Issue 12-50 December 20 2018

Cover photo © 2018 Bob Kieser

 In This Issue 

Mike Stephenson has our feature interview with King Edward Antoine. We have 6 Blues reviews for you this week including new music from Ben Rice, David Lumsden & Friends, Vinyl Hampdin, Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band, Marcus Lazarus and Good Paper Of Rev Rob Mortimer.

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

lawrence lebo album advertisemsnt image

 Featured Blues Review – 1 of 6 

ben rice cd imageBen Rice – Wish The World Away

Self-produced CD

13 songs – 59 minutes

Based out of Portland, Ore., Ben Rice continues his steady climb to the heights of the blues world with this tasty collection, which includes 12 blues and roots infused originals and one cover – produced with the assistance of some of the best talent on the West Coast.

Even though Rice is barely into his 30s, he’s been making a major impression for the better part of the past decade as both a singer/songwriter and guitarist, fronting his own band and touring the globe frequently in support of two powerhouses – two-time Blues Music Association bass player of the year Lisa Mann and BMA female vocalist of the year nominee Karen Lovely.

Ben enjoys a strong roots heritage, combining electric and Delta blues with soul, funk, rockabilly and jazz in the mix here. Early influences included Al Green, Alice Cooper, Teddy Pendergrass and Marshall Tucker, but quickly expanded to include by B.B. King, Big Bill Broonzy, Skip James and Mississippi Fred McDowell among others.

A student of both jazz guitar and classical music at the University Of Oregon, his unique playing style also incorporates techniques he developed while playing Celtic folk and Mexican mariachi in bands during his college years. He regularly switches among electric, cigar-box and resonator guitars today.

Rice burst onto the national scene in 2014, competing in the International Blues Challenge and leaving Memphis with the Albert King Award, which honors the best guitarist in the competition. He’s been building a global following ever since.

Recorded and mixed at Portland’s Roseleaf Studios under the direction of all-star drummer Jimi Bott, Wish The World Away is Ben’s seventh CD. He handles all vocal and guitar duties with a lineup that includes Bott handling percussion on five tracks and Dave Melyan on another. Harmonica master Mitch Kashmar appears on four cuts with Dave Fleschner contributing keyboards and Julio Appling bass on a pair each. Haley Johnsen and Natasia GreyCloud provide vocals on one cut each, and Paul Brainard makes a single appearance on pedal steel.

The opener, “The Dirt Road Home,” finds Rice on resonator accompanied only by Bott on drums. A Delta blues in its purest form, it sings praise for living out in the country where cellphones go dead. Ben’s a melismic vocalist in addition to being an exceptional picker, and this tune puts both on crystal clear display. Appling and Fleshner join the action for “Peace Will Overcome,” an optimistic number in these troubled times, with Rice delivering sweet runs on slide.

Up next, “Mojo Hand” is an uptempo Hill Country pleaser aided by Kashmar’s lilting harp runs and swinging shuffle patterns from Melyan in his only appearance. The title tune ballad “Wish The World Away” – about unhappy lovebirds yearning for a new start — features Rice in duet with GreyCloud, a former contestant on The Voice who’s now based in Nashville.

Belying his youth, Ben incorporates a ‘40s feel for “The One That Got Away,” which swings from the jump that describes love both won and lost. Next up, the ballad “Hard Times” comes across with a Memphis soul feel fueled by Fleschner on Hammond B3 organ and gives Rice plenty of space to put his vocal chops on display while “If You Ever Change Your Mind” features plenty of red-hot guitar licks delivered with pre-War sensibilities.

An interesting reinvention of Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground” follows before “Run Around” returns the sound to a propulsive first-generation country blues root. “Oh Lord” keeps the feel going with Rice weaving fingerpicking with Kashmar’s harp. The two closing numbers — “Get There” and “Don’t Worry Mama” – state Ben’s musical vision for the future and assure his mother that, no matter what happens, he’ll always remain at her side.

Available through CDBaby, Wish The World Away isn’t your grandfather’s blues. But if you like great guitar work and new tunes that are both fresh and original with a deeply rooted traditional feel, this one’s definitely for you. Ben Rice is a young man whose star is starting to soar.

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

 Featured Blues Review – 2 of 6 

david lumsden cd imageDavid Lumsden & Friends – Hues of the Blues

Self Released

12 tracks

The former Hurricane Ruth guitar player David Lumsden ventures out on his own after spending 2011 to 2017 with Ruth. He brings together a group of friends to support him as guest artists with these 12 songs.

Lumsden became enamored with music at age six with “Peter Gunn” theme. He got his first guitar at ten and followed the British Invasion bands like The Yardbirds. By age fifteen (1970) he heard Freddie King’s “Getting Ready” album and the blues have been his love ever since.

Backing Lumsden are a variety of folks including Tim Bahn on organ, Wayne Carter on keys, Ezra Casey on piano/keys/organ, Gary Davis on keys and bass, Rick Leigh on bass, and Arthur Carey Sr. and Jim Engel on drums. Guest artists and co-songwriters are noted with the songs.

“You Got To Lose” opens the album, an Earl Hooker cut. Lumsden plays some nice guitar and sings with a little grit as he offers a stinging rendition of the song. Bill Evans shares in the vocals and guitars on “Further On Up The Road,” a Don Robey song first recorded by Bobby “Blue” Bland. His vocals are completely gritty and dark and his guitar has a different but equally interesting tone. It’s an interesting duet. Wayne Carter supplies the vocals for “You’re Ruining My Bad Reputation,” a Z.Z. Hill song penned by Denise Lasalle. Carter has been at his craft since the 1960s and sings Chicago Blues with style and Lumsden lays out great licks on the slide guitar. Next is “Brush With The Blues,” a down tempo Jeff Beck instrumental recorded live in Decatur, IL at Pop’s Place. Interesting, sublime and quite the finger twister and Lumsden is up to the task. The classic “What’s The Matter With The Mill” features Reggie Britton on vocals and drums. The tune jumps and jukes with honky-tonk piano, organ, pretty harp work by Steve “The Harp” Mehlberg (who also helps on backing vocals) and a swinging beat. Mary Jo Curry sings and help co-write “Raised Me Right” and Lumsden plays some dirty slide. Curry belts out the vocals with attitude and passion; well done!

Mehlberg wrote “On Bended Knee” and does the vocals and harp while his wife Deborah backs him on vocals. It’s a cool little shuffle with dirty harp and a cool sound. Carter returns for “The Thrill Is Gone,” a take on the B.B. King Classic. Lumsden gives the guitar work his own approach and Carter wails the lead vocals with emotion and also plays some piano. The 1963 Ricky Allen cut written by Mel London and covered by Otis Rush and dozens of others gets a fresh coat of paint with a little variety in the guitar licks. Mehlberg fronts the band as Lumsden plays some pretty guitar and Steve gives us more harp to savor. “Rollin’ and Tumblin’” is Lumsden with just bass and drums. He opens with a long guitar intro and then when you are looking for the vocals he turns the entire thing into an instrumental; an interesting take for sure. He gets into a little shredding late in the cut but pulls off a very different cover. Carter returns on vocals and piano again for “Georgia On My Mind” and they offer a good little and soulful rendition with sweet piano and guitar. The CD closes with Led Zeppelin’s instrumental “Rain Song” with Lumsden on acoustic guitar and Andon Davis on slide. Chicagoan Davis and Lumsden show restraint and it’s a pretty close to an album with some nice variety.

Hues of Blues is an interesting set of tunes with a few well crafted originals and a set of covers showing originality and imagination. Lumsden’s guitar work for the vast majority of the album is not overdone or overstated. His vocals are good and the artists who sing on the other cuts all add dimension and make for good diversification. There is nothing not to like here; kudos to Lumsden for self-producing and releasing a fine album than makes for a great listen!

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.

winter blues fest ad image

 Featured Blues Review – 3 of 6 

vinyl hampdin cd imageVinyl Hampdin – Red

Armored Records

11 songs time-51:54

Think Blood, Sweat And Tears re-imagined for current times fronted by a female vocalist. The similar horn driven sound is the main focus here aside from the lyrics and vocals. Vinyl Hampdin’s horn arrangements are reminiscent of Blood, Sweat And Tears. With five originals and six cover songs the approach and arrangements are all their own. This band is the vision of trombonist/composer-arranger Steve Wiest. His concept behind this aggregation is-“What would Chicago, Blood, Sweat And Tears and Tower Of Power sound like if they started out today?”. The four piece horn section is put to good use as they variously play in unison and/or with intertwining lines horn lines. Add a tight rhythm section, a forceful singer, creative guitarist, keyboards and inventive lyrics to the mix and you’e got a powerful musical force. Vocalist Lisa Dodd is a commanding presence set against the strong horn-driven attack.

Their version of Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition” sticks pretty close to the original except that the riff is mainly supplied by the horn section. It serves as a good introduction to the throaty vocals of Lisa Dodd. “Gottaluvit” finds the horns trading off lines in fine fashion alongside the funky guitar of Ryan Davidson. A slow and deliberate horn intro kicks off “One Song” s it eventually picks up synth strings, acoustic guitar and Lisa’s plaintive vocal. It’s a moody piece. The atmospheric song gets pleasantly invaded by a noisy wah-wah guitar section.

Bonnie Raitt’s “The Road’s My Middle Name” is funked up as guitar rips through the powerful horns. The subject of “Pay For It” is summed up by the title-musicians getting paid for their music, not giving it away for free. The band gets to stretch out with some soloing on this one. The Statler Brothers’ sixties top forty hit “Flowers On the Wall” is reimagined as a harder, darker song with a new melody. The original had a lighter, frivolous vibe.

A positive message is urged against the current tumultuous state of the world in “Billions”. Synth strings vie for space alongside the horns, keys and guitars. Rare Earth’s “I Just Want To Celebrate” is tweaked a bit accenting the horns. A distorted guitar riff compliments the baseball references to love on “Diamonds”.

Two covers wrap things up. Paul McCartney’s “My Love” receives a heartfelt vocal from Lisa over the usual horn treatment. Bill Wither’s “Use Me” well suits Lisa’s commanding voice. That in concert with the creative horn arrangement make their version a sure fire winner.

An at once seemingly familiar yet fresh horn sound is the main thrust for this vibrant music. Steve Wiest has achieved his vision with the able assistance of a top notch assemblage of musicians. Do your record collection a favor.

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

 Featured Blues Review – 4 of 6 

rev peyton cd imazgeReverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band – Poor Until Payday

Thirty Tigers/Family Owned Records

10 songs

In the excellent documentary Harlem Street Singer: The Reverend Gary Davis Story the film’s co-producer, and Davis disciple, guitarist Woody Mann explains the good Reverend’s virtuoso talent to play with a wider array of technique and musical language then his Country Blues contemporaries. This description also applies to another reverend: Reverend Peyton. Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band’s new record Poor Until Payday highlights this array of technique and musical language with its rollicking, diverse, juxtaposition between old-timey form, modern rhythmic invention and pure individual expression.

The Big Damn Band is: Reverend Peyton playing fully realized fingerstyle and slide guitar, harmonica and lead vocals; the Rev.’s wife Washboard Breezy Peyton playing, well, washboard and vocals; and, Maxwell Senteney on drums and vocals. Like a modern version of Blind Willie Johnson and Willie B. Harris, Mister and Misses Peyton have been developing their brand of interlocking Blues, with a number of different drummers, for over a decade. The Rev. is fully versed in every style of Country Blues picking and has evolved his style over the years from devoted traditionalist to post-modern slide impressionist. Washboard Breezy Peyton is an impassioned singer punctuating her husband’s barrel-chested vocals with soaring accent while also adding a jagged funked up metallic syncopation on the board. Washboard Breezy and Senteney lock in. Senteney is a bit more nuanced then some of the former Big Damn drummers, adding a touch more finesse, breadth and depth to the rhythm.

Poor Until Payday is an artistic leap forward. Most of the Peytons’ records have been in the trio format, recorded either live to tape or with minimal studio trickery and feature mostly original material, a feat for such a specific sub-genera as Country Blues. Payday’s 10 original songs were recorded using old analog equipment and completely live; business as usual for the Big Damn Band. The artistically defining step on this record is the performances and the diversity of mood and style. The rhythm section dynamically rolls and tumbles creating a complementary foundation for The Rev.’s inspired picking. The Rev. sings with more definition and clarity then on past outings. He has opened up his vibrato colored pipes; more soulful and less fire and brimstone hysterics, while still maintaining his intensity.

Poor Until Payday’s artistic leaps also reverberate by culminating all the Country Blues inventions that Peyton has come up with in his career. There are hard driving stompers, indicative of 2012’s Between the Ditches, like “Me and the Devil,” a dark menacing warning that the narrator and the Devil are coming after you and “if I get you first, it will be worse.” There are Gospel reveals, a la The Gospel Album, like “You Can’t Steal My Shine.” “Church Clothes” is a meditative finger picked acoustic Blues evolving from the band’s early work as well as Peyton’s in-depth investigations of Charlie Patton. With each motif there is a new level of maturity and fluid sense of purpose.

The most impressive songs on Payday are the ones that shouldn’t really work. These are up beat, wordy, raucous shake downs that are enviably difficult to deliver with clarity and precision. And are they ever delivered. The title track is an Elmore James styled shuffle with repeated lyrics that burble up above the cacophony. The manic zoom of “Get The Family Together,” breathlessly asking why do families only get together at funerals, perfectly relates the urgency of being with the people you love. “Frenchman Street” second lines itself down the road singing the praises of the Big Easy over an intricate guitar performance that is almost impossible to imagine being performed live while singing.

Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band are road dogs. Often playing upwards of 300 shows a year, this hard driving band has forged it’s style through laborious repetition. Staying singularly focused on their artistic drive and allowing their music to bloom and grow, the Peytons have been able to maintain and nurture the joy of making music with family. If you are a fan, Poor Until Payday is a major payday for your years of devotion. If you are new to these artists, Payday is a great entry point to a world of infectiously feel-good music.

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.

jenn cleary ad image

 Featured Blues Review – 5 of 6 

marcus lazaruncd imageMarcus Lazarus – This Life

Self-Release – 2018

12 tracks; 53 minutes

Marcus Lazarus is a guitar player/singer/songwriter based near London, UK though this album was recorded at Alessandro Cristofori’s studio in Tuscany, Italy. Marcus wrote all bar one of the songs and handles guitar and vocals with Lee Herbert on drums, Johnny Heywood on bass/BV’s and Alessandro on keys; Jez Arden-White adds second guitar/BV’s on seven tracks, Guido Pietrella replaces Johnny on bass on three tracks, Daria Tanasenko plays sitar and Laura Mowforth is also on backing vocals. Marcus appears to have released one previous album in 2017 and an EP in 2013; the material here ranges across rock, soul, Americana and blues.

The album opens with the sole cover, Curtis Stiger’s “This Life” with its memorable chorus of “this life is short, baby that’s a fact, better live it right ‘cos you ain’t coming back. Got to raise some hell before they put you down, got to live this life”. Opening with mandolin and an Americana feel, we then move into full rock mode with plenty of powerful guitar chords over which Marcus’ gruff vocals work very well. More rock follows with “Driving All The Way To L.A.” which has some good dual guitar riffs and lyrics about young runaways who aspire to the rock and roll lifestyle but inevitably spiral into a Bonnie and Clyde scenario. The rhythm guitar that opens “What Can’t Speak Can’t Lie” recalls Cream’s “Badge” and with jangling acoustic and melodic country-infused guitar (plus some background sitar) this one ends up in Americana territory, an attractive tune well delivered. No sign of blues so far but “Black Hand Over The Sun” is an acoustic blues that recounts a tale of a slave insurrection which ends up in tragedy.

“Knock Me Out” is an out-and-out rocker with good piano from Alessandro and another great riff from Marcus. “Bullshit Blues” expresses exasperation with the current political scene (set in the UK but arguably as relevant in other countries!) in a funky rock setting and the fast-paced “What You Got (Is What I Need)” tips its hat to Motown with synth horns. “Caught In The Middle” drops the pace for a song with a positive message, Marcus sounding like John Lennon, presumably a deliberate move with slight distortion on the vocal and plenty of good harmonies from the backing vocalists. The slow blues “Keep My Flame Alight” gives Marcus the chance to show us his blues guitar chops, the longest cut on the album at just over six minutes.

The final three tracks are all at the rockier end of the spectrum: Marcus was apparently not satisfied with “Trying To Write A Love Song”, a track intended for his debut EP, now reformatted into a heavy piece of blues-rock; “Fab Gear Groove” is clearly a tribute to The Beatles as Marcus uses many titles from the Fabs’ catalogue collected over a rapid-fire funk riff, the chorus from “Hey Jude” being used to deliver the title; “Turn Up The Heat” has a disco feel with spacey keys and lasts 3.30. There is then a gap of one minute’s silence before a reprise of “Black Hand Over The Sun”, almost identical apart from some piano added; not sure what the second version adds to the album.

There is very little blues here so purists will not find much to their taste but those who like rather more rock in their diet should enjoy this disc.

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 – 6 of 6 

rev rob mortimer cd imageGood Paper Of Rev Rob Mortimer – Lock It Down Tight

Self-Release – 2018

11 tracks; 46 minutes

Robert Bowles Mortimer Jr is a certified reverend and a second generation undertaker in Greenville, Mississippi, but more importantly for Blues Blast readers, he is a musician whose latest album blends soul, funk and blues into an attractive blend. I gather that the previous releases from his band have been more Americana in flavour but certainly this one should offer plenty of interest to blues and soul fans. Rob handles lead vocals and plays some keyboards and guitar, Jeffrey Tonos is on guitar, David Morgan on bass and Walter Washington on drums. Horns are added by Memphis mainstays Art Edmaiston (saxes), Marc Franklin (trumpet) and Bob Dowell (trombone) and Rick Steff and Toby Vest also add some keyboard parts. Rob wrote the songs apart from one Tom Waits cover, the band also being credited for the arrangements.

“Who’s Gonna Take This Bad Ass Down” may not sound much like the words of a reverend but it makes a great opener with a full band production, horns prominent. “I Don’t Need You” has more of a pop feel, especially with the ‘woohoo’ chorus, the horns and chiming guitars making an attractive tune before “This Ain’t No Throne”, a slow burn Rn’B ballad that provides a good vehicle for Rob’s anguished vocals. “Delta Side Of Vicksburg” sounds autobiographical as the horns again produce a massive sound and Rob sings of “the days when cotton was king”, Jeffrey playing a nice guitar solo here. The pace drops for the Americana-flavored “High Ground” which has plenty of ringing guitars and the horns accentuating the chorus as Rob tells us that he expects to end his days “up on the high ground”, not just “surrounded by dirt”, a lovely song that makes clear Rob’s faith in an afterlife.

Tom Waits’ “Such A Scream” brings funk to the album and offers some rationale for the quote on the website: ‘The Beatles with James Brown as a front man”. Tom is also name-checked (with a reference to “Ol’ 55”) in the pulsating “You’re My Radio” which is a standout track with a magnificent horn arrangement and rhythm guitar work that comes straight from Memphis. More soulful material follows with “She Can’t Stand Me”, Jeffrey’s shimmering guitar underneath the blaring horns on a song in which Rob is being thrown out of the house -sad for him, but a real toe-tapper! Rob then states in “I Hope” that she does not fall for him because she will try to change him – sounds like he has relationship issues! The title track is another winner, almost anthemic with the horns hitting even greater heights and its chorus concluding “…I wanna say Amen”. However, Rob has not completed his sermon yet as he concludes that “this love is wrong, you’ll be a whole lot better “When I’m Gone”, a really funky tune with another fine horn arrangement to close out the album.

At times the horns made me think of Memphis, at times of Chicago (the band, not the city). This is a good album with lots of soulful material, great horns and lots of music to dance to, making it one well worth checking out if those are elements you enjoy.

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.

jim alchin ad image

 Featured Interview – King Edward Antoine 

king edward photo 1Mike Stephenson interviewed this Jackson, Mississippi based blues musician in his home city in October 2018. Many thanks go out to Peggy Brown of Hit The Road Entertainment who is also King’s manager.

Introduction: King Edward has spent a lifetime in the blues, from his home state of Louisiana to Chicago, and then to Jackson, mixing with and playing with some of the best in the blues and zydeco worlds. He tells his story here:

“I’m King Edward Antoine, real name Edward Antoine. I was born in Rayne, Louisiana. I used to drive tractors and was a sharecropper and my father was a tractor driver and I used to help him in the fields and I used to pick cotton, we kept rice and that was so hard. I stayed with him and worked in the fields when my brothers had left.

“I used to drive tractors at night and my brother in law would drive the tractor from 7 to 12 midnight and then I would drive from 12 to 5 in the morning. The moon was so bright you could see without lights on the tractor. I got hurt once on the tractor on my right arm and then I quit, as I wanted to play my music.

“I didn’t get the schooling like I was supposed to. After my brother passed in 1957 we quit sharecropping. I got into music early, as my cousins and friends had bands, and I wanted to play with them so bad that I followed them wherever they would go and practiced with them and I got good enough to get onstage with them.

“My first big gig was with Clifton Chenier playing zydeco music. This was the late 50’s and after I played with him for a while I got my own band and started playing, with all my jobs being in white clubs; I didn’t do too many black clubs back then. I was doing hardcore blues back then.

“After my daddy stopped calling me and stuff like that, I moved to Port Arthur in Texas and I played in Lake Charles, Louisiana. There was a d.j. there and he started having shows with Gatemouth Brown and Big Joe Turner and Guitar Slim, so that’s how I got to learn how to play ‘Things I Used To Do’, because we were all on the shows together and I was playing guitar behind Gatemouth.

“When he hit the road his daughter started playing with me and my band, she was a drummer and a singer. From there I moved to Portland, Oregon and I got me a little three piece there. I moved to Portland in 1960 and I stayed there a year and I got with an orchestra as a guitarist, that’s how I learnt how to play jazz.”

king edward photo 2A move to Chicago in the early 60’s helped King Edward’s musical career and had him playing with some of the finest blues and soul acts around the city at that time.

“Then my brother Nolan Struck called me from Chicago, telling me I should go to Chicago, as that was where the blues is at and he was playing with Lonnie Brooks in Chicago at that time, playing bass and singing. As a matter of fact he was also playing with Billy ‘The Kid’ Emerson. I moved to Chicago in 1961 and that’s when I played with Fenton Robinson and I think I recorded some stuff with him like ‘You Don’t Know What Love Is’ and I learnt the words to that and put it on my ‘Brother To Brother’ CD.

“Fenton was playing at Theresa’s Lounge and I was playing bass with him there. I played bass for him on a guitar. Theresa asked me what my instrument was and I told her I was a lead guitar player and she finally gave me a job on my own. I was also playing with Junior Wells because that was his regular job at the club when he was in town. I backed up Junior Wells and I got to play with James Cotton and he wanted to hire me to go on the road with him, but I was Junior Wells’ guitar player at that time so I couldn’t go with him.

“I played Theresa’s a long time and Muddy Waters would come in and he would sit in with us. We would then leave Theresa’s and go to Buddy Guy’s club The Checkerboard. We did a video there and I played with Nolan on that video. There was a horn player who got me hooked up with the Leaner brothers who ran the One-derful label, and I did some studio work for them and for their various artists.

“My cousin who was playing with me in Louisiana, he was already in Chicago, so when I got there we hooked back up. I got to play with Syl Johnson and Jimmy Johnson and I played with Billy Boy Arnold and Johnny Hi Fi. I was playing all over in Chicago, there was so many clubs in Chicago back then.

“When I left Theresa’s Lounge, that’s when I hooked up with McKinley Mitchell. Pervis Spann was booking McKinley so I became a guitar player for McKinley, but we didn’t use no band, what we did was use Redd Foxx’s big band, he had a sixteen piece orchestra. One time Bobby Bland’s band backed us, so I got a chance to play with them. I got a chance to meet The Temptations and Smokey Robinson. Aretha Franklin came to sit in with us one night in Chicago. After they left the Regal Theatre, the artists used to come out to the night clubs. I was a regular member of McKinley’s band.”

king edward photo 3Another move, this time from Chicago to Jackson, Mississippi in the mid 70’s was the next step in King Edward’s career which takes us up to the present.

“I moved with McKinley to Jackson, Mississippi in 1975 and we started working for Malaco and recording there. I recorded a lot of his songs like ‘End Of The Rainbow’, ‘The Town I Live In’, ‘Trouble Blues’, ‘You Know I’ve Tried’. So I worked for Malaco then, and then McKinley went back to Chicago and he passed away in 1986 so I started doing my own thing in Jackson. I got with Ace Records and I did some recordings with my brother Nolan.

“Before that though, I did an album with all different artists on there, with artists like Elmore James Jr. and Sam Myers, Johnny Littlejohn, Bad Smitty, which was called ‘Genuine Mississippi Blues’. Those guys would come from Chicago to record, so we all got on the same album together. I was backing some of them up on guitar.

“So I got my own band together and played at places like the Subway Lounge in Jackson for a long time. Back then, blacks and whites were getting along and we used to have a packed house and we did the DVD ‘Last Of The Mississippi Jukes’ at the Subway Lounge. I was a member of the house band there for some time. I used to play one weekend and The House Rockers would play the other weekend. So there were two different bands playing there every other weekend. Levon Lindsey would sing with me and Patrice Moncell, although they would sing with both bands.

“I would play on Farish Street and that’s where I met Sam Myers, so we hooked up and played together for a while. I would play The Queen Of Hearts, Richard’s Playhouse, The Hideaway and I used to do a lot of house parties.

“I was doing a lot of my own bookings and then I met Miss Peggy Brown of Hit The Road Entertainment and I was looking for a manager and we talked it over and we signed the contract. My last CD ’50 Years Of The Blues’, Peggy got that together and she put me in touch with Brian Brinkerhoff who recorded that album in Nashville and Peggy put it out on her Hit The Road Entertainment label.

“Over the years I’ve played the Chicago Blues Festival with Nolan, and I do the blues jam at Hal & Mal’s every Monday night. Me and Abdul Rasheed do a duet together. I play all around Jackson and Mississippi. I do a solo set or play with a band. I’ve played music all my life.”

Visit King Edward on the web at:

Interviewer Mike Stephenson is a UK based blues journalist and photographer who has been a blues fan all his life. He has written articles on and interviewed blues artists and reviewed blues events in Europe and the US primarily for Blues & Rhythm but also for other blues publications.

 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: email address image

Maximum of 175 words in a Text or MS Word document format (No graphics allowed).

Prairie Crossroads Blues Society – Champaign,IL

Prairie Crossroads Blues Society continues holding two Blues Jams each month. Thanks to Pipa’s Pub, 604 S. Country Fair Dr. in Champaign for hosting these jams held the 2nd Sunday of each month from 4 to 7 pm and the 4th Wednesday of each month from 7 to 10 pm. The host band plays the 1st set and then it’s open to all the jammers in the house.

Sapphire will host on Wednesday December 26. On Sunday January 13the Jenkins Brothers will host. Alex and Benny Jenkins won the Solo/Duo Challenge at the Windy City Blues Fest this summer and are headed to Memphis in January to compete in the International Blues Challenge. This is also a fundraiser for the Jenkins Brothers.

In February the Blues Deacons will host and Sunday March 10, we welcome back Robert Kimbrough Sr. Robert is the youngest son of Junior Kimbrough and put on an amazing show at the 2018 Prairie Crossroads Blues Fest. Bring your instrument. For more info visit:

The Charlotte Blues Society – Charlotte, NC

The Charlotte Blues Society is pleased to announce its January Blues Bash on 6 January, 2019. The show will feature our International Blues Challenge band competition winners, the Chris Clifton Band, and the Solo/Duo winner, Jake HaldenVang, who will represent us at the IBC in Memphis.

Doors are at 7:00; music from 8:00 to 10:00, followed by an open blues jam. Admission is free to members with valid cards, and only $5.00 to others. The show will be at the Rabbit Hole, 1801 Commonwealth Ave., Charlotte, NC 28205.

We continue to collect non-perishable food and household items for Loaves and Fishes. 1 can? I can!

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.

Dec 26 – The Baaad Boyz, Jan 7 – Chris Camp and His Blues Ambassadors, Jan14 – Dave Weld & The Imperial Flames, Jan 21 – The Groove Daddies, Jan 28 – Billy Galt & the Blues Deacons, Feb 2 – David Lumsden, Feb 18 – Emily Burgess, Feb 25 – The Rockin’ Jake Band, March 3 – The Nick Schnebelen Band For more information visit

BB logo

P.O. Box 721 Pekin, Illinois 61555 © 2018 Blues Blast Magazine (309) 267-4425

Please follow and like us: