Issue 13-9 February 28, 2019

Cover photo © 2018 A. Spadaro Jr.

 In This Issue 

Tee Watts interviews legendary War guitarist Howard Scott about his history of Funk music and about playing with Jimi Hendrix in his last live performance. We have 6 Blues reviews for you this week including new music from Walter Trout, Gaye Adegbalola, Eric Schenkman, Pete Masden & Celeste Kopel, Sweet Daddy Cool Breeze and Brandon Issac.

Our video of the week is Howard Scott.

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

 Blues Blast Music Award submissions 

bbma logo imageThe 2019 Blues Blast Music Award submissions are now open. There are 12 categories. Eligibility dates and all submission details are at:

Submissions remain open until April 15th. Nominees are announced in June. Voting begins in July.

SAVE THE DATE – September 13, 2019 for the Blues Blast Music Awards at Tebala Event Center in Rockford, IL. More details of the 2019 BBMAs coming soon!

 Video Of The Week – Howard Scott 

Howard Scott performing his most famous War song, “Slipping Into Darkness”. (Click image to watch!)

 Featured Blues Review – 1 of 6 

walter trout cd imageWalter Trout – Survivor Blues

Provogue Records – Mascot Label Group

12 tracks

The old blues are therapy for Walter Trout. On days when he is down, hurting, having issues or the like, he finds that old blues songs perk him up. Neither he nor anyone else can describe why these old songs and albums can restore the soul; Walter’s wife Marie writes in the liner notes that the trials and tribulations that old blues artists went through make our woes seem trivial. Perhaps the connection to their woes creates a connection between the listener and the artist.

We get to hear the popular old songs covered hundreds and even thousands of times per year. Walter was not looking for those tunes to use as his form of therapy; he searched the catalogue of blues music for lesser known cuts that did not garner the same level of fame yet still provide resounding messages and feeling . I think he’s achieved his purpose. He and his band play these songs as if they are their own, not recreating them note for note but in new and respectful ways.

The main set of artists here with Walter are Michael Leasure on drums, Johnny Griparic on bass, and Skip Edwards on various things keys. Trout does the guitar and vocals; the occasional guest is noted below.

Trout kicks things off with Jimmy Dawkins “Me, My Guitar and the Blues.” Walter’s guitar howls and wails with deep and dark emotion. He begins with a stinging solo intro and then hits the vocals hard. The guitar is stunning, the vocals are full of emotion; it’s a wonderful opening cut. Next up is a Sunnyland Slim cut, “Be Careful How You Vote.” It’s a raucous and intense ride, with hot tempo-ed guitar, shouted lyrics and Walter also blowing a little harp for effect. He greases up the Mississippi saxophone and trades some awesome licks with it and his guitar in response. Sugaray Rayford joins Trout on vocals for “Woman Don’t Lie.” This is a Luther “Snake Boy” Johnson song, and Trout adds Teddy Andreadis on Wurlitzer as Edwards mans the B3. Rayford and Trout trade vocals and Walter offers up another huge guitar solo to enjoy. “Sadie,” an old Hound Dog Taylor cut, takes things down a few notches in tempo. While more subdued, Trout lets loose a bit on his guitar and he and band set up a nice groove. B.B. King gets a nice cover of his “Please Love Me,”picking up the pace a bit as Walter gets his guitar lubed up and wailing early on. They get a nice little shuffle going and Walter belts out the lyrics sweetly and, of course, delivers another high intensity guitar solo mid song and then takes us home with the guitar, too. John Mayall’s “Nature’s Disappearing” is next, a cut about how we are raping and pillaging our land. It’s a jazzy sort of cut, with more subdued guitar and harp by Trout. While showing restraint, Walter also showcases his musicality and talents well.

The second half opens with “Red Sun,” a Floyd Lee song. His producer Eric Corne joins in on shaker. The beat is strident and it’s a powerful, midtempo blues about a drought. Trout’s guitar rings solidly as he offers another pretty solo. Elmore James’ “Something Inside Of Me” is next, a beautiful slow blues with guitar and organ testifying cooly. It’s a great cut that builds a bit to a nice finish. Otis Rush is covered next with “It Takes Time.” The tempo rises and emotions similarly rise as Trout belts out the lead. There is lots and lots of guitar here to savor- very well done. “Out Of Bad Luck” stays on Chicago’s West Side, this time with Magic Sam. Trout testifies vocally with lots of emotion and then blasts out his guitar solo. Edwards’ piano provides good accompaniment within this one, too. Robby Krieger joins Trout on slide guitar for “Goin’ Down To The River,” an old Mississippi Fred McDowell tune. This one is pretty and slow Delta-blues with the slide slipping in and out to good effect. The guitars interplay as backline sets up a deliberate pace. Well done, once again! Trout concludes with J.B. Lenoir’s “God’s Word.” Walter testifies and takes us to church a bit with his vocals. The entire second half of the song is a concluding guitar solo that Trout works his magic on.

This may have been a therapeutic set for Walter to deliver, but it’s just great stuff. Each song is a little unique and offers different sides to the blues to enjoy. Trout takes each tune and crafts it into his own, making a cool dozen musical statements for us to enjoy. There is stellar guitar work here, super vocals, and a tight set of musicians working with Trout. I loved this album and think any lover of superb blues guitar will, too. Trout is spot on and just a joy to listen to on this stellar album!

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 – 2 of 6 

gaye adegbolola cd imageGaye Adegbalola – The Griot

Hot Toddy Music/VizzTone Label Group VT-HTM-2420

17 songs – 68 minutes

Gaye Adegbalola has never been shy about speaking her mind through music. As a 25-year member of Saffire – The Uppity Blues Women, she delivered the truth – both frankly and with a wry sense of humor. And she lays it on full force once again with this tasty solo effort.

A native of Fredericksburg, Va., a former biochemical researcher, bacteriologist, technical writer and Virginia State Teacher Of The Year, she’s earned top honors across the board. Not only is she a Blues Music Award winner, but she’s garnered the Parents Choice Gold Award for a CD targeted aimed at children. And she’s also taken home prizes for her work as champion of empowerment and social justice.

A gifted songwriter, guitarist and harmonica player, Adegbalola carries forward the songster/storyteller of West Africa tradition – known as “griot” – with this release, the fifth album under her own name. She penned 14 of the 17 tunes here, which deal with everything from adult themes to mundane observations about everyday life.

She’s accompanied brilliantly throughout by Jeff Covert on guitars, bass, banjo and percussion with guest appearances by Keith Armstead and Roddy Barnes (keyboards), John Freund (guitar), Chris Sexton (cello), Jackie Merritt (bones) and a horn section composed of Zack Smith and Davis Smith (trumpets), Steve Patterson (sax) and Dan Haverstock (trombone). Resa Gibbs provides one chant and backing vocals, and Queen Lovelace contributes tambourine.

The uptempo opener, “Nothing’s Changed,” boldly states that racism in America remains strong despite the passage of time, that folks with big money still control everything and that there’s much more that we can do. The brief “The Griot” delivers a spoken-word description of this CD’s theme before the banjo-driven “Liearrhea” deals with folks who grin in your face while simultaneously spreading vicious untruths. Gaye warns the double-talkers, however, that she’s going to “love the hell right out of you.”

A quartet of strong political statements follow. A simple drumbeat and chant open “FGM,” which explodes into a diatribe against female genital mutilation, which still exists in some cultures today. The slow shuffle “Dirty Sheets” speaks about poverty and “(You’re) Flint Water” condemns pollution before “Kaepernicked” kicks off with a bar from “The Star-Spangled Banner” before evolving into a blues that both comforts and credits the NFL quarterback for taking a knee and protesting injustice with respect and dignity.

The themes brighten for the next trio of tunes. “Ain’t Technology Grand?” commends modern devices for putting the entire world in your hand and capture wrong for everyone to see while the ballad “Gon’ Be Alright” addresses loneliness in old age and “Don’t Criticize Me” warns not to complain unless “you can clap on the two and the four.”

The ballad “Nothing Left…” paints a tragic picture of mental illness before Gaye delivers a little hope with a cover of Doc Pomus’ “(There Is Always) One More Time.” Sex and romance are the themes in a take on Bessie Smith’s “Need A Little Sugar In My Bowl” and the original “Tea Cake Kind Of Love” before “3 Hour Shoes (Stylin’ For The Lord)” deals with the vanity. The disc concludes with “Sorry, But…No Shame,” a cry for freedom, and Ma Rainey’s “Jelly Bean Blues,” a tale of betrayal.

Available through most major retailers, and strongly recommended for anyone with a social conscience. Fair warning, however: Some of the lyrics contain explicit language.

Blues Blast Magazine Senior Writer 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 – 3 of 6 

eric schenkman cd imageEric Schenkman – Who Shot John?

Vizztone Label Group

10 tracks/36:27

Eric Schenkman is the lead guitar player from New York City’s The Spin Doctors. Originally hailing from Canada, Schenkman set up shop with them and still plays with them after all these years. Here Schenkman’s band is Shawn Kellerman on bass, Van Romaine on drums and Cody Dickinson on drums. Kellerman is also a Canadian guitar player who toured with Godboogie and Lucky Peterson, to name a couple of his efforts. Romaine in a Jersey boy who has played and recorded with a host of big time musicians and bands. Dickinson is the percussive half of the North Mississippi All Stars’ Dickinson brothers. Brent Barkman also adds some B3 and JJ Johnson is on sax. Schenkman wrote or had a hand in writing all the tunes- they are all originals. He also does all the guitar work and lead vocals.

“I’m Alright” gets things rolling. It’s a blues rocker that will please those who like a heavy dose of guitar in a rocking mode. Up next is “Locked In The House All Day,” pretty much a country/southern rocker. “Lincoln’s Feat” is a little but more blues-y and raw with a bit of a Delta feel as Dickinson and Kellerman set the pace. The vocals get a little monotonous, but I think that it was the intent to make it simple, repetitive and stark as in a hill country tune. The title cut gets a bit of a Cajun groove going in a song about who shot John at the Mardi Gras. “No Pain” is another rocker with steady and heavy guitar work and a deep groove.

We get some nice B3 organ added to the mix on the slow blues rocker “Sign Of The Times.” “Far Away” gets the pace back up as Schenkman lays out some more heavy licks. There is a bit of a Led Zeppelin feel to “Only A Fool,” a slow to mid-tempo rocker with a big solo by Eric. “Fortune Teller” is next, with a nice blues feel to it as Schenkman growls out the vocals and hammers out the lead on his guitar. Eric closes the set out with “Agent Orange Blues,” a very heavy, throbbing rock tune with a major backline groove setting the tempo.

The album is like an old school rock album, coming in at just over 36 minutes; none of the songs drag on or feature big time jams like the Spin Doctors albums did. If you are looking for traditional blues you won’t find much here. This is heavy, driving rock for the most part, where Schenkman unleashes his axe and plays with reckless abandon. If that’s what trips your trigger then this one’s for you. It’s got a huge dose of rocking guitar to satisfy the rock lover’s soul.

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 – 4 of 6 

pete madsen and celeste kopel cd imagePete Madsen And Celeste Kopel – From The Delta & Beyond


13 Tracks/44:55

For the past four years, guitarist Pete Madsen has been teaching prewar acoustic blues, with his “From The Delta & Beyond” program being an offshoot of the information he taught, including classic blues songs. This disc offers his renderings of thirteen songs that will be very familiar to many blues fans. Understanding that his talent lies in guitar playing, Madsen enlisted the aid of Celeste Kopel on vocals.

The first five tracks feature the duo, starting with Tommy Johnson’s “Big Road Blues”. Madsen proves to be an adept picker, spinning out a complex rhythm to support Kopel’s measured singing style. The guitarist creates a dark soundscape on the Skip James classic, “Hard Time Killing Floor”. Kopel wisely refrains from trying to match the author’s falsetto singing voice. Covers of “Come On In My Kitchen” and “Walking Blues Medley” add further proof of Madsen’s six string skills. Their rendition of “Key To The Highway” is taken at a faster tempo, as Kopel once again gives a straight-forward performance, limiting the emotional pull until Madsen joins her for a brief duet at the finish.

The remaining seven tracks include a mixture of contributions from Chuck Ervin on bass, Max Cowan on keyboards, and Nelson B. Santos on drums. Kopel tries hard but fails to capture the usually intensity normally found on “Drown In My Own Tears”. She fares better on “Nobody Knows You When You’re Down And Out,” with Cowan’s righteous piano playing at the center of the arrangement. By sticking with a deliberate delivery, Kopel is unable to generate the poignant feeling at the heart of Sam Cooke”s “Bring It On Home To Me”. With Ervin’s stand-up bass leading the way, Kopel cuts loose on “Stormy Monday,” making a heartfelt connection with listeners.

“Trouble In Mind” starts off with Madsen and Kopel as a duo, then the band kicks in after one verse, morphing from a quiet acoustic setting to a rocking pace spearheaded by Madsen on electric guitar.

“My Babe” features some basic harp blowing from Ervin, followed by an unusually heavy take on “Born Under A Bad Sign,” with Madsen’s gritty solo the lone highlight. The closing track, “Mercury Blues,” revs up the tempo with Madsen on slide guitar. The cut also puts some of Kopel’s vocal limitations on display.

The acoustic portions of the project are good, and at times, quite appealing. The tracks that go electric are a mixed bag. Madsen & Kopel certainly have some talent. The question is, do listeners want to hear another disc filled with covers of well-known songs?

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

jim alchin ad image

 Featured Blues Review – 5 of 6 

sweet daddy cool breeze cd imageSweet Daddy Cool Breeze – 28 Years With The Blues


9 songs – 39 minutes

The magnificently monikered Sweet Daddy Cool Breeze are a Chicago-style blues band, originally formed by front man Wally “Sweet Daddy” Greaney back in 1990. 28 Years With The Blues is the band’s first release since 2004 and is a collection of live recordings. The press material states that the tracks are from a previously unreleased recording the band made during an East Coast tour, but while the tracks certainly sound like they were recorded live, there is sadly no information provided of where or when they were made.

The album opens with the funky swing of “He Loved The Blues”, in which Greaney recounts, almost in a sprechstimme style, the story of a late friend of his, who was particularly partial to the blues. It’s a tight band, with the rhythm section of Eddy Humber (bass) and Jimmy McNamara (drums) laying down a suitably taut groove, over which Greaney lays down some impressive harp and Mark Easton flails his guitar. The mix throughout 28 Years With The Blues reflects the fact that it is a live recording, with Easton’s guitar and Greaney’s vocal and harp very much to the fore, but with Joe Elliot’s keyboards and McNamara’s drums often buried very low in the mix.

The band follow up “He Loved The Blues” with a raucous version of Otis Rush’s “Keep On Loving Me” (curiously re-titled here as “I Want You To Love Me”) before launching into a tale that will be familiar to any touring musician, “Motel King For A Day” on which Greaney’s harmonica takes the solo. Unfortunately, there is no information provided about the songwriters for any of the tracks on the album, so it is difficult to know how many of the songs are self-written and which are covers.

The stuttering 12 bar “Jenny Brown” (not the The Smothers Brothers 1964 hit) and the Chicago shuffle of Sonny Boy Williamson’s “She’s My Baby” both allow Greaney and Easton some time to stretch out on the solos, while Greaney pulls out his saxophone on Ronnie Earl’s “Stickin'” (here called “Stickin’ It”), which also contains some lovely organ playing from Elliot.

The rapid shuffle of “Sweet Tooth Mama”, previously released on a Connecticut Blues Society sampler Local Flavor back in 2003, mines the wry lyrical theme of overindulgence and the resulting weight gain but features some neat interplay between sax and guitar before McNamara takes a series of mini-drum breaks that really raise the temperature.

Easton’s guitar showcase is a cover of Roy Buchanan’s “Sweet Dreams”, a potentially risky choice given Roy Buchanan’s hallowed treatment of the old Don Gibson song, but Easton holds his own even while acknowledging Buchanan’s influence in both the choice of notes and the use of techniques such as pinch harmonics.

The closing track on the album is James Cotton’s harmonica instrumental tour-de-force, “The Creeper”, a fitting tribute to one of Greaney’s primary influences as well as to original SDCB (and Cotton band) drummer, Kenny Johnson.

28 Years With The Blues is a relatively short but enjoyable album of modern Chicago blues and is a fine introduction to Sweet Daddy Cool Breeze. On the evidence of this release, they are clearly a fine act to see live.

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

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 Featured Blues Review – 6 of 6 

brandon isaak cd imageBrandon Isaak – Rise ‘N’ Shine

Self Released

13 tracks

Brandon Isaak presents an all-original album of 13 blues tunes presented as a solo effort. Recorded in Vancouver’s Tin Can Alley, many of his local friends joined in with the making of this CD. The tunes range from raw, primitively recorded roots music to a more modern and upbeat style. Isaak’s last CD garnered recognition with a 2018 Juno Award Nomination for Blues Album of the Year in 2018. He has also won Maple Blues Awards for Acoustic Act of the Year and has been nominated for many categories of this award.

Isaak plays all the forms of guitars and some harp and drums and bass when his guest friends are not supporting the track. Keys are covered by Aidan Miller and Willie MacCalder, drums are by Chip Hart, and there is harp by Dave “Hurricane” Hoerl. Ed Isaak, Jack Lavin, Sam Shoichet, Lisa Rae Simons and Pa Darcus share bass duties and Jerry Cook provides the saxophones. Willie MacCalder and Jack Lavin are from the Powder Blues Band and Chip Hart and David Hoerl are from the Twister. It’s a hot music scene at Tin Can Alley.

The first track is a slick little mid tempo cut entitled “Right Around The Corner” with upright bass and piano added. It’s got a cool, old-time vibe to it; Isaak sings with feeling and picks some acoustic guitar. Isaak gets a little help on upright bass, harp on “Lose The Blues.” His lap steel and drums are cool and he again gives us another old school feel in this work. “I Wanna Be Your Man” adds drums, saxophones, electric bass and keys. Isaak (on electric guitar) and Company get a nice groove going and deliver another cool performance. Isaak’s guitar and vocal swing and jump in “Can’t Do No Wrong.” A little drum help sets the pace as Isaak plays his guitar with passion and adds a bit of harp to the mix, too. “Beautiful Day” has a little drum and keyboard help as Isaak testifies and takes us to church a bit, both vocally and on guitars. Next up is “PhD In The Blues,” where Isaak plays guitar bass, drums and sings and gets help from the sax. This ones got attitude as Isaak tells us how has been educated in the blues. It’s a little funky and drives with a hard beat. “That’s How I Feel” has some help on harp and piano in a bouncy little number where Isaak tells us how he feels about his woman.

“Me And The Blues” is Isaak with drum help; he sings a sweet, slow blues and plays his dobro with emotion. Isaak switches gears with “Time To Git It On,” mixing perhaps a bit of Chicago blues and a swampy feel to create a unique sound. Help on keys and drums make things fun, and Isaak’s electric guitar and harp are well done, too, and he mixes in some other guitars for fun. “Blame It On The Girl” is a somber, slow blues with piano, drums and electric bass helping to set the mood. Brandon sings with feeling once again and picks out some nice acoustic guitar. “No Matter What Thy Name” again features lap steel with added keys. drums and upright bass. Isaak sings of tolerance and makes his point with super vocals and nice work on his guitar. “Perfectly Happy With The Blues” features Isaac picking out some nice stuff with a little upright bass help. The cut is simple and sublime with a sweet melody woven up with great work on the dobro. Last but not least is “Sweet Dana Lee,” a swing tune. Drums, upright bass and the sax along with some well done electric guitar swing and juke with a jazzy, Louis Jordan sort of vibe.

There are some very interesting blues coming out of Canada. Brandon Isaak and his one man band and his guests have produced a very nice set of tunes in this, his third solo album. If you like blues and roots music with an edge then look no further. I enjoyed this one and think fans of similar interest will too!

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 Interview – Howard Scott 

howard scott photo 1On September 16, 1970, Jimi Hendrix was down to his last time to be seen onstage in this world. His time was appointed and he was headed for the next one, not about to be tardy. For the cosmic sendoff, he joined Eric Burdon & War onstage at Ronnie Scott’s Club in London. War’s original guitarist, Howard Scott, describes it thusly:

“During our London period we jammed with Jimi Hendrix in his last live performance. Of course he knew Burdon from Eric’s days with The Animals. He came out to Ronnie Scott’s to jam with us. He actually came two nights in a row. The first night he apparently was too lit to play. He chose not to.

“But that second night, I saw him walking through the crowd with his Strat. His eyes were cobalt white. He was ready. He was Jimi Hendrix and in charge. I said to myself, ‘It’s time for me to get the funk up outta here!’

“I unplugged trying to get off stage but he said, ‘No, I want you to stay.’

“I said, ‘Okay,’ and plugged back in. We started jammin’ playing through the same amp. We got down to where we were playin’ “Mother Earth” by Memphis Slim. He took a solo, then stepped back and said, ‘Go for it Scott.’ which lifted my confidence and he and I started goin’ head to head. It was amazin’, a great concert. He was smilin’ and feelin’ good.

“After the set, Lee Oskar and I walked back to the hotel in the rain. I don’t believe the raindrops even touched us!

“My people were from Texarkana, Arkansas before joining the great migration and relocating to Southern California. I was born in San Pedro, California. My father played that old Folk/Country Blues guitar. As a youngster, I couldn’t get behind that. I was too young to understand what he was doing and playing. Later, as I started playing, I cut my teeth and played with some of the top Black Blues guys that migrated to Southern, California.

“The trumpet was my first axe in elementary school. I didn’t like it and got kicked out for not playing well enough. At that age, as with my father’s music, I wasn’t ready for a lot of things. I didn’t pick up another instrument until my cousin, guitarist Jack Nelson migrated out west from San Antonio, Texas when I was in the 8th grade. He had a Gibson Les Paul guitar and proceeded to teach my cousin B.B. Dickerson and I to play the bass, because he needed a bass player behind him.

“So B.B. Dickerson and I started playing bass at the same time. At that time, since I was older and more mature than B.B., I took it more seriously. B.B. spent more time playing with the kids in the neighborhood. I spent more time playing bass and learning.”

“During that time, there were many Blues clubs in San Pedro, California. Every club in the city was playin’ Blues. I played in all those joints in San Pedro comin’ up. Johnny Otis used to bring Esther Phillips to San Pedro. Guys from Bobby Bland’s band migrated to Southern California like keyboard player Teddy Reynolds.

“I played with a string of Blues cats at different times including Lowell Fulson, Charles Brown and Little Sonny Warner who sang lead on the Big Jay McNeely hit, “There Is Something On Your Mind”. When they were presented with a gold record, Big Jay and Little Sonny, cut the gold record in half, so they could both have a piece.

“Eventually, I played with a band called The Creators who started at club in L.A. called Jesty’s on Avalon and El Segundo. When we first started playing there, the house band was called The Handicappers and they were all handicapped with various disabilities. The lead singer was a guy named Bobby Lee who had no arms. When the The Creators came in, we took the gig from The Handicappers. Bobby Lee told me he was gonna slap me. I said, ‘Man, how you gonna slap me with no arms?’ He then tried to kick me!

“Jesty’s was the top place to play on the South side and we really honed our craft there and became the hottest band in South Central. The Creator’s were the forerunner of War. It was myself , Lonnie Jordan on, Harold Brown , B.B. Dickerson, Bobby Nicholson and George Brown. Verdine White, before Earth, Wind & Fire, had a band on the North side, the Hollywood side, that was hot over there.

howard scott photo 2“While we were still in high school, The Creators took a road trip to El Paso, Texas. The gig was for a weekend. Well, we played the gig and got to the hotel and everyone started runnin’ up charges. They let us make as many charges as possible. Monday mornin’ when we prepared to go back home, they told us, ‘Well, we locked your instruments up and you can’t leave until you pay off this bill.’

“It took us about 3 weeks to pay that bill off, playin’ every night. To keep the costs down, they put us up in a hotel in Juarez, Mexico. We had to cross the border every night to play. When we finally left, we were damn near broke. We were definitely broke by the time we hit the first fast food joint.

“Before we left El Paso, the Drifters had come to town. Everybody rushed up to me sayin’, ‘The Drifters are here, The Drifters are here.’ I didn’t really want to play with The Drifters, but I did audition with them. By the time The Creators made it back to L.A. , The Drifters had bus tickets waiting on me to go on the road with them. So, I went on the road with The Drifters, Little Milton and Jackie Ross.

“We traveled and traveled. The thing about it was, they were way too old for me, brother. This was about 1964. When I got back home, I told my daddy, that I wasn’t going back out with those guys. Plus they owed me money, so I quit. The Drifters went on to Seattle. I went back to my band.

“The Creators were still ridin’ high. Right about the time we were heading to Chicago, I got drafted. I thought I wanted to be in the 101st Airborne. (I didn’t know Hendrix at the time but that’s the same unit he got in.) But by the time I was to go to my airborne training a guy came up and said they needed 11 guys to go to Germany. Boy, I jumped on that so quick it wasn’t funny. I was in Germany 18 months.

“So, while I was in Germany, The Drifters came to down and guess what? They needed a guitar player. They wanted me so bad they gave me $300 to join ’em, which was way more than they owed me from before. That was good money in those days. Man, I played with those boys and they were so glad to see me. Of course, they wanted me to go on the road with ’em. I told ’em, ‘I can’t go this time cuz Uncle Sam has me.

“So I did my service time and when I got back home to The Creators, B.B. was gone. Lonnie had gotten married and moved to Santa Barbara. Harold was a machinist. So I just started playin’ with some local cats in L.A. just to keep things goin’. So me and Harold got together and said, ‘We’re gonna make this thing happen one more time.’ B.B. wasn’t the bass player, but we got Lonnie back and we brought in Charles Miller who was with Double Shot Records.

howard scott photo 3“We built it up to a 10 piece band and called ourselves The Night Shift. We started backing up the ex L.A. Ram player turned singer Deacon Jones. He had a song out called “Lovin’ A Pro”. He had a girl group named The Mirettes as background singers. The Mirettes later had a hit with a cover of Wilson Pickett’s “In The Midnight Hour”.

“Now, Deacon Jones was not a very good singer but he had a lot of the L.A. Rams supporting him and The Night Shift rocked it for him. While we were backing up Deacon, Peter Rosen, our bass player at the time, was working with Jerry Goldstein at a poster company. He convinced Jerry Goldstein, Lee Oskar, Eric Burdon and Steve Gold, to come out and listen to us.

“Eric was looking for a band and when they came, gears started spinin’ and lightbulbs came on. They sent Lee up to sit in with us and he caught our groove and went nuts on it. That’s what we do. We’re a jam band. So they made arrangements for us to come visit them up in the Hollywood Hills on a Sunday. We sat down with that whole team and an agreement was made for us to back Eric.

“Now Deacon Jones was only payin’ us maybe $150 a week. They were offerering us $200 just to rehearse. Now, my loyalty was with Deacon, but I’m glad we went with Eric because he did more for us than Deacon ever could have. So we spent months rehearsing with Eric, gettin’ down all the songs he wanted to do. He cut our 5 piece horn section down to only one, saxophonist Charles Miller and paired him with Lee Oskar’s harmonica. That was the new horn section. That was Eric’s vision and call. It was a smooth move and gave us a very unique sound.

“The first major gig we had was at Devonshire Downs with Credence Clearwater Revival. Credence had a wall of Marshall amps for sound. We had leftover Animals equipment. Stuff that was patched together. We rocked the house nonetheless. That was the beginning of Eric Burdon & War. The name War came from Steve Gold. Since there was a big Peace Movement goin’ on, the band’s name was controversial.

“We then brought my cousin B.B. Dickerson back into the band and continued to rehearse intently. I must say that those Eric Burdon years were some of the best of my life because I learned how to be a front man by watching Eric.

“We went to London and gigged at Hyde Park with John Sebastian opening. That’s the gig that took the country. We went straight Compton on ’em.”

Howard Scott and War, the band from Compton has since fractured into many incarnations. Four of the five living original members no longer play in the band. Of the four Howard Scott, Lee Oskar and Harold Brown continue to play as the Original Lowrider Band. B.B. Dickerson is not currently playing.

Before we let Howard head to the next gig, we asked him about his favorite gear.

“I play straight guitar and I only use one effect and that’s the Cry Baby pedal. I have a 335 Gibson, an Epiphone B.B. King Lucille and a very rare Gibson Studio Model Les Paul. As a matter of fact that guitar was originally owned by Bobby Bland’s longtime guitaririst Wayne Bennett. As far as amps go, when War was at it’s peak, I used Marshall’s, but these days I use a Fender Twin.”

For more info on Howard Scott and The Original Lowrider Band, go to:

CyberSoulMan Tee Watts is music director at KPFZ 88.1 fm in Lakeport, California. His radio show, The CyberSoulMan Review airs Tuesday afternoons from 3-5 PST. He is road manager for Sugar Pie DeSanto, the last Queen standing from the glory years of Chess Records.

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Crossroads Blues Society – Rockford, IL

Monthly shows on the second Saturday of each month at Hope and Anchor English Pub on N 2nd St in Loves Park, IL. 3/9/19 John Primer, 4/13/19 The Cash Box Kings and 5/11/19 Corey Dennison Band. All shows 8 PM to 11:30 PM.

First and Third Friday’s feature the Blues at the Lyran Society Club on 4th Avenue in Rockford and a great fish fry, too! The schedule is 3/1/19 Hobson’s Choice, 3/15/19 Milwaukee Slim with Billy Flynn, 4/5/19 Dave Fields and 4/19/19 Oscar Wilson and Joel Patterson. No cover, 7 pm to 10 pm.

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.

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 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 the Alamo, 115 North Fifth, Springfield, IL from 8:00pm to midnight. Additional information on any performer listed below is available upon request.

March 3 – Johnny Rawls plays 7th Annual Randy DeVillez Blues Celebration – Doors open 1:30 PM, music 3:00 PM. March 4 – Nick Schnebelen, March 11 – Kyle Yardley Blues band, March 13 – BluesMattic, March 18 – Rooster Alley Band, March 25 – Aaron Griffin, March 27 – Billy Galt & the Blues Deacons, April 1 – Brandon Santini Album Release Party, April 8 – The L.A. Jones Quartet with Adrianna Marie, April 10 – Dan Rivero, April 15 – Gracie Curran & the High Falutin’ Band, April 22 – Marty D. Spikener’s On Call Band, April 24 – Hard Road Blues Band , April 29 – Kilborn Alley Blues Band, May 6 – Orphan Jon and The Abandoned.

Also ICBC willl be celebrating their 33rd year in business on March 30 with the ICBC 33rd Birthday Celebration at K of C, 2200 S. Meadowbrook Rd, Springfield, IL. Doors open @ 6:00 PM, Torrey Casey & the Southside Hustle 7:00 PM followed by Joanna Connor Band.For more information visit

The Charlotte Blues Society – Charlotte, NC

The Charlotte Blues Society is pleased to announce The Instigators as our featured artists at our March CBS Blues Sunday on 3 March, 2019. Show is at 8:00, followed by an open Blues Jam at 9:30.As always, the event will be held at the Rabbit Hole, 1801 Commonwealth Avenue, Charlotte, NC 28205.  Admission is free to members with valid cards and just $5.00 to all others.

Please remember to bring donations of canned foods or household items for Loaves and Fishes. 1 Can? I Can! Help end hunger in Charlotte!

Grand County Blues Society – Denver, CO

Blues guitar superstar Walter Trout headlines Blue Star Denver 8, presented by Blue Star Connection in conjunction with the Grand County Blues Society, a Benefit Concert, Silent Auction, and Gear Drive, Saturday, March 23, at Turnhalle Ballroom at The Tivoli, located at Metropolitan State University of Denver, 900 Auraria Parkway. Doors open 5:30pm, showtime is 6:00PM. Tickets: $25.00 (General Admission), $35.00 (Reserved), $69. (VIP); $750.00 (VIP Premier Table). Info: (303) 726-6111 or visit  Also performing: Honey Island Swamp Band, B To The Sixth, and Special Guest, Kate Moss.

Net proceeds benefit Blue Star Connection, to help carry out their mission of providing access and ownership of musical instruments for children and young adults with cancer and other serious life challenges. To date, BSC has reached over eight-hundred kids and has donated musical gear to sixty-five Children’s Hospitals and Music Therapy Programs as well as several other community programs.

Great Northern Blues Society – Wausau,WI

To celebrate 20 years of the Blues Café, we will be kicking off the weekend by hosting a 20th Anniversary Party, Friday, March 8 at the Rothschild Pavilion (near Wausau, WI). Doors will open at 5:30 pm, with Howard “Guitar” Luedtke getting things started at 6:30 and Reverend Raven & The Chain Smokin’ Altar Boys taking the stage at 8:30.

Friday admission can be bought the night of the event for $5 and is included with all Saturday Blues Café ticket, which will be available to purchase at Friday’s event.

Saturday’s Blues Café lineup includes the Mark Cameron Band at 1 pm, the Ivy Ford Band at 3 pm, the Cash Box Kings at 5 pm, the Danielle Nicole Band at 7 pm, and Ronnie Baker Brooks at 9 pm. Doors will open at noon. We hope you can join us for a weekend of great music, and to celebrate 20 years of good times at the Blues Café. For more information, visit

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