Cover photo by Bob Kieser © 2014
In This Issue
We welcome a new writer this week, Tee Watts. Tee has our feature interview Blues artist James Armstrong. Bob Kieser, Marilyn Stringer and Mike Stephenson have Part 1 of our coverage of the Chicago Blues Fest.
We have six reviews for you including the book One Way Out – The Inside History of the Allman Brothers Band plus reviews of music by David Reo, Suit Ty Thurrsty, Steve Krase, Toots Lorraine and The Bare Bones Boogie Band.
We have the latest in Blues Society news from around the globe. All this and MORE! SCROLL DOWN!!!
From The Editor’s Desk
Hey Blues Fans,
Ok it is Blues Overdose time again and this week we have 4 free Blues tracks including music from Too Slim And The Taildraggers, Pork Chop Willie. Missy Andersen and David Michael Miller. For complete details scroll down to the bottom of this issue or CLICK HERE to go directly to the files for download at our SoundCloud site now!
Summer is in full swing and Blues Fest are the happening place to be! If you are in the Midwest there are two great festivals this weekend put on by friends of ours. The Champaign Blues, Brews and BBQ festivals is FREE and begins Friday in Champaign, Illinois and features Johnnie Mae, Holle Thee Maxwell, Cody & the Gateway Drugs, Jason Elmore and Nikki Hill on Friday and Eddie Shaw & the Wolf Gang, Rick Estrin & The Nightcats, Curtis Salgado, The Surreal Deal, Maurice John Vaughn, Albert Cummings and Buckwheat Zydeco on Saturday. More information at bluesbrewsandbbqfest.com.
Also on Saturday is the Field Of Blues Festival in Rockford, Illinois. The have a great lineup with John Nemeth, Doug Deming and the Jewel Tones with Dennis Gruenling, TheJimmys, Liz Mandeville, Alex Wilson Band and Dan Phelps. Tickets and info are available at fieldofblues.blogspot.com.
And finally in one of our busiest weeks of the year, the Blues Blast Music Awards nominations were announced. Check out the complete list of nominees at www.bluesblastmagazine.com/2014-blues-blast-music-awards/ Voting begins July 15, 2014 on our website.
Wishing you health, happiness and lots of Blues music!
Featured Blues Review – 1 of 6
One Way Out – The Inside History of the Allman Brothers Band
Written by Alan Paul
St. Martin’s Press
One would have to think long and hard about embarking on a daunting task, especially when that task is chronicling the forty-five year legacy of a truly iconic rock band. Thankfully, Alan Paul was up to the challenge. Over his years as a senior writer with Guitar World magazine, the author conducted countless interviews with people involved with all of the different aspects of the Allman Brothers Band – from the four surviving original members to producers, management, road crew, and various musicians including those who were part of the fluctuating line-up over the years.
The author supplies the narrative thread starting with the formative days in Daytona Beach, FL where Duane and Gregg grew up after the family moved from Nashville. What makes the book special is that Paul uses quotes from his various sources to flesh out the narrative, letting the people who were actually there tell the story in their own words. When people have different recollections about a certain time period or a specific moment in time, Paul includes the differing points of views and lets the reader form opinions on what really transpired. It is a fair approach that works well, particularly when it comes time to detail the bitter parting- of-the-ways the band had with founding member Dickey Betts.
The first half of the book chronicles the genesis of the band as Duane and Gregg’s attempt to hit the big time, including an ill-advised move to Los Angeles in the pursuit of stardom. Duane quickly tires of the demands to conform and heads back home, eventually landing in Muscle Shoals, AL where he becomes a valued session musician for hit-makers like Aretha Franklin and Wilson Pickett. It was Duane’s idea to get Pickett to cover the Beatles “Hey Jude” resulting in a monster record. Soon Duane connects with drummer Jaimoe and bass player Berry Oakley, their jams creating plenty of musical sparks. Soon they add Butch Trucks, fulfilling Duane’s desire to have two drummers like James Brown and Otis Redding.
When Duane and Dickey Betts start jamming, they immediately develop a rapport that allows them to play off each other’s guitar lines, with Betts playing melodic harmonies that magically intertwine with Duane’s brilliant slide playing. But the band still is missing something. Finally, Gregg is convinced to come home from LA to give the band its voice. Building from free concerts in parks to club dates up to theater concerts, the band honed its unique blend of blues-based rock while building a faithful fan-base for their rousing live shows.
Duane is the driving force behind the band – his positive energy and encouragement keeps things together despite the constant grind of touring. His reputation gets a further boost when Eric Clapton invites Duane to be part of his Derek & the Dominos project that ultimately leads to the classic Layla album. Paul takes you into the middle of that project with comments from Clapton, producer Tom Dowd, and the keyboard player for those sessions, Bobby Whitlock. Once the Allman Brothers release their famed Fillmore live recording, they reach the height of acclaim. Bookings for concerts and festivals include fees that exceed $100,000 per show.
But it all starts to unravel when Duane is killed in a motorcycle accident at the end of October, 1971. The band family is stunned. After only a few weeks, the survivors decide to soldier on. Paul explores the emotional turmoil of that period through statements from a wide range of people involved with the Allman Brothers organization. At the same time, drug and alcohol abuse begins to take its toll. Betts struggles to learn to play the slide guitar licks that their fans expect to hear. He takes over the leadership of the group and, as Paul points out, utilizes a style that is dramatically different than Duane’s guidance.
Paul portrays the slow dis-integration of the band at several different points, examining the struggles of Gregg, Betts, Jaimoe, and Trucks to remain relevant through line-up changes that forced the band to be constantly adjusting their sound to fit new players into the “Allman Brothers” sound. One valuable aspect of Paul’s efforts over the years is his interviews with key people like Dowd, Lyndon, and Woody allow them a voice in the story even though they all passed away years ago. Over the second half of the book, the band manages several times to resurrect itself just as the end seems near. Once the decision is made to pair returning member Warren Haynes with Butch’s nephew, Derek Trucks, the revival is complete. Their distinctive sound returns, delighting long-time fans as well as a new generation of listeners.
It is all here, laid out with fairness and honesty, without dwelling on the sensational episodes of the band’s existence – tragedies like Berry Oakley’s death, the murder charge for road manager Twiggs Lyndon over an unpaid performance fee, and the passing of Allen Woody, bass player for the ABB for eight years and a member of Gov’t Mule. It is a monumental tale that Paul spins with an easy grace, helping readers to experience the palpable excitement of the early years as well as crushing despair of the dark moments that seem to dog the band at every turn. This one will have you turning pages into the wee hours of the night. It is an outstanding read – and comes highly recommended!
Reviewer Mark Thompson lives in Florida, where he is enjoying life without snow. He is a member of the Board of Directors for the Suncoast Blues Society and the past president of the Crossroads Blues Society of Northern Illinois. Music has been a huge part of his life for the past fifty years – just ask his wife!
Featured Blues Interview – James Armstrong
James Armstrong’s first axe as a child, like many boys, was the drum kit.
“It seems like kids just wanna beat on something,” he reminisces. “My dad got me lessons from some great pro jazz drummers, whose names I can’t remember. He and I then did little duets. Actually kind of a novelty act. We’d go to these little art centers and schools. I’d be this little kid on drums and he’d play some guitar but I never felt it. Did that for a few years then decided I wanted to play saxophone, cuz my dad wanted me to play anything. Just play! So for about nine months my sax teacher had me playing in the corner of the room toward the wall to “get the sound.”
“But my dad had all these guitars around. I’d pick’em up and try’em here and there. One day, at about the age of nine, I grabbed a guitar on the couch in the living room. I did something and it made sense! I did something else and that worked. I did a couple of other things and went, whoa, I think this might work. And at that point, I just kept going.”
Attracted as he was to the guitar, young James found it kind of difficult having to take music theory lessons from his dad every day after school.
“It was rough. All my peers were outside playin’. My dad had chalkboard on wheels in the living room. As soon as I got home from school, I’d have to do music school with my dad as the teacher. I learned to read and write music. It was a big thing, but I didn’t enjoy it. I struggled with it into my early teen years.”
“My dad was tight with Kenny Burrell. Kenny called one day and invited us to a session with his band and a surprise guest at UCLA. I’m already packed and ready to go. Kenny welcomed us backstage and gave us front & center seats. The surprise guest was Stevie Wonder and his band. When Kenny’s band finished many of them stayed on to play with Stevie. They were mostly studio Jazz cats who read music and didn’t play by ear. That was fine for the first few songs until Stevie pulled the charts sayin’, ‘I ‘m not goin’ by the charts. I’m just gonna play what I wanna play.’ So, most of Kenny Burrell’s guys left the stage cuz they weren’t able to feel the music.”
“I said to my dad, “Look, look! Those guys can only play if they can read it. They can’t feel it.” He said, “All right all right, you’re right,” and from that point forward he lightened up on the theory lessons. I wanted to read, but I wanted to feel it too. There are a lot of cats that can do both, but at that time I couldn’t.”
“Now, at this point, I haven’t read anything in years. Musically I know my chords. I know what’s going down. When I write a song, I use Pro Tools Audio or whatever. I just put all the instruments in and forward it to the band. When we go to record it they’ve already heard it. If they need charts, they write them for themselves; not full charts for an orchestra. It’s just E flat, B, G, that type of thing.”
From about the age of about thirteen, James wanted to be a Hendrix. “I started trying to walk like him and talk like him. My buddy and I used to wear the headband like him.
His music was all I listened to. I got into the Rock and Folk side even though I’d heard the Blues all my life at home with my dad. I wasn’t trying to rebel. I was trying to grow musically. The first touring band I was ever with was a Country band. I was seventeen and I went out for six weeks with a full Country & Western band. I was the band’s only guitarist and was the youngest in the band by many years.”
When asked about his mark as the youngest guitarist to ever join the legendary West Coast Bluesman Smokey Wilson’s Band, Armstrong reminisces, “down in South Central man, I was like nineteen, wasn’t even supposed to be in there. Everyone else in the band was in their forties. I didn’t really grow up in the hood, I was on the beach doin’ that thing, but I knew about the hood. I went to this club—my dad had to buy me a sports coat ‘cuz I didn’t have one, to do the gig. So I’m standing on stage weighing about one hundred forty pounds in those days and all the cats in the band were bigger than me. So on the first break, we go outside to have a taste. So I’m gonna get in the circle to pass the bottle around. I was trying to be funny so I said, ‘look at you guys. You’re all just fat.’ Cuz they all had a bulge. As if on cue, each one of these five men opened their sport coat at the same time to reveal that they were all packin’, detective style. Man, I was the only guy on stage without a gun! I wish I could remember the name of that place.”
“At the age of twenty-two, I still wanted to be like Jimi Hendrix. In my mind, I felt that if I could just meet Mitch Mitchell or Noel Redding, I would have arrived.”
“I figured if I just kept playing harder, faster, better and get around the right circle, that eventually I would meet one of these two men. I knew it would happen someday but thought I had another ten, fifteen years to go. I had known Coco Montoya since I was twelve years old. He and I used to go to this private jam in Hollywood, down at this place called The Central on Sunset Boulevard. It was the spot for Rock guys, Blues guys, you name it.”
“Anyway, Coco said to me while there, ‘James, come with me. There’s someone I want you to meet.’ I walk over and Coco says, ‘Mitch Mitchell, James Armstrong. James Armstrong, Mitch Mitchell.’ CoCo and I had a band at the time called CoCo and James. Two weeks later we’re playing a gig and Mitch Mitchell played drums with us for two nights.”
“That messed me up man, because I didn’t have a goal after that. I had been just trying to play and get good and meet him. In my mind, I wasn’t good yet. I didn’t get to meet Hendrix but I met and played with the next best thing. In my opinion, in his prime he and JH were so locked, they could’ve performed as a duo. If you analyze some of the stuff they did you realize they were locked to the core of the soul.”
“The bad part about the gig was his drumming was terrible. Some of the worst I’ve heard. Over the top bad. His timing was off. After the last show, I had to ask him what happened. He said to me, ‘James, kid, I’ve gotta tell ya. After Jimi died, I lost it. I just can’t feel it anymore.’ James continues, “And that’s when I really learned that sometimes when you’re that connected to someone musically and that person is gone, you just can’t get it back.”
When asked about his time under Albert Collin’s wing, Armstrong seeks to clarify misquotes.
“A lot of what’s been printed is misleading. What happened was, I met Albert through CoCo. He used to come out to our gigs and sit in with us. Albert lived in Vegas. We would go to his house and hang out. He was always very helpful and talked to me a lot. We played a lot onstage together and somehow it’s been written that he tutored me musically. That’s not really true. The conversations we had were about life in general. He did want me to play in his band at one point but my creative energies were elsewhere when he asked.”
“But after all that, I was back home and I got to thinking that there weren’t many young African-American guys playing the Blues. I said to myself, ‘look at you James, you’re out here trying to be a Rock guy. What about what your dad and his friends showed you. Who’s gonna keep that alive?’ And that’s when everything changed. I thought that maybe I could contribute somehow. I started feelin’ it. I knew then that my dad was my first guitar angel.”
“I have nerve damage in my whole left arm. My whole arm looks smaller because of it. My index finger is basically the strongest in my left hand which is only at sixty percent of what it was before the injury. My middle finger is a little weaker. My third finger doesn’t bend at the first joint. My baby finger is crazy. It just does what it wants and sometimes don’t do nothin’. I call myself the best two finger guitarist on the planet that I know of, but it’s actually two and a half.”
“I was living in Sunnyvale, California in 1996. It was touted as the third safest city in northern California. We didn’t lock doors. There were families all around us in our neighborhood.”
“At the time I had two sons. James Jr. was two and a half, just starting to walk. John was nine months old. My wife was going to chiropractor school. We had a nanny who had John on her lap. It was about 8:00 a.m. I was playing with James on the floor. The door opens and there’s this guy.”
“Now I’m 155 pounds and stand 5’9”. I’ve had two fights in my life, one when I was five years old. I’m not a violent guy but I know the streets. So, right away I say, ‘what do you want? Why the fuck are you in my house?’ He goes, “shh, shh.” I’m following him and he goes off into the kitchen. He starts looking in drawers. I thought he was looking for money or drugs or something. I don’t know what the fuck he’s doing. All I know to do, being the non violent person I am is to call 911.”
“So I go back into the living room and I’m dialing 911. As I was dialing, that little voice in my head told me to turn around. When I did, he already had the knife cocked back. The first stab wound was in my upper left shoulder. I dropped the phone and started fighting then, trying to get him off me. I got stabbed in the side and the other side, the back. I’m going, this ain’t workin.”
“I guess when you’re goin’ through that, you’re all in shock. Anyway, the nanny runs into the bedroom and locks the door with John, my nine month old. James Jr. doesn’t know what’s goin’ on, he’s grabbin’ daddy’s leg, tryin’ to hold on to me. We lived on the second story. Me and the guy are fighting back and forth. I figure if I can get outside to the balcony, he’ll just deal with me and leave my boys alone. I get to the door and out to the balcony.”
“I didn’t realize the guy had picked up James Jr. and threw him over the balcony.” (TO CONTINUE READING THIS INTERVIEW CLICK HERE)
Photos by Bob Kieser © 2014 Blues Blast Magazine
Interviewer Tee Watts is music director at KPFZ 88.1 fm in Lakeport, CA and road manager for Sugar Pie DeSanto.
Featured Blues Review – 2 of 6
David Reo – Life is Good
12 tracks / 44:00
After growing up in Rhode Island, David Reo has made the entertainment industry his life’s work, having attended the venerable Berklee College of Music in Boston and then moving on to Tinseltown to make a go of the television genre. While working on a few standout series (remember Happy Days?) he started writing and recording his own music in 1984. Since then he has produced other acts as well as playing a couple thousand shows with The Preachers Blues Band around the Los Angeles basin.
David’s fourth album, Life is Good, is a collection of a dozen blues-based and country songs, eight of which are originals. Besides writing these songs, Reo provided the vocals and guitar for the album. A score of other musicians contributed to this project, including Evan Grosswirth on bass, Pete Gallagher on the skins, Jim Calire on keyboards and sax, and Bill Flores on the pedal steel. Jeff Cowan was the engineer and producer for the album, which was cut in Ventura.
The album is divided into two parts: the first act is a set of original blues tunes that were written by Reo, and the second part is a collection of country songs that includes a few cool covers. The blues portion of the show kicks off with “Shell Shocked” a big-sounding song with in your face horns and slick guitar fills. This is our introduction to David’s pleasant tenor voice and it is readily apparent that he has a good feel for the rhythm and blues he is slinging.
“Uzbekastan” is really unexpected, with a Benny Goodman feel that is provided by righteous clarinet from Geoff Nudell and Gene Krupa-esque tom pounding from Gallagher. This song does not go whole-hog big band, as the guitar provides most of the melodies, but it still swings like mad and the lyrics are funny and fit well with the musical theme. This is followed up with “You Won’t Matter,” a more conventional slow-burning blues song with a hot horn section and fantastic piano and organ work throughout.
Reo finishes up his blues set with a “Too Far from Home,” which has a laid-back California-themed feel and lyrics. Michelle Corbin sings lovely harmonies on this one and Nic Mancini brings his vibraphone into play, which is something that does not happen much on blues albums that come across my desk.
There is a definite break when the country action starts with Led Zeppelin’s “Hot Dog” from their 1979 album, In Through the Out Door. The original is an Elvis-infused blues song with country elements, but David and his crew takes it all the way to Nashville with a bit of Albert Lee chicken pickin’ guitar, which is an improvement over what was kind of a strange song to start with.
Other country covers include Buddy Holly’s “Love’s Made a Fool of You,” which was made popular by The Bobby Fuller Four, and Lefty Frizzell’s “That’s the Way Love Goes” which was taken to number one by Merle Haggard back in 1984. A standout track from the country side of things is Reo’s take on Juice Newton’s “River Of Love,” a lovely song with fine vocal harmonies and prominent fiddle and cello parts.
To close out the set, Reo takes a completely different direction with “Jimi Jam,” which is a heavy dose of the psychedelic blues rock that was pioneered by Hendrix back in the late 1960s. It is well set up as Grosswirth and Gallagher play a nifty backline jam that allows Reo and Guy Martin to cut loose a little. The rest of the album is all about the songs so David had to put his guitar on the back burner, and it is nice that he finishes up with a cut that illustrates what a masterful axeman he is.
Life is Good is a solid effort from David Reo, and if you like your blues served up country style this CD will be right up your alley. If you want to hear more from David, he is playing regularly with The Preachers Blues Band in clubs around L.A., and he also just released an album of country classics which should be a real gas.
Reviewer Rex Bartholomew is a Los Angeles-based writer and musician; his blog can be found at http://rexbass.blogspot.com.
Featured Live Blues Review – Chicago Blues Fest Part 1
The Chicago Blues Festival is one of the largest Blues festivals and is completely free! It is held each year in Grant Park, on the lake in downtown Chicago.
This year they featured music on 6 stages for 3 days and included some of the best Blues talent! Some of the artists featured on Friday’s schedule on the Bud Light Crossroads Stage included Ronnie Hicks and Masheen Company Band.
They started the day off right with a solid set by the 5 piece band with Ronnie on lead vocals and occasionally some organ
Next up was Guy King
Guy played with Chicago great Willie Kent for a number of years and has been on his own for several years now.
Next up was James Armstrong.
Check out more about James in our feature story above!
Meanwhile over at the Pepsi Front Porch stage there was a performance by some young area Blues In Schools artists.
They were followed by Harmonica Hinds.
His band included Rick Kreher and Eddie Taylor Jr.on guitar and E.G. McDaniel on bass
Next up was Chicago’s own Cicero Blake.
After Cicero west coat harmonica ace Mark Hummel took the stage.
His all star Chicago band included Billy Flynn on guitar, Johnny Iguana on piano and Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith on drums
A new concept for a performance stage this year was the “Meet Me In Memphis” Blues Pavilion. Most of the acts that played there were solo and duos. Kicking off the day on the stage before his band set above, was James Armstrong playing solo. Fun to see him performing this way and he looked great in a sharp blue suit!
Next up was Billy Branch in a stripped down set featuring him and a dobro player.
Finally we caught a old time jug band trio called Sanctified Grumblers on the stage too.
A new sponsor with a stage named after them this year was the city of Jackson Mississippi. The Jackson Mississippi R & B Stage started off with Ben Peyton.
Next up was the band that won the 2014 International Blues Challenge, Mr. Sipp featuring lead man Castro Coleman.
The final; act we saw on the Jackson stage Friday was Vick Allen.
Chicago’s Windy City Blues Society has a Street Stage each year at the Chicago Blues Fest. They started off the day with Low-reen & the Maxwell St. Market Blues Band.
Next up was this year’s Chicago Blues Challenge Round 1 winners, Charlie Love & The Silky Smooth Band
They were followed by Morry Sochat & Shoji Naito, Windy City’s 2013 Blues Challenge Duo Winner.
The final act we saw there was Kevin Purcell & the Nightburners.
Then to finish the first day at the 31st Chicago Blues fest we headed over to the Petrillio Music Shell for the evenings headliner acts. First up was a group called Carolina Chocolate Drops.
They play a mixture of African and American music. Original member Rhiannon Giddens led the group through a varied set of music including some Piedmont Blues.
Next up was Otis Taylor.
Otis is famous for “trance” style of Blues and for his highly animated fiddle player Anne Harris. He had noted guitar played Alvin Youngblood Hart with him for this show.
The final act of the first day was a group to celebrate John Lee “Sonny Boy” Williamson’s music. It featured The Siegel-Schwall Blues Band consisting of Corky Siegel, Jim Schwall, Rollo Radford and Sam Lay, plus an all all-star cast that included Billy Boy Arnold, Marcella Detroit, Billy Branch, Omar Coleman, Mark Hummel, Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith, Billy Flynn and Johnny Iguana.
On the last number everyone got into the act playing harp, even Billy Flynn who I have never seen playing harp!
It was a great way to top off a wonderful day of Blues music!
NEXT WEEK – Part 2 of the Chicago Blues Fest.
Photos by Bob Kieser, Marilyn Stringer and Mike Stephenson as marked. All photos © 2014.
Featured Blues Review – 3 of 6
Suit Ty Thurrsty – People in the Street
12 songs; 53:07 Minutes
Styles: Rock, Blues, Soul, Funk, Hip-Hop
The only thing about the NYC/Connecticut band Suit Ty Thurrsty that’s easy to describe is their name. They’re “The Suit” Tom Forst on vocals, guitar and keyboards, “Ty” Tyree Pope on vocals and bass, and “Thurrsty” Pedro Johnson on vocals and percussion. Musically, they’re all over the map. Only two songs of an all-original twelve would be considered pure blues, with the rest either rock, soul, funk or hip-hop. However, this ensemble should not be dismissed as ‘not being blues enough’. They have performed alongside Marshall Tucker and the Atlanta Rhythm Section as well as Busta Rhymes, Melba Moore, CL Smooth, and Dionne Warwick. Their second album, “People in the Street”, is number two in Connecticut as well. “There hasn’t been a band that brings so much excitement, so much musicality, so much vibrant onstage showmanship in a long time,” reads their website. They’re nominees this year for the Connecticut Music Awards and finalists for the Connecticut Blues Society Competition. With three tunes, Suit Ty Thurrsty stands a good chance of taking home listeners’ loyalty and hearts:
Track 01: “I’m Never Gonna Leave You” – Is this opening track’s narrator a devoted lover or a demented stalker? That’s up for blues fans to decide during this saucy number. “’Til death do us part – don’t make me prove it to you. You don’t want that, girl,” he sings. In another section, he emphasizes his point again. Mike Forst guest stars on keyboards, alongside Kim Burgie and James P. Mullen on trumpet and saxophone.
Track 04: “Same Old Song” – Track twelve is a bonus remix of this traditional blues stomp. Its protagonist is trapped in a rut, receiving repeated responses from his partner: “You’re stuck in that same old position; I can’t seem to change your mind. You say it’s your women’s intuition; you think you see. I know you’re blind. Can’t keep on keeping on singing that same old song.” The solo in the middle is a perfect marriage of “Ty’s” bassline and riveting guitar by “The Suit”.
Track 06: “I Got the Blues” – Sensational number six’s premise is hilarious. “I got the blues ‘cause I just ain’t got the blues!” The band’s chorus asks: “Did you lose your trailer in a hurricane? Did you lose your car to a repo man? Did you lose your wife to your best friend? If you want to sing the blues, you’ve got to show us your pain. Were you taking drugs when you was in the hood?” The lead singer says, “Well, I grew up in the suburbs, but that Viagra’s pretty good.” “Are you working for The Man every day?” The response: “Well, I guess I am a man, that’s why I’m going to say ‘I got the blues’…”
When they play the blues, Suit Ty Thurrsty will quench the thirst of all the “People in the Street”!
Reviewer Rainey Wetnight is a 34 year old female Blues fan. She brings the perspective of a younger blues fan to reviews. A child of 1980s music, she was strongly influenced by her father’s blues music collection.
Featured Blues Review – 4 of 6
Steve Krase – Someday
12 songs; 41:32 Minutes
Styles: Blues Rock, Contemporary Electric Blues, Harmonica Blues
Whom do you get when you mix the Allman Brothers Band, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Jimi Hendrix? Brooklyn, New York’s Steve Krase, rhyming with “ace” – and that he is, on blues harmonica. He previously spent ten years as harp man for the Houston group Jerry Lightfoot and the Essentials. After they broke up, Steve spent a few years as sideman with Matt Leddy and the Meatcutters before forming Steve Krase and the In Crowd. In 2004 and 2005, this band was in the finals of the International Blues Challenge in Memphis. With such a pedigree, it’s no surprise that Steve has put together some top-notch talent to perform alongside him on his debut CD. It features Krase on harmonica and vocals, guitarists James Henry and David Krase, bassists Eugene “Spare Time” Murray and Gaven Krase, Bobby Markoff and Robert Lewis “Pee Wee” Stephens on keyboards, drummers Mark Dufrene, Don Swanson and Carl Owens, Eric Demmer on saxophone, Tommie Lee Bradley on backing vocals, and pianist Randy Wall. On seven original songs and five covers, they make no apologies for their sizzling style. The three selections below are fresh compositions:
Track 02: “Put the Cokane Down” – Taking illegal drugs is never a good idea, especially when a local lawman might be watching: “Put the cokane [sic] down…You see, the sheriff is on the other side of town. I shot my wife; I shot my car! I told my friends I’m going to be a star.” Unfortunately, that’s not what happens to our narrator, and the only place where he gains any fame is in prison. David Krase wrote this song, and also provides its sly guitar intro.
Track 05: “Someday” – The title track is a slightly mellow ballad that’s definitely poignant, also written by David Krase: “My mama left me when I was just thirteen – left me in the graveyard with an old gypsy queen. Tombstone for my pillow and a gravesite for my bed; don’t cry, Mama, I will find you someday.” One would hope this tune is not autobiographical, although its highlights are Steve Krase’s howling harp and “Pee Wee” Stephens’ eerie keyboards.
Track 07: “Texistential Blues (Song for Jerry)” – This reviewer would like to nominate the title of number seven as one of the most creative of 2014. A rollicking instrumental, “Texistential Blues” most clearly shows where the influences of SRV and the Allman Brothers Band comes in. It may be short, not even three minutes, but it’s the sweetest and spiciest offering on the album.
Blues traditionalists may fault Steve Krase in three areas: a slight reliance on covers, his talk-singing vocals, and how far he leans toward the ‘rock’ side of blues rock. However, these are minor flaws compared to his major musicianship. “Someday” is an album that’s perfect for summer, either at an outdoor barbecue or on the road for vacation!
Reviewer Rainey Wetnight is a 34 year old female Blues fan. She brings the perspective of a younger blues fan to reviews. A child of 1980s music, she was strongly influenced by her father’s blues music collection.
Featured Blues Review – 5 of 6
Toots Lorraine – Make It Easy
Greaseland Records – 2014
12 tracks; 57 minutes
Toots Lorraine and her band The Traffic come from the Jacksonville, Florida area where they specialize in vintage blues and rhythm and blues, certainly making a positive impression on this reviewer at the Springing The Blues festival in April. However, this CD is credited to Toots alone and only she and her husband/guitarist Chad Dant appear, the other musicians being all first call players on the West coast where the CD was co-produced by Chad and Kid Andersen at his Greaseland studios. We have Mike Phillips on bass, June Core on drums, Lorenzo Farrell (Kid’s fellow Nightcat) on keys, Aki Kumar on harp, Chad on guitar under the tag ‘Chad Mo’, with Kid filling in occasional parts on guitar, bass and piano. Toots and Chad wrote seven of the songs with the five covers coming from Willie Dixon, Don Robey, Big Joe Turner, Jimmy Vaughan/Dr John and the traditional “Wade In The Water”.
The album opens with a brace of originals which show off Toots’ fine voice in two different styles: first the title track opens in shuffle mode with harp and cool jazzy guitar, Toot’s vocals relaxed and crystal clear; the second cut is “When Did You Stop Tryin’”, a slow blues with fine harp, piano and guitar. The first cover is Don Robey’s “Let Your Tears Fall Baby”, a rocking cut with excellent, stinging guitar and some exciting piano. Toots shows her uptempo vocal abilities on this one before she demonstrates her softer side on “Get Back To Lovin’”, a gentle love song accentuated by Chad’s fine guitar support. Kid Andersen is the featured guitarist on “Satisfied”, an uptempo original in which Toots extols the virtues of her man who keeps her fully satisfied. After that clear message of human comforts “Wade In The Water” makes an interesting contrast, Lorenzo’s organ underpinning another fine vocal from Toots in a relaxed take on the gospel tune. We return to more earthly concerns with “Built For Comfort”, a somewhat ironic choice for the slender Toots! Aki’s harp and Lorenzo’s piano embellish the familiar rhythm as Toots demonstrates that she can belt out a song of this kind just as well as the gentler material.
“Wrong Side Of Love” is another late night ballad, June using brushes, the bass, guitar and piano all playing quietly behind Toots, Chad and Lorenzo (on piano) taking restrained but tasty solos in the middle chorus. “Chad Mo Shuffle” is, as the title suggests, an instrumental feature for Chad before Toots tackles Big Joe Turner’s “Low Down Dog” in early rock and roll style, making keeping still while typing a real challenge! The final original is “Hindsight”, a slow, brooding tune on which Toots excels on vocals before Jimmy Vaughan and Dr John’s “Love The World” closes the album with another touch of gospel-inspired music.
This is a thoroughly enjoyable album which provides a variety of settings, all of which demonstrate what a fine singer Toots is. Definitely an album to check out, it comes with a strong recommendation from this reviewer.
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
The Bare Bones Boogie Band – Tattered & Torn
12 songs – 53 minutes
Tattered & Torn is the third album from the British blues-rockers, The Bare Bones Boogie Band, following 2012’s Blue and 2010’s Red. Do not be misled by the band’s name. There isn’t a whole lot of boogie on display on the album, The Bare Bones Boogie Band plays stripped-down, no-nonsense, heavy blues-rock, and they play it very well.
The opening song, “Love Like Leather”, is an absolute peach. Starting with delicately plucked acoustic guitar, vocalist Helen Turner gently sings “Tattered and torn, battered and worn, we’ve got love like leather to keep us warm. It’s ragged and frayed; and it’s sure seen better days. We’ve got love like leather and it goes on forever.” The full band then eases in with a mid-paced, grinding groove that expertly captures the feel and attitude of the classic blues-rock bands of the early 1970s.
Featuring Turner on vocals, Iain Black on guitar, Trev Turley on bass and Andy Jones on drums, Tattered & Torn benefits from modern production values but in other respects could have been written and released 40 years ago.
Guitarist Black wrote nine of the 12 songs on the album. “Springtime” was co-written by the other band members and the two covers are Bob Dylan’s “Meet Me In The Morning” (transformed from an acoustic blues lament to slow electric shuffle) and Ike and Tina Turner’s “Black Coffee”.
Black’s approach to both song-writing and soloing appears to be particularly influenced by the late, great Paul Kossoff. The songs lean towards the mid-paced or slower riff-based stomps in which Free specialized. In addition, Black has a warm, fat, Les Paul guitar tone and is not afraid to use a lot of space in his solos. Gratifyingly, the rest of the band doesn’t try to fill in the space, which helps to let the music breathe. The rhythm section of Turley and Jones combines power and groove whilst staying right in the pocket. Turley was recently nominated in the “Best Bass Player” category in the 2014 British Blues Awards and on the evidence of Tattered & Torn, it is a deserved accolade.
The jewel in the crown for The Bare Bones Boogie Band however is Helen Turner’s superb, raspy voice. Equally capable of expressing emotional vulnerability or roaring assertiveness, Turner’s voice has hints of early Rod Stewart in its rough-hewn power. Turner’s take on “Black Coffee” is indicative of her confidence and talent, certainly not coming off second best to Tina Turner’s original incandescent performance.
Recorded at Soundmagic Sounds by Steve Tsoi, This is a highly enjoyable slice of good old-fashioned blues-rock. If you’re a fan of the music of Free, Janis Joplin, The Faces and early Led Zeppelin, you should check out this release. You will find a lot to enjoy.
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
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The Las Vegas Blues Society – Las Vegas, NV
The Las Vegas Blues Society and the SNS Saloon (Saddle ‘n’ Spurs) (At Smoke Ranch and Jones) will join to pay tribute our late co-founder, colleague, and friend Carol Nashe.
Led by Carol’s son Rick Nashe, Blues Storm will be the host band for a special fundraising jam in her memory to benefit the Wounded Warriors project on Sunday, 6 July 2014, beginning at 6 p.m.
“Please join me with welcoming the LVBS back to the SNS and applauding them for paying tribute to Carol and raising funds to help our veterans for the Wounded Warrior Project,” said Bobby Kingston, the venue’s owner on 1 July.
We will also accept donations (monetary and otherwise) to the Wounded Warriors during the evening, which promises to be a very special evening as we pay tribute to a woman who meant so much to the Las Vegas Blues Society and numerous other causes to which she gave of herself so generously.
All Society members and friends of the Society are welcome and encouraged to attend. If you play, please come out and sign up to jam. Carol Nashe loved life, loved the blues, and had a charitable spirit. Here’s a chance to salute her memory, and the encouragement and support she gave to those in Las Vegas who play and love the blues as deeply as she, on behalf of a very worthy cause. For info visit http://lasvegasblues.org
Flathead Valley Blues Society – Kalispell, MT
The Flathead Valley Blues Society presents our annual Blues cruise July 3, 2014, 7-9PM. Flathead Lake Blues Cruise on Far West Excursions. 7PM leaves the dock in Lakeside, MT Music by Three Eared Dog from Missoula.
Tickets: $25.00 *available from Blues Society Board Members or call Brian Higgins at 406-471-9926 or MaryAnn Kelley 406-857-3119 for reservations. Info at http://flatheadvalleyblues.org
Topeka Blues Society – Topeka, KS
For the fifth year in a row, the Topeka Blues Society will present a stellar line-up of internationally-renowned artists at its Spirit of Kansas Blues Festival at Lake Shawnee in Topeka on Friday, July 4th. There is no admission charge for the festival which will start at noon and present continuous music until 9 pm.
After the crowd has been warmed up by three Kansas-based blues artists, the Randy Oxford Band, a high-energy six-piece group from Seattle, will kick things up a notch followed by the 44s is a band which hails from Los Angeles and regularly captivates audiences with its gritty blues roots style.
Canadian-born guitarist Anthony Gomes who has been named one of the top ten guitarists in the world follows. Hamilton Loomis from Houston a protégé of Bo Diddley, headlines the main stage this year.
For more info contact Stacy Jeffress, 785.249.6969 or Suki Willison, 785.554.5478 or visit www.topekabluessociety.org
The Madison Blues Society – Madison, WI
The Madison Blues Society will host this year’s Blues Picnic on Saturday, June 28, 2014 at Madison’s Northside Warner Park from Noon to 9:00pm.
Music lineup is Kyle Henderson, “Blues Kids”, Altered Five, Jim Schwall and Chris Aaron, Barrelhouse Chuck With Billy Flynn and Westside Andy, Aaron Williams And The Hoodoo.
In addition to our regular selection of great American and ethnic foods, Capital Brewery beers, and 9 hours of FREE music, there will be a Prize Raffle, a 50-50 Cash Raffle and lots of fun merchandise. Don’t miss this chance to get your summer boogie on!
Natchel Blues Network – Norfolk, VA
The Natchel’ Blues Network and Beach Events presents The 21st Annual Blues at the Beach Festival September 5 & 6, 2014 at 17th Street Stage – Virginia Beach VA.
Lineup includes Jarekus Singleton and Lil Ed & The Blues Imperials on Friday and Doug Deming & Dennis Gruenling w/ The Jewel Tones, Dirt Cheap Blues Exchange Dance Workshop, Damon Fowler Group, Bernard Allison and Tommy Castro & The Painkillers on Saturday.
$5.00 Daily / $8.00 Weekend Pass. For more info visit http://www.natchelblues.org/events/BluesAtTheBeachFestival.html
Friends of the Blues – Kankakee, IL
2014 Friends of the Blues Concert Series – All shows held in Kankakee, IL unless otherwise noted.
Tuesday, July 8, Brandon Santini, BB Sportsmen’s Club , Wednesday, July 16, Albert Castiglia with opening act, The Impalas featuring Dawna Nelson, Longbranch Restaurant, Thursday, July 31, Terry Quiett Band, Venue TBA, Tuesday, August 12, Laurie Morvan Band, Bradley Bourbonnais Sportsmen’s Club, Tues or Thur, August 26 or 28, Nikki Hill (& Matt Hill), Kankakee Valley Boat Club, Thursday, Sept 18, Jerry Lee & The Juju Kings, Kankakee Valley Boat Club Thursday, October 02, Sena Ehrhardt, Moose Lodge
Crossroads Blues Society – Byron, Illinois
Saturday June 28th is the Second Annual Field of Blues Festival at Rockford Aviators Stadium. http://fieldofblues.blogspot.com/ refers. Advanced tickets are only $10.
Headlined by the great blues and soul singer John Nemeth (8 PM), Crossroads has a great lineup for 2014! At 6 PM Doug Deming and the Jewel Tones will appear with Dennis Gruenling on harp. The 4 PM band is the ever popular Jimmys! Liz Mandeville is on stage at 2 PM and the day opens with Crossroads Blues Challenge winner the Alex Wilson Band. Dan Phelps will also be performing between Sets in the Pavillion.
Advanced planning: The 5th Annual Crossroads Blues Festival on August 23rd moves from Byron, IL to Lyran Park just south of Rockford Airport. http://crossroadsbluesfestival.blogspot.com/ Lurrie Bell headlines this year’s event! .
Check us out at http://fieldofblues.blogspot.com/ or call festival chairman Steve Jones at 779-537-4006 for more information!
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. Additional information on any performer listed below is available upon request. June 30 – Chris O’Leary Band
Questions regarding this press release can be directed to Michael Rapier, President of ICBC, at email@example.com at 217-899-9422, or contact Greg Langdon, Live Events Chair, at firstname.lastname@example.org or by visiting www.icbluesclub.org
Utah Blues Society – Salt Lake City, UT
PRESS RELEASE – Utah Blues Society formed! – After a year in the works, as of May 15, 2014, the Utah Blues Society is an officially recognized, non-profit entity! UBS will now also pursue 501(c)(3) status. Inaugural officers are President Brian Kelm; VP Tony Holiday; Secretary Jordan Young; and Treasurer Tripp Hopkins. UBS is dedicated to expanding the reach of the Blues genre throughout Utah, promoting both local and national touring blues artists, building a network of Utah Blues artists, and providing educational programs to further increase the Blues’ visibility in its community. FFI, see utahbluessociety.org. Its first major endeavor is July 12, 2014 when it will be the beneficiary of the 6th Annual RnB Rendezvous blues festival. See also rnbrendezvous.org or contact President Brian Kelm, email@example.com
Blues Overdose 6/26/2014 – These free tracks are available for 30 days. More info below.
1.) Click the link below where it says “Click HERE to download” just after any of the artist descriptions below. (You only need to do this once as all the tracks are there!)
3.) On The Blues Overdose Page click the on any artist to listen to the song. You do NOT have to join Soundcloud.com to listen or download these tracks!
4.) To automatically download the artists song click on the download icon
“Wash My Hands” from the album Anthology
Tim “Too Slim” Langford with his Taildraggers roared out of Spokane, Washington in 1986 like a man with his hair on fire. The virtuoso guitarist, passionate singer and poetic songwriter remains possessed to play the blues his way with blockbusting power and the talent to create timeless music like his life depended on it. 28 years, countless emotionally draining shows and 18 albums later find him with an ongoing recorded legacy. Showcased on his monumental 2-disc release are 34 select songs, including three new tracks produced by noted Grammy winner Tom Hambridge.
The sumptuous extravaganza opens with the hypnotic swamp-rocker “Wishing Well” co-written by Langford and Hambridge. A cautionary fable about false prophets has Langford and ace Nashville picker Bob Britt trade scorching solos. “Little Gun Motel” by Hambridge and Texas bluesman Jim Suhler rocks a riotous, heavy boogie shuffle as Tim “Too Slim” Langford proves he is a reigning slide wizard by frying his strings. The third new cut, “Big Ole House”, by Langford and Hambridge, is a haunting ballad of lost love with Langford exposing palpable regret with his blues-worn vocal as the sensitive fills of pianist Jon Coleman and the entire rhythm section intertwine in a stunning innovation to the Taildragger sound.
Every archival track is as vital as the day it was recorded. “Stoned Again” has Langford sliding and slithering at his nastiest on a “smoking” shuffle groove verging on combustion. “Wash My Hands” rides a memorable hard rocking riff about finding salvation via “I wash my hands in the muddy Mississippi.” Langford “raps” his rawboned bio on “Cowboy Boot”, a clanging, big bore rocker with the wry hook “I got no more money in my cowboy boot.”
The Norteno-flavored funky “Mexico” is a jovial tribute to the virtues of visiting our southern neighbor for relaxation. Chunky funk-rock on “Been Through Hell” finds Langford preaching the sage advice “To get a little heaven you gotta make it through hell.” The cathartic slow blues “Good to See You Smile Again” boasts a soaring solo from Langford to complement Jimmy Hall’s heartfelt vocals. “Everybody’s Got Something” with guest soul singer Curtis Salgado is an uplifting rock “spiritual” featuring a worthwhile message couched in an infectious groove. Reminiscent of Blind Willie Johnson’s classic “Dark is the Night, Cold is the Ground”, “La Llorona” is an unaccompanied slide instrumental carrying immense, unforgettable emotional weight.
Tim Langford has that rare ability to make believable every note he sings and plays, along with the veracity of each tale, tall or otherwise. Now a resident of Nashville, he is currently being honored along with six other artists in the Country Music Hall of Fame and in a prominent exhibit at the airport. His exposure in “Opryland” can only further the cause of spreading his musical “gospel” to a wider audience. – Dave Rubin, KBA recipient in Journalismurnalis.
For more info visit www.tooslim.org
Click HERE to download these Free tracks on our Soundcloud
“Devil In My Soul’” from the album Love Is The Devil
The sounds of Mississippi’s hill country — from the streets of Manhattan. Pork Chop Willie’s debut album, Love is the Devil, lights a new fire under America’s musical melting pot, bringing fresh heat to the Mississippi hill country blues tradition while blending in elements of Americana, rock, alt-country and even classical music. The 13 songs on the disc, most written by Bill Hammer, serve as a bridge between those genres, the past and the present, and the band’s Magnolia State inspirations and Manhattan home. Led by singer-guitarist Hammer and violinist Melissa Tong, Pork Chop Willie is fueled by grooves, grit, honesty and passion as well as a unique blend of down-home and uptown musicianship. For more info visit www.PorkChopWillie.com
Click HERE to download these Free tracks on Soundcloud
“Whole Lotta Nuthin” from the album In the Moment
In her sophomore release, Missy Andersen shows that she is no one-note bluebird. The soon-to-be released album explores several different yet related styles from straight ahead blues to gospel-tinged revivals. Whole Lotta Nuthin’ penned by Missy and her guitarist/husband, Heine Andersen, is reminiscent of New Orleans and will have you reaching for your parasol or handkerchief for a little second lining. This bubbly ditty gets a boost from the addition of Bill Stuve on upright bass, Marty Dodson on drums, Ben Moore on B3 Hammond, along with backing vocals from Karen Trapane and Sonja Mack.
This album has something for everyone. Whether it’s a soul ballad or jump blues, Missy Andersen approaches each tune with equal prowess and sensitivity. Stay tuned for the official release on August 12, 2014. !
For more info visit www.missyandersen.com
Click HERE to download these Free tracks on Soundcloud
“Memphis Belle” from the album Poisons Sipped
Poisons Sipped, is the independent debut album for Buffalo, NY’s own David Michael Miller, recorded with help from members of the legendary Campbell Brothers. The album explores blues, soul, gospel and r&b, blending them into “Twelve treatments to soothe the soul.” Miller allows his influences to channel through his writing, his soulful voice and guitar playing, while the band’s performances and album production elevate the songs to stir the listener. Bill Wilson of “Reflections in Blue” writes, “This is an album that is destined to become a classic, passing down through the ages as one of those things that we all come to know and love.” Blue Barry of the Smoky Mountain Blues Society blogs, “This CD will stand up against anything out there! Now that’s a big statement, but give it a listen and you’ll see.” This album includes moving performances from Jay Moynihan (Buddy Guy) on sax, Darick Campbell on lap steel (The Campbell Brothers) along with their rhythm section of Carlton Campbell and Daric Bennett. Track 3, Memphis Belle, was born from Miller’s first trip to Memphis to the International Blues Challenge with his side project, Dive House Union. It features Jim Ehinger (Bonnie Raitt, Taj Mahal, Billy Vera and The Beaters) on keys and the moving pedal steel guitar of Chuck Campbell. It speaks of Memphis as a slightly sullied, but still beautiful long lost love who’s seen her share of heartache and yet who’s heart is still “so good.”
For more info visit www.davemillermusic.com
Click HERE to download these Free tracks on Soundcloud