Issue 12-33 August 16, 2018

Cover photo © 2018 Joseph A. Rosen


 In This Issue 

Don Wilcock has our feature interview with Sugar Ray Norcia. We have 11 Blues reviews for you this week including new music from CeCe Teneal & Soul Kamotion, Banjo Bones, JP Soars, Reverend Freakchild, Jordan Officer, Theotis Taylor, Mudslide Charley, Memphis Minnie, Tim Lothar, Beverly Crawford and Johnny and The MoTones.

Our video of the week is Paul Filipowicz at the 2017 Madison Area Music Awards.

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


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2018 Blues Blast Music Award Tickets On Sale Now

This years awards are being held at the Tebala Event Center in Rockford, IL on September 29th, 2018 beginning at 6:00pm. (Doors open at 5:00pm) Confirmed appearances so far include Karen Lovely, Benny Turner, Shaun Murphy, Ghost Town Blues Band, Markey Blue and Ric Latina Project, Casey Hensley Band, Ben Levin, Ivy Ford Band, Heather Newman, Orphan Jon & The Abandoned, Partick Recob, Ilya Portnov and Joyann Parker.

Advance tickets are $35. Tickets will be $40 at the door.
Tables for ten are only $250. To get your tickets now click HERE!

Information on travel, lodging, tickets and sponsorships is available on the Blues Blast Music Awards website at www.TheBBMAs.com.

 

WHERE TO STAY – We have chosen La Quinta in Rockford as the host hotel for fans and artists. La Quitna is about a mile from the venue. La Quinta is offering a special rate of only $89 for those attending the Blues Blast Awards. Simply call them at (815) 227-1300 and ask for the “Blues Blast Fan Rate”. First come first served.

Please note that there are a limited number of rooms available, so get your tickets and rooms booked now!


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 Featured Blues Review – 1 of 11 

cece teneal cd imageCeCe Teneal & Soul Kamotion – #5or5000

Iheart CeCe

www.soulkamotion.com

12 Tracks/52:29

Based out of Orlando, FL, CeCe Teneal & Soul Kamotion definitely set the bar high with their first release, a live album recorded at the Blue Bamboo Center for the Arts in Winter Park, FL. Once part of the B.B. King Allstar Band, the band has been around for sixteen years, so it has had plenty of time to hone the potent sound they generate with ease. Teneal, the daughter of singer Yvonne Jackson, handles the lead vocals with Chris Baptiste on keyboards, Lavon Rushing on guitar, Terrell Kimble on bass, and James Adkins on drums. All of the band members add vocal parts with the exception of Adkins.

The opener, “90 MPH,” is an appropriately titled slice of funk that quickly unveils the range and power of Teneal’s voice. Raised up in the church, the singer is instantly captivating as she threatens to overwhelm the band’s best efforts to keep up. “Danger” is a full-throated warning to a lover to stop the mistreating ways, complete with an unaccredited trombone solo. They kick it into high gear on “Work,” as Teneal expounds on her work ethic, laying it all on the line every night.

When the pace slows on the soulful ballad “What I’d Do To Get Your Love Back,” Teneal turns in a memorable performance, sharing her heartache and torment over a lost love that she can’t leave behind. She is transformed on the following track, “Common Ordinary Housewife,” an evil woman turned loose on an unsuspecting world, looking for to even the score – a contemporary blues song that resonates through repeated listens. The title track is a soaring anthem that promises that the band will strive to be the best no matter how many people turn out for a show. “Rockstar” is another celebration of the life-affirming drive that is needed to overcome life’s trials and tribulations. The arrangement builds in intensity, the band in perfect sync with Teneal’s riveting vocal.

“I Betcha Come Back” is an energetic send-off to a cheating lover accented by some fine slide guitar work, while “4 On The Floor” is an uptempo blues shuffle all about the good times to be had out on the dance floor. On “Alive,” Teneal delves into the gospel realm, singing words of inspiration. And once the spirit takes over halfway through the six minute opus, she will have you hanging on every word all the way through until she raises the rafters with a frenzied, shouting climax. The mood softens as the singer looks forward to the comforts and relaxation of being “Home,” Teneal’s immaculate phrasing expressing the profound joy that she feels.

It is hard to believe that CeCe Teneal & Soul Kamotion have been “undiscovered” and unrecorded up until now. While most of the music is, at best, blues-influenced, there is no denying that Teneal is gifted with vocal skills far beyond those of most mere mortals, possessing the ability to bring meaningful life to commonplace lyrics. Fans of Shemekia Copeland certainly will want to hear this one. With Soul Kamotion backing her every move, CeCe Teneal makes it clear that she is a force to be reckoned with!

Reviewer Mark Thompson lives in Florida, where he is enjoying the sun and retirement. He is the President of the Board of Directors for the Suncoast Blues Society and a member of the Board of Directors for the Blues Foundation. Music has been a huge part of his life for the past fifty years – just ask his wife!


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 Featured Blues Video – Paul Filipowicz 

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This featured video is Paul Filipowicz at the 2017 Madison Area Music Awards. (Click image to watch!)

Paul is performing at the Paramount Music Festival on Sunday September 2nd, 2018.

For tickets and info on this Blues event click HERE. or click on their ad in this issue!


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 Featured Blues Review – 2 of 11 

banjo bones cd imageBanjo Bones – Ghostly Musings from the Delta

Boneyard Records

https://banjobones.com/

10 tracks

I had hopes for this being a cool blues CD with some great National Steel Guitar work. I usually don’t read the liner notes until I listen to the CD through for the first time but by the second and third song he made me stop and read them.

Bones tells us he does not play his resonator enough but he was requested to do some tunes as a guest on his friend’s show. He says he uses the guitar at his recording sessions as an inspiration to hearken back to write songs like the old Mississippi Delta blues singers of the 1930s and 1940s so he practiced on the National Steel guitar. OK so far, but then Bones states, “I am not a bluesman, and this is not a blues record.” That’s what made me stop and read the notes because what I was hearing is not a blues record.

So I hoped the influence would rub of a bit on some of the songs. Perhaps. The resonator sound is unique, but the vocal work and songs are not blues, and per the liner notes they were not intended to be.

The CD starts with “Awakening,” a short intro that starts churchy and then adds resonator. Not really blues but interesting. “Dangerous Game” and “Rabbit Hole” offer up vocals that are metered and clipped and enhanced. The sound is out there on it’s own, in a genre I’ve not really been able to put a finger on. It’s as if punk rock meets alternative rock, performance art, and Americana and uses a resonator guitar to make the sound even more varied. The vocal echo effects and delivery are paced and deliberately sing song and rhythmic. “Tale of an Outcast” swerves with a little slow rockabilly groove and the odd vocals, but it continues in the vein of mixed, odd genres. “The Sermon” mixes acoustic guitar and fiddle to offer up some down home sounds. The vocals are grittier and dirtier here, making for an interesting mix. I enjoyed this cut and it’s throbbing approach which was more natural.

“Picking Up The Slack” is an American a offshoot with the rhythmic vocals coming back and so is “Snowy Mountain Revisited.” The former is more like the first songs but the latter is dark and haunting. Next is “The Guilt Trip” which opens with some nice six string work. The dark vocals begin again showing repressed anger at first and then out and out anger as Bones sings of a former love. A work song follows entitled “Long John,” a real throw back and shout out to early blues. This was quite interesting with simple guitar work, percussion and interesting call response vocal.

“Hbd2u” takes us out in 44 seconds of solo guitar playing “Happy Birthday To You” with old time record noise overlaid. Interesting? Maybe. Weird? For sure, but it kinda fits with everything else.

Banjo Bones does the Four and Six String work, vocals, drum programming and percussion. Giorgi Khokhobashvili is on violins and Annie Eldorado does a backing vocal on “Snowy Mountain.” A sparse lineup for an album that bounces around genres and gives us a different spin on music that most blues fans will find more than a little different.

It’s not blues, it’s not intended to be blues. This is something completely different. If that’s what you have in mind for a CD buy, you’ll find it here.

Reviewer Steve Jones is president of the Crossroads Blues Society and is a long standing blues lover. He is a retired Navy commander who served his entire career in nuclear submarines. In addition to working in his civilian career since 1996, he writes for and publishes the bi-monthly newsletter for Crossroads, chairs their music festival and works with their Blues In The Schools program. He resides in Byron, IL.


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 Featured Blues Review – 3 of 11 

jp soars cd imageJP Soars – Southbound I-95

Soars High Productions – 2018

15 tracks; 70 minutes

www.jpsoars.com

JP Soars is a former winner of the International Blues Challenge and is based in South Florida. On his latest CD he demonstrates what a versatile player he is as the music runs the gamut from blues to rock, country, surf, jazz and Latin. JP plays all manner of guitars and bass on three tracks; Chris Peet is on drums but the absence of a regular bassist finds him also covering bass duties on seven cuts, Jason Newsted and Greg Morency playing on a track each. There are a lot of additional musicians involved: Travis Colby is on keys on seven tracks, Teresa James adds B/Vs to four and Lee Oskar harp to one; horns appear on several tracks, Scott Ankrom playing tenor, baritone and trumpet on two, Sax Gordon Beadle and Tino Barker (tenor and baritone respectively) are also on two and Terry Hanck plays tenor on one. Fellow guitarists Albert Castiglia, Jimmy Thackery and Paul DesLauriers sit in on a track each and percussionists Sam Harrison, Oscar Santiago, Jeremy Staska and Reza Filsoofi appear across six different cuts. JP wrote all the material (apart from two classic blues from Muddy Waters and Albert King) and produced the album with Jeremy Staska in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

JP’s gruff voice fits well with the music and his delivery is very clear on the opening “Ain’t No Dania Beach”, the places he visits while touring not reaching up to his exacting standards as he extols the virtues of his home base in Florida. JP’s guitar has a hint of country as Paul Deslauriers plays some sweet slide, an attractive start to the album. JP hits the wah-wah to add some funk to the blues of “Sure As Hell Ain’t Foolin’ Me” as he detects the insincerity of the other person (“I can smell bullshit a mile away”) before the title track, a rocking surf-style tune with exciting guitar from JP as he looks forward to reaching home. “Shining Through The Dark” is a beautiful tune with Terry Hanck’s ecstatic sax and JP’s lilting guitar adding just a hint of latin feel. Teresa James deserves special mention for her harmony vocals which make a song with cursory lyrics into something special. JP then rocks out on “The Grass Ain’t Always Greener” with Travis Colby’s Rn’R piano and a breathless tenor blast from Sax Gordon. Showing a completely different side to his playing the instrumental “Arkansas Porch Party” finds JP duetting with himself on shimmering electric and acoustic guitars, supported by tambourine and foot stomp. “Satisfy My Soul” is an ultra-fast tune with Sax and Tino supporting the insistent rhythm set by Chris Peet’s drums, JP ripping a solo that sounds like it was culled from a 50’s rock and roll record, an impression reinforced by Sax’s passionate solo. “Born In California” is a song reprised from JP’s debut CD and gives an autobiographical account of his upbringing in rural Arkansas, a full-on blues with plenty of JP’s cigar-box playing.

The two covers appear mid-album and are the cue for the guest guitar slingers. Albert King’s slow blues “When You Walk Out That Door” features Jimmy Thackery; Jimmy and JP both play well with Jimmy taking the first extended solo, JP getting something of Albert’s string-bending style into his. Scott Ankrom’s multi-tracked horns add a different, almost New Orleans, feel to Muddy’s “Deep Down In Florida” as JP and Albert Castiglia exchange vocal verses and guitar solos. The latin-flavored instrumental “Across The Desert” features Lee Oskar’s high-pitched harp and JP’s finger-picking style and serves as something of a break between the two covers and the closing tracks. The fast-fingered guitar work on “Dog Catcher” finds JP having trouble training his pet and playing some fine slide, another track with a hint of latin rhythms while “Troubled Waters” has a North African feel in the middle section with Reza Filsoofi’s array of drums and some eerie sounding guitar from JP, the main choruses of the song carrying a message of ‘peace and understanding’.

The end of the album is a little strange. “Go With The Flow” opens with jungle drums and some more of JP’s fast-paced picking which develops into a gypsy jazz style instrumental, a feel increased by Scott Ankrom’s clarinet. Why JP then chose to add the hidden track of a conversation punctuated by farmyard animals I have no idea!

We then get a radio edit of “Sure As Hell Ain’t Foolin’ Me” which seems little different apart from the potentially offensive word being replaced by “BS” and a clear finale rather than a fade-out. This makes one wonder whether most listeners will eject the CD after track 13!

Nevertheless, there is plenty of fine material here and the CD is very good indeed, so still comes recommended.

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 – 4 of 11 

reverend freakchild cd imageReverend Freakchild – Dial It In

Treated And Released Records T&R-009

11 songs – 48 minutes

www.www-reverendfreakchild.org

Aided by a handful of top-flight sidemen, irreverent shaman Reverend Freakchild returns to the pulpit in his musical church where people of all faiths are welcome to deliver a sermon of blues with psychedelic overtones on this CD — eight originals and three covers that are entertaining and spirit lifting at the same time.

Although his method might seem odd to traditionalists, he definitely practices what he preaches. Raised in Hawaii and the son of parents steeped in classical music and the blues, he’s earned college degrees in divinity and philosophy from Northeastern University in Boston, and currently resides in Colorado, where he’s pursuing his master’s in divinity at Naropa University.

A former alternative rocker and jam band member who’s also sung gospel at Carnegie Hall, the Reverend insists: “Music is my religion. Through song, I seek transcendence.” The message he delivers fuses Judeo-Christian beliefs with Eastern philosophy and more.

A man who held a steady gig at New York City’s famed hippie hangout, Tobacco Road, for three years, he plays National steel, 12-string and acoustic guitars, organ, keyboard bass, harmonica, synthesizer and bells on this one, accompanied by percussionist Chris Parker (Paul Butterfield, Bob Dylan, Joe Cocker and John Hammond), harmonica players Hugh Pool (who produced Dial It In and also adds multiple stringed instruments) and Garrett “G. Love” Dutton (G Love And Special Sauce), and Mark Karan (Bob Wier and Ratdog) provides lead guitar on one cut.

Adding to the mix are bassists Robin Sylvester and Tim Kiah, keyboard player Brian Mitchell (B.B. King and Levon Helm), saxophonist Jay Collins (Gregg Allman) and backing vocals provided by Hazel Miller and Lisa Marie.

The eighth release in Freakchild’s catalog, it’s dramatically different that his most recent previous CD, a solo acoustic album which this writer savaged – possibly probably because, as the Reverend graciously pointed out, I’d missed his point of it being an ode to the sloppy and soulful approach of first-generation country blues legends. If that’s the case, I offer up a sincere public apology.

Recorded in analog to two-in. tape at Excello Studios in Brooklyn, N.Y., mixed to one-in. tape and released as an analog LP and digital CD, Dial It In kicks off with “Opus Earth,” which instantaneously sets the tone for what’s to come. It’s a spacy and inviting, and features bells, chants and earth sounds before a brief spoken invocation.

A cover of “Personal Jesus (On The Mainline)” — written by Martin Gore of Depeche Mode and a mainstay in the catalog of Johnny Cash. After a brief country blues intro, it erupts into a driving, medium-fast number with Freakchild on steel and Pool and Parker driving the rhythm with rock-steady harp and drums. Like most of the work here, it has a throwback feel with the Reverend’s vocals buried ever so slightly beneath the instrumentation, but his baritone offerings still remain clean and audible.

The music gets a little funky with Karan on lead guitar for “Hippie Bluesman Blues” as Freakchild invokes occult imagery to describe his upcoming transformation after he crosses paths with a black cat. The title tune, “Dial It In,” comes with a hip-hop feel aided by Miller’s vocal. This time, the spiritual crossroad is in the Reverend’s mind as he’s driving while listening to late-night radio and seeking a higher power.

The tempo slows for “Skyflower,” a 12-string and synthesized string fiesta about unexpectedly finding new love, before the psychedelic rocker “Roadtrance” powers out of the gate. The sounds brighten again for the sweet “Damaged Souls” in which Freakchild insists than things aren’t as bad as they might seem. He provides comfort by stating: “Your house might be holy, but you’re not the only one home…alone.”

The uptempo rocker “15 Going On 50” precedes a country blues cover of Bob Dylan’s classic, “It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)” before a take on Blind Willie Johnson’s “Soul Of A Man” and the outro “Opus Space” conclude the set.

Available from Amazon and other outlets, Dial It In is pleasant and spiritually uplifting throughout. Pick it up – especially if you’re an old-school hippie or a modern-day wannabe. It decidedly different than most mainstream releases today – and in a positive way.

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 – 5 of 11 

JORDAN OFFICER CD IMAGEJordan Officer – Three Rivers

Spectra Music

www.jordanofficer.com

11 tracks | 44 minutes

Jordan Officer is mostly known as a jazz guitar sensation and co-founding member of The Susan Arioli Band. He has received as much praise for his technique as he has for his tender expressive and interpretive abilities. On this disc he blends blues, jazz, country and gospel seamlessly into one flowing personal story. He showcased this album at this year’s Montreal Jazz Festival (a/k/a Festival International de Jazz de Montreal). A true homecoming as his aforementioned original band was discovered at a local outdoor show in 1998, then being offered the opening slot for Ray Charles at that year’s Jazz Fest. Now he was back there, 20 years later, the returning native son to debut his fourth solo album produced by Charley Drayton, drummer for Keith Richards, the Australian band Divinyls (“I Touch Myself”) and on the B-52’s hit “Love Shack”.

All these songs were composed during Jordan’s travels along the blues trail of the South. He felt that by visiting the places where the genre was cultivated he could connect with the music. He sounds vocally like Michael Franks or at times like J.J. Cale yet his soft spoken word style is all his own. He lets the guitar and violin leads do the loud talking most of the time. On the pitch perfect opener “Your Body’s My Home” his lyrics split the difference between objectification and unlimited devotion. She is his home but the physical manifestation is the necessary result of this and is cleverly intellectualized.

He plays all kinds of solos throughout the disc like double-stop leads, violin hoe downs, and soaring single-note alternating picking that spark runs of fluidity not seen on many blues albums. He is simultaneously reminiscent of vintage Buddy Guy and Charlie Christian. On the swinging “One Handed Push-Ups” he sings scat along with his blazing violin riffs. He boastfully tells the listener “I’m Jordan Officer and I’ll play the blues for you…and we’ll all be friends before the night is through”. He knows his audience and has the right to make the boast. This cat can play! He likes to spin tales too. “Driving Back from Three Rivers” is the titular song which he bathes in comfy tremolo aurally signifying the longing of a musician to get back home.

He gets nice and wistful on an 8 bar “Just to be with You” which uses the same chords as Tampa Red’s “It Hurts Me Too” evoking a similar emotion. On “He Got It All” he gets bitter when a rival man enters the bar with “A soft gentle swagger and looks to spare” that captures the eye of his beloved. This is the familiar story of many old blues tunes about straying women and the pain and suffering of the cuckold and what it drives him to do. This is the subject matter he lusts after but he’s still a bit awkward in the genre as he does not seem the seasoned pugilist. But who knows? Maybe he’s got himself a trainer by now. “Man you won’t know what hit you, as you go flying out that door.”

The final track is an instrumental “Buck Jumping in New Orleans”. It has numerous key-change modulations, one for each solo. He alternates between guitar and violin as he bears down the final stretch toward the checkered flag. All this over a Bo Diddley beat that veers off into the jump swing jazz he’s more familiar with to end on a very high note.

Reviewer Reviewer Steve Gabe is a musician, writer, actor, comedian and lawyer.


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 Featured Blues Review – 6 of 11 

theotis taylor cd imageTheotis Taylor – Something Within Me

Big Legal Mess Records – 2018

10 tracks; 33 minutes

Theotis Taylor followed in family traditions by being a turpentine farmer, preacher and musician, becoming well known locally in his native Georgia. He did have a few single releases and was featured in a Carnegie Hall Gospel concert in 1990 where his set was well received, but until now he had never been heard on an album-length release. Now in his 90’s Theotis will still sing if he can find a suitable accompanist, his piano playing days now behind him due to many years of hard labor.

When Tim Duffy of the Music Maker Relief Foundation heard about Theotis he went to visit him, became friends and was amazed to be given the master tape to an album of Theotis singing and playing piano, recorded in 1979 but never released. With interest from Big Legal Mess a studio session in Memphis added other instruments to the original recording and the result is this album. The other musicians involved include Jimbo Mathus, Will Sexton and Liz Brasher but all the lead vocals and piano are Theotis whose naturally high voice gives an ethereal quality to the music. While the lyrical content is naturally religious the sound relates well to lovers of soul music and you can hear a strong resemblance to Sam Cooke, notably on the opening song “Appreciation” which remains as it was on the original master tape, just Theotis’ voice and piano giving thanks to God for the life we have on Earth.

The song titles show the devotional dimension of the music here, “God’s Unchanging Hand”, “Thank You Jesus” and “Our Father” and the added backing is sympathetically done, as can be heard on a track like “Fly Away To Be At Rest” where choral vocals, guitar and drums are supportive of Theotis’ lead. Two tracks share titles with well-known soul songs but are quite different: “Stand By Me” asks God to support us in tough times; “Steal Away” makes the point that life is short but Heaven is eternal, another track with just Theotis singing and playing piano.

“Tides Of Life” is probably the track closest to the blues musically but “Something Within Me” is classic gospel with the music and the choir making your feet tap and body sway as Theotis emotes about the spirit within. “Little Wooden Church” was this reviewer’s favorite, a stripped-back track with Theotis’ piano set against a gospel choir as he sings of the family’s Sunday visits to the local church.

This short album will delight gospel fans as well as bringing Theotis Taylor to a wider audience.

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 11 

mudslide charley cd imageMudslide Charley – Words & Bones

www.mudslidecharley.com

Gut Bucket Records

13 songs – 59 minutes

Mudslide Charley are a very interesting band out of Montana, who play rough, raw and raucous blues and roots music. Words & Bones is their fourth album and features 13 tracks of sharply-written, blues-infused, toe-tapping music that really repay close listening.

The band comprises Marco Littig on slide and lead guitar, Phil Hamilton on harmonica, saxophones, guitar and percussion, Lee Rizzo on vocals, rhythm guitars and washboard, Roger Moquin on drums and Tahj Kjelland on bass. Each musician also contributes backing vocals. The majority of the instrumentation is acoustic, other than the occasional electric guitar from Littig. All of the instruments are played, however, with serious attitude and no little abandon.

Lee Rizzo’s voice perfectly complements the rough edge of the music. At times, such as on the live rendition of Son House’s “Death Letter”, she sounds out of control with passion and pain. On other tracks, her voice sounds not dissimilar to Debbie Harry’s with its ostensible dispassion and distance that belies an underlying emotional vulnerability.

A febrile imagination is evident in many tracks. The old Etta James and Sugar Pie DeSanto classic “In The Basement” draws out the call-and-response of the vocal lines and subtly adjusts the rhythmic groove to sound closer to the B-52s, while “Papa’s Coming Home” re-engineers the Bo Diddley sound. The wild 60s jazz-pop of “Liquid Velvet” includes a short bass solo from Kjelland as well the magnificent couplet “I like sugar in my tea. I like honey all over me…. If you walk out that door, who’s gonna be your baby now?” But while there may be hints of pop, jazz, rock or folk in many of the songs, it is the blues that is the foundation stone and the essence of everything on the album.

11 of the 13 tracks on Words & Bones were written by various members of the band. Rizzo contributed the folk-blues-rock of “Holy Man” (which has a fine sax solo from Hamilton) and the gentle pop of “Little Birdie”. Littig wrote three tracks while Hamilton came up with six. The folky blues of Hamilton’s “Southern Don’t Cross The Dog” is particularly impressive with its echoes of Led Zeppelin’s early acoustic explorations and contains the attention-grabbing opening line of “Southern don’t cross the dog in Montana. No night train headed South. It’s a hard, cold ride when you gotta get out. Southern don’t cross the dog in Montana.”

Mudslide Charley have a very distinctive, almost ramshackle sound, one that appears to be constantly teetering on the edge of disaster. But this untamed quality only adds to the band’s charm. Littig and Hamilton both lay down a series of uninhibited but spot-on solos that never forget to serve the song first and foremost, while the rhythm section of Moquin and Kjelland are as comfortable on the rumbling gospel of “Burden”, the quiet restraint of “Jelly Donuts” or the Tom Waits-esque “Devil Can’t Stop The Rain”.

Recorded at Black National Studio in Missoula with engineer, Chris Baumann, Words & Bones is that rare release, offering stone cold blues viewed through a novel prism. Highly recommended.

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 – 8 of 11 

memphis minnie cd imageMemphis Minnie – Killer Diller Blues

Wolf Blues Classics

www.wolfrec.com

24 songs – 70 minutes

Although highly-regarded by those in the know, it is perhaps surprising that Memphis Minnie is not better known. Born Lizzie Douglas in Algiers, Louisiana, on 03 June 1897, Minnie was a fabulous singer, a sharp songwriter and a magnificent finger-style guitarist. She recorded over 200 songs in a career that lasted from the 1920s to the 1950s. She played with the likes of Willie Brown (author of “Future Blues” and friend and musical partner of both Charley Patton and Robert Johnson) and slide guitar wizard, Casey Bill Weldon, to whom she was also briefly married in the 1920s. She was also an innovator, being one of the first blues players to use a steel-bodied National guitar in 1929, and playing an electric wood body National and various other electric guitars in the 1940s.

Killer Diller Blues is a collection of 24 tracks from across Minnie’s career from the esteemed Austrian blues record label, Wolf Records. It is possible to distinguish three clear strands to her musical evolution through her recording career, and the CD contains representative tracks from each era. Her initial recordings with her second husband, Kansas Joe McCoy in the late 1920s and early 1930s (here represented by seven tracks, including the classic “Bumble Bee”) were essentially acoustic guitar duets. This led on to the more sophisticated swing band sound of the late 1930s and early 1940s where she played with the likes of pianist Black Bob, mandolin player Charlie McCoy and drummer Fred Williams. Killer Diller Blues contains six songs from this era, including “I Hate To See The Sun Go Down” which borrows heavily from WC Handy’s earlier “St Louis Blues”. The third phase began around 1941, when she started playing with Little Son Joe on second guitar, often with a stand-up bass and drums. Minnie’s single note lines on tracks like “Moaning Blues” and “Down Home Girl” augured and influenced the subsequent electric stylings of Jimmy Rogers and Johnny Shines.

The sparse liner notes to the CD, written by Hannes Folterbauer, are perhaps most notable for incorrectly referring to Willie Brown as “Henry Brown” and for repeating the story from Big Bill Broonzy’s autobiography about a cutting contest between Broonzy and Minnie in Chicago in 1933 for the prize of a bottle of wine and a bottle of gin. Broonzy wrote that Minnie won the prize by playing “Me and My Chauffeur Blues” and “Looking the World Over”. As noted by Paul and Beth Garon, however, in their excellent Woman with Guitar: Memphis Minnie’s Blues, this story at best is an amalgamation of different contests, since both of the songs alleged to have been played by her date from the 1940s rather than the 1930s. Indeed, “Me and My Chauffeur Blues” borrows the melody of Sonny Boy Williamson’s “Good Morning, School Girl”, itself only from 1937. Killer Diller Blues contains Minnie’s 1941 recording of “Me And My Chauffeur Blues” but sadly does not include “Looking The World Over” (later magnificently covered by BB King on his My Kind Of Blues album).

Given the sheer number of songs Minnie recorded during her career, there will always be room for healthy debate as to what are her best 24 songs. Obvious omissions include “When The Levee Breaks” (yes, that is where the Led Zeppelin song comes from), “What’s The Matter With The Mill?” and “Black Rat Swing”. With excellent remastering by Fabian Wessely at Soundborn Studio, however, the tracks on Killer Diller Blues are certainly a fine introduction to one of the indisputable all-time blues greats and Wolf Records are to be congratulated on another fine reissue.

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 – 9 of 11 

tim lothar cd imageTim Lothar – More Stories

self released

www.timlothar.com

16 songs/41 min

How many versions of “Goodnight Irene” does the world need? The Leadbelly standard seminally immortalized on tape by the Lomaxs while Mr. Ledbetter was incarcerated at Louisiana State Penitentiary has been covered by everyone from Frank Sinatra to Keith Richards. This song is most effective when the artist arranges the song in a unique personal way; check out Dr. John’s raucous large ensemble version on Trippin’ Live, or Kelly Joe Phelps’ abstraction on Shine Eyed Mister Zen, or Tom Waits’ drunkard’s choir on Orphans. Tim Lothar adds another “Irene” to the clutter on More Stories. The Danish Bluesman uses his fine inventive version as a North Star for this traditional Delta style album. There are 9 “original” compositions and 6 short instrumental interludes. Quotations are used here by your reviewer because the actual music of the 9 originals is anything but original; they are well worn Blues tropes with Lothar’s lyrics superimposed over (possibly save the minor key arpeggiated “There Is Only Now”). The overall effect of this record is a slightly dower rumination on a hard working traveling musician’s life told through well executed solo Blues performances.

Tim Lothar has been developing his Delta Blues style since 2006 traveling all over Denmark and Europe playing his straightforward Son House inspired style and singing with a slightly huskyer Ry Cooder voice. Lothar’s trip seems to take the traditional Delta forms and express his own unique modern perspective over it. Songs like “Coffee and Wine” and “Another Train Song” are great examples. “Coffee” has a great boogie rhythm to it and playful lyrics about not drinking to forget. “Another Train Song” is a waltz Blues with clever lyrics about the journeyman’s life.

The interludes throughout this album help to break up what could be stylistic monotony due to the similarity of sound in Lothar’s solo guitar and vocal performances. These 6 short instrumental meditations are at times playful and at times mournful. They also introduce or epilogue songs well. It is a great way to put together a well thought-out album experience.

It was mentioned that the cover of “Goodnight Irene” is the stylistic North Star for this record. The arrangement of “Irene” is interesting and eskews the original Leadbelly version with minor chords and different rhythm changes. The above mentioned outlier “There Is Only Now” has similar inventiveness within the tradition. These two tracks and the creativity of form in the interludes point to unique strengths in Lothar’s music. The other music on More Stories seem to aspire to this creativity and are on the verge of overflowing into it. As a result More Stories is a strong entry into Tim Lothar’s discography.

Reviewer Bucky O’Hare is a Bluesman based in Boston who spreads his brand of blues and funk all over New England. Bucky has dedicated himself to experiencing the Blues and learning its history. As a writer, Bucky has been influenced by music critics and social commentators such as Angela Davis, Peter Guralnick, Eric Nisenson, Francis Davis and Henry Louis Gates Jr.


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 Featured Blues Review – 10 of 11 

beverly crawford cd imageBeverly Crawford – The Essential Beverly Crawford Vol. 2

http://www.last.fm/music/beverly+crawford

JDI Records

11 songs time-52:52

Florida native Beverly Crawford is a pretty generic gospel music shouter. She possesses a strong voice, but not much here to set her apart from the other gospel singers. Tempos and the band make up change here and there. At times there is some rousing piano and organ playing. No musician credits are given in the liner notes, other than the names of various guest vocalists. A large gospel choir is used at times to great effect. Some of the tracks appear to have been recorded live.

The energized “Everything Will Be Alright” has a particularly funky instrumental backing. The perennial Christmas classic “Joy To The World” is performed both traditionally and in a churchy version. The former is taken at a slow and drawn out pace. The other is, well, gospel-ed up with a full gospel choir. The last track is an advertisement for the JDI Records catalogue.

The religious fervor is here, but I suspect this type of music is more powerful in a live in person context. This music falls out of my sphere of reference. Its’ sound probably resonates with a gospel fan. The spirit is there, but I see no originality in this recording. You would think for a music that has been around for such a long time, that someone would try to give it a fresh approach. Maybe it’s just me, but I would of liked more creativity. Well, it’s about the message and spirituality, and that is surely here.

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


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 Featured Blues Review – 11 of 11 

johnny and the motones cd imageJohnny and The MoTones – Highway 51

Altenburgh Records

www.altenburgh.com

10 tracks | 41 minutes

Highway 51 starts in Hurley, Wisconsin and ends in New Orleans, Louisiana…like the MoTones sound!” This quote describes Mitch Viegut (guitars, lead vocals) and Johnny Altenbrugh (piano, lead vocals) 5th album aptly. Their newest effort to get to here from there shows just how far they’ve come. This two-headed blues monster album is partly recorded in Nashville at Warner Brothers Recording Studios. This Nashville connection shows their desire to hit the road and explore what’s out there beyond their home turf. They also recorded at a couple of studios in their home state as well. As of April they hit #7 on the RMR (Roots Music Report). The results are in and they are getting some buzz.

The core group is tight featuring: Bruce Lammers on bass; Ryan Korb on drums; John Greiner on Tenor Sax and Pat Phalen on trumpet. “Also appearing…” seems to be the listing of another full outfit of Nashville players. That crew consists of Travis King on drums; Thomas Banks on bass; Paula Hall on backing vocals; Tom Washatka on tenor sax; and Ben Peterson on trumpet. Both sides of the coin match well.

The two lead vocalists couldn’t be more different. Mitch has the classic rocking blues scream that is sweet, smooth and pairs well with his swinging slide guitar parts and classic crunchy rock sound. John is the softer side. He has the snarky barroom singer/ songwriter style of a David Bromberg. He pleasantly reflects on what could have been and what’s not going to be but that it will all turn out OK in the end. Mitch sings about girls gone bad and other hard luck stories soaked in road weary grit. He’s game for the next day wherever that may be. John’s more of the stay at home guy trying to sneak out for the evening and Mitch is trying to find his home on the road after many late nights.

The best example of John’s storytelling is “Make It”. Which is a hit in the sense that a band that is clearly not going to make it still believing they’re “…gonna make it now”. This is so self-deluding that it’s funny. It’s also sweet and charming enough for everyone to relate to, not just musicians listening to their latest studio recording and proclaiming a fact before it happens, then having to take a job at the local whatever. His piano playing rollicks along keeping the flames of hope alive. Mitch has his charms too albeit darker and drunker in nature. “Tell Me Something” is a tale of his gal that he just knows there is something rotten about her past or her family, and he’s begging anyone with information to let him in on it so at least he’s forewarned about the storm-a-coming.

The best tune is the instrumental “Long Live The Pack” a “Peter Gunn Theme” styled affair with many classic big blues band twists and turns. This seems to be their sweet spot where their playing together meshes so well that it’s just one band doing their thing and making the crowd go wild in the process. Throughout the album they take turns lead singing. It’s a one for me, one for you situation. Each song is distinctly different in style and mood which is nice for variety. The only missed opportunity is not doing a song together vocally either trading verses and meeting on the chorus or working up a clever harmony here and there.

The take away is that this album is all originals without being derivative sounding. It contains some of the best composed of today’s music. They are seasoned pros with serious chops that do not go to waste. Are they gonna “Make It”? Well that all depends on what’s making it in today’s fractured America. They get to do what they love and get to live to play another day. Maybe that is what it’s all about after all.

Reviewer Reviewer Steve Gabe is a musician, writer, actor, comedian and lawyer.



 Featured Interview – Sugar Ray Norcia 

sugar ray norcia photo 1“Real deal blues” is a euphemism for a no-nonsense style of the genre that is so steeped in heritage that there can be no denying its legacy. There is also a supposition that real deal blues artists have little patience for indulging young crossover artists raised on rock who appeal to their own demographic with presentations built as much on testosterone as they are on heart and truth.

Real deal blues artists’ music is fueled by a need to express emotions based on the experiences of a life hard fought. Their success is measured in resumes loaded with five-star affiliations, small club appearances splayed over five continents, and just enough income to buy potato chips and cheap whiskey. And maybe – just maybe – enough jaw-dropping gigs with their mentors to justify their obsession with the music.

If they survive past 60, their income approaches the high-water mark of their legacy and their performances reach a level that allows them to capture an audience with a presentation drawn from deep in their soul. In front of a paying audience their feet never touch the floor, and every song is delivered as if they’d just imagined it and sung it for the first time.

Sugar Ray Norcia is a real deal artist. His deeply emotional vocals and harp playing are heard on numerous albums released by his band the Bluetones from the 1970s to the present. Early in their career, the Bluetones were the backup and/or touring band for Big Joe Turner, J.B. Hutto, Roosevelt Sykes, Otis Rush, Big Mama Thornton, Big Walter Horton, and Sunnyland Slim. Hubert Sumlin, Ted Harvey and Doug “Kid” Bingham are all alumni of the band. Bingham left the Bluetones to replace Jimmie Vaughan in the Fabulous Thunderbirds. As if that weren’t enough, Norcia himself has recorded with Joe Louis Walker, Al Basile, Pinetop Perkins, Sax Gordon, Debbie Davies, Jimmy Rogers and Al Basile, among other.

Norcia also was lead vocalist in Roomful of Blues from 1991 to ’97. He credits Johnny Nicholas of Asleep at the Wheel fame with introducing him to the blues as a youngster in Rhode Island.

“I’ve got to credit him for being really instrumental in seeking out some of the legends we were able to back up. Johnny Nicholas was practically a neighbor of mine growing up, and went on to play with Asleep at The Wheel. He introduced me to Johnny Shines and Big Walter Horton and people of that sort when I was very young. Along that same time, I was also beginning to work with Ronnie Earl who was instrumental in making phone calls and digging up people like Robert Lockwood and Big Walter Horton. So, we recorded with these people and traveled with them. It was a great thing to do, especially when you’re young and learning.”

Of all the legends he’s worked with, Norcia misses Big Walter Horton the most. “I got to know him personally. He was my roommate on the road, so I kinda miss him, and it freaks me out when I think he passed. I think he was only 58 when he passed away, and here I am 64. It just changes your perspective. He seemed like a little old man, and he really wasn’t that old. He led a hard life. A couple of the last times I flew up to Providence to work with him in Rhode Island, he wasn’t in very good shape. In fact, one time he had been beaten up and was all scarred up. That was difficult to watch.

“He was the one I remember the most because, like I say, we roomed together. We partied together. My son at that time was three years old when I was working, and Walter put him on his knee and kinda babysat him backstage. It was great.”

sugar ray norcia photo 2Norcia learned from Big Walter that a musician’s personality is as important to the stage chemistry as their talents as a musician. “A guy like Walter, for example, was cantankerous and kind of standoffishness at first, but once you got to know him, he was a fun-loving, warm, humorous kind of person. That all comes out through the music as well, so they go hand in hand, I think. In other words, he was a friend as most musicians were. I look for warm personalities that are able to show that through their music as well.

Norcia lived about a mile and a half from the Knickerbocker Café in Westerly, Rhode Island where Roomful of Blues performed when he was still a teenager.

“I hung out and got to really know all the fellas in Roomful of Blues, the original guys like Duke Robillard, Al Copley and Greg Piccolo and, yeah, I just loved going to see them Sunday night, and it was a treat. I was still a teenager, and I was witnessing Eddie Cleanhead Vincent, Red Prysock, Helen Humes and Fats Domino. All of this in a club that holds 350 people packed to the gills. Every Sunday they’d bring somebody in, a guest artist.

“Back then, the drinking age was 18 years old, but I was going there since I was 15 or 16, hanging around the doorway or sneaking in or listening through the windows kind of deal.”

It was an easy in for Norcia to become a member of Roomful after years of hanging out with them. “I used to want to sit in with them. I’d stand there and go, ‘Boy, I could sing with a band like that,’ but I was young and not established at that time. ‘Well, maybe next week, kid. Not tonight! Maybe later on.’ I wasn’t getting the opportunities. Then, once in a while they’d actually call me up and I’d sing, and they’d go, ‘Holy shit. That sounds pretty good.’

“I always thought I’d like to play with horns, but I got the phone call from Greg Piccolo who was leaving the band. I guess it was 1990 or ’91 asking if I’d be interested in joining the band. ‘Hell, yeah, when do we start?’ And he was like, ‘Thursday we leave for California.’ And here it was like Tuesday. Greg was singing at the time. He was singing, playing horn and he was having vocal problems with nodules of the throat, just having a tough time with it, and the band really wanted a strong vocalist.

“He dropped off 50 songs for me to learn really quickly. Some of ’em I knew and most of ’em I had read the lyrics at first for the first few gigs, but we immediately went into Pat Benatar’s studio in California and cut some tunes, and played and headlined festivals right off the bat which was a dream come true for me.”

How scared was he trying to go through 50 songs with two days’ notice?

“Well, it was a little nerve wracking. I had to use a cheat sheet to start reading words. I couldn’t remember everything. A lot of the songs I had been hearing them perform for years. So, I was pretty familiar with a lot of the material which was a big help. And I’d brought a lot of my own material. The first record I did with them, Dance All Night, a lot of that was stuff I brought to the band, but we incorporated my influences as well.

“We were playing 250 dates-plus a year, one nighters. I was young, vibrant, healthy, in my 30s, and I was up for the challenge. I could sing every night, and it was quite the experience.”

It was a desire to play more harmonica that prompted Norcia to leave Roomful and go back to his own band The Bluetones.

sugar ray norcia photo 3“I would say that was the biggest reason. I wanted to go back – I missed the Bluetones. The Bluetones were always my band, always has been, always will be. So, that was a 10-year period (1990 to ’99) almost of no Bluetones gigs, and I missed my big welcome segment and playing Little Walter tunes and wailing away on the harp and of course, with Roomful I realized I was mainly just the singer. I enjoyed the hell of it, but there came a time I just needed to play some harp.

“Anybody can pick one up and put it in their pocket, sort of blow in and out, easily learn the couple of familiar melodies, but to take it beyond that and really study it, of course it’s difficult, yeah. It takes years and years of practice and repetition. Myself, I hear melodies in my head all the time. I’m like a walking jukebox. Sometimes I think it’s a curse, but I play very melodic, my harmonica.”

Reminiscing with Norcia about the myriad of musicians he’s played with is like picking peaches off a tree loaded with low hanging fruit. There’s Junior Wells with whom the Bluetones toured in 1990.

“I do remember we ran out of money. We were in this old telephone van, this old beat-up van that broke down on the road. Ronnie Earl had to make a phone call. He was called Ronnie Horvath back then, not Ronnie Earl, but he made a phone call to a friend of his and borrowed $40 for potato chips and coffee to survive on, but the best memory was playing at Theresa’s with Junior and sittin’ in with the band. We got offered a gig there by Theresa herself. ‘Can you play every Tuesday night?’ ‘No, ma-am. We’re from Boston. It’s not gonna work.’”

Roomful played with Cab Calloway at a Boston blues festival. “He didn’t even have his own mike stand. When he didn’t need his mike, he just laid it down on the stage, and if somebody needed to take a solo, he’d walk over to him in total control and hold the microphone up as he soloed. So, obviously he decided when their solo was over. It was a beautiful thing, and we shared the bus after the show. So, you’ve got Cab Callaway’s orchestra and Roomful of Blues on the same bus exchanging stories and heading to the bar at the hotel and hanging out for more hours till the wee hours. You know, episodes like that will stay with me forever.”

Roosevelt Sykes inspired the Bluetones to record their first record. “There’s a café in Cambridge-Somerville, Massachusetts, and that was with Ronnie Earl in the early days of the Bluetones, and Roosevelt was really impressed with us. ‘Where can I get your record?’ ‘We don’t have any records.’ ‘You mean, you’ve never been in the studio?’ ‘No, sir, we’ve never recorded.’ He said, ‘Well, man, you oughta get started ’cause it sounds good to me, and you should go into the studio.’ That was really the catalyst that got us to make our first record.”

Or the time a compliment from Otis Rush left Norcia high for weeks. “The first song I ever recorded that I wrote that I published was called “Bite The Dust.” I was touring the Bluetones with Ronnie Earl on guitar, and with Otis Rush at the time. He was at my home, and we said, ‘Otis, we just recorded an EP. We want to play you this tune.’ He said, ‘Sure,’ and we played it, and there was a big smile from ear to ear, and he said, ‘Can you play that again?’ So, we must have played it three of four times for him. I was just high for weeks.”

Norcia’s mother lived to 95. His dad died at 82. He has a house in the country on an acre and a half of land, but at 64, Norcia has every intent of performing until he drops. “For the most part it’s different every night. You can ask my band members who hear me play the same songs for the last 40 years, but I never really play it the same way twice. And they have to be on their toes because I’ll switch the solos around. Someone may solo on this song one night, and the next night I’ll decide, no, I’m gonna just be the soloist. It’s always just creating the moment.

sugar ray norcia photo 4“That’s what I like about this music. They know me so well it’s almost telepathic, and I have of course little hand signals, probably things I do I’m not ever aware of, but, boy, it’s hard to trip ’em up because they’re right there on top of me.

“They always go, ‘Whatcha got up your sleeve tonight, Sugar?’ I’ll say, ‘Keep your eyes open and your ears open. You’ll find out.’ I might pull out tunes we haven’t played in 25 years, and it’s amazing. It’s like riding a bicycle. They remember their parts.”

Charlie Baty of Little Charlie and the Nightcats fame is on guitar. “Mudcat” Ward plays bass. Anthony Geraci is pianist. Drummer Neil Gouvin has been with Norcia forever. I asked him if he’d kept the same drummer longer than any other member of the band because if you screw up on the drums, you’re really in trouble?

“Yeah, I’m really in trouble. I was just tellin’ a crowd the other night that I went to junior high school with him when we first started messin’ around playing together. So, that’s over 50 years. That was like the 1960s, so, yup, that same guy.”

Fifty years in does Norcia still get the same kicks out of it as he did in the beginning?

“That’s a great question. Yeah, I do and I think in different ways. I don’t know. You get older, you get wise to the world. Sometimes I see younger artists getting this recognition that in my mind they haven’t really paid their dues yet as far as getting out there and beating their heads against the wall and playing one-nighters for years and years and years and gathering our experience and knowledge. A lot of it’s not there. So, that sometimes gets on my nerves, but the music itself? It thrills me to death, always.”

Sugar Ray Norcia, real deal bluesman. His music comes from the heart. He couldn’t fake it if he tried. That kind of depth only comes from experiencing life with all its lumps and challenges.

“Yup, but the thing is (the young posers) are able to get over to a majority of people who are also young and impressionable. I mean, you think to yourself, man, I’m glad they’re getting over, but I think these people are being fed stuff and not realizing you really can’t trust ’em.

“I remember running into Victor Wainwright at the airport, and he said, ‘Thank you so much for all the groundwork that you laid out there, and all the effort you put into this music all these years. You paved the path for us younger guys.’”

Kim Wilson a few years ago told this reporter the members of the Fabulous Thunderbirds are all salaried employees who report to him as the boss. I asked Norcia if the Bluetones are a democracy.

He laughed. “There’s different ways of going about that kind of thing, the politics of music and all that. I’m pretty much a democracy. I like the limelight like anybody. A musician has a certain amount of ego. I always have been known to share the stage completely with other soloists, and I don’t have a problem with any of that. It’s pretty much a democracy. As long as they do what I say!”

Visit Sugar Ray’s website at: www.sugarrayandthebluetones.com

Interviewer Don Wilcock has been writing about blues for nearly half a century. He wrote Damn Right I’ve Got The Blues, the biography that helped Buddy Guy jumpstart his career in 1991. He’s interviewed more than 5000 Blues artists and edited several music magazines including King Biscuit Time.


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Mississippi Valley Blues Society – Davenport, IA

The Mississippi Valley Blues Society is pleased to present these upcoming shows.

Fri., Aug 17 7:30pm Too Slim & The Taildraggers Harley Corin’s Bett. $12, $10 for MVBS members, Sunday, Aug. 26 6:00pm David Gerald Viking Club Moline IL $12, $10 for MVBS members, Fri., Sept. 7, 6:00pm Tas Cru on the Celebration Belle Riverboat Moline, IL (“Blues Cruise”) Cost $25, Sunday, Oct. 7, 6:00pm Orphan Jon and The Abandoned Viking Club Moline IL $12, $10 for MVBS members. www.mvbs.org

The Sacramento Blues Society – Sacramento, CA

On the 10th Anniversary of the Sacramento Blues Society Hall of Fame Awards, we are proud to announce our 2018 Hall of Fame Inductees: AJ Joyce, Andy Santana, Jimmy Morello, RW Grigsby and a special posthumous Induction of Frankie Lee.

Join us for a very special two part Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on Sunday, September 30, 2018 at Harlow’s Restaurant & Nightclub, 2708 J Street, Sacramento, from 1-5 p.m. ,with special appearance by musical guest, The Daniel Castro Band.

Following the Induction Ceremony, there will be a Hall of Fame Showcase with the new Inductees and many previous Inductees at the nationally known Torch Club, 904 15t St., Sacramento, from 6-8 pm. Additional information at http://www.sacblues.com

Charlotte Blues Society – Charlotte, NC

The Charlotte Blues Society announces its upcoming IBC competitions. The Solo/Duo Challenge is September 2nd from 11:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. at the Rabbit Hole, 1801 Commonwealth Ave., Charlotte, NC 28205. The Winner receives $500 and represents CBS at the IBC Competition in Memphis in January, 2019. Free to members with valid cards; $5 to others.

The Band Challenge is October 7th from 6:00 – 10:00 p.m. at the Rabbit Hole, 1801 Commonwealth Ave., Charlotte, NC 28205. The Winner receives $1,000 and represents CBS at the IBC Competition in Memphis in January, 2019. Free to members with valid cards; $5 to others. Remember to bring donations for Loaves and Fishes. http://www.charlottebluessociety.org

The Illinois Central Blues Club – Springfield, IL

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

8/20 – The Scott Ellison Band, 8/27 – The Chris O’Leary Band, 9/3 – The Drifter Kings, 9/10 – Doug Deming & The Jewel Tones, 9/17/ – Laura Rain and the Caesars, 9/24 – Reverend Raven & The Chain Smokin’ Alter Boys featuring Westside Andy, 10/1 – Levee Town, 10/8 – Orphan Jon and The Abandoned, 10/15 – Jeff Jensen, 10/22 – Lindsay Beaver & The 24th St. Wailers, 10/29 – Murray Kinsley & Wicked Grin. For more information visit www.icbluesclub.org.

Crossroads Blues Society – Rockford, IL

Lyran Society’s monthly Friday fish fry – August 17 – New Savages, Shows free, run 7 to 10 PM.

The Ninth Annual Crossroads Blues Festival at Lyran Park is Saturday, August 25th. Noon to 10 PM, gates open at 11 AM. $5 advanced tickets,$10 at the gate. Free parking. Primitive camping $20 per night, available Friday and/or Saturday http://crossroadsbluessociety.com  or http://www.crossroadsbluesfestival.com has all the info!

Friends of the Blues – Kankakee, IL

Shows start at 7 pm, and are open to the public. Food and Beverages available at all Friends of the Blues shows. Aug 23 – Albert Castiglia, L’Erable IL, Tues, Sept 11 – Frank Bang & Cook County Kings, Venue TBA, Tues, Sept 25, Ivy Ford Band, Kankakee Valley Boat Club, Thur, Nov 29 – Reverend Raven & CSAB, Kankakee Valley Boat Club. More Info at: http://www.facebook.com/friendsoftheblues.

The Long Beach Blues Society – Long Beach, CA

The Long Beach Blues Society presents the “6 String Showdown,” a head-to-head series of regional blues guitar competitions to crown Southern California’s best blues guitar player, the winner getting to perform on the Main Stage of this year’s New Blues Festival V. Ewen Williams and Jesse Godoy emerged victorious from the OC Regionals at Campus Jax. Twenty-two guitarists go head-to-head at the Arcadia Blues Club, Saturday, August 4, 6 PM to midnight. Tickets at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/six-string-showdown-blues-guitar-competition-8-4-2018-arcadia-blues-club-tickets-45564876773.Four semi-finalists face off on the Golden Groove Stage at New Blues Festival V Saturday, September 1. Two finalists go head-to-head on the NBF Main Stage, Sunday, September 2. More info at www.6stringshowdown.com.


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