Page 1

The Crossroads Blues Society Newsletter




Summer Blues Festivals 2017

May-June 2017

or $35 for both.

2017 is shaping up to give us a great assortment of festivals for blues fans to enjoy. In prior years we’ve reported the complete lineups for the blues festivals in our MayJune issue. That info is incomplete in some cases so we will note headliners/major acts and expand reporting on the fests themselves. We provide links to them all to get the latest lineup and advanced ticketing info.

May  5th & 6th MerleJam, Kansas City MO at Knuckleheads Saloon, Danielle Nicole Headlines the two day event. Tcikets are $20 for Saturday.  6th White Lake Blues Festival, Whitehall MI. $20.  27th & 28th Chatauqua Hills Blues Festival, Sedan KS. $20 Sat and $10 Sun

BITS Efforts Continuing In our last issue we talked about BITS efforts to date for this school year including our 5 programs with Rockford Head Start that completed on March 2nd. In March we also conducted three programs with Billy Flynn and began support to East High School. Billy Flynn visited us on March 9th and did two programs at Byron Middle School, one for the entire 6th grade and another for the entire 7th grade. After lunch, Billy went to Winne-

bago and did an hour long assembly for Jean McNair School’s students. They are third to fifth graders and they and their teachers all had a blast. It was one of the most fun programs we have run at a school! Billy also did an evening show at Just Goods Listening room and played for over 3 hours for appreciative fans. He commented he does not get a chance to do solo work and he, too, was having a great day. Dan Phelps worked at East

June  2nd & 3rd Smokin' in Steele BBQ & Blues Fest Owatonna MN. $10 two day pass. Shaun Murphy, Rev Raven, Southern Avenue, Mississippi Bigfoot and more.  2nd & 3rd Gladstone Summertime Bluesfest, Gladstone, MO. $5 suggested donation for admission. Zac Harmon, Fiona Boyes, Andy T Band, Albert Castiglia, Nick Schnebelen, Amanda Fish and more.  9th to 11th Chicago Blues Festival now in Millennium Park. Free. Ronnie Baker Brooks, Rhiannon Giddens, Gary Clark Jr, Nellie Tiger Travis, Theo Huff, William Bell, Billy Branch & SOBs and more! en/depts/dca/supp_info/ chicago_blues_festival.html continued on page 2

High School with three guitar classes for two days on March 13th and 14th. Two beginner classes and one advanced class got to have Dan work with them. The beginner classes learned he blues 12 bar format and work in Continued on page 3

Crossroads Blues Festival 2017 Schedule         

 

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 The Kinsey Report 730 PM Dan Phelps with Hardtimes Cigar Box Guitars in the Pavilion 8 PM Doug Deming and the Jewel Tones 10 PM Festival Closes

Inside this issue: News Music Reviews Playlist, Members Membership Application Upcoming Events

1-5, 22-31 6-21 31 32 32

Ike Page 2

The Groove- Crossroads Blues Society Newsletter

2017 Summer Festivals Offer Great Variety  9th & 10th Canton Bluesfest, Canton OH. Robben Ford, Rod Piazza, Danielle Nicole, Damon Fowler and 14 other acts.  16th & 17th Monroe Balloon & Blues Festical, Monroe WI. Rev Raven, Chris O’Leary Band, Paul Kaye, Aaron Williams and more! Free admission, $3 parking.  16th & 17th Blues on the Fox, Aurora IL. Shemekia Copeland, Mavis Staples, Johnny Lang, Elvin Bishop, Devon Allman and more! $10 per day, $20 per day after May 31. https://  17th Madison Blues Society Picnic, Madison WI. Free admission. Brandon Santini, Norman Jackson Band, and more!  17th Brews and Blues, Lancaster WI at Ryland Parks. The Jimmys and Aaron Williams $10 designated drivers, $25 for others.  24th & 25th Blues Brews and BBQ Festival, Champaign IL. Free admission. Lineup TBD.  18th to 24th Wheatland Music and Dance Week, Remus MI. Blues and more.  30th & 1st Mississippi Valley Blues Festival. Davenport IA. $15 a day. Dwayne Dopsie, Dana Fuchs, Reverend Payton’s Big Damn Band, Joanna Connor and more!  30th & 1st Northwoods Blues Festival, Chippewa Falls WI. $15 to $25 per day, $30 to $50 two days. Tinsley Ellis, Duke Robillard, Bernard Allison Albert Cummins and more. July  4th Spirit of Kansas Blues Festival, Topeka KS. Free admission. Duke Robillard, Hurricane Ruth, Teresa James and more.  21st & 22nd Lowertown Blues & Funk Fest, St. Paul MN. $60 per day or $100 both days. Average White Band, Tommy Castro, Shannon Curfman, The Jimmys and more. http://  28th & 29th Canal Winchester Blues & Ribfest, Canal Winchester OH. Free admission. Albert Casiglia, Jane Lee

Hooker, Joanna Connor, Jimmy Nick and more.  28th & 29th Prairie Dog Blues Festival, Prairie du Chien WI. $30 one day, $55 two days. Lil Ed, Laith Al-Saadi, The Groove Hogs, Eric Sardinas, Carolyn Wonderland, Southern Avenue and more!  29th Blues Brews & Brats Waterville OH. $10 admission. Jeff Jenson, The Kinsey Report and more. August  4th to 6th Blues on the Chippewa, Durand WI. Lineup and ticketing TBD at press time.  4th & 5th Bluewater Blues Festival. Port Huron MI. Free admission. Thornette Davis, Jeff Hoagland Blues Band and more.  11th & 12th Waukesha Blues Fest, Waukesha WI. Ticketing TBD, Charlie Musselwhite and Ana Popovic headliners.  11th to 13th Bayfront Blues Festival, Duluth MN. $99 to $119 in advance for 3 days. $45 per day adv. Joe Louis Walker, The Jimmys, Rev Raven, Robert Randolph, Jarekus Singleton. Lucky Peterson, Ana Popvic, Zac Harmon and more.  12th Blue Ribbon Blues Fest, Fairfield IA. Tickets and lineup TBD at press time.  13th Bloomington Blues & Boogie Woogie Piano Festival, Bloomington, IN. Tickets TBD. Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne, Bill Sims Jr and more.  18th & 19th Big Bull Falls Blues Fest, Wausau WI. Friday $15, Saturday $40, Two-Day $45. Tab Benoit, Samantha Fis, Toronzo Cannon, Rev Raven and more!  18th to 20th Blues Brews BBQ, McHenry IL. Tickets TBD. Mississippi Heat, The Claudettes, Alabaster and more.  25th & 26th Old Capitol Blues & BBQ, Springfield IL. Ticket and lineup TBD at press time.  26th Crossroads Blues Festival at Lyran Park, Rockford, IL. $5 adv and $10 at door. Camping $20/night. Doug Deming and the Jewel Tones, The Kinsey Report, The Jimmys, Corey Dennison Band, The Ivy Ford Band and more.

September  1st to 3rd Big Muddy. St Louis MO. Tickets and lineup TBD.  1st to 3rd Paramount Music Festival, Port Washington, WI. Tickets and lineup TBD.  1st to 3rd Blues & Heritage Festival, Peoria IL. Tickets and lineup TBD.  3rd Bowlful of Blues, Newton IA. Tickets and lineup TBD.  8th & 9th Blues-n-BBQ (8th) and Jazz’n the Street (9th), Lasalle IL. Free. Pistol Pete, Maury Sochat & the Special 20’s and more. http://  15th & 16th Michigan Bluesfest, Lansing, MI. Free admission, lineup TBD.  22nd &23rd Jammin’ in JC Blues & Barbecue Festival, Junction City, KS. Tickets and lineup TBD. October  6th Chain O’ Lakes Blues Festival. Waupaca WI. Friday $15 adv, Saturday $20 adv, $25 weekend pass. Lineup TBD. From May through October there are 37 blues festivals nearby to us in the Midwest. From the East in Ohio to the West in Iowa and from the North in Minnesota to Missouri and Kansas to the South there are three dozen major blues events to enjoy. Keep the blues and live music alive and hit as many as you can. There are many great opportunities to see some great bands! See page 22 for late news!

Doug Deming Appears August 26th at Crossroads Blues Festival

Ike May-June 2017

Page 3

BITS Efforts Continue in Earnest for 2016/17 Billy Flynn at Jean McNair Elementary School

Billy Flynn at Byron Middle School

Dan Phelps at East HS the A key. Dan sat with each student and coached them on technique. He worked with the advanced class on improvisation and soloing techniques. He returned to East for two more days with three sessions a day on April 20th and 21st. Rockford’s Fairview Early Childhood Education Center had us in for four programs on Wednesday April 26th for over 650 students as we expanded our Blues in the Preschools programming to this RPS 205 facility.

Center also booked to do more Blues in the Preschool.

gram by Crossroad Blues Society with Dan Phelps and Steve Jones.

In June the Byron Public Library will have us out with Dan Phelps for a Blues in the Library event on Thursday June 8th from 6 to 7 PM. It is called The Blues: The Roots of Popular American Music; A Pro-

Current plans are for 62 programs in this current school year with over 8,000 attendees. This will be the most programming we have every done in one year. Our next issue will have the final numbers and a review of our 2016/2017 efforts.

May holds the final programming for the school year. Dave Fields returns on May 12th for two programs at Welsh ES and two more programs at TBD ES and we hope to get to Summerdale Early Childhood Education

Dan Phelps at Fairview Pre-School

The Groove- Crossroads Blues Society Newsletter

Ike Page 4

27th Annual Juneteenth Celebration June 19th On June 19, standing on the balcony of Galveston's Ashton Villa, Granger read aloud the contents of "General Order No. 3", announcing the total emancipation of slaves: The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor. The freedmen are advised to remain quietly at their present homes and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere.” For more info you can get in touch with Tommy Meeks at 815-218-2861 or email See you there! The Kinsey Report will anchor a day of festivities in celebration of Juneteenth, the annual emancipation day. For 27 years Rockford has celebrated this date and Crossroads wants this to help this to be a great event. Last year Sinnissippi Park hosted he event; it began with a Gospel Explosion Talent Show and featured great Gospel acts from 1 PM to dusk. This year the event is again at Sinnissippi Park’s Bandshell from 3 to 9 PM with The Kinsey Report headlining from 7:30 to 9 PM. Once again this is free to the public with more local talent on stage and a free trip to Memphis Tennessee for 3 days 2

nights for one lucky person 21 years old or older. Wikipedia reports, “Juneteenth, also known as Juneteenth Independence Day or Freedom Day, is a holiday that commemorates the June 19, 1865 announcement of the abolition of slavery in Texas, and more generally the emancipation of African-American slaves throughout the Confederate South. Celebrated on June 19, the word is a combination of "June" and "nineteenth". Juneteenth is recognized as a state holiday or special day of observance in most states.

Ashton Villa, Galveston, TX

Juneteenth Celebration in Richmond, VA, June 19, 1905

Juneteenth Celebration in Texas, June 19, 1900

Ike May-June 2017

Page 5

Doug MacLeod Show June 25th in Byron Doug will perform from 4 to 6 PM. Opening for Doug is the local great Mississippi Delta bluesman Dan Phelps. Dan will open at 3 PM. Refreshments available.

Crossroads Blues Society and All Saints Lutheran Church are proud to present multiple Blue Music Award winner Doug MacLeod to Byron. A special Thrivent Financial Action Grant is allowing us to help fund the show and bring this talented artist to All Saints Lutheran Church in Byron!

Crossroads Blues Society Officers and Board Members Contact Info President: Steve Jones Vice-President: Bill Graw Secretary: Bonnie Fox Treasurer: Terry Keller Board of Directors: Denny Barker Rick Davis Bob Haendler Ken Pearson Rick Hein

The show is free of charge. A free will offering for Blues In the Schools will be accepted at the show. Doug has played for us several times in Rockford an Byron and always puts on a great show. He is nominated for two BMAs this year: Acoustic Artist and Historical Album for his Live in Europe CD from 11 years ago. Doug won the 2016 and 2014 BMA for Acoustic Artist of the Year and the 2014 BMA for Acoustic Album for There’s a Time. He also won the 2013 Blues Blast Award for top Male Blues Artist. Don’t miss this great show with the best acoustic blues artist out there!

The Groove- Crossroads Blues Society Newsletter

Ike Page 6

Music Reviews Right Place, Right Time Monster Mike Welch and Mike Ledbetter Delta Groove Music 12 tracks The 2016 Chicago Blues Festival closed with a huge tribute to Otis Rush that was produced by Dick Shurman. When I left that show I was truly amazed. I do not think I have heard a better set of music in my life. Stars filled the stage like the constellations in the zodiac, but it was the vocal work of Mike Ledbetter and guitar work of Monster Mike Welch that stood out for me. Apparently Shurman agreed; he calls these guys The Dream Team and helped to set things in motion to capture some of the magic from that night last June. Ledbetter had spent six years with Nick Moss’ band and his vocals have taken the blues world by storm. His appearance on Ronnie Earl’s 2016 CD gave me and the blues world chills. Welch has soloed and played with Sugar Ray and the Blues Tones and amazes audiences with his profound and unique guitar style. Joining these two together creates a partnership that Shurman says rivals that of Buddy Guy and Junior Wells. I cannot disagree.

vocal journey. Welch applies the same restraint in his solo. Sax Gordon is featured here on tenor for the first of four times along with Doug James on sax. Geraci adds his touched on organ to fill in sweetly. Ledbetter builds his vocals throughout in this great cover. The first original is a Ledbetter tune entitled “Kay Marie” where he gives another inspired performance. Geraci gets the first solo which was great but them Welch offers up a monster solo and kills it and the Laura Chavez does the same as the song goes out, her first of 4 appearances. The Willie Dixon cut “I Can’t Stop Baby” is Ledbetter working in the realm of Otis Rush with a high pitched and very cool cover of Otis’ song. The vocals here are pristinely cool and powerful. Welch’s guitar solo is thoughtful; this cut really reminds me of what they did at the 2016 Chicago Blues Fest- outstanding stuff that amazed the huge crowd. This is big time and amazing stuff on vocals and guitar- the song is worth the price of the CD by itself- it gave me goose bumps. Horns and keys add to the mix as they do in the next cut.

Joining Mike and Mike is Anthony Geraci on piano and organ, another of the Bluetones. He and Mike did an album of their own last year that was also super. The backline of Ronnie James Weber on bass and Marty Richards in drums is solid and impeccable. Laura Chavez, Sax Gordon and Doug James each make appearances on four songs. They are also spectacular artists and add a lot here to this album.

Classic Jerry Lieber is next with “Down Home Girl,” a song first recorded by Alvin Robinson and covered many times by the likes of the Rolling Stones and Taj Mahal. Ledbetter approaches this with sass and grit. He and Welch do this one justice and the horns plays nicely with the other boys. Geraci’s piano is also nicely done. Junior Parker’s “How Long Can This Go On” was also big as an Earl Hooker Instrumental; the boys make it over big time with Ledbetter taking the vocals over the top and Welch and Chavez handling the solos like the outstanding pros that they are. Both are spectacular. The sax played a big role in both the Parker original and Hooker instrumental; here we have both Welch and Chavez using their skills on the six string to amaze us.

Elmore James’ “Cry for Me Baby” starts things off. Ledbetter and Welch jump straight into things with energy and drive. Ledbetter showcases his ample pipes and Welch blazes on the guitar. Geraci’s piano is also up to the task as he delivers an inspired performance, too. He and Welch trade licks with great aplomb. Ledbetter howls and moans in this swinging cut. Jimmy Robbins “I Can’t Please You” is next. Welch opens with a thoughtful intro and then Ledbetter begins the

Ledbetter’s second original is “Big Mama,” a beautiful mid tempo blues ballad that hearkens to the old days. Ledbetter blows the vocals away with his operatically trained voice. Welch and Chavez again take their guitars to stratospheric levels. Mike Welch also wrote two songs, the first being next: “I’m Gonna Move to Another Country.” There is a big intro by Welch and then Ledbetter wails the slow blues tune. Fantastic stuff- and Geraci’s organ backs them sublimely. Lot’s of great

“Monster” guitar soloing and emotive vocal work here. The third and final Michael Ledbetter tune is “Can’t Sit Down,” a classic sound with vocals, guitar and piano reminding us of the old days with Sunnyland Slim, Little Brother Montgomery and others playing the piano behind the Chicago greats. Geraci gets a big solo and he was certainly up to it, showcasing his skills for us; Welch follows with his own big solo. Ledbetter offers some more impassioned vocals for us- just great stuff al around! “Cryin’ Won’t Help You” is an old B.B. King song. The saxes make their final appearance with a very subdued presence. Geraci’s piano takes a prominent place, but it’s Welch taking on the big hollow guitar and Ledbetter on vocals that steal the show here, making it their own. Elmore James “Goodbye Baby” comes up next. Ledbetter is again forthright in his approach. Kit Holliday and Jeanette Ocampo Welch offer some backing vocals to round things out. Welch’s guitar stings and resonates when it’s his turn to showcase himself. Overall, it’s a powerful cut. Welch’s second tune concludes the album; “Brewster Avenue Bump” is an intense and well done instrumental with guitars playing of each other and a driving, intense overall sound. Well done! Why waste words? This is the best album I’ve heard in a long time. The two Mikes work off each other as if they have been playing together for decades. They are truly special and this album is equally truly special. They respect the traditions of the blues and take the genre to new and brighter highs. This is something that needs to be in everyone’s CD cabinet like many of the classic and seminal blues recordings over the decades. People will be talking about this one for a long time and those who were lucky enough to have seen them at the Chicago Blues fest last year will never forget what they saw and heard. This CD captures some of the energy and stellar work from that night and preserves it for listeners. Run, do not walk, to get this CD. You will be listening to it for a long time. Kudos to Dick Shurman and especially to Mike Ledbetter and Monster Mike Welch for this amazing album! Reviewed by Steve Jones

Page 7

Ike May-June 2017 Alabama Town Peter Karp Rose Cottage Records 13 songs/59 minutes Despite being one of the most well-respected songwriters in America as well as a solid slide guitarist, keyboard player and vocalist, too, Peter Karp has always preferred to remain in the background during lengthy partnerships with Canadian singer/guitarist Sue Foley and former Rolling Stone Mick Taylor. But it’s going to be hard for him to hide in shadows in the future after release of this album, which blends blues and roots music into one sweet package. Dedicated to his stepmother, Ruth Turner, who left us late last year, Alabama Town is a welcome follow-up to The Arson’s Match, a nominee for a 2016 Blues Blast Music Award in the best live album category. All proceeds from that release went to ovarian cancer research in honor of his late wife, and much of the material, like the title tune which dealt with losing a home to a firebug, was pretty dark in nature. This new, alloriginal release is much lighter as Karp sings from the heart about everyday life and the problems it presents. Born in New Jersey across the bridge from Manhattan, Peter’s first exposure to music came at a very young age when his copywriter mother took him and his sister into New York to experience the Beatles, Stones, James Brown and others. After his parents divorced, his military pilot father resettled in South Alabama with his new bride, a woman of color, and eight-year-old Peter soon joined them. It was there that he learned about the blues, Memphis R&B, country music and more. As he grew, he became increasingly interested in AfricanAmerican culture, especially that of his new stepmom who hailed from the South Carolina South Sea Islands, where many residents were children of slaves and/or raised in the Gullah tradition. Karp began his musical career back in New York as a member of They Came From Houses, the seminal art/punk/blues group. The band received critical acclaim, but he began disillusioned with the business side of the industry and took a 10-year break for a career in film and to raise a family. He hooked up with Taylor in 2003, after a deejay sent Mick rough recordings of a few of Peter’s songs. They’ve worked frequently ever since. And his long partnership with Foley has produced several award-winning albums. Like he did on The Arson’s Match, and Taylor helped record Alabama Town, too, joining what truly is an all-star lineup. It

includes accordionist Garth Hudson of The Band, guitarists Paul Carbonara of Blondie and Todd Wolfe, the recording artist who’s a featured part of Sheryl Crowe’s band, and harmonica player Dennis Gruenling, who’s now touring with Nick Moss. Adding to this mix are Peter’s guitarist son James, mandolin player John Zarra, keyboard players Jim Ehinger, Mike Latrell and Albert Weisman, bassists Daniel Pagdon and Niles Terrat, and percussionists Mike Catapano and Paul “Hernandez” Unsworth. Leanne Westover’s voice is featured on one duet, and Joanie Coleman, Kesha Love, Toni Summler and Elliot provide backing vocals. The album was co-directed and recorded by bassist Dae Bennett, a multi-Grammy winning producer who works with Tony Bennett. The funky title-cut blues “Alabama Town” kicks off the album atop a sophisticated shuffle as it delivers images collected in the trailer park where Karp spent his youth. The rocker “Till You Got Home” features a flashy keyboard intro as it urges the listener to keep on pushing despite any obstacles in your path, while “That’s How I Like It” is a humorous, harmonica-driven blues that praises naked women, drinking whiskey out of A Dunkin Donuts coffee cup and other freedoms. The bright, medium-tempo, guitar-powered “Blues In Mind” precedes a ballad “I’m Not Giving Up,” about a couple discussing relationship problems. The finger-picked, country-flavored “Her And My Blues,” an autobiographical view of a songwriter at work, follows before a true country blues, “The Prophet,” about someone who can foresee trouble. “Kiss The Bride” is up next with Westover doubling Peter’s lyrical delivery throughout. “Nobody Really Knows” comes across with a hint of Memphis and New Orleans as it insists that even though the vocalist loves the woman he’s singing to, neither she nor anyone else truly understands what makes him tick. “Lost Highway” is a thinly veiled description of life with both positive and negative outcomes. A medium-paced rocker “Y’all Be Lookin’” -- about the search for romance, “I Walk Alone” – a reflection about a solitary existence despite living a full life, and “Beautiful Girls” – a ballad of loss – bring the album to a close. Great new tunes and great production combine to produce a CD you’ll love if your taste runs to modern blues laced with a strong dose of Americana. First-rate from beginning to end, and strongly recommended for anyone in search of songs with a familiar feel but new themes. Reviewed by Marty Gunther

Standing On Faith Corey Ledet Self Released 8 tracks Corey Ledet continues to build upon the work of zydeco aristocracy like Clifton Chenier and Buckwheat Dural by blending funk, reggae, R&B and maybe even a little poppy hip hop into his music. With Ledet, who plays accordion, drums, washboard and sings, are Jesse Delgizzi on guitar, bass, moog and vocals and Cecil Green on keys. Corey and Jesse’s vocals are done well as they play off each other throughout the album. Ledet wrote all but one of these songs. The CD opens with a funked-ed up long intro that was compared to a Prince intro. He moves into “Push Me Away,” a tune that is partly traditional, with the pumping accordion sound, and partly new, with a reggae infused lyric line. I enjoyed that one a lot. “Love Never Felt So Good” takes the posthumously released Michael Jackson tune (that he and Paul Anka first messed with in 1983) and turns it into a funky R&B zydeco tune. The accordion takes the place of the vocals and weaves it’s way interestingly through the tune; by the end of the song you’ll be nodding how cool that was. The moog and keys makes it sound like an orchestral based cut. Lots of fun! “Standing On Faith” is a pop tune with a pumping and driving accordion beat and punching snare. This title cut is easy and breezy and also a lot of fun. Ledet testifies and gives thanks to God and offers up a gospelly pop zydeco cut that is enjoyable and cool. The moog and keys take us out with a big finish. The R&B flavored “Take Me There” is a thoughtful ballad that Ledet does well on with impassioned vocals. “New York City (Right On Rhythm” returns to the zydeco tradition with blazing accordion, drum, hoots, trills and hollers. 4:38 of driving and good zydeco fun! “A good Day” blends reggae and R&B into this song of zydeco optimism and sunshine. Zydeco R&B closes the set out with “Street Light.” The accordion feels like a natural extension of R&B as Ledt weaves it into the thread of the song. Big bass and guitar solos near the finish help funk-ify and sell this one. The 35 year old Ledet has 25 years experience in the world of zydeco that he is working on taking to new places while building on the storied zydeco tradition. I found the album to be fresh and interesting. I don’t think zydeco needs to be purist and never changing. I thing fans of the genre will appreciate Ledet’s work here and his updated approach to the music! Reviewed by Steve Jones

Ike Page 8 Elvin Bishop’s Big Fun Trio Elvin Bishop Alligator Records 12 songs/43 minutes Elvin Bishop follows up on his 2016 induction into both the Blues and Rock And Roll Halls Of Fame with this collection of seven originals and five covers -- a charming package that blends great music and lighthearted, downhome insights, a combination that have pleased critics and fans alike for more than 50 years. Don’t let Elvin’s bib overalls and Southern drawl fool you. Like Woody Guthrie before him, he’s an Oklahoma native with an extremely sharp mind and witty outlook that he delivers through song. A founding member of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, he was a student at the University Of Chicago but quickly decided to a scholar of the blues and do his learning on the streets rather than in the classroom. This release, the seventh in his Alligator catalog after being a mainstay with the late, lamented Capricorn label, came about almost by accident when Bishop was jamming in his San Francisco Bay area studio one day with Bob Welsh, his regular keyboard player and second guitarist -- who’s toured with a who’s who of bluesmen, including Billy Boy Arnold, Snooky Pryor and James Cotton, and Willy Jordan, the firstcall West Coast percussionist and vocalist who’s worked with Elvin, John Lee Hooker, Joe Louis Walker, Earl Thomas and others in addition to fronting his own band, A Case Of The Willys. Instead of bringing a kit that day, Jordan showed up with a cajon, a large, boxshaped drum constructed of wood that you sit on in order to play. Invented in Peru, it’s now a popular instrument throughout Latin America and can produce a range of sounds that mimic bass and snare drums, among others, when played by a master like Jordan. The jam went so well, that this album is the result. Recorded and mixed by Steve Savage at Hog Heaven Studio in Lagunitas, Calif., it features a warm, stripped-down sound. The only other musicians aiding the project are three of the foremost harmonica players in the world – Kim Wilson, Rick Estrin and Charlie Musselwhite – each of whom make guest appearances on a single cut. A rapid, regimented four-four beat kicks off “Keep On Rollin’,” a Bishop original that stresses the need to keep yourself together during these trying times in politics. Re-

The Groove- Crossroads Blues Society Newsletter gardless of your affiliation, you’ll agree with his insight: “You know damn well the system isn’t workin’/When you can’t tell the difference between your Congress and a circus/Just a bunch of clowns” with the chorus instructing: “Don’t let the mess get you down/Keep on rollin’.” The music keeps the serious theme upbeat. Fear not, however, there’s a lot of fun ahead, beginning with a magical reworking of Lightnin’ Hopkins’ “Honey Bee” and a sprightly cover of the Sunnyland Slim classic, “It’s You, Babe,” featuring Willy’s powerful vocals, Bob on keys and Wilson delivering harp lines faithful to licks laid down by Big Walter Horton years ago. Elvin takes the lead on the bare-bones “Ace In The Hole,” which advises: “If you have a good woman/Treat her like gold” and includes some mighty fine picking. Two more originals follow. In “Let’s Go,” the band is “making noise” in a fun-filled bar on Saturday night, noticing all the pretty ladies and knowing that they won’t be so choosy come closing time, while “Delta Lowdown” is a rock-solid instrumental shuffle that features Estrin. A traditional take on Bobby Womack’s classic, “It’s All Over Now,” first recorded when he was a member of the Valentinos, is up next with Jordan on the mike before Bishop and Musselwhite double-team their original, “100 Years Of Blues,” which details their friendship that goes back to the mid‘60s, when they were working in rival bands in the Windy City. Elvin handles most of the vocals atop Charlie’s lilting harp runs in a new song with a timeless feel. Their conversation mid-tune is sure to put a smile on your face, especially when Bishop states: “We’ve been around since the Dead Sea was sick.” The trio delivers a little Big Easy feel with a cover of Dave Bartholomew and Fats Domino’s “Let The Four Winds Blow” before touring the country on their stomachs in “That’s What I’m Talkin’ About,” a food tour that begins with gumbo after playing at the New Orleans Jazz Fest with a stop in Seattle for soul food before winding up in Willy’s kitchen in Oakland for turkey, gravy and the best cornbread in town. A cover of soul legend Ted Taylor’s “Can’t Take No More” and another instrumental, “Southside Slide,” bring the album to a close. Simply stated, Elvin Bishop’s Big Fun Trio is a sensational CD, certain to be in consideration for major awards later in the year. Pick it up today. I guarantee that you won’t be disappointed. Reviewed by Marty Gunther

Brooklyn Bolero Eric Sommer Clyde Is Thinking 8 tracks Eric Sommer is a Houston and Boston-based singer, guitar player and song writer who takes his acoustic blues music into fresh territory. Accompanied by Jim Oakley on percussion, stomp box, claps and vocal harmonies and Zach Smith on bass, vocals and harmonies, claps and groove accelerator, Sommer sings and plays all the guitars, stomp box and harp. The hill country meets the big northeastern city here in a mélange of new sounding, old-styled stuff all written by Sommer. Sommer opens to “Red Dress;” perhaps a topic discussed before in song, but Sommer takes this hill country styled song and urbanizes it in a cool manner. Fierce guitar picking, hand clapping and a driving beat make this one a lot of fun. “Cereal Song” is a humorous cut about Sommer’s love affair with cereal. Fun lyrics along with bold harp work and percussion make this one interesting. “Best Foot Forward” is a breathy ballad of sorts with some thoughtful telecaster work that is it’s best part. “Doin’ Wrong” continues telecaster sound in a stylish cut that takes an 80’s rock sound perhaps like the Cars and blends it with the minimalistic style to decent effect. “Cover My Soul” is an acoustic cut of folky blues in a nouveau style. Nice finger picking once again. Next is “What A Day I Had” with more cheeky lyrics in a blue grass sort of style. “Death Ray Cataclysm,” despite it’s title, is a moderately upbeat, ironic and fun little ditty. “Hold Your Hand” is not a Beatles remake, it’s a blistery telecaster and driving drum beat cut with rocking vocals. Is it blues? Not really. Is it fun and cool? Certainly. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea but I found the approach fresh and fun and the finger picking was excellent. I think this is a band I’d like to see live and figure out what they are al about. There is some hill country blues here and a mix of other stuff. This Boston and Texas based artist and his compadres are a hoot. If you are looking for something very different then check these guys out. Reviewed by Steve Jones

Ike May-June 2017 Rockers John Ginty Featuring Aster Pheonyx American Showplace Music 12 songs/51 minutes New Jersey-based John Ginty is one of the most in-demand sidemen and electrifying keyboard players on the planet, and he demonstrates it once again as he teams with vocalist Aster Pheonyx for his third solo album. As the title implies, this one’s more rock slanted than his two 2015 releases, Bad News Travels Live, which garnered Ginty a Blues Blast Music Award nomination, or No Filter, which garnered Roots Music Report’s blues-rock album of the year. But it does contain enough blues- and soulrooted music to keep fans interested. John’s background is nothing short of diverse. He’s spent years backing a plethora of talent across the music spectrum, including stints with Jewel, Carlos Santana, sacred steel sensation Robert Randolph, hip-hop star Redman and world tours with the Dixie Chicks, among others. Pheonyx is a multi-instrumentalist who started out as a keyboard player, but was fronting her own band in her hometown of Asbury Park, N.J., and had released two albums of her own when she and Ginty met at the famed Wonder Bar, where he was appearing to promote No Filter and she was serving as his opening act. They jammed backstage, and John invited her to sit in. That performance was so magical that he asked her to join his band as lead vocalist. This all-original, 12-song CD is the result.

Page 9 The funky “Believe In Smoke” follows, aided by another solid run at the bottom of the scale. Aster delivers it with plenty of attitude. Listeners get an aural break for “Target On The Ground” as the music slows and quiets and Pheonyx’s delivery turns soulful for a song with deep spiritual overtones. The feel continues and the pace quickens slightly for “Captain Hook.” It urges the superior to assess what’s an unspoken, but tenuous military situation. Ginty turns to the piano for a stop-time introduction to “Mountains Have My Name,” another soulful number, this one about a woman who doesn’t believe in growing old, before he reverts to organ for the propulsive “Mr. Blues,” about an award-winning, critical and demanding authority who wants “to give the rockers the door.” Next up is “WKYA,” a spoken, 60-second skit that features Redman. It’s akin to a Firesign Theatre skit from the ‘70s and speaks about a druggie deejay interviews an artist during his appearance at a radio station. The music softens again for the ballad “Priscilla” with Ginty soloing on melodica before the band’s in full-force strut for the rocker “Electric.” Aster shows a sultry, jazzy side for “Maybe If You Catch Me” before the disc ends with the title tune, “Rockers,” another instrumental. Available through most major retailers, Rockers contains plenty of bluesflavored rock and soul for folks with open minds and open ears. While not a true blues album, it’s rock solid with outstanding musicianship on display throughout. If your listening habits include rock, you’ll definitely like this one. And if they don’t, you’ll probably find plenty here that you like, too. Reviewed by Marty Gunther

It features Ginty on Hammond organ, vintage vibe piano, melodica and percussion and Pheonyx on acoustic guitar. They’re backed by the sensational Justine Gardner on bass, Maurice “mOe” Watson on drums and backing vocals with assists from guitarists Mike Buckman, Jimmy Bennett, and Josh Gannet and bass player Paul Kuzik. Redman, aka Reggie Noble, lays down a rap on one number. Gardner kicks off “The Shark” with a solitary bass line before the rhythm picks up and Ginty soars on the B-3. It’s a bluesy, soulful instrumental that puts John’s electrifying skills on display. Pheonyx’s earthy alto comes to the fore for “Lucky 13,” a rapid-fire, hard-edged rocker with some psychedelic overtones about an actress who “needs to do a hit” before portraying a casualty of war, the role of a lifetime.

Lonesome Highway Billy Flynn Delmark Records billyflynn .com 17 tracks Born in Green Bay, Billy Flynn was playing outside a local club in 1970 where Jimmy Dawkins, Billy’s idol, was going to play. Billy had grown up loving Dawkins along with Luther Allison, Johnny Littlejohn and Mighty Joe Young. Dawkins heard him, invited him in to go on stage and then took him under his wing and into his band where he stayed for the remainder of the 1970’s. He then played with Sunnyland Slim, Little Smokey Smothers, Jim Liban

and the Futuramics, Billy Boy Arnold, The Legendary Blues Band, Mississippi Heat, Kim Wilson, Barrelhouse Chuck, The Cash Box Kings, Mark Hummel, and so many other greats. Joining Billy on this extraordinary Delmark release are keyboardist Roosevelt Purifoy, bassist E.G. McDaniel, drummer Andrew “Blaze” Thomas, trumpet player Doug Corcoran and sax man Christopher Neal. Dietra Farr adds her vocals to the first trakc and “Hold On” and Dave Katzman plays rhythm guitar on “The Lucky Kind.” There are 16 originals, all written by Billy, and one cover that comprise this album’s contents. The CD opens with the rocking rockabilly styled “Good Navigator.” Billy begins the vocals and then shares them in a duet with Deitra Farr. The two trade off and then go into a call and response before a nice, long guitar solo by Flynn. They both return to vocal trade licks in this danceable and jumping cut– a nice start! Things slow down in “If It Wasn’t for the Blues” with Billy doing a mid-tempo blues for us with a forthright guitar line than he spars with vocal. Purifoy comes in with a nice piano solo and Billy also gives another lengthy and cool guitar solo. Well done. In “Small Town,” slide guitar and Billy’s vocals start things off. Billy then gives us a pair of solos on harp and then guitar. He comes back on vocals and guitar to complete a slick and sultry piece. “Lonesome Highway” is slow blues done right. Guitar, organ and horns team up in support of Flynn’s vocals to produce authentic slow Chicago blues done right. The guitar stings in the solo and throughout. The organ builds in its support and helps take things home. Flynn then delivers the lone cover in superb fashion. He takes the 1964 Billy Page tune “The “In” Crowd” (originally sung by Dobie Gray” in a Motown like R&B cut and then turned into a jazzy instrumental by the Ramsay Lewis Trio in the same year) and makes it a slightly more up-tempo jazzy blues instrumental with the guitar in front and the organ right there behind it. Flynn shows versatility and talent in this swinging version of the song. “Never Had a Chance” has a funkiness to it that Flynn sells well. The horns and organ help out and then Billy lays into a sweet guitar solo. Billy sings and plays with a cool restraint. Things start jumping with “Waiting Game,” the next cut. Flynn plays harp and guitar and Purifoy fills nicely on piano. “Hold On” offers continued on next page

Ike 10 Page some more clean harp with Farr and Flynn again in a mid-tempoed duet. Flynn soloson guitar and then gives us some more harp to savor. Dietra and Billy take us home together. “The Lucky Kind” reminds me of an Otis Rush sort of cut with a breathy Flynn on vocals and that stinging style of guitar. Corcoran offers up a big trumpet solo that was killer and Billy goes out on his guitar in beautiful fashion. “Jackson Street” is a slower blues about a girl who live over on Jackson Street, another cool throwback of a song steeped in the Chicago blues tradition. Piano, harp and guitar play off each other and then harp and guitar take the front seat and are featured before Flynn finishes with one more nice chorus. “Long Long Time” is a jumping blues that swings. The Mad Hatter Purifoy gives his all on a nice piano solo and in his overall support. Flynn’s solo work remains stellar and showcases more sides of Billy’s talents. “The Right Track” is a little more of the same, with piano and guitar solos with a strident and forthright bluesy approach. The high paced “You Are My Lover” follows. Things jump with Flynn’s harp opening things up. Flynn’s guitar stings and rings in another swinging track. “I Feel ‘Um” opens with an ethereal organ intro and then some jazzy sax in an R&B number with Flynn on vocal and guitar again showing diversity. The sax solo and fills with sax and organ help make this one more funky and special. “Blue Express” is a nifty instrumental with the horns blazing and the boys shouting ,“Hey,” in rhythm with the beat. “Sufferin’ With the Blues” takes the tempo down with a soulful guitar and slow blues sung by Flynn. The rousing “Christmas Blues” concludes things, offering us the B.B. King side of Billy Flynn. His guitar rings in the style of Lucille herself as Billy Flynn offers up some traditional blues for the Yuletide season. Organ and sax appear in support and Neal’s tenor sax solo is excellent and later Billy launches into his final solos on the CD for us to relish on the guitar. Billy has ten albums of his own under his belt, including the great double CD Blues Drive. One of his 10 prior CDs is not blues, it’s an all-instrumental surf music album entitled Big Guitar. He appeared with Beyonce Knowles on the Grammy winning recording of “At Last” from the film Cadillac Records. Billy did all the guitar work for the film– Chuck Berry, Muddy Waters, Etta James, and The Beach Boys; his style is all styles and all are perfect. His blues guitar and mandolin work has appeared on dozens of albums in addition to his own. So when you are one of the most truly accomplished and fantastic blues guitar players in the entire world who has over 40 years experience under your belt, what do you do for an encore? Well, in this case you finally release an album of your own on a big blues label! Not that his prior releases were bad; in fact, they are outstanding! It just seems odd

The Groove- Crossroads Blues Society Newsletter to me that while Billy has tons of great music to his credit and has appeared on a plethora of other artist’s major label recordings that he did not have one of his own. Now he does. He is truly a renaissance blues man and it is about time he has a major release on a major label. In his resume This is a CD that belongs in all blues fans’ collections. Billy is one of the best at his craft and this album showcases that for us. Get this one now! Reviewed by Steve Jones Ain’t Ready For The Grave Hurricane Ruth Hurricane Ruth Records (Self Released) 12 tracks Hurricane Ruth LeMaster is a woman tall in her vocal stature. Her voice blares out from her small frame, earning her the “Hurricane” moniker. She exudes a powerful presence in her approach to singing, blending the blues with rock and soul and high energy country. Sonically, she is a banshee, but with great charm and appeal attached to that powerful sound This production is by Tom Hambridge, where he played a part in writing all but one of the songs. The other is a stratospheric rock cover. He also plays drums for the album. Also joining Ruth are Reese Wynans on B3 and other keys, Michael Rhodes on bass. Pat Buchanan and Rob McNelley on guitars, and the McCrary sisters and Wendy Moten on backing vocals. Ruth begins with “Barrehouse Joe’s,” a jumping piano-based tune with she and Reese Wynans giving it their all. She growls out the lyrics and Wynans fingers were on fire on the keys. “Hard Rockin’ Woman” continues to fan the flames and keep things way up tempo. This blues rocker has Ruth screaming at the top of her lungs to a driving beat. Guitar and piano blaze and support her in this hard driving cut about a hard rockin” woman. Things then settle down with “Far From The Cradle;” it opens to a distant guitar playing solo and then Ruth comes in with Wynans as the guitar continues off in the distance. It’s thoughtful and quite cool; a very nice, slow blues with an excellent piano solo and support. And that guitar off in the distance is also pretty nicely done. The fourth cut gets back to the big, driving beat and electric guitar. “Estilene” is a song about a woman chasing married men and warnings to her about her habits. Ruth sells it convincingly in this mid temp rocking blues. Wynans’ switches to the B3 here, but it’s the big guitar solo that shines in this one. “Beekeeper” is a song filled with bee, honey and nectar dibble entendres where Hambridge starts things off on the skins and then

Ruth and the band join forces to get things really moving. The B3, guitar and backline drive things nicely in her support, and this time the B3 gets featured on the solo. The tempo once again drops for a nice, slow and pensive blues in “My Heart Aches for You.” Here we have the B3 big again and the guitar off in the sunset. Wynans is stellar here, building the organ sound up in intensity and fire and LeMaster joins him on the vocals in an intense way. Ruth brings it down a bit for a few bars, setting up a fiery and intense finish. “Cheating Blues” is a mid tempo cut that LeMaster masters and guitar and organ help in a big way. Another big but contained guitar solo spices the cut up well. The pace goes up with “Whole Lotta Rosie” where Ruth seems in her element rocking it out. Huge guitar lick trade off with her vocals and lead into another massive guitar solo that, while maybe not as fiery as the AC/DC original, is blues and cool unto itself. “For A Change” is a change; things get calmer and more subdued. A little fuzziness on the guitar, a little restraint from Ruth and overall an interesting and it’s a well-done ballad with an ethereal side to it. “Let Me Be The One” is a sweet shuffle where Ruth explains that the other woman she refers to doesn’t want the listener and asks to be the one. Lots of shuffling and some soloing on guitar and Wynans adds some dirty organ to the mix to make it more interesting. “Good Stuff” is a another medium paced blues rocker that gets the groove going and keeps the listener’s attention. The McCrary Sisters backing vocals are big and well done here. A quick and dirty guitar solo is followed by an equally quick organ solo and then Ruth and the girls return and then let the band take us out. Hurrican Ruth goes Gospel to complete the set. “Yes, I Know” features Ruth testifying with the McCrary’s and the band. The first minute and 15 slowly sets things up for a switch in pace to a jumping Gospel performance. It’s a great contrast to the rest of the CD and it’s just a fun tune. Piano support is nicely woven into the mix along with the organ; Wynans was busy; then the guitar appears as a nice punctuation to the solos. Ruth and company takes things out is a dervish of sound and fun. It’s a heart stopping ride with a few respites for allowing the pulse to settle down that also shows diversity and contrast in tempo and style. Ruth is a fantastic blues rocker and with this great band behind here and a super production she shines as bright as a star. It’s a fun album that takes her rock edge and nicely blends blues and other influences to produce a set of great sounding tunes from top to bottom. Her fans will love it and those new to Ruth will get a fantastic lesson into what she is all about. If you like good, hard driving music with intensity, then look no further! Reviewed by Steve Jones

Ike May-June 2017 Zalo's Blues Gonzalo Bergara Self Released 12 tracks Gonzalo Bergara is a gypsy jazz guitarist who has gone electric to do Zalo’s Blues, an electric and high energy album that blends his jazz experience into a blues and rock format. Based in Buenos Aires Argentina, Bergara with bassist Mariano D’Andrea and drummer Maximiliano Bergara do over 100 shows a year and have played together for over 20 years. Bergara began many years ago as a blues guitarist. The liner notes by Little Charlie Baty explain his relationship with Bergara and his appreciation for Gonzalo and his guitarwork. Baty notes Bergara never made a blues album and never sang on any CD. He feels that this is Bergara coming back to his roots, having found a voice to match his guitar skills. I must agree- this is a darn good album of 11 originals and one cover. A swinging instrumental begins the set. “Drawback” blends rockabilly and blues with some fantastic guitar work on top of a driving beat. It’s very cool. More of a blues rocking sound follows with “Drinking;” the sound and feel is very Chuck Berry-esque with another driving beat, stinging guitar work and solid vocals. “Singing My Song” has a heavy guitar lead in to this rock-blues ballad. Channeling a little Jimmy Page here, the song could easily be a Led Zeppelin cut. The lone cover is next, Jimmy Reed’s “You Don’t Have to Go.” More impeccable guitar, slowing the beat down a bit and effects on the vocals give this a new sort of twist and make it interesting. “Dirty Socks” is a short and sweet instrumental that verges on reggae yet remains blues rock. “Gonna Go” again goes rockabilly and way up in tempo. The guitar is wicked and the vocals are slick. Next up is “No More,” an amped up take on late 1950’s rock that is immersed in the blues. It shuffles nicely and the vocals have some cool grit and grime to them. “Been Runnin”” takes off running and never stops. Another in the rocking rockabilly realm, this is another great little instrumental. Following that is “Whoosh;” it starts off as a country sort of blues ballad that turns into a Beatles White Album/”Yer Blues” sort of song. Interesting! “Levi” is another cool instrumental shuffle with a big hollow

Page 11 bodied guitar sound. The temp drops for “Ines,” a thoughtful slow blues instrumental where a layer of guitar “sings” the lead for the ballad. The backline switches for this one to Vince Bilbro on bass and Michael Partlow on drums. The final cut is “Won’t Stay With You” where Bergara gives us nicely picked acoustic guitar work and some breathy vocals. It’s a folksy sort of blues and nice twist to close with. I like that he goes old school on a lot of these cuts where Bergara makes a big statement in only 2 or 3 minutes. For a guy not known for his vocal work I thought he did a great job. He did a great job with them and his guitar work was even better. Bergara offers a nice mix of styles. I have no complaints at all with this album and I thoroughly enjoyed it! Kudos to Bergara and the band for a fine job putting together a very original and well done album. Exceptional guitar work and just a lot of fun to listen to! Reviewed by Steve Jones Cradle To The Grave Cary Morin Maple Street Music https:// 11 Tracks

Morin really intertwines his voice and guitar. It is a soft folk ballad about leaving home. Morin covers William Brown’s “Mississippi Blues”. This is an old pre war tune that fits right into Morin’s style. I think that “Ghost Dog” is a good ballad that relates a bit of his Crow heritage. It is a story telling ballad. “Trust” is another folk ballad, with a good story to it. It would make a great coffee house or campfire tune. The second cover is from the band Phish. “Back On The Train” is a faster pickin’ tune about moving forward with life. The final cover is Prince’s famous tune “Nothing Compares 2 U”. Morin really remade this tune as a soft acoustic ballad. Well done!! Closing out the CD is “Watch Over Me”. This song has a bit more acoustic rock feel to it. Overall, this is a strong acoustic CD. His finger picking style is excellent. He can sing a fine story song. He shows his influences, and can make a cover song sound like his own. It makes me want to seek out some of his other work. If you are an acoustic fan, grab this fine work. It might not appeal to the blues rock crowd as much, but take a chance on it. Hope we see him in the area one day soon. Reviewed b Mark Nelson

Cary Morin is an acoustic guitarist. His influences come from his Crow Indian heritage, blues , bluegrass, jazz and dance. This release is his 4th solo release. He also played in local bands The Atoll, and Pura’ Fe Trio in Colorado. Additionally he played with The subdudes members Steve Amedee and John Magnie as the Young Ancients. Morin won the Colorado Blues Challenge Solo Championships in 2013 & 2014. Eight of the 11 tracks are originals. Touring has brought him to Japan and Europe. All guitar work and vocals are handled by Morin. A Morin original opens the CD. “Cradle To The Grave” is a fine slow blues acoustic tune that talks about making your way through life. On “Laid Back” Morin shows a lively finger picking style that sounds a bit like Keb’ Mo. It is a song about relaxing and fishing. I like the folk ballad “Dawn's Early Light”. It is a song supporting the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and their issues. “Lay Baby Lay” is a pretty good tune, with continued fine finger picking guitar work. He could have stretched out a solo a bit on this shorter tune. On “Mishawaka”

The Call of the Night Josh Hyde Self Released 9 tracks Josh Hyde is a native of Louisiana and offers up here 9 original tunes that are filled with his Cajun and Zydeco influenced vocals and guitar. His band included Joe V. McMahan on guitar (who also produced the CD), Ron Eoff on bass, Jamey Bell on drums, Bryan Owings on percussion and John Gross on keys. Several guest artists including Sonny Landreth join in for a few songs and are noted below. The title song “The Call of the Night” has an Allman Brothers Band sort of ring to it. Slick Southern rock mixed with cajun and blues is what we have here. “The Truth” follows with guitar and organ howling a bit along with the vocals in a New Orleans sort of manner. “Close” is next, a country ballad of sorts where Hyde uses his vocal style to make an impassioned plea. Buddy Flett is on guitar with the band for “Close.” Sonny Landreth joins in continued on next page

The Groove- Crossroads Blues Society Newsletter

Ike Page 12 on guitar for “Offshore,” a cut with a haunting and swampy sound that very much is in the Sonny Landreth style. Landreth is also on the next tune, “It’s Not Too Late.” Tony Daigle also fills in on acoustic guitar and James Westfall is on keys. The song builds from the acoustic guitar and vocals with the slide added and an overall increase in intensity and then Daigle takes us out on a soft note. “Need A Lil More” is a “down in the bayou” sounding sort of tune with pensive guitar work and organ layered on the vocals to good effect. Hyde follows with “Guitar in Hand,” a pensive and thoughtful piece with a long, pungent yet sultry guitar solo. Next we have “Mississippi Bridge” where Flett accompanies on guitar and Laura Mayo does backing vocals. A mid-tempo cut, it guilds a bit with nice guitar work and the keys behind the entire song for effect. The album concludes with “I’ve Got This Song” where Westfall is back on keys in support. The album is mostly sultry and low to mid tempo. It spins an intricate web of swampy sounds that are cool and interesting. The vocals are haunting and ethereal, also quite interesting. It is a modern sort of bayou music that blends blues, Cajun, Zydeco and some Southern rock into an intricate sound. It’s not mainstream stuff but it’s cool and a nice change of pace to listen to. Certainly not straight ahead blues but it’s fun and, as I noted, very interesting and intriguing music. Reviewed by Steve Jones Fistful of Gumption Randy McAllister and The Scrappiest Band In The Land Reaction Records 10 Tracks Straight out of Texas is the strong blues sounds of Randy McAllister. I was first exposed to him with his initial JSP recording Diggin' for Sofa Change in 1997. I liked all those JSP recordings back then. I lost track of him after those first 3 on JSP. I get this new one to review and find all I have been missing. This is his 13th overall release. Randy’s father was a drummer and a fireman. McAllister learned from his dad, but picked up the harmonica during a stint in the army in Massachusetts. On this release McAllister sings and plays harmonica, drums and washboard. Rob Dewan (guitar), Maya Van Nuys (fiddle) and Matt Higgens (bass) are the main contributors on these recordings. Others guests helped out too. With only one cover, this CD is truly the work of McAllister.

“C'mon Brothers And Sisters” is a strong fast paced blues rock number. It’s easily got a Texas feel to it. Andrea Wallace provides some good backing vocals. Things slow a bit, but not all the way, on Earl King’s “Time For The Sun To Rise”. This is a well played tune with fine guitar work by Rob Dewan and fiddle by Maya Van Nays. Up next is “Ride To Get Right (Tribute to Otis Redding & Earl King)”. This is a very fast paced tune with guitar and fiddle featured, along with McAllister on washboard. It has a Cajun/ country feel to it. “Roll With The Flow” is a guitar tune. It encourages the listener, to relax and go with the flow. Carson Wagner adds some piano to this tune. Things rock out on “My Stride”. This is blues rock with McAllister finally breaking out his harmonica. It is a solid tune. “Background Singer” starts with a frantic pace, then settles into a blues /funk groove and then back to an almost gospel tinted faster pace. Wagner is back on organ this time. Not the best on the CD, it’s a bit too busy, but serviceable. Things slow back down on “The Oppress”. It gets soulful, but has a bit of a rockier change of pace to it. The guitar work is strong, allowing McAllister to show off fine voice. The changes of paces in the tune, might be a bit much for some listeners. McAllister’s harmonica returns on “Leave A Few Wrong Notes”. There are strong parts played by the fiddle and guitar too. I like this tune, much better than the last two. The band plays a nice shuffle on “Band With The Beautiful Bus”. It is a story of being on the road. It’s got some country feel to it, and for sure some Texas. Closing out the disc is “East Texas Scrapper”. McAllister really brings his harmonica to the forefront on this one. This is a solid blues rocker, and a pretty good tune. I am glad to get reintroduced to Randy McAllister. He harmonica is strong as are most of the vocals. This will get additional listens. I am sure I’ll pull out some of the JSP material for a listen too. Outside of the bit out of the ordinary pace changes on 2 songs, this is a pretty good blues rock & Texas collection. Give it a listen and enjoy it. Reviewed b Mark Nelson Change My Game Thorbjorn Risager & The Black Tornado Ruf Records 11 tracks Thorbjorn Risager and his 7-piece band have been on a 14 year voyage of work where they have done 800-plus shows in 21 countries creating original blues rock in their unique manner. The same 8 players have

worked together all these years and released prior CDs to critical acclaim; this is what they feel is what they have been trying to do in the studio. All original cuts here. The band behind Risager on vocals and guitar is Peter Skerning on guitar, Emil Balsgaard on keys, Soren Bojgaard on bass, Martine Siedelin on drums, Hans Nybo on tenor sax, Kasper Wagner on saxes and Peter Kehl on trumpet. These guys are all exceptional! The CD opens to the haunting and pensive “I Used to Love You” where Risager shows restraint on guitar and vocals and offers up some passion and feeling. Things change with the vibrant and driving “Dreamland” where the horn section backs a funky guitar and growling vocal lead. Things stay funky with “Change My Game” where organ and guitar get down and Risager sings and the horns blare– nicely done. “Holler and Moan” is acoustic and goes down to a swampy place (if they have them in Denmark) where the band and Risager holler, chant and moan and groan in this interesting piece. They stay acoustic but switch to a bit of a rockabilly or country ballad format in “Hard Time” with some cool electric slide work. “Long Gone” is next; it’s a slow, smooth, cool and funky sort of soulful blues. The band rocks out on “Hold My Lover Tight” with the opening chords on guitar blazing and an intense beat. Big vocals. Even bigger guitar, horns, keys and huge production and effects all around. Risager testifies loudly on “Maybe it’s Alright,” another big classic rocker in their style. “Train” goes back to acoustic for the most part until it closes in a wild ride to the finish. Piano, organ and guitar back Risager and then things blaze to a finish. “Lay My Burden Down” opens to a long and haunting horn intro and is a a funeral march sort of cut with a mournful Risager lamenting in his deep baritone. It’s a long and soulful cut with a dark but cool tone. They end with “City of Love,” a bouncy blues with more deep vocals and a driving mid tempo beat. Keys and stratospheric guitar and horns blare as they blend into a trance-like almost psychedelic second half of the song. It’s quite interesting. It’s a varied and creative album that, while being different, is also intriguingly good. Risager’s vocals are dark and often in your face. The musicianship is often similar. This music takes no prisoners and offers no excuses. The driving stuff is not for the faint of heart– it’s a forthright and impressive style. They can also show restraint and diversity in their music and they are in synch and operate as one. If you want to sample something that shows the blues going in an interestingly new direction then you won’t be disappointed here! Reviewed by Steve Jones

Ike May-June 2017 Desire Lauren Mitchell Self Released http:// 13 Tracks Lauren Mitchell has been performing in Florida for awhile. The Tampa area is her home base. She went thru a great deal last year in her life, and this recording is her way forward. Her powerful vocals are featured on this her third release. She is joined by Grammy winning producer Tony Braunagel (Raitt, Keb Mo’ & Cray)’ The tune was recorded in Los Angeles. Johnny Lee Schell, Josh Slier and Jose Ramirez handle the guitar work. Jim Puch (keys), Reggie McBride (bass) and Ton Braunagel (drums) hold down most of the backing work. Lenny Castro (percussion), Darrell Leonard (trumpet) & Joe Sublett (sax) ass to the musician support. 4 tunes are co-written by Mitchell. The opening cut is a “(I Don’t Need Nobody To Tell Me) How To Treat My Man”. This R&B flavored tune was co-penned by Booker T. Jones (Booker & The MGs) and performed by Sam & Dave. The brass sections receives kudos on this track of soulful music. On “Soul Music” we hear a song has a light soulful bouncy feel to it. This was written by Mitchell and her cowriting pal Sheri Nadelman. This tune could have been done in the early 70’s from its feel. The same writers plus Jeff Paris wrote “Desire”. This was had a bit of swampy/new country feel to it There is a strong set of backing vocals by Maxine Lewis, Kudisan Kai, Leslie Smith and Mellodye Perry. A song performed by Etta James is next up. “Jump Into My Fire” is a sassy R&B tune. Johnny Lee Schell adds some nice guitar work. Aretha Franklin performed the slow ballad “Good To Me As I Am To You”. Vocally Mitchell sounds a bit like Irma Thomas on this one.

Page 13 (one time wife of Miles Davis). Reggie McBride pumps up the bass on this one! TC Carr & Josh Nelms wrote the funky soul tune “Bridge Of My Dreams”. Schell again provides some nice guitar licks to go with the Jim Pugh on the organ. “Lead Me On” is a strong blues ballad. It is written by Mitchell and her writing partners. It sounds like a very personal tune that may be a real part of her life. The band cut loose on the tune for over 6 minutes. Closing out is my favorite tune “Brown Liquor”. It is a blues powerful tune also written by Mitchell and her partners. I bet the live crowd loves this one and celebrates with some dancing. I guess I expected more blues than soul before I listened to this disc. Not that that is bad. Mitchell has a good voice, and can support many types of tunes. She takes on tunes from big names and puts her stamp on it. The backing musicians were fine. I am sure she is happy with the CD. I like it, but won’t love it. It got a little too much into that 60’s 70’s soul for me. Let’s see what she does next time. I may get to see her live soon, and am looking forward to it. If you love soul blues then grab this one. Blues rock fans will be better served with another choice. Reviewed by Mark Nelson Editor’s Note: Lauren was at Buddy Guy’s Legends for a show recently. See page 23 for details. The Blues Just Makes Me Feel Good John Latini Smokin’ Sled Dog Records http:// 13 Tracks

"Feels So Good” is another slower soul tune that is reminiscing of the old Chicago soul scene. Bettye Lavette recorded “Stand Up Like A Man” back in the mid 60’s. Mitchell puts her stamp on it with the 7th cut. It’s a mid-tempo tune with good overall musicianship. “Today” is another slow paced tune. It is in an Irma Thomas type groove. The song has fine vocal work. Things get funky on ” I A'int Been (Licked Yet). This is a cover of an old Ashford & Simpson tune.

Based out of Ypsilanti, MI, John Latini is a blues guitarist, songwriter and singer. He is joined by Nolan Mendenhall (bass, vocals), Brian Roscoe White (guitar) and Todd Glass (drums) on this his third release. He has won many awards for his songwriting and performing. In both 2008 and 2009 he was the Detroit Blues Challenge winner. Latini wrote 11 of the 13 songs on this disc. His performance schedule may include band, duo and solo appearances. This is my first exposure to the artist, and I look forward to it.

On “Anti-Love Song” we hear a powerful vocal delivery and funky music by Mitchell. This is a cover from Betty Davis

The opening track is “Black-Eyed Blues”. The song is an easy going blues tune, augmented by Dale Grisa (keys), Ross

Huff (trumpet), Tim Haldeman (sax), and Bethanni Grecynski (trombone. The brass adds a great deal to this fine tune. For “Lord Made Me A Weak Man” the band gives us a bit of R&B with their blues. Neil Donato adds some spicy organ to the tune. The band shuffles home to our ears on “Three AM”. This is a blues tune about getting home too late! It was written by Dave Boutette of the Michigan’s Junk Monkeys. Latini’s brother Michael wrote “Woodchuck Blues”. I like Latini’s slide guitar work and gruff country rocking blues vocals. I hear some New Orleans funk in “Pull Me Up”. It is funky, and stays in the groove. The brass backing is back along with Jamie-Sue Seal and Greg Brown providing background vocals. “Rutabaga Cheesecake” starts like a Tony Joe White swampy rocking tune. This is a cool tune. They stretch it out successfully to 4:39. On the title cut “The Blues Just Makes Me Feel Good” the gang slips back to a bit of old time jazzy music. The brass section again shines. There is fine guitar work on R&B styled “Broken Man”. This one will get you dancing. On “My Town's Got A River And A Train” we get a slower story teller blues song. Each note is carefully played and is to be enjoyed. There is a bit of Steve Earle and Spencer Bohern echoing in the song. I like the Texas blues feel on “Gotta Have My Babies”. The horns shine on this one too. He’s singing to all the girls he knows. The tone changes a bit on “Too Good To Be True”. There are soulful vocals, with a bit of jazzy blues guitar. The B3 work of Dale Grisa shines. On “Hard Workin' Woman” I hear a vocal style that sounds like John Kay from Steppenwolf on an old Chicago styled blues song. It could have been a tune from the old Chief Records days. The CD closes with “I Will Be Haunting You”. It is a slower grinding, delta /country blues tune. This one is just the 4 piece band, with none of the other supporting musicians. There are lots of blues styles here. Each tune stands alone, and shows a knowledge of different types of blues and a bit of other American music. The music is well done, and really nothing in the showoff category of playing. The production work is crisp, and there is attention to detail. I like this one a great deal, and hope to see him live one day. Keep an eye open for Latini on tour, and pick up this fine CD. Reviewed by Mark Nelson

The Groove- Crossroads Blues Society Newsletter

Ike Page 14 Crowin’ The Blues Professor Louie & The Crowmatix Woodstock Records 13 Tracks Professor Louie & The Crowmatix are a veteran group out of Woodstock New York. There was a long relationship with Rick Danko, Levon Helm and all the members of The Band. He was heavily involved in their last 3 releases. This release is their 13th. The leader is Professor Louie (Aaron Hurwitz) who sings and plays keys and accordion. The remaining band members are John Platania (guitar & vocals), Miss Marie (vocals, percussion), Gary Burke (drums) and Frank Campbell (bass & vocals). The musical style mixes blues, rock and other Americana influences. The tunes are mostly covers, with only 5 originals on this CD. The opening cut is “I'm Gonna Play The Honky Tonks”. This one was written by Don Robey and Marie Adams on Peacock Records in 1951. The song is a faster paced R&B tune that showcases the entire band. The band original “Prisoner Of Your Sound” has a bit of New Orleans R&B sound to it. Burke’s drums really keep things moving on this tune. The tune “High Heel Sneakers” has been covered many times. The band slowed it down just a bit and used the organ on it, but nothing new here. “Love Is Killing Me” is a slower soulful tune, written by the band. Josh Colow and Michael Falzarano add some guitar work to this tune. It is a pretty good tune. Another bluesy original is “Blues & Good News”. It is a keyboard instrumental with Miss Marie adding some whistling. The blues slide guitar sound of Elmore James shows through on “Fine Little Mama”. Platania shows his licks, with solid piano from the Professor. On the 7th cut the band tackles a tune from the prolific Jimmy McCracklin. “I Finally Got You” has a west coast feel, with a fast pace. On the oldie “Why Did You Do That To Me” the Professor breaks out his accordion. This one was written by the great Big Bill Broonzy. The cover of B.B. King’s “Confessin' The Blues” was sung by Miss Marie. The song is much more a piano tune than a King guitar tune, though his original had keys and horns in prominent positions. In the blues heroes round up that this CD is, it is great to hear some Jimmy Reed. The Professor put together a fine version

of “Bright Lights, Big City”. Naturally there is more keys than guitar on this version. A cover of the great Jimmy Rogers tune “That's Alright” is up next. Miss Marie handles the vocals on this slightly slower version of the Chicago blues classic. The band penned tune “I'm On My Way” opens a fair bit like “In A Gadda Da Vida” with the organ first few guitar notes. After that it is a mid tempo blues song. Closing out the CD is a tribute to the great Buckwheat Zydeco called “Blues For Buckwheat”. The accordion is back, and the band bangs thru this zydeco/blues instrumental tune. Professor Louie helped out on Buckwheat’s 2005 release Jackpot!. Overall this is a pleasing CD. There are many covers, but they are giving a different feel than they usually get. This is a veteran band that knows what they are doing. Being recorded live in the studio adds to the feel of the music. If you like blues piano, and a rockin’ feel to your blues, then this one is for you. Give it a listen. Reviewed by Mark Nelson Bloodstains On The Wall Big Bill Morganfield Black Shuck Records 12 Tracks Wow!! This is now the 7th release by Big Bill Morganfield. Big Bill grew up in Florida, away from his famous father Muddy Waters. His early life included college, earning degrees from Tuskegee University and one Auburn University. His recording career began in the late 90’s. He sounds like his father, and the resemblance is both physical and in his performance style. The release contains only 4 originals, but the covers are pretty cool. At times he plays old style, and at others, he merges with the hip hop style. The main band (Mofo Party Band) includes John Clifton (guitar, harmonica), Bill Clifton (guitar), Grant Clifton (bass), Brian Bishel (drums) and Bartek Szopinski (Piano/organ). There are some special guests too!. The opening cut is “Lost Without Love” written by the great Lonesome Sundown. It is a slower swampy blues tune. Colin Linden and Eddie Taylor Jr. join in on guitar for this one. Things get old Chicago style on the Willie Dixon penned “I Don’t Know Why”. Big Bill is joined by Steve

Guyger (harmonica) and Bob Margolin (guitar) on this fast paced Chicago blues favorite. On “When You Lose Someone You Love” Big Bill really sounds like his dad on the self penned slow Chicago blues tune. Bartek Szopinski shows his piano chops on this one. This tune is a tribute to his Mother who passed away recently. Big Bill’s slide guitar is in full swing on this one too. Jimmy Reed recorded the Oscar Boyd tune “Too Much”. Linden and Taylor Jr. are back on this one with Doc Malone on harp. I really like this tune, done in the slower paced Jimmy Reed style. The Mofo Party Band returns on the fast paced “Help Someone”. This tune penned by Big Bill is a rocking success. There is some New Orleans in this one. I like “Bloodstains On The Wall” it is an angry snarling slow modern blues tune. It was written Hank “Honeyboy” Pratt in the late 1920’s, and still seems relevant to the violence in our society today. Augie Myers adds piano to the cut. The 7th cut is “Can't Call Her Name”. Big Bill wrote this about a lover so good, that he kept her name a secret. It is a nice blues shuffle. I hear a bit of New Orleans in the Lisa Stansfeld penned “Wake Up Baby”. It is a bit old timey, and certainly has an R&B feel to it. Big Bill rolls out the fine tune from Otis Rush “Keep On Loving Me”. It is a hard firing faster blues tune. This is a really good tune. The great Willie Dixon tune “I Am The Blues” is the next tune. This tune gets a bit of a more modern styling. The great Jimmy McCrackin wrote “Help The Bear”. I did not remember this tune, but it certainly did enjoy it. It is a rockin’ R&B tune. The CD closes with a special track tha Big Bill recorded for a TV show Shots Fired. It is a blues tune with a bit of hip hop electronics mixed into it. Bill played a part in the series also. The show deals with police brutality with Black youths in their community. Overall this is a pretty solid release. Big Bill wants to reclaim the blues as American Black Music. I hope this release helps that dream. Certainly Big Bill has close ties to his Father’s legacy, looks and style, yet he is his own man. He will be at the Chicago Blues Festival this June. Everyone should go hear him honor his legacy, and put forth his modern agenda for the music we love. Grab the CD and his other fine work too. Reviewed by Mark Nelson

Ike May-June 2017

Page 15

Brand New Man Lee Delray JAC Records 10 Tracks

No More Blue Mondays Landon Spradlin Smokin’ Sled Dog Records 9 Tracks

any recent touring info, but maybe he will be around as traction from this reissue is felt. If the gospel spirit moves you, this one will make you feel good. If you need a lot of blues, then this might not be your favorite.

Lee Delray is a fine blues rock guitarist, playing mostly as a trio. He is joined by Scott Ward (bass) and Ken Conklin (drums). He was born in Florida, but raised in New York. Over time he has played in all types of bands. His touring since 1989 has mostly been in the NY, NJ and PA area. His first release was in 2013 and this is his follow-up. I like that he wrote all but one of the cuts included here. Overall his big influences are the three kings (Albert B.B> and Freddie) and Albert Collins. The production work that Delray did on this disc is crystal clear.

Landon Spradlin grew up in New Orleans, but migrated to the fine state of Virginia in 1978. Originally this music was recorded and released in 1995. It is being reissued some twenty years later. The music is blues, gospel and a bit of R&B. HE recorded the CD in England. He is backed up by Dave Markee on bass and Henry Spinetti on drums (Eric Clapton’s touring rhythm section at the time). Norman Barrett (guitar) and Dan Cutrona (keys) round out the main unit. Five of the 9 cuts are originals.

Reviewed by Mark Nelson

The opening cut is “Meet My Maker”. Delray shows his fine slide work on this strong blues rock song. Jerry Beach wrote “I’ll Play The Blues For You” that was made famous primarily by Albert King. This version has a strong city feel to it, and conversational interlude during the tune. Nicely done! “First String Man” adds a rap music chorus, with Young Chizz dropping some verse. There is even a bit of DJ record scratching too. It is part of an appeal to get younger fans. It might work. Delray really smokes his guitar strings on “Blues Came Callin'”. This is a strong guitar tune, and it stretches out to 6:45.

The opening tune is “I've Never Been To Seminary”. It is a Chicago blues mid tempo tune with some good guitar work. The song was written by Rev. Dan Smith (a gospel blues artist from the 60’s). The band gets into a slow blues groove on “No More Blue Mondays”. At nearly 6 minutes, the band really let loose on this one. The organ by Dan Cutrona adds a good feel to the tune. “First Fruits” is a gospel tinged tune. It has rock overtones, with a gospel feel. Despite a good vocal, I found the tune too stuck between the two genres.

“Love Line” is an up tempo R&B tune. It has strong southern influences. Memphis and B. B. King are certainly an influence on the strong “Cookin' in My Kitchen”. It is a slow, strong blues tune. If you like raw Chicago blues, you will enjoy “Hollar”. It’s a massive tough slide guitar tune.think Hound Dog Taylor. On “Gotcha” Delray and the band hit another swinging blues and rocking tune.

Spradlin covers the well known tune “Drift Away”. It is a pretty true to the original version. Amoy Levy, Ciceal Levy and Owen Welch add the background vocals. It is fine, but won’t replace the original as my go -to version. The R. Pugh authored “I Got Jesus Name” is a go-to-meeting gospel toe tapper. For “My God”, an original, we hear a slow gospel ballad with a bit of blues rock in it.

I thought the vocals were a bit off on “Mine All Mine”. It is a hot rock tune, with powerful guitar work. Delray leans to a slower southern/country rock tune on “Yesterday's Tears”. It works pretty well. There is a small hidden track at the end, with Delray going a cappella with “Grinin’ In Your Face”. It has some interesting effects as you listen. I thought it a unique ending.

The soulful gospel tune “He Is There”, is a pretty tune. The background vocals shine along with Spradlin’s vocal work too. The Charles Johnson penned “My Friend Jesus” is next. The original was an early 60’s release on Peacock. This is another slower gospel ballad and is pretty good. Closing out the release is the uplifting, toe-tapping “My Help”. This is my favorite track on the release. The group really cuts loose

Overall this is a solid CD. I like that he is trying to influence the future of the blues. Delray plays a strong guitar, and writes/ produces his stuff. I would bet he has a strong live show too. There is something here for most all blues fans. Get out there and grab this one. You will enjoy it. Reviewed by Mark Nelson

Overall I find this much a gospel release than a blues CD. Nothing wrong with that, but puts it to a bit different listening audience. For the most part it is pretty good. Spradlin pastors a church, so this is to be expected. His band was the Piedmont Blues and Preservation Society’s Blues Challenge winner in 2009. I cannot locate

Songs For None Studebaker John Avanti Music 13 tracks Studebaker John and the Hawks. Studebaker John and the Maxwell Street Kings. Studebaker John with Mud Morganfield and others. And now, Studebaker John by himself with a baker’s dozen of original songs with Mr. Grimaldi playing solo acoustic guitar and his harp. It’s a change but it’s very interesting and well done. “Sometimes I Wonder” starts off the CD. It’s a mournful cut with some slick harp and guitar picking. “Nothing but...” is a cool mostly instrumental number with a few shout outs where John blows harp and picks out some nice stuff. The dark “Dangerous World” is a swampy sort of Delta sounding tune with echoed vocals adding to the mystery and warnings of danger. “Pain” is a thoughtful cut with beautiful guitar picking. “Nothing Remains the Same” is a slow and remorseful number as is the following “Lonely Day” and “Between Nothing and Eternity.” “Will You Be My Angel” stays with the slow tempo and asks for his angel to give him strength and fly him away. “Sometimes” is another pensive, mostly instrumental cut with good harp and guitar work. “Stolen Time” keeps up the theme and he slides sweetly on the fret board here. “I Still Won” is a little more upbeat and has a more strident approach. “Junkyard Preacher” has a bigger sound with greasy harp and a spiritual sort of sound to it. “All My Life” completes the set and remains remorseful and mournful with harp wailing and the guitar pensively being picked. I saw John do his acoustic set at Chicago’s House of Blues with him and a drummer. It was cool. He did some of his old stuff and many of the tunes from the new CD. I enjoyed it and the CD. If you want to visit with a different side of this great artist then pick this up. It’s a cool album and John has written and performed some great new songs. It’s a little down and dark in theme but it’s worth a spin or two! Reviewed by Steve Jones

The Groove- Crossroads Blues Society Newsletter

Ike 16 Page Pocket The Black- Live At Chapel Hill Lazy Eye LE Records 10 Tracks I have visited Australia several times and always enjoyed the music. This review is for the Adelaide, Australia band Lazy Eye. It is their 5th recording (4 full lengths and 1 EP). The band has been road warriors doing long tours in Australia. They were the representative at the Blues Music Awards in Memphis so that was another long trip. This is a trio with Evan Whetter (vocals, organ & harmonica), Erica Graf (guitar and backing vocal and Mario Marino (drums & backing vocals). This music was cut live in the studio with a small group of fans in attendance. The band describes this release as “Think Booker T sharing a scotch with B.B. King at the crossroads after midnight”. All of the cuts are written by the band. So, on to the music! The opening cut is called “Keepin' From Lovin”. The B3 is sharp in this mid tempo soulful tune. Erica Graf adds a fine solo at about 2:20 into the tune. The title cut “Pocket The Black”, the band is in a more jazzy form. Evan Whetter can handle the B3 very well. “Back The Way I Came” is a blues shuffle and gives your ears a joy. I like “Let Me Down Easy” and it’s slow blues groove. The guitar work of Erica Graf is quite tasty. “Mucho Jalapeno” starts out with drums and B3 playing off of each other. As an instrumental, it is jazzier and easy on the ear. The band borrows a Bo Diddley riff on ” Shack O' Mine”. This one rocks out in a Bo way! Things get into a slow and steamy groove with “Do You Know How It Feels”. The B3 work fits in better than I had thought it might. The band really jams and stretches it out on this tune at over 7 minutes. Lazy Eye really takes it back to basics on ” Treat Your Lover Right”. For this tune Graf plays acoustic and Whetter grabs his harmonica. The get the delta acoustic groove going on for this song. The group goes a bit gospel/revival tent on “It Ain't Right”. They really pick up the pace on this one. Closing out the CD is the song called “Swing For Marz”. Whetter jams on the B3 during this instrumental. The crowd applauds at the end. Overall this is very listenable. They did not get too jazzy, and offered up some variety in music. All of their music is available at Bandcamp, so go check it out. I like to see people from all over the world enjoy blues. This group from South Australia appreciates the music, and tries to bring it to their home-

land. We all get to enjoy the recordings. Maybe they will be back to Memphis for the next awards shows. If so, check them out. If you have an adventurous music ear, seek this one out.

This was my first encounter with Jon Zeeman and this album is a solid effort with clean production and good playing from all involved. It is well worth checking out.

Reviewed by Mark Nelson

Reviewed by John Mitchell

Blue Room Jon Zeeman Membrane Records 10 tracks/+41 minutes

The Flood M.S.G Acoustic Blues Trio Self Released 15 tracks

Jon Zeeman is originally from New York state and now lives in Florida, where this album was recorded. Jon wrote eight of the songs here, one in conjunction with bassist and recording engineer Phil McArthur. George Lilly plays drums, Tom Regis and Bob Taylor share keyboard duties and Jon handles the guitar and vocals. The late Butch Trucks plays drums on two cuts, probably his final studio recordings. Opener “All I Want Is You” finds Butch’s drums driving the band on a fast-paced shuffle. Jon has a decent voice and plays some very clean guitar, the keys also feature and the whole tune is fun though the lyrics borrow from many a tribute to attractive ladies: “You got a wiggle when you walk, you got a giggle when you talk, all I want is you”. “Hold On” has a great groove and a thumping chorus framed by the organ and Jon’s guitar before the first cover, RJ’s “Love In Vain” which follows the Stones version quite closely (particularly the guitar parts) but adds piano and organ effectively. Butch Trucks’ second stint at the drum seat is “Next To You”, a rocking shuffle with nice guitar work from Jon. The second cover is Hendrix, but one of the less frequently visited tunes, “Still Rainin’, Still Dreamin’”, here performed in gently funky style with Jon duetting with himself on wah-wah and lead guitar. “If I Could Make You Love Me” is a slow blues with some fine guitar from the start, Jon prepared to “give up everything I own” if the girl will agree. The next track “All Alone” makes a good contrast with its busy rhythm and Jon’s solo which has just a touch of latin lilt before a fine piano solo. “Talking ‘Bout My Baby” ups the funk quotient as the keys provide a bubbling background over which Jon sings of defending his girl against would-be suitors; bassist Phil enjoys a short feature on this one. The title track is a very short solo guitar instrumental that recalls Mason Williams’ “Classical Gas” from way back in the 60’s before the joint Jon/Phil tune “Nothing In The World” closes the album on another slightly funky note with some added percussion, the sort of island vibe that probably goes down really well in Florida clubs.

M.S.G. is Jackie Merritt, Miles Spicer and Resa Gibbs who hail from the area around our nation’s capital and play a folksy version of very authentic, sometimes updated and always interesting Piedmont blues. We met up with them at the Mendelssohn PAC in April and they put on a fine show where we picked up this CD. They play some interesting instruments, including a cigar box strum stick (Resa) and a soprano ukulele and ukulele bass (Jackie). Miles is on guitar, Resa is on washboard with other acoutrements to it’s percussive suite, and Jackie is on harp. All three sing and harmonize. Ralph Gordon plays some bass, Phil Wiggins is a guest on harp and vocals, and Sam Gleaves appears on banjo (in addition to a few other guests). This is a very fine album of acoustic blues and folk music. From the opening thumps on the uke bass and Phil Wiggins’ guest harp on the title cut to the moving spiritual “Glory, Glory Hallelujah” the listener becomes fully engaged with their superb sound and harmonies. The cool hand jive and harmonies on “Money Makes You Crazy” with an inspired vocal by Jackie is intriguing. Resa offers up a haunting an beautiful solo on “New Familiar;” I cannot listen without the hair standing on my arms. She also gives us an inspiring earlier solo on vocals and strumstick on Son House’s “Grinnin’ In Your Face.” Miles picks out some great stuff on his guitar and Jackie blows some mean harp throughout. She also does a cool instrumental harp duet on “Amazing Grace” with Phil Wiggins to lead into the closing song. This is a great acoustic blues CD from top to bottom. I had not had the opportunity to hear them before but now that I have and have heard this fine CD I will be looking out for them. If you are a lover of acoustic blues, music in the Piedmont style or just some fine music done by a fantastic trio of roots musicians and their friends then look no further! I highly recommend this to you for a listen! Reviewed by Steve Jones

Ike May-June 2017 Talk About That John Mayall Forty Below Records 11 songs/48 minutes John Mayall enlisted the aid of a Rock And Roll Hall Of Famer for Talk About That, his latest release in a career that stretches back to the early ‘60s, but have no fear! With James Gang/ Eagles superstar Joe Walsh along for the ride, the undisputed Godfather Of British Blues delivers a heaping portion of the music four generations of fans have come to know and love. Now approaching his 84th birthday, Mayall didn’t embark on a music career until his late 20s. An art school graduate, he was influenced as a guitarist by Big Bill Broonzy, Josh White and Brownie McGhee, by Albert Ammons, Pete Johnson and Meade Lux Lewis as a keyboard player and Sonny Boy Williamson, Little Walter and Sonny Terry as a harmonica player, but was working as a graphic artist in 1962 when he learned that Alexis Korner and Cyril Davies opened the first blues bar in Britain. That was all John needed to hear. He relocated from Manchester to London and began assembling what would become the Bluesbreakers. After a rocky start, the ensemble became one of the most influential bands in the world of blues with a lineup that included Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce before they founded Cream and Peter Green, Mick Fleetwood and John McVie before going off on their own as Fleetwood Mac. A California resident since the late ‘60s, fronting the Bluesbreakers until retiring the name in 2008. Since then, he’s been working in a tight four-piece ensemble that includes Texan Rocky Athas on lead and rhythm guitar with Chicagoans Greg Rzab and Jay Davenport on bass and percussion. Like the four CDs that preceded it, Talk About That is on Mayall’s own Forty Below Records imprint. It’s the 65th album in his storied career, and he designed the packaging himself. Walsh, who’s always considered John to be one of his heroes, sits in on two of the eight originals Mayall wrote for the disc. Rounding out the sound are a horn section comprised of Ron Dziubla (saxes), Mark Pender (trumpet) and Nick Lane (trombone). The album kicks off with the original, “Talk About That,” a steady, steady, stripped-

Page 17 down driving blues rap in which Mayall sings his own praises: “I’m a good-looking fella/Some women tell me so/Many respectable ladies/Comin’ through my front door… Things could be a bit different/With age, I’ve been told/But I don’t care a damn thing about that/You can say what you think about/Talk about that.” So there! The horns join the action for “It’s Hard Going Up (But It’s Twice As Hard Coming Down),” a tune written by Memphis songsmith Bettye Crutcher and made popular by harp player Little Sonny, before Walsh sits in on “The Devil Must Be Laughing,” a burning slow blues that recounts a nightmare in which fanatics kill innocents. The dream becomes realty when Mayall reads the newspaper the next morning. “Gimme Some Of That Gumbo” serves up a taste of New Orleans and brightens the mood dramatically as the horns drive the tune forward before John talks out his harp and covers “Goin’ Away Baby,” Jimmy Rogers’ familiar Chicago blues standard. Walsh returns to action for “Cards On The Table,” a medium-tempo walking blues, before Mayall slows things down again with the ballad “I Didn’t Mean To Hurt You.” “Don’t Deny Me” written by rocker Jerry Lynn Williams, gets the full horn treatment before three more originals -- “Blue Midnight,” about the sudden departure of a lover, “Across The County Line,” an uptempo horn/harmonica number, and “You Never Know,” an easy-going piano blues – bring the set to a close. Available through all major marketers Talk About That proves once again that Mayall is a musical treasure. It’s comfortable, yet fresh throughout – and strongly recommended. Reviewed by Marty Gunther Let In The Sun Patty Reese Azalea City Recordings home 11 Tracks I am new to Patty Reese, but I found the latest release from her to be quite good. This is her 4th solo release. She plays in and around the Washington DC area. Her work has earned her 14 Washington Area Music

Awards (Wammies). On this release she wrote 9 of the 11 songs, sings and plays guitar. She is joined by Sonny Petrosky (bass), Andy Hamburger (drums), Tommy Lepson (keys) and Jonathan Sloane (guitar). So on to the music! The opening cut is “Is It Too Late For Me”. It is a slow swampy blues tune. The vocals are Bonnie Raitt and Susan Tedeschi styled. The drum and bass lay a solid beat. “Your Love” continues a bit higher tempo, and is a solid song with road house influences. The music shifts to a Memphis funk sound on “Soul Satisfier”. It is upbeat and adds a bit of brass. The music slows down on the sultry “I Won't Let You Down”. This tune would be great in a small club setting with Reese showing off her vocals. A strong gospel influence is heard on “Open A Window, Let In The Sun”. Brian Simms joins on keys for this one. On “Good Neighbor” the bands adds a southern soul, with a bit of B.B. King in the mix. This is a good mid-tempo with good guitar work. There is plenty of soul with a tinge of country on “Radio Song”. There is a definite Bonnie Raitt similarity here, and that is fine. It is a softer tune, highlighting her vocals. The musical trips heads to New Orleans on “Awesome Sauce”. This one will get the crowd up and dancing. There is some fine slide guitar to go with great drumming by Andy Hamburger. The music is really kicked up on “I Hear A Lie.” Reese really shows her vocals on this lower tempo swampy tune. All the prior songs were written by Reese and the band. The first cover is the Bob Dylan classic “Don't Think Twice It's Alright”. Tommy Lepson handles the keys very nicely on the recording. Overall they do a good job here. The closing number is the other cover Steve Earle’s “Goodbye”. This country acoustic ballad is quite a treat. Earle recorded it in 1995, but Reese makes it hers with the really fine recording. This is a very solid recording. It presented a variety of blues based music styles. The musicianship and singing are excellent. Reese has a strong, versatile voice, and plays a good guitar. The rest of the band is very good too. I am glad to hear Patty Reese, and hope I can come across her in a live setting one day soon. Go get this CD, and check out her other work on her website. You will not be disappointed. Reviewed by Mark Nelson

Ike May-June 2017 Reckoning Billy T Band Big H Records 10 Tracks Hailing from New York, Billy T, aka William Troiani, moved to Norway in 1997. He has built a strong musical foundation, having worked with the unparalleled singer-songwriter Tom Russell, labeled as an Americana music writer, with his style incorporating elements of folk, rock, and the western music. Troiani has backed a diverse group of artists ranging from Nanci Griffith to Lightnin’ Hopkins. My first exposure to Billy T was on YouTube with his video “You Gotta Do It.” It was one of those tunes that grabs you with its smooth soulful vocals and captivating guitar solos and makes a lasting impression. The video allows you to walk through the door of intrigue to capture the black and white snap shot of this riveting band from Norway and their brand of the blues, before the door closes to complete the tune. It is just one track from their last studio release, the critically acclaimed album Mo-Billy-T. This tune and “Baby I’m Coming Home” feature the impressive lead and rhythm guitar work of Håkon Høye and Ian Fredrik Johannessen. “Don’t Blow My Cover” and “When I Was a Young aka Old Man Blues” are backed by a superb arrangement from an all-star horn section. The new 2016 release Reckoning just fuels an insatiable appetite for this soul band with two leading tunes “One of These Days” and title track “Reckoning” that made it into the semi-finals of the 2016 ISCC (International Songwriting Competition). In contrast to their previous album Mo-Billy-T, this latest release features a string section consisting of violins, viola and cello. The album opens with the title track in all its glory with an award winning arrangement of music. “Shame Shame” once again brings back the horn section that was revered in their previous album with a mix of 60’s soul and contemporary blues guitar. “On Your Own” replays that similar lyrical encouragement that is heard in “You Gotta Do It” (Mo-Billy -T), this time with a stellar blend of slide guitar from Ian F. Johannessen. “Sad Man” builds on that same deep soul of the late '60s and the steady groove of Hi Records and Stax/Volt singles. This “Philly soul sound” added “sweeping strings, seductive horns, and lush arrangements to the deep rhythms” and that can be

Page 18 heard in this tune. “One Of These Days” opens with basic acoustic guitar and Troiani’s soulful vocals harmonizing with the skillful backup vocals singers, and continues with smooth slide guitar solos mixed with a host of harmonized vocals. “Gone” adds a steady bass groove, bongos, and funky rhythm guitar to the string section. The band keeps that funky rhythm guitar and a deep, driving bass groove to keep “It Ain’t Right” similar to the previous tune with more of a 60’s Euro rock tune. “Love Is Gonna Get You” gives you a soul searching track for those R&B fans. Billy T gives me the same soothing R&B sound on “Trouble” that R&B legend Bill Withers delivers. Blended with those vocals are some tasty rock guitar licks on this track. Haakon Hoeye’s organ will bring you to your feet on the closing ballad “I’ve Been a Fool,” with soulful vocals from Troiani and backup singers, satisfying that same deep soul craving that only the late great Johnny Taylor could deliver on “I Believe In You (You Believe In Me).”

The first four songs are all Tom’s and are fun and catchy tunes. Opener “Rock And Roll Girl” is terrific with Mark’s exciting lap steel underpinning the rocking story of a life in the music biz: “I tried working five days a week, sit home in the evening and watch TV. The time I sold I’ll never get back. So I joined a rock and roll band, seen the world through a haze of one night stands. And you, my rock and roll girl, you’re the only thing I done right in this ragged round world”. Equally catchy is “The Day Before Tomorrow” with attractive backing vocals and lyrics about making the most of today: “the thing about tomorrow, it’s coming ready or not, and the day before tomorrow is all we’ve ever got”. Tom shows a sense of humour on “Just Lucky I Guess” over acoustic bass, mandolin and slide and the ultra-catchy “Coolest Fools” with its bubbling rhythms and twin slide attack. The band composition “Mad About You” rushes along with Tom on electric piano and clearly besotted by the girl.

With his fourth album Reckoning, it is obvious that the Billy T Band has established a very unique soulful blues style. With his superb vocals and song writing prowess, Troiani is forging a name in the contemporary blues world.

Things get a whole lot more serious with “Refugee” which depicts the horrors of the refugee crisis through spoken word statements by Tom, Franher and Kyshona about how harrowing their characters’ lives are; this is serious songwriting about a serious subject, well presented and thought-provoking. “Death Letter” has always been a serious song and Delta Moon’s take on it brings some modern aspects as the rhythm section lays down a hip-hop beat, the slide adding ominous tones which are further accentuated by the harp; Franher’s deep-toned vocal adds to Tom’s and the whole version is a successful updating of an old favourite whilst still retaining the sense of tragedy and sadness that the original had. Tom takes a critical look at our obsession with gadgets on the gently grooving “21st Century Man” before a return to the basics of the blues with the instrumental “Cabbagetown Shuffle” which takes the band back to its origins when Tom and Mark used to play duets on their back porch, this time with acoustic bass, simple drums, lap steel and harp from Tom and bottleneck slide from Mark. The album closes on a positive note, Tom reminding us that we should be celebrating our shared origins rather than fearing and fighting each other; we should start to “Sing Together”.

Reviewed by Rick Davis Cabbagetown Delta Moon Jumping Jack Records 10 tracks/37 minutes Since winning the IBC in 2003, Delta Moon have gigged constantly, toured across the states and Europe and issued an impressive series of albums; 2015’s Low Down made the album of the year lists in several magazines but Cabbagetown is possibly their best disc yet with several outstanding songs. The band has always centered round the twin guitars of Mark Johnson and Tom Gray with Tom providing the lead vocals. Both men play slide and lap steel, Tom also playing keys where needed and harp on one cut. The other band members are Franher Joseph on upright and electric bass and vocals and Marlon Patton on drums. Jon Liebman adds harp on one track and backing vocals are added to five songs by Kyshona Armstrong and Susannah Masarie. Main songwriter Tom wrote four songs on his own and the whole band are credited on five others with one cover, Son House’s “Death Letter”.

A fine album with no weak tracks. It’s hard to imagine any blues fan not enjoying this one. Reviewed by John Mitchell

The Groove- Crossroads Blues Society Newsletter

Ike 19 Page Live Evidence Detonics Eligen Beheer 10 Tracks When you hear names like T-Bone Walker, Big Joe Turner, Lowell Fulson, Memphis Slim, Percy Mayfield, Charles Brown, Johnny Otis, Big Jay McNeely, or Roy Milton and His Solid Senders, you recognize household names, if you follow the 1950s West Coast Blues. The West Coast blues genre was home to numerous jump blues artists, as many traveling bands of the 1940s ended up moving to the West Coast. This California blues style that defined an entire piano-based and jazz-influenced genre has spawned generations of practitioners who still continue this tradition today. The West Coast blues style is so influential that it now has no boundaries, with world-wide appeal outside the United States. I had the privilege to witness this first hand at the 2017 International Blues Challenge in Memphis. I was able to hear one of most electrifying West Coast blues groups in the competition from the Netherlands, sent to represent the Dutch Blues Foundation. Detonics not only captured my attention as I was leaving Club 152, but stopped me in my tracks. As a result, I was so mesmerized that I never left their short performance. The group’s members are no strangers to European blues challenges or performances. Detonics rock the stage with the all-star lineup of Kars van Nus on vocals and harp, Jeremy Aussems on guitar, Raimond de Nijs on Piano and Hammond organ, René Leijtens on upright bass, and Mathijs Roks on drums. These “blues bad boys” even took the name of the compact American 1911-style hand gun, a welcomed addition to many juke joints. Detonics are guaranteed to shake those juke joints, entertaining you with stellar live performances and delivering their own brand of blistering jump blues, swing, and boogie woogie, with their roots still firmly planted in traditional West Coast blues. With the exception of “I Can’t Quit Anyway,” their latest release Live Evidence was recorded at Bluesmoose Radio. They open with an original straight ahead blues tune titled “Same Old Story,” featuring the gritty vocals of Kars, a solid groove set by the rhythm section, and extend solos by Kars on harp, Raimond de Nijs on the Hammond organ and piano, and Jeremy Aussems on guitar. The next track takes the West Coast classic “Lonesome” by

Memphis Slim to another level, with heavy influence of Albert Collins heard in the masterful guitar solos of Jeremy Aussems. This tune is a perfect fit Detonics, allowing them to reach their potential as a very tight band. The Johnny Watson/ Johnny Otis number “Broke and Lonely” was released in 1961 by Johnny Watson, a killer guitar driven R&B with a strong horn section. The Detonics arrangement featured more boogie woogie piano and stronger West Coast influenced Hollywood Fats style guitar. The next track is the jump blues gem “Kill That Cat,” written by The Electric Kings and focusing on the skills once again of the guitar virtuoso Jeremy Aussems. From the vault, the band selected an R&B Little Richard tune for their next track. “Directly From My Heart to You,” originally on Peacock Records, was a 1956 release backed by the Johnny Otis Band. Kars delivers more soulful vocals with the Detonics rendition, in addition to more Albert Collins style guitar style solos. Back to the archive for a 1949 up-tempo jump blues classic “Rock A While” by Goree Carter and His Hepcats. It was labeled by music historians as the first rock and roll recording, due to guitar riffs similar to the late great Chuck Berry. Detonics tear into this historic milestone with a vengeance, capturing all those traditional Berry guitar riffs and producing a piano performance that will get your attention. “I Can’t Quit Anyway” is an original song that should top any chart at number one. This track alone should convince blues fans that the blues group, Detonics, is for real! The passion heard in the vocals, along with superb musicality, will touch your soul. They follow up with another original house rockin’ tune, “She Knows How To Love Me,” that could match any jump-blues classic written. Detonics complete their collection with a traditional blues tribute to legendary Muddy Waters playing “Can’t Be Satisfied.” The band concludes with a tribute to the “King of Soul,” Sam Cook, playing the timeless 1962 R&B standard “Bring It On Home To Me.” Raimond de Nijs on Hammond organ is the driving force on this version matched once again by the soulful vocals of Kars van Nus. You owe it to yourself to catch a live performance of this all-star band from The Netherlands if given an opportunity. Live Evidence is a great representation of a band of seasoned veterans that have it together and deliver like no other blues band from Europe. We can only hope to see and hear more here in the USA in years to come. Reviewed by Rick Davis

The Perkolator Merle Perkins Self Released 6 tracks Chicago Blues Hall of Famer Merle Perkins has put together this new disc of cuts highlighting this talented percussionist’s skills. Merle was playing the scene in Chicago in 1970 when Freddie King asked him to play with him. Buddy Guy and Junior wells were next in line for Merle who toured with them on a regular basis. Albert King, Lonnie Brooks, James Cotton, Big Twist & The Mellow Fellows, Joe Kelly, Jimmy Johnson, Magic Slim and many others had Merle in demand for almost a dozen years. His own band Merle Perkins and the Percolators toured from 1990 to 1997 and he now plays with many a Chicago artist. “Percolatin’” starts things off, a swinging instrumental with Merle driving the beat. George Milton “Mozak” is on sax, Herman Applewhite is on bass, and Pistol Pete is on guitar. It’s got a great driving groove and the sax and guitar keep you interested. As you tap your foot to Merle’s beat. The same group are on “Tina Nina N” where Merle and the sax trade off the lead. His vocals are clean and well done and the sax and guitar solos are huge. The boys them do a very uptempo version of “Sweet Home Chicago” with Merle backed by on vocals by the band. Two more major league sax and guitar solos are featured here. Perkin’s own song “Funk The Blues” featured Bridgett Lockett on keyboard bass and Andy Walo on guitar. The soulful, funky song is a load of fun and features Merle on vocals leading the charge. The guitar wails with lots of pedal effects and the keys blaze in this big dance cut Perkins gives us his take of the classic “Kansas City” in a funked-up live version. Maurice Vaughn is on guitar, BJ is on trombone, and Ricky Nelson is on bass. Big horn and guitar solos are cool here in this one. Things conclude with a Merle standard– a “Drum Solo,” also done live and in drum corps style with timbales. Five and a half minutes of drums might seem like a lot. Well, it is a lot but it was pretty cool and led into an intro to “Stairway to Heaven.” There are some small recording lapses in the sound quality but it’s a fun CD showcasing Merle and his friends. I enjoyed it and my only wish is that there were even more songs on it! Reviewed by Steve Jones

The Groove- Crossroads Blues Society Newsletter

Ike 20 Page Alive And Strange Billy Price NOLA Blue/Vizztone 11 tracks; 61 minutes Billy’s last album was the fine collaboration with Otis Clay This Time For Real and it brought Billy’s soul voice to a much wider audience. This follow-up finds Billy live with his own band at home in Pittsburgh’s Club Café in September 2016 (one track is from a separate date in 2012) running through a collection of soul and blues tunes from masters like Bobby Bland, James Brown, William Bell and Magic Sam plus two of Billy’s originals. With Billy are Steve Delach on guitar, Jim Britton on keys, Tom Valentine on bass and backing vocals and David Ray Dodd on drums; regular sax player Eric DeFade gets additional support from Joe Herndon on trumpet and Matt Ferrero on baritone and tenor sax. David Avery and DeWayne Chandler add lush backing vocals to four songs. The album opens strongly with a great title “It Ain’t A Juke Joint Without The Blues”, a song by southern soulman John Cummings which sets the scene for a night of live music. The band get to show their chops with fine solos from Steve and Eric before we get some classic soul music in a wonderfully relaxed take on William Bell’s “Lifestyles Of The Poor And Unknown”, Billy demonstrating what a great voice he has for this style of music. Mike Schermer (currently Marcia Ball’s guitar player) and soulman Earl Thomas are the authors of “One More Day” and it’s another winner, a lilting love song with all the ingredients of a good soul song: lovely horn arrangement, supportive choral vocals, Billy’s great voice, all topped off by short and sweet solos from Steve and Eric; these two tracks are this reviewer’s favourites on the album. Billy’s Something Strange” gives the album its title and pushes along with the bari sax evident in the mix, a nice piece of contemporary funk with weird lyrics about a very strange party. Don Robey’s “This Time I’m Gone For Good” is probably best known for Bobby Bland’s peerless version but Billy does a good job on the familiar song, the band providing subtle accompaniment before an extended solo from Eric on tenor which just about stays within the bounds of good taste. One of the problems with live discs is that some of the blowing can go over the top and, for this reviewer, the over-

wrought sax solo on the coda of Percy Mayfield’s “Nothing Stays The Same For Ever” detracts from the track. An extended take on James Brown’s “Never Get Enough” shows the band’s funk side with plenty of those JB callouts to ‘take it to the bridge’, etc. A second song associated with JB, “Lickin’ Stick”, takes us back to the 50’s with a song about a rebellious teenager. Magic Sam’s “What Have I Done Wrong” works well with an upbeat horn arrangement and Steve’s guitar appropriately featured before Matt takes over on a blaring tenor solo. Roy Milton’s “RM Blues” is a swinging number with space for solos from everyone and the final track, Billy’s original “Makin’ Plans” adds Bob Matchett’s trombone in a recording from December 2012 at Carnegie Mellon University, a good song about being betrayed by the one you love, the arrangement as smooth as silk with delicate piano and guitar, certainly worth adding to the album as a sort of encore. Billy’s voice is always a delight for soulblues fans. This is a solid disc worthy of your interest despite the slight reservation about the wilder sax solos. Reviewed by John Mitchell Do What Your Heart Says Scott Ramminger Arbor Lane Music 14 tracks Saxophone player Scott Ramminger gives us all original songs on this jumping and jiving album featuring a cool horn section and keys as part of his band; an assortment of vocal talents back him on the songs, too. Doug Belote (with a little help from Johnny Vidacovich) is on drums, George Porter Jr. (with help from Roland Guerin) is on bass, Shane Theriot is on guitar, David Torkanowsky is on keys, Rick Troslen and Greg Hicks are on trombone, and Eric Lucero is on trumpet. These guys do a smashingly good job and are a tight band. “Living Too Fast” is a nice opener and features Tommy Malone in vocal support and has a nice piano. It’s a medium tempo-ed jazzy sounding blues that swings. Bekka Bramlett joins in for vocals on “Someone to Disappoint.” There is a

nice sax solo on this one. Next up we have Francine Reed who sings with Scott on the title track. The sax gets the first solo followed by the piano; the song has a metered tempo and it’s fun little cut over all. The sultry “Hoping That the Sun Won’t Shine” features Bramlett returning to sing. It’s a cool ballad with a restrained sax solo that melds well with the song’s somberness. “Give a Pencil to a Fish” is a cute and funky cut with clever lyrics. The McCrary Sisters back Ramminger here with a gritty performance. Nice organ solo work and a guitar solo add to this one. The slow blues of “Winter is Always Worse” is dark and deep. Vocals, guitar and sax share the spotlight in this well done and soulful number. Funky trumpets intro “Get Back Up” where the McCrary Sisters help Scott get down and get funky. Sax, guitar and organ get solos– another good cut! Janiva Magness joins Ramminger for “It’s Hard to Be Me,” a jumping little number. Scott gives a prolonged solo and Magness’ backing vocals are solid. The next song features Tommy Malone and “a cast of thousands” which is really seven male backing vocalists. “Mystery to Me” is a another jumping cut and the band and singers have a ball turning in a great performance. Slow blues follows with “Off My Mind” as Ramminger talks his baby out of killing him. Another trio of solos as before with heavy horns is featured here. The MCCrary Sisters return for “I Need a New One” and “Walk a Little Straighter.” The former is a moderately paced lament to old age with another sax-guitar-organ solo grouping while the latter is a driving cut about a review of life at the pearly gates. Sax and the Mcrary’s are big here and the horns and piano backing are fine. “My Girl For Life” is an R&B ballad with organ, horns and guitar pacing themselves sweetly with the feeling and tempo. Roddie Romero helps on vocals in the fast and jumping boogie woogie “Stubborn Man.” Rammiger and Theriot offer solos and Romero adds his accordion to the mix to good effect. Later, Torkanowsky adds a piano solo which takes us out and closes an overall fun and exciting album. I enjoyed the CD and it’s swinging sound. Great horn work, solid vocals and guitar, well done keys, star powered backing vocals and a pro backline make for a superb sound and a really well done album. I enjoyed the songs top to bottom and Ramminger delivered on each! Well done and well worth trying out! Reviewed by Steve Jones

Ike May-June 2017 Feelin' Freaky John Nemeth VizzTone Records 11 Tracks/38 minutes One of the best vocalist working today, John Nemeth has received a multitude of nominations for Blues Blast and Blues Music Awards, with four consecutive BMA nominations for the B.B King Entertainer Of The Year Award. His live shows highlight his dynamic stage presence, super-tight band, and a wealth of original songs that range from downhome blues to fervent ballads. His latest release offers eleven originals in a variety of styles, ranging from the tender love song, “My Sweet Love,” to a taut appeal to rise up and dance on “Get Offa Dat Butt”. Breaking out his harmonica, the singer punctuates the title track with potent wails while beseeching a woman to take a walk on the wild side. “You Really Do Want That Woman” builds on one of Nemeth's best known songs, “Do You Really Do Want That Woman”. He acknowledges the effort and sacrifices necessary to maintain a relationship over a horn-driven arrangement complete with a loopy guitar line. “S.T.O.N.E.D” is not a celebration of getting high – instead, Nemeth lifts up a passionate plea for open minds, truth and righting the wrongs of the world. “I'm Funkin' Out” doesn't offer much lyrically but Marc Franklin on trumpet & flugelhorn plus Art Edmaiston on tenor & baritone sax command the listener's attention, adding a dose of spice to the brooding track. Nemeth pours out his troubles on “KoolAid Pickle,” trapped by a conniving woman with no end in sight. Several tracks could have been part of Nemeth's previous project, the awardwinning Memphis Grease. “Rainy Day,” complete with strings, finds him lamenting the error of his ways that left him broken and alone. The track is brimming with the classic Hi Records sound, especially with Charles Hodges from the Hi Rhythm section on the Hammond organ. The band creates a similar groove on the dark tale of love gone bad, “Gave Up On You”. Nemeth tries to exorcise his pain, reflected in blasts from the horns while Hodges adds an additional layer of tension with well-placed organ swells. Saving the best for last, Nemeth showcases the full range of his vocal skills on “Long Black Cadillac”. As they do through-

Page 21 out the disc, the rhythm section of Matthew Wilson on bass and Danny Banks lay down a rock-solid foundation and guitarist Johnny Rhoades stokes the fire with shimmering fills. It is a fitting ending for a disc that provides plenty of highlights while proving that John Nemeth continues to be one of the top-tier performers for soul & blues music. You certainly can't go wrong with this one! Reviewed by Mark Thompson Meeting My Shadow Vanessa Collier Ruf Records 11 tracks Maryland’s great young singer, songwriter and saxophonist Vanessa Collier offers up her sophomore release after the very successful “Heart Soul & Saxophone” album and I must say she’s done an even better job wit this CD! Berklee School of Music graduate toured with Grammy winner Joe Louis Walker to great critical acclaim and then released her 2014 CD which was a hit with its blues, funk, soul and rock style. She finished in the top three in the John Lennon Song Writing Competition and participated in the 2016 International Blues Challenge and shared the bill with many a music great. This new eleven song CD showcases her skills in songwriting and performing and draws from her life experience, balancing seriousness with fun in her lyrics and songs. Vanessa sings and does all the sax work. She also does flute, clavinet and other keyboards here and there along with some percussion. TK Jackson also does organ on a track and backing vocals and Charles Hodges supplies keys for all the tracks, too. On guitar is none other than Laura Chavez, one of my favorite guitar players out there. On bass is Daniel McKee and Marc Franklin is on trumpet. There are 4 other guest musicians. Collier wrote and arranged eight of the songs here. “Poisoned the Well” opens with a huge funky groove supplied by the Rhodes, Wurlitzer and flute by Vanessa, bass by Lenny Bradford and drums by Nick Stevens. Following that is “Dig a Little Deeper,” a soul cut with Vanessa growling on vocals. She offers up her first sax solo and it’s killer. Chavez grinds out a funky groove on guitar in support of Collier and Franklin’ trumpet is also melded in nicely.

Chavez opens on resonator on “When It Don’t Come Easy,” which starts out as a scaled down Delta-styled blues duet and then the full band comes in with a funky backing. Haunting slide by Josh Roberts and cool keyboard work flesh this out nicely and Collier back herself on vocals. It’s very well done! “Two Parts Sugar, One Part Lime” is a jumping swinging blues cut. A piano solo by Hodges is a nice add and then Collier follows with one on sax. This is a good dancing song with a driving beat. Collier takes things down in tempo with the U2/BB King sing “When Love Comes to Town.” She covers it in a slower funky blues manner with Roberts finishing up his slide work in support and on a solo. Collier also concludes with a nice sax solo to take things to a conclusion. She then takes O.V. Wright’s soul hit “You’re Gonna Make Me Cry” and gives a more sultry and laid back performance than the more forthright original. Chavez lays out some nice licks and Brenda Jackson is also good on the organ backing the band. “Whiskey and Women” is a cool shuffle with great, passionate vocals and slick guitar work. Collier again takes us out on sax; well done, once again! “Meet Me Where I’m At” is a light and fun jazzy tune with piano, sax, guitar, and soprano sax (sounding like a clarinet) in a wonderful mélange of music. Funk with an attitude follows in “Cry Out,” a song demanding that we cry out against political corruption and social injustice. Clavinet, Wurlitzer, trumpet and sax are featured. Collier lays out a sweet alto solo and then she with lots of backing vocals and hand claps take us home. Sister Rosetta Tharpe’s “”Up Above My Head, I Hear Music in the Air” follows next. Collier testifies and takes us to church and Laura Chavez lays out a wicked guitar solo. Colliers with another solo on sax. The Gospel sound is uplifting and cool. Collier concludes with Devil’s On The Downslide.” She starts out alone on vocals and with the Wurlitzer organ. The drums come in to build, then trumpet and flugelhorn, sax, and guitar all offer support in this beautiful song. This was a really impressive CD. Collier has outdone herself. She and her fine cast of musicians have produced a superb CD and I highly recommend this one to lovers of the soulful and funky side of th blues! Reviewed by Steve Jones

Ike Page 22

More Summer Blues Right before we got ready to go to press we got information about this festival, the 2nd Annual Burdette Blues Festival. It is on Saturday, June 3rd and is cosponsored by the River Basin Blues Society and the Vanderburgh County Special Olympics. The event is a fundraiser for both organizations. The gates will open at 1 pm with the music beginning at 2 pm. $5.00.admission. There will be BBQ, food trucks, and fun for the whole family. Shaun Murphy headlines the event!

Writers Wanted Would you like to write for this newsletter? We’d love to have you! Reviewers are always in need. We review about 30 CDs an issue. It’s not that hard and you get to grow your CD collection with the CDs you review. All you have to do is write up an introduction, telling us a little about the band and who they are, describe the music and add a summary. 350 to 400 words fills up one of these columns which is about the minimum. If you wax eloquently that is ok, too; many reviews you see in our newsletter can be longer; it’s not required, though. Contact Steve Jones at 779-537-4006 or at

CBS Membership Our membership is growing and is right at about 200 people. Membership in crossroads is what keeps us going and allows us to keep the blues alive with events like our festival and live shows. Dues basically covers the cost of the newsletter and supports Blues in the Schools efforts. The form on the back page can be used or reproduced to join. This newsletter will come to you every other month. You get a free CD for individuals and two CDs for a family membership. You get to know that you are a part of one of the top Blues Societies in the nation. We have a great fest, newsletter, many shows and this school year will have conducted 62 BITS programs. We appreciate your support and hope you will join (if not a member) and continue membership (if you are one). Thank you for helping to keep the blues alive!!!

The Groove- Crossroads Blues Society Newsletter

Ike May-June 2017

Page 23

Lauren Mitchell Impresses Legends Crowd Tampa Bay Area blues vocalist Lauren Mitchell was at Buddy Guy’s Legends Sunday, April 23 for a superb show that allowed he to impress the full house of blues fans that were in attendance. It was a powerful show that left everyone in the audience quite impressed. She worked her sets and the crowd to their delight. Her first set was from her new album, a great set of blues, soul and R&B tunes entitled Desire. I think it’s one of the top soul blues CDs this year so far. She got a standing ovation during the set after “Lead Me On” and at the end of it. “Brown Liquor” was a lot of fun and also was a crowd favorite. Her second set featured familiar blues classics and equally impressed the crowd. She is at ease with blues, soul and traditional R&B and can hold a crowds attention with her fine voice and presence on stage. Her band is made up of Syracuse native Drew Preston on guitar, Kevin Voight from Florida via Chicago on bass and Maurice Stoops from the Fort Lauderdale area of Florida on drums. Also playing keys for her was Chicago’s own Brother John Kattke. And impressive band behind a superb vocalist. It was a great show. She

had also performed Saturday at the Flatted Fifth in Iowa. Lauren will return to Buddy Guys Legends in July. We hope we can get her out to Rockford for a show if she’s available. Check out her CD

and if you are in the Tampa Bay area you can see her live every week in local venues.

The Groove- Crossroads Blues Society Newsletter

Ike 24 Page

Crossroads Shows and Events March and April 2017

Billy Flynn at Just Goods Trinadora Rocks at All Saints Crooner Show in Byron

Shawn Holt at the Hope and Anchor

Willie Buck and Martin Lang at the Lyran Club with Link Leary on drums and on guitar

Ike May-June 2017

Page 25

Smilin’ Bobby and Steve Ditzell at the Lyran Club

Recently Paroled at the Ice Hogs MSG Acoustic Blues at the Mendelssohn PAC

Joanna Connor Band at the Hope and Anchor

Ike 26 Page

The Groove- Crossroads Blues Society Newsletter

Ike May-June 2017

Page 27

Ike 28 Page

The Groove- Crossroads Blues Society Newsletter

Ike May-June 2017

Page 29

Ike 30 Page

The Groove- Crossroads Blues Society Newsletter

Ike May-June 2017 Top Blues Releases March and April 2017 Sunday Morning Blues WKGL-FM 96.7 The Eagle March Billy Flynn / Lonesome Highway / Delmark Samantha Fish / Chills & Fever / Ruf Andrew Jr. Boy Jones / It's Me Again / Galexc Rhiannon Giddens / Freedom Highway / Nonesuch Dr. Duke Tumatoe / How Much Crazy Can You Take / Tumatoe Tuff Tunes Coco Montoya / Hard Truth / Alligator Otis Taylor / Fantasizing About Being Black / Trance Blues Festival Valerie June / The Order of Time / Concord The Reverend Payton's Big Damn Band / Front Porch Sessions / Thirty Tigers Guy King / Truth / Delmark Sean Chambers / Trouble & Whiskey / American Showplace Music Delbert McClinton & Self-Made Men / Prick of the Litter / Hot Shot John Primer & The Real Deal Bluesband / That Will Never Do / Wolf April Monster Mike Welch and Mike Ledbetter / Right Place, Right Time / Delta Groove Music John Primer & Bob Corritore / Ain't Nothing You Can Do! / Delta Groove Music Coco Montoya / Hard Truth / Alligator Eric Bibb / Migration Blues / Stony Plain Billy Flynn / Lonesome Highway / Delmark Matthew Skoller / Blues Immigrant / Tongue 'N Groove Ruthie Foster/Joy Comes Back/Stone Truth Music Lisa Biales /The Beat of My Heart /Big Song Music Bobby Messano/Bad Movie/ Prince Frog Record Co. Guy Davis & Fabrizio Poggi / Sonny & Brownie's Last Train / MC Records Rockin' Johnny / Neoprene Fedora/West Tone Adriana Marie and Her Roomful of All-Stars / Kingdom of Swing / Barking Blues Music Vizztone Pistol Pete / Pistol Pete's Killer Bash / Velvett Boxx Diana Braithwaite and Chris Whiteley / Blues Country / Big City Blues Records Taj Mahal & Keb' Mo' / TajMo / Concord Sean Chambers / Trouble & Whiskey / American Showplace Music Guy King / Truth / Delmark Billy Branch & Sons of the Blues/Blues Shock/Blind Pig Jim Liban with the Joel Paterson Trio / I Say What I Mean / Ventrella Records

This list is submitted to Living Blues Magazine for inclusion in the March and April 2017 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

Page 31

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: Toni Roca Gail Rothermel Nancy Salvadorini Family Eric Simpson Renewing Members: Dennis Barker Dixie Ferguson & Michelle Rhodes Jeff & Diane Haugen Rebecca Heaslip Joyce Hunt Richard A. Kubly Jr. Link Leary Matt & Sandy Mace Karen & Wayne Naleway Greg & Patricia Zachweija 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; it’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 24 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, Mark Nelson and Mark Thompson. All un-credited content by Steve Jones

Hope & Anchor English Pub Second Saturday Blues

The Hope and Anchor Saturday Blues is one of the most fun music events we have; it runs 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! 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: Corey Dennison Band Nov 11th: Toronzo Cannon Dec 9th: The Jimmys Jan 13th: Lil Ed and the Blues Imperials Feb 10th: Ray Fuller & the Blues Rockers

Lyran Society Third Friday Blues

The Lyran Society continues their Fish Fry and Steak Dinners with performances mostly 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) 9640511 for info. There is no cover charge, it’s a free show. Open to the public, all ages are welcome. May 12th: Dave Fields June 16th: Recently Paroled July 21 and Aug 18: TBD Sep 15: Studebaker John

All Saints First Sunday Blues

May 7th: Birddog Blues Band June 4th: No Show June 25th: Special Show with Doug McLeod (Dan Phelps opens at 3 pm)

Crossroads Blues Society Ike

The Crossroads Blues Society Newsletter

P.O. Box 840 Byron, IL 61010 The

On the web at: Crossroads Blues Festival at Lyran Park: http://

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:

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 What a summer is coming up for blues fans! May and June gets things started well and Crossroads plays a major part in the summer fun! In May we have the Birddog Blues Band at All Saints on Sunday the 7th from 4 to 6 PM, Dave Fields at the Lyran Club on Friday the 12th from 7 to 10 PM and Reverend Raven and the Chain Smoking Altar Boys featuring Westside Andy Linderman on Saturday the 13th at the Hope and Anchor starting at 8 PM. June is even hotter. The all Saints show is moved from the first Sunday to Sunday, June 25th with Doug MacLeod from 4 to 6 PM and Dan Phelps opening for him at 3 PM! June opens with the Byron Rose Meadows

neighborhood block party on Saturday the 3rd from 1 to 9 PM with The Birddog Blues band at 2 PM and the Uptown Rhythm Aces with Ted Lawrence at 6 PM. 1032 Kingsway Lane is the address to map to. Steve Ditzell is at the Hope and Anchor on Jun 10th starting at 8 PM. Recently Paroled return to the Lyran Club at 7 PM on Friday, June 16th. Sinnissippi Parlk is home to the annual Juneteenth celebration staring at 3 PM June 19th with headliners The Kinsey Report. Sinnissippi Park is ours Saturday June 24th for Young Guns of the Blues featuring yBblu at 6 PM. One helluv aJune is planned! In July there is no show at All Saints. We return to Sinnissippi Park on Saturday the 15th the The Kilborn Alley Blues Band at 6PM. Other July stuff is listed inside!

Membership Application Yes! I’d love to be a part of the Crossroads Blues Society!

Name_____________________________________________ Street Address___________________________________ City________________ State______ Zip Code________ Phone_____________________________________________ Email Address____________________________________ New -or-

Returning Member

This will be a membership for an/a: Individual ($15) -or-

Family ($25)

$5 extra for newsletter via regular mail Please check all applicable interests: Festival Volunteer Serve as Officer/on Board BITS Volunteer Volunteer at Shows/Events Review CDs Public Relations Edit Newsletter Other:_________________________

Please cut out/copy & mail form & payment to: Crossroads Blues Society P.O. Box 840 Byron, IL 61010

Bring this to our next meeting and get a free CD!

The Groove: May-Jun 2017  

The Groove: Crossroads Blues Society's May-June 2017 Issue of their bi-monthly newsletter

The Groove: May-Jun 2017  

The Groove: Crossroads Blues Society's May-June 2017 Issue of their bi-monthly newsletter