Issue 9-33 August 13, 2015

Cover photo by Bob Kieser © 2015 Blues Blast Magazine


  In This Issue 

Terry Mullins has our feature interview with Austin Walkin’ Cane. Our Video Of The Week is Taj Mahal. Rick Nation has photos and commentary from the Sunflower Blues And Gospel Fest. We have 8 music reviews for you including a 6 CD box set of vintage B.B, King recordings plus reviews of music by Reggie Wayne Morris, Christian Collin, Filmore Sims, Ian Siegal, Victor Wainwright & The Wildroots, Amy Hart and Sam Cockrell.

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


 From The Editor’s Desk 

Hey Blues Fans,

Have you heard about the BIGGEST blues event of the fall season yet?

Let me tell you about it. There will be 2 stages and 24 of the best of today’s Blues acts performing. Performances include Anthony Gomes Band, Andy T – Nick Nixon Band, Chris O’Leary Band, Tad Robinson, Oscar Wilson from The Cash Box Kings, Bob Corritore, Magnus Berg (all the way from Norway!), Dave Specter, Bobby Messano, Big Harp George, The Duo Sonics, Missy Andersen, Slam Allen, Ghost Town Blues Band, Markey Blue, Fo’ Reel Band, Slam Allen, John Ginty, Alexis P. Suter, Deb Ryder, Altered Five Blues Band, Reverend Raven & The Chain Smokin’ Altar Boys, Eight O’ Five Jive, Big Dave Mclean with Steve Dawson and Dan Phelps.

Where can you see a show like this?

At the 2015 Blues Blast Music Awards on September 25th in Champaign, Illinois of course. Tickets are going fast! Get yours now at: www.thebbmas.com/tickets/

VIP mini sponsorships that give you the best front row seats in the house, t-shirts, posters, more than 25 great Blues CDs to take home and much more, start at only $250 per couple. Check them out now CLICK HERE!

Wishing you health, happiness and lots of Blues music!

Bob Kieser



 Blues Want Ads 

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Blues Blast Magazine is looking for a few good writers to help us out. We need writers with journalism experience who know Blues and can complete one interview or story each week. We can provide access to the artists for interview, media credentials for festival coverage and downloads or physical Blues CDs, DVDs and books. These are paid positions but not considered fulltime position. The assignments are on a contract per story basis.

We will assign subjects and stories and also entertain your ideas too. These positions require professional writing/journalism experience.

If really loves the Blues and want to spread the Blues word you could be a good candidate! If you are interested, please send an email to info@bluesblastmagazine.com and tell us about your Blues background. 

Please include your resume and phone number with the email.



 Featured Blues Review – 1 of 8 

Reggie Wayne Morris – Don’t Bring Me Daylight

Blue Jay Sound

www.rwmband.com

https://www.facebook.com/RWMBlues/timeline

11 tracks; 46:05 minutes; Suggested

Styles: Electric Blues, “Boogie Woogie Rhythm & Rockin’ Blues”

“How can this guy be this good and not be nationally and internationally festival-famous?” These words are rarely spoken by this reviewer and Blues radio show programmer about a new CD, but in the case of Reggie Wayne Morris, they are true. One can imagine the large number of CD submissions received by the few radio stations that actually broadcast Blues music over the airwaves. Way too many of them leave us lamenting, not lauding.

Typically, our number one complaint about an unfamiliar artist is “can’t sing.” Here, on Morris’s third release, Don’t Bring Me Daylight, the smooth vocals are first rate. Secondly, too many CDs sent to our “Blues” radio show are not “Blues.” Morris’s album avoids any criticisms on that front by providing solid contemporary Blues as one will hear.

Raised on his grandparents farm in Charlottesville, Virginia, guitarist/singer/songwriter Reggie Wayne Morris is now based in the Baltimore, Maryland area. He was reared on Gospel and Blues, learning the guitar at an early age from musical family members. Reggie’s up-tempo guitar style developed from listening to Jimi Hendrix and B.B. King and fusing their influences with his own unique approach to create his “Boogie Woogie Rhythm & Rockin’ Blues” that allowed him to tour Italy, France, Hawaii, and the U.S. with an appearance at Carnegie Hall as a “career milestone.” He has the distinction of being the only artist to perform at the Baltimore Blues Society Festival nine consecutive years, having the unique opportunity to be both the opening and closing act on one particularly memorable occasion.

This current release pays homage to the past by showcasing contemporary, witty and humorous lyrics that speak to listeners of today with all original songs composed by himself and Gerald “Gypsy” Robinson, with one track by Ceophus Palmer. Joining Morris’s guitar and vocals in the studio are: drummers Chuck Fuerte and Ezell Jones, bass players Vinny Hunter, Pete Kanaras, Chris Sellman, and Ray Tilkens, along with keyboardists – Mark Stevens and Bob Borderman.

Cleverly switching an old cliché (son of a blues “man”), Reggie kicks off his set with “Son of a Blues Fan.” It is right from the opening piercing guitar notes that listeners are introduced to real deal, modern sounds that are upbeat, full in production, and thoroughly enjoyable. Morris sings with aplomb, “I was sitting on my daddy’s knee; he was listening to ‘The Things I Used to Do’”. Meanwhile, Stevens’ organ is pumping the melody under Morris’s guitar, all propelled by Jones on drums and Sellman on bass.

Attention new “Blues” artists: it is still ok to play actual 12 bar Blues! If you need tutoring, just listen to “I used to have a Woman” with its authentic feel and theme. Stevens’ organ is again nicely utilized on “Sign My Check” as Morris invokes the humor in the lyrics and punctuates it all on swinging guitar. Reflecting some influence from fellow Baltimore area Bluesman, Charles “Big Daddy” Stallings, Morris brings smiles on a wonderfully bouncy “Another Can of Worms.”

The title track is another example of Morris’s clever turn of a phrase. When a lover is out for the evening with friends and running late, what is the absolute last thing the partner wants brought home? According to Reggie, “… bring it on home on time … don’t bring me ‘daylight’; you know I won’t understand!”

Slowing the tempo and pouring on the Southern Soul, Morris tells it straight about his devotion to his woman on “Ball & Chain.” Similar in musical style, “Too Many Cooks” echoes the familiar theme found in the old classic song “Too Many Drivers at the Wheel.”

Full of traditional sounds, this CD excels in expressing contemporary topics and issues by using bright new musical approaches. There is even a soulful ballad, “Meet Me,” and a surprising Reggae style on the closing “God Loves You.”

It is so refreshing to receive a new CD full of infectious passion, charm, and humor. With his knack for incredible, modern, real deal Blues music, Reggie Wayne Morris should soon be “nationally and internationally festival-famous!”

Reviewer James “Skyy Dobro” Walker is a noted Blues writer, DJ, Master of Ceremonies, and Blues Blast contributor. His weekly radio show “Friends of the Blues” can be heard Saturdays 7 to 11 pm on WKCC 91.1 FM and at http://www.wkccradio.org in Kankakee, IL.




 Featured Blues Interview – Austin Walkin’ Cane 

Since its re-opening in 1987, you would probably need an abacus that stretched from here to the moon and back to count the number of visitors that have entered through the doors of Sun Studio in Memphis, Tennessee.

However, when you’re looking to tally up the number of folks that have given their wedding nuptials at the modest building that is now a National Historic Landmark, one hand would be more than sufficient for counting.

And when you’re viewing the roll call of those that were married at Sun Studio and then immediately began laying down tracks at the place that helped give rise to Elvis, B.B., The Wolf and Ike … that distinction pretty much solely belongs to Cleveland-based bluesman Austin ‘Walkin’ Cane’ Charanghat and his wife, Karen.

“Well, we were looking to go to Memphis and get married and my wife is a big ’50s-era fan of Elvis. So we checked into getting married at Graceland, but they wanted a crazy amount of money for about 15 minutes. Then I thought about Sun Studio – which was still a functioning studio – and about how people like The Wolf recorded there, along with Ike Turner and all the rock-n-rollers,” Walkin’ Cane recently said. “So I got in contact with Sun and they said, ‘Sure, you can get married here. That would be great.’ It happened to be Martin Luther King Jr. Day of 2002 and we went and got a judge and got married and Sun Studio didn’t charge us anything for using the studio to get married. So I asked about recording a few songs after the ceremony in there – that way I could give them some money for being kind to me and my wife – and they said, ‘That would be great.’ It was a very spontaneous thing.”

‘Spontaneous thing’ or not, what Walkin’ Cane emerged from Sun Studio with – besides of course, a brand-new bride – was seven or eight songs captured in the afterglow of his wedding ceremony.

“I recorded the songs on a guitar that Marty Stuart gave to Sun Studio and then we came home and my wife and I moved into our place and some friends came by one day and I played them the tunes (cut at Sun) while we were sitting there talking and one of them said, ‘Wow. You caught a pretty-good vibe there. Why don’t you make a record out of it? So with that in mind, I said, ‘Yeah, why not?’”

That ensuing album was named for the location of Sun Studio – 706 Union Avenue.

“We did that record and it was really the start of my whole love of acoustic-style blues in a lot of ways. It (the wedding and recording session) was really a great time. One of my friends from Kansas City showed up and then another friend of mine who happened to be driving to Florida turned up and that was kinda’ cool and then my dad came down, too. My mom was kind of afraid to fly then, because of 9/11, but it was beautiful – just a great moment in time. I was told that my wife and I were the second people to be married there since it re-opened in 1987. So we did something that was different and interesting and I’m always looking for a story.”

Based just on the above proceedings alone, it’s easy to see that Walkin’ Cane is a man who enjoys things a bit off the beaten path. But that hardly tells the whole story of Austin ‘Walkin’ Cane’ Charanghat. He also seems to possess the intestinal fortitude of a field full of stout oxen and has never let anything get in his way of playing the blues. That includes losing his lower-left leg almost 20 years ago to an arterial venous malformation that had plagued him since birth.

“It was just a combination of bad circulation and bad bone and over the course of time, the arteries and veins were almost tangled in knots – they were larger than they were supposed to be. If I was active, the blood would rush to those areas and not drain quick enough and my leg would just inflate and become huge,” he said. “By the time I was 16, I had to walk with a cane and I went to about a million hospitals and saw about as many doctors as that to see what they would say. After years of seeing different doctors as a child, I finally saw this one surgeon and on our first meeting, he said, ‘You should probably just cut it off.’ I went, ‘Whoa.’ I was not expecting that. Well, when I was about 26, I had broken it (his left leg) swimming in a pool. As the doctor was putting a cast on it, I thought, ‘I’m not doing this anymore.’ I had tried therapy and treatments for 10 years just to try and save that leg. It had started to really occupy all my time and my thoughts and I had gotten kind of sickly, because I was so down all the time … mentally, physically, spiritually … I was just out of whack because of my leg. So I said, ‘Let’s take it off.’”

It wasn’t like he had let his malady slow him down – musically speaking – before the amputation of his lower-left leg, but things are certainly moving full-speed ahead for the big guy these days. He’s endorsed by notable companies like National Reso-Phonic, Rocky Mountain Slide Company, Dr. Z Amplifiers and Ernie Ball Strings.

Very impressive and as his Web site so eloquently puts it: ‘Damn Fine Blues.’

“It was about 20-some years ago and I was at a gig, and I think it was our bass player who said, ‘Man, these are some damn fine fries.’ And I said, ‘Wait a minute … that would be good for our thing … damn fine blues.’ And it sorta’ stuck, but it was really kind of a joke,” he said. “But as time has progressed, I’m playing a different style of blues than I used to, a lot more Mississippi-, Clarksdale- and King Biscuit-influenced, as opposed to some of the electric stuff I did. But not matter what I play, it’s going to be bluesy. So ‘Damn Fine Blues’ just kind of covers it …you know, ‘What do you do?’ Well, ‘I do the Damn Fine Blues.’ That kind of covers it.”

That fluidity and willingness to readily change between styles has always seemed to suit Walkin’ Cane and it also keeps him from being pigeon-holed into a particular corner.

“Yeah, I can do North Mississippi Hill County blues or a B.B. King kind of thing, which are two totally different styles, but they both do fall under the bigger umbrella of the blues,” he said.

Walkin’ Cane’s newest album – One Heart Walkin’ (Lazy Eye Records) – may not be filled with visions of sugar plums and mistletoe, but apparently its origins can be traced back to the most wonderful time of the year.

“We have a Christmas band with about nine people in it and we write Christmas songs, because we’re sick of everybody else’s,” he laughed. “It was really kind of a joke that started off as a party and all our musician friends would come out and we’d do a few standards and then we’d write these goofy songs and everybody would sing a line – regardless of whether they could sing or not. We’d record these parties and after about five years, we realized we had about 40 songs. So we ended up writing a Christmas record … then it was time to record a blues record.”

Even though it was fueled by the creativity left swirling around from the Christmas album, One Heart Walkin’ was still left facing a major dilemma before it would see the light of day: finances.

“I really didn’t have any money for it (One Heart Walkin’), but I ended up getting (job recording) a commercial, so that gave me half the money and then I managed to come up with the other half myself,” he said. “But that kind of fits the whole vibe, because it was a very spontaneous record – I think we may have rehearsed once for it. But it’s a pretty straight-forward blues record, so if you’re well-versed in it, it’s not too hard to figure it out.”

The album was recorded at an old Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.) hall, situated not too far outside Cleveland.

“The building was built in 1850 and there would be a lot of Civil War veterans that would hang out there. It also used to be an old school house … it’s just a really creaky, old, slightly-tilted, sinking building. There would be a lot of semi-trucks driving by (during recording) and they ended up being on the record, which I really enjoy. You know, the stupid nuances of our records.”

Besides the real-deal blues, the album has a dash of funky New Orleans’ hoodoo running through it, courtesy of Walkin’ Cane’s friends – The Revolution Brass Band.

“The song “Who’s Gonna Love You?” does have a pretty heavy New Orleans’ feel to it and for the song I had in my mind that I was on the street corner in New Orleans playing with a drummer behind me and then this brass band comes walking up on their way to a gig and sees what’s going on and they jump in,” he said. “So we had that vibe in mind when we cut that tune. The producer, Don Dixon, told the horn section that when they finished playing (on the song), he wanted them to keep on playing and just walk out of the building. So we propped the door open and they finished playing and walked right out the door. That made for a natural fade on the tune … but you’d never know it, except for the people that were there. It was kinda’ neat and it ended up with a vibe that I’d never really captured on record before.”

A large part of the palpable feeling of being in the moment that permeates One Heart Walkin’ has to be due to the fact that not only were the tunes authored fairly quickly, but that the album itself was laid down to tape with hyper-speed efficiency.

“The whole thing was recorded in a day-and-a-half …. and then we started working on the next record. But I usually work on about two records at a time,” he said. “We had extra time (during the sessions for One Heart Walkin’) so we used it to start the next one and I figure we’ve got about half of it done now.”

The end result was that One Heart Walkin’ was nominated for Best New Artist Album at the 36th annual Blues Music Awards (BMAs), an accolade that kind of sneaked up on Walkin’ Cane.

“Well, people that I trust were saying nice things about it, so I submitted it to the BMAs, but really didn’t think anything of it. I really didn’t think I had a chance, because I’m an independent guy without a label or a booking agent and play primarily in the Cleveland area, although I do travel all over,” he said. “Well, I got an e-mail from the Blues Foundation that started off, ‘Dear BMA nominee.’ I happened to wake up at about 7 a.m. that morning and just glanced at my e-mails and then rolled over and went back to bed. Then around noon, I saw that e-mail again and almost deleted it, thinking it was like spam or something. But then I remembered I had submitted the album, so I checked out the message in the e-mail and sure enough, there it was – I had been nominated. It was probably one of the greatest honors I’ve ever had. It was a huge shock, but very nice … I just hope that something good comes of it.”

Although it might seem to some that Walkin’ Cane could be labeled as a ‘Johnny-come-lately’ or ‘new kid on the block,’ the fact is, he’s been playing the blues for 31 years now. His sound, style and even outlook on playing the blues has obviously undergone several changes over the course of those three decades as well – including a transformation from full-blown electric band mode into more of a solo acoustic act.

“Earlier in my career, I tended to write mainly toward Chicago-styled blues, like the old-school Muddy and Howlin’ Wolf. Then in 2007 and ’08 when the economy dipped, we were getting (from club owners) a lot of, ‘We can’t afford you guys,’ or ‘Can you play two hours instead of four?’ But to be honest, my heart was already starting to drift toward just doing acoustic music,” he said. “So I decided to give it a shot – just so I could survive. Plus, I really love playing solo blues. And it seems like around most cities, there’s really not a whole lot of guys doing the solo acoustic blues that often. So that’s what I started doing.”

As would be par for the course, Walkin’ Cane’s entire style of playing changed after he switched directions.

“It really did, in a lot of ways. You try to be a whole band, but just by yourself. It started evolving and at that time I was really getting into boogie – stuff like John Lee Hooker, along with R.L. Burnside and Junior Kimbrough and T-Model Ford and Robert Belfour. I found that style to be so hypnotizing and I always loved that aspect of music. It’s like as a musician, you’re going off somewhere and nobody knows if you’re gonna’ make it back or not. I love that feeling – sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.”

That acoustic awakening within Walkin’ Cane also ended up having a pretty significant impact on his songwriting, as well.

“I started writing songs that were more like just one chord, really dwelling on how I could make songs with just one chord sound bigger. I wasn’t looking to keep the song the same all the way through, what I wanted was for it to progress and build it all the way through. I’d listen to Mississippi John Hurt and Blind Blake and Charley Patton and of course, Robert Johnson, and take that music as a foundation to build my own stuff on. My music is steeped in the roots and true to the old school, but yet it doesn’t sound like it’s from the ’20s or ’30s – it sounds like something kind of modern. That’s how my sound evolved and I’m still in that mode. I don’t know long I’ll be in that mode … I would assume it will last forever, but you never know.”

One thing’s for sure – it doesn’t matter if he’s playing in an electric setting, or is up on the bandstand with himself and a harp player, or even all alone with just an acoustic guitar – Austin ‘Walkin’ Cane’ Charanghat is going to be playing the blues.

“There are a million people better than me and even a few that are worse than me, but I feel pretty confident in my playing, you know? I really feel confident in myself and I think that’s a big part of the blues, personally. You go out there and you’re playing a three-chord song for two hours. Well, how are you going to make that interesting? That’s the challenge. How are you going to keep people entertained? How are you going to keep yourself entertained?”

Though he might not have realized it as such at the time when he was dragging around crutches for two straight years between the ages of 17 and 19, or when he spent the better part of a decade with a cane as his constant companion, his childhood aliment did turn out to be something of a blessing.

“My leg was really the reason I started playing guitar. It turned out to be a life-changing thing. I really couldn’t move around very well, so I started playing an instrument. I’d just sit around and play guitar for hours on end,” he said. “I mean, I missed a lot of time at school because of my leg, so playing the guitar gave me something to occupy my time with. That was my way of passing the time.”

It was about the time that his high school band of nine or 10 years was breaking up that Walkin’ Cane ended up in the Big Easy for a spell. It was also there at that time when ‘Walkin’ Cane’ went from a mode of transportation help to becoming a permanent nickname for Austin Charanghat. As he was playing on Bourbon Street, a homeless man shouted out, ‘Hey, Walkin’ Cane – got some spare change for a brother?’ Instead of taking umbrage, or lashing out at the putdown hurled his way, Charanghat looked at things from a more mature angle.

“I was like, ‘You know, I am going to be on a cane for the rest of my life.’ This way I could sell records to the day I die … so it stuck. But the only drag now is, since I cut off the leg, I don’t need a cane anymore,” he laughed. “I think a lot of people now wonder why I’m called Walkin’ Cane because I don’t walk with a cane. I don’t even walk with a limp. It screwed up the name, but I don’t care.”

Visit Austin’ website at: www.walkincane.com

Photos by Bob Kieser © 2015 Blues Blast Magazine

Blues Blast Magazine Senior Writer Terry Mullins is a journalist, author and former record store owner whose personal taste in music is the sonic equivalent of Attention Deficit Disorder. Works by the Bee Gees, Captain Beefheart, Black Sabbath, Earth, Wind & Fire and Willie Nelson share equal space with Muddy Waters, The Staples Singers and R.L. Burnside in his compact disc collection. He’s also been known to spend time hanging out on the street corners of Clarksdale, Miss., eating copious amounts of barbecued delicacies while listening to the wonderful sounds of the blues.



 Featured Blues Review – 2 of 8 

Christian Collin – Spirit of the Blues

C-Train Records

www.christiancollin.com

12 tracks/52 minutes

Christian Collin offers up a great original album of original music with Spirit of the Blues. This is his second as a solo artist; he also released two with his first band Molasses, a blues rock band. Featuring Collin on vocals and guitar, Alex Evans on bass and Chris Morris on drums, there are also a number of guests who appear and make solid contributions. Billy Branch and Matthew Skoller play harp, Johnny Iguana is on piano and organ, Pete Galanis (from Howard and the White Boys) plays some slide, Jen Williams does backing vocals and Rodney Brown and his cadre add their horns.

Born in the Detroit area, Christian Collin makes his home in Chicago. His father was an A&R man for Capitol Records and also was road manager for Bob Seger. Attending a Little Feat concert in 1979 when Lowell George was still with the band was a hugely influencing moment for 13 year old Christian. He has spent the last 15 perfecting his craft playing the blues across the Midwest.

“One and Only” opens the CD. The liner notes say Collin plays rock with a blues flair and this song is proof. It’s a rocker with lots of bluesy influences. Collin lets it all hang loose, Iguana lights p the B-3 an Jen and Christian do a bang up job on vocals. The blues are alive in “Player’s Game” with Skoller blowing some very greasy and cool harp. The beat has a fast tempo and Iguana fills in well; very danceable stuff! “A Woman Like You” follows with the same crew. Collin adds a little country feel to the blues rock and Skoller pumps the harp to make this another hi tempo-ed danceable cut. Collin wails on his guitar and Skoller again blows some great harp. Next up is “Dance the Blues Away,” this time sans harp. Collins delivers another bluesy vocal with Williams big in support. Iguana does double duty here as he did the prior cut, playing piano and B-3. Collin’s “Without You” adds Brian Leach on clavinet. Williams moans as the song intros and Collins adds some funky guitar as the tempo turns to the sultry and sublime. The song is a nice soulful blues ballad as Collins and Williams deliver the good and the two keyboardists and flavor to the punch. Collins’ guitar sings and stings on the solo. The next cut is “Spirit of the Blues,” a deep, slow blues with some poignant guitar to open the cut. Collins then gets into the vocal as he tells us of the spirit and feeling of the blues. Iguana remains solid in support, but Collins delivers the vocals and more sweet licks on his guitar.

Skoller returns on “Highway Song,” a bouncing and driving cut that opens to Collins and Skoller sparring on guitar and harp. This is another impressive performance and song that audiences will get on their feet for. In “Blues for You” Collins delivers a cool mid tempo blues with a driving groove. Collins gives another nice, big solo on his guitar, too, as the pace and intensity build up. “Dead Man Walking” is a slower cut, a dark song that portrays desperation with what the one sheet calls a “hypnotic rhythm.” Can’t argue with that! Very cool. Galanis comes in for the slide on this next one: “Old 109” is a very bouncy song with Skoller adding his harp to the mix. A driving beat, big harp and slide make this one an impressive and hot number! “The River” is an unplugged cut with Billy Branch adding some thoughtful harp to Collins’ finger picking. Delta blues styled, Collins shows a little versatility here. He breaks into a bigger guitar solo and picks up the pace a little and Branch follow s his lead. The album closes with “Forever Friends,” which opens with an almost country sound as the guitar and horns set the tone. Iguana’s B-3 lends a hand to sell that flavor as do Collins’ vocals. It’s a somewhat country blues rock ballad, and is a nice closer for a very good CD. Collins adds his stamp with a big solo and the horns add fullness and smoothness to the cut.

All in all, this a good CD. I’d not heard Christian Collin before that I can recall and I enjoyed his effort here. When I saw all the Chicago players on the CD I was expecting more straight up Chicago blues, but Collins made this his own sound and deliver a dozen well-crafted and interesting songs. It was a very enjoyable listen and I’m sure I will savor it many more times.

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.



 Featured Blues Review – 3 of 8 

Filmore Sims – Walking On Dangerous Ground

(unknown label)

(no web site for album)

CD: 10 songs; 47:08

style: Down-home blues

On the one-page CD insert of my copy of the elusive album Walkin’ On Dangerous Ground by Filmore Sims, someone has hand-written “Clarence Sims is Fillmore Slim.” That’s true enough, notwithstanding the extra “l” in “Fillmore” (or the missing one on the CD itself), and that’s most of the info provided on the album besides the song titles. The sheet does list John Clifton on harmonica and guitar, but who else plays (guitar, piano, bass, drums), who wrote the songs, who put out the album and when, are all unknown.

Clarence Sims’s résumé seems more in tune with hiphop than blues. He’s a former pimp, who figures prominently in the 1999 film “American Pimp” but also celebrates pimpdom in The GodFather: The Real Fillmore Slim where a group of articulate and sometimes funny pimps can almost make you forget what a lousy business they are in. Sims did his time for it, and if he hasn’t come to see it in a more enlightened way, at least he seems to be retired from that line of work.

Sims emerged as a major blues artist performing at the famed Eli’s Mile High club in Oakland and recording his debut album Born To Sing The Blues as Clarence “Guitar” Sims for club owner Troyce Key. He took full advantage of growing up in New Orleans to hone his talent and become a true, convincing blues singer. On albums after that, he has used his pimp-nickname Fillmore Slim (named after Fillmore Street in San Francisco, his work territory).

On Walkin’ On Dangerous Ground Sims’ band is at times just perfectly slightly out-of-tune, and the not-quite hi-fi audio quality also works to his advantage. It is refreshing to hear songs with the rough-hewn inexactness of real blues and a true blues singer singing them, in this era of blues-rock and an endless parade of “guitar-Gods.” Sims opens with a song about his own Louisiana heritage “I’ll Play The Blues” and then proceeds to do just that.

“Dedicated To Johnny,” a tribute to his friend Johnny “Guitar” Watson, is funky and grainy. Most of the other songs offer standard fare situations that blues songs take on – – initial attraction before knowing anything about the person in “The Lady And The Stranger” and the dangers in seeing a married woman in the album’s title track. On “Blues Doctor” Sims offers to write a blues prescription for his “patient;” on “Application For A New Love” he seeks a new partner after his current one has wronged him. The only actual disappointment is “Young Superfly” which is a take-off on Curtis Mayfield’s “Superfly” that doesn’t quite take off.

The last two songs may provide a clue as to why this album is so hard to locate. Each is an exact match for a song on a 1996 album by “Fillmore Sims” (with two l’s in “Fillmore”) called It’s Going To Be My Time After While from the Uptown Video label, and all the songs do sound like they were recorded at one time and place. Hey, buddy, come over here in the alley; wanna buy a cool blues CD?

Reviewer Jonny Meister is the host and producer of “The Blues Show” WXPN-FM Philadelphia and also host and producer of “Blue Dimensions” PRX (Public Radio Exchange)



 Featured Blues Review – 4 of 8 

Ian Siegal – The Picnic Sessions

www.iansiegal.com

Nugene Records

16 songs – 50 minutes

The UK has produced several generations of great blues guitarists, from the initial wave of Eric Clapton, Peter Green, Jeff Beck and Rory Gallagher in the 1960s, to the latest “young bloods” such as Mark Harrison, Dave Dixon, Brian Carpy and Johnny Wright. 44 year-old Ian Siegal has actually been around for a while now, winning numerous British Blues Awards and being nominated for various US Blues Music Awards, without ever becoming the household name his talents deserve. If there is any justice in the world, however, that may be about to change.

As Blues Blast Magazine readers will know from his 05 July 2015 cover story, Siegal has had a particularly busy few months, releasing the acoustic ensemble work of The Picnic Sessions, the full-on electric blues of One Night in Amsterdam and the solo acoustic Man & Guitar (recorded at the Royal Albert Hall).

Let’s not beat around the bush here: The Picnic Sessions is an absolute gem. Featuring the serious talents of Siegal, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Cody Dickinson, Luther Dickinson and Jimbo Mathus, The Picnic Sessions shows what can happen when five musicians with a love of blues and roots Americana get together and play an sing, with no predetermined idea of the outcome.

Siegal explains the background to The Picnic Sessions as follows: “In June 2013 I went to the North Mississippi Hill Country Picnic, a festival near the town of Oxford MS and home turf for the Dickinson brothers and Alvin Youngblood Hart, my cohorts in the Mississippi Mudbloods. It’s also local to Jimbo Mathus, who I had long wanted to meet. Everyone was free the next day and up for a jam, so we piled into the Dickinson’s Zebra Ranch studio, sat in a semi-circle, campfire-style around some old ribbon microphones, and played and sang. It was a case of turn on the old tape machine and see what happens.”

Of course, the result could have been a directionless, self-indulgent mess. Thankfully, however, they produced a joyful, love-filled, magical mess, all recorded in two leisurely afternoon sessions. There are some traditional covers, some old Siegal songs and some that were written on the spot. Of the 16 tracks on the album, there are actually 10 songs, together with six tracks of conversation and out-takes, each of which adds to the sense that this album was a lot of fun to make.

The album is entirely acoustic, with guitars, mandolin, mandocello, harmonica and banjo all featuring highly, as a variety of different voices take the lead vocals (albeit primarily Siegal). From the weeping slide of “Hard Times (Come Again No More)” to the traditional Mississippi country blues of “Stone Cold Soul” and from the Johnny Cash-esque “Talkin’ Overseas Pirate Blues” to the New Orleans-flavoured “Only Tryin’ To Survive”.

The Picnic Sessions is a delight from start to finish. If your tastes extend to the roots/Americana of artists like Peter Mulvey, Jeffrey Foucault and Chris Smither, you will definitely want to check out this album. It’s a grower and a keeper.

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.



 Featured Blues Review – 5 of 8 

Victor Wainwright & The Wildroots – Boom Town

Blind Pig Records – 2015

www.vwwroots.com

13 tracks; 44 minutes

‘The Piana From Savannah’ returns with his large band The Wildroots on a first release for Blind Pig (who also issued the Southern Hospitality set in 2013). As always Victor is the larger-than-life frontman on vocals, piano and organ with regulars Stephen Dees on bass, Nick Black on guitar, Billy Dean on drums, Patricia Ann Dees on tenor sax and occasional vocals, Ray Guiser on tenor sax, Charlie DeChant on baritone sax and Stephen Kampa on harmonica. Guests include guitarists Robert ‘Top’ Thomas, Ernie Lancaster and fellow SOHO bandmate JP Soars, Chris Stephenson on Hammond, Beth McKee on backing vocals and Juan Perez on percussion, each of whom are present on one track. The material is all original and was mainly written by Stephen Dees who also produced, arranged and engineered the recordings; Victor co-wrote two tracks and produced one on his own.

The album opens with the title track, Victor on piano and Chris Stephenson on swirling Hammond and the horns beefing up the sound. Victor’s deep and gruff vocals evoke Dr. John as he sings of the boom town where a good night out seems guaranteed. After “raising hell on Saturday night” Victor recommends going to church in “Saturday Night Sunday Morning”, a terrific piece of rock and roll with Victor weighing in with some great boogie piano and the horns offering fine support. Victor then seems to be in some bother with his lady in “Stop Bossin’ Me Baby” as he shares vocal verses with guitarist Nick and then sings some scat along with Nick’s guitar. “If It Ain’t Got Soul” follows and is credited as ‘Part 1’ though no second part appears here – one for a future album? It’s a standout track too as the band conjures up memories of Little Feat in their prime, Victor supplying some tough vocals and twinkling piano, the harp and horns feature and it’s a whole band piece which concludes that “if it ain’t got soul, it don’t roll”. In complete contrast “When The Day Is Done” goes back to the oldest traditions of gospel with a very simple accompaniment of Juan’s percussion, harp, acoustic guitar and bass, Beth McKee’s backing vocals adding a real gospel feel.

A song that might have been perfect for Victor’s other band Southern Hospitality is the very enjoyable “Genuine Southern Hospitality” which rolls in with Ernie Lancaster’s slide, horns and Victor’s great piano. However, as this is one of Stephen’s solo compositions it may not be eligible for SOHO, which is their loss as it’s one of the best tracks here. “Two Lane Blacktop Revisited” is a boogie-woogie tune with Victor singing of his love of Memphis with drummer Billy setting a furious pace that Victor is more than capable of following throughout! “Wildroot Farm” takes things down as Victor shares the vocals with Patricia who has a very pleasant voice which contrasts well with Victor’s gruff tones, harpist Stephen providing a fine back-porch feel to celebrate this fictitious farm. Victor gives us a solo boogie-woogie in “Piana’s Savannah Boogie” which, combined with the earlier duet with his drummer certainly shows the man’s piano talents.

On “The Devil’s Bite” Victor sounds like Tom Waits and the song bears some similarities with Tom’s work as Victor sings of the dangers that lie in wait for the unwary. This is an acoustic tune with JP Soars on lead acoustic and Nick playing the basic rhythm, also on acoustic. The horns return to the fore on the last three cuts: “Reaper’s On The Prowl” finds Victor again in Dr John mode (suiting the rather ominous lyrics) and playing a fine swirling organ solo, the horns adding their support discretely in the background; “Back On Top” is more of a conventional blues with Robert ‘Top’ Thomas being name-checked at the start and the horns taking a larger role on a pleasantly swinging number; the closing instrumental “Wildroot Rumble” has a latin feel and provides an opportunity for everyone to feature – Nick’s rumbling rhythm part is backed by the horns and there are solos for Stephen’s harp, Victor’s piano and, in particular, Nick’s guitar, really the only time he gets to cut loose on the album. Even the rhythm section gets to feature towards the end!

This album is sure to cement Victor’s position in the piano section of the blues world and there are several good tracks though this reviewer would have liked to hear more of the fine horn players who are mainly used in a supporting role. However, all credit to Victor and, in particular, Stephen Dees for having the courage to issue an entirely original set.

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.



 Video Of the Week – Taj Mahal 

Here is Blues legend Taj Mahal playing his version of the classic “Statesboro Blues”. You can hear Taj Mahal live at the Illinois Blues Festival on Saturday, September 5th at 8:30pm. To see all of the great artists at this years Illinois Blues Festival, visit their website at www.illinoisbluesfestival.com.



 Featured Live Blues Review – Sunflower Blues & Gospel Festival 

What’s hotter than the Mississippi delta in the middle of August? The Blues lineup offered at this year’s Sunflower Blues and Gospel Festival! Thousands of fans braved the 110 degree heat index in Clarksdale, MS to enjoy a smorgasbord of blues styles ranging from delta to international. In its 28th year, the festival is listed as one of America’s top 10 places to hear authentic music, as rated by USA Weekend. With the increasing popularity of blues music in Europe, many “music tourists” could be seen roaming the streets of downtown Clarksdale, dining on delta fare, and enjoying the talents of local performers. There were over a dozen credentialed photographers from Italy alone.

Pat Thomas                                    Rita Engedalen

Events kicked off Friday night with the annual “Grits, Greens, and Barbeque” dinner under the VIP tent. Saturday morning the same setting hosted the acoustic stage featuring several local artists and this year’s educational program titled “Women in Blues”. Norwegian Grammy award winner Rita Engedalen and her “Blues sister” Margit Bakken entertained with cover and original selections written or inspired by some of the great female artists in blues history, like Memphis Minnie, Bessie Smith, and Janis Joplin.

At noon the main stage’s opening act was Sharde Turner and the All Star Fife and Drum Band.

Arkansas bluesman Lucious Spiller set the mood for the rest of the day with his unique blend of blues styles ranging from Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, and Albert King, to Prince and Stevie Ray Vaughan.

Clarksdale’s own guitar prodigy, Christone “Kingfish” Ingram, followed with a set that continued to bump it up a notch. With fingers flying, he walked among the crowd drawing such a following of fans and photographers that someone referred to him as the “Pied Picker of Clarksdale”.

Heavy Suga’ and the SweeTones featuring bassist Heather Crosse performed next, providing selections from her new CD “Groovin’ at the Crosse Roads” set for its USA release on September 4.

Crosse is also a member of the Girls with Guitars tour currently playing the Midwestern United States.

Clarksdale icon James “Super Chikan” Johnson lit up the stage with his variety of handmade guitars and a Diddley-bow referred to as “chicken on a stick”.

Headliners for the night were a repeat performance by Norway’s Queen of the Blues, Rita Engedalen, and Stax recording star, singer-songwriter William Bell, perhaps best known for penning the Albert King hit, “Born under a Bad Sign”.

Through the years, the Sunflower Fest has hosted a variety of greats…Bobby Rush, Latimore, and Robert Plant, just to name a few. Sometimes overshadowed by Clarksdale’s spring event, Juke Joint Festival, Sunflower offers a more intimate, up-close exposure to current and future stars of the Blues world. Next year’s Fest is slated for August 12-14, 2016. Better book your room soon!

Photos and commentary by Rick Nation © 2015



 Featured Blues Review – 6 of 8 

B.B. King – Complete Recordings 1949 – 1962

Enlightenment Records

6 discs/168 tracks

The passing of BB King is pushing music lovers, collectors and labels to come up with many retrospectives of his work. This one intrigued me as it was touted as a complete collection of B.B. early years on Crown Records. While it falls just a tad short of being complete, it is an immense and inexpensive collection of the vast majority of his releases for Crown and a great way to savor the flavor of the early King of the Blues.

Enlightenment Records is a London, England based label that specializes in retrospectives of blues, jazz and other artists. The low price makes it appealing, and the recording quality is generally pretty good, considering Crown was somewhat of an infamous discount label. Crown Records was the budget LP label for the Bihari Brothers, the men who ran the Modern and RPM labels. Crown started in December, 1953; they began reissuing Modern and RPM hits but their albums were lacking in the quality standards. They issued and reissued albums in mono and stereo and their lack quality control overflowed into their numbering and labeling of their records and along with poor pressing and packaging.

RPM first recorded B.B. on 78 rpm records. There were 75 sides total; one record had an alternate B side so that is why the number is not even. They also released the singles on 45 rpm records under the RPM label. RPM 304 with “Mistreats Woman/B.B. Boogie” was the first one released in 1950 on both 45 and 78. They later they switched in 1958 to issuing sides on the Kent 45 record label instead of RPM, the first of which was “You Know I Go For You/Why Do Everything Happen To Me.” You can easily find these record labels and their complete discographies on the internet as I did and see the body of work with all the other artists they recorded. B.B. was one of if not their most prolific artist, issuing 38 records on RPM and 59 more 45’s on Kent, a whopping 194 sides! That was the equivalent of 20 albums.

Crown Records sold in supermarkets, drug stores and in the discount racks. The fact that B.B. was relegated to the discount record racks may have worked to his favor. Despite the poor quality of the album pressings and cheaply made covers, they were more affordable and accessible to the general public because of their lower price. People who loved his singles could pick up albums at low prices to get more of the King. They waited over seven years from his first single to press an album for B.B.

Singin’ The Blues in 1957 was the first album the Bihari’s released of B.B. King. It was initially issued in mono only. It was reissued 11 more times by Crown and other labels over the years, and eventually it went from 10 to 12 songs. This was typical for all the reissues. In 1958 they released The Blues, the first of 8 releases of B.B.’s second album. 1959 saw the release of a B.B. King Wails and a Gospel album, B.B. King Sings Sprituals. It was released 8 more times. 6 versions of The Great B.B. King and 10 versions of King of the Blues were released in 1960 as was Compositions of Duke Ellington and Others. Sinatra was B.B.’s hero and he paid a little tribute with these standards; they would get 3 more reissues. 1961 saw the initial releases of My Kind of Blues and More B.B. King (they respectively would undergo 9 and 7 overall releases each). Easy Listening Blues and Twist with B.B. King were released in 1962. The former had five more releases but Twist was only released that one time. Created to cash in on the Chubby Checker dance craze, the twisting songs were unfortunately left off this new release. B.B. switched to ABC/Paramount Records in 1963, but Crown continues with Blues in My Heart (6 versions) and B.B. King (10 versions) were released by them after ABC released Mr. Blues. That is the extent of this new release as his next Kent Albums were done in 1965 along with two ABC records. 13 albums were released in his name on Crown.

So much of B.B.’s stuff charted over the years and that is what gained him notice. Despite his success, my research shows some of his early recorded stuff never made it to vinyl in the early days. This set has 13 tracks that Crown/Kent apparently never released on LP:

  • Boogie Rock

  • Don’t Get Around Much Anymore

  • Got The Blues

  • I’m Cracking Up Over You

  • I’m Gonna Sit Till You Give In

  • It’s My Own Fault

  • Miss Martha King

  • Pray For You

  • Take A Swing With Me

  • Talking The Blues

  • The Other Night Blues

  • Tomorrow Night

  • When Your Baby Packs Up And Goes

From this set, 51 songs never made it to Crown’s LPs back in the day, but many had success as singles. Also, 104 of the tracks included appeared on one or more of the early Crown LPs.

Next is a tally of what I found missing from the set.

The entire album of Compositions Of Duke Ellington And Others was entirely were left off this CD and were never released on singles. The tracks missing are:

  • Cotton Tail

  • Solitude

  • Jack The Bear

  • Sophisticated Lady

  • Jeep Blues

  • Take The “A” Train

  • Don’t Get Around Much Anymore

  • Main Stem

  • Mood Indigo

  • Eastside Westside

Twist With B.B. King included six songs from other albums and are included here. Four other cuts were not:

  • A5 Groovin’ Twist

  • B2 Do What I Say

  • B3 Rockin’ Twist

  • B5 Oh Baby

Sides from RPM and Kent’s singles apparently that were apparently not included in this set were:

  • Mashed Potato Twist

  • Mashing the Popeye

  • Tell Me Baby

  • Other Night Blues

  • Bim Bam

  • Dark Is The Night (Part 2)

  • Going Down Slow

  • Love Me Baby

  • Woman in Love

  • Sweet Sixteen Pt B

  • Got A Right To Love My Baby

  • The Road I Travel

  • I’m In Love

  • The Worst Thing In My Life

  • Christmas Celebration

  • 3 O’Clock Stomp

  • Lonely

From my tally, B.B. released 200 different songs. 168 appear on these six CDs, the other 32 do not. The ten from Compositions Of Duke Ellington And Others can be found on that LP which appears readily available used. Twist With B.B. King is not as readily available. Neither of these albums were released on CD. The other 18 songs are on RPM or Kent singles and may appear scattered in later recordings. Two of the included cuts appeared three times as sides on singles from that era (“Please Love Me” and “Everyday I Have the Blues”). Another 10 appeared twice on singles during that period.

So while my junior investigative work shows Complete Recordings 1949-1962 may not really be a “complete” set, getting 84% of B.B.’s songs from 1949 to 1962 for around $20 or less still remains a great buy. It is available at Amazon and many other locations on line. Maybe someday the other songs will appear in one set with these tracks; until then, this appears to be the most complete set of B.B.’s early works for the Bihari Brothers on Crown Records.

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 reer 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.



 Featured Blues Review – 7 of 8 

Amy Hart – Live At The Mayne Stage

Vizztone 2015

www.amyhart.com

12 tracks; 51 minutes

Chicago native Amy Hart followed her muse to spells in Nashville and Florida, her style evolving into a blend of Americana, country and blues. Here she returns to her native city for a live set recorded at the historic Mayne Stage Theatre in July 2014. Amy describes “Blue Eyed Blues” as “kinda old-timey… like me” and it’s an apt description of the band’s relaxed country blues style. Amy sings and plays guitar, accompanied by husband Wally Hoffman on bass, Matt McDowell on drums, Gene Bush on dobro and PT Gazell on harmonica.

All the material is original, written by Amy herself who often draws on her own experiences for inspiration, a good example being “Blues At The Top Of The World”, a song inspired by her headlining slot at the Himalayan Blues Festival in Kathmandu. Amy dedicates the gently swinging “Get Ready” to husband Wally and she sounds serious in her intentions to “love you till the end of time”. Amy hits a slightly tougher blues stride on “Put Me Back” which has fine solos from Gene and PT and also takes the opportunity to preview a couple of tunes from her next album: Red Dress Blues is a strong song, a more upbeat blues which finds Amy out on the town in her red dress intent on having a good time to drown her sorrows at the end of a relationship.

“Get The Girls Dancin’” describes how the band approaches a gig and the recipe is provided at the beginning as Amy describes precisely the band’s approach: “Bassman rubs the fretboard with his fingers and thumbs; grease it with harp and you’re almost done.” “Congratulations” with its jaunty riff and lyrics tells the listener that “God only hears you when you’re down on your knees. Congratulations baby, you got the blues”, the song also providing the opportunity for Amy to introduce her key accompanists Gene and PT.

Rich Ass Daddy” is a comic song in which Amy tells us that she is looking for someone who will provide for her financially, regardless of their physical size. Amy closes the set with another new song inspired by her husband Wally who enjoys driving a ’59 Chevrolet Apache truck. “You Drive Me” is a pleasantly upbeat tune in which Amy confesses that “you drive me like that old truck”.

Overall this is an album that will appeal to those who enjoy that place where blues and country meet. Not a straight blues album, no Chicago blues riffs in sight but the music is solidly played and was clearly very well received by the live audience at the Mayne Stage.

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.



 Featured Blues Review – 8 of 8 

Sam Cockrell – Trying To Make A Living Playing My Guitar

samcockrellandthescb.bandcamp.com

Teletone Records

11 songs – 56 minutes

Well, this is a treat. Chicago-native Sam Cockrell issued two blues albums in 1999 and 2001 but then put his solo career on hold to play with a number of other bands. Now he has resurfaced with Trying To Make A Living Playing My Guitar, a top-quality slice of modern Chicago blues with strong funk and soul influences. Of course, Cockrell never really went away, being a long time favourite on the Chicago blues scene, but it is great to see him return to producing his own music.

Trying To Make A Living Playing My Guitar features 11 original songs all written by Cockrell, who handles all the bass and vocal duties. He has a clear, warm, powerful voice, reminiscent of Robert Cray, particularly on tracks such as “I’ve Got To Make Some Changes” and he often picks vocal melodies that are slightly unexpected, hanging onto a note slightly longer than other singers might, adding to the listener’s enjoyment.

Lyrically, Cockrell addresses the sacrifices that artists must make in order to make a living, both in the title track and “You Can Have It All If You Play The Game” as well as focusing on broader social issues in “This Ain’t Another Baby I Love You Song”, with its chorus of “This ain’t another ‘Baby I Love You’ song. It’s about real life, things in the world going on. Senseless killings, discrimination. Right-wing radicals spewing hate in the nation. Working class people are feeling the pain. They’ve had enough – things need to change.” He also proudly sings the praises of his hometown in “I’m From Chicago” and “Playin’ With My Friends”.

Musically, the tracks include straight ahead Chicago shuffles (such as “Blindsided By Love”), organ-led ballads such as “Live Can Be Complicated” and funky soul-blues songs like “You’re A Sellout”. “She’s Hot” is pure funk-pop-rock-dance, with a hypnotic bass line, but it sure makes for a great closing track. Cockrell regularly introduces clever twists into the song structures, for example the bass/organ breakdown on “Playin’ With My Friends”, a foot-tapping duet that also features the voice and guitar of Roger Girke.

In addition to Cockrell, other top drawer musicians on the album include Lynn Barry on vocals; Dan Tabion on keyboards; guitarists Lin Doughten, Joe LaSorte and Roger Girke; Darryl Brown on synthesizer; drummers Billy Meyers and Bredt Showell; Will Baker on trombone; Brian Crane on trumpet; and Bob Sass on saxophone. Doughten, LaSorte and Girke in particular add tasty, melodic and punchy guitar fills and solos and the horn section of Baker, Crane and Sass provide subtle, inventive backing throughout.

Trying To Make A Living Playing My Guitar benefits from superb production by Cockrell and LaSorte and comes in a beautifully packaged tri-fold cover. It is a very impressive release, and is particularly recommended for those listeners whose tastes extend to the likes of Prince and Earth Wind and Fire as well as modern electric Chicago blues.

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.




 Blues Society News 


 Send your Blues Society’s BIG news or Press Release about your not-for-profit event with the subject line “Blues Society News” to:

Maximum of 175 words in a Text or MS Word document format.


DC Blues Society – Washington D.C.

Join us at the DC Blues Society’s free 27th Annual DC Blues Festival is Saturday, September 5, 2015 from noon-7:30 pm, featuring Sharrie Williams, “Princess of Rockin’ Gospel Blues”. Festival venue: Carter Barron Amphitheatre, 16th Street and Colorado Avenue NW, Washington DC 20011. Bring the family for a day of soulful and electrifying blues, music workshops, Musical Instrument Petting Zoo and other child-friendly activities. No tickets required.

The festival offers an exciting lineup of diverse blues. Sharrie Williams is a three-time Blues Music Awards Nominee and international performer, trained in jazz, gospel and drama. Although she credits Koko Taylor, Etta James and Aretha Franklin as influences, her style is all her own and she’s earned a reputation for outstanding vocal performances. Also appearing is guitarist, singer and songwriter James Armstrong, “The Ambassador of the Blues”. The son of musicians, James was born to play the blues and his style honors traditional blues while adding contemporary grit. Rounding out the lineup are several DCBS favorite bands. Be a part of the excitement and spirit at the premier DC Blues event! www.dcblues.org

Crossroads Blues Society – Byron, IL

Crossroads Blues Society and the Byron Park District have scheduled FREE Sunday Blues in the Park shows in Blackhawk Meadows Park in Byron from 3 to 6 PM. August 23rd – Bobby Messano.

The 6th Crossroads Blues Festival at Lyran Park is Saturday, August 29th. Featuring Albert Castiglia, Dave Specter with Sharon Lewis, the Mike Wheeler Band, Stormcellar with Jo Fitzgerald, and Jimmy Nick and Don’t Tell Mama $5 advanced tickets. http://crossroadsbluesfestival.blogspot.com for more info and tickets.

Friends of the Blues – Kankakee IL area

The Friends of the Blues announce their 2015 Concert Series. All shows start at 7 pm. August 18 – Too Slim and Taildraggers with Polly O’Keary and Rhythm Method The Longbranch – L’Erable IL, August 27 – Albert Castiglia with Maybe Later – The Longbranch – L’Erable IL http://www.facebook.com/friendsoftheblues

The Illinois Central Blues Club – Springfield, IL

The Illinois Central Blues Club has announced the line-up of talent for the Blue Monday live performances and jam sessions held every Monday night at The Alamo, 115 North Fifth, Springfield, IL from 8:00pm to midnight. August 17 – Polly O’Keary & the Rhythm Method, August 24 – Albert Castiglia, August 31 – Maurice John Vaughn.

Additional ICBC shows: August 6 – James Armstrong Presents @ The Alamo, 6-9 pm Guest host: Black Magic Johnson, August 20 – James Armstrong Presents @ The Alamo, 6-9 pm

Questions regarding this press release can be directed to Michael Rapier, President of ICBC, at mikerapier@sbcglobal.net at 217-899-9422, or contact Greg Langdon, Live Events Chair, at langdon38@att.net or by visiting www.icbluesclub.org



P.O. Box 721 Pekin, Illinois 61555     © 2015 Blues Blast Magazine (309) 267-4425

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