina and her singing style (after a short and sweet brassy intro, that is). She's quite brassy herself, strutting and confident, impressing the listener with her moxie and voice. Her piano (and occasional ukulele strumming) are also excellent; she is a classically trained pianist and her talents are obvious. By the time the "Black Could" has passed by, I was really smitten by her and the band. I also recommend that you check out the trombone work on this cut by Sterud; impressive stuff!
"Lipstick and Chrome" has a nice honky tonk piano solo and a little call and response with the band that is quite old school, with the trombone ripping it throughout as drawn out punctuation marks. The last vocal piece on the CD is "Carry Him With Me", with Davina bearing her heart and soul in this song of faith and inspiration. "River" is another great song, with Davina asking for forgiveness from her lover. Effective lyrics and inspired singing abound as she begs for the river to wash her pains away. "Let's Bring It Back" features a throbbing, wrenching vocal with trombone coming in for a drawn out chorus end that leads into a down and dirty solo by Sterud.
Some of the songs are right out of the minstrel shows or vaudeville; imagine retro-Broadway numbers. "Disappears", "Sugar Moon", "Pushpin" and "Crosseyed" are great examples- memorable numbers that one could picture being done on the big stage. Whether the tempo is taken down or burning hot, this gal and he band can deliver the goods. The brass is hot and the backline has the beat down, Davina belts out the songs and they as a band are ever so tightly together. They never sound forced or out of synch- this is a band ready to be noticed!
Blues traditionalists who expect to hear straight up Delta or Chicago Blues might be surprised- there is only one true 12 bar track here, but there are 13 other tasteful and interesting songs done in the early blues and jazz traditions, sans guitar (well, ok, Davina interjects her ukulele just a bit, but no guitar). If you want to swing and stomp and have a good time, this CD is for you! I really enjoyed it and hope to catch Davina and the band live soon! It shows us what the blues used to be and where perhaps they are going back to in quite an original way.
Reviewer Steve Jones is secretary of the Crossroads Blues Society and is a long standing blues lover. He is a retired Navy commander who served his entire career in nuclear submarines. In addition to working in his civilian career, he writes for and publishes the bi-monthly newsletter for Crossroads, chairs their music festival and work with their Blues In The Schools program.
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Illinois Central Blues Club - Springfield, IL
The Illinois Central Blues Club presents "Blue Monday" every Monday night for the last 25 years - BLUE MONDAY SHOWS - Held at the Alamo 115 N 5th St, Springfield, IL (217) 523-1455 every Monday 8:30pm $3 cover. August 22 - Grady Champion, August 29 - RJ Mischo, Sept. 5 – Andrew Jr. Boy Jone, Sept. 12 – Mojo Cats, Sept. 19 – Rich Fabec, Sept 26 – The Sugar Prophets, Oct. 3 – Blues Deacons, Oct. 10 – Too Slim & The Taildraggers, Oct. 17 – Southside Jonny & Kicked to the Curb, Oct 24 – Bruce Katz, Oct. 31 – Studebaker John and the Hawks. icbluesclub.org
The Friends Of The Blues - Watseka, IL
2011 Friends of the Blues shows - Tuesday, August 23, Morry Sochat & The Special 20s,7 pm, River Bend Bar & Grill, 6070 E. Route 17, Kankakee IL 815-933-0610. Tuesday, August 30, Damon Fowler,7 pm, Bradley Bourbonnais Sportsmen’s Club, 2672 Chippewa Drive, Bourbonnais IL (815) 937-0870. September 8, The Sugar Prophets, 7 pm, Kankakee Valley Boat Club, September 29, Vincent Hayes Project, 7 pm, Bradley Bourbonnais Sportsmen’s Club, October 11, Too Slim & the Taildraggers, 7 pm, Kankakee Valley Boat Club, Friday, October 28, The Reba Russell Band, 8 pm, Kankakee Valley Boat Club,November 10, Ivas John Band, 7 pm, Venue TBA, December 1, Dave Herrero, 7 pm, Kankakee Valley Boat Club. For more info see: http://www.wazfest.com/JW.html
The South Skunk Blues Society - Newton, IA
The South Skunk Blues Society is pleased to announce a lineup that you will surely enjoy for the 19th annual Bowlful of Blues on September 3rd at Maytag Park in Newton, Iowa. Gates open at noon and the show will end at 10 PM. Bring your family and friends for an exceptionally enjoyable day of music. The festivities begins at 12:30 when Mojo Machine takes the stage. The afternoon will continue with the Jeff Banks Band and the Gary Gibson Group. It will conclude with double headliners: The Bel Airs and Andrew Jr. Boy Jones. Rob Lumbard will entertain between bands throughout the festival.
Tickets are $15.00 in advance and can be purchased at Zzz Records in Des Moines, Mattinglys Music and Hy Vee in Newton, The Music Shop in Grinnell or on line at southskunkblues.org Mark you calendars and plan to attend the 19th annual South Skunk Bowlful of Blues at beautiful Maytag Park on Saturday September 3rd, Labor Day weekend! southskunkblues.org
The Baltimore Blues Society - Baltimore, MD
The Baltimore Blues Society will present the 15th Annual Alonzo's Memorial Picnic, Sunday Sept 4 on the Grounds of the Rosedale American Legion. Headlining will be Debbie Davies. Also appearing are IBC winners J.P.Soars and Grady Champion, The local super group DMV Young Guns (Matt Kelly - winner of 2010 IBC Albert King Award, Robert Frahm, Rich Sampson & more) and Ramblin Dan Stevens. Guests can pack their own picnic coolers and BYOB. F&B is available on site. Music runs 1-830pm. Advance tix are $25/Gate$35. Send SASE by August 23rd to: BBS Tickets - Alonzo's, PO Box 4522 Baltimore, MD 21212 More info at www.mojoworkin.com BBS info line 410-744-2291
Santa Barbara Blues Society - Santa Barbara, CA
Win an Ocean View Cabin on this October’s Bluescruise! One week vacation for two people on the ultimate floating blues festival. It's the last Pacific blues cruise, and it's sold out! Set sail from San Diego to the Sea of Cortez, October 23-30, 2011 aboard Holland America’s 5 Star ms Zaandam. Raffle tickets are only $20 each, or 6 tickets for $100. No more than 500 tickets will be sold. Have you ever bought a Lotto ticket? Why not enter a contest where you actually have a decent chance of winning?
If you buy 1 ticket in our Bluescruise Cabin Raffle your odds of winning are 1 in 500. Buy 6 tickets and your odds of winning increase to 1 in 83! This assumes that we sell all 500 tickets. Last year, we only sold a little over 250 tickets. If we don’t sell all 500 tickets, your odds of winning are even better. The winning ticket will be drawn at our September show.
Win the vacation of a lifetime. Get your tickets today. Send your check to: Santa Barbara Blues Society. P.O. Box 30853. Santa Barbara, CA 93130 Be sure to include your name, address, phone number, and e-mail address. More info at www.sbblues.org
West Virginia Blues Society - Charleston, WV
The West Virginia Blues Society will be holding it's 5th. Annual Appalachian Blues Competition Oct. 22, 2011. The Blues Society will be sending two acts to Memphis, Tn. for the International Blues Challenge, Band Div. and Solo/Duo Div. If, you think your Act is ready to take the next step, then, this IS the competition to enter ! For Application and Rules contact Competition Director Jack Rice at, firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-389-1439.
Competition will be held at: The Sound Factory 812 Kanawha Blvd E, Charleston, WV 25301-2807 · 1 (304) 342-8001 Stay tuned for more info at, www.wvbluessociety.org
Cascade Blues Association - Portland, Oregon
The Cascade Blues Association, in celebration of their 25th anniversary, have released a compilation CD titled Puddletown Blues, Vol.1 that features selections from a dozen blues artists from the state of Oregon, or with ties to the state.
Most of the tracks are from live performances and only one has previously been released before. Artists included in this collection are Billy D & The Hoodoos, Boogie Bone, Duffy Bishop, Fiona Boyes, Hawkeye Herman, Kevin Selfe & The Tornadoes, Lisa Mann & Her Really Good Band, Paul deLay, Robbie Laws, The Strange Tones, Terry Robb, Ty Curtis Band and Woodbrain. This CD can be purchased on-line at www.cascadeblues.org.
Also, watch for our 25th anniversary concert happening on Saturday, September 17th at The Melody Ballroom in Portland, featuring performances by The Robbie Laws Band with special guest from Memphis Brandon Santini, Karen Lovely, The Lloyd Jones Struggle and Chad Rupp & The Ruppshakers.
Mid-Mississippi Muddy Water Blues Society -Quincy IL.
The MMMWBS is now co-hosting the "SMOKE ON THE RIVER BBQ & BLUES FEST" Sept 9th & 10th in Quincy's Kesler Park. A sanctioned KCBS BBQ Contest and Blues Festival, with 2 Bands on Friday (Blue-Eyed Soul and Dave Chastain) , acoustic Blues Saturday afternoon (Rich Berry), and 3 Bands on Sat.nite (BJ Allen & Blue Voodoo, Rockin' Jake, and The Reba Russell Band). Info for the event can be found at quincyblues.com
Blues Society of the Ozarks - Springfield, MO
The Blues Society of the Ozarks based out of Springfield, Mo is happy to announce the line up for the 15th Annual Greater Ozark Blues Festival to be held at Chesterfield Village in Springfield, Mo September 9 & 10, 2011
We are proud to present on Friday September 9, 2011 Mary Bridget Davies Band, Larry Garner & Lil Ed & the Imperials on Saturday September 10, 2011 the line up includes: Terry Quiett Band, Grand Marques, JP Soars and the Red Hots, Shaun Murphy, and Joe Lewis Walker. For more information and tickets visit our web site at www.greaterozarksbluesfest.com or 417-860-5078
Featured Blues Review 3 of 5
The Jeff Golub Band Featuring Henry Butler - The Three Kings
Entertainment One Music
Jeff Golub’s name is not too familiar to the blues community at large. Having carved out a comfortable living playing alongside artists Rod Stewart and Billy Squier has been the springboard in helping this musician embark on a solo career full of its many twists and turns. Now the guitarist wants to prove himself as a blues player honoring the tradition at large.
The move is a bold one as featured on the release The Three Kings. And though the wild cards of Albert, Freddy and B.B. have been played enough on tribute albums in the past, Golub is still successful at infusing something fresh into the mix.
Piano maestro Henry Butler appears with Golub’s band. And due to his presence, the songs tend to take on the theme of Jazz Fest, partying on until the wee hours of the morning.
What better way to begin the party than with “Let The Good Times Roll.” Golub is the perfect student of following the philosophy of less-is-more with perfectly executed notes and never overplaying to validate his credentials.
Two original tracks show written from Jeff and other members of his band. If the flavor of the tune “In Plain Sight” tastes of New Orleans it’s not entirely surprising. Not only is Henry Butler doing his best Professor Longhair interpretations but guest guitarist Sonny Landreth makes an appearance adding his snaky slide guitar lines.
Though Butler sings a majority of the tracks, drummer Josh Dion is more than adequate at taking over the vocal duties for a few select tracks like B.B. King’s “Help The Poor.”
Golub kept the lists of guests down to a minimum. As a bandleader he was able to pull this project off without having to utilize too many big names for personal advertisement. Although it can’t be denied that guest guitarist Robben Ford is a blessing to have on the Freddie King instrumental “Sidetracked” in which he trades licks with Golub that are tasteful and not turning into some guitar shootout that tends to characterize guitar dominant tunes.
Truthfully Jeff doesn’t need any guests to assist in fleshing the songs out. His guitar work is solid enough without the flash and bombast that seep into other player’s chops.
Unlike his former employers, Golub isn’t one to hog the spotlight to show off. He has no problems in letting Butler come to the forefront. One listen to Henry’s solo “In Plain Sight” demonstrates why he is regarded as one of the great piano playing bluesmen.
The weaknesses in a package like this are not the band’s playing but the choice of material. Serious blues aficionados probably have heard enough versions of “The Thrill Is Gone” and “I’m Torn Down” to last a lifetime. Wisely Golub captured these songs in very few takes so the effect is not too generic. With a terrific horn and rhythm section, the songs are spiked up with enough gusto. Dion’s powerhouse drumming locking in with Andy Hess’ basslines lights fire under Golub’s fretwork which smolders in “Oh Pretty Woman.” And Jeff really gathers steam in “Have You Ever Loved A Woman” with the rest of the band roaring behind him. His playing can sweeten up in the misty “Freddie’s Midnight Dream.”
Though he rocked and rolled with the classic icons of the past, Jeff Golub seems to realize that the blues canon works best for his own musical identity. This is a band of musicians he can take on the road and would have no problems in finding an audience who would enjoy nothing more than dieting on a live night of blues played well. Golub is more than up for the challenge.!
Reviewer Gary Weeks is a contributing writer. He resides in Marietta, GA.
Not familiar with some of the 2011 nominees?
Hear music by these great artists NOW on WGLT's Blues Blast Awards Listening Site
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Contemporary Blues CD
Traditional Blues CD
Robin Rogers - Back In The Fire
Eddie Turner - Miracles & Demons
John Németh - Name The Day
Damon Fowler - Devil Got His Way
JP Soars - More Bees With Honey
Buddy Guy - Living Proof
Bob Corritore & Friends - Harmonica Blues
Studebaker John's Maxwell Street Kings - That's the Way You Do
Charlie Musselwhite - The Well
Magic Slim - Raising The Bar
Song Of The Year
New Artist Debut Release
| Shake Your Boogie (Big Joe Williams) |
from Reverend Raven & The Chain Smokin' Altar Boys - Shake Your Boogie Still the Rain (Dennis Walker/Alan Mirikitani)
from Still The Rain- Karen Lovely
Living Proof (Tom Hambridge/Buddy Guy)
from Buddy Guy - Living Proof Don't Walk Away Run (Chuck Glass)
from Robin Rogers - Back In The Fire
The Well (Charlie Musselwhite)
from Charlie Musselwhite - The Well Almost A Memory by Wayne Russell
from Reba Russell Band - 8
| The Sugar Prophets - The Sugar Prophets Chris O'Leary Band - Mr. Used to Be |
Rob Blaine - Big Otis Blues Vincent Hayes Project - Reclamation
Matt Hill - On The Floor Peter Parcek - Mathematics of Love
Female Blues Artist
Male Blues Artist
|Teeny Tucker||John Németh|
Best Blues Band
Sean Costello Rising Star Award
Featured Blues Review 4 of 5
The Legendary Rhythm & Blues Revue - Live
Featuring Tommy Castro
Some years ago, Roger Naber came up with the idea of staging a floating blues party, with a ship full of blues fans and outstanding musicians. And so the Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise was born, growing to be a year-round endeavor with two cruises plus traveling tours under the R&B Cruise banner. These revues feature a mainstay of the cruises, the Tommy Castro Band, with numerous special guest musicians.
This new release from Alligator Records provides a fine sampling of what you can expect to hear if you ever book passage on one of Naber’s weeklong orgy of blues music. Castro’s veteran band – Keith Crossan on sax, Tom Poole on trumpet, Tony Stead on keyboards, Scott Sutherland on bass and Ronnie Smith on drums - serves as host for most of special guests. Taken primarily from the Alligator roster. Their tight interplay, honed from many nights on the road, brings out the best in all of the performers. The performances come from last year’s October cruise as well as from a variety of clubs and theaters around the country.
Castro is the headliner, so he gets four tracks starting out with “Wake Up Call”. The leader’s voice rings out loud and clear over some sharp horn riffs before he cuts loose with his guitar followed by a hot sax solo from Crossan. Next the band delivers a very funky rendition of Dylan’s “Gotta Serve Somebody” with Castro’s spirited vocal making this cut a highlight. Later the group romps through “Painkiller”, the title track of a previous release, and finishes the disc with “Serves Me Right to Suffer”. Castro sings a verse before he picks out the familiar John Lee Hooker boogie riff on his guitar, trading licks with Smith on drums.
Sista Monica Parker takes her time at the start of “Never Say Never”, building her vocal over some fine keyboard work from Stead until she unleashes the full power of her voice at the end. On “Think”, Janiva Magness takes some chances, stretching notes around the beat while the band struts along. The three Schnebelen siblings from Kansas City, better known as Trampled Under Foot, perform without the Castro band. They turn in an impressive performance on “Fog”, a group original that finds Danielle proving that Sista Monica isn’t the one that can shout the house down.
Debbie Davies employs a slow-burn approach to “All I Found” as she describes her search for a good man, using her guitar to exorcise the pain of failing to find one.
A favorite of cruisers , Michael Burks offers an example of his high intensity shows on “Voodoo Spell” backed by Stead, Sutherland and Chuck “Popcorn” Louden on drums. As the crowd cheers him on, Burks eases into the song until the band kicks it into high gear after the second verse. There is plenty of room for Burks’ incendiary guitar work over the ten-minute cut, with Michael switching to slide guitar in the middle of his final solo. On “It’s A Shame”, Joe Louis Walker serves up a reminder of what a captivating singer he is. Rick Estrin has written a number of humorous tunes and “My Next Ex-Wife” is one of the best. His wry vocal gets a lift from the horns and his band mate, Chris “Kid” Andersen, shows off his prodigious guitar skills. One name many listeners may not recognize is Theodis Ealey . Once you hear his soulful singing and guitar playing on “This Time I know”, you will be searching the internet for more material from this energetic performer.
Many blues fans look forward to a time when they can experience a blues cruise. In the meantime, this collection provides a vivid portrayal of the kind of musical treats that make the cruise a special experience. And setting aside the cruise storyline, this release offers plenty of exceptional blues music for you to savor.
Reviewer Mark Thompson is president of the Crossroads Blues Society in Rockford. IL. He has been listening to music of all kinds for fifty years. The first concert he attended was in Chicago with The Mothers of Invention and Cream. Life has never been the same.
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Featured Blues Review 5 of 5
Lou DeAdder - Headlights (don’t get caught in the glare)
Start It Up Records
Canadian guitar wiz Lou DeAdder’s latest shows him taking a different direction from his previous entry “Number 5”. Were “Number 5” was mostly devoted to manic guitar romps, “Headlights” sees him devoting two-thirds of the record to vocal tracks. His guitar skills are still intact, although less prominent. His choice of band members still displays first rate players, including Canadian harp master Carlos Del Junco once again. The organ skills of Martin Alex Aucoin and Attila Fias are a highlight as well. The production qualities of Lou D and bass player Brett Piekarz are of the highest order, providing crystal clear sonics.
The two electric guitar based instrumentals included here, “Backlash” and “Kick Em In The Balls” retain the Jeff Beck influence so eloquently displayed on “Number 5”, string bending, et al. “Backlash” begins with “Blow By Blow”- era Beck styling’s segueing into maniacal, skittering wah-wah reminiscent of Beck’s “Truth” period. Leo Sullivan contributes a tasty sax solo, while Martin Alex Aucoin’s breezy organ solo also contributes to the feel of rushed movement. “Kick Em In The Balls” offers a catchy riff with a hurried along groove, a compliment. This time out an acoustic guitar instrumental “Tears For Janick” is added to the mix, providing a respite from the charging electric sounds. It’s a nice offering, but maybe a bit too long for my taste.
The remainder of the record consists of vocal tracks. Lou’s voice is pleasant and every-man sounding in delivery. Unfortunately melody is in short supply and most of the lyrics are of the mundane variety. Perhaps he should have waited to develop his writing skills more before embarking on a mostly lyric-oriented record. The quality of the musical backing remains strong throughout, but it would of made more sense to stick with his strong suit of well-constructed guitar instrumentals executed expertly as he displayed on “Number 5”. Showing his originality, this time around various other instruments are used such as flute, banjo, fiddle and mandolin. After the well-deserved glowing review I gave of “Number 5”, I was hoping to get a second-helping guitar-based goodness. Surely Lou ranks up there with the “A-List” guitar-slingers. But what do I know?
Credit must be given for stretching out into new directions. Musicians only grow by trying. I would like to see a time when his vocal-songwriting skills catch up to prowess as an unsung guitar-God.
Reviewer Greg “Bluesdog” Szalony hails from the New Jersey Delta. He is the proprietor of Bluesdog’s Doghouse at http://bluesdog61.multiply.com.
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