Issue 8-45 Novemver 6, 2014

Cover photo by Gary Eckhart © 2014 Blues Blast Magazine

 In This Issue 

Terry Mullins has our feature interview with Rachelle Coba.

We have 6 music reviews for you including new music from Kaye Bohler, Liz Mandeville, Shuggie Otis, Popa Chubby, Lucky Peterson and Rob Stone.

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,

We are just now starting to get some of the videos from the 2014 Blues Blast Music Awards up on our YouTube channel. The first one we have for you is by our featured artists this week, Rachelle Coba.

Now I know many of you may not have had the pleasure of hearing this smoking guitar powerhouse and singer and are probably wondering why we are featuring her. She just released her first album Mother Blues, in February of this year. But I have to tell you this, you WILL be hearing more of this amazing artist.

Her performance at the Blues Blast Awards was stunning! Once she started her set, a hushed silence fell over the entire crowd. It was one of the highlights of all of the performances at the awards show. You can check out that video HERE.

We will have more videos each week so check back for the new ones at

Wishing you health, happiness and lots of Blues music!

Bob Kieser

 Featured Blues Review – 1 of 6 

Kaye Bohler – Handle The Curves

Self-Release – 2014

10 tracks; 39 minutes

Kaye Bohler has worked hard to establish herself on the California scene and this is her fourth CD. The ten tracks are all interesting originals by Kaye who handles all vocals and is joined by Kelly Black on guitar, Michael Murphy on keys, John Paul and Jeff Sorenson on drums, Pete Anderson on guitar and bass, Ron Dziubla on sax and Lee Thornburg on trumpet and trombone; Lee also arranged all the horn parts. The album was produced by Pete Anderson, Michael Murphy and Tony Rambo and was recorded in Glendale, CA.

The album opens strongly with two uptempo numbers. The funky “Diggin’ On My Man” finds Kaye concentrating her efforts on her guy while “The Way I Do Business” explains that Kaye works on the ‘WYSIWYG’ principle: “I don’t need nobody causing me strife, that’s the way I do business, that’s the way I do life”. The horns are a huge plus on both these tracks, but good as the first two tracks are track 3 is absolutely terrific.

“Bubble Gum” reminisces about what became of “the girl skipping with the bubble gum?”, how did that young girl get to where she is now? The music accompanying this tale is pure Stax, from the great horn arrangement to the Steve Cropper style guitar. Memphis sounds reappear later on in “Slayed” which sounds like vintage Hi Records, a song that Al Green could have sung though Kaye does a fine job here, as does Ron Dziubla in his solo.

“Family Is Found” also dips into the soul well in a more uptempo vein as Kaye tells us how friends can become family, Ron again soloing in robust style. Kaye has been dubbed ‘the white Tina Turner’ and this track is probably the one that most closely meets that description, but really Kaye has her own voice, no need for such comparisons.

Kaye shows us she can handle a dramatic ballad as in closer “Don’t Take My Hope Away” in which Kaye demonstrates her independence and determination not to be prevented from following her chosen path. The horns again play an important role and Michael’s churchy organ solo gives the whole number a nice gospel feel.

The title track “Handle The Curves” sounds autobiographical as Kaye sings of her struggles in life: “This ain’t no freeway, gonna have to pay the toll. Can you handle the curves of my highway, can you handle the curves of my road?”

Elsewhere “Backbone” gives us a touch of urban R n’ B and “Party Time” does what it says in the title, a call to enjoy ourselves after the working week; the band certainly follows the advice, guitarist Pete letting loose and the horns baying their support. “It’s The Blues” is probably the most identifiable blues track here with a core riff that is pure Muddy Waters.

This is the first time this reviewer has heard Kaye Bohler and it has been a great experience. A fine album, well packaged, well produced with some strong songs and excellent playing – this one comes recommended.

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.

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 Featured Blues Interview – Rachelle Coba 

Young Rachelle Coba may have had an idea that the trip was going to end with big trouble headed her way.

And she was right.

Still, nothing was going to keep her from the chance to see B.B. King do his thing.

Not a lack of transportation, not the rain falling from the sky, or even more importantly, her mother’s directive not to go to the show, was going to keep Rachelle Coba away.

When she finally arrived at the Century II Convention Center in Wichita, she found more than just the Beale Street Blues Boy there; Coba found her mom in the audience that night.

“Yeah, I snuck out to go to the show and walked in the rain to get there. A friend saw me walking and gave me a ride and when I got there, I ran into my mom at the show and got in trouble,” laughed Coba. “But I did get a chance to hear the show … I was just in a lot of trouble afterwards.”

All things considered, Coba has probably long been forgiven for her ‘youthful transgressions’ and has went about creating a path all for herself in the world of the blues over the course of the last decade-plus. There have been nights spent playing the blues on the high seas; evenings spent leading the band for one of the original Blues Brothers; and afternoons spent with a world-famous Chikan, chasing down … rolling chicken trucks. But the latest – and probably most meaningful – step in that journey is her first full-length disc, Mother Blues (Mono Records). In addition to seeing her first CD out on the streets, Coba also garnered a nomination for the Sean Costello Rising Star Award at this year’s Blues Blast Awards, making 2014 a fairly special year.

“This year’s been wonderful. I officially released the CD in February and it’s gotten a lot of press and airplay from radio, so it’s had quite a good response,” Coba, who currently calls south Florida home, said. “It’s been really cool. I really enjoyed putting that record together. It took awhile before it got released, but things have been great.”

Coba also produced and arranged Mother Blues and the finished product is a pretty accurate description of where she’s at musically these days, but the disc did end up being a different sort of beast from the one it initially started out as.

“I thought I would put together a CD of just me and my guitar, because that was the bulk of the work that I was getting in Wichita (Kansas) at the time – I was working as a solo act because of economics,” she said. “I was busy (playing gigs) and I thought I needed to put something out to sell at the gigs. After I did the first track (for the CD), I took it home and listened to it and said, ‘Uh, uh, this has to have a whole band on it.’”

It only takes one spin of the disc to figure out that Coba is an immensely talented guitarist and singer, but to add to that, the bulk of the material on Mother Blues is tunes that she penned herself. Resisting the temptation to do a covers-heavy album was something that was on her mind from the outset, says Coba, although a cover song may have just germinated the whole process.

“I originally wanted to record the title song, “Mother Blues” which was written by Sam Taylor, Jr., so that’s where I started,” she said. “And there was actually one other cover that I thought about doing, but I thought it would be better to get my stuff out there. Some of the more standard blues-type songs on there, I wrote when I was 19 or 20 years old, so I thought it was time I got those out there.”

It was pretty much a given that Coba was going to do the Sam Taylor Jr.-written title track on her new CD, although she might have had doubts about what the song was actually titled at one time, due to some low-down skullduggery.

“Sam Taylor Jr. was one of my mentors and he gave me one of his CDs. It was in the CD player in my ride when I went to Kansas City to do a Blues in the Schools,” she said. “Well, while I was there, all of my equipment was stolen, including his CD. One of the songs on that CD was about passing down the blues. I wasn’t sure of the name of it, but I called it “Mother Blues.” Well, I later found out that the song was called “Blues on the Move.” People that played with him (Taylor) have told me how cool it is that I’m covering the track on my new CD.”

Recently, Coba has started writing songs with a co-writer and describes that experience as “working out really well.” And like most artists, she keeps her eyes and ears peeled for potential subject matter for new tunes on a daily basis.

“Yeah, I’ll hear something and get a new idea … it’s almost like you have to catch all those ideas that are just out there in the air. You have to catch them as they go by, or there’re gone,” she laughed. “They come out really fast and when they’re gone, they’re gone. It’s interesting. It’s a craft that I could use more work at. I think my song-writing is probably my weakest spot that I have.”

Just from looking at the entirety of Coba’s abilities, many would argue that she has any weaknesses at all. One thing that certainly is not up for debate, however, is her formal training as a musician; she has a Bachelor’s of Music in classical guitar.

“I was the first one to graduate college on my mom’s side of the family and I thought if you got a degree in anything, it would help you get a job in that field,” she said. “And I really wasn’t interested in anything other than music. Music had just taken over my life and I really loved the guitar. So I thought if I did what I loved, then things would happen.”

It took awhile before Coba – who started out playing the violin in college before switching over to the guitar – realized that she might ultimately want to become a performer, taking what she was learning in college and applying that knowledge to bandstands all over the world.

“I think I secretly dreamt of being a performer, but I spent probably my first two years of college not talking to many people because I was so shy. So it’s interesting how all that happened,” she said.

The worlds of classical music and the blues seem to rarely intersect, but according to Coba, there are dividends to be gained out of a college degree in classical music, even despite such diverse sides of the art.

“It’s really easy for me to get a teaching job. I didn’t get a degree in education, so I don’t teach school, per say, but I’ve been a resident teaching artist in public schools in Wichita doing Blues in the Schools and putting together programs,” she said. “And I may have gotten some gigs in the past over some other people because I could read a chart, so there’s been benefits (to a degree in classical guitar). To me, the benefit is in pretty much anything you go to school for, you learn the ability to learn. I dodn’t think I would have the confidence I have now without that education, especially because I was such a shy, introverted kid.”

Shy, introverted or reserved are hardly words that could be used to describe Coba these days; especially on the bandstand. She hits the stage with her bright red fedora and blond Fender Stratocaster like a blazing bonfire and she doesn’t let up until the whole house has burnt down.

“That’s probably out of necessity. I’ve been around some really great performers that I’ve played guitar for and that’s what they do – they hit the ground running. That whole blues tradition, you know, with performers standing on the bar or doing whatever it took to grab the audience’s attention, is just part of playing the blues,” she said. “You’ve got to be ready to do whatever it takes to entertain people. That’s what my heroes, guys like Junior Wells, who was a great entertainer, did. It’s kind of like stepping outside of myself when I’m up there, because I am still carrying a certain amount of shyness. But it’s all about connecting (with the audience). People just want to connect with something. They want to feel it.”

Different styles though they may be, there are still certain linking factors between a classically-styled approach to the guitar, and a more rootsier-based attack commonly used in the blues.

“I think a lot of the methodology (between classical guitar and the blues) may be different for a lot of people, but not for me. One of the big things that I do is – I never use a pick. I didn’t before I went to college and I haven’t since. To me, that’s a basic thing, because all my blues heroes were finger-pickers, like Memphis Minnie and Big Bill Broonzy and on up. And classical guitar is also a finger-style thing. In the history of the guitar – way before the blues – plectrums were not often used. That was kind of an anomaly (using a pick), so finger-style guitar playing has always been at the forefront, despite what people might think. The plectrum use really started when we got into the recording era.”

The lead track off Mother Blues is a Coba-penned tune called “Never Been to Memphis.” While she actually has been to the Bluff City, competing in the International Blues Challenge in both the solo and band categories the past couple of years, her vocal delivery on the song is 100-pecent pure Memphis soul. Her vocal influences include a pair of usual suspects, along with someone that might come off as a bit of a surprise.

“I know he’s a guy, but I try the best I can to sing a track like Junior Wells. He was one of the best blues singers ever. Then there’s Etta James, Aretha Franklin … there’s just so many that I love,” she said. “The blues just has so many wonderful singers.”

Her education in the blues hit hyper-drive when Coba did a stint as band director for the legendary Matt ‘Guitar’ Murphy.

“Oh, Matt’s awesome. He’s one of the nicest, coolest guys in the world and an absolute sweetheart. He’s had some health issues and he may be a bit older, but he’ll still make you feel bad (trying to keep up with him on the guitar),” Coba said. “He can still humble anyone on the guitar in a minute. He’s just an amazing player and he’s played with everybody.”

Copa also spent time in Grady Champion’s (“He’s such a gifted performer,” she said) band at one point in time, and also sailed on board the Legendary Rhythm and Blues Cruise last year – playing with Albert Castiglia and jamming with Marcia Ball – and has also kept company with one of the most colorful characters in the world of the blues – Clarksdale, Mississippi’s own – James ‘Super Chikan’ Johnson.

“I love Chikan. He’s a riot. I went out to Utah with him and we were driving through Salt Lake City and there was a Chick-fil-A truck that looked like a chicken, driving next to us. I was like, ‘You know, we have to give him a CD.’ So we’re on the highway and I grab a CD and we’re honking at him and I’m leaning out the window, trying to hand the driver of this Chick-fil-A truck a CD as we’re going down the road,” laughed Coba. “We just thought they needed a Super Chikan CD in their chicken-mobile. Chikan was clucking and making all his chicken noises … that was awesome. I’m sure they were probably like, ‘What’s wrong with these people?’”

Coba, who is of Cuban ancestry, was born in Wisconsin, lived in Chicago for a brief period, moved to Miami for a spell before relocating to Wichita and then heading back to Miami. It was in Florida that she learned how to play music and that’s pretty much been her life ever since. And if things go her way, that’s what she would like to still be doing five years down the road from now.

“Hopefully I’ll have five more records out and be able to get out and support them and make a decent living playing music,” she said. “I know that’s quite a lot to ask for these days, because you’ve got to be lucky and good. But I would really love the opportunity to continue to do what I’m doing.”

To see a video of this new performer CLICK HERE

Visit Rachelle’s website at

Photos by Joseph A. Rosen, Bob Sekinger and Gary Eckhart as marked © 2014

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

 Featured Blues Review – 2 of 6 

Liz Mandeville – Heart ‘O’ Chicago

Blue Kitty Music

11 tracks/49 minutes

Chicago’s red-headed blues diva is at it again, with 11 red hot new tracks that will blow you away like they did me! Liz Mandeville turns in one inspired performance after another on these new cuts while backed by a great band with horns, keyboards and an assortment of great guest stars. I thinks she’s got a hit here and once you hear it I think that you will undoubtedly agree.

Liz has a fantastic guitar whiz in Minoru Maruyama, a former Billy Branch guitar player. He is impeccably smooth and spot on. Darryl Wright is solid on bass, a stalwart backline player of renown. Jeremiah Thomas is on the skins and turns in a superb effort. Joan Gand adds piano and B-3 on half a dozen cuts while Wade Baker (trumpet) is on 9 cuts and Eric Campbell (trombone) and Oz Landesberg (sax) are also on six tracks as her horn section.

Eddie Shaw makes a guest appearance on the first and fifth tracks. “Cloud of Love” and “Quit Me On A Voicemail” feature Eddie on solos; Oz and Eric are also featured on the former along with Joan on keys while Minoru is featured on the latter. “Cloud” is jazzy swing tune where Liz skats and flutters about effortlessly. “Quit Me” is soulful slow blues where she shows a strong yet subtle side where she voice moves up and down the registers with great style.

Billy Branch appears on track 4 (“So Called Best Friend”) and 6 (“Party At The End of Time”) with some mean harp. Liz and Billy spar with vocal and harp licks in the song about a friend who is not so devout in her friendship. Delightful lyrical stuff with sweet harp and guitar solos. The second track with Branch features Liz letting it out a bit as Branch also does on his solo. Minoru follows up with his own solo and then he and Branch share the solo poignantly before Liz returns. The song ends with a dervish of a stratospheric harp blow.

Charlie Love helps out on vocals on “Don’t Doubt My Love” and “Silver Lining (Shirley’s Blues) and does a bang up job. Dizzy Bolinski blows some cool harp on the final cut “Life Is Like A) Wave.” I am impressed top to bottom with the talent Liz brings both to her recordings and live shows- she always puts on a fantastic show and has become one of my favorite female vocalists on the scene today!

Whether Liz is doing slow blues ballads like “These Blues” or (as Liz puts it) the “butt-rockin’, shake your shimmy get your wiggle on music” as in many of the other tracks, we have a hellluva CD here. I think it is destined for greater notice and recognition. I hope you go out and get a copy because you will enjoy as I have!

Reviewer Steve Jones is president of the Crossroads Blues Society and is a long standing blues lover. He is a retired Navy commander who served his entire career in nuclear submarines. In addition to working in his civilian career since 1996, he writes for and publishes the bi-monthly newsletter for Crossroads, chairs their music festival and works with their Blues In The Schools program. He resides in Byron, IL.

 Featured Blues Review – 3 of 6 

Shuggie Otis – Live in Williamsburg

Cleopatra Records – 2014

12 tracks; 67 minutes

Shuggie Otis, son of legendary bandleader Johnny, was a ‘child prodigy’ in the late sixties, recording with Al Kooper and making two solo albums before disappearing from sight for almost forty years until a 2013 re-release of his seminal album “Inspiration Information” alongside new material that Shuggie had written over the intervening years. With renewed interest in his music Shuggie toured again and this album was recorded at the Music Hall of Williamsburg in Brooklyn, NY. The band here is Shuggie on guitar and lead vocals, his son Eric on second guitar, his brother Nick on drums, James Manning on bass, Russ ‘Swang’ Stewart on keys and vocals, Larry Douglas on trumpet, flugelhorn and vocals, Albert Wing on tenor sax and Michael Turre on baritone sax, flute, piccolo and vocals. The material is all original apart from one cover and covers material from Shuggie’s earlier career as well as his new CD.

The style of music here harks back to the larger urban soul bands of the seventies such as Earth, Wind And Fire or The Brothers Johnson. Shuggie’s guitar has a fuzzed tone and the keys are very synthesiser-like throughout, rather typical of that era. The horns supply some good support. The following tracks were the standouts for this reviewer:

Track 2 “Tryin’ To Get Close To You” is a love ballad with the horns and the bass in close support to Shuggie’s vocal lines.

Track 5 Gene Barge’s “Me And My Woman” is a blues, recorded by John Mayall on the “Crusade” album with Mick Taylor on guitar. Shuggie sings this one well and the horns do a good job, the bass lines doubled up on bari sax very effectively as Shuggie plays some blissed out guitar.

Track 8 “Picture Of Love” is a shuffle with some solid guitar from Shuggie, again in that fuzztone style he favors. The horns honk away during Shuggie’s solo and the bari sax again works very effectively at the bottom end.

Track 12 “Strawberry Letter 23” is apparently one of the most sampled songs of all times! Not sure why that is the case but here it is a pleasant tune with flute alongside the sax and trumpet and plenty of good harmonies to provide a nice finale to the show.

Those who took an interest in Shuggie’s earlier career will undoubtedly enjoy hearing how he has developed over the years. A DVD version is also due out to accompany the audio CD.

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 – 4 of 6 

The Blues According to Popa Chubby – I’m Feeling Lucky

Cleopatra Records

10 tracks/53 minutes

Theodore Joseph “Ted” Horowitz , aka, Popa Chubby is celebrating 25 years as an artist and has released what might be his finest overall album to date! The song selection of new and covers is great, the two guest appearances add a lot to the mix and Chubby and his band deliver inspired performances. Popa Chubby handles the guitar, vocals and percussion and also plays bass on 4 tracks. Chris Redden is on drums and Dave Keyes is on piano and organs for all cuts. Francesco Beccaro is on bass for the remaining cuts. One of his two daughters (Tipitina) plays trumpet on one track and does a fine job with it!

Popa Chubby opens with a duet with Dana Fuchs. He wrote this and 8 other cuts here. Chubby sings and calls for his woman in “Come to Me.” Fuchs replies in sensational fashion, with loads of emotion and grit displayed on both parts. Very nice organ work here by Keyes, too.

“One Leg at a Time” is a hopping shuffle that Popa does in a slick and cool fashion- very enjoyable and a nice contrast in style! “Three Little Words” follows and this is where his daughter plays some trumpet. Chubby opens with a driving vocal as the organ, trumpet and band back him. He goes into a short solo on guitar and then sings before Keyes provides a cool solo. The lone cover is “Rollin” and Tumblin;” Chubby gets down and does it justice with dirty vocals and stinging guitar as he moans approval over the guitar solo. “Too Much Information” is up next, a pretty ballad that always amazes me when I see him live. He can be a short, dark, mountain of a man with leather and tattoos and yet he can pull off a gentle and beautiful ballad without batting an eye.

“Rock On Bluesman” seems like a trubute to fellow New Yorker and axe god Leslie West. He hits the upper altitudes with his string bending goodness here. A slow tempo-ed tribute to the road weary rocking blues man. The guitar is huge here and Popa puts on a show with some huge and mountainous solos that he shares with Mike Zito who appears on this cut and also co-wrote it with Mr. Horowitz. Rocking blues fans will just eat this up as the two of them let it all hang out!

He follows with the title track where the pedals come into play as he gets a little funky. The organ helps him set the funky tone as he bounces and shucks and jives through this cool little cut as he extolls that he is “Feelin’ Lucky.” In “Save Your Own Life”he opens with some more huge guitar and rocking blues. He changes over to a another rocking style in “I’m A Pitbull (Nothing But Love)” and delivers this love song (you’ll just have to listen to the lyrics and see how Chubby can be the pitbull of love) and delivers another great guitar solo or two. He closes with “The Way It Is” as Popa ponders what life would be like for he and his lover without the other. Nicely done!

There are ten tight and well done cuts here. Not overdone or overstated but he does do things in a big way at times with some massive and poignant guitar solos. The vocals are solid an spot on- this guy can sing! Dave Keyes really impressed me on his piano and organ work throughout, too. His performances were inspired. This is a really good album by one of the New York blues scene’s best- Popa Chubby. If you need to hear him for the first time this is as good a place as any to start. If you are a fan you’ll want to run out or go on line an get yourself a copy to enjoy. I found myself listening to it over and over again!

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 – 5 of 6 

Lucky Peterson – The Son Of A Bluesman

Jazzbook Records

11 songs time-57:03

I’m not familiar with Lucky’s previous catalog, but there isn’t much in the way of blues here. Much of what is here could serve as background music for a noisy party. I know him from backing various blues artists, enough to know that he is a major talent. He has a good voice and his guitar and organ skills are beyond reproach. The liner notes don’t get specific as to which guitarist is playing what and where as Shawn Kellerman is the second guitarist. Who ever it may be at any given is right on the mark. The production is clear and crisp. The whole project just seems to lack direction. Perhaps they should of waited until they had more in the way of solid material. You get the feeling that everyone is having a good time, but there is a lack of substance. That being said, there are some shining moments.

One would think that a song entitled “Blues In My Blood” would be a blues. You would be wrong. It’s a funk-soul jam with random guitar underneath. The lyric consists mostly of the title being repeated over and over. They manage to take the funk out of the vocal on “Funky Broadway”, although the funk is definitely there in the music. A talked “vocal” throughout really creates a mess.

The sound of ladder-day Carlos Santana guitar gives the uplifting instrumental “Nana Jarnell” life. It is one of the highpoints of the recording. The faithful rendering of Bobby “Blue” Bland’s classic “I Pity The Fool” is the best of the few blues offerings here. “Boogie-Woogie Blues Joint Party” sounds just like what the title implies.

We’re given two versions of “I’m Still Here”. The first is taken as a slow soul song and the second is a gospel version. They are both from a long line of “looking back on my life” songs and are a bit of a yawn. Johnny Nash’s “I Can See Clearly Now” gets a funk treatment and pretty much loses it’s catchy melody.

The shining moment for me comes when Lucky’s wife and daughter lend their beautiful voices to the acoustic country blues-ish “Joy”, only to have Lucky come in talking to interrupt the goodness. These ladies need to put out their own records. Another highlight is the jazzy organ and horn driven instrumental “You Lucky Dog”. It also features some tough guitar playing.

Top-notch musicians like these deserve to be given more structured songs to lend their skills to. Lucky is obviously in possession of guitar, organ and vocal skills. Perhaps looking towards outside material and a producer to give more direction would result in a better foundation to build upon. The musicianship isn’t in question. The band certainly has the right tools for the job.

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

 Featured Blues Review – 6 of 6 

Rob Stone – Gotta Keep Rollin’

VizzTone Label Group

CD: 12 Songs; 48:14 Minutes

Styles: Chicago Blues, Swing Blues, Traditional Blues

In this century, where hip-hop, rap and techno dance are three of the most popular musical genres, what place does the blues occupy? Its position is so unique that many fans fall into one of two camps. One of them aims to keep the genre ‘pure’ by adhering almost completely to its origins. How will people – young people especially – know what the blues is if it keeps being diluted by other genres such as blues-rock, funk, jazz and soul? The other camp wants to fuse traditional and modern styles, and have the best of both worlds. Enter Chicago-and-L.A.-based Rob Stone. Formerly performing with legendary blues drummer Sam Lay, such a harmonica monster has Gotta Keep Rollin’ in his solo career. On his fourth album as bandleader and first with the VizzTone label, he seamlessly blends contemporary blues influences with seminal ones such as ragtime.

Alongside Stone are his longtime band guests Chris James on guitar, bassist Patrick Rynn, and drummer Willie “The Touch” Hayes. Special guest stars include Chicago masters saxophonist Eddie Shaw (recently inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame), guitarist John Primer, pianist David Maxwell and a former Howlin’ Wolf piano man, Henry Gray. Also featured are pianist Ariyo, drummers Frank Rossi and Eddie Kobek, guitarist Jeff Stone, and background vocalists Mike Mahany and Clarke Rigsby. They give their all on six original compositions and six covers. These are terrific:

Track 02: “Wonderful Time” – This swing blues sensation, originally by John Lee Williamson (Sonny Boy 1), shows what happens when one consumes too many adult beverages: “I know I had a wonderful time last night – at least that they tell me I did. I know I had a wonderful time last night, so I couldn’t keep it hid. Got something to tell you, baby, you can’t do: Can’t love me and some other man too.” Our narrator may have temporary amnesia, but dancing couples’ flying feet won’t.

Track 03: “Lucky 13” – Life’s a gamble, and this original Chicago shuffle’s subject is looking for a new favorite number. Why? “Made a lot of money; didn’t pay no tax. Government came along and trimmed it all back. Time for a change of scene – come on, lucky thirteen!” David Maxwell’s boogie-woogie piano and Chris James’ guitar are in top form, along with Stone’s harp.

Track 11: “Blues Keep Rollin’ On” – No matter what occupational hazards Rob and his ensemble face on the road, one thing’s for sure: the music endures. Despite a fickle GPS, horrid hotel rooms, gas station fare, and low pay worst of all, “the blues keep rollin’ on.” Clarke Rigsby harmonizes nicely with Stone here, and Frank Rossi and Willie Hayes pull double drummer duty.

Even though he sometimes talk-sings, Rob Stone more than makes up for it with his heck-raising harmonica skills. Blues fans Gotta Keep Rollin’, and he’ll help to make their journey joyful!

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.

 Blues Society News 

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The Southern California Blues Society – Los Angeles, CA

The Southern California Blues Society presents The Battle Of The 20 Blues Bands, Sunday, November. 9, 2014 (2PM til 9PM) at Malarkey’s Grill 168 N. Marina Dr., Long Beach, CA 90803 Free parking. $15 admission

DC Blues Society – Washington, DC

The 7th Annual College Park Blues Festival is Saturday, November 8, 2014 from 6:00 pm– 11:30 pm. The event is free!

The fundraiser — held at the Ritchie Coliseum in College Park MD 20740 — will help send the winner of the DC Blues Society’s Annual Battle of the Bands to the 2015 International Blues Challenge (IBC).

No tickets required for exciting concert of different blues genres. Headliner Jackie Scott & The Housewreckers pack blues, R&B and soul into their crowd-pleasing performances. Although hailing from Virginia’s Hampton Roads where she has re-energized the blues scene, Jackie’s powerhouse vocals and songwriting are steeped in Chicago. Jackie has been compared to blues legend Koko Taylor and has opened for B.B. King, Keb’ Mo’, and Taj Mahal.

Festival lineup includes The Mojo Priests who will represent the DC Blues Society at the 2015 IBC sponsored by The Blues Foundation. Also appearing: the DC Blues Society Band which plays high energy danceable blues mixed with a good dose of blues standards. The M.S.G. Acoustic Blues Trio opens, performing Piedmont-style blues and roots music.

Info at

The Golden Gate Blues Society – San Francisco, CA

Don’t miss the 2nd Annual San Francisco International Boogie Woogie Festival Sponsored by The Golden Gate Blues Society to benefit Musician’s Medical Relief Fund Sunday November 9, 2014 at 4:00pm Miner Auditorium SFJAZZ Center, 201 Franklin Street, San Francisco. Featuring a stellar lineup including Bob Seeley, Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne, Lluís Coloma, Silvan Zingg and Wendy DeWitt. Info at

River Basin Blues Society – Evansville, IN

The River Basin Blues Society will host the 3rd annual River Basin Blues Blast starting at 4 pm on November 29, 2014, at the Deerhead Sidewalk Cafe, 222 E. Columbia, Evansville, IN. Bands performing at the event include the Beat Daddys, Honey Roy, Soul Creation and 103 Degrees (featuring Grammy Award winner Jeff ‘Stick’ Davis and Joe Doughtery, the road drummer for the Grass Roots).

At this year’s Blues Blast the River Basin Blues Society will award the 1st Annual Blues Heritage Award. This inaugural award will be given to Steady Wailin’ Sid Scott. Sid has been a force of music, culture, and news in the African American community in Evansville.

The event is free, but a portion of food and drink sales from the event will benefit the RBBS and 91.5-FM WUEV. There will also be prize giveaways. For more information, contact the RBBS at

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. Nov. 10 – Laura Rain and the Caesars, Nov. 17 – The Blues Deacons, Nov. 24 – Brother Jefferson Band, Dec. 1 – Harper and the Midwest Kind, Dec. 8 – Bobby Messano, Dec. 15 – Studebaker John & the Maxwell Street Kings, Dec. 22 -Mary Jo Curry & Tombstone Bullet, Dec. 29 – James Armstrong

Additional ICBC shows: Nov.6—James Armstrong Presents @ The Alamo, 6 pm, Nov. 20—James Armstrong Presents @ The Alamo, 6 pm, Nov. 22 – Hurricane Ruth CD release party at The Alamo, with special guest, Mary Jo Curry & Tombstone Bullet, 7 pm, Dec. 4—James Armstrong Presents @ The Alamo, 6 pm, Dec. 18 – James Armstrong Presents @ The Alamo, 6 pm.

Questions regarding this press release can be directed to Michael Rapier, President of ICBC, at at 217-899-9422, or contact Greg Langdon, Live Events Chair, at or by visiting

P.O. Box 721 Pekin, Illinois 61555     © 2014 Blues Blast Magazine 309 267-4425

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