Issue 11- 50 December 14, 2017

Cover photo © 2017 Bob Kieser


 In This Issue 

Bill Dahl has our feature interview with Blues legend Eddy Clearwater. We have 10 Blues reviews for you this week including new music from Peter V Blues Train, Boogie Woogie Santa Claus, Tommy Castro and the Painkillers, John Stephan Band, Big Band Splash, Mick Kidd With David Blight, Chris Daniels And The Kings With Freddi Gowdy, BB And The Blues Shacks and Dusty Dave & The Heart Attacks .

We have the latest in Blues society news. All this and MORE! SCROLL DOWN!!!


 From The Editor’s Desk 

Hey Blues Fans,

Our Fall Advertising Sale ends on tomorrow, December 15 and so does your chance to get our lowest advertising rates of the 2018 season.

See our ad below to get 50% more for your advertising dollar before this great offer ends. For information on all of our great advertising options CLICK HERE.

Wishing you health, happiness and lots of Blues music!

Bob Kieser



50% OFF – THE LOWEST PRICES FOR 2017 – 2018 SEASON!!!

Our Fall Advertising Sale is six issues of Blues Blast Magazine and 6 weeks on our website.

This package can add significant impact to your Blues advertising or promotion campaign. It is a great way to kick up the visibility of a new album or advertise an important event.

Blues Blast Magazine is a great way to promote the Blues. More than 36,000 opt-in Blues fans read our magazine each week. They are located in all 50 states and in more than 90 countries. Our website gets more than 75,000 visitors each month.

Normal 2017 ad rates are $150 for an single issue and $175 per month for website ads. BUT, for a limited time, you can advertise in six issues of Blues Blast Magazine and on our website for a month and a half for only $375.

To get this special rate you must reserve your ad space before December 15, 2017. Ads can be booked to run anytime between now and October 30, 2018 for your 2018 Blues festival, album release or other music related product.

Reserve your space today! Space is limited and will be sold on a first come first served basis.

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To get more information email info@bluesblastmagazine.com or call 309 267-4425 today! Other ad packages, single ads, short run ads or long term bulk rates for publicists and record labels are available too. Call today for an ad plan that fits your needs.


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 Featured Blues Review – 1 of 10 

peter v c=blues train cd imagePeter V Blues Train – Running Out Of Time

Self-produced CD

11 songs – 50 minutes

www.petervbluestrain.com

Peter V Blues Train picks up where they left off earlier in the year, pulling out of the station with a back beat to deliver another tasty blend of modern blues, jazz and funk with Running Out Of Time, the third release in their catalog since their debut at the International Blues Challenge a few years ago.

Already tabbed to represent the Jersey Shore Jazz & Blues Foundation as its representative to compete in the best self-produced CD category at next year’s IBCs, the band features Peter Veteska on guitar and vocals backed by several of the finest musicians in the New York metropolitan area.

The four-piece unit includes Aron Louis Gornish on keyboards and a rhythm section composed of Alex D’Agnese on drums and Sean Graverson on bass. They’re aided by a pair of music heavyweights: Jeff Levine, the keyboard player who led Joe Cocker’s band and worked with Hall & Oates and The Chambers Brothers, and sax player Danny Walsh, who’s worked with Gregg Allman, Aerosmith and several jazz superstars. They’re augmented by Tom Adams (piano), Coo Moe Jhee (bass), Eddie Jackson (congas and vocals), Gary Neuwirth (harmonica) and Kelley Dewkett (vocals) for one cut each.

Dedicated to the memory of the late Michael Packer, founder of the regional Blues Hall Of Fame network and an early booster, this album was captured at Joseph DeMaio’s Shore Fire Recording Studio in Long Branch, N.J., and features seven originals and four carefully reconstructed covers.

Levine and Walsh provide the brief intro to “Stay On Track,” a funky tune that puts a new spin about the need to stay on track despite all of the roadblocks that crop up in your path. Instead of two steps forward and one step back, this one finds Veteska’s strong, crisp vocals delivering lyrics that have you taking three forward and four back — but never losing sight of his goal.

A cover of Richard Ray Farrell’s “Cherry On The Cream” swings from the jump as it sings praises of a lady who always knows how to treat the singer right before the music takes a turn toward jazz with the horn-driven “Buzzed Busted & Blue.” It quickly evolves into a slow blues that deals with the aftermath of a woman taking her own train and leaving him behind.

Peter and the boys leaves Levine at the station for the remainder of the disc, but continue to pick up speed. First up, Big Maceo Merriweather’s 1941 classic, “Worried Life Blues,” gets a contemporary slow-blues treatment. Then the searing original blues-rocker “Running Out Of Time” delivers a complaint about a former lover who now only pisses the singer off. Veteska’s burning guitar work drives the anger home.

The band gets jazzy, funky and instrumental with Peter and Danny exchanging solos as the mood changes dramatically for “Time To Collect” before a steady-walking, modern take on Doc Pomus’ familiar “Youngblood,” a 1957 hit for The Coasters co-written by Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller. Then the mood turns jazzy and acoustic for “Time For Me To Go,” the realization that it’s time to pack up and move on because the relationship is over.

Another slow-blues burner, “Freedom,” features Veteska on the fretboard and serves as a follow-up to the tune that comes before as it questions the value of finally being free to miss a lady he still has feelings for. Dewket sweetly handles the vocals and Neuwirth makes his sole appearance for a cover of Bonnie Raitt’s “Love Me Like A Man” before “Lay Down My Friend,” a tip of the hat to Packer, brings the album to a close, aided by Jackson, a longtime member of Michael’s band.

Available in select record stores in the New York metropolitan area or direct from the artist’s website (address above) Running Out Of Time may be a little difficult to obtain, but it’s worth the effort if your tastes run to contemporary big-city blues.

Reviewer Marty Gunther has lived a blessed life. His first experience with live music came at the feet of the first generation of blues legends at the Newport Folk Festivals in the 1960s. A former member of the Chicago blues community, he’s a professional journalist and blues harmonica player who co-founded the Nucklebusters, one of the hardest working bands in South Florida.


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 Featured Blues Review – 2 of 10 

boogie woogia christmas cd imageVarious Artists – Boogie Woogie Santa Claus, an R&B Christmas

Richard Weize Archives

www.richard-weize-archives.com

29 tracks / 79:07

The crazy holiday season is upon us, and us blues lovers might be a little reluctant to have the soundtrack at our holiday party be the same old songs that everybody hears on the radio. There is a cool bluesy solution to this conundrum: Boogie Woogie Santa Claus, an R&B Christmas from Richard Weize Archives. This CD provides well over an hour of Christmas-themed entertainment that includes 29 vintage songs in a format that both you and your guests will appreciate!

Richard Weize founded Germany’s Bear Family Records in 1975, and left the company in 2016 to focus on publishing historical material through the Richard Weize Archives. Richard’s private archive is huge and contains the mother lode of rare recordings. Richard and his crew research and re-master these songs, and issue them in compilations that include wonderfully complete liner notes. In the case of Boogie Woogie Santa Claus, an R&B Christmas, this results in a well researched glossy 72-page booklet with neat details about each of the tunes, including artist biographies, pictures, fun trivia, track personnel, and production details. This book would be fun to thumb through before your party so you can amaze your guests with your incredible grasp of arcane knowledge.

This disc is well engineered, and there is some remastering that took place. From the overall sound and mix it is obvious that the tracks were all recorded decades ago, but all of them have a very clean sound with no hissing or popping, with the exception of the Orioles’ “(It’s Gonna be a) Lonely Christmas.” Maybe this song was really rough to start with, or maybe they just wanted to retain the vintage vibe on this sad old song. Also important is that the songs have a balanced volume so the output is the same from all of them. This is a huge benefit, as the listener will not have to fiddle with the volume control like they would if some songs were too loud or too soft – making it perfect for your party!

Surprisingly, there are not very many of the usual Christmas songs to be found in the track list, but one of them earned the opening slot. Chuck Berry’s “Run Rudolph Run” from 1958 is exactly what the listener would expect, with a rip-roaring rock melody that is almost interchangeable with “Johnny B. Goode.” The real crowd favorite here is probably the Drifters’ superb 1954 rebuild of Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas.” It is hard to do better than Bing Crosby, but these fellows did the job and took the song all the way to #2 on the charts. There are also cheerfully rocking versions of “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer” by The Cadillacs, “Silent Night” by Huey “Piano” Smith and the Clowns, and “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” from The Harmony Grits.

This leaves the listener with over twenty unique holiday tunes that are golden to the rhythm and blues enthusiast. The title track is from Mabel Scott, and 1948’s “Boogie Woogie Santa Claus” is a tight piece of jump blues with a sweet saxophone solo from Maxwell Davis. There is another tune from Chuck Berry in the mix, “Merry Christmas Baby,” which is a bit more maudlin than the opener and comes complete with a sweet guitar break from Mr. Berry and wonderful piano from Ellis “Lafayette” Leake. The remainder of the set list reads like a “Who’s Who” of pre and postwar artists, including folks like Amos Milburn, Jimmy McCracklin, Jimmy Witherspoon, Solomon Burke, Roy Milton, and the Moonglows.

Boogie Woogie Santa Claus, an R&B Christmas is really cool collection of vintage rhythm and blues from a diverse collection of artists, and chances are really good that you have not heard all of these songs before. If you are looking to pick up a copy, it can be ordered directly from Bear Family Records though their website. It might be a good idea, as this is the perfect time of year to mix up a batch off eggnog and listen to these fun tunes!

Reviewer Rex Bartholomew is a Los Angeles-based writer and musician; his blog can be found at rexbass.blogspot.com.


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 Featured Blues Review – 3 of 10 

tommy castro cd imageTommy Castro And The Painkillers – Stompin’ Ground

Alligator Records AL 4978

12 songs – 51 minutes

www.tommycastro.com

West Coast-based Tommy Castro faced a dilemma that many musicians go through a few years ago: After fronting a horn band for the better part of two decades, it was time to reinvent himself. It was becoming more and more difficult to support a large group despite one of the most extensive touring schedules in the business.

As he explained in detail at the time on his website, it was a difficult decision, especially because of the close relationships he’d built while fronting a band that was a surefire bet for top award nominations year in and year out. In 2014, the Tommy Castro Band (TCB), its horn section and soulful sounds were no more, replaced by The Painkillers, a tight four-piece unit that produced a sound that delved more into rock with soul-blues overtones.

If you were a fan of his old band, however, there’s good news: Stompin’ Ground finds Castro and The Painkillers delivering the same TCB style of music that kept folks up and dancing since emerging from San Jose, Calif., in the mid-’90s.

Produced by Castro and Kid Andersen at Andersen’s Greaseland Studios, this album has been in heavy rotation on blues stations around the globe since debuting a couple of months ago with Tommy smoking up the airwaves on guitar and vocals backed by bassist Randy McDonald, drummer Bowen Brown and keyboard player Michael Emerson.

Kid contributes rhythm and acoustic guitar, some bass, tambourine and backing vocals as well as saz, a stringed, Middle Eastern instrument. And several top names make guest appearances.

Joining the action for one cut each are guitarist David Hidalgo of Los Lobos fame, harmonica master Charlie Musselwhite and guitarist Mike Zito, all of who provide vocals. Danielle Nicole shares the mike on one tune, and Nancy Wright (sax) and John Halbleib (trumpet) add horns on three cuts. Lisa Leuschner Andersen and Robby Yamilov, who recorded the disc with Kid, also provide backing vocals.

Castro’s using the album to create material that speaks to a modern audience in the same way blues, soul and rock spoke to him during his formative years in the ’70s, interspersing six originals with six numbers that influenced him so much in the past.

The TCB sound returns from the jump with Wright and Halbleib present for three of the first four cuts. “Nonchalant” opens with a brief guitar intro before erupting into a passionate original about “a hidden treasure that shines like gold.” It doesn’t take long for the listener to realize that the prize is a woman who remains beautiful, but mysterious because of the casual way she presents herself. Despite her cool demeanor, you can feel her power from across the room.

A cover of Johnny Ace’s “Blues All Around Me” swings from the jump before Castro speaks out against the political climate sweeping the world today in a run of four well-intentioned originals. “Fear Is The Enemy” addresses the inner turmoil many folks currently deal with when reflecting about world events — especially the “them or us” mentality putting everyone ill at ease. Next, the slow blues “My Old Neighborhood” provides a glimpse of the way things used to be when Tommy was growing up in a working-class environment in a place where hippies and street-hardened Mexican-Americans got along and always knew where they stood.

The theme gets darker for “Enough Is Enough,” a hard-driving boogie, which states “if you push me too far, I’m going to push back” and warns “there’s going to be a revolution, because we need a real solution.” The groove keeps the tension moving forward. The block concludes with “Love Is,” a bottom-driven funk. In times like this, Castro says, positive thoughts about romance are “the only reason to keep keepin’ on.”

Fear not, however. The balance of the disc is a soulful, upbeat blast. Covers of Elvin Bishop’s “Rock Bottom,” Delaney & Bonnie’s “Soul Shake,” Taj Mahal’s “Further On Down The Road,” Buddy Miles’ “Them Changes” and Titus Turner’s “Sticks And Stones,” a hit for Ray Charles, are all pleasers. The action ends with the wry original, “Live Every Day,” a country-blues duet with Musselwhite that insists to live every day “like it’s the last one of your life because one of these days you’re gonna be right.”

Stompin’ Ground is a gem that swings from a rock-solid foundation. Available wherever fine albums are sold. Pick it up today. You won’t be disappointed.

Reviewer Marty Gunther has lived a blessed life. His first experience with live music came at the feet of the first generation of blues legends at the Newport Folk Festivals in the 1960s. A former member of the Chicago blues community, he’s a professional journalist and blues harmonica player who co-founded the Nucklebusters, one of the hardest working bands in South Florida.


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 Featured Blues Review – 4 of 10 

al corte cd imageAl Corte’ – Mojo

Self-Produced

https://corte.global/

CD: 12 Songs, 42:01 Minutes

Styles: Soul, Funk, Contemporary Electric Blues Rock, All Original Songs

One of the best things about being a columnist for this magazine is when I see that “one of mine,” an artist I’ve reviewed in the past, has released another album. The icing on the cake comes when their new CD equals or surpasses the previous one. Mojo, the sophomore offering from Al Corte’ (formerly Corte’), should be called the “Million Musician Masterpiece.” Okay, so there aren’t really a million musicians performing on it, but the full list takes up more than half a page and both inside panels of the CD’s dust jacket. Some people might be reminded of a movie starring so many A-list actors that it’s sure to be a turkey, but not this. Listeners will gobble up these twelve original songs and give thanks for such an uplifting repertoire. Vocal fox Al has served up a feast with all the trimmings when it comes to funk, soul, and blues rock.

Biographically speaking, his online profile is extensive, so let’s stick to his most recent endeavor: the one I just so happened to review two years ago. “In the winter of 2014, Al’s fate was in play, and he returned to his roots only this time not as just a live performer, but as a recording artist…His transition back to the stage is ignited by his cover R&B CD titled Seasoned Soul, that received rave reviews, having gained worldwide recognition and radio play. A number of songs on Seasoned Soul also charted into the top ten of the Roots Music Report and the album landed at #46 on the top fifty album chart for 2016. The CD was also voted best self-produced CD by the Memphis Blues Society. Al has performed select live performances in Memphis and the south east region of Arkansas, Tennessee and the Delta during 2016.”

And now for the moment you’ve been waiting for – The List. Dramatis Personae. The Players.

Al Corte’ – Lead Vocal, Conga,

Cowbell, Tambourine,
Touch Shaker
“The High Rhythm Section”

Leroy “Flick” Hodges, Jr. – Bass on all tracks

Michael Toles – Guitar on all tracks

Rev. Charles Hodges, Sr. – B3 Organ on all tracks

Steve Potts – Drums on all tracks

Studio Musicians:

Brad Webb – Slide Guitar

John Nemeth – Harmonica

Lawrence “Boo” Mitchell – Grand Piano and Synthesizer

Rev. Charles Hodges, Sr. – Grand Piano

Ron Miller – Wurlitzer Piano, Violin Patch, Guitar
Grand Piano
Royal Singers – Candice Rayburn, Sharisse Norman, Stefanie Bolton

Royal Horns:
Jim Spake – Tenor Sax
Kirk Smothers: Baritone Sax
Lannie “The Party” McMillan, Jr. – Tenor Sax
Marc Franklin – Trumpet and Flugelhorn

Royal Strings:
Jennifer Puckett – Viola
Jessie Munson – Violin
Jonathan Kirkscey – Cello
Wen Yi Yu – Violin

Special Guests: The Tennessee Mass Choir on “Blessed to Have You Near”

(Whew!) Now that I’ve presented all the performers, let me describe one of their best songs here.

Track 04: “I’ll Never Lose My Love for the Blues” – One of the best blues-rock songs of 2017, this is a stomp that crushes all the others I’ve heard during the year. “Well, I might lose my woman. I might lose my car. I might lose my house and my backyard. I might be overdrawn. I might be underpaid. I don’t need salvation, ‘cause I’m already saved. I’ll never lose my love for the blues!” Brad Webb’s slide guitar is a nuclear bomb, vaporizing lesser solos in a flash. Also killer is Leroy “Flick” Hodges, Jr.’s bass, thumping and begging for a subwoofer’s magic touch.

Want to add another Best of the Year to your blues collection? Acquire Al Corte’s Mojo!

Reviewer Rainey Wetnight is a 38 year old female Blues fan. She brings the perspective of a younger blues fan to reviews. A child of 1980s music, she was strongly influenced by her father’s blues music collection.


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 Featured Blues Review – 5 of 10 

john stephan band cd imageJohn Stephan Band – Hen House

www.johnstephanband.com

Self release

11 songs – 42 minutes

Hen House is the first release from the Seattle-based John Stephan Band since 2010’s Know Your Driver, although Stephan’s own discography dates back to 1982. With eight tracks written by Stephan himself, together with two updated reinterpretations of Charlie Patton classics and one off-the-wall pop cover, Hen House is an impressive and enjoyable modern guitar-led blues/roots/rock release.

The John Stephan Band comprises Stephan himself on vocals and guitars, Marty Lockwood on drums, Tom Roesch on bass and Steve Flynn on keyboards. Their collective years of experience are apparent from the upbeat opening shuffle of “Who Made That Rule?” with Lockwood and Roesch’s solidly swinging rhythm section underpinning Flynn’s rolling piano lines and Stephan’s edgy, overdriven Telecaster.

Interestingly, for a bunch of NW-based musicians playing American music, at times the band actually sounds British (or Irish). Partly this is due to Stephan’s half-sung/half-spoken vocal style, which recalls the likes of Mark Knopfler, Richard Thompson and other Brits (who were of course trying to emulate their trans-Atlantic cousins). Partly it is due to Stephan’s song-writing and guitar-playing styles. The chorus of the rolling rock of “Fast Track”, for example, has echoes of Dire Straits’ “Water Of Love”, while the choppy rhythm guitar parts and vocal melody of “The Fox” are reminiscent of Wilko Johnson and early Dr Feelgood. Stephan’s slide playing also recalls Rory Gallagher at times. None of which is meant as a criticism – more a reflection of the edge that inhabits the music.

Stephan is a whip-smart guitar player, laying down a variety of different tones and textures throughout Hen House, particularly on slide guitar (check out his gorgeous vibrato on “Holed Up”), ably aided and abetted by Flynn’s keyboards, from the floating organ of “The Fox” to the frolicking piano of Charlie Patton’s “Banty Rooster Blues” – the piano’s absence from the first verse makes its later appearance all the more effective, lifting the song to another level.

While “Banty Rooster Blues” is played as a straight, slide-driven 12-bar blues, the other Patton cover on the album, “Prayer For Death, Pt. 1”, opens with shimmering slide guitar that owes as much to Sonny Landreth as it does to Patton, with beautifully restrained backing from Lockwood, Roesch and Flynn, before slowly picking speed and energy as the song develops into a dancing instrumental.

The most surprising cover on the album, however, is Sonny and Cher’s “I Got You, Babe”, which is transformed from a vapid 1960s pop song into a West Coast swing number with a cool descending chord progression at the end of each verse and a catchy guitar/organ harmony lick in each chorus.

The majority of songs on Hen House are mid-paced foot-tappers with the sole ballad being “I’ve Cried For You” with more lovely keyboard work from Flynn. This is blues-roots-rock dancing music that will work just as well as driving companionship on a long road trip. Well worth investigating.

Reviewer Rhys Williams lives in Cambridge, England, where he plays blues guitar when not holding down a day job as a technology lawyer or running around after his children. He is married to an American, and speaks the language fluently, if with an accent.


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 Featured Blues Review – 6 of 10 

big band splash cd imageBig Band Splash – Volume 5

WIME – 2017

12 tracks; 46 minutes

www.wime.se

This is the fifth release from a very large horn-driven band/orchestra led and arranged by Jakob Norgren. Jakob is a sax player and his baritone is joined by FOURTEEN other horns – five trumpets, three trombones, two bass trombones/tubas, two alto saxes and two tenors. With keys, guitar, bass, drums and percussion the total number of players is a whopping twenty and the sound is terrific as the band plays a range of soul, blues and Rn’B material associated with Otis Redding, Etta James, Solomon Burke, BB King, even Beyoncé. The whole album was recorded in Sweden and the musicians are the cream of the soul/blues scene over there.

A number of vocalists are featured, including American Tad Robinson who delivers a solid version of an obscure 1967 tune by Jimmy Hanna, “Baby, Don’t You Lose Your Cool” which is driven along by the horns and lots of hand percussion. Knock-Out Greg may be a familiar name from his collaborations with British piano player Mike Sanchez and he gets two vocals: BB King’s “You Don’t Know” is superb with guitarist Magnus Josephson giving a passable impression of BB’s style and Jakob playing a great bari solo over a driving arrangement; “Working Man” is a Mike Bloomfield/Nick Gravenites tune written for Otis Rush who released it in 1969 on Mourning In The Morning and here features a barnstorming tenor solo by Christian Herluf Pedersen. Guitar Slim’s “Well, I Done Got Over It” has been frequently covered (Buddy Guy, Billy Boy Arnold amongst others) and is sung here in a swinging, latin-tinged arrangement by Sven Zetterberg who passed away last year. Marino Valle delivers two outstanding vocals on Solomon Burke’s “Down In The Valley” (great trombone solo by Mats Aleklint) and “That’s How Strong My Love Is”, written by Roosevelt Jamison and recorded by both OV Wright and Otis Redding – illustrious company to keep, but Marino acquits himself admirably.

In a spirit of equality six of the vocal leads are shared between four female singers, three of whom also provide backing vocals on other tracks. The exception is Linn Segolson who sings the familiar “Baby, Please Don’t Go” (Big Joe Williams) in a very good version. Linn’s sophisticated vocal is supported by (yet another) magnificent horn arrangement with trumpet accents and baritone and trombone solos by Jakob Norgren and Magnus Wiklund respectively. EllyEve sounds great on the obscure 1962 Jesse Mae single “Don’t Freeze On Me” and bravely tackles “All I Could Do Was Cry”, a song from the Etta James songbook later reprised by Beyoncé. Beyoncé is also the source for “Suga Mama”, a funky latin piece sung by Graciela Chin A Loi whose other contribution is a song associated with a diva of a previous era in Peggy Lee – “Love, Your Magic Is Everywhere” – which is also latin-tinged with a featured trumpet solo by Jonne Bentlov. The final singer to mention is Kristina Talajic who sings the opening track “Love Addict” about which this reviewer could find no information! What is certain is that this rousing tune makes a formidable opener to a very entertaining album.

Kudos to Jakob Norgren for putting together a great album of big band soul and blues. This reviewer is now off to find the previous four volumes of this great material!

Reviewer John Mitchell is a blues enthusiast based in the UK who enjoys a wide variety of blues and roots music, especially anything in the ‘soul/blues’ category. Favorites include contemporary artists such as Curtis Salgado, Tad Robinson, Albert Castiglia and Doug Deming and classic artists including Bobby Bland, Howling Wolf and the three ‘Kings’. He gets over to the States as often as he can to see live blues.


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 Featured Blues Review – 7 of 10 

mick kidd cd imageMick Kidd With David Blight – Menu Of Sin

Self-produced CD

10 songs – 42 minutes

www.mickkiddblues.com

Singer/guitarist Mick Kidd and harmonica player David Blight are a familiar pairing in the blues scene of southern Australia and follow up on their well-received album, Winter Sun, with this interesting collection of what Kidd terms “slidin’, stompin'” acoustic blues.

Based out of Adelaide on the south-central coast, Kidd’s been working as a bluesman professionally for the better part of three decades and has also delved into the world of electric rock when fronting symphony orchestras in Darwin and his hometown for multiple Pink Floyd tribute events.

After their debut release climbed to the Top 10 of Down Under blues charts, Kidd captured the prize for outstanding male performer at the 2014 South Australian Blues Awards and they won in the solo/duo category, too. They represented the Adelaide Roots & Blues Association at the 2016 International Blues Challenge, surviving three nights of competition to reach the quarterfinals.

A gifted songwriter and storyteller, Kidd created nine of the 10 originals on Menu Of Sin himself, teaming with Blight on the other. Several of the tunes came about as a result of their experiences at the IBCs in Memphis.

The disc was captured at Cashel Street Studios in Adelaide and features Mick on resonator, acoustic, electric and bass guitars as well as stomp box. Blight handles harp throughout and contributes vocals on two numbers. And they’re augmented by D.D. McGee, who sits in on drums for three tunes.

The album opens with Kidd on resonator for “Deja Vu Blues,” which he delivers vocally in a clear, pleasant tenor. It’s an interesting tune that describes the repeating troubles — from writing checks he’s no longer able to cash and much, much more. Blight’s simple harp lines are in the background as Mick’s out front strumming chords until they stretch out a little for a mid-tune break.

The action gets more interesting on “Good Enough For Me,” which features Kidd picking on slide and David stretching out a little. The message is that it doesn’t matter what the situation might be, the singer’s ready to accept the hand that he’s dealt. McGee joins in for the title cut, “Menu Of Sin,” which invites the listener to sit at the table, before Blight takes command of the mike for “Miss Beehavin’,” a tasty country blues suggestion that a lady change her wild and cheating ways. His harp skills come to the fore during the solo.

An extended instrumental section introduces “Cut You Loose,” a slow-blues song of parting, before the duo pick up steam again for “Last Fly In Memphis,” a powerful number built on a steady guitar hook. The insect on the wall has been there for an indeterminate length of time on Beale Street — and he’s seen it all. Bright delivers “Born To Be My Crime,” a tune that describes someone with a quiet disposition who’s out for revenge and knows it’s best to serve it cold.

The mood brightens for another propulsive number, “A Waste Of Time Well Spent,” which begins as a coming-of-age tune and progresses into a search into the future. The tempo picks up dramatically for the southern rocker “Heaven, Hell Or Harrogate” before the instrumental “Going Home” brings the action to a close.

If you’re a fan of modern acoustic blues and looking for something different, this might appeal to you. You can buy it or download it through http://mickkidd.bandcamp.com.

Reviewer Marty Gunther has lived a blessed life. His first experience with live music came at the feet of the first generation of blues legends at the Newport Folk Festivals in the 1960s. A former member of the Chicago blues community, he’s a professional journalist and blues harmonica player who co-founded the Nucklebusters, one of the hardest working bands in South Florida.



 Featured Blues Review – 8 of 10 

chris daniels cd imageChris Daniels And The Kings With Freddi Gowdy – Blues With Horns Vol 1

www.chrisdaniels.com

Moon Voyage Records

10 songs time-42:01

Colorado based Chris Daniels And The Kings along with vocalist Freddi Gowdy have set out to emulate horn based bands like AL Kooper’s Blood, Sweat and Tears and such. The horns are here, but there is nothing here that you could call blues. The music is a combination of R&B, funk and soul. Chris and Freddi Gowdy handle the vocals. Chris’s voice is serviceable while Freddi possesses a more soulful set of pipes. Chris handles guitar duties admirably. Clay Kirkland contributes harmonica occasionally. There are three band penned songs with the remainder being covers.

The jaunty “Sweet Memphis” feels like a wonderful walk through the town. Louisiana slide guitar wizard Sonny Landreth lends his lilting magic over the horn section. This song is pretty much perfect with Chris providing an energetic vocal performance. Clay Kirkland, although not listed in the band credits, adds his harmonica playing to the horn driven “Fried Food/Hard Liquor”, a song that carries on the feel of the south. Chris also handles the vocal on this one.

Things get all Sly Stone-like funky on the appropriately titled “Get Up Off The Funk”, sung by Fred Gowdy and backing vocalists. Gowdy turns in another soulful vocal on Sam Cooke’s “Soothe Me”. He once again works his soulful magic on the on the old school rhythm and blues “Wouldn’t Treat A Dog (The Way You Treated Me)”.

Then things turn towards more of a humorous novelty song vibe for three songs. Funkster Johnny “Guitar” Watson’s “Baby’s In Love With The Radio” comes off as a slice of fluff filler. Chris Daniels some what emulates Elvin Bishop’s goofy delivery on Elvin’s “Can’t Even Do Wrong Right”. Rounding out the trio light hearted songs is Walter “Wolfman” Washington’s “You Can Stay But That Noise Must Go”, another foray into the “funkisphere”.

Buddy Miles’ “Them Changes” sticks pretty closely to the original with it’s classic horn driven riff and another Freddi Gowdy vocal. The harmonica on this one is unnecessary and obtrusive. The CD winds down with “Rain Check”, a old timey sounding little romp with Chris on vocals and acoustic guitar accompanied by piano and harmonica. In it he relates his mother’s survival strategy of “dancing every chance I get before I have to go”.

An enjoyable record if not a tad hokey at times. The musicians assembled here are top notch. The music runs from R&B, soul and funk. The use of horns is reminiscent of some of the horn bands of the late 60s-early 70s. The cardboard accordion-like fold out packaging is a unique design as it reveals many levels of band photos. But I digress. It’s all ties in with the frivolous approach of some of the music herein. No blues, but good music none the less.

Reviewer Greg “Bluesdog” Szalony hails from the New Jersey Delta.


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 Featured Blues Review – 9 of 10 

bb and the blues shacks cd imageBB And The Blues Shacks – Reservation Blues

Rhythm Bomb Records – 2017

14 tracks; 51 minutes

www.bluesshacks.de

BB And The Blues Shacks are a long-established institution in their native Germany, this being their ninth album. Blues Blast readers may recall this reviewer’s praise for guitarist Andreas Arlt’s 2011 solo album All-Time Favorites – Andreas and his brother Michael wrote all the material here. Michael handles harp/vocals and Andreas guitar with Fabian Fritz on keys, Henning Hauerken on bass and Andre Werkmeister on drums; horns are added to four cuts by Tom Muller (sax) and Stefan Gossinger (trumpet) and Till Seidel adds some rhythm guitar to two tracks.

The title track “Reservation Blues” finds Michael having ‘reservations’ about his relationship and “Lay Some Shuffle Down” sums up many blues fans’ reaction to modern music, “Man, your rap is just crap to me, some good old shuffle fits me to a T”, all played over a great shuffle rhythm. On several tracks Fabian’s organ adds a swinging groove, a good example being “All About That” which also features Michael’s harp to good effect. “I Can’t Go On” has a retro sounding rockabilly feel that makes it hard to sit still and “Angry Cat” marks the half way point on the album with an instrumental on which Andreas’ guitar and Fabian’s organ duel effectively. Some tough harp introduces “Not Much To Lose” (erroneously listed as “Not Much To Loose” on the sleeve!), a slow blues with a traditional theme of everything going wrong in one’s life.

The horns add punch to the superb swinging double entendre “Honeycomb” which may well be the standout cut on the album. The relaxed “From Now On” is a shorter track with the horns in support behind Michael’s dramatic vocal; the horns also add accents to the slow blues “My Time Ain’t Long” and the New Orleans flavored ballad “Mad About You”. The band hits a Chicago groove on “Year Of Strife” and “Little Secrets” and swings hard on “Things Won’t Change” with Fabian’s piano and Andreas’ guitar making it another stand-out cut. The album closes with a song that deals with the life of a blues musician, another swinger, “Why Can’t I Go Home”.

Anyone who loves traditional sounding blues can approach this release with confidence. At a time when much of the scene is dominated by blues-rock a disc like this is a treat to hear.

Reviewer John Mitchell is a blues enthusiast based in the UK who enjoys a wide variety of blues and roots music, especially anything in the ‘soul/blues’ category. Favorites include contemporary artists such as Curtis Salgado, Tad Robinson, Albert Castiglia and Doug Deming and classic artists including Bobby Bland, Howling Wolf and the three ‘Kings’. He gets over to the States as often as he can to see live blues.


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 Featured Blues Review – 10 of 10 

dusty dave cd imageDusty Dave & The Heart Attacks – One Beer Left

www.dustydave.de

Rhythm Bomb Records

14 songs time-50:02

This German band has absorbed the essence of the blues and infused it with a new energy. It’s all good, but the shining star here that can’t be ignored is the super-charged harmonica ace Dynamite White. His wild force on the Mississippi saxophone can’t be contained. Dusty Dave’s rough hewn voice is perfectly suited to the songs contained here. Lucky Steve’s guitar is spot on whether it be Chicago blues, jump blues or other. He can conjure up that crude sound of some of the earlier players when the need is there. Rockin’ Bende’s drumming is as authentic as all get out. The use of the upright bass of Ray Black harkens back to the early Chess recordings. At first shudder the band posing in stereotypical blues attire lead me to thing there is some hokey music contained inside. Oh contraire. That can’t be farther from the truth. The originals and covers breathe with a new life.

Chicago blues melds with jump blues on the hard driving “Candyman Boogie”. Driving harmonica battles it out with the guitar and we get our introduction to Dusty Dave’s husky and commanding vocals. Rockabilly tinged blues is the stuff of “Good Rockin’ Mama”. Here as elsewhere Dynamite White’s command and sureness of his harp playing is truly a marvel. The blues-rockabilly groove shows up again on “Come Inside”, a song that sports a relentlessly good riff. Slide guitar powers the hard driving Chicago blues of “Worried Mind”.

Chuck Berry-ish guitar kicks off “Tough Enough”, a song that chugs along quite nicely with piano way down low in the mix. Lucky Steve plays his guitar in a crude manner that is authentic to purveyors of old time blues on “Champion Of the Blues”. It contains the only German reference with “I’m the Kaiser of the blues”. The band handles a hard boogie with ease on the title track “One Beer Left”. Speed freak slide guitar and harmonica make “Ride & Roll” fly right by before you notice.

The traditional “In My Time Of Dying” sometimes called “Well, Well, Well” is rearranged and slowed down here. The upbeat “Love-Hate” contains the ominous lyric “She had no chill, she just wanted to kill”, sounds like a dream date. Slapped bass underscores the hot slide and harmonica groove of “Big Mouth”. Slim Harpo’s “Hip Shake” is interjected with new life in the hands of The Heart Attacks. I can’t get enough of Dynamite’s infectious harp blowing.

No idea what it’s about, but “Dead Cat” sounds mysterious enough. The jump blues instrumental “Rocker” closes out the show in grand style and short but sweet at just a tad over two minutes.

It’s a heart warming thing that authentic but not museum piece blues seems to be emanating from disparate parts of the globe. This band takes the roots of blues and turns it into something fresh and invigorating. I sure hope Dusty Dave and crew keep their high quality blues thriving.

Reviewer Greg “Bluesdog” Szalony hails from the New Jersey Delta.



 Featured Blues Interview – Eddy Clearwater 

eddy clearwater photo 3Over the last six decades, Eddy Clearwater has experienced every facet of the blues business.

Not only has he dazzled audiences around the world with his hearty vocals and slashing guitar work—a hybrid of Chuck Berry, Magic Sam, and his own innovations incorporating blues, rock and roll, and a dash of rockabilly—he’s owned his own record label and operated his own blues bar. The proud Chicago blues ambassador is a champion outside the immediate city limits as well. For the last 20 years a north suburban resident with his wife, Renee Greenman, he’s even written a song celebrating his adopted homebase, “Skokie Is A First-Class Town.”

“It’s just a song I had in my head. I was just playing around with it,” says Clearwater. “I said, ‘I’ve been all around the world, when I settle down; I’ll settle down in Skokie because Skokie is a first-class town.’ I was just kidding around. I said, ‘I think I’ll make a song out of that!’” If all goes as planned, it’ll be on his encore album for Alligator, planned as a belated follow-up to his critically acclaimed 2008 studio set West Side Strut (Clearwater released the live Soul Funky in 2014 on his own Cleartone imprint). Skokie will present Eddy with a proclamation on January 2 honoring him for his long residence in the suburb.

Prior to moving to Skokie, Eddy lived in Westmont, the same western enclave that hosted Muddy Waters during his last years on the planet. Westmont granted its former resident a key to the village in 2016. “It was their idea. They came up and said, ‘You used to live here,’ so they gave me a proclamation,” says Clearwater. “I enjoyed being there when I was there.”

Clearwater has plenty going on. He’ll be celebrating his birthday with a show at SPACE in Evanston on January 6, and he’s working with the PCa Blue Foundation to increase prostate cancer awareness. To that end, Eddy is signing a guitar that will be raffled off to raise funds at his January 5 opening slot for Buddy Guy at Legends (he’s also giving a percentage of his royalties to PCa Blue). “My agent is working on a whole bunch of tours for next year,” reports Clearwater. “Europe is definitely included. He’s putting some ideas together now for it.”

Eddy Harrington was born in rural Macon, Mississippi, not far from the Alabama state line. He and his older brother were raised by their grandparents. “I never knew my mom and dad,” he says. “I got to meet my dad twice in my life. My mother, I never even met her. She was killed when I was very young.” Eddy wasn’t the only future bluesman in the family: harmonica wizard Carey Bell Harrington, another Macon native, was his cousin, and his considerably younger cousins Vernon and Joe Harrington later played blues in Chicago as well.

eddy clearwater photo 2Gospel music was Eddy’s first influence, but that soon changed. “I never heard any recorded music until my uncle had a little country juke joint, and they put a jukebox in there,” Eddy says. “He had his little juke joint, and I would go there on weekends. Friday and Saturday, he’d have people drinking beer and playing the jukebox. So that’s when I got to hear Louis Jordan on the jukebox. That’s the first time I heard recorded music. Louis Jordan, with ‘Caldonia’ and ‘Ain’t Nobody Here But Us Chickens’ and all those songs. I said, ‘This is great stuff!’”

That uncle, Rev. Houston H. Harrington, played a huge role in Eddy’s life. He was responsible for sparking Eddy’s interest in playing guitar. “My uncle had an old acoustic, and I’d hear him playing around with that thing. But I didn’t think it was okay for me to touch it. So I would listen to him and look at it, but I wouldn’t dare touch it without his permission. So they all left the room one day. They left the bedroom and left the guitar lying on the bed. So I sneaked up to it and I plucked the strings a little bit. He walked in and caught me. He said, ‘No, go ahead and play it! It’s okay!’ So when I realized it was okay to pick it up, then I started picking it up.” The guitar was strung for a right-hander, but Eddy was a lefty. He flipped it over and never looked back.

At 13, Eddy moved to the decidedly more urban Birmingham, Alabama. “My other uncle, Willie B., that was his mom and dad who were my grandparents. He wanted them to move to Alabama because he lived in Birmingham, and there was no one there in Mississippi left to look after my grandma and dad. They were getting older, and they were too old to be on their own by themselves,” he says. “My grandma said, ‘Well, we’ll just pack up and move.’”

Eddy played his southpaw guitar in a neighborhood church, briefly backing a group on the fast track. “The Five Blind Boys of Alabama, they asked me to play for them. They asked my uncle if I would consider playing a few Sundays with them, because they had a guitar player, but he was ill and he had to take off. So they asked me if I would fill in for them. So I said sure. But I didn’t know their music. They let me hear some of it, but I just did the best I could,” he says. “I never realized they were going to become as famous as they did.”

But Eddy wouldn’t be in Birmingham for long. In September of 1950, Rev. Harrington, who had relocated to Chicago, invited his 15-year-old nephew to join him. “He sent me a ticket for the Greyhound bus. $15,” remembers Clearwater. “He said I could broaden my horizons and pursue my musical career. That’s what I always wanted to do, so he said, ‘If you come to Chicago, you’ll have that opportunity.’” The early ‘50s were a glorious era for Chicago blues. “A lot of people at that time were playing here, like Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Jimmy Reed, Little Walter, and Elmore James. They were all here playing night after night, locally in Chicago.”

eddy clearwater photo 1Even though he was tall for his age, Eddy couldn’t get into the blues clubs on his own at first. “My uncle took me with him a few times to see Muddy, like at Sylvio’s, places like that,” says Eddy. The reverend bought his nephew a Silvertone electric guitar and an amp so he could start playing around town. Eddy’s first gig was with harpist Little Mack Simmons. “He needed a guitar player. His guitar player, something happened to him. So he let me play. He used to go to my uncle’s and hang out a lot, Mack Simmons. I’ll never forget—it was a tavern on Cottage Grove and 39th,” says Eddy. “I played a few weekends. I was 18 or 19, I guess.”

Eddy had graduated to a gold Gibson ES-295 cutaway guitar by the time he formed his first band, logically christened Guitar Eddy and the Cutaways. John Hudson manned the other guitar, Rayburn Anthony was on piano, Richard Rogers played drums, and Richard’s brother Johnny handled the vocals. “I didn’t have a bass player,” Clearwater says. “A lot of the bands then were just using second guitar. This was before the Fender bass became popular.”

The reverend cured Eddy of his mic fright. “He’d have people over on the weekend, just singing and drinking, having a few drinks. And I had all my instruments set up in his basement, my guitar. So this one weekend, I noticed him setting up a microphone, right in front of where I was sitting. I said to myself, ‘What is he setting a microphone up for?’ And after he got it all set up and plugged in—he plugged it into the amp—he made an announcement: ‘Now we’re gonna have my nephew sing a few songs for everybody!’ People all started clapping: ‘Yeah!” I said, ‘Oh, no!’ I had never, never approached the mic. I was just too shy for that. So they talked me into it. I did ‘Let’s Have A Party,’” says Eddy. “I said, ‘I can’t believe that he talked me into doing that!’ The guitar I was comfortable with, sitting down playing. But the singing, I had never approached the microphone in front of anybody.”

Right after Eddy debuted publicly as a singer with that heady blast of Elvis, he discovered his musical role model. “I was in my little car, riding down Michigan Avenue. Al Benson was the disc jockey, WGES,” says Eddy, who heard Benson spin Chuck’s “Oh, Baby Doll.” “When he finished, (Al) said, ‘That’s Chuck Berry!’ What he was singing, it was coinciding so well with the music and the guitar. I thought it was totally something I had never heard. And then the next one I heard by him was ‘Maybellene.’ And I liked that one. I said, ‘That’s good!’ And then later on, ‘Johnny B. Goode.’”

Veteran drummer Armand “Jump” Jackson recognized Eddy’s potential. “He wanted to be my booking agent,” he says. “He was with the musicians’ union. So I got in touch with him quite early.” Jackson dreamed up a gimmick that would erase the name of Harrington from Eddy’s billing, telling his client, “I want to change your name to Clear Waters,’ as opposed to Eddy Harrington. So I said, ‘Well, it’s fine with me.’ So he registered me with the musicians’ union,” says Eddy. Chicago’s blues king wasn’t upset with his professional handle being nicked. “Muddy said, ‘This guy that calls himself Clear Waters, I’d like to meet him!’” says Eddy. “So we met, and we became very good friends.”

eddy clearwater photo 4Rev. Harrington had established his own label, Atomic-H, to record local gospel groups and an occasional bluesman (Homesick James Williamson did a single for him under the odd handle of Jick & His Trio). Naturally, he asked his nephew to record for him. So in 1958, the newly christened Clear Waters debuted on Atomic-H wax with “Boogie Woogie Baby” and the Berry-tinged “Hill Billy Blues.” The single was cut at Balkan Studios in west suburban Berwyn with Lazy Bill Lucas on the 88s and Eddy’s regular rhythm section. The action shifted to Chicago’s Hall Studios for his ‘59 Atomic-H encore, pairing the choppy “I Don’t Know Why” with the quintessential West Side instrumental, “A Minor Cha-Cha.” “I just had an idea for an instrumental, so I started kind of plucking around with it, (saying), ‘Let’s put this on tape and see what happens,’” Clearwater says.

African-American tenor saxist Chuck Smith, who had been on “A Minor Cha-Cha,” introduced Eddy to a Mexican-American band originally from San Antonio, Mando and the Chili Peppers, who were holding down a gig at a tavern at 18th and Blue Island. Bass-playing bandleader Armando Almendarez had taken ill, and the band needed a quick replacement. Despite initial trepidations about mixing the races, everything went fine. “After he was sick and he came back, they said, ‘Why don’t we just keep Eddy in the band, and let him come up on each set and do a few songs?’ They all agreed to it, so that’s what happened. We did a few years together.”

Almandarez was on bass and fellow Chili Peppers Jesse “Chucho” Perales on guitar and Pete Perez on drums when Eddy cut his Berry-inspired 1961 single “Cool Clear Waters,” a tribute to the man himself, for Jump Jackson’s LaSalle label. “Armando wrote that, as a matter of fact,” notes Eddy. A ballad, “Baby Please,” adorned the flip. The single got Eddy a lip-synched bow on Jim Lounsbury’s local Bandstand-style TV show. “They invited me to be interviewed,” says Clearwater. “At the last minute, they said, ‘Come on, Eddy, we’re gonna have you perform!’ I said, ‘Perform? On TV?’ So spontaneously, I had to get up and do it.”

The Chili Peppers introduced Clearwater to local rocker Eddy Bell. “He was a big Buddy Holly fan,” says Clearwater. In addition to gigging with Bell’s Bel-Aires around Fox Lake, Eddy played on Bell’s rocking 1960 Mercury single “The Masked Man (Hi Yo Silver)” as well as Bell’s followup the next year on Lucky Four, “Johnny Be-Goode Is In Hollywood.” In addition to blues joints, Clearwater was now making the rounds of local sock hops. “Every Sunday, all of the kids would come out to the record hops,” says Eddy. When rock and roll failed to make Bell rich, he became a polka star under his real surname, Eddie Blazonczyk.

Pianist Sonny Thompson, King Records’ Chicago A&R man, recruited Clearwater in 1961 to join the Federal label, just as he had West Side powerhouse Freddie King the year before. Eddy went to the company’s Cincinnati headquarters and cut four sides, again exhibiting Berry’s influence. The band was an all-star Chicago aggregation, with Bobby King on the other guitar, Jesse Anderson on sax, Emmett “Tut” Sutton on bass, and producer Thompson tinkling the ivories as Clearwater rocked through “I Was Gone” and its plattermate “Twist Like This.” He encored with “A Real Good Time” and its B-side “Hey Bernadine,” Federal finally included his first name on both singles, misspelling it “Eddie.” King label owner Syd Nathan left a lasting impression with his nub of a cigar. “He was chewing on it while he was behind the board,” laughs Clearwater.

Things got sparse for Eddy on the recording front after that. He had a 1966 single on Chicago’s USA label that barely saw light of day, the imprint reverting to his old “Clearwater” handle with no first name as the guitarist waxed a double-sided tribute to his musical hero. “The Duck Walk” waxed rhapsodic about Berry’s favorite stage move, while he described a teenage girl begging her folks to attend a Berry concert on “Momee, Momee.” The single was produced by Jimmy Reed’s manager, Al Smith. “He was a little short, stubby guy, and he played a big upright bass, just like Willie Dixon,” says Clearwater.

eddy clearwater photo 5Even if recording opportunities were sparse, Clearwater had no shortage of gigs. The Western suburbs were prime stomping grounds. “Ralph Capone, he had a club in Lombard, the Ball and Pin,” recalls Eddy (yes, from the infamous Capone family). “He’d walk around with his big cigar: ‘Get hot!’ He used to call me Hot Water!” One 1967 night at the Manor Lounge in Stone Park, Eddy came face to face with his hero. “I wore my hair long. I looked a lot like Chuck,” he says. “Even he said so. Chuck said, ‘I thought I was looking at myself in the mirror for a minute!’”

The hillbilly bars of Uptown loved Clearwater’s brand of rock and roll. One mid-‘60s booking at the Starlite a Go-Go, located at the corner of Sheridan and Leland, found him opening for Jerry Lee Lewis. “I was playing there on weekends,” says Eddy. “They were bringing Jerry Lee in. And it was a real pleasure to work with him. He pounded that piano, man!”

After a funky 1969 single, “Doin’ The Model,” that came out on both Atomic-H and Blazonczyk’s Versa logo, Clearwater took things into his own hands during the ‘70s by inaugurating his own Cleartone label. But it was Jim and Amy O’Neal’s Rooster Blues imprint that issued The Chief, the album that earned Eddy full-fledged blues stardom. All 10 of its dynamic selections were cut at one marathon session in November of 1979, “from 12 o’clock in the day until about 12:30-1:00 at night,” says Clearwater. “Jim O’Neal came in the room, and I was in the studio. He said, ‘Well, I think you just finished!’ I said, ‘Yeah!’ Boy, was I worn out.”

Its title stemmed from Eddy frequently wearing a Native American headdress onstage that he’d acquired from a bartender in Westmont. “I said, ‘That’s a beautiful piece—I’d like to have that for my stage appearance. Can I buy it from you?’ She said, ‘I can’t sell it to you because it belonged to my deceased husband,’” he says. “She said, ‘I won’t sell it to you, but I’ll give it to you as a good luck charm.’ And I shook her hand. I said, ‘I promise I’ll never part with it.’”

There were plenty of fine Clearwater albums after that. Flim Doozie (1986, with fellow southpaw Otis Rush guesting on guitar) and “A Real Good Time” Live! (1990) for Rooster Blues preceded 1992’s Help Yourself on Blind Pig and a string of CDs on Bullseye Blues: Mean Case of the Blues (1996), Cool Blues Walk (1998), Reservation Blues (2000), and Rock ‘n’ Roll City (2003), the latter a rockabilly outing with Los Straitjackets in romping support.

The title of Reservation Blues referred to Clearwater’s blues club of the same name in Wicker Park, which was in business for three years. “The reason we got out of it is because I didn’t want to stop touring, so I had to make a choice between staying home running the club or going on the road touring. So I chose to stay with my career,” says Clearwater. “You have to really be there to run a club. If not, it goes to hell.”

Clearwater is by no means ready to hang up his rocking shoes. “I’m very attracted to rock and roll,” he says. “To me, rock and roll is just another part of the blues.” He’s very optimistic about the future of the blues. “I think it’s starting to escalate,” he says. “It’s going to reach higher, because there are so many young players coming up, younger players. So that’s going to bring it into a whole new chapter.”

Meanwhile, Eddy continues to rack up career honors, notably his 2016 induction into the Blues Hall of Fame in Memphis. “I really felt proud about that,” he says. “It’s good to get the flowers when you can smell ‘em instead of saying, ‘Wait ‘til he dies, then we’ll give him every honor that he deserves.’ I’d rather receive some of it now.”

Check out Eddy’s website at: www.eddyclearwater.com

Interviewer Bill Dahl is a lifelong Chicago resident who began writing about music professionally in 1977. He’s written for Vintage Rock, Goldmine, Living Blues, Blues Revue, Blues Music Magazine, the Chicago Tribune, and the Reader, and is the author of The Art of the Blues, a 2016 book published by University of Chicago Press, and 2001’s Motown: The Golden Years (Krause Publications). Bill was awarded the Blues Foundation’s Keeping the Blues Alive Award in journalism in 2000.


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The Illinois Central Blues Club has announced the line-up of talent for Blue Monday live performances held every Monday night at The Alamo, 115 North Fifth, Springfield, IL from 8:00pm to midnight. Additional information on any performer listed below is available upon request.

Blue Monday Schedule: Dec 18 The Mary Jo Curry Band. For more information visit www.icbluesclub.org.


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