As always, we thank Bob Corritore for this news update!
2014 Grammy Awards nominees announced! Congratulations to all nominees of all genres. The blues nominations this year show an interesting trend, as 4 of the 5 nominations were harmonica players! Here are the blues category nominations:1) Remembering Little Walter with Billy Boy Arnold, Charlie Musselwhite, Mark Hummel, Sugar Ray Norcia & James Harman (Blind Pig)5) Bobby Rush / Down In Louisiana (Deep Rush Records)And blues people ended up in cross categories; Gary Clark, Jr. had nominations for both “Best Rock Song” and “Best Traditional R&B Performance.” Ben Harper & Charlie Musselwhite got an additional nod in the “Best Music Film” category for a documentary on the making of their collaboration CD. Terrance Simien / Dockside Sessions (Musicmatters) received a nomination in the “Best Regional Roots Music Album” category. Allen Toussaint got 2 nominations in the categories of “Best American Roots Song” for “Shrimp Po-Boy, Dressed,” and “Best Americana Album” for Songbook (Rounder). Also in the “Best American Album” category was Mavis Staples / One True Vine (Anti). And “Best Compilation Soundtrack For Visual Media” included Muscle Shoals with Various Artists (Universal Republic) which includes music by Etta James, Jimmy Hughes, Arthur Alexander, Percy Sledge, Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, andClarence Carter. Winners will be announced at the Grammy Awards Celebration held on January 26, 2014 at The Staples Center in Los Angeles. For a complete list of all 2014 Grammy nominees in all genres, click here.
Sugaray Rayford & The Rhythm Room All-Stars to play Phoenix’s Blues Blast Festival! On March 8, 2014, Phoenix Blues Society will present its annual Blues Blast Festival atMargret T Hance Park in Phoenix. The full lineup includes Samantha Fish, Mike Eldred Trio, Sugaray Rayford & The Rhythm Room All-Stars, Hans Olson, Paul CruiZe Blues Crew and Leon J’s Juke Joint! There will a festival pre-party on Friday, March 7 at The Rhythm Room with The Smokin’ Joe Kubek Band featuring B’Nois King. There will be a festival after-party / celebrity jam on the night of March 8, also at The Rhythm Room, hosted by Bob Margolin & Bob Corritore with The Rocket 88s! Tickets and an official announcement will be available soon on the Phoenix Blues Society website at PhoenixBlues.org.
- Sonny Boy Williamson I Documentary! Please enjoy this documentary of the masterful and influential harmonica pioneer John Lee Williamson AKA Sonny Boy Williamson I. Thanks toJanine Harty for this tip! Click here for part 1, and here for part 2!
- Sonny Boy Williamson II plays guitar! Please enjoy this performance of renowned harmonica master Rice Miller AKA Sonny Boy Williamson II in a rare guitar performance of Kind Hearted Woman with the Robert Johnson and Robert Jr. Lockwood guitar style stamped all over it! Thanks to Little Victor for making us aware of this gem. Click here to enjoy!
- Chicago area benefit for Eddie C. Campbell this Saturday! Earlier this year Chicago blues guitar great Eddie C. Campbell suffered a massive stroke and for a period of time was seriously debilitated. Though a long road to full recovery, Eddie C. has made significant strides, is able to get around with a walker, and is now singing and playing harmonica (he is still unable to play guitar). Eddie C.’s long time associate, Mojo Mark Cihlar had organized a tribute / benefit fo this Saturday, 5pm at The Uptown, 12 W. Burlington Ave. Westmont, IL 60559. The lineup includes a guest appearance by Eddie C. Campbell himself, plus Scott Dirks, Elmore James Jr, Willie Buck, Rockin’ Johnny, Tail Dragger, Sandra Lee, Vivian Vance Kelly, Robert Lorenz, Vuyani Wakaba, Al Spears, Mojo Mark, Paul James, and many more. Well wishes and much support to Eddie C. Campbell.
- Aaron Moore’s Birthday. Because of conflicting information from various stated credible sources, our last newsletter listed the late Aaron Moore‘s birthdate as in question. Michael Frankwrites to illuminate: “Katie Moore has a census record showing Aaron’s birthdate as February 11, 1918. His birth certificate was not available.” Thanks Michael!
- RIP Joe Bihari – May 30, 1925 to November 28, 2013. Joe Bihari, with brothers Jules and Saul, formed Modern Records in 1945. Modern was arguably the most influential R&B label, with an amazing catalog that included such greats as John Lee Hooker, Elmore James, Hadda Brooks, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Howlin Wolf, Johnny “Guitar” Watson, Lowell Fulson, B.B. King,Etta James, Floyd Dixon, Jimmy McCracklin, Young Jessie, Pee Wee Crayton, Ike Turner, and many others. Located in Los Angeles’ Watts district, the label actually grew out of brother Jules Bihari’s frustration with distributors. Jules ran a jukebox concession in the black neighborhoods and grew increasingly frustrated by the fact that he couldn’t get enough copies of hit records. So, along with his other brothers, he decided to form a label. And what a label it was! Modern Records released some of the greatest blues hits of all time. To see a listing of the Modern’s amazing releases click here. To read more about Modern records click here. Joe Bihari, as the last surviving brother, was there to accept his induction to the Blues Foundation‘s Blues Hall Of Fame in 2006. Joe Bihari’s great contributions to blues music will live forever.
- RIP Chick Willis – September 24, 1932 to Dec 8, 2013. Atlanta-based singer/guitarist Chick Willis passed away yesterday at age 81 after a struggle with lung cancer. He was best known for his ribald, crowd-pleasing 1972 song “Stoop Down Baby” and his great live performances he recorded numerous albums for. He was the cousin of the popular Chuck Willis, and during the 1950s, chauffeured for him before launching his own music career. To hear Chick Willis’s “Stoop Down Baby” click here.
RIP Larry McKinley – 1928 to Dec 8, 2013. This obit is summarized from WWLTV‘s article. Larry McKinley, an influential radio personality, music promoter and pivotal figure in the history of New Orleans’ rhythm and blues and rock ‘n’ roll scene, as well as the longtime voice of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, has died. He was 85. McKinley had been a fixture on New Orleans radio waves as far back as 1953, on WMRY, which later became WYLD-AM. He was also the co-founder of Minit Records, which produced many hits in the golden era of New Orleans early rhythm and blues. In addition to the Minit success and his radio career, McKinley worked as a concert promoter, booking local shows by R&B superstars, including James Brown, Aretha Franklin, the Four Tops, Sam Cooke and Jackie Wilson. McKinley was inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame and awarded an OffBeat Magazine Best of the Beat Award in 2005. For the full article click here.
- Charlie Sayles on YouTube! Please enjoy this 2008 club performance by Washington DC harmonica bluesman Charlie Sayles as he performs a beautiful slow blues. Click here to see.