The Crossroads Blues Society Newsletter
2017 Blues Festival Lineup Is Set!!! be a big hit with our music fans!
We finally have our lineup arranged for the 2017 Crossroads Blues Festival at Lyran Park. On Saturday, August 26th we have another great day of music planned with a fantastic variety of blues music styles. Closing out the day is the rocking, British bluesy sounds of the Steepwater Band. Born in Chicago and schooled on the road, these guys blend many forms of
rock and blues into a unique and cool sound. The trio of Jeff Massey (vocals/guitar), Joe Winters (drums), and Tod Bowers (bass) was expanded in 2012 to include a fourth member, Eric Saylors (vocals/ guitar). We think they will
15 years have passed since we lost Big Daddy Kinsey, but the Kinsey brothers (vocalist/ guitarist Donald, drummer/ vocalist Ralph, and bassist/ vocalist Kenneth) continue their family tradition of delivering high powered, soulful blues that keeps fans on their feet. The band also includes the great guitar playing of Andy Ogrodzinski who, along with the brothers, make for a superb musical sound! continued on page 2
Bobby Messano spent Friday, December 2nd at Haskell ES in the AM and then did a pair of programs at Spring Creek ES in the afternoon. Both schools were in Rockford. He also did an evening show at the Lyran Club.
Dave Fields spent the morning of Friday, December 16th at Lathrop ES and the afternoon at Carlson ES. These schools were also in Rockford. He did an evening show at the Lyran Club and then did our first Blues in the Library program Saturday morning at Byron Public Library. Gerry Hundt helped send kids off for the holidays with a program in Stillman Valley at Meridian School District’s Highland ES on the morning of Wednesday, December
2017 Crossroads Blues Festival Schedule
2016/2017 BITS In Full Swing Since Mark Dvorak opened the year for us in October we have had Bobby Messano in town for three programs, Dave Fields for three programs and Gerry Hundt for two programs, totaling 10 so far for this school year.
21st. That afternoon he did a program at Froberg ES in Rockford. See photos of all these programs inside on page 3! Coming up in February we have New York State bluesman and educator Tas Cru doing a program each day on February 8th and 9th. We are still waiting on dates to do the 5 day residency with Dan Phelps and the Rockford Headstart Program. 35 programs of 15-20 minutes each are planned for that.
1100 AM Gates Open Noon Ivy Ford Band 130 PM Brutal Wedgie in the Pavilion 2 PM Corey Dennison Band 330 PM Joe Filisko Harmonica Workshop in the Pavilion 4 PM The Jimmys 530 PM Paul Kaye Guitar Workshop in the Pavilion 6 PM Kinsey Report 730 PM Dan Phelps with Hardtimes Cigar Box Guitars in the Pavilion 8 PM Steepwater Band 10 PM Festival Closes
Inside this issue:
News Music Reviews Playlist, Members Other BITS are in the works– stay Membership Application tuned for more info! Upcoming Events
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The Groove- Crossroads Blues Society Newsletter
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2017 Crossroads Blues Fest Lineup is Set CD to rave reviews. The future of the blues is in good hands with these fellows!
The ever popular band The Jimmys will also take the stage for us in 2017. Featuring the lineup of Jimmy Voegeli on Hammond Organ, Piano, Electric Rhodes, Vocals, Mauro Magellan on Drums and Percussion, John Wartenweiler on Electric and Acoustic Bass, Perry Weber on Guitars and Vocals, Pete Ross on Alto Saxophone, Darren Sterud on Trombone And Mike Boman on Trumpet, these guys are the swingingest and coolest band that you’ll ever hear. And if Mauro Magellan from The Georgia Satellites on drums is not enough, then special guest Bun E. Carlos from Cheap Trick sitting in on drums will be even cooler! The stage will be on fire with these guys playing for us!
Opening the day for us will be a great act from the Chicago area– Ivy Ford! A mere 23 years old but she sings like she’s been practicing her craft for many years. A talented and exciting act to open our day!
Nick Barcelona on drums, the band is high energy and lots of fun! At 3:30 PM we have our annual Harmonica Workshop with the great Joe Filisko returning for the workshop. Joe is one of the greatest harp players out there and we are glad he is returning to be with us! Then at 5:30 PM we have a Guitar Workshop with Paul Kaye. Paul is a Chicago guitar player and music educator. He teaches at Old Town School of Music and was with Honey Boy Edwards late in his life touring with this Delta Bluesman.
The hottest new band in the blues world has to be the Corey Dennison Band featuring Corey on vocals and guitar, Gerry Hundt on guitar and keys, Nik Skilnik on bass and Joel Baer on drums. Born in Chatanooga, TN and raised down South, Corey was raised on the likes of Albert Collins, Gatemouth Brown and Albert King. Blending soul and blues, he and band are now based out of Chicago and their 2016 studio album followed up their 2013 live
We think this will be a lot of fun and will be very interesting for all the guitar players out there!
Between acts we are going to offer a little more variety this year. We have a different offering beginning at each of the four breaks. First, at 1:30 PM we have the local youth band Brutal Wedgie. Featuring 18 year old Alley DeYoung on vocals, 14 year old Jake Andino on guitar, 18 year old Kellen Ivanuck on bass, 16 year old
Lastly, at 7:30 PM we have Hardtimes Cigar Box Guitars with our Solo/Duo Winner Challenge winner Dan Phelps. Dan is a great Delta styled bluesman who will be representing Crossroads for the second time in Memphis in 2017. We have another varied and fun lineup for 2017! Tickets go on sale in early 2017, so stay tuned for info!
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2016/2017 Blues in the Schools In Full Swing Bobby Messano, Dave Fields and Gerry Hundt did a fantastic job delivering eight programs to six area schools in December! Dave Fields also did our first ever library program at Byron Public Library.
Dave Fields at Byron Public Library; photo by Bob Haendler
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Crossroads Blues Society 2016 In Review Founded in 1994, Crossroads is now in our 23rd year. We’ve had many great years and 2016 was another wonderful and busy year for our Crossroads Blues Society. We had 52 shows and events featuring 43 different acts. 6,030 students learned about the blues in 46 Blues in the Schools (BITS) programs. 24 regular school programs, one community program and 21 residency programs made up our 46 programs; 9 groups of artists conducted our BITS programming. Highlights By the Month January saw BITS for the Kiwanis Club of Byron, Mary Morgan ES in Byron, Spring Creek ES in Rockford, McNair ES in Winnebago, Bloom ES, Thompson ES and 2 programs at East HS in Rockford. John Primer was at Hope and Anchor, Martin Lang and Billy Flynn and then Dave Weld and the Imperial flames were at the Lyran Club, Matthew Gregory Jones played at the Ice Hogs, Hamilton Loomis did two days of a Harp Workshop and Jimmy Nick was at the Grand Avenue Pub for an IBC sendoff. What a great start for 2016! February BITS had our East HS residency with Dan Phelps doing 20 programs plus Mark Dvorak and David Causey at Washington ES, McIntosh ES, East HS and Lathrop ES for four BITS programs in Rockford. Tad Robinson was at the Hope and Anchor, Trinadora was at Lyran Club, and Dan Phelps and the Hoodoo Rhythm Kings performed at the Ice Hogs. Dan Phelps concluded his East HS residency in March with a final event and also did BITS with Carlson ES and Froberg ES in Rockford. Dan Phelps was at All Saints, Tweed Funk performed at Hope and Anchor, Smilin' Bobby was at the Lyran Club, Hamilton Loomis was at Marys Place and we had a big event with Coco Montoya at the JR Sullivan Theater. April had no BITS programming. Reverend Raven and the Chain Smoking Altar Boys were at Hope and Anchor, Breezy Rodio was at the Lyran Club, Mark Dvorak and David Causey did our All Saints show, and Paul Heiser and Recently Paroled closed out the season for the Ice Hogs. BITS in May was Dave Fields at Hillman
ES, concluding our 2015/16 BITS effort. Birddog and Beck at All Saints, the Jimmys at the Hope and Anchor and Dave Fields at Lyran Club were our May community shows. We had some fun in June with Steve Ditzell at Hope and Anchor, Mighty Mo Rogers and Luca Giordano at the Lyran Club, Mark Hummel and the Golden State/Lone Star Review with Little Charlie Baty an Anson Funderburg at the Mendelssohn PAC and Justin Gates at All Saints. They all helped kick off our summer. July was special with the return of the Braille Blues Daddy Bryan Lee, celebrating 60 years on the road! Bryan played at our own first ever Sinnissippi Park event with Justin “Boots” Gates opening for him. Also in July was blues hall of famer Paul Filipowicz at the Hope and Anchor and another great show with Smilin' Bobby at the Lyran Club! August began with the Trinadora Duo atAll Saints, then the New Savages at Hope and Anchor for their final show ever, and then Scotty and the Bad Boys at the Lyran Club. Our 7th annual Crossroads Blues Festival featured New Zealand’s Flaming Mudcats, slide mistress Joanna Connor, the great Ghost Town Blues Band, the soulful Tad Robinson and hill country stars Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band on the main stage and Birddog and Beck between acts in the Pavilion and for our harp workshop. In September Dave Specter with Brother John was at the Hope and Anchor, Harpo’s Revue was at the Lyran Club and Stormcellar performed our President's Invitational at the Blackhawk Lodge on the Rock River. September was a fun month! BITS kicked off in October at Shirland Schools and Durand Schools with Mark
Dvorak along with Crossroads President Steve Jones filling in for David Causey. Our regular shows were Aaron Williams at the Hope and Anchor, the Hoodoo Rhythm Kings at the Lyran Club, Macyn Taylor at All Saints, Dan Phelps and yBblu performed at our Blues Challenge for the IBC at the Grand Avenue Pub and Recently Paroled played at the first Friday Ice Hogs game of the new season. November featured Val & Char Brown at the Ice Hogs, Reverend Raven and the Chain Smoking Altar Boys at the Hope and Anchor, the Trinadora Quintet at the Lyran Club and Daniel Souvigny started things in November at All Saints. December BITS was quite busy. Bobby Messano did programs in Rockford at Haskell ES and a pair of programs at Spring Creek ES. Dave fields was at Rockford’s Lathrop ES and Carlson ES and then did our first ever Blues in the Library at Byron Public Library the following morning. Gerry Hundt finished up the calendar year’s BITS with programs at Highland ES in Stillman Valley and Froberg ES in Rockford. Val & Char Brown and Trinadora played at the Ice Hogs, Bobby Messano and Dave Fields were at the Lyran Club, Dan Phelps was at All Saints and our big event was Duke Robillard at the Mendelssohn PAC. Our Hope and Anchor Christmas Party with the Jimmys unfortunately snowed out. If it was Blues related in 2016 in the Rockford area there was a good chance Crossroads was behind it. We had a great year and hope that 2017 is even better! We wish all our members, friends and the entire Blues world a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year!
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Crossroads Blues Festival 2017 Logo Contest For our 2017 festival we are giving blues fans with artistic talent the chance to submit a logo for use on our tee shirt front and for our advertising use. The graphics below shows the Crossroads logo, a lyre and a generic sort of electric guitar outline that must be incorporated into the logo. The following wording must also be used in the logo: Crossroads Blues Festival at Lyran Park August 26, 2016 8th Annual or Eighth Annual Optionally include Rockford, IL or Illinois The guitar is sort of a Stratocaster but it varies from one because ours has string adjusters/tuning pegs on both sides of the headstock. The Crossroads logo can be used in one of it’s many formats; 3 are shown here. The Lyre represents the Lyran Society. The logo can be up to three colors with a fourth color serving as the back ground. We tend to not like white shirts so take that into account when designing the background color for the shirt/logo. Our prior logos are shown. We changed the guitar last year from the less realistic guitar to this one below. Please submit artwork by March 1st. Submissions may be via mail to: Crossroads Blues Society PO Box 840 Byron, IL 61010 A PDF file/vector art will also be required. Submissions may be done via email in PDF format to email@example.com The winner will be chosen by our Board of Directors and the winner will get two tickets to the festival, two tee shirts of a size of their choice, recognition at the festival and in print and a $25 cash prize.
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The Groove- Crossroads Blues Society Newsletter
Ghost Town Blues Band Returns 2/24/17 The 2016 Crossroads Blues Festival at Lyran Park left many of the attendees wanting to see more from Ghost Town Blues Band and we are happy to bring them back to the area to enjoy them once again. They impressed us so much at our event that an encore performance certainly was warranted and on Friday, February 24th we have them coming back to Rockford! They will be at the Mendelssohn PAC from 7 to 10 PM. Tickets are only $10 in advance, $15 at the door. Tickets available on line or at locations on the poster.
Prairie Street Brewing Company will be providing liquid refreshments and AnJanâ€™s Eats will have food available for sale. This portends to be a fantastic show by a band that was a fan favorite to many of
the attendees at the 2016 festival. Come out for a great night of music and to support live music in Rockford. Brought to you by Crossroads Blues Society! Letâ€™s keep the blues alive and kicking in the Screw City for 2017!
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The Blues Return Some of to the BMO Har- Chicago’s ris Bank Center Best Blues and Ice Hogs Fri- Acts Are day Pregame Coming to the Hope Shows & Anchor!
For the third straight season there will be pregame music events featuring blues and blues rock artists playing from 5:15 to 6:45 PM prior to each Friday home game for the AHL Hockey Affiliate Rockford Ice Hogs. The season kicks off with music at the Blues Flame Lounge on October 28th with the first Friday home game. Local band Recently Paroled with play their high energy, rocking blues to the great crowds that come out for music prior to these Friday games. Music will be featured prior to each Friday home game this season, nine dates in all:
28-Oct Recently Paroled 25-Nov Val and Char Browne 2-Dec Val and Char Browne 30-Dec Roy Roots 13-Jan Matthew Flamm & These House Rituals 27-Jan Don Collins & the Night Shift 17-Feb The Hoodoo Rhythm Kings 3-Mar Paul Pena 31-Mar Recently Paroled Admission to the shows is free with a ticket to the game. Check out the schedule and get info for these events here: http://icehogs.com/tickets/Blues-FlameFridays/ and go out for some great music and hockey!
Brand new Grammy nominee Lurrie Bell and the ever popular Mike Wheeler are coming to our area for shows at the Hope and Anchor English Pub in January and February. Lurrie’s new CD Can’t Shake This Feeling was nominated for a Grammy in the Traditional Blues Category. We reviewed it in our last issue and it was obvious that it was something special. Saturday, January 14th at 8 PM Lurrie and his fantastic band will be out playing tunes from the album and other great music! Lurrie was the headliner at our 2013 festival at Lyran Park and has also been out to the Hope and Anchor before. He is one of our favorite artists! Mike Wheeler Released Turn It Up in 2016 to follow up his great Self Made Man from 2012. Both CDs are great examples of how Chicago Blues remain vibrant. Mike and his band are at the Hope and Anchor on February 11th. They also graced the stage at our 2014 Crossroads Blues Festival.
Crossroads Blues Society Officers and Board Members Contact Info President: Steve Jones firstname.lastname@example.org Vice-President: Bill Graw email@example.com Secretary: Bonnie Fox firstname.lastname@example.org Treasurer: Terry Keller email@example.com Board of Directors: Denny Barker firstname.lastname@example.org Rick Davis email@example.com Bob Haendler firstname.lastname@example.org Ken Pearson email@example.com Rick Hein firstname.lastname@example.org
The Groove- Crossroads Blues Society Newsletter
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Music Reviews Grown Ass Woman Sharon Lewis Delmark Records www.delmark.com 14 tracks Sharon Lewis is a fantastic vocalist and has enlisted the support of an outstanding band and some superb guest musicians to follow up her 2011 Delmark release The Real Deal with an even better record! This is her third album over all (2004’s Everything's Gonna Be Alright on Sleeping Dog was her first) and I think her finest to date. Her band is Steve Bramer on guitar, Roosevelt Purifoy on keys, Andre Howard on bass, and tony Dale on drums. The empress of the slide guitar joins her for two tracks; Joanna Connor adds her presence with good effect. Sugar Blue appears on harp on a couple of other tracks and Steve Bell on another with some sweet harp work. Ari Seder brings his bass to two other cuts. Kenny Anderson arranges the horns for four tracks and play trumpet while Hank Ford is on tenor sax and Jerry DiMuzio is on baritone sax. Sharon has a fine ensemble of musicians to round out a wonderful album with 12 original songs and two covers that conclude the CD. The CD begins with Sugar Blue in support on “Can’t Do It Like We Do,” a fine cut that tells the world that no town can do the blues better than her home of Chicago. “Hell Yeah!” has the horns start things off for Sharon and she delivers a call and response with her band as chorus to another fine new cut. Joanna Connor then comes in on “Chicago Woman” with some delightfully wicked slide licks as Lewis testifies with grit and emotion. Next up is “They’re Lyin’” with the horns adding to this cool down tempo ballad. Guitarist Steve Bramer penned “Don’t Try to Judge Me” where he showcases his talents along with Lewis. “Old Man’s Baby” features Steve Bell on harp and Lewis sings she’d “rather be an old man’s baby than a young man’s fool” and gives ample explanation as to why within the lyrics. Bell delivers some wickedly hot harp here. The title cut concludes the first half of the album. The regular players here do a super job backing Sharon on guitar, piano and organ as she tells us with no holds barred that she doesn’t need anyone to take care of her!
The horns return for “Walk With Me,” another Bramer tune and another fine effort. He also wrote the next four tracks. “Freedom” is a mid tempo tune with Connor back on slide trading her licks with Lewis vocals and in a fine solo. “Call Home” is the final track with the horn section. It’s an upbeat song that hearkens back to perhaps the 1960’s stylistically. “Home Free Blues” is next. Bramer offers some thoughtful guitar and Purifoy counters with piano and some overlaid organ that I really liked. It’s a slow blues that is quite nice. The last original track is “High Road” where Sugar Blue and Sharon dumps her man in no uncertain terms. Well done stuff! The two covers that finish things off are B.B. King’s “That’s Why I Sing The Blues” and Warren Haynes’ “Soul Shine.” The guitar is in the forefront as Sharon belts out the King tune. Purifoy also does some nice high energy organ here, too. Lewis closes things on a soft note with the classic “Soul Shine.” She showcases her vocal prowess and all band members stand out front and ready in her support. She puts her spin on this in a very cool south side manner. Guitar and organ solos help sell this one, too! Sharon Lewis is one of my favorite vocalists. I often think she does not get the props other singers do. Well, this record will help in a large way to get her some much needed notice around the blues world! If you want to hear one of the best singers out there then go buy this one and take it for a spin– it’s a really superb effort and one of 2016’s best blues CDs! Reviewed by Steve Jones Takin’ & Givin’ Levee Town Self Released www.leveetown.com 14 tracks Levee Town is the house band at the famed Knuckleheads Saloon in Kansas City. Recording and touring for over 14 years, this is their 6th CD and it is probably their best one yet. Stylistically the songs are all blues, ranging from straight up stuff to swinging Texas shuffles and some edgier, rocking stuff.
The band wrote 13 of the cuts here and the other cut entitled “I’m a Damn Good Time” was written by Ace Moreland, so all 14 tracks are new. Levee Town is Brandon Hudspeth on vocals and guitars, Jaque Garoutte on vocals and bass (and harp and slide on a couple of cuts), Adam Hagerman on percussion, Jimmie Meade on harp, Jaisson Taylor on some lead vocals, Chris Hazelton on Hammond organ, and Annie P. Annie Walser on piano. All the recording and mixing were done in the KC area. The variety here is huge. Songs like “I’m A Damn Good Time” verge on country/ southern rock with some heavy slide work to swinging, lighter fare with a Les Paul sort of instrumental groove in “El Grape.” Moreland’s “Charlie Brown” offers up slide that hearkens to Elmore James. The title track is a bouncy little song with a nice hook of a groove. “High Flyin’ Woman” gives us some KC funk with a driving guitar, breathy vocals and sweet Hammond organ. Slow Chicago styled blues is what “Sunday Afternoon” is with a harp blowing a steady tone and thoughtful guitar picking out the melody to start things off. Taylor does the vocals here and in “Walkin’Down the Road.” He’s got a deep and vibrant style to his vocals. “Walkin’ Down the Road: has a rockabilly sort of approach to the blues with a sweet, heavy guitar. “Kansas City Woman” layers some well done harp and a slow but steady beat and methodically cool guitar. “Mr. Jameson” pays tribute to the maker of Irish whiskey and it is a very nicely done swing tune with guitar and piano solos. I’ve heard some of their prior CDs and the band is a lot of fun. There are no clinkers here. All the songs are fun, danceable and a well done. They offer up a delightful album of stuff. There really is something here for everyone! This CD is solid, offers a really nice variety and is filled with powerful, jumping, and swinging stuff. I’d have to say there is nothing here for the faint of heart; these guys lay it out there for you to get on your feet and dance the night away. High energy, rocking, good fun! Quite enjoyable– well worth a listen! Reviewed by Steve Jones
Ike January-February 2017 Take Me High Laurence Jones Ruf Records www.laurencejonesmusic.com 10 tracks/44 minutes
This album will further consolidate Laurence’s position in the UK and Europe where blues-rock is definitely what the public wants. US fans who dig the rockier end of the blues should also enjoy this one.
Laurence Jones received the accolade of “Young Artist Of The Year” in the British Blues Awards in 2014 and 2015 and is probably the fastest rising star of the UK blues-rock circuit at the present time. Still in his early twenties, this is Laurence’s fourth CD release and after having Mike Zito produce his sophomore release Temptation in 2014 this time around it is legendary producer Mike Vernon behind the controls, having been lured out of semi-retirement in Spain for this project. The album features Laurence’s touring band of Phil Wilson on drums and Roger Inniss on bass, plus Bob Fridzema (King King) helping out on keys. Guests Paul Jones (once lead singer of Manfred Mann and now the host of the main blues radio show in the UK) plays harp and soul/Rn’B man Reuben Richards sings on one track each.
Reviewed by John Mitchell
Laurence’s vocals continue to develop positively but his music is firmly at the rock end of the blues-rock spectrum, as can be heard on the opening trio of “Got No Place To Go”, “Something’s Changed” and “Live It Up”, the first two featuring earmelting solos, the third’s fast-paced tune, reinforced by the swirling organ, a catchy tune but also featuring some wild guitar flourishes. “Addicted To Your Love” shares a title with an old Robert Palmer hit but is Laurence’s tune with grungy guitar to the fore as Laurence confesses to his obsession with the lady here. So far the pace has barely faltered but “I Will” is a pleasant interlude with good harmony vocals, a catchy riff and a more restrained solo, a strong track. Also less rocky is “Thinking About Tomorrow” which opens with acoustic guitar as Laurence sings gently about his positive view of what is to come. We then return to a rockier feel with the title track “Take Me High” which has Laurence’s ringing guitar doubling his vocal which is definitely his toughest on the album and “Down & Blue” is another heavy track. “The Price I Pay” opens with Phil’s drums and its funky feel is enlivened by Paul Jones’ harp fills before the album closes with the sole cover, Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground” which has vocals from Reuben Richards, the band setting a solid pace on the tune which sticks reasonably close to the original apart from the guitar solo.
Wishbone Biscuit Miller Bluebass Music www.biscuitmiller.com 12 tracks/57 minutes Although Biscuit Miller and his band The Mix have not issued a CD since 2010’s Blues With A Smile the band has not been idle as they tour a lot, especially down in Florida where they are frequent visitors to festivals and clubs. This album is entirely original and demonstrates a wide range of blues, Rn’B and soul, even including a couple of ‘downhome’ acoustic pieces. Biscuit is the main vocalist and bass player with Bobby Wilson and Alex ‘Southside’ Smith on guitars and Myron ‘Dr Love’ Robinson on drums (anyone who has seen the band live will remember Dr Love’s top hat!); guitarists Ronnie Baker Brooks and Ivan ‘Daddy’ Wallace guest on two and four tracks tracks respectively, Roosevelt Purifoy and Domiano Delatarre play keyboards on three tracks each, horns include Big James Montgomery on trombone, Charles Pryor on trumpet and Kevin Nabors and Derek Brown on sax and Onetooth Johnson plays harp on one track. Across the whole album Biscuit shows that he has a voice ideally suited to these styles. The first four tracks give ample evidence of the range of the band: title track “Wishbone” opens the disc in full production style with horns adding depth to a really catchy tune with sweet blues guitar and backing vocalists assisting Biscuit on the choruses; “She Likes To Boogie” is an apt title with plenty of slide work and pounding piano; harp adds some grit to the Delta blues “Down At The Mississippi” and “Mr DJ” has Ronnie adding his guitar to a slow blues on which Biscuit bares his soul about the problems he is having at home with his girl. Biscuit is generally known as a guy who puts plenty of funk in his blues and “Lay It On Down” shows that side with a fast-paced tune with the organ and drums driving the song and “Shake It Like Jello” goes a step further, adding horns to a frenetic rhythm set by the rocking piano and sensational guitar solo, a tune that should be guaranteed to fill any dance floor. RBB makes his
second appearance on “Bottle Of Whiskey, Bottle Of Wine”, a rocker with hints of John Lee Hooker before one of the guitarists pours it on on “Use To Love Me”, a rolling blues with more solid piano playing. Some fine sax and piano playing leads us into “One More Mile”, suitably uptempo for one of those songs that celebrates getting home from a long trip, before “Monday Morning Blues” belies the title with a jaunty and cheerful organ riff. Biscuit closes the album with two stripped back tunes: “Let’s Go Fishing” takes us to the country with just acoustic guitars as Biscuit enjoys the simple pleasures of fishing; “Going Home” features Uncle Jesse Hutson, a gospel piece with tambourine, acoustic guitar and harp. There is plenty to enjoy here on a disc that is fun to hear and offers good variety. Reviewed by John Mitchell
Some news from up North. The Inaugural New Glarus Blues Festival has taken shape. The group putting it on has decided to move the location closer to downtown New Glarus and will hold the event Saturday, July 15th at Wilhelm Tell Shooting Park, a wonderful grassy area with mature trees that can hold 1,500 or more music fans comfortably. Located just north of the downtown area on Highway O (north 2nd Street), the park has some limited parking. Shuttle service will be set up between New Glarus HS and the park, which is just a little more than a mile from the park. Street parking nearer to the park a short walk away is available. The line up is being negotiated at press time. Stay tuned for more info. You can be sure that Spotted Cow and other great New Glarus beers will be featured there as will The Jimmys Band who reside in and around New Glarus!
Ike Page 10 Love In Vain: Robert Johnson 1911-1938, The Graphic Novel J.M Dupont, Mezzo (Illustrator) Faber & Faber ISBN 9780571328833 Format Hardback www.faber.co.uk/author/j-m-dupont/ Length 72 pages I have limited experience in the world of graphic novels. I was an avid reader of comic books later in elementary school and in junior high. I enjoyed the wacky stuff R. Crumb did in his comics while I was in high school and college and I later appreciated his art as I still do. This graphic novel screams in that R. Crumb style of artwork, done completely in black ink in a dark and brooding style. Mezzo’s work is quite good and is very interesting. It is befitting of the tumultuous life of the great Robert Johnson. The writer Dupont was a music journalist and is in touch with the life and music of Robert Johnson. The story line mixes fact and fiction to move the story line along and gives it an ending that reveals who the narrator is in a very interesting manner. Suffice it to say I kind of figured out who the narrator was, but the ending is quite cool. I shall say no more about that. Originally done in French in 2014, the
English version was released this year, This book is a very well done graphic novel that tells the story of the legendary bluesman in a manner that enhances the legend. Dark and brooding at times, but it leads the reader along briskly. Dupont adds conversation and assumptions to the unknown parts of Johnson’s life to help him come better to life for the reader. Printed in the UK, it Is available via Faber’s website. It is also available as an ebook, Kindle version or via retailers like Amazon. It would make a good holiday gift or a great addition to any blues fan’s book shelf. I thoroughly enjoyed it! Reviewed by Steve Jones
The Groove- Crossroads Blues Society Newsletter Waiting For Buddy Guy: Chicago Blues at the Crossroads Alan Harper University of Illinois Press ISBN (paper edition) 9780252081576 www.press.uillinois.edu Length 179 pages Alan Harper came to Chicago from Britain in the 1970’s and 1980’s who stated to customs when he got here, “I’ve come here to listen to music.” He spent time in the Windy City as a 20 year old on a temporary work visa. He made his way from
Westside Blues. And everything going on in that time. He also returned several times to the fading blues scene of the original greats who came to Chicago from the plantations and farms of the South. The book is a marvelous reminiscence of how Harper learned and became part of the Blues scene in Chicago. The remaining Southern Musicians who had come to Chicago were dying off or aging. A new generation of bluesmen were burgeoning. Alligator Records joined Delmark in recording the acts from the Windy City.
Newark Airport and Manhattan to Chicago, and within 48 hours of arriving had found two jobs and a room. He listened to a lot of music at the library, hearing the original versions of songs popularized by British and American rockers. And then he first explored the North Side blues clubs in near proximity, The Wise Fools and Kingston Mines showing their upcoming shows with signs in the windows. Making his way to B.L.U.E.S. on Halstead, the sign said Floyd Jones and Playboy Venson were playing with no cover so he walked in and was greeted by Big Walter Horton. He spent a couple of months in 1979 hitting two or three clubs a night before returning to England. He graduated and returned in 1982 after saving up some money. Now over 21, he did not have to pretend to be old enough to go into the clubs. He reoriented himself up on Halsted then began to hit the Southside Clubs. And then he discovered Delmark Records and Bob Koester. And the
There are many superb pictures accompanying the text. I picked a few out for you to see here and let you figure out the who’s who of Harper’s travels. Suffice it to say that this is a great text and great pictorial that captures that transitory era of the blues as it began it’s death spiral in Chicago’s South and West sides . The Blues continues in the current clubs, but it
is not the same. There are many authentic second and third generation acts gracing the stages, but Harper knew his notes and writing were a sort of epitaph for the Blues. I loved the book. Written just over 30 years from his last trip to Chicago, one can relive and feel the era of the Blues Harper has captured. He compares how white musicians fared in a black music industry where the club owners became progressively whiter. He also offers other insights into the music, personalities and business of the Blues. Most highly recommended! Reviewed by Steve Jones
Ike January-February 2017 Strong Like That The Fabulous Thunderbirds Severn Records www.fabulousthunderbirds.com 10 tracks/41 minutes Although credited to the T’Birds, this is essentially a Kim Wilson solo album. Of the band who produced On The Verge in 2013 only Kim and guitarist Johnny Moeller remain and Johnny is the guitarist for the Severn house band anyway. The rest of the musicians are Kevin Anker on keys, Steve Gomes on bass and Robb Stupka on drums, with a horn section of Kenny Rittenhouse and Joe Donegan on trumpets, Antonio Orta on sax/flute and Bill Holmes on trombone. Guests include guitarists Anson Funderburgh and Roosevelt Collier (Lee Boys) and drummer Wes Watkins who appear on a track each. There are two Kim Wilson originals, one from Steve Gomes, two from the late Paul Kelly and five soul classics. Nothing says soul louder than The Temptations and Kim’s slowed down version of “(You Know) I’m Losing You” works really well with Roosevelt’s slippery lap-steel and Kim’s harp playing round the core tune with Wes Watkins’ interesting drum work driving things along in a subtly funky way. The other soul classics all feature the horns, including a superb take on Eddie Floyd’s “I’ve Never Found A Girl (To Love Me Like You Do)” with Johnny’s guitar perfect and a lovely horn arrangement, the full-blooded horn-led arrangement of “Somebody’s Getting It” (a hit for Johnnie Taylor), a grooving “Where’s Your Love Been?” (Sandra Rhodes) which has lots of guitar from Johnny and “Drowning On Dry Land” (written by Al Jackson and famously recorded by Albert King) which is anchored by Kevin Anker’s piano and organ work. The two Paul Kelly tunes are placed together: “Don’t Burn Me” features Anson’s lead work on a funky number sung well by Kim who shows what a great voice he has for this sort of material; “You’re Gonna Miss Me” has Kim’s harp to the fore on another naggingly catchy funky number. Kim’s two contributions are “Smooth” which opens with Kim’s harp and has a definite Sam Cooke feel to these ears and “Meet Me On The Corner” which is perhaps the closest to a blues tune here with plenty of Kim’s tough harp work. The title track “Strong Like That” closes the album and is a typical Steve Gomes composition, a song that would fit well with other
Page 11 Severn ‘blue-eyed soul’ singers like Tad Robinson or Darrell Nulisch. Those nostalgic for the early T’Birds sound will need to look away as this album, like its predecessor, is mainly soul; nevertheless, it should be judged on its merits and those are considerable. Reviewed by John Mitchell Why I Choose To Sing The Blues Derrick Procell Here and Now Music www.derrickamerican.com 12 tracks/52 minutes Derrick Procell may not be a familiar name but he is a very experienced session man whose voice has been heard on many a commercial. Over the years he has produced Americana discs but here he turns his considerable vocal and instrumental skills to the blues on an all original set of material which is intelligent and witty. On eight of the twelve tracks Derrick collaborated with Terry Abrahamson who once won a Grammy for a song he wrote for Muddy Waters and has written a book on the blues. Derrick plays a variety of instruments including harp, piano and bass and is assisted in the studio by a large cast of musicians plus guest appearances by Bob Margolin, Eddie Shaw and Billy Branch. Derrick has a great blues voice, quite like Gregg Allman or Delbert McClinton, ideal for songs like “The Wolf Will Howl Again” where Eddie Shaw shares the vocals on a song that celebrates the legacy of Howling Wolf with plenty of references to Wolf’s best-known songs. “The Eyes Of Mississippi” is a rolling blues in which Derrick plays everything except the Delta slide sounds provided by Bob Margolin. In a clever twist the ‘I’s’ in Mississippi become the ‘eyes’ that watch over our partners as Derrick points out that “In Texas they ain’t got no eyes, you run round all you please”, the song also helping to ensure that we all learn how to spell the tricky river/state correctly! The title track is entirely Derrick as he sings of the birthplace of the blues and how he came to the blues. “They All Find Out” is a witty and swinging tune about infidelity and the inevitably of being discovered, however careful you try to be while “Broke The Mold” tells of the Devil’s work in shaping humanity, driven by Derrick’s piano and Dave Steffen’s insistent guitar. “Sorry?” is
great fun as Derrick admits that he has been a real rogue but… “Sorry? Baby, I ain’t sorry at all; I don’t regret a single thing of the things I can still recall”! The late BB King is cleverly recalled in the ballad “Who Will Tell Lucille” as Derrick wonders how the sad news will be broken to Lucille, Alex Smith playing some lovely BB-style guitar and “Don’t Waste A Wish On Me” is a country-tinged slow tune. The four solo compositions follow similar paths: “Back In The Game” is a plea for divine intervention with some good harp work from Billy Branch and excellent slide from Bob Baglione who also plays on the rocking “Trouble Me No More”. Derrick plays everything except the guitar by Zoey Witz on “Ain’t Nuthin’ More About It”, a simple blues paying tribute to the love of his life. I am never sure why artists dub a track as a ‘bonus’; the one here “Too Much” is more in blues-rock territory and the only appearance of a dedicated bass player on the disc (Bob Runte), but otherwise fits quite well into the general feel of the album. Overall this is an impressive album with solid blues playing and some clever songs. If Derrick decides to continue in the blues field he should do very well if this effort is indicative of his talent. Reviewed by John Mitchell
Ike Page 12 A Force Of Nature Sari Schorr Manhaton Records www.sarischorr.com 12 tracks When New York native Sari Schorr takes the stage she takes it to the house with powerful, direct vocals, matching the ranges achieved by Canadian rocker Alannah Myles or Tina Turner, with the same gritty strength of the late Janis Joplin. On the flip side she can sing as deep and dark as Grace Slick of the Jefferson Airplane. Along with their own material, the band covers material from Jefferson Airplane to Led Zeppelin in concert. In concert, Sari Schorr & the Engine Room has shared the stage with artists Popa Chubby, Joe Lewis Walker, and Walter Trout. Before starting her band Schorr spent time on the road for several years of touring the USA & Europe with Joe Louis Walker and Poppa Chubby. In January of 2015 legendary producer Mike Vernon of Fleetwood Mac, John Mayall, and Blue Horizon was invited to receive a ‘Keeping The Blues Alive’ award at the prestigious International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tennessee. Along with the award at the IBC, Mike was so awestruck after seeing the performance of Sari Schorr, that he made the decision to return from retirement and produce her new debut album. Featured on the album A Force Of Nature is British guitarist Innes Sibun, formerly with Robert Plant and guest guitar players Walter Trout and Oli Brown. They unleash the fury of Innes Sibun on guitar immediately on the opening tune “Ain’t Got No Money,” establishing groundwork for this explosive debut album. Sari opens with vocals matching the powerful emotional vocals of Janis and Tina Turner combined. She keeps the pedal to the metal on the second track, when she preaches of the dangers of “Aunt Hazel,” the street name for heroin. She faces yet another dark side of society in domestic violence, with her interpretation outlined in “Damn The Reason,” joined this time by Oli Brown on guitar. The band travels to the funky side describing a personal struggle shared by Sari with the track “Cat And Mouse.” She opens the Huddie Ledbetter classic “Black Betty” with an authentic roots sound much like Ledbelly himself before she takes the tune to a level Ledbelly could never imagine. Walter Trout adds another dimension to Sari’s passionate vocals with his fiery guitar solos on the original “Work No More,” a tune written by Trout. Decriminalization of sex or prostitu-
The Groove- Crossroads Blues Society Newsletter tion is the basis for “Demolition Man.” “Oklahoma” has just a hint of a jazz guitar by Oli Brown with a few Robert Cray guitar riffs incorporated. “Letting Go” slows to a refreshing pace with emotional goodbyes belted out by Sari. “Kiss Me” is the third track where Schorr joins forces with Oli Brown. Holland, Holland, and Dozier, the Motown architects of many tunes, wrote one of the most recognized hits of the 60’s “Stop! In The Name Of Love.” Sari Schorr took the 60’s version and made it a 2016 blues rock rendition. The piano solos are spectacular on “Ordinary Life” and show an entirely different side of Sari’s vocal versatility. You will be surprised to hear a high energy album end this way. Fantastic! Sari takes you on quite a roller coaster ride with her debut album, created with the help of producer Mike Vernon. She seems like a performer would put at the top of a list of live singers to see. It seems she has made guest appearances with several contemporary blues artists to date. We will just have to wait and see what the future holds for this star. Reviewed by Rick Davis How Long Little Mike ELROB Records www.cdbaby.com/cd/ littlemike 12 Tracks Harp master, singer, songwriter, and producer Mike Markowitz got his start in New York City at the age of 22, forming his band The Tornados in 1978. His high energy blues style, patterned from the well-known fifties Chicago blues bands, became popular as he backed legends Pinetop Perkins, Hubert Sumlin, and Jimmy Rogers in the early 1980s. In 1985 he recorded the single Little Mike’s Harmonica Boogie/ Since My Mothers Been Ill on ELROB records. He followed as a guest on Pinetop Perkin’s 1988 After Hours and Hubert Sumlin’s Heart And Soul in 1989. Little Mike and The Tornados first captured my interest with their release Heart Attack in 1990. They followed with several releases on Blind Pig records before Little Mike left the music industry to move his family to Florida. He made a welcomed return in 2013 with the highly successful release of Forgive Me, followed by the 2014 album All The Right Moves, and his last releases of Live at the St. Augustine BLUZFEST with special guest Zora
Young, and Little Mike and The Tornado’s Friday Night. His newest project is the 2016 is his solo album How Long, without his timeless band The Tornados. His band on How Long exudes musical talent, with Little Mike on vocals, harmonica, piano, Cam Robb and Dave Sweet on drums, Troy Nahumko and John Edelman on guitar, Joe Fontenot and Ken Stearns on bass, and Mitch Margold on Hammond B3. The two original, pure instrumentals are like night and day with the first track Cotton Mouth being the red hot, up-tempo harmonica tune and Sam’s Blues the slower, harmonious blues style track with a special guitar solo from John Edelmann. The title track “How Long,” a J. B. Lenoir number, delivers those familiar vocals from Mike, with a rousing boogie woogie style piano and guitar performance once again from John Edelmann. They kick the tempo up several notches on the original “Smokin, ’ ” showcasing Mike on both harp and vocals. They get into a very tight bass groove with “Moanin,’ ” as a tribute to jazz pianist and composer Bobby Timmons. This instrumental features one of the best guitar solos on the album. “When My Baby Left” is a familiar shuffle, if you have ever followed Little Mike in his earlier years. If you have ever heard Johnny Young’s 1968 instrumental “Slam Hammer,” you can understand why it was a perfect selection for the next track, matching Little Mike with his harp tone and style. The soulful track Whatcha’ Gonna Do?” offers some advice for his significant other not to bite the hand that feeds you. Eddie Taylor’s shuffle “Bad Boy” opens the stage for the entire bind, with a strong focus on harp and guitar. “Not What Mama Planned” is a blues stew with the main ingredients of blues, jazz, and funk simmering on a low flame stirred, once again with a strong guitar solo. Two more originals “Tryna’ ” Find My Baby” and “Sittin’ Here Baby” follow. The first is an easy shuffle with a nice taste of rhythm guitar and steady groove from the rhythm section to support both the vocals and harp of Little Mike. Joe Fontenot opens the last track “Sittin’ Here Baby” with a deep bass intro and Little Mike delivers almost soothing vocals and harp. As Little Mike continues his current journey through time, his blues experience has become quite an asset, with each live performance and studio album establishing him as leader in the blues world. “How Long” has created new avenues for this very talented singer, harp master and songwriter. Reviewed by Rick Davis
Ike January-February 2017
Bonafide Teresa James & The Rhythm Tramps Jesi-Lu Records www.teresajames.com 13 tracks/54 minutes
Live From Transylvania The Jimmys Brown Cow Productions www.thejimmys.net 10 tracks/54 minutes
Teresa James is perhaps not as wellknown as she deserves, a pity as she is a terrific singer and pianist. Originally from Texas but now based in LA, Teresa is a regular on Delbert McClinton’s cruises and on her ninth album there are two covers alongside eleven songs written and produced by Teresa’s partner Terry Wilson. The Rhythm Tramps is a flexible ensemble which includes Terry on bass, guitarist Billy Watts and a variety of drummers and horn players, including former Phantom Blues Band members Tony Braunagel (drums), Mike Finnegan (keys) and Darrell Leonard (horns) and the cream of current LA session players like Lee Thornburg (trumpet) and Ron Dziubla (sax), both recently seen with Joe Bonamassa.
I had the pleasure of reviewing The Jimmys’ last CD Hot Dish and this is a good follow-up. Captured at the Sighisoara Blues Festival in Romania the full-on big band attack works brilliantly with plenty of solo space for all. The selected material mixes songs from their two studio albums with four covers of fan favourites. Instrumental “Jacqui Juice” opens proceedings, a swaggering horn-filled tune with plenty of swing. Guitarist Perry Weber, keyboardist Jimmy Voegli, trumpeter Charley Wagner, saxophonist Pete Ross and trombonist Darren Sterud all take solos and the tune acts as a good intro to the band. “I Wonder” was one of the standout cuts on Hot Dish and the version here is terrific with ringing guitar and baying horns. Two cuts from Gimme The Jimmys follow: “Hell Or Heaven” (written by Jimmy and drummer Mauro Magellan) is a ballad with fine horns while “Love Will Find A Way” is an uptempo number based round Jimmy’s honky tonk piano. Two further cuts from Hot Dish also feature: “You Say You Will” finds Perry’s gruffer vocals well supported by Jimmy’s piano and the horns while a short and frantic take on “Lose That Woman” recalls Ray Charles.
Teresa has a great voice for soulful songs such as ‘Spit It Out’ and ‘The Power Of Need’ or ‘Hollywood Way’ which sounds like vintage Steely Dan with its slinky urban feel and cynical lyrics about the Hollywood lifestyle. Title track ‘Bonafide’ has an interesting percussion style set against jagged guitar riffs and smooth organ from Red Young, Teresa stating that she is moving on in her life – guaranteed. Teresa’s voice suits a ballad and ‘You Always Pick Me Up’ has a superb horn arrangement and a powerhouse vocal, ‘Funny Like That’ combines organ and bottleneck guitar with strong backing vocals and the achingly beautiful ‘No Regrets’ is perhaps the best vehicle for Teresa’s expressive voice. ‘You Want It When You Want It’ is a rocker with a storming sax solo from Ron Dziubla and ‘My God Is Better Than Yours’ adds cowriter Gregg Sutton’s gravelly duet vocal on a caustic condemnation of religious bigotry. The 5 Royales’ ‘I Like It Like That’ makes a terrific opener with Teresa’s Etta James style vocal and sparkling piano work both featured; John Hiatt’s ‘Have A Little Faith In Me’ is a fan favourite, a great but perhaps over-familiar song though Teresa does a good job and the organ work by Mike Finnegan and haunting sax solo by Jerry Peterson are excellent. If you are not yet familiar with Teresa this CD is a good place to start. Reviewed by John Mitchell
The covers include songs associated with two of the Kings: Mack Rice’s “Cold Women” was covered by Albert and The Jimmys’ version provides a good vehicle for Perry’s appropriately AK guitar and a great sax solo from Pete as the tune builds up in intensity throughout; “Lonesome Whistle Blues” was done by Freddie and the slow blues features an extended trombone solo from Darren over some great B3 work from Jimmy and a fine guitar solo from Perry towards the end. Harpist and fellow Wisconsin musician Jim Liban used to play with Perry, so the choice of Jim’s “You Can’t Hurt Me Anymore” makes sense, Perry taking the vocal on a real foot-tapper. The Band’s “Ophelia” closes the set in exuberant style as well as providing the opportunity to introduce the entire band, to enthusiastic applause from the Romanian audience. Those who love horn-driven big band blues like Roomful Of Blues will want to hear this disc which is available through CD Baby or from the band’s website. Reviewed by John Mitchell
Show Your Love Harper and the Midwest Kind Bluharp Records www.harper.biz 11 tracks Peter Harper is an eclectic musician who sings, plays harmonica, dideridoo, keyboard and djembe. Digeridoo? Sure. We’ve reviewed his music before. A digeridoo is an indigenous wind instrument from northern Australia that was devised 1,500 years ago. Modern instruments are large tubes from 3 to 10 feet long and produce the traditional droning, pulsating sound they are famous for. The djembe, on the other hand, is a west African drum and is not Australian in origin, but Harper uses them along with his other instruments to produced percussive sounds to complement the sounds he makes within his music. With Harper on this record are Will Rideott om guitars and backing vocals, James Norris on bass and Cam Lewis on drums. “I Can’t Stand This” is a slow and mournful blues and Harper adds Gregg Leonard and Tyler Mac on guitars, Al Hill on keys, Paul Randolph on bass, and Dane Clark on drums. Harper blows some dirty harp on this cut which I think is it’s highlight– very well done. Harper wrote all the tunes here. The CD opens wit tribal rhythms and a heavy dose of digeridroo. Quite interesting and cool. “What’s Goin’ Down” is more traditional blues with harp and guitar in the solos and Harper’s emotive vocals. The title track begins with a heavy dose of digeridoo and a bouncing beat. The ‘doo belnds into the percussion and bass in an interesting manner and there is a nice little guitar solo, too. “Drive Brother, Drive” effectively blends acoustic guitar and the beat of the djembe to a good effect. “It’s All In The Game” is a big, throbbing and driving cut with the ‘doo again used to good effect. “IT’s Time To Go” returns to traditional sounds in a poppy sort or rock cut with nice harp work. “we Are In Control” features deep blues harp done well. The ‘doo makes it’s last appearance in Let’s Move,” another blues with a fun spin. The final two cuts are “Hey What You Say” and “I Look At Life” where Harper shows more variety and good musicianship. I liked this. It might not be everyone’s cup of tea but Harper writes good songs, sings well, and plays killer harp. The digeridoo and djembe are used interestingly and not inappropriately. They add a measure of uniqueness and coolness to the music. Take a listen if you want to hear some interesting stuff from Down Under! Reviewed by Steve Jones
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The Groove- Crossroads Blues Society Newsletter
Shufflin’ The Blues Holly Hiatt and Jon Burden Flood Plane Records www.hollyandjon.com/ 9 Tracks
True Believer Hard Swimmin’ Fish Self Released www.hardswimminfish.com/ 12 Tracks
Today I am reviewing the new release from Holly Hiatt and Jon Burden (formerly known as Holly and Jon. They come from British Columbia in Canada. The CD is their 3rd together. It was recorded live at the Silverton Gallery in Silverton BC. Holly handles bass and vocals, while Jon plays guitar and sings. Marvin Walker chips in on drums. For this recording they wrote 5 of the 9 cuts. Five are electric, leaving 3 as acoustic tunes. The certainly favor Chicago blues in their cover choices.
Hard Swimmin’ Fish is a 4 piece band that is firmly steeped in early Americana music. You can hear blues, jazz, and swing sounds in their tunes. They wrote 8 of the 12 tunes, which shows they can create and not just interpret tunes of others. The band members are Demian Lewis (vocals, guitar banjo), Waverly Milor (vocals, harmonica), Jason Walker (drums) and Randy Ball (bass). The CD cover has an old fashion feel to it, with the photo being from a church healing session. These guys are out playing most every weekend of the year.
The Muddy Waters classic “Blow Wind Blow” opens up the set. Burden extends the solo on his guitar, really stretching out the tune to over 5 minutes. The vocals are shared. They do a fine job. Memphis Slim provides the 2nd cut “Mother Earth Blues”. Again they do a good job here on this classic. “Let’s Boogie” is the 3rd cut. It is electric, and has a rockabilly/country rock feel to it. It is a faster tune, with great dance potential. Holly handles the vocals on “Lowdown Blues”. I like the song, as she really showcases her voice. They group reaches back into the old time blues with Robert Johnson’s “Come In My Kitchen”. This war horse gets a fitting tribute by them. Burden’s guitar work and vocals are pretty good on this mostly slower blues tune. There is nothing new here, but nothing bad either. The duo plays “Get Your Own Man” as a country blues tune. It is an original, and they do a good performance here. “Left Handed Soul” is a classic track from Nick Gravenites. Again, they do a fine job here, with Jon on vocals. The acoustic “Black Crow” is a good tune, with a bit of a gypsy feel to it. Holly handles the vocals on this slower tune. Things close out with “Slushy Blues”. The duo gets a bit jazzy with delightful vocals from Holly. She even throws down a bit of scat in her vocals. The disc is delight and I enjoyed the performance. It is a bit short at under 39 minutes. I am sure the actual performance went longer live. I’ll want to check out their other releases. This is a pretty good listen. Nothing super fantastic, but very solid. I hope to hear more from them in the future. A nice club setting would be a great way to enjoy Holy and Jon. You can crank up your fireplace and play this CD too! Reviewed by Mark Nelson
The guys get a bit swampy on the title cut “True Believer”. Waverly Milor plays his harmonica and sings this slower paced tune. It has a live feel to it. The guys rock out a bit on “Five Years Hard Labor”. It has a bit of John Popper harmonica feel to it. On “No Shortage of the Blues” the band flashes its blues rocker skills. It is not an old sound, but reflects a 70’s blues rock feel. The guys go classic blues on Howlin’ Wolf’s “Howlin' for My Darlin”. They do a good job on this one. For the 5th cut, the band goes rockabilly with a hint of jazz in it. “Ooh, That Was Close” is a toe tapping tune with an old time feel. The blues is front and center on “Love Me or You Don't”. It sounds like the dialed the volume and speed back a bit. This song might sound better if they cut loose a bit more on it. Nice though to hear a band not overwhelm a song. There is a bit of a Texas feel on this one. On “Come Together”, the band kicks it hard on this country fast picking tune. The band is joined by John Sharrer and his organ for the slow grinding “Need Your Love so Bad”. This is a pretty good tune, though the vocals could be stronger. The writer of this tune is Mertis John Jr., the older brother of Little Willie John.
“Get Gone” is a different tune. It is a real Americana mix that is hard to put into a specific genre. It’s got some blues, a bit of funk bass, and bit of country feel. The production seems to bury a bit of the music especially the harmonica. I hear some Little Charlie & the Nitecats in “Once Upon a Time”. It’s a mid tempo tune and well played. “Mess Around” gets writing credits to A. Nugetre, writing alias of Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun. We have all heard the Ray Charles of this, though the band gives it a rocking country blues feel. I like the bass intro to “Don't Let the Devil Ride”. This traditional gospel based tune gets a bit of blues treatment here. The band stretches out a bit in a lengthy 6 minutes version of the song. Hard Swimmin’ Fish covers a great deal of Americana music. There is blues, gospel, some rockabilly and more. Some of the mix may have been a bit off for my taste and some vocals could be stronger. I like that they appreciate the old time music, but will put a bit of modern feel to it. Overall it is a respectable disc of solid music. Many of you will like it. It would not be for the stronger blues rock guitar fans. Reviewed by Mark Nelson
Ike January-February 2017 Cigar Store The Smoke Wagon Blues Band Self Released www.smokewagonbluesband.com/ 13 Tracks The Smoke Wagon Blues Band is bringing us their 6th release as a band. They also supported Corey Lueck’s 2012 recording It Ain’t Easy. They hail from the Hamilton, Ontario and have been making blues music for 2 decades. Corey Lueck handles harp and vocals with Mike Stubbs on guitar, Dobro and backing vocals. The other fine members are Mike Succi (piano, organ, backing vocals), Gordon Aeichele (sax), Jason Colavecchia (bass, backing vocals), Steve Sherman (percussion organ bass) and Tibor Lukacs (drums, backing vocals). It is a large band with a big sound. The band wrote 11 of the 13 cuts, so this is their music. The opening cut shows off the band musicianship and rocking party style. “Walking Cane” might remind you of the J Geils Band with the Peter Wolf vocals and fine saxophone work. “Must Have Read It Wrong” is a blues rocker with stinging harmonica and a fine set of solos by the band members. The lyrics talk about not getting sex right after reading about it on the bathroom stall wall. The band gets slow and soulful on “I Tried”. This is slow dancing material, and is well done. Corey Lueck grabs his harmonica on the next tune “Hoodoo Woman’’. It grabs some hill country blues basics, but keeps a more modern feel to it. Lovers of 70’s blues rock will like “Put The Quilt Out To Dry”. There is a blues basis, with an earthy organ and rock beat. The band gives our ears a bit of New Orleans on “Directly Under The Thumb”. I like the piano parts and the sax solo. Up next is the title track “Cigar Store”. They stay in New Orleans for this one, with some old time jazz/blues feel. It starts slow, but it soars towards the end. Very tasty!! I also like the 8th cut, “Wild Mule”. The resonator intro is first rate. Overall a good old time sound here. “Set Me Free” is a slow blues number, with more New Orleans feel and piano. Up next is “Mean Old Lady”. It is more of a soul tune, with a hint of Johnnie Taylor’s “Disco Lady”, sans the disco ball. It will keep you dancing. It was written by the late King Biscuit Boy (Richard Newell) who was from Hamilton also. “I Can’t Change” is a blues rock ballad with a good feel to it. The sax work is again su-
Page 15 perb. Hold on to your seats when you listen to “Quarter Mile”. The organ intro sets the pace, and they all rock out on this one. It could have been a Steppenwolf tune, with a bit more J Geils Band thrown in. Closing out the disc is “You've Been A Good Old Wagon”. It is an old time tune originally done by Bob Harney in early 1900’s. The band resurrected this century old tune and provides us with a good song to listen to. I like the Succi piano and Lueck’s harmonica work. The Smoke Wagon Blues Band recorded a really good CD here. They show their playing skills, song writing, and performing. I like the use of different music styles and time periods. There is something here for all of us to enjoy. I hope they get on the road this summer so more of us can hear and enjoy their performance. Everyone, go get this one!! Reviewed by Mark Nelson Heal My Soul Lex Grey and the Urban Pioneers Pioneer Productions http:// lexgreymusic.com/ 10 Tracks Lex Grey has proclaimed herself Madame of Modern Blues. Hailing from upstate New York, the band does play live on a regular basis. This is their 6th release. Lex sings and is joined by Vic Max (guitar), John Holland (drums, vocals), Kaia Updike (violin, organ), Adam Price (bass) and Brian Dewan (keyed instruments, dewanatron). Their music is rooted in the blues, but has a rock and roll and soul influences. All but one of the tunes is an original. “Factory” is the opening song. I like the lyrics on this tune talking about wanting to live in a factory site. Walter Tates Jr. adds his saxophone to the tune. It also features Brian Dewan’s dewanatron which adds some wild sounds. It is a bit minimalistic which gives it a slow grinding sound. “Hobo Soup” is a slow soulful tune with some train whistle in the beginning. Lex’s vocals shine on this tale of a hobo camp that used to be near her property. There is a bit of country blues in the tune. Kaia Updike adds her violin on this one. The bands rocks out on ‘Ghost”. It is a love song for a ghost, and is certainly a showcase for how this band can rock out. The lone cover song is “Quiet Please”,
written by Jaik Miller. I hear some Lucinda Williams in this tune. I like this rock tune, though not really blues. On “Blues All Around”, the song slowly creeps into your audio range, and you are glad when it arrives. Lex plays guitar on this one, joined only by Kaia Updike (organ) and John Holland (drums). It is a slow tune that is a bit haunting. It really shows off Lex’s vocals. “Survive” is a really cool tune. It is about a flood, and the added backing vocals by Alison Davy are impressive. Here again, this is more rock than blues, but still an impressive effort. The music really changes on “Junkman”. This is an old time jazz/blues tune. Anthony Michael adds a fine clarinet. It talks about searching through the stuff of the junkman. The 8th tune is “Black Stallion”. I hear some country blues styling with a more modern feel to it. This is a strong ballad tune. A country feel continues on “Lightnin’ (In A Jar)”. Country/southern rock prevails on this tune. The band really rocks out on this one. Closing out the CD is the title cut “Heal My Soul”. At almost 7 ½ minutes. The band really gets into their groove on this one. Walter Tate Jr. is back with some fine saxophone work at the beginning and throughout the tune. I can see this as a closing number for the band. I like the lyric “I can walk through the water in my high-heeled shoes”. This one is a keeper. Overall there is some blues with the rock here. It is a nice mix, and quite enjoyable. Lex has a fine but a bit different vocal style. The players are first rate. I like that they wrote most all of the material, and most is about real experiences. I imagine they are a hot commodity when playing live. If you like rock with some infused blues, you will enjoy this one. Go give it a listen. Reviewed by Mark Nelson
The Groove- Crossroads Blues Society Newsletter
Ike Page 16 Bluesin’ Around Donald Ray Johnson & Gas Blues Band Plowboy Records www.donaldray.com/ 11 Tracks Donald Ray Johnson, grew up in Texas, spent musical time in Los Angeles, but now resides in Calgary Canada. While in Los Angeles, he was the drummer for A Taste Of Honey. A Taste Of Honey was Best New Artist in 1979. Johnson played with many blues and R&B artists in Los Angeles. Most of the tunes are covers, with one written by the band and two by Johnson. The Gas Blues Band supports Johnson on this recording. Aspard Ossikian (guitar), Pierre Cayla (guitar), Philippe Scemama (bass) and Yannick Urbani (drums) make up the band. Johnson handles the vocals. The tunes were recorded over in France. “Bad Luck” opens the disc, and it is a fine vintage BB King tune. It sounds sweet! On “Bluesifyin'’, I hear a tune that would have been at home with Koko Taylor. It was written by Joe Louis Walker and is a slow grinding tune. It is one of my favorites on the CD. The band really cuts loose on Willie Dixon’s “Ain't Superstitious.”. This is good ol’ Chicago blues, with Daniel Antoine flashing some fine organ work. Phillip Walker contributes “Ninety Proof” to the music here. It is a slow one with pretty good vocals. On this one the organ plays a big part in the sound. Samuel Dumont (sax) and Nicolas Gardel (trumpet) contribute well on this track also. The Gas Blues Band plays their own tune “She's French” next. It is a short instrumental, timing out at under a minute. I’m not sure what it adds to the CD, especially near the middle of the recording. The voyeuristic “Big Rear Window” is another Philip Walker tune. I like the guitar work on the mid tempo tune. I hear the funk of Rufus and “Tell Me Something Good” on the tune “Distant”. It is actually a Taste OF Honey tune. The band lets loose on “She's Dressing Trashy”. It is 12 bars of fun and fine guitar. Johnson penned the next two tunes. “Watching You “has a modern funky soul feel. Johnson is in fine voice here. On “Should’ve Been Gone” the groove hints of to late 60’s early 70’s soul and saxophone but has an overall modern feel. I hear some Jimi Hendrix and Traffic in the background of this tune. Closing out this CD is “You're The One For Me”. It is
penned by Lucky Peterson, so you know it will have a B3 presence. It is a fine tune and a pretty good closer for the disc. This is a really good soul blues release. Donald Ray Johnson is a real blues/soul man. The band is no slouch either. Everyone should give this one a listen and a purchase. You will tap your toe, want to dance and sing along with this one. I hope they do some festival dates in the coming year. Donald Ray Johnson continues to put our some fine music. Keep up the good work! Reviewed by Mark Nelson On Safari The Kentucky Headhunters Plowboy Records http:// kentuckyheadhunters.net/ 12 Tracks The Kentucky Headhunters have been in the music business 1968 when they were known as Itchy Brother. They were part of the 80’s growth and diversity of country/ roots/blues/Americana. In 1990, they won a Grammy for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group for Pickin’ On Nashville. They are a southern rock band, that wears rock, blues, country and honky tonk influences on their sleeve. This is their 12 studio album. Nine of the cuts are originals. Their last record was released on Alligator Records. There is a real rock and southern rock influence on this CD. The band includes brothers Richard Young (guitar/vocals) and Fred Young (drums), Doug Phelps (bass/vocals) and Greg Martin (lead guitar/vocals). Kevin McKendree adds keys and organ to the album. The opening cut is “Beaver Creek Mansion”. It is a heavy rocking slide guitar tune, with lots of southern and country lyrics, and a bit of Black Crowes guitar. I like the Kentucky chorus in it. “Deep South Blues Again” is just that. It is a guitar rich blues rock tune. The boys really hit it with some fine lyrics. The band goes heavy southern rock with “I Am the Hunter”. It keeps your toe tapping. The fun continues on “Caught in a Dream”. This one has a memorable chorus and is augmented by the keyboards of Kevin McKendree. It is a cover of an early Alice Cooper (Michael Bruce) tune.
I like the story with “Crazy Jim”. It is a slower rocking story song, with some good guitar. This is a pretty good tune. “Big Time” is an okay tune. It rocks a bit, but not as memorable. A bit more blues enters into “Lowdown Memphis Town Blues”. It is about a trip to Memphis and its sights and sounds. “Rainbow Shine” opens with almost a reggae riff, and part of it has a “Stand By Me” feel to it. It might fit into a Jimmy Buffett record. On the 9th cut, “Way Down Yonder”, the band hits a fine blues rock strut. I like the vocals, and the overall mix of this tune. It was written by Charlie Daniels. The guitar solo and the drums stand out. The lively “Jukebox Full of Blues” is my favorite tune on the CD. The piano fill fits great with the fine guitar work. The tune “God Loves a Rolling Stone” has some good blues guitar work. It is southern styled blues rock, with continued fine production work. The final number is called “Governors Cup”. It is a jazzy instrumental is pretty good, though may not totally fit the rest of the CD. Overall this is a pretty good listen. It’s not a straight up blues CD, nor even a straight up blues rock CD. It is a southern rock CD, with many influences, including blues. Southern rock owed a great deal to the blues. These guys know how to rock it out, and have a good time. They also tell good stories. If you have enjoyed or want to hear more of southern rock, this is a good bet for you. If you just like your Chicago blues, then this might not be for you. If I were you though, I’d give it a listen and enjoy it. Reviewed by Mark Nelson
Ike January-February 2017 Don’t Be Afraid Tami Neilson Outside Music http:// www.tamineilson.com/ 12 Tracks Canadian Tami Neilson is here with her 5th set of solo recordings. This one was recorded in her adopted home New Zealand. Her father passed away during the recording. They had long worked together in the music business, and released a family album in 1996. Her music is country, with some soul, blues and a bit of Tex-Mex mixed in. The soul influence rises in this release. Her prior disc, Dynamite hit the 2014 New Zealand country charts and gathered attention worldwide. All songs are written by her, the band or her family. The band includes Dave Khan (guitar), Ben Woolley (bass), Joe McCallam (drums) and Delaney Davidson (guitar). The opening cut is the haunting title cut “Don’t Be Afraid”. Her voice is chilling, and the tune reaches in to your soul. The band really cooks on the 2nd cut “Holy Moses”. It is a throwback R&B/soul tune that will get you tapping your toes. On “Lonely” Tami is joined by Marlon Williams on this old time country duet ballad. Patsy Cline would have been at home with this fine ballad. “So far Away” was written by guitar player Delaney Davidson. It is a modern new country tune, and was featured on the TV show Nashville. “If Love Were Enough” is a song from the heart country ballad. It’s not bad for country, but definitely no blues here. I like the vocal delivery by Neilson on “Bury My Body”. It’s got a gospel/Mavis Staples feel to it. It is a slow grinding tune with a lot of promise. Things rock out on “Loco Mama”. It has a rockabilly, Tex-Mex old 50’s feel to it. It is a nice change of pace here. Things head out to the west for a slow early Ronstadt type ballad “Heavy Heart”. Neilson gets to show her range on this one. On “Only Tears”, Tami and the band adds some Texas swing to the country style of the band’s music. I didn’t like this one much. It is the weakest track of the disc. On “Laugh Laugh Laugh” the group tries to borrow from Doug Sahm or other TexMex, but miss on their intentions. Her big hit in New Zealand from this album is “The First Man”. It is a pretty good slow county tune. He voice is very good here. It was on the final list for the New Zealand Silver Scroll award. On the cover that is the
Page 17 closing tune, but there is a hidden track. The demo version of “Don’t Be Afraid” is included. This was sung by Tami’s dad Ron. It is short, but sweet, becoming a final tribute to Ron. I know there is a bit of soul and a few tunes influenced by Tex-Mex included here. It is a country album overall. Unless you are a country fan in addition to your blues love, this is not a CD for you. I like her voice, and she could cross over to blues like Maria Muldaur. This might be a bit of a country hit, and I wish Tami and the band luck with that. Be warned and enjoy it if this hits your musical ear. Reviewed by Mark Nelson The Silence Is Killing Me Jeff Chaz JCP Records www.jeffchazblues.com/ 11 Tracks Jeff Chaz has been busy. This is his second release this year. Chaz is headquartered in the Bourbon Street clubs in New Orleans. Currently he is holding court at the Jazz Café on Decatur St. 6 nights a week. If you are in town, you should check out his live show. Chaz spent time in Memphis, and is shows up with his B.B. King playing style. The tunes are all originals, including a Christmas song. The core band remains much the same with Doug Therrien (bass), Doug Belote (drums). Others contributing are Michael Skinkus (percussion), the fine John Autin and Tom Worrell splitting the keyboard duties. A. J. Pittman (trumpet), Michael Genevay (trumpet) and Ward Smith (sax) hold down the horns with Harry Hardin playing violin on one track. The CD opens up with “Savin' Everything For You”. The horns are swinging on this up tempo tune about saving his money for his special gal. Things get really B. B. on the haunting title track “The Silence Is Killing Me”. This is a slower cool tune about the end of a love awaiting the final shout to end it. The souldful horns realy dominate on “I Ain't Nothin' Nice”. This song is a bit long, but filled with funky soulful blues. John Autin handles the keys on this one. The 4th cut is “I'm Not All There”. This is a danceable cut with fine guitar work over a cha-cha type backbone for the tune. One has to play different types of music in New Orleans. “The Blues Is My Drug” is a slow Chicago shuffle with some fine guitar
work by Chaz, and Tom Worrell tickling the keys. The music gets seasonal with the holiday treat “Merry Christmas To You”. It is an OK tune, with some familiar sounds, plus some nice guitar work. The band funks it up a bit on “Oncoming Train”. It is about hurdles in life, and dealing with them. It’s New Orleans you need a bit of funk. The band digs deep on “Fried Chicken Store”. It is 7:19 of music full of funk, horns, organ and the usual blues doubleentendre. It will leave you hungry for more than one thing! I like the horns on “Self Inflicted Wound”. The band is tight on this mid tempo piece of soul. Some call and response blues jumps out at you on “The Backwash Blues” Chaz heats up his guitar strings on this one. The band rocks out on the closing instrumental called “Creole Mustard Swing”. It is a swinging rocking number that is sure to please. I have heard Jeff Chaz over the years. I’ve liked what I have heard. If you love blues and some New Orleans spice added to it, go get the CD and enjoy it. It is meant to be played a bit loud, and to set your toe tapping. I am positive a cold beverage of choice will taste even better listening to this set of music. Chaz is a prolific writer over the last year. I hope he continues, so we can all enjoy more of his work. Reviewed by Mark Nelson .
New Buttons for 2017- Only $1 Each at Crossroads Events!
The Groove- Crossroads Blues Society Newsletter
Ike Page 18 Full Circle Rev. Billy C. Wirtz featuring The Nighthawks Eller Soul Records http://revbillycwirtz.com 15 Tracks The Reverend Billy C. Wirtz is a veteran music maker with a dozen releases and over 30 years of playing/performing. Although born in the south, he has been in the Washington DC area for the last 50 years. Wirtz’s output also includes some books and a DVD. His buddies The Nighthawks provide the backing musicianship for this release. The music is energetic, fun, and usually has some comedy. With the Nighthawks playing, there is certainly blues music. Wirtz and his friends wrote 10 of the 15 cuts. You should be prepared to be entertained. The opening cut is “Too Old”. The song features fine harmonica by Mark Wenner, terrific piano by Wirtz and witty lyrics about growing old. It will make you dance. You will think about things a bit with lyrics like “Too old to rock ‘n’ roll and just right to sing the blues”. The old rocking piano blues are well represented on “Smokie Part 2”. It was written by Bill Black’s Combo in 1959. The comedic “One Point Five” is about not maybe number one to the girl, but settling for 1.5. It is a fun country blues ditty. You will love the live “Mama was a Deadhead”. He sings of his tie-dye pampers. Wirtz goes comedic and solo on piano for the tune about his early life being raided by a deadhead. “Rockin' up to Gloryland” is a piano rockin’ Sun Studios tune. I like the sweet “Your Last Goodbye”, an old single from Floyd Cramer in the early 60’s. Wenner plays some sweet harmonica on this one. The fun continues “Daddy Passed Away (Mommy Turned Gay)”. This is another live one, with full frontal comedy. Wirtz stays in the wayback machine with his cover of Charlie Rich’s “Breakup”. This is old time country music at its rocking best. “Who Dat- (The Rev's theme)” is a live tune that Wirtz uses to introduce himself in concert. It is a comedic set of rhyming lyrics. Another live tune that is fun is “I'm a Senior”. It is about the problems of growing old. For all of us gaining on the number of birthday candles you can relate. “Daddy was a Sensitive Man” is a story of a father who found himself during the men’s movement. It is solo piano with lots of fun. Wirtz channels his best Jerry Lee Lewis on the ‘Stick’ McGee classic “Wine
Spo-Dee-O-Dee”. The band does a good job on this one. You gotta love any tune with the title “Mennonite Surf Party”. It is a rockin’ bluesy tune, which will get people dancing. “The Hand of the Almighty” is the sermon of the day, which gets an Adult Only label. This is a country rocking blues tune with a purpose! Closing out the CD is a short reprise from the 2nd cut “Reprise (Smokie Part 2.5)”. Rev. Billy C. Wirtz is about fun and playing old time blues and Sun Records type vintage material. Nothing real serious here, but everyone should get more than a few laughs while hearing credible playing. His music has more originality than a Weird Al. He has some similarities Bobby Lounge who plays at Jazzfest, though Wirtz has been at it longer. The playing is good, the humor even more fun. I’d recommend we all give The Reverend a listen, and have a laugh or two along with enjoying some fine piano blues. Reviewed by Mark Nelson Dark Angel John Weeks Band Self Released http://www.johnweeksband.com/ 10 Tracks From Denver, CO the John Weeks Band brings us their new CD Dark Angel. Weeks is originally from France. There was a prior CD/EP release in 2014. The band has changed since that release. Weeks who handles guitar and vocals is joined by Stacey Turpenhoff (vocals), Danny Haynes (keys/vocals), Stephan Whitfield (bass) and Robert Fiorino (drums). The release contains all originals. The group plays in the Denver area quite regularly, including a regular Sunday night jam at Ziggies in Denver. The band will be representing Denver at the 2017 IBC. The opening song is “The Hole”. Stacey Turpenhoff handles the vocals on this rocking tune. It is the tale of an abusive man who is going to be ‘disposed of’. It is a pretty good tune, and a good opening number. “The Blues Just Got More Blue” is a slower blues tune that really highlights Stacey’s vocals. Danny Haynes provides some nice piano work, and overall the whole band plays well. John Weeks takes the vocal lead on “Closer To Home”. It is a mid tempo blues rock tune. It’s pleasant, but not too inspiring. I did enjoy “How Can You Love Me”. It is a slow soulful
blues song that is sung by Stacey Turpenhoff. The band is killer on this tune and they really jam on the back side of this over 7 minute tune. Things get a bit swampy on “Devil In My House”. The vocals are shared on this one. “Impossible” is a slow acoustic ballad, with fine guitar work. Both vocalists do a good job on the shared portion of the tune. There is a hint of reggae in the midtempo tune “What Does It Take”. It is OK, but not up with the best on the CD. “Side Number” is a bit of old jazzy with some jump blues mixed in. The mix and vocals are pretty good on this little ditty. On “The One”, we hear a slower blues rock song. There is some stinging guitar work by Weeks. He stretches it out a fair bit with good results. Closing out the CD is “Dark Angel”, the title track. It is a longer tune at 6:10. Turpenhoff handles the main vocals. It is a dark and mysterious tune. The guitar and keyboards are first rate. We will see how they do at the IBC. They should be a contender for top recognition. This is a better disc than their freshman effort. Let’s see how they grow. Maybe they will get into other markets for some summer tours. If they are in your area, go to the show. Get the CD now though so you can enjoy it. Reviewed by Mark Nelson
Lyran Society Elects New Officers/Board Our friends at the Lyran Society held their annual elections in December and the new team in place is as follows: President: Billy Files Vice President: Dan Mienkle Treasurer: Ron Tucker Secretary: Gary Tubbesing Dave Carlson Steve Yates Chad Doyle Jiri Burkhamer Kevin McLaughlin A big thank you goes out to Brian Talley who has served as Lyran’s President the last two years. It was a pleasure to work with Brian on the 2015 and 2016 festivals and on all the shows we did with the Lyran Society at the club! We look forward to working with Bill and the new officers and board in 2017!
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strumental where Neel’s B3 and Greenwell’s harp play a big role to start and then a nice guitar solo offered up by Kolb and a sax solo by Smoky make things even sweeter. “Lonesome Smoky Greenwell is a harp and horn play- Lonely Blues” follows, a ing New Orleans music scene fixture, hav- Lonesome Sundown (Cornelius Greene) song. ing spent decades entertaining fans with This features Krown on his band of blues, jazz and other local piano, Greenwell on sax music genre musicians. A forty year caand Kolb on guitar getreer has not slowed Smoky down one bit. ting a slow blues going WWOZ Radio from New Orleans calls strong. “You Can’t Take Smoky, “Open secret: one of America’s 16 Year Old Daniel Souvigny impressed us with his It With You” and “Pick I t top harmonica pros is also one of New ragtime piano in November at All Saints in Byron Up” follow, a couple of Orleans’ top tenor sax players as well.” originals. The former is slick a mid tempo blues with lots of harp driving sound that update the song as the The CD is 12 tracks, all songs written by while the latter is more up tempo with a harp and guitar play off each other sweetly New Orleans musicians. Greenwell and driving harp line that punctuates blasts all in a repetitive groove. This was a lot of the band wrote the 4 originals. We have over the place and makes things fun. fun. Things conclude with Lee’ Allens’ Smoky on vocals, harp and tenor sax, Some shouts from backing vocals here 1958 minor hit “Walking With Mr. Lee.” A Jack Kolb on guitar and David Hyde on and there, but this is sax based instrumental, Greenwell nails it. essentially a huge inJohnny Neel adds his B3 and they deliver strumental with massive a smooth and cool rendition of this jazzy harp chops and Joe early rock and roll number from Lee. Krown on B3 playing behind Greenwell. I enjoyed this CD. Greenwell sings with a nasally, Cajun inflection which almost Another Lonesome sounds flat at times but it isn’t flat at all. Sundown cut is next, “I It’s just his approach to keep things Had a Dream Last sounding, well, South Louisiana-like. If Night.” This is a bouncyou are a fan of things New Orleans or ing, swing tune with sax need a dose of gumbo dripping fun, then and guitar up front. “I’m this one’s for you! This is Smoky’s 11th Glad She’s Mine” is CD and I think you’ll enjoy it. another song from Lonesome Sundown Reviewed by Steve Jones where Greenwell and Reverend Raven show us why we love him with an- backing vocals call and other great guitar solo at the Hope and Anchor respond together. Smoky gives us some more tenor sax to savor and a well done bass. Doug Belote plays drums on all but 4 cuts. Willie Pankar picks up three of guitar solo, too. Willie Dixon’s “Two Headed Woman” is up next, a bouncy those and Pete Bradish the other cut on Chicago blues with great drums. Joe Krown and Johnny Neel harp, another nice guitar share B3 and piano duties on the keysolo and vocals with board tracks. more of a Cajun flair. Kolb penned the next cut, Greenwell has an interesting vocal tone “The Hunch.” It’s a and approaches his music with gusto. slower to mid tempo inThe CD kicks off with the original tune strumental that features “Animal Angels,” a cut with a guitar driven the band and Johnny boogie woogie beat and some big harp Neel nicely. Greenwell work. A nice guitar solo and Joe Krown tops things off with a big on B3 adds fun to the mix ad Greenwell harp solo. The next to likens the human race to being animal last cut is “Dirt Road angels, somewhere between heaven and hell. “Let’s Work Together” is a classic cut Blues,” a Bob Dylan song that is, as I recall, taken that Greenwell does justice to. Johnny from a Charlie Patton Neel is on piano, but the harp work is what shines brightest here. Another famil- song. It’s got a moderIt’s had to single out one show, but many noted that Duke ately up tempo beat and iar cut follows, “Boogie Twist,” a cool inSouth Louisiana Blues Smoky Greenwell Greenwell Records (Self Produced) www.smokygreenwell.com 12 tracks
Robillard gave us one of the best we’ve ever held.
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The Groove- Crossroads Blues Society Newsletter
Barrelhouse Chuck Tribute and Benefit 1/9/17 The blues piano great Barrelhouse Chuck succumbed to cancer on December 12, 2016 after a four year battle with prostate cancer. A true friend of Crossroads, he will sorely be missed. SPACE and Lagunitas present a tribute concert to Barrelhouse Chuck on Monday, January 9th at SPACE in Evanston. The concert will feature Mud Morganfield, Erwin Helfer, Billy Flynn, Bob Stroger, Kenny "Beedy Eyes" Smith, Oscar Wilson, Nick and Kate Moss, Gerry Hundt, Joe Nosek, Little Frank and many more special guests. Born in Ohio (Columbus, OH - July 10, 1958) where he first learned to play the drums at the age of 6, Barrelhouse Chuck, whose real name is Charles Goering, later switched to the piano and was living in Gainesville, Florida when he heard his first Muddy Waters record featuring Otis Spann on piano. This was a major turning point in Chuck's life. After that, Chuck started buying the records of every blues artist he could find. A quick study on the keyboards, it wasn't long before Chuck had formed his own band and began opening for Willie Dixon, B.B. King, and Muddy Waters and Chuck was playing with the great Bo Diddley. It was also during this time (the middle 70's) that Chuck and some of his friends began following Muddy Waters around to get some first hand exposure to both Muddy and his then current piano player, Pinetop Perkins. “We used to follow Muddy all around down South. We would wait in parking lots for the Van with Illinois plates to roll up. Pinetop Perkins & Willie Smith would recognize me and get me into their concerts. They invited me to be back stage with Muddy and the band. Afterward, I'd go out to breakfast with them. I was just in awe.” Then realizing he needed to immerse himself in blues piano he decided to go directly to the source. In 1979 he drove 24 hours straight from Florida with Righthand Frank to Chicago and went directly to B.L.U.E.S on Halsted specifically to see Sunnyland Slim. “I took a gamble and came to Chicago, and the first thing I did when I arrived was to go to B.L.U.E.S on Halsted. I walked in the door and there was Sunnyland Slim. I went right up to him and said, “I've just driven 24 hours straight to see you.''“
Barrelhouse Chuck spent the next decade and a half studying his playing, along with that of other Chicago blues musicians, including Blind John Davis, Little Brother Montgomery, and Erwin Helfer. In the company of Montgomery for a long time, Barrelhouse Chuck later remarked, "Little Brother was like a grandfather to me." Chuck recorded 17 CDs over the years. His first was the 1999 Salute to Sunnyland Slim and his most recent was released in 2016 and was entitled Remembering the Masters. He was nomi-
nated for several Blues Music Awards and he received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Blues Blast Magazine in September 2016. Tickets for the tribute event are $20 and $25 and go to help his widow Betsy pay for Chucks medical expenses. Go to this link for tickets: http://www.ticketweb.com/fb/7077945/ space We miss you, Chuck; may you rest in peace!
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Crossroads Shows and Events November and December 2016
Daniel Souvigny at All Saints in Byron
Reverend Raven testifies at the Hope and Anchor with Westside Andy on harp
Bobby Messano was at the Lyran Society after two Rockford BITS Programs
Steve Jones Introduces Trinadora Rocks at the Lyran Society; Photo by Gary Sciortino
The Canadian Pacific Holiday Train in Byron with Colin Linden and Kelly Prescott Photo by Bob Haendler
Dan Phelps at All Saints Church in Byron
The Groove- Crossroads Blues Society Newsletter
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Crossroads Shows and Events November and December 2016
Dave Fields at the Lyran Society Club in Rockford
Duke Robillard and his Band at the Mendelssohn PAC in Rockford
Bruce Bears on Keys
Brad Hallen on Bass
Mark Texiera on Drums
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The Groove- Crossroads Blues Society Newsletter
Congratulations to WNIJ 89.5 FM who are completing their 25th year of Blues Programming. Begun by Dan Klefstad in 1992 on Saturday afternoons from 1 to 4 PM, they are now broadcasting the Blues three times a week for a total of nine hours of programming. On Friday evenings from 9 PM to midnight they have Harold Brown on the air. Saturday afternoons from 1 to 4 PM with David Rosik continue the 25 years in that time slot. Lastly, on Saturday evenings from 9 PM to midnight our good friend David James broadcasts his program. All of us who listen to the Blues thank them for their dedication and service and hope that they can continue to do it for at least another 25 years! Once again, congratulations!
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The Groove- Crossroads Blues Society Newsletter
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Top Blues Releases November and December 2016 Sunday Morning Blues WKGL-FM 96.7 The Eagle November Duke Robillard / Blues Full Circle / Stony Plain Rory Block / Keepin' Outta Trouble - A Tribute to Bukka White / Stony Plain David Bromberg Band / The Blues, The Whole Blues and Nothing but the Blues / Red House Trudy Lynn / I'll Sing the Blues for You / Connor Ray Music JW-Jones / High Temperature / Solid Blues Records The Jimmys / Live from Transylvania at Sighisoara Blues Festival / Brown Cow Productions Various Artists / The Musical Mojo of Dr. John: Celebrating Mac and His Music / Concord Mitch Kashmar / West Coast Toast / Delta Groove Mississippi Heat / Cab Driving Man / Delmark Lil' Ed and the Blues Imperials / The Big Sound of Lil' Ed and the Blues Imperials / Alligator Mike Zito / Make Blues Not War / Ruf Matthew Skoller / Blues Immigrant / Tongue 'N Groove December Rolling Stones / Blue & Lonesome / Interscope - Polydor - Universal Sharon Lewis & Texas Fire / Grown Ass Woman / Delmark Wee Willie Walker & The Greaseland All Stars / Live! Notodden Blues Festival / Little Village Foundation Annika Chambers / Wild & Free / UTR Mississippi Heat / Cab Driving Man / Delmark Thornetta Davis / Honest Woman / Sweet Mama Music Various Artists / The Alligator Records Christmas Collection / Alligator Various Artists / Alligator Records' Genuine Houserockin' Christmas / Alligator
This list is submitted to Living Blues Magazine for inclusion in the November and December 2016 National Radio Chart. This list is compiled from actual radio air play statistics. WKGL-FM broadcasts 2 hours of the blues per week. Rich Gordon Sunday Morning Blues WKGL-FM 96.7 The Eagle 3901 Brendenwood Road Rockford, IL 61107
Membership News We continue to grow with new members and renewals continuing to sign on! Thank you for supporting live music and keeping the blues alive to all our new and returning members! New members: John & Chris Ulferts Renewing Members: Arlan Brass John & Pam Cappitelli Stephen Dougherty Kirk Schaaf and Camille Einoder Joe Filisko Bert Gray Dave Hanson Gloria Hyatte and Samuel Barmore Pat Ippen Nancy Keller Terry Korsky Ralph & Debbie Lanfair Len Lindeman Stuart Meeker Rev Milhone Mark Nelson Christine Olson Mark Rodseth Norm and Piera Sagon Dan Smelter New members get a CD upon joining and new family members get two CDs. Membership has been $15 (individual) and $25 (family) for over 15 years. Mail newsletter members have a $5 surcharge to help with printing and postage costs; itâ€™s expensive to produce and distribute newsletters. We produce six newsletters a year with 25-30 reviews and all sorts of other great information related to the Society and our events. The Groove is a bi-monthly publication of the Crossroads Blues Society. The PDF version (typically 20 to 32 pages) is emailed to members of Crossroads. Hard copies (12 pages) are sent out to members without email ($5 membership surcharge). Editor in Chief: Steve Jones Music Reviewers: Rick Davis, Marty Gunther, Steve Jones, John Mitchell, and Mark Nelson All un-credited content by Steve Jones
Hope & Anchor English Pub Second Saturday Blues
The Hope and Anchor Saturday Blues Schedule is set through April 2015. From 8 PM to Midnight, $5 cover after 7 PM or free prior to that for dinner guests. Featuring fine English pub fare, the Hope and Anchor is a great spot for dinner, craft beers, liquors, and great live music! At 5040 N 2nd Street, Loves Park IL, USA, phone 815.633.2552 for info!
Jan 14th: Lurrie Bell Feb 10th: Mike Wheeler Band Mar 11th: Shawn Holt and the Teardrops Apr 8th: Joanna Connor May 13th: Reverend Raven and the Chain Smoking Altar Boys Jun 10th: Steve Ditzell Jul 8th: Dave Weld & the Imperial Flames Aug 12th: Hoodoo Rhythm Kings Sep 9th: Tweed Funk Oct 14th: Ray Fuller & the Bluesrockers Nov 11th: Toronzo Cannon Dec 9th: The Jimmys
Lyran Society Third Friday Blues
The Lyran Society continues their Fish Fry and Steak Dinners with performances on the third Friday of each month at their club. Located half a block east of 7th Street at 1115 4th Ave, Rockford, IL 61104, you can call (815) 964-0511 for info. There is no cover charge, itâ€™s a free show. Open to the public, all ages are welcome. Jan 20th: Dan Phelps and yBblu Feb 17th: Ron Holm Roy Orbison Tribute Mar 17th: TBD Apr 21st: Sweet Bev Perron
All Saints First Sunday Blues
January and February: No Shows Mar 5th: Trinadora Quintet Torch Songs Apr 2nd: TBD May 7th: TBD
Ike Crossroads Blues Society P.O. Box 840 Byron, IL 61010 On the web at: http://crossroadsbluessociety.com Crossroads Blues Festival at Lyran Park: http://www.crossroadsbluesfestival.com
The Crossroads Blues Society Newsletter
GROOVE Keeping the Blues Alive Since 1994
2014 Blues Foundation Keeping the Blues Alive Affiliate Award Recipient 2014 Chicago Blues Hall of Fame Inductee
Email us at: email@example.com
Blues on Local Radio WNIJ - 89.5 FM Friday evenings from 9 PM to midnight with Harold Brown Saturday afternoons from 1 to 4 PM with David Rosik Saturday evenings from 9 PM to midnight with David James The Eagle - 96.7 FM Sunday Morning Blues now from 8 AM to 10 AM with Rich Gordon
News and Upcoming Events Where does time go? 2016 is now officially gone and we are ringing in 2017 with some great blues! We have a year in review inside; We did 52 shows and events and 46 BITS programs in 2016! January and February have some great shows for us! The Hope and Anchor has a show on Jan 14th with Lurrie Bell and Feb 10th with the Mike Wheeler Band. The Lyran Society Jan 20th has Dan Phelps and yBblu and Feb 17th the Ron Holm Roy Orbison Tribute returns. All Saints acoustic is off for Jan and Feb but picks up Mar 5th with Ron Holm and a new Trinadora Crooners Show. Inside the back cover has more info on these shows and venues.
Two special events are planned for February. Tas Cru and His Band of Tortured Souls are in town for BITS and will do a free evening show at the Hope and Anchor Wednesday, Feb 8th at 7 PM. Returning from their appearance at our 2016 Crossroads Blues Festival at Lyran Park will be Ghost Town Blues Band at the Mendelssohn PAC on Friday, Feb 24th. Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door. The Mendelssohn PAC is also doing their own blues shows with Steve Ditzell on Jan 27th and the MSG Acoustic Blues Trio on April 7th 2017 is shaping up to be another great year for live music! Stay tuned for all our events here in our newsletters and via our website. See inside for details on all these and more!
Membership Application www.CrossroadsBluesSociety.com Yes! I’d love to be a part of the Crossroads Blues Society!
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