John 'blueshammer' Hammer
Blue Monday Monthly Magazine
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In This Issue
We have the latest in Blues Society news. Chris A has our feature interview with Big Bill Morganfield.
We have six CD reviews for you! James "Skyy Dobro" Walker reviews a new CD by Catherine Russell. Gary Weeks reviews a new Jimi Hendrix CD. Ian McKenzie reviews a new CD from Guitar Not So Slim. John Mitchell reviews a new CD from Hans Thessink. Mark Thompson reviews a new CD from The Jimmys. Greg “Bluesdog” Szalony reviews a new CD from Carolyn Fe Blues Collective. All this and MORE! SCROLL DOWN!!!
R.I.P. Louisiana Red 1932 - 2012
The Blues world lost another legend this week with the passing of Louisiana Red. Our friend Bob Corritore sent us the sad news:
"RIP Iverson Minter AKA Louisiana Red March 23rd, 1932- to February 25, 2012. It is with a heavy heart that we report the passing of one of the greatest and most beloved traditional blues artists. Louisiana Red died at a hospital in Germany after a few days in a coma brought on by thyroid imbalance. He was 79. Louisiana Red was a powerful downhome blues artist who could channel his teachers (among them Muddy Waters, Elmore James, Robert Nighthawk, Lightnin' Hopkins and John Lee Hooker) into his own heartfelt musical conversation, delivered with such moving passion and honesty that it would leave his audiences indelibly touched.
He was fine singer with a distinctive voice, and an amazing guitarist who could play all of the traditional blues styles and excelled as one of the world's greatest slide guitarists. He could create moods and textures, both musically and spiritually, and had the ability of falling so deep into his own songs that he would go to tears, making his audience cry with him. That was the gift of this great artist.
Wikipedia lists Louisiana Red as being born in Bessemer, Alabama but his own reports have fluctuated from various Southern towns and cities. Red lost his mother at birth and his father was killed in a Ku Klux Klan lynching when Red was just 5 years old. He lived in an orphanage in New Orleans for a few a his childhood years until his grandmother took him to Pittsburgh to live. A few years later she bought him his first guitar, a $12 Kay." READ MORE.....
We caught up with Big Bill at the Dayton Blues Society Winter Blues Showcase at Gilly’s in Dayton on January 21st, 2012.
Blues Blast: Welcome to Dayton Ohio sir. Tonight, you're headlining the Dayton Blues Societies Winter Showcase. Have you played Dayton in the past?
"Yes, I played Dayton about five years ago and I remembered it when I pulled up to the hotel, I was a bit younger, I don't think I was the player that I am now. I've got more grease on me than I did then so I'm looking forward to kicking some butt out here!"
BB: You didn't make the decision to pursue a career as a full-time gigging musician until you were in your 40's. What prompted that move?
"Well it was my father passing away, it took me awhile to decide to make the move. I've got a solid education with degrees in English and Communication, one from a major white university and one from a major black university and that was my thing. I spent so much time in college and now I play the blues! Who would have known."
BB: What were you doing before you made your career change?
"Man, a lot of different things. I've been a DJ, I've had my own radio slot with WIGO and I worked at repossessing cars! It was like having a real job but I got out of it. You're chasing people who don't want to pay bills. It's like taking a mans horse back in the old west. People don't want to give up their horses."
BB: Did you encounter any resistance from your family or friends about your decision to go on the road and become a blues artist?
(Laughter) "Oh man, my friends and family thought I was crazy, even my wife. The question was why are you sitting around with a guitar playing the blues? It didn't go over very well at all until I got my first award."
BB: In 1999 your exceptional record, Rising Son was released and was given a big thumbs up by the blues community. How vindicating was it for your music to be recognized on its own merits?
"Well you know I cried. Then I got in my car and drove down the street yelling “Yes” out the open window. People must have thought I was crazy riding down the street screaming “yes!” It was like the people said to me , “Okay, you're Muddy's son but we're going to put our stamp of acceptance on you for being the best new blues artists of 2009, the best blues artist in all of America.”"
BB: One has to imagine that being the son of a genuine music legend can be a two edged sword. What's the upside to being the son of Muddy Waters and what are the downsides?
"Well the upside is that people will listen. A lot of people in the music business won't give you a chance, but it opened some doors for me. The downside is that you better be ready and you better be razor sharp because they are going to compare me to my Muddy Waters. With me, people have expectations, they expect me to be the blues. It's tough sometimes but I've done all right with it."
BB: I think it's refreshing that you're “Big Bill Morganfield” and not “ Muddy Morganfield” or something along those lines.
"I'm not interested in piggy-backing on my fathers name. Let me put it like this. I'm a proud man. Period. Not just Muddy's son. I'm a proud man and I have standards and one of them is not to be a copycat. There's nothing special about copying anyone. That's not the same as playing Muddy's songs. You think about every blues musician that becomes famous. Howlin' Wolf is Howlin' Wolf, Muddy Waters is Muddy Waters, T-Bone Walker is T-Bone Walker, and all those guys bring something to the table. America isn't a stupid country and we're not stupid people. We understand the beauty of being an individual and being yourself and being original is important."
BB: When you play the blues, how much of an influence is your father, his music and his style?
"Well you know, he's the greatest influence on me and my style. He's my father. He did it before me but I do want to do it my own way."
BB: You were raised by your grandmother in Florida while your father did his thing in Chicago. Later in life, how close were you able to get with your dad?
"Pop and I got tight later in life. I always looked at myself as the son who got away. I was born in Chicago and at three months old my mother took me to South Florida and gave me to her mother. She said she wasn't ready for me so my Grandmother took me and raised me. My life has been different, I would have liked to have known my father better. There again, I don't know what would have happened had I known him better. However, knowing him as I did led me to what I'm doing today."
"There were so many things I wanted to ask pop but he died. There were so many things I wanted to know. I wanted to know why certain things happened the way they did. A lot of my questions were answered when I stepped onto a stage and started doing what he did. I got my answers but I had to pick up a guitar and walk in his steps to get those answers. As I got a chance to see what was coming at me as far as women and things like that, it gave me a better understanding of what came at him. You know and maybe why, it went down the way it did between us."
BB: Life on the road as a performer is tough. Long hours, lots of driving, tons of waiting around and usually little of the glamour people often assume comes with the territory. With that being said, are you living your dream?
"I'm living my dream because I'm doing what I want to do. I think this is my destiny. I think every man has a destiny. I think its important for everyone to figure out where we fit in on the planet. Everyone has to find their spot in the big scheme of things."
BB: I understand you have a new record coming out?
"Yes, it's in the can, I need to do some polishing up on it and it is good! We're not sure when it's going to be released, it's done, that's the good thing. It's stressful doing a record when the record company is paying for everything, but when you're doing it yourself, it's pretty damn taxing and mentally challenging. Making records ins't free, it costs more than what people think it does especially at the level that I make them at."
BB: Where can people find out more about you Bill?
"Just Google me! You'll find out more stuff about me than I even know! I do have a website but I have don't have a lot of time but I have my fingers on every facet of the business. You can visit my website at http://bigbillmorganfield.net/ ."
Photos by Chris A © 2012 www.chrisaphotography.com
Interviewer Chris Armold is a writer and photographer in Ohio. Much about him and his work is at:
Catherine Russell - Strictly Romancin’
World Village / Harmonia Mundi s.a.
14 songs; 51:28 minutes; Library Quality
Styles: Smooth Vocal Jazz/ Classic Pop Standards, Swing
I need to immediately thank Catherine Russell and her producers for this wonderfully educating and entertaining album. Sadly, my knowledge of 1930s-40s-50s era artists is limited to mainly name recognition. In her fourth CD, we hear one of today’s best interpreters and performers, Catherine Russell, own each song as she sings with aplomb works by Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Hoagy Carmichael, and more.
This CD is a first class production all the way making it most enjoyable. It’s good to have a library with music for any mood. Within six months, I have gone from one extreme to another: the raucous Drunk-a-billy of Whiteboy James to the silky smooth cognac sipping, romancing vocals of Catherine Russell and music from a top-flight roll of band mates and session players. Russell reassembled the team from her previous acclaimed CD, “Inside This Heart of Mine.” On board are producer Paul Kahn, musical director/arranger Matt Munisteri, and recording engineer Katherine Miller. A who’s who of New York’s finest add horns, accordion, violin, piano, bass, and drums.
A native New Yorker born to musical royalty, Catherine Russell is a contemporary Jazz and Blues vocalist singing in a warm, supple alto. Her father, the late Luis Russell, was a pioneering pianist/bandleader and was Louis Armstrong's long-time musical director. Her mother, Carline Ray, is a one time Mary Lou Williams bassist and an outstanding vocalist who holds degrees from both Juilliard and Manhattan School of Music. Catherine herself has headlined on three continents at festivals and sold-out venues like the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C.
Among the classic pop oldies are Dorothy Fields and Jimmy McHugh’s “I’m in the Mood for Love” and Jack Palmer and Spencer Williams’ “Everybody Loves My Baby.” Lesser known numbers include Carmichael’s “Ev’ntide” and Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn’s “I’m Checkin’ Out, Goom’bye.”
While the smooth music is mainly focused elsewhere, there are a couple of Blues numbers by Ivory Joe Hunter and Lillian Green. Hunter’s “Don’t Leave Me” finds mid-tempo accompaniment for Russell’s poignant vocals. Matt Munisteri provides a nice guitar solo just over Mark Shane’s piano. Given a similar relaxed feel, Green’s “Romance in the Dark” simply invites canoodling and spooning.
For some fun at a snappier pace, check the conversation between Russell’s vocals and the horn of trombonist John Allred who literally makes that ’bone talk in “I’m Checkin’ Out, Goom’bye.” Mary Lou Williams’ “Satchel Mouth Baby” is a bouncy arrangement which has become a staple of her live performance repertoire.
Gospel fans are in for a real treat when Catherine’s 86-year-old mother Carline Ray joins Russell for a simple, yet splendid reading of Sister Rosetta Tharpe and Sister Marie Knight’s “He’s All I Need” to only piano backing courtesy of Mark Shane.
A perfect set closer begging a hit of the replay button is a swing number popularized by Henry “Red” Allen “Whatcha Gonna Do When There Ain’t No Swing?”. It joins another Swing-er “Wake Up and Live” made notable by Cab Calloway.
There is a time and place for everything, and when the time is right in the correct place, this CD can’t help but become the perfect listening background for intimate moments. Beyond that, it’s a rare treat to hear carefully selected classic songs recorded richly on modern equipment. Best of all are the pure, clear, and vulnerable vocals of Catherine Russell!
Reviewer James "Skyy Dobro" Walker is a noted Blues writer, DJ, Master of Ceremonies, and Blues Blast 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.
The Jimi Hendrix Experience – Winterland
Just when it was thought the Hendrix estate did a clean closet cleaning of releasing the legendary musician’s recordings, they still manage to unearth more material to add to a legacy that still looms larger than life.
Recorded at a three night stand at Winterland in 1968 and taken from a series of six shows, this four cd set presents this trio performing at a musical zenith before falling apart as a unit months later. Hendrix’ mood is up-beat, talking and joking with the audience as if he was really having a good time at that juncture of his career.
While bassist Noel Redding and drummer Mitch Mitchell are not endowed with the musical prowess that Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker had in pushing Clapton to great heights in Cream (who were breaking up when Hendrix was taking the stage at Windterland), they still proved an adequate rhythm section for a guitarist who pushed things to a breaking point. Whether experimenting with feedback to create airy solos brushed with psychedelic mayhem or bringing it back to the blues (as proven in the earthy “Hear My Train A Comin”), it was that type of exploration that defined the man for taking things to excess, on-stage as well as off.
And for being recorded 44 years ago, this set of music just smokes when coming out of the speakers. Not surprising considering this package was engineered and mixed by Eddie Kramer who was Hendrix’ co-visionary back in the day. At the rate the Hendrix family keeps discovering more recordings, its doubtful Kramer will ever get to enjoy the fruits of retirement. For that man it’s a small price to pay to turn on a younger generation just getting wind of the Hendrix legend.
While his performance of the “Star Spangled Banner” achieved notoriety at the infamous Woodstock festival, he was already honing the patriotic staple into its Vietnam effigy on-stage at Winterland. Special guest appearance by Jack Casady, bassist with the than burgeoning Jefferson Airplane shoots a blast of effervescent blues-rock into “Killin Floor.” Rarely performed versions of “Manic Depression” and “Are You Experienced” you can’t enough of with the later stretching itself to the 12 minute mark. Virgil Gonsalves from The Buddy Miles Express drops in to add flute lines which are almost indecipherable in the mix. It might be just as well. Take it in two ways: a terrific psychedelic journey or your worst heroin nightmare.
The added bonus is a backstage interview taken from the Boston Garden featured on the fourth cd. Hendrix speaks of his influences and what the support unit the Experience was even though their final days were shortly ahead of them.
Of all the odds and ends the Hendrix family discovers when they want to clean up shop, this might just be crowned jewel of the recordings they have stumbled on. And if it serves a purpose of getting a person psyched up when the Hendrix Tribute Tour rolls into town, than you know you‘ve gotten your money’s worth. Take it as a piece of history capturing a musician whose star was on the rise only to crash too quickly due to living in the fast lane and finally going over the edge.
Reviewer Gary Weeks is a contributing writer. He resides in Marietta, GA.
Guitar Not So Slim - Bailout
10 Tracks: 45 mins: 21secs
Guitar Not So Slim is a band, not a person. Not only that, one does not often associate Spain with blues music, but here we have a Spanish band lead by an ex-pat Canadian, which offers a brand of blues that they, and everyone associated with the band, can be justly proud of. They bring you right-on music, steeped in blues and Americana, which, when you hear this CD, will leave you asking for more.
The band features: Troy Nahumko (AKA: Troy Chandler) on guitar and vocals, Canadian by birth with a long history (going back to age 17) of playing blues and working with top musicians in North America; Moi Martin on bass and vocals, who has an equally long history of working with blues bands in Spain (and is the co-producer of this CD); Jose Luis 'Harmonica' Naranjo playing harp (he also plays trombone) who brings sounds of jazz, west coast swing and even flamenco to his harmonica work); and, all round percussionist with enormous experience of all kinds of back line work, Lalo Gonzalez on drums.
The album is infused with and enlivened by some sensational piano/ Hammond work from Jim McKaba, from Jacksonville FL , plus some horns and some additional piano/ organ/ Rhodes piano work by some great Dutch musicians.
The album is Troy’s inspiration and bearing in mind that blues music has always been a source of social commentary and protest and, given that the bankers have brought Europe to its knees in much the same way as in north America, railing about the bailouts and the consequent austerity measures, is fully justified. The album allows Troy also to point to the current obsession with plastic surgery, consumerism and (bringing it home) the alleged laziness of Spaniards. On a personal level Troy gives us two instrumentals Adarveing (pronounced Ar-dar-vey ing) which is a catchy guitar-led piece about the street on which Troy lives, Adarve del Cristo in Caceres, en Espana, and, La Pequena Nur (Little Nur), Nur being the name of Troy’s newly born daughter.
There are many examples of dazzling musicianship on the album, Is That You…”I’ve Been wondering is that you”, comes with a terrific arrangement complete with super keyboard break and a driving horn section; Never Been Younger is worth listening to for the sax solo(s) alone; They’re Doing Fine sounds like Jimmy Reed in the 21st Century, comes with a fabulous piano part and is like a re-energised version of Reed’s, When You’re Doing Alright.
This is a fine band that deserves a big audience well beyond the confines of Spain. On their Reverbnation page there is a Bring This Band To London button. I’ve clicked it already!
Reviewer Ian McKenzie lives in England. He is the editor of Blues In The South (www.bluesinthesouth.com) a monthly flier providing news, reviews, a gig guide and all kinds of other good stuff, for people living and going to gigs along the south coast of England. Ian is also a blues performer (see www.myspace.com/ianmckenzieuk) and has two web-cast regular blues radio shows. One on www.phonic.FM in Exeter (Wednesdays: 1pm Eastern/ 12 noon Central), the second on KCOR – Kansas City Online Radio (on Fridays at 1pm Eastern/ 12 noon Central).
We begin accepting submissions from labels and artists on March 1st. Artist do not necessarily have to submit their releases to be considered but any that do will have their recordings actually screened by the nominators. (Our Nominators can't nominate something they haven't heard!)
We have 30 nominators so you need to send 30 individual copies to be considered before April 15th, 2012. Any received after that date may not get sent to the nominators.
There is no charge for this. We will cover the cost and effort to get your eligible CD or DVD release into the hands of the nominators if you send them in. We reserve the right to change this policy in future years. CD's received after April 15th, 2012 may not reach the nominators so hurry and get your submissions in today! For complete details, CLICK HERE
Nominators begin submitting their nominations May 1st and final nominations will be announced after May 31st, 2012. Voting Begins in July.
Hans Thessink – Jedermann Remixed
18 tracks; 70.43 minutes
Dutchman Hans Thessink has been around on the European scene for many years, producing well over a dozen albums. He is less well known in the States but was a popular performer on the January 2010 Blues Cruise which he undertook with frequent collaborator Terry Evans. Now resident in Austria, Hans was approached by local filmmaker Hannes Rossacher to produce the music to a film that he was making – an adaptation of the medieval morality play “Everyman” (“Jedermann” in German), hence the title of this album.
Hans is predominantly an acoustic player with particular expertise on slide. He sings in a deep and pleasing voice and throughout this album his vocals are terrific. The material was selected to suit the scenes in the film which deals with God, the Devil and death and is made up of judiciously selected covers and some original songs. Among the tunes covered are The Rolling Stones, Joe South, Johnny Cash, Tom Waits, Ray Charles, Curtis Mayfield, Bo Diddley and Hank Williams – quite a disparate set at first sight. However, the songs all fit well into the themes of the film. In three cases Hans drew on previous albums and the versions of Memphis Slim’s “Mother Earth”, Curtis Mayfield’s “People Get Ready” and his own “Cuckoo” all come from earlier albums. One big plus of this is that “Mother Earth” and “Cuckoo” feature the vocals of Terry Evans and Bobby King, former bandmates of Ry Cooder and always a treat for the ears.
Although there is wider instrumentation on some tracks, this is essentially a solo effort. The CD opens with Tom Waits’ “Down In The Hole” and its refrain of “You’ve gotta keep the devil down in the hole” sets the tone for the album. It is followed by Johnny Cash’s “The Man Comes Around” and Jagger/Richards’ “No Expectations” that is given a particularly stark reading. Bo Diddley’s “I’m A Man” offers a little lighter relief before Nick Lowe’s “The Beast In Me” appears. Traditional song “Satan, Your Kingdom Must Come Down” is given a nice treatment with slide guitar and banjo (possibly both played by Hans) and a choir of female backing vocalists.
Hans then offers us a trio of original compositions. “Cuckoo” is a very slow blues with lots of backing vocals. “Ready For The Ride” is something of a matched pair with the earlier Cash piece: “You can run, run, run, sure can’t hide; when the Master calls your number, better be ready for the ride.” “Mother’s Advice” turns out to be to warn of the temptations of the Devil and to try to be a good man – turns out to have been good advice in this play’s case!
Ray Charles’ “I Got A Woman” is taken at a slightly more sprightly pace than much of the CD though not at the pace of the hot little number we all know and love. Nevertheless it acts as something of a release of pressure before we return to the central theme in the next three numbers. First up is an adaptation of traditional song “You Gonna Need Somebody On Your Bond” in which Hans’ vocal is supported by a lovely harmony vocal from Meena Cryle. That is followed by Hank Williams’ “The Angel Of Death” and Memphis Slim’s “Mother Earth” which make as chilling a pairing as anyone could imagine. “Mother Earth” is given a funereal reading which makes the lyrics even more depressing. Terry Evans’ co-vocal here is a highlight. “Call Me” is another Thessink original which, with its keyboards and percussion, is one of the pieces with greater instrumental colour. “Oh Sinner Man” is a traditional tune with a very familiar refrain.
The CD closes with an interesting trio of songs. Curtis Mayfield’s “People Get Ready” is a personal favourite of mine and this is another good version, the song expressing the simple faith of the believer. If the end of the film was a positive ‘feelgood’ ending that might have been a fitting finale, but we then get “Sympathy For The Devil” (Jagger/Richards) and “Games People Play” (Joe South) to end the CD. Both appear in quite long versions, the Stones tune clocking in at over 7 minutes, by far the longest tune on the album. It offers plenty of opportunity to hear Hans’ slide guitar skills and, somewhat surprisingly, retains the ‘woo-hoos’ of the original coda. Joe South’s classic is played pretty straight with the sound of accordion and pump organ enlivening the sound. Given the nature of the film this seems an excellent trio of songs to end on.
Hans Thessink has produced a superb set of songs to accompany a film that deals with such serious themes. The quality of the singing and musicianship is high and should appeal to quite a wide range of tastes. Whilst this is not strictly a blues album it is informed throughout by a blues feel and merits our serious consideration.
Reviewer John Mitchell is a blues enthusiast based in the UK. He also travels to the States most years to see live blues music and is currently planning a visit to the Tampa Bay Blues Festival.
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The Great Northern Blues Society - Wausau, WI
The Great Northern Blues Society is putting on our annual Fundraising Show “Blues Café’ 2012” on 3/31/12 at the Rothschild Pavilion near Wausau, WI. Chris Duarte’, Albert Castiglia, Howard & the Whiteboys, Jumpship Blues Band, and Donnie Pick & the Road band will be performing from 1:00PM – 11:00PM. www.gnbs.org for further information. $15 in advance - $20 at the door.
The Phoenix Blues Society - Phoenix, AZ
The Phoenix Blues Society is proud to announce that its 21st annual Blues Blast Festival will be held on Saturday, March 10th, 2012 at the Margaret T. Hance Park located at 200 East Moreland in Phoenix. Appearing at Blues Blast will be, Sugar Ray and the Bluetones, The Sugar Thieves, Big Daddy D & the Dynamites, George Bowman the Baddboyz Blues Band featuring Lucius Parr, Common Ground Blues Band and Dave Riley and Bob Corritore. The gates will open at 10:00 A.M. for Blues Blast and the Festival will run from 11:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M. The website for Blues Blast is www.bluesblast.info and all ticketing for the event is being facilitated by Eventbrite at www.bluesblast.eventbrite.com. For further information, please feel free to contact Phoenix Blues Society President, Kyle Deibler, at firstname.lastname@example.org or on his cell at 602.770.5936.
Dayton Blues Society – Dayton, Ohio
The Dayton Blues Society & Team Vanderpool will be holding our 3rd Annual Benefit for the American Cancer Society on March 3rd at Gilly’s (corner of 5th & Jefferson in Dayton, Ohio). This year’s event is called “Ladies of the Blues” and features: Cheryl Renee from Cincinnati (Placed 3rd at the IBC in 2010 w/ Them Bones), Inner City Blues Band from Columbus, Ellie Lee & Blues Fury (Dayton Challenge winner – 2010 / Pomeroy Challenge winner – 2011), Miss Lissa & Company (Cincy Blues Society Challenge winner 2011), Music begins at 6pm – For more details go to www.daytonbluessociety.com
River City Blues Society - Pekin, IL
River City Blues Society presents: Bringing The Blues To You with the following shows - March 28th at 7PM • Albert Castiglia, April 11th at 7PM • Sean Chambers. Location Goodfellas 1414 N. 8th St, Pekin, Illinois $5.00 non-members $3.00 members. For more info visit: www.rivercityblues.com or call 309-648-8510
Illinois Central Blues Club - Springfield, IL
The Illinois Central Blues Club's 26th Anniversary Celebration will be Saturday, March 10, 2012, at the Knights of Columbus Hall, 2200 S. Meadowbrook, Springfield, IL from 7:30 pm to 12:00 am. Kicking off the celebration at 7:30pm will be local favorites Tombstone Bullet, the ICBC 2011 Blues Challenge winners with Lil’Ed and the Blues Imperials taking the stage at 9:30pm.
This event serves as a fund raiser for the ICBC’s “Blues in the Schools” programs which bring live blues music and oral history of the blues to children and adults in the community. The admission fee is $8.00 for members and $10 for non-members.
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 8:00pm $3 cover. Mar 3 – Eddie Snow Tribute w/Bill Evans, Mar 12 – Todd Wolfe Band, Mar 19 – The 44s, Mar 26 – RJ Mischo, Apr 2 – Brad Vickers & His Vestopolatans, Apr 9 – JP Soars & the Red Hots, Apr 16 – Too Slim & the Tail Draggers, Apr 23 – Andrew Jr Boy Jones. icbluesclub.org
The Diamond State Blues Society - Wilmington, Delaware
On Saturday, March 3rd it's the Diamond State Blues Society presents the 15th Annual House Rockin' Party. Opening the show at 3pm will be Nuthin' But Trouble, followed by Florida's great Blues Guitarist, Albert Castiglia, and headlining the show is the ironman himself, the phenomenal Michael Burks! Full details can be found at www.DiamondStateBlues.com
The Friends Of The Blues - Watseka, IL
Friends of the Blues present 2012 shows:
Tues, March 6, The Sugar Prophets, 7 pm, Kankakee Valley Boat Club
Tues, March 13, Harper & Midwest Kind, 7 pm, Bradley Bourbonnais Sportsmen’s Club
Thur, March 29, Albert Castiglia, 7 pm, Kankakee Valley Boat Club
Tues, April 10, Sean Chambers, 7 pm, Bradley Bourbonnais Sportsmen’s Club
Tues, April 17, Too Slim & Taildraggers, 7 pm, Kankakee Valley Boat Club
Thur, April 26, Al Stone, 7 pm, Kankakee Valley Boat Club
West Virginia Blues Society - Charleston, W.V.
The West Virginia Blues Society, Inc. and Thornhill Auto Groups present the 5th Annual Charlie West Blues Fest May 18, 19 and 20, 2012 at Haddad Riverfront Park, Charleston, WV including headline performances by Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Rod Piazza & The Mighty Flyers and Ruthie Foster. For more information visit http://wvbluessociety.org/
Prairie Crossroads Blues Society – Champaign-Urbana, IL
Prairie Crossroads Blues Society shows: Friday March 2, 1st Friday Blues, Danny & the Devils, 8pm studio visit to WEFT 90.1FM during the Blues Live show, 10pm, performance at Memphis on Main, Champaign. $5 non-members, $3 members. Friday April 6, 1st Friday Blues, Johnny Rawls. For more info: www.prairiecrossroadsblues.org
The West Michigan Blues Society - Grand Rapids, MI
The West Michigan Blues Society and radio station WYCE 88.1 FM present the 2012 Cabin Fever Blues Series at Billy's Lounge 1437, Wealthy St. SE Grand Rapids, MI. Up coming shows include March 3 The Chicago Rhythm & Blues Kings. Tickets are $10.00 per show at the door only. Doors at 7:00 PM Music at 9:30 PM. Info at: www.wmbs.org
Rosedale Crossroads Blues Society - Rosedale, MS
Rosedale Crossroads Blues Society presents The Crossroads Blues and Heritage Festival, Saturday, May 12, 2012 at the River Resort at Highway 1 South in historic Rosedale, MS featuring Bill Abel, Cadillac John, Big Joe Shelton, DSU Ol’ Skool Revue and other area artists.
Gates open at 12:00 noon, music starts at 1:00 Admission $5 – adults, $1 – children under 12 Bring your own ice chest – $10 No beer sold – No glass – No pets, please Parking $5
The Jimmys - Gimme the Jimmys
Brown Cow Productions
This one gets off to a rockin' start as our favorite band from Monroe, WI delivers a high octane performance on "HaDaya HaDaya" that illustrates everything that makes this band special – tight musical interplay, a blazing hot horn section and Jimmy Voegeli's spirited vocals and keyboard work. Drummer Mauro Magellan was an original member of the Georgia Satellites - his fellow band member, Dan Baird, adds his guitar to the track along with Warner Hodges of Jason & the Scorchers fame, who lays down a brief but incendiary guitar solo.
Voegeli wrote all of the songs for this project. He recorded two of the songs during his lengthy stint as a member of the Westside Andy/Mel Ford Band. The latest version of "Girl All Woman" emphasizes the New Orleans R&B elements of the song, with the tenor sax solo from Bryan Husk driving home the point. Bun E. Carlos of Cheap Trick contributes some cowbell to the track. "Love Will Find a Way" has a driving rhythm from Magellan and bassist Johnny Wartenweiler. Voegeli plays some rollicking piano lines and Ken "Birddog" Olufs gets a chance to showcase his skill on the harmonica. The horns bring an extra layer of liveliness to the track.
The pace slows on "Baby's So Fine" with Voegeli's compassionate vocal one of the disc's highlights, surrounded by the majestic sounds of his Hammond organ and a sympathetic alto sax solo from Peterson Ross. Baird's slide guitar on "She Don't Love Me" has the band sounding like the classic version of Little Feat. The instrumental "Jimmys Groove" establishes a blue-funk feel with the band's guitarist, Dave Potter, playing some of his always tasteful licks. Voegeli stars again on the organ as the horn section blasts away in the background and Carlos sits in on drums. "JiMo Boogie" features Magellan as the sole support for Voegeli's extended piano solo that again highlights the influence of the New Orleans piano tradition on his style along with a few hints of ragtime piano. Voegeli switches to the Rhodes electric piano on "All I Ask" and Potter gets a another chance to shine.
There are two songs that show the group's versatility as well as proving that they aren't afraid to move beyond more traditional material. The soulful "Hell or Heaven" has a mainstream rock sound with soaring vocals, a dynamic horn chart and a miin-guitar army comprised of Baird, Hodges and Billy Flynn. Baird plays a succinct solo at the mid-point before Flynn brings you home with some exquisite playing that captures the B.B. King sound. There is a second, shorter version of this track at the end of the disc, intended for radio play. "The Tree" is a distinct departure from the rest of the disc. Voegeli and his wife, Laura, often visit her mother. There is a small cemetery nearby that the couple often strolls through. They always pass by a grave that sits under a Yew tree. The song is Voegeli's imagining a possible storyline that ties together the departed soul and the tree. His dark, gloomy vision tells the tale of a father's love and sacrifice for his daughter, that later brings additional tragic consequences. The string section comprised of Chris Wagoneron on violin & viola and Mary Gaine on cello and parlor bass help establish the haunting mood. The Amateur Horn Stars - Husk, Ross and Chad Whittinhill on trumpet & flugelhorn - also make key contributions.
If you have caught one of the Jimmys live shows, you know what to expect from this disc - and you won't be disappointed. There is plenty of the band's upbeat, good-time music that they are famous for. Some might be slightly disappointed at the number of high-profile, special guests. But they all make solid contributions without impacting what the Jimmys are all about. And every band needs to find an edge that helps with their marketing. When you have a collection of musicians this talented, and a front man with the charisma of Jimmy Voegeli, you are guaranteed plenty of musical fireworks. This is a fine first effort and has me already anxiously awaiting the next Jimmys recording
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.
Carolyn Fe Blues Collective - Original Sin
One would think with this Canadian band choosing the moniker of Carolyn Fe Blues Collective that they would play blues music, when in fact their songs owe more to the Pat Benatar-Debbie Harry school of tough-girl rock, although with blues-rock and/or blues guitar on most occasions. The guitar-bass-drums-keyboards backing is strong and energetic throughout. Carolyn’s lyrics are cocky and world weary, but could use more emotion in the delivery. Guitarist George Papafilys has a trick bag of dive-bomb runs, shredding, squeals and what-not to make the proceedings interesting. The production by Carolyn and drummer Dan Legault is crisp and clean with all aspects of the sound clearly discernible at all times.
The title track leads with acoustic guitar morphing into distorted electric guitar, turning into a crunchy and chugging blues-rock number with nice and soulful Memphis-style organ underpinnings by Tim Alleyenne. The cricket sound effects stay “too long at the fair” and become a distraction.
“Broken String” is all Z.Z. Top Texas guitar strut with the guitar poised and ready to strike at any moment. Some nice John Fogerty “Born On The Bayou” guitar riffing is a feature of the tale of an unsavory boyfriend, “Devil’s Fool”. For some strange reason some mostly indecipherable male spoken word is interjected about two minutes in. The band has blues knowledge, but don’t always hit the mark. They manage to use a close cousin of Willie Dixon’s “Wang Dang Doodle” riff as the basis for the kiss-off tune “Don’t Be Sad” to good effect. The stripper drumbeat is employed on “Rant”, that is exactly what the name implies, telling an ex “Where the yellow went”. It’s also curious in its’ use of a talk box, the thingy Peter Frampton used on some of his hits, a device I’ve hardly seen in blues-rock.
“Manual Overdrive” is a laundry list of truck metaphors for sex play. Here as elsewhere George Papafilys supplies some nifty guitar lines, along with more greasy organ from Tim Alleyne. The closest foray to real blues territory is the aptly named, “You And Me And The Blues”, were the guitars teeter between blues and blues-rock twiddling. Synth-strings that sound if they came from an arsty-fartsy alternative rock band lead off “Adja Wali” that sounds like Stevie Nicks if she was a Native Indian pop star. It amounts to guilty pleasure pop-fluff. Traded off rapid-fire blues-rock guitar riffs with the organ are worth the price of admission to “Bow Wow”, as the singer longs for the return of her lover. The closing tune, “Some More”, is all Pat Benatar swagger and attitude.
If you’re looking for the blues, this isn’t the place to look. On the other hand, if you think Foghat is a blues band, then this is a good place to get your fix of well executed blues-rock which owes a debt to some of the lower tier classic rockers. The band does what it does and commits itself well.
Reviewer Greg “Bluesdog” Szalony hails from the New Jersey Delta.
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