Issue 9-26 June 25, 2015

Cover photo by Marilyn Stringer © 2015 Blues Blast Magazine

  In This Issue 

Mark Thompson has our feature interview with 2014 Blues Blast Music Award Nominee RB Stone. We have 11 Blues reviews for you this week including music by Matt Woods, Lynwood Slim, Gaye Adegbalola and The Wild Rutz, James Day and the Fish Fry, Leo Bud Welch, Slam Allen, Ghost Town Blues Band, Debbie Davies, Reverend Raven and the Chain Smokin’ Altar Boys, Jonn Del Toro Richardson & Sean Carney and John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers.

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

 From The Editor’s Desk 

Hey Blues Fans,

It is the last issue of the month and that means this is our Blues Overdose Issue and YOU get some FREE music. This month we have 3 FREE Blues tracks for you to listen to and download for 30 days including music from Matt Woods, Shaun Murphy and Jeremy McEwen. Also, there are still 6 tracks from May up on our Blues Overdose soundcloud site for you to download, but hurry as those will come down in two days! So grab them now at

Our friends at Fluid Events are throwing a BIG Blues party at the 2015 Blues, Brews and BBQ Festival this weekend.

On Friday they have No Solid State, Upshot, Adrianna Marie And Her Groovecutters, Sena Ehrhardt and Carolyn Wonderland. Then on Saturday they feature Laura Rain & The Caesars, Joanna Connor, Janiva Magness, Shaun Murphy Band and Ana Popovic. And guess what? This is a FREE event right in downtown Champaign, IL!

For complete information visit or click on their ad below. See you there!

Wishing you health, happiness and lots of Blues music!

Bob Kieser

 Featured Blues Review – 1 of 11 

Matt Woods – Sawdust and Gasoline

Self Release

8 tracks; 30:59 minutes; Suggested

Styles: Acoustic Blues, Delta Blues – played on a National steel bodied guitar

As a promoter of live Blues music shows, I find it bitterly ironic that I can not book a solo acoustic act and expect but about half the attendance that will come to an Electric Blues act. What would Charley Patton, Son House, Robert Johnson, Skip James, Booker White and countless other originators of the genre say?

Thankfully, there are still artist practitioners of the original Blues style. Doug MacLeod, John Hammond, Jr., Rory Block, John Mooney and Eric Bibb seem to do alright, and now, I am introduced to an adept woodshedder and native Iowan, Matt Woods.

Probably mid-30s and providing the young blood that Blues needs, Woods has been performing regularly since 2002 and has released three previous albums (one solo album, and two backed by his electric band, The Thunderbolts). Three times he has won the Iowa Blues Challenge and gone on the represent the State in the International Blues Challenge. Matt’s first solo album, “If I Was a Fish,” finished in the top five of the International Blues Foundation’s “Best Self-Produced CD” category in 2006.

Matt plays finger-picking style on a metal bodied guitar. In the videos on his website, he is playing a National brand, and he is also endorsed by Eastwood guitars. All eight songs are originals and were “honestly” recorded “live, in studio” in Ames IA. Left handed Matt’s guitar playing is first rate; he wears a slide on his ring finger and tastefully (and rapidly) mixes picked notes with both frett holds and slide applications. His heartfelt voice rapidly grows on and entertains the listener and serves Matt’s purpose well as he avoids contorted extremes of range.

The first song that became an ear-worm (got stuck in my head), and, therefore, my pick for best on the album is “I’ll See My Father There.” Positioned last on the album, the Gospel themed number says, “When I get to heaven, I won’t have a care; I’ll see my father there.” Does he mean earthly father or heavenly father? I think the answer to that question is “Yes”. Clearly some of his best song writing and singing is found here.

Clever questions requiring an impish sense of humor are found in the opening song, “It Ain’t Stealin’”.

Are you really running if your feet don’t touch the ground? Are you hiding if no one is looking for you? And, is it really stealing “if you are giving it away?”

Being a rural Midwesterner myself, I had to chuckle at “Snow Drivin.’” Using North Mississippi Hills rhythms, Woods avoids the often distastefully monotonous, droning trance by adding sliding harmony chords. The effect is perfectly congruous with the simple message, “we got to get to town” and it is slick and white-out dangerous. Another song, this time with a more plodding rhythm, is also based on Midwest weather “Tornadoes Are Bad for Everyone.” Rural living will certainly find one on a “Rock Road” at some point; Woods uses it as a metaphor for that country living (and, indeed, he does own a farm).

“JP’s Boogie” is an instrumental that is masterfully presented. Even a non-guitar-player can distinguish the intricacies involved. The title track is a lament of a bad love full of pain and loss. The girl was the “prettiest little girl [the protagonist] had ever seen,” but she took the tractor and [saw] mill and left him with nothing but “Sawdust and Gasoline.”

For fans who avoid solo acoustic shows, Matt does have the ability to plug his National guitar into an electric amplifier. So, here this CD is – the best of all worlds: acoustic music, electrically amplified, stomping rhythms, deft song writing, honest no-studio-tricks singing, and straight forward pure Blues!

James “Skyy Dobro” Walker is a noted Blues writer, DJ, Master of Ceremonies, Show Promoter, and Blues Blast contributor. His weekly radio show “Friends of the Blues” is co-hosted with Shuffle Shoes and can be heard Saturdays – 7 to 11 pm on WKCC 91.1 FM and at in Kankakee, IL.

For a free track off this great album, check out our June Blues Overdose feature on soundcloud at

 Featured Blues Interview – RB Stone 

For any artist or band serious about getting their music heard, touring is a necessary evil. Long nights on the road away from family and friends can test the bonds of any musical endeavor. Singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist RB Stone has raised the art of touring to a whole new realm.

“I don’t come from money. For thirty-three years I’ve booked most of my stuff, raised about all of my money and wrote most of the tunes, and fought with the bar owners. I always wished that I had a buffer, an agent or a manager. The only ones I ever seem to attract are the crooks. There is no shortage of those! I remember spending three days in the same clothes with no shower setting up shows in Japan & Europe in the days before e-mail. It’s been pretty much a one-man wrecking crew. I have such a passion for the music”.

“There was a long road of dues paying. I’ve hitchhiked across the country a few times and lived out of several bands. I’ve been to thirty-one countries to play music and used to take packages over to Japan to entertain the troops. We’d have a Dixieland jazz group and the country singer, Connie Smith. For the last three winters, I went back to the cowboy mentality. I said screw it to paying rent and I have been living out of my van. I do have an office in Nashville with a futon that I just purchased. Otherwise it has been motels; somebody’s house or crashing in that van for three years. There have been nights in the van at four degrees. I fixed it up with a propane heater.”

The long, strange trip has started to catch up with Stone. But there have been a number of positive elements that have made the adventure worthwhile. “Not paying rent enabled me to get out and meet as many people as I can. Being an old sales guy, I know those two minutes with someone face-to-face is worth twenty phone calls. I have been on the campaign trail for almost three years solid. Tab Benoit says you have to take it to the people. We don’t have the mass media behind us”.

Music was a part of Stone’s childhood. His parents had a piano but he was drawn to the rhythmic power of the drums, so his parents got him a kit. But it wasn’t until his early twenties that Stone was introduced to any kind of professional gig. “I worked on a ninety man rail gang. It was wide open in those days. I had a gun pointed at my head the second week. It was pretty wild stuff – being drunk on whiskey driving the motorcycle down the dotted line at 120 miles per hour. I had gotten off illegal substances for the booze and wanted to straighten out. So I quit the rail gang and ended up in a plumbing & heating store, a mini-version of Lowe’s. That led to a house, two cars, two trucks, and two motorcycles”.

“After a couple years, I was sitting in Ohio bored and miserable. So I sold everything except a truck, a shotgun, a guitar and headed out to Colorado to learn how to ride bulls as a rodeo cowboy. I was sitting up in the mountains and I met an old cowboy who came riding through. He was working on an Indian reservation south of Durango. He said he couldn’t pay me but he’d teach me everything he knew. For six months I lived for free, sleeping in the tack room or my truck. By day he would teach me how to train and ride horses. At night, since I didn’t have any money, I taught myself how to play guitar using an old songbook.”

Once those skills had taken hold, the local outfitters started hiring Stone to wrangle horses and take groups on mountain excursions and hunting trips. They would ride by day, then Stone would entertain the clients at night around the campfire with his guitar. “My pay was thirty-five bucks a day and all you can eat and drink. I took advantage of that drink part! That lasted for a few seasons, then I got laid off. So I went to this little old mountain bar where we used to hang out and started playing for tips plus a place to sleep. Later I put a band together and that was the start of it all”.

His previous business experience had taught Stone the value of having a plan. He started booking his own gigs, playing wherever he could just for the experience. Fate lent a helping hand when a city-owned pick-up truck pulled out in front of Stone, who was riding his motorcycle on the way to a gig. Slamming into the side of the truck, the singer was amazingly not injured.

“I hurt my knee a little bit. I acted all macho, telling the guy that I had been bucked off horses harder than that while standing there thinking, damn, that hurts! We actually became great friends. He even met his wife at one of my shows. And he paid for my first record, probably out of gratitude that I didn’t press charges or sue him. That was one of those times where you say it was nice running into to you”.

That record, Keep on Riding, was done with his band Highway Robbery. It featured plenty of the southern rock sounds that were popular during that era. But the band didn’t stay together long as the other members were content to be a cover band while Stone wanted to focus on original material. He kept the name for his backing band and began putting his name out front. They recorded two more records of country-tinged southern rock.

“I wasn’t thinking about doing blues in those days. I was so into the country stuff and didn’t have any in-roads to the blues, even though I used to pound out some boogie-woogie as a kid on my Mom’s piano once she had taught me three or four chords. The Marshall Tucker Band was it for me back then. You had rock, jazz, country, bluegrass, blues, and even gospel. And Gatemouth Brown would come through every so often – same thing. He wore a cowboy hat, a real country guy. I am a big Merle Haggard fan. If I could sing Haggard songs every night and get paid, I probably would. I had that blues thing in my head but I didn’t think anyone would take me seriously because I have such a country voice”.

Stone found a home in country music, releasing a series of albums that kept him busy. “That was back when country was good. It is embarrassing now – I don’t even like telling people I’m from Nashville. My heroes were Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, and Haggard. That’s the real stuff. Yeah, they’ve been to jail and they drank too much and I followed suit. If you are going to be an outlaw, be an outlaw! Don’t get all tattooed up and tell us how bad you are”.

“I have some jail songs that came from first-hand experience. “Texas Drunk Tank Blues” is one I starred in. I was pretty much a dumbass that night. Traditional country is simply redneck blues. Today’s stuff has no feeling, no goose bumps. I strive for heart songs and head songs. Sometimes they are combined. Heart songs bring out the emotions. Head songs should make you laugh or dance. If I’m not hitting you with all ten or twelve songs on an album, then to me it is a waste of your time and mine. You can’t cry or laugh all of the time. I try to get to the humanity in the tune”.

It certainly wasn’t your typical mainline career. He was making great money everywhere else in the world. His travels included major country and Americana fests across Europe mix in with several months in Japan. At one point, while living in California, he teamed up with Gwen Gordy, of the famous Motown family. Gordy and Anna Gaye, Marvin’s widow, thought enough about Stone’s songs to back him on a project.

“They paid for me to record twenty-seven of my tunes. Right before we were going to launch everything, Gwen has a stroke. Berry pulled the plugged, as he should have. Berry sold half of the Jobete Publishing Company to EMI, putting me under a much bigger umbrella. So I went to Nashville where I was recording and producing demos for the company. That was a good. I did acoustic stuff and some Americana but what I kept hearing was blues, blues, blues. I wrote my first blues song sitting in that cabin out in Colorado. It is on my 2011 blues release, Lonesome Traveler’s Blues. I always had some form of blues in my show. I just wasn’t sure how to go about it. If you put the effort out, somebody will sit down, educate you, and give you the answer. So that is what I did.”

Stone’s last two recordings have continued mixing blues influences with some rock flavoring and a dash of honky tonk. His vocals ventured into a higher register, which Stone likens to the sound of a tube amplifier breaking up. His last one, Loosen Up!, was nominated for a 2014 Blues Blast Music Award in the Rock Blues Album category. It was produced by Tom Hambridge, who has been producing Buddy Guy’s projects. Cut in one nine hour session, the disc has that live feel that Stone was looking, not wanting anyone to polish the cool off the session. He was content to concentrate on his vocals and his cigar box guitar.

Taking a job as a pilot driver paving the way for vehicles hauling over-sized loads, Stone has been able to travel across the country, visiting different parts of the country and getting a chance to play for new audiences, allowing him to build a wider fan base. His ability to play as a solo act means he can ask to play in bars and clubs for tips, which gets him in the door while providing some extra cash. Once people hear his soulful voice wrapped around his strong original songs, they quickly become fans. Other times he will partner up with friends in the area or a local band. Whatever opportunity pops up, Stone is ready to make the most of it.

Stone likes to keep shaking things up, which is easier to do when your shows are full of original material with titles that range from “God Only Heals You When You Cry” to “Daddy, Hide Your Daughters”. “I don’t cover a lot of songs because I’m too lazy to learn. It is easier to write. The same applies to my harmonica playing. People tell me that I sound different. It is only because I’m too lazy to learn what the other guys are doing. Some people like hearing the same lick over and over. To me, that is predictable. I like to come out of the box. I’ve got a song, “Henry the Hypocrite,” that is as hard-core twang as twang comes. It is a true story about a good Christian boy who walks into the bar carrying his Bible who starts eye-balling my girlfriend while I was on the road. Might have to start a new band – think I’ll call it the Haggard Tones!”

“If you have any sensory perception, you can tell when somebody is on stage pouring it out. Hound Dog Taylor – how cool was that! One guy and his guitar – you get a buzz off that. And I love Muddy, Johnny Winter, John Lee Hooker, and Buddy Guy. Anything that is real. I mostly learned to sing from Haggard and Doug Gray from the Marshall Tucker Band. He had that lonesome bluegrass sound along with a soulful, gospel, southern blues going on. And John Fogerty is another guy that I love. They all have that sound, the groove, the feel”.

Stone is finishing the final details on his latest, as of yet unnamed, recording that will be out later in the year. He is quite proud of it, feeling that it offers the best glimpse of his musical vision and all of the music that has touched him over the course of his life.

“In the end, you just have to keep moving. The best word I could tell anybody in life and in the music business is ‘next”. So that didn’t feel good, that wasn’t right, so next. You learn from it and move on. You’ve got two choices – you are a victim or a student. You can learn or say woo is me. I’ve starred in both of those movies. The blues is all about heart. People can feel the real thing. I respond to artists who have some miles on them. When I got into to country, you had to be at least thirty-three with some miles on you and have respect before the record companies would even look at you. Then Randy Travis hit at twenty-eight and it was all over. I hope that blues manages to keep appealing to all age groups. There is something about watching Buddy Guy walk out there at seventy –six and saying “Damn right I’ve got the blues”. Enough said!”.

For more information on the RB Stone, visit

To see the video of RB’s performance at the 2014 Blues Blast Music Awards CLICK HERE.

Photos by Marilyn Stringer © 2015 Blues Blast Magazine

Interviewer 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!.

For a free track off this great album, check out our May Blues Overdose feature on soundcloud at

 Featured Blues Review – 2 of 11 

Lynwood Slim – Hard To Kill

Rip Cat Records RIC 1116

16 songs – XX minutes

When Richard Duran, aka Lynwood Slim, died last September at age 60 after a valiant four-year fight against hepatitis C, liver failure and then a stroke, blues insiders everywhere were struck first with disbelief and then grief. The beloved harmonica player and flautist literally had spread his talent around the world, as this loving collection of recordings — made with musical friends in Italy, the Netherlands, France, Brazil and California and planned for release before his death — clearly shows.

A Los Angeles native who never wanted to be anything other than a blues harp player or pool hustler, Slim picked up the harp at age 15, influenced by Big Walter Horton, Little Walter Jacobs and Jimmy Reed, after studying trumpet. He fronted a band in the City of Angels for six years before relocating to Minneapolis in 1977 in search of better gigs. Soon after, he replaced Kim Wilson in the band Aces Straights & Shuffles after Wilson moved to Texas to form the Fabulous Thunderbirds. By the mid-‘80s, his group dominated the local scene, winning Best Blues Band honors in 1986.

A restless soul, Slim immigrated briefly to Amsterdam and Chicago in 1988 before moving back home to L.A., where he began working with guitar master Junior Watson as well as bass player Larry Taylor, keyboardist Fred Kaplan and drummer Richard Innes, former members of the Hollywood Fats Band. He toured the world and recorded extensively until his health began to fail. He delivered the blues with a warm, rich feel and tone no matter what the song. And his vocals swung from the jump.

On this CD, he’s featured playing with an international lineup of guitarists – Americans Johnny “Cat” Soubrand and Kid Ramos, Italian Alberto Colombo, Frenchmen Nico Duportal and Farid Bouzit and Brazilian Igor Prado – as well as the Italian band The Red Wagons, the Dutch band BluesCrowns and the Scandinavian band Trick Bag, which includes British harmonica great West Weston. Former Roomful Of Blues vocalist/harp player Mark DuFresne, now based in Washington state, also adds his own work to the disc with a tribute song that concludes the set.

The action begins with a smooth, traditional rendition of the Jimmy Reed classic, “Found Love,” featuring Soubrand on six-string before Colombo takes over for an uptempo version of another standard, Big Joe Williams’ “Baby Please Don’t Go,” recorded in Gallarate, Italy. The action shifts to Maastricht, Netherlands, where the BluesCrowns assist on “I Chose To Sing The Blues,” a tune written by Ray Charles and featuring Slim on flute.

The Red Wagons join Duran in the studio in Rome for “All Of My Life,” a Roy Gaines original featuring a solid horn line, before the BluesCrowns return for the Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson-penned slow blues rendition of “Person To Person.” Next up, Slim and The Red Wagons shift gears with B.B. King’s percolating “Jump With Me Baby.” The action moves to Sauveterre, France, as Duportal joins him for a version of Jimmy Liggins’ jazzy “Don’t Put Me Down” before Colombo sits in on two of his original tunes, straight-ahead shuffles “Call You No More” and “Wake Up.”

“Old Honkie Tonk Piano Roll Blues” features Slim and Ramos in an L.A. studio, where Slim picks up the flute again for a reprise of a song written by one of his personal favorites, jazz great Herbie Mann, and delivered flawlessly atop an interesting brush pattern on drums. “Close To You,” a searing Colombo-written blues, follows before two Bouzit originals, the swinging “Almost Free” and jazzy “Juste Toi Et Moi (Just You And Me),” laid down in North Hollywood.

Next up, Slim unites with Brazilian lefthanded, upside-down playing jump master Prado in Sao Paulo, Brazil, for a swinging version of Paul Gayten’s “You Better Believe It” before Trick Bag joins the action for a modern take on Jimmy Rogers’ classic, “That’s Alright.” DuFresne’s closer, “Lynwood Slim,” describes the artist perfectly: “He always looked sharp/He could sure blow the harp/When the law come around/He would stand his ground/He faces danger just like Jungle Jim/Lynwood Slim.”

Hard To Kill is a fine tribute to an artist who left us far too soon. The album is available from Amazon and iTunes or directly from the label website. Like far too many musicians, Richard Duran lived his life without benefit of health insurance. His survivors are buried under an avalanche of medical bills. A benefit featuring many of the folks who played with him is scheduled in Los Angeles for September. And the family is accepting donations through his website (address above).

EDITORS NOTE: This album has been nominated for Traditional Blues Album in the 2015 Blues Blast Music Awards.

Reviewer Marty Gunther has lived a blessed life. 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.

For a free track off this great album, check out our May Blues Overdose feature on soundcloud at

 Featured Blues Review – 3 of 11 

Gaye Adegbalola and The Wild Rutz – Is It Still Good To Ya?

VizzTone Label Group/Hot Toddy Music

CD: 14 Songs; 53:53 Minutes

Styles: Soul-and-Gospel-Influenced Blues, A Capella Blues

Fredericksburg, Virginia’s Gaye Adegbalola has been a spitfire for over three decades. Her primary claim to fame is being part of the trio Saffire – The Uppity Blues Women. One third of that pepper-hot pairing was her guitar teacher, the late Ann Rabson, and Andra Faye rounded out the group. Now Gaye has entered into a quartet called the “Wild Rutz” (pronounced “roots”). According to Wikipedia, “Gaye’s surname, Adegbalola, was given to her by a Yoruba priest she met in 1968. Meaning ‘I am reclaiming my royalty’, Adegbalola uses the name to signify her pride in her black heritage.”

Performing alongside Gaye in the Wild Rutz are Marta Fuentes, Doctor Gloria Jackson, and Tanyah Dadze Cotton. All four women sing, as their music is primarily vocal-oriented. The fourteen original songs on their debut album, Is It Still Good To Ya?, are also filled with numerous percussion devices. Gaye herself plays guitar, Dobro, scrub board, tambourine, claves and cabasa. Tanyah works her mojo on congas, the flat drum and the kick drum. Gloria’s instruments of choice are the cowbell, soft shake, jugs, maracas, spoons and plastic tubes. Marta, the quartet’s beat boxer, also plays the djembe, congas, bongos, doumbek, and tambourines. Together they sizzle hotter than a summer barbecue, especially on these three songs:

Track 01: “Is It Still Good To Ya?” – The CD’s opener and title track proves one thing: aging isn’t heaven. “My hair is grey from worriation [a concocted word, but a keen one]. My eyes are rheumy with observation. My nose is wide from smelling lies. My mouth is full of ‘much obliged.’ I know my body’s changed. Do you love me just the same, and – is it still good to ya?” This doo-wop will delight every person whose “sacrum ain’t sacred”, but whose heart is.

Track 04: “Fireballin’” – This is the best drinking song of 2015 so far. “When I’m up against the wall…when my tears begin to fall…when my software won’t install,” what’s the remedy? Sing along: “You need some fireball!” The pounding drums and hissing maracas will compel listeners to dance (and drink) along, especially live crowds. Gaye reveals in the liner notes that the source of the “When I get drunk…” part is Wilmer Davis’ “Gut Struggle Blues”.

Track 13: “You Don’t Have to Take It” – With choruses in English and Spanish, this a capella stunner drives home the message that abuse is never acceptable. Why does it even occur? “He was angry at the world; he was angry at me, but the world was too big to fight. He was angry at the kids – ages one, two and three – but we had to stay there in fright.” No more. Track thirteen is a consummate rebuttal to anyone who believes that domestic violence is the answer.

When it comes to Gaye Adegbalola’s “Wild Rutz” blues, Is It Still Good To Ya? Definitely!

Reviewer Rainey Wetnight is a 35 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 11 

James Day and the Fish Fry – Southland

Vizztone Label Group

14 tracks / 50:16

Though James Day has made the City of Brotherly Love his hometown, his music has not strayed far from his upbringing near the Gulf of Mexico. His years in Biloxi and New Orleans are channeled into James Day and the Fish Fry’s sophomore album, Southland. 20 musicians are credited on this project, but the core of Philadelphia’s Fish Fry is Day on vocals, guitars and harp, Mark Shewchuk on guitars and drums, Ron Baldwin on keys (including the accordion!), John Merigliano on drums, and Michael Massimino on bass. Day, Shewchuk, and Baldwin have been playing together for a dozen years and share a brotherly bond of musicianship that is palpable.

Southland has 14 tracks and with a running time of 50 minutes you can do the math and figure out that the album is not loaded up with self-indulgent 10-minute guitar jams. Instead, you will find a solid crop of well-written original tunes that relate a vivid image of life in the American South (so, it turns out that Southland is not just a clever title). Some of these songs have been in the works since their 2006 demo, and the guys have filled in the rest with newer material that combine together to complete a really neat story.

These stories are genuine and run the gamut from haunts that were frequented in the old days to childhood memories of working on the farm. Likewise, there is no shortage of different genres that are used to tell these stories, including blues, rockabilly, country, gospel, and a whole lot more.

One notable influence on Day’s style is the time he spent in the Crescent City, as there is a New Orleans feel to the opener, “Chain of Pain,” a righteous boogie with hammering roadhouse piano from Ron Baldwin and some slick slide work from James. There is also a neat horn arrangement on this track, and some fine backing vocals from Alisa Anderson and Kelly Vale.

There is a more definite New Orleans connection with Zydeco tunes like harmonica-soaked “Zydeco Boogaloo” and some sweet Bill Nixon fiddle and French vocals on “One Step Des Chameaux.” Have I mentioned yet that most of this album is a danceable treat? Then they move on over to Biloxi for “Festival Time” with the addition of the Wild Bohemian Horns (Richard Orr, Jimmy Parker, and Troy Corley). This song sounds huge, and it would be the perfect soundtrack for watching the parade and downing a few cold ones.

There is also a sweet uptempo gypsy jazz tune included in the set list — “Nat’chel Man.” This one has a vintage feel with the addition of Rich Delgrosso on mandolin, Wally “Alligator” Bechtold on clarinet, and Nixon on the fiddle. This has to be one of the most fun tracks on the album, and the “Fish Fry Jump” backs it up so that the pace does not get a chance to slow down. This includes some cool guitar vamping from Greg Snyder, and Massimino finally gets to tear loose on the bass, which is a real sonic treat — the Fish Fry is the real deal!

When you run out of things to talk about there is always the weather, and there is always plenty to say about the force of Mother Nature in the Gulf Coast; the boys deliver the good in the wonderfully greasy Mississippi blues tune, “Weather Blues.” There is a raw feel to Day’s cigar box guitar, Hummel’s harmonica and Merigliano’s drums, as if that was all they had left after the latest hurricane!

James Day and the Fish Fry’s Southland is a goodtime conglomeration of different genres boiled down into the American roots and blues tradition. Purists may sniff that it is not the music they are used to, but those of us that love good music that comes from the heart will be more than happy to snap up this CD or download it from the mysterious and dangerous World Wide Web. Check it out for yourself and see what you think!

Reviewer Rex Bartholomew is a Los Angeles-based writer and musician; his blog can be found at

For a free track off this great album, check out our May Blues Overdose feature on soundcloud at

 Featured Blues Review – 5 of 11 

Leo Bud Welch – I Don’t Prefer No Blues

Big Legal Mess Records – 2015

Junior Kimbrough. R.L. Burnside. T-Model Ford.

Even though I have never been officially recognized as president of the Fat Possum Records’ Fan Club, I respectfully submit another entry into the Holy Trinity of bluesmen that have made the legendary outfit from Oxford, Mississippi into one of the most important and essential record labels in the modern blues era.

Leo Bud Welch.

The 82-year-old Welch is cut every bit from the same weathered and tattered fabric that made the late Kimbrough, Burnside and Ford such must-hear-to-fully-comprehend bluesmen. It only takes a few seconds into Welch’s second disc – I Don’t Prefer No Blues (Big Legal Mess Records, a subsidiary of Fat Possum Records) to understand that this cat is the real deal. Sid Vicious, Johnny Thunders and Joey Ramone may get the lion’s share of ink for being influential punk rockers, but those dudes can’t hold a candle to Kimbrough, Burnside, Ford and Welch, who were all ‘punk’ long before birth was ever given to the term in a musical context. Kimbrough, Burnside and Ford did things for themselves, they way they wanted them – and if you liked it, great; if you didn’t, that’s just tough. And Welch is continuing on in that tradition.

Where his first CD – last year’s Sabougla Voices – was a largely gospel affair (although it was certainly filtered through the gutbucket rattle-and-clang normally associated with Hill Country blues), this new one is straight-up blues. Welch is a tactician just like Kimbrough, Burnside and Ford, and has his own special way of coaxing a warped racket out of his guitar, which he does in a very guttural and buzzy, but yet beautiful, way. He hollers, stomps, shouts, moans and plays the ever-loving heck out of his eye-catching sparkly, pinkish guitar on the album’s 10 cuts. Opening with Welch’s version of the classic tune “Poor Boy” (where he is capably joined by Jimbo Mathus and Sharde Thomas – Hill County icons in their own right), I Don’t Prefer No Blues goes from zero to 60 in no-time flat and never once threatens to slow down or let up the pace. By the time “Sweet Black Angel” closes the disc, it’s easy to realize that you’ve just listened to something very special, indeed. Something that easily fits alongside All Night Long (Kimbrough), Too Bad Jim (Burnside) and Pee Wee Get My Gun (Ford) as messy, punky, raw and truly essential blues offerings from the Fat Possum family.

Up until Sabougla Voices came out, Welch had pretty much limited himself to playing gospel and spiritual tunes for the previous five decades. That all changes on I Don’t Prefer No Blues (which is what Welch’s preacher said when he learned he was cutting a blues album). These are blues in the first degree, served up hearty and healthy, straight out of Bruce, Mississippi.

Special props go out to Bruce Watson, who was not only a guiding force in the lives and careers of Kimbrough, Burnside and Ford, but who also owns Big Legal Mess and produced I Don’t Prefer No Blues. It’s obvious that Watson has long known his way around the terrain and sometimes unpredictable back-roads of blues in the nether-regions of the Mississippi Hill Country. But instead of looking for the next B.B. King or even Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Watson somehow manages to pull cats like Leo Bud Welch out into the bright sunlight of day.

And for that, Mr. Watson, we are eternally grateful.

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 – 6 of 11 

Slam Allen – Feel These Blues

American Showplace Music 2015

12 tracks; 50 minutes

Harrison ‘Slam’ Allen spent nine years as guitarist and vocalist with legendary harp player James Cotton and played on Cotton’s Grammy nominated comeback album “Giant” in 2011. Since then Slam has gone out on his own with the moniker of ‘The Soulworking Man’. This is his third solo release and features his guitar and vocals together with John Ginty on keys, Jeff Anderson on bass and Dan Fadel on drums. Slam wrote all the material apart from one cover; the album was recorded in NYC and produced by Ben Elliott.

The title track is an odd choice to open proceedings as it is a pretty generic blues-rock/funk piece with a repetitive chorus line. “All Because Of You” is a far stronger song in a soul-blues vein with some very nice guitar work from Slam. The gentle “In September” further mines the soul seam before “The Blues Is Back” ups the tempo with some guitar playing that picks up on all three Kings and Albert Collins, Slam telling us all that the blues is never far away as we all get them. It’s a solid piece of guitar playing that demonstrates Slam’s abilities rather well. “Baby Please Don’t You Go” has a funky core riff that propels the song along well with John’s organ to the fore. “35 Miles Outside Of Memphis” has a classic Memphis hook and lyric that recalls Edwin Starr’s “25 Miles”.

Slam gives us a slow blues with some torrid guitar on “World Don’t Stop Turning” where John’s organ accompaniment is also an integral part of the performance. “Can’t Break Away From That Girl” returns to the soul –blues vein with some choppy rhythm work from Slam in Steve Cropper/Stax mode. This solid piece of soul music works well but would have really taken off with the addition of some horn charts. More choppy rhythm work brings in “When The Blues Come Around” which also finds Slam using the wah-wah pedal in his solo.

Some of the PR notices describe Slam as “Otis Redding with a blazing blues guitar” and “That’s Where You Are” fits that description well. The rhythm work is again very Stax-like, Slam’s vocal certainly has touches of Otis and the emotional chorus works very well: “I’m gonna follow the sun, I’m gonna follow the stars. I’m gonna follow my soul ‘cos I know that’s where you are”. “You’re Wrong” is a slow shuffle with another good vocal from Slam before he closes the album with an extended reading of Prince’s “Purple Rain”, a song that seems to be becoming something of a go-to cover – this reviewer recently saw Vasti Jackson perform it at a festival and it is a favorite show closer for English blues-rocker Aynsley Lister. The song provides a very good vehicle for the band members to show their abilities and for Slam to demonstrate both his vocal and guitar chops.

There is nothing startlingly new here but several very good soul-blues tunes struck a chord with this reviewer and will probably do so with others – definitely worth a listen.

This is an excellent and varied album which deserves a wide audience. With several stand-out tracks this one comes highly recommended.

EDITORS NOTE: This album has been nominated for Soul Blues Album in the 2015 Blues Blast Music Awards.

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 – 7 of 11 

Ghost Town Blues Band – Hard Road To Hoe

Self-Release 2015

12 tracks; 40 minutes

Memphis-based Ghost Town Blues Band came second at the 2014 IBCs and were also finalists in 2013. This is their third release and it’s a very strong disc with catchy tunes and horn arrangements. The band is led by Matt Isbell on guitar and lead vocals with Preston McEwen, drums and vocals, Alex Piazza, bass and vocals, Jeremy Powell, keys and vocals, Suavo Jones, trombone and Richie Hale, tenor sax. Memphis harp player Brandon Santini guests on two tracks and Vicki Loveland adds backing vocals. Matt wrote most of the material, two songs with old friend and collaborator Taylor Orr who also contributes one song by himself, with one song coming from Paula Smithart.

One of the strengths of this band is their ability to move from their Memphis roots (elements of soul and Mississippi Hill Country) to encompass a healthy dose of New Orleans swing. The best example of the latter is the pairing of “Mr Handy Man”, a short piece of NOLA horns dedicated to WC Handy and arranged by Alex Piazza which segues into “Hate To See Her Go”. “Mr Handy Man” is deliberately engineered to sound retro with crackly background at the start and some classic NO second line horns and drums; “Hate To See Her Go” is a rollicking piece of NO music that recalls Roomful Of Blues with features for both horn players and Matt’s guitar, as well the chorus about hating “to see her go but love it when she walks away”. The Memphis soul roots are most evident in “Seventeen” with its gorgeous horn arrangement and Matt’s gentle guitar accompaniment, a song about not growing up too fast.

Brandon Santini guests on harp and vocals on “Tip Of My Hat”, another NO inspired tune with great drumming from Preston, Brandon’s harp sounding almost like a horn chorus here and there are some amusingly risqué lyrics. “My Doggy” finds Brandon playing harp to accompany the howling of Matt’s dog: “He likes it when I play a little harp in D; I can hear him howlin’ now and he’s in the right key”. The horns provide a warmth and depth to the tune too, another winner.

Matt’s cigar box guitar (made from his grandmother’s silverware chest) features on the opening title track which starts with the sound of sweeping and digging before Matt sings about some of his family history and the tough road he has had to travel to get where he is. As the song develops the horns arrive to add their signature sounds to the track. The short “Dime In The Well” is a Mississippi Hill Country stomp with the cigar box again to the fore. “Dead Sea” is a slower tune with some fine horns and reflective lyrics: “I never broke your promise or kept a promise to myself”; here the cigar box provides the solo but in a completely different style to the other two tunes just mentioned. The slow blues “Nothin’ But Time” is yet another style explored with the full sounding Hammond underpinning Matt’s vocal and guitar.

The three remaining tracks further demonstrate the versatility of the band. The closer “Road Still Drives The Same Without You” is a slow country ballad which gives us the opportunity to consider Matt’s voice in an almost unaccompanied piece, gentle organ, bass and drums only on this track. Matt has a gruff voice but it works particularly well on such a sad tale of loss and regret as this one. Probably the closest the band gets to blues-rock is “Tied My Worries To A Stone” with its insistent electric guitar riff and heavy rhythm section: the horns add some good accents to the song and Matt takes the featured solo in fine fashion: Matt tells us that he “tied my worries to a stone, threw them in the Mississippi”. Proof that the band can boogie with the best of them is provided by the excellent “Big Shirley” with its rock and roll piano, blaring horns and entertaining lyrics about the central character: “She’s six feet tall, four feet wide, take a wrecking ball to keep her satisfied”!

This is an excellent and varied album which deserves a wide audience. With several stand-out tracks this one comes highly recommended.

EDITORS NOTE: Ghost Town Blues Band has been nominated for Best Blue Blues Band in the 2015 Blues Blast Music Awards.

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 – 8 of 11 

Debbie Davies – Love Spin

Vizztone Label Group 2015

11 tracks; 44 minutes

Debbie Davies moved from West Coast to East a few years ago and this album was recorded in Connecticut with Debbie co-producing with Paul Opalach who also contributes some keyboard, lap steel and bass parts. Debbie is on guitar and vocals with long-serving drummer Don Castagno throughout with Wilbo Wright or Scott Spray on bass. Dave Keyes adds piano to two tracks, Dana Robbins and Terry Hanck sax to two tracks each and Jay Stollman vocals to one track. Debbie wrote four of the songs, Don five and there are two covers.

Debbie’s four songs bookend the album. “Life Of The Party” is dedicated to the late John Juke Logan and finds Debbie playing some fine lead over her funky rhythm work and makes for a great opener to the album. The title track follows with Debbie trading licks with Paul’s moody lap steel. Debbie has always been a strong guitarist (playing with Albert Collins will do that for you!) but her vocals here are also very good and fit the songs well. The last two cuts on the album find Debbie in contrasting moods: “I Get The Blues So Easy” finds Debbie in a panic about all her worries, but concludes that it will all come good in the end: “I’m looking towards the future, gonna shake these blues in time”. Debbie plays some stinging guitar and duels with Terry’s funky sax. The final track “Way Back Home” has Debbie on swampy slide as she sings of coming full circle in life. The slide gives the song a classic Mississippi sound and it’s a short but sweet finale to the album.

Don’s songs start with the almost country ballad “Let The Heartaches Begin” which was originally released in 1997 but in this version features Terry’s languid sax as the main instrument as Debbie and Terry share the vocals. “Don’t Change It Up” finds Debbie sharing the vocals with Jay on a catchy R n’ B number with some fluid guitar from Debbie and funky bass from Scott. “It’s All Blues” is a slower tune that leans a little on Miles Davis’ tune of a similar name. Debbie’s guitar rings out and the tune also features Dana Robbins whose sax underpins the rhythm. “I’m Not Cheatin’ Yet” is swinging rock and roll with Dana’s rasping sax and Dave’s piano both getting solo space and the lyrics adding a sly sense of humour. In fact Debbie’s albums have always featured some funny songs and here it’s Don’s tale of the boastful character who declares that he is capable of doing better than his current deal: “If you wanna dream now baby let your dreams be bold; you say you’re gonna trade me in for two twenty-five year-olds”. Debbie’s lead lines are strong and Dave is again on hand for some boogie style piano.

The two covers are very different vehicles for Debbie. Lenny McDaniel’s “Talk Real Slow” is a nicely mid-paced number with Debbie delivering some sensual lyrics about her man and a dramatic wah-wah soaked solo. Swedish bluesman Sven Zetterburg is the source for “A Darker Side Of Me”, a song that Debbie states in the sleevenotes that she wishes she had written herself. As the title suggests, there is a darker side to us all and Debbie is no exception: “I’m sorry if I scared you but you just saw a darker side of me”. The playing here is gentle in tone with Don using brushes and an overall late-night jazz club feel.

Debbie has made a lot of good albums over the years but this one struck this reviewer as one of her best: strong songs, good vocals, fine guitar playing and a judicious selection of guest players to widen the sonic scope from the trio format. Consequently this one comes with a ‘recommended’ tag.

EDITORS NOTE: Debbie Davies has been nominated for Best Female Blues Artist in the 2015 Blues Blast Music Awards.

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 – 9 of 11 

Reverend Raven and the Chain Smokin’ Altar Boys – Live! At the Red Rocket

Self Released

8 tracks

The first of the Rev’s live “bootleg” series, this CD features Rev Raven and his current band live plus two cuts from the live session at Blues on Grand with Madison Slim on harp. The CD captures the emotion and feel of Rik Raven and his band at their live shows. I don’t think I’d be bored watching and listening to this band 365, 24/7! Featuring Benny Rickun on harp, Danny Moore on piano and organ, PT Pedersen on bass and Bobby Lee Sellers Jr on drums for the current band cuts, the sound is tight and phenomenal. The Red Rocket is not a real bar; it is a place of legend with free food and drink and the equipment never needs hauling. Rik Raven has created this place as the “home’ for his live bootleg series of CDs that he is planning to release.

The band starts slippin’ and slidin’ with great slide and some excellent barrelhouse piano on “Hawaiian Boogie #2.” An impressive start, followed by classic Chicago blues in “Who’s Muddy Shoes.” “Diving Duck” then follows where Danny and Benny do great work in support as the Rev lays it out. “Stompin’ and Shoutin’” is a standard as Rev’s shows how it’s done well here. He gets in to that groove that mystifies you in an almost hypnotic fashion and captures your attention!

“Bad Boy” is classic Rev at his best. Benny’s harp is immaculately done in that cleanly dirty style that sounds so mean and good. Rev is wailing as he testifies to his behavior. “Lookin’ For Love” is another Rev standard. Danny is a standout on the piano and the song is a swingin’ testimonial to the joy and fun at one of the Rev’s shows. The last two songs switch bands with Madison Slim on harp; “Brick in My Pillow” has Slim doing some absolutely slick and dirty harp licks as no one else can. The duo of Slim and the Rev are really special together as they wind their ways through this and the next cut. “Another Mule” features Slim on vocals as he extends the story of Muddy’s woman cheatin’ on him; another mule kickin’ in his stall becomes the topic for the whole song. Kid Panosh on drums and Andre Maritato is on bass for the final two cuts, too.

Phenomenally hot stuff. If you love the Rev, get this album. If you’ve never heard him, you’ll love him after getting this album! Great CD– recommended for all classic blues fans!

EDITORS NOTE: This album has been nominated for Best Live Blues Album in the 2015 Blues Blast Music Awards.

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 – 10 of 11 

Jonn Del Toro Richardson & Sean Carney – Drivin’ Me Wild


13 tracks/63:27

This release packs a lot of firepower, featuring three guitarists who were awarded the Albert King Best Guitarist Award over a five year span of the International Blues Challenge. Jonn Del Toro Richardson was honored while competing in 2005 as part of singer Diunna Greenleaf’s band. Two years later Sean Carney was recognized for his picking skills – and two years after that JP Soars received the coveted trophy. One listen to this recording is all it takes to realize that the judges certainly knew what they were doing.

Richardson generates a gorgeous tone on his guitar while playing tasty licks that come straight out of the Texas blues tradition he grew up on. Carney spends plenty of time overseas where his fluid fretwork has generated plenty of attention. They had a hand in writing all but two of the songs included on the disc. As the most recent winner, Soars has developed a strong following through constant touring with his crack band, the Red Hots, in addition to playing a key role along with Damon Fowler and Victor Wainwright in the Southern Hospitality project.

On the first three tracks, each guitarist gets a chance to showcase their talent. Richardson’s voice rings out on the opener, “Tell Me Do You Love Me,” before Carney takes the lead on “Drivin’ Me Wild” over a tight groove set up by Louis Tsamous on drums and Sam Van Fossen on Fender bass. The funky “Lookin’ For My Baby” provides another example of wonderful interplay between the three distinctive guitar styles. Soars returns later on two more cuts. Carney’s spirited vocal on “Come On With It” wraps around two blazing guitar solos. “Peace Of Mind” is a mournful lament from Richardson with an acoustic slide guitar added to the mix as well as Omar Coleman on harmonica.

A musician worthy of wider attention, Coleman lends his compelling voice to “A Man Like Me,” a taut shuffle he co-wrote with Richardson. His original “Slow Down” is bursting at the seams with energy that Richardson & Carney expertly channel through their instruments. The pace slows considerably on “Hold Me” with Coleman yearning for some understanding while the guitars cry out with the same kind of intensity mustered up by Albert King,

Other highlights include a spooky reading of “Chocolate Jesus” with Carney’s measured vocal conveying the devilish humor of the Tom Waits tune. The closing instrumental, “One For J.B.,” switches to lightly swinging tempo with jazz influences, giving the track a West Coast sound that contrasts nicely with the rest of the disc while also providing Richardson and Carney an opportunity to show a different aspect of their guitar styles.

There is plenty to enjoy on this recording. Repeated listens will certainly create interest for Richardson’s upcoming release under his own name. And the same for Coleman, who has a new one coming out on Delmark Records that is already generating some buzz. Blues guitar fans will definitely want to give this one a listen. Anyone who loves the music will find plenty to appreciate from the three guitarists, along with Omar Coleman, making it clear that the future is in good hands.

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 Review – 11 of 11 

John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers – Live in 1967

Forty Below Records 2015

13 tracks; 77 minutes

John Mayall’s bands in the 1960’s spawned a wealth of great blues players who went on to become the icons of their generation: players such as Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce, Jon Hiseman and Keef Hartley went on to form Cream, Colosseum and The Keef Hartley Band but none have perhaps retained their long-standing reputation as long as the original Fleetwood Mac, the core members of which were all in Mayall’s Bluesbreakers in 1967: Peter Green (guitar), John McVie (bass) and Mick Fleetwood (drums) joined John Mayall (organ, harmonica and vocals).

Between February and May of that year a Dutch fan of the band managed to record five separate shows in and around London, the tapes then lay unheard for fifty years before they reached John Mayall’s attention. Mayall has restored them to enable fans to hear that version of the band as they were live, this CD therefore complementing the studio “A Hard Road” which was recorded a little earlier with Aynsley Dunbar on drums.

This incarnation of the Bluesbreakers only existed for three months before the band members left Mayall to form Fleetwood Mac, so collectors and fans of Peter Green in particular will be fascinated to hear what they sounded like. However, one needs to be aware that these are pretty lo-fi recordings, even after restoration. Nevertheless, they do demonstrate the power of Green’s playing, nowhere better heard than on the opening “All Your Love”, one of four songs associated with Otis Rush covered here. Equally popular with Mayall at the time was Freddie King, the source for another four tracks, including Green’s ‘signature’ instrumental “The Stumble” (Clapton had used “Hideaway”). The remaining five cuts include two Mayall originals, Tommy Tucker’s “Hi Heel Sneakers”, T-Bone Walker’s “Stormy Monday” and “Looking Back” by Johnny ‘Guitar’ Watson.

Taking the Otis Rush songs first the short, sharp version of “All Your Love” makes a good start to the album with Green’s lead lines particularly strong. A more extended run through “Double Trouble” is also good, with Mayall’s organ providing a warm background to Green’s very strong solo work. Although for much of this CD Green’s guitar is far more muscular and aggressive than one might imagine from early Fleetwood Mac tunes like “Albatross”, “Need Your Love So Bad” and “Man Of The World” there are certainly hints of that style in “Double Trouble”.

Another Rush showstopper “So Many Roads” follows a similar pattern with Mayall again on organ. The recordings do not do any favors to Mayall’s vocals and they are put under strain on this song though Green’s guitar is again excellent. Willie Dixon’s “I Can’t Quit You Baby” has been covered by many blues artists and Otis Rush did a stellar version which may well be the inspiration for this cover which is one of the technically weaker tracks here.

“The Stumble” gets an extended workout that runs to almost seven minutes and is then followed by two further FK tunes in “Someday After A While” and “San-Ho-Zay” though the three tracks are in fact from separate gigs. The vocals sound distant on the slow blues but the instrumental fares better as Green gets to grips with the familiar chunky riff. The final excursion into FK territory is “Have You Ever Loved A Woman” which has plenty of anguished guitar from Green, the vocals again suffering from the original recording issues. One imagines that this is where Clapton first fell in love with this tune which he has played so often since.

The rocking “Looking Back” is the shortest cut here but it’s a good one as Mayall’s vocal and Green’s guitar take on Johnny ‘Guitar’ Watson really impressively; Green’s solo here looks forward to some of the wilder flights of rock players like Jimmy Page. Mayall’s organ leads on “Hi Heel Sneakers” but again the lo-fi quality is a distraction as the drums here sound very distant. “Stormy Monday Blues” has always been a popular choice for British blues bands and there are other versions of the song being performed by The Bluesbreakers. This long version closes the album with more fine playing by Green and Mayall who is again on organ. As on several of the slower and quieter tunes one hears the audience background noise, unfortunately.

The two Mayall originals are “Brand New Start” which has some undistinguished harp playing from the leader and “Streamline”, a solid shuffle with possibly the best recorded organ work on the CD, a song that would reappear on “Crusade” later in 1967 with Mick Taylor on guitar.

This is far from a perfect record but it is interesting and demonstrates the quality that Peter Green already had at this early point in his career. All credit to John Mayall for releasing this as some of his own performances suffer from the primitive recording but it does give us an opportunity to hear a short-lived but important incarnation of the legendary Bluesbreakers.

EDITORS NOTE: This album is nominated for both Live Blues Recording and Historical/Vintage Blues Recording in the 2015 Blues Blast Music Awards

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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Boise Blues Society – Boise, ID

On Sunday July 19, Boise Blues Society presents the 2015 Boise Blues Festival , 6 hours of great live music, dancing, eating, and outdoor fun, noon-6pm in Julia Davis Park. All ages welcome. Admission price: 3 cans of food for Idaho Foodbank.

2015 lineup features incredible guitarist and showman Matthew Curry, who played two sold-out shows in Boise last year. The Idaho Statesman raved that Curry “has it all—unreal-wicked guitar chops and a soulful singing voice that belies his years.”

Local band Freudian Slip kicks off the Festival with a rare performance of blues songs from the 30’s and 40’s, then the Hoochie Coochie Men deliver a set of tightly honed traditional blues. Jimmy Lloyd Rea and the Switchmasters promise to get folks out of their seats with a helping of raw, rockin’ blues before Curry takes the stage for the grand finale.

More info at and

Prairie Crossroads Blues Society – Champaign, IL

Prairie Crossroads Blues Society is pleased to be involved with reviving a Blues Jam in the Champaign-Urbana area. The next jam will be held at 7:00 pm on Wednesday June 24 at Bentley’s Pub, 419 N. Neil St., in downtown Champaign. Hosts for the jam include Kathy Harden, Tony Juodis and Jerry Erickson. Bring your instrument and plan on sitting in!

Plans are being made for future jams on the 4th Wednesday of each month. The July Jam will be held at 7:00 pm on Wednesday July 22, once again at Bentley’s Pub. Make you plans to be there!

PCBS will also have our tent at the Champaign Blues Brews & BBQ Fest, Friday & Saturday June 26 & 27. This year’s fest features all female lead bands. We’ll be spreading the word about our Society’s mission to preserve, promote and educate about the blues. We’ll also be signing up new and renewal members. Stop by our tent and say hi.

Visit our website for all the details;

Mississippi Valley Blues Society – Davenport, IA

The Mississippi Valley Blues Society is offering a “Blues Cruise for Two” raffle for a 7-day cruise on the Legendary Rhythm and Blues Cruise sailing in January 2016 and featuring Taj Mahal & the Phantom Band, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Elvin Bishop, Mickey Thomas, Latimore, North Mississippi Allstars, Tab Benoit , Tommy Castro, Samantha Fish, Ruthie Foster, Ronnie Baker Brooks, Colin James, Phantom Blues Band, Danielle Nicole Band, Sugar Blue Band, Kelley Hunt, Dwayne Dopsie & the Zydeco Hellraisers, and more!. Raffle ticket sales will officially begin on May 23, 2015. Only 150 tickets will be sold for $100 each chance. State of Iowa gambling regulations do not allow on-line purchase of raffle tickets. However, the MVBS “Blues Cruise for Two” raffle ticket mail order forms can be found at This raffle is a fundraiser for MVBS and proceeds will go towards producing the Mississippi Valley Blues Festival held September 5 -6, 2015.

The 31st annual Blues Festival is September 5 and 6, but we need your. This raffle is a great way to keep the blues alive and support our organization.” For all rules and facts about this raffle and to get your ticket visit

Crossroads Blues Society – Byron, IL

Crossroads Blues Society and the Byron Park District have scheduled FREE Sunday Blues in the Park shows in Blackhawk Meadows Park in Byron from 3 to 6 PM. July 26th – Jimmy Nick and Don’t Tell Mama, August 23rd – Bobby Messano.

Crossroads also hosts blues shows on the second Saturday of each month at the Hope and Anchor, an English Pub in Loves Park, IL from 8 PM to midnight. July 11th – Altered Five, August 8th the New Savages. $5 cover after 7 PM.

The Friday Fish Fries at the Lyran Club on 4th Ave in Rockford also continue. July 3rd – Collins-Grayless Band, August 7th – the New Savages. Free shows, plus a fish fry and steak dinner are available!

First Sunday’s in July through August Crossroads has Free blues at All Saints Lutheran Church from 4 to 6 PM. Macyn Tylor (July 5) ad Justin Boots Gates (August 2); a free will donation for the local food bank, will be accepted.

The 6th Crossroads Blues Festival at Lyran Park is Saturday, August 29th. Featuring Albert Castiglia, Dave Specter with Sharon Lewis, the Mike Wheeler Band, Stormcellar with Jo Fitzgerald, and Jimmy Nick and Don’t Tell Mama $5 advanced tickets. for more info and tickets.

Friends of the Blues – Kankakee IL area

The Friends of the Blues announce their 2015 Concert Series. All shows start at 7 pm. July 7 – Brent Johnson & Call Up with Sugarcane Collins – The Longbranch – L’Erable IL, July 21 – Nick Moss Band with Chicago Blues Angels – The Longbranch – L’Erable IL, July 30 – Studebaker John & Hawks – Kankakee Valley Boat Club – Kankakee IL, August 5 – Damon Fowler Band – Bradley Bourbonnais Sportsmen’s Club – Bourbonnais IL, August 18 – Too Slim and Taildraggers with Polly O’Keary and Rhythm Method The Longbranch – L’Erable IL, August 27 – Albert Castiglia with Maybe Later – The Longbranch – L’Erable IL

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. June 22 – The Daddy Mack Blues Band, June 29 – Brandon Santini, July 6 – Laurie Morvan, July 13 – Southside Johnny July 20 – Anni Piper, July 27 – Holland K Smith Blues Band, August 3 – Josh Hoyer & the Shadowboxes, August 10 – “Bad” Bill Robinson and the Hard Road Blues Band, August 17 – Polly O’Keary & the Rhythm Method, August 24 – Albert Castiglia, August 31 – Maurice John Vaughn.

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

Blues Overdose 6/25/2015 – These free tracks are available for 30 days. More info below.

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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!)

2.) The link will take you to the Blues Blast Magazine page on at

3.) On The Blues Overdose Page click the on any artist to listen to the song. You do NOT have to join to listen or download these tracks!

4.) To automatically download the artists song click on the download icon

Matt Woods

“Sawdust And Gasoline” from the album Sawdust And Gasoline

Sawdust and Gasoline is the fourth album from native Iowan and long standing purveyor of Blues and American roots music, Matt Woods. Sawdust and Gasoline is comprised completely of original material in an age-old tradition, featuring slashing slide guitar work, shake-it-don’t-break-it rhythms and powerful vocals. In order to capture the impulsive style of Woods’ solo performances, the album was recorded live, in studio in Ames, IA. In Woods’ own words, “This isn’t my first rodeo, but, it is a rodeo”.

Woods’ past solo release, If I Was a Fish, and the two albums released with his band, Matt Woods and The Thunderbolts (Be My Friend and Matt Woods and The Thunderbolts) have received national recognition and acclaim. Including positive reviews in Blues Revue and Dirty Linen and a top 5 finish as one of the International Blues Foundation’s Best Independent Albums of 2006.

Matt Woods is also a three-time winner of the Iowa Blues Challenge and semi-finalist at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, TN.

More information at

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Shaun Murphy

“Don’t Lie To Me” from the album Loretta

Shaun’s career started at the 1969 Ann Arbor Blues Festival, playing along side Muddy Waters, BB King, Howlin’ Wolf, Big Mama Thornton, and Luther Allison, to name a few. From there Shaun signed with Motown for two years till she was let out of her contract when her manager Punch Andrews called to invite her to join Bob Seger’s band. A position she’s kept with Seger to this day.

Eric Clapton brought Shaun in to record on the Behind The Sun album, and after hearing her sing the first song, he asked her to join his band, and she did two world tours. (Including Live Aid) Coming off Clapton’s tour, Shaun immediately joined Bob Seger on his tour.

During her breaks with Seger, Shaun recorded and toured with Moody Blues, Joe Walsh, Glen Frey, Bruce Hornsby, & Little Feat. During this time Shaun started recording with Little Feat, and was asked to join as a full member, and for 15 years, making her the first and only female lead singer for them in the history of the band.

In 2009, Shaun came back to her passion, the Blues, and has recorded her 6th Blues album, Loretta. During her 6 CD span, Shaun has garnered, 3 Grammy Nominations, and 2 Bluesblast awards, plus a Blues 411 Female Artist Of The Year award.

For more info visit

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Jeremy McEwen

“Mississippi Free”

Jeremy has recently released his newest blues and roots music single, Mississippi Free from his own label, Forked Deer Music Company. “Like most songs, this one has a couple different stories behind the meaning of it. It is truly and mainly a love song written for my wife. I’m not so big on writing the slow and sappy style of love songs. That’s not my bag of tricks. Mine seem to take on a little bit more jassy, up-beat and sexy style. For my taste, that approach truly makes for a better love song.” McEwen jokingly states. “But, there is also a hint of Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer in there also with the whole floatin’ down da Mississippi on a raft thing. My 5th grade teacher laid a paperback copy of Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn on my desk and said firmly “You need to read this,” and so I did immediately. And just as immediately I loved it. The Southern style of writing, the boyish adventures, the dialect and the language not only captivated me, but made perfect sense to me. So in Mississippi Free, there’s also that hint of my fascination for Twain and the mighty Mississippi River.

Mississippi Free is McEwen’s first release in the blues and roots music scene although he is a crafty veteran in the world of independent music. “This is about my 17th year in the business of music and I have ventured through many styles and scenes to finally get home to my true roots and my true self which is the blues and roots music of West Tennessee.” McEwen says. “I’ve been in a few pseudo-successful bands throughout my years, had a couple Nashville publishing deals and lost a couple publishing deals because I simply wouldn’t bow down and write the typical Nashville artificial pop crap. So I’ve definitely been around the block several times, and fallen along the way, but this blues and roots world is a perfect fit for me. It feels as though I am just now truly getting started on my musical journey. It’s a very good and peaceful, yet exciting feeling. There are so many songs and ideas I have in the works to release into this blues and roots music world.”

For more info visit

Click HERE to download these Free tracks on our Soundcloud

P.O. Box 721 Pekin, Illinois 61555     © 2015 Blues Blast Magazine (309) 267-4425



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