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December 12, 2008           

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News, photos, reviews, live Blues links & MUCH MORE in this issue! - Scroll or Page Down! quick website links: Reviews    Links   Photos    Videos     Blues Radio     Blues Shows near YOU!    Advertise for FREE!     The Blues Blast Archives

Hey Blues Fans,

We made it out to catch the Joe Moss Band in Peoria, IL last weekend. This is the first time we have seen Joe and it won't be the last.

Then we made it to Blue Monday in Springfield, IL to see an interesting group comprised of Chicago harp great Bill Lupkin along with Watermelon Slim's band, the Workers. It was an interesting combination and a GREAT show.

Also we made it to a show put on by the River City Blues Society this week featuring Nick Moss & The Flip Tops. This Blues society has been around for a long time (24 years). This society is responsible for the long running Illinois Blues Fest, the River City Harmonica Blow Out, the Winter Blues Fest and the Luther Allison Memorial Blues Fest (LutherFest). This show was the kickoff of their new Wednesday Night Blues series.

Nick and the band (Bob Carter- drums, Gerry Hundt - guitar, bass, mandolin and harmonica, and Willie Oshawny - keyboards, bass) gave everyone a taste of what real Chicago Blues is all about. Working their way through selections from their last CD "Play it Till Tomorrow" they showed their versatility and showmanship. You could never guess what the next song would bring as Nick, Gerry and Willie rotated around the bandstand switching off between guitar, bass, mandolin harmonica and keyboard. Nick and the band have a new live album coming out in the next few months that was recorded at Chan's in Rhode Island with guitar great Lurrie Bell sitting in. Look for that release soon on Nick's Blue Bella record label.

If this first show is any gauge, the River City crew looks to have started another great series of events with these new Wednesday Blues concerts. See the Society News section below for their upcoming shows.

Blues Reviews and MORE!

Blues Review this week - James Walker reviews a new CD from Rob Rio. Tom "The ENERGIZER" Schlesinger sends us a review of the new CD by Paul Metsa and Sonny Earl. Ben Cox sends us a review of a new CD by Alberta Adams. All this and MORE! SCROLL DOWN!!!

 Featured Blues Review 1 of 3

Rob Rio - Thank You, Joe Turner

10 songs; 34:14; Splendid

Style: Jump Blues / West Coast Swing / Rock and Roll / Boogie-Woogie

Who was “The Boss of the Blues?” It was Big Joe Turner (1911 – 1985), and even if you are not familiar with his name, you probably know some of his hits, included here, like the classic song (and film) “Shake, Rattle & Roll,” “Flip, Flop, Fly” popularized in the 1980s by the Blues Brothers, and “Lipstick, Powder & Paint” covered by many artists including Delbert McClinton.

NYC born, but now residing in California, Rob Rio, “The Boss of the Boogie-Woogie & Blues Piano,” has issued this “Tribute To Big Joe Turner” in fine style. Tribute albums can be controversial. One school says, instead of listening to the tribute, why not just listen to the original artist. Conversely, if one likes a certain artist, he/she will enjoy the covers done by that artist. My opinion: why not enjoy both?

Sincere musicians will tell you the emphasis should be on “the song” anyway, not the artist. The house-party fun on this album is way too good to be dismissed as a “mere tribute.”

To get a great full band sound, Rio gathered an all-star lineup in the studio to accompany his own deft piano and versatile vocals. Job Striles – guitar, Larry Taylor – bass, Richard Innes – drums, Bill Flores – tenor, alto sax, Jeff Turmes – baritone, tenor sax, and Corey Gemme – trumpet. Rick Holmstrom guests on guitar on three songs while Job Striles and Valerie Sooky add background vocals on one track.

The opening number, “Thank You, Joe Turner,” is the only non-Joe song in the set. The lyrics run down some of Turner’s styles (e.g. blues shouting) and history, like singing blues while, at the same time, tending bar in Kansas City circa 1930.

“Shake, Rattle & Roll” was Turner’s biggest smash hit, and it will have you, too, believing that the devil wears “nylon hose.” Rio takes a nice mid song piano solo followed by the type of wailing saxophone that would have Big Joe broadly smiling and snapping his fingers.

To hear some more of Rob Rio’s award winning boogie-woogie piano, check the up tempo “Corinna, Corinna” and “Boogie Woogie Country Girl.

During the mid-tempo “Cherry Red” are we allowed to laugh (with out being politically incorrect) at the idea that this African American singer’s girlfriend will “jump in her big brass bed and rock him ‘til his face turns “Cherry Red’”? Aw, it’s all done in salacious fun, anyway.

More fun: Turner’s “Wee, Wee Baby” is anything but a wee lassie. Rio sings, “...You’re sure looking good to me.” But, the protagonist is so frustrated with his love interest he would like to “go upside her head, if he only could,” but you see, “She’s six-foot-two, weighs 295 – big mama”! Look out! Holmstrom delivers a very tasty mid-song guitar solo here.

Overall, this is a wonderful album. The songs only run about three minutes each, maintaining their crispness. Rio’s vocals are a more than an adequate honor to Big Joe, the musical team is superior, and these bouncy songs are so good that one can not help but enjoy them.

At 34 minutes, they probably should have added about three more numbers. Hey, but who is counting when you are having this much fun?

Reviewer James “Skyy Dobro” Walker is a noted Blues writer, DJ and Blues Blast contributor. His weekly radio show “Friends of the Blues” can be heard each Thursday from 4:30 – 6:00pm on WKCC 91.1 FM in Kankakee, IL

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.


Winter 2009 Chicago Blues Tour

Saturday, January 17th, 2009

Visit 9 of Chicago’s famous Blues clubs featuring 12 live blues bands!

For more Info CLICK HERE

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Blues Music Reviewers wanted - Southwest and Texas areas

Blues Blast Magazine is looking for reviewers to review new Blues CD's and live music shows. If you have a background and experience with Blues music and like to write we can provide new CD's and press passes for events for you to review. Photography experience helpful for show reviews. Must be willing to write a minimum of one review every other week. Reviewer keeps the CD's for writing the review.  If interested please send a sample of your writing and a short bio of your Blues background to

Newsletter Editor Wanted

The River City Blues Society (Peoria, IL) is in need of a newsletter editor for their society newsletter "News of Blues" . The newsletter is published 4 to 6 times a year and normally runs from 4 to 12 pages depending on upcoming events, reviews and article material submitted. For further information, please contact  


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The River City Blues Society presents

Wednesday Blues Featuring

Russell Miller & 6V6

December 17, 2008 - 7:00pm

Captain's Wheel

2801 Court Street

Pekin, IL 61554

(309) 346-1154

Map to Club CLICK HERE

 Admission $3 or free with new Society membership

 Blues Society News

 Send your Blues Society's BIG news or Press Release to:  

Please submit a maximum of 125 words in a Text or Word format ONLY.

The Blues, Jazz & Folk Music Society - Marietta, Ohio

The Blues, Jazz & Folk Music Society of Marietta, Ohio announce their 17th annual River City Ohio Blues Competition for sponsorship to the International Blues Challenge ( IBC) in 2010. January 9, 2009 is the deadline for participants to register. The competition is to be held February 20 & 21, 2009, at Hotel Lafayette, 101 Front Street, Marietta OH. The first place winner of The River City Ohio Blues Competition will receive $1000 dollars in cash, second place winner will receive $200 in cash and the third place winner will receive $100 in cash.

The Blues is an attitude and state of mind, not an address -- not confined to any geographical area. One of the things that makes the Marietta competition unique is that it has no geographic restrictions and is open to serious Blues acts from anywhere. The Competition pulls talent from a four, five or six state area and even from overseas.

FOR BANDS WHO WANT TO PARTICIPATE: Click here . Information: call Steve Wells (anytime) 304- 295 - 4323 or 

River City Blues Society- Peoria, IL

Wednesday Blues Series in Central, Illinois Wednesday, December 17th, 2008. These Early shows run each Wednesday from 7:00pm to 11:00pm and feature the best traveling regional and National Blues musicians. The shows will feature a budget priced cover charge of $3.

Shows scheduled are:   December 17 - Russell Miller and 6V6,  January 7th - Studebaker John, January14th - Scott Holt, January 21 - TBA, January 28 - James Armstrong

Friends of the Blues - Watseka, IL

Join us Saturday, Dec 27 for Big James & The Chicago Playboys, 9:00 PM, Legacy Bar & Grill, 135 N. Kinzie Ave, Bradley IL 815-936-1649

Mississippi Valley Blues Society - Davenport, IA

Bob Dorr and the Blue Band at the Redstone Room, 129 Main Street, Davenport, Iowa  on Sunday December 21! Doors open at 4:30 and the music begins at 5:00 for this Holiday Party sponsored by the Mississippi Valley Blues Society; admission is $10. The show is a fundraiser for the MVBS.  For more information contact the Blues Society at or call 563-508-6596

Illinois Central Blues Club - Springfield, IL

Blue Mondays- Held at the Alamo 115 N 5th St, Springfield, IL (217) 523-1455 every Monday 8:30pm $2 cover  - December 8 - Studebaker John, December 22 - Scottie Miller and the Uptake Inhibitors, December 29 - Sally Weisenburg and the Famous Sidemen

Blues Blast Magazine is proud to be a media sponsor of the 25th International Blues Challenge. The silver anniversary of this great Blues competition promises to be one the best ever put on by the Blues Foundation.

In case you are not familiar with this event, it is an international search for the best undiscovered Blues band on the planet.  Each year the Blues Foundation's 160 affiliate Blues societies from all over the globe hold "local" or "regional" Blues challenges.

They send the winners to compete in the semifinals in Memphis in February. There are categories for both bands and solo/duet acts.

In 2008, 100 bands and 60 solo/duo acts filled the clubs up and down Beale Street for the semi-finals on Thursday and Friday. This is a Blues show you do not want to miss. It is literally the worlds largest gathering of Blues Bands!

Beale Street is the legendary Blues Mecca in Memphis. Each club on Beale has 6 or 8 acts competing in the semi-finals. By the rules of the competition, each act plays exactly 30 minutes all using the same stage setup for a panel of judges and a packed crowd of Blues fans. They are judged on Blues content, vocal and/or instrumental talent, originality and stage presence by a different panels of judges each night (See scoring criteria HERE).

The scores are averaged and the top scoring act from each club advances to the finals that are held at the Orpheum Theater on Saturday.  (To see some photos of last years fun CLICK HERE)

Tickets to this historical event are just $75 and include entrance to all the clubs on Beale Street both Thursday and Friday and the finals on Saturday. CLICK HERE to get yours now.

Be sure to get your hotel reservations NOW too as some of the host hotels are already sold out! CLICK HERE for hotel info

 Featured Blues Review 2 of 3

Paul Metsa and Sonny Earl - White Boys Lost in the Blues 

10 songs ; 4 - covers, 6 - originals

Sonny Earl on harmonica and vocals was doing a series of gigs on Friday night at Gabby's Saloon in Northeastern Minneapolis when he lost his blind guitar player from his band. He went looking for Paul Metsa to see if he would take over that position on guitar. Sonny had only heard of Metsa, and never met him. But, when they got together, I think history was in the making as they are two very accomplished musicians. Paul has had many awards and achievements including a 1999 Keeping the Blues Alive (KBA) Award winner, 1994 Best Acoustic guitar award, Best Folk Artist 1986, Best Blues Vocals 1986, and on and on.

Sonny started playing harp at 9 years and practiced his craft well (and, boy, is this guy good). His sister’s boy friend had played, and after pestering him for a while, got him to get Sonny a Hohner, and he was off and running. Sonny got to jam with the late Son Seals and then brought down the house when he played with Blackfoot on the song “Train Train.”

What a gem this CD is with its Jazzy, Folky, and Blues based sound! These guys were inspired somewhat by the great duo of Brownie McGhee and Sonny Terry, and it’s dedicated to their memory.

They lead off with a bluesy song co-written by Metsa /Earl Called “Train from Montana.” There is Great, no, make that “Out standing” attacking harmonica by Sonny Earl, and Metsa’s fine, fine guitar licks grab you on this first song! Then, song after song thereafter, they keep your attention.

The second song is called “Cold Outside,” another one written by these fine performer- writers. These guys are so good with guitar and biting harmonica again. Check their fantastic lyrics about a woman that is warm on the outside but as cold as ice inside. The man has ice cube tears from the hurt from her. Someday, they’ll melt, but it might take a few years. Wow!

Six of the ten songs are written by one or both of this great team. The covers are “Lollipop Momma” by R. Brown, and there’s even a great rendition of Bob Dylan's “She belongs to Me.” Another good showing is on “One Way Out” by Sonny Boy Williamson, M. Sehorn, and Elmore James. Including Sonny Terry’s “White Boys Lost in the Blues,” the title cut, all are very good covers.

This CD I rank as one of my top 5 of the year. This one, like I said earlier is a Gem, meaning a must-have-and-keep in your library.Buy this one today!

Reviewer Tom "The ENERGIZER" Schlesinger is a long time Blues fan and Blues lover, a veteran of many a Blues Festivals around the mid west and Florida, and a Legendary Blues Cruiser through the Caribbean.

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.


New CD

Mighty Mighty

CLICK HERE to Purchase this CD



 Featured Blues Review 3 of 3

Alberta Adams - Detroit Is My Home

Eastlawn Records

Run Time: 52:14

Alberta Adams has been kicking the jump blues around the Motor City for more than 60 years now. She cut her teeth down on Detroit's Hastings Street with the likes of John Lee Hooker and Bobby Bland in the 40s and 50s. She's toured with the jump blues kings of Louis Jordan, Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson, and the swing of T-Bone Walker. This dancer turned singer declares loudly at 91 years old that she is Detroit's Queen of the Blues with a little help from some friends of course.

If you are looking for contemporary blues guitar screaming and crying deep into the night, then don't look here. Alberta Adams serves up heaps of the old style traditional urban blues that paved the way for rock n roll in the 50s. From barrelhouse swingers to deeply moving jazzy blues, Adams has a world weary voice that fades in and out. The arrangements and the band of friends that surround these recordings that have been compiled over 2 years time is some of the best old school blues players around the Detroit area. Enlisting keyboard players that checker this disc with some of the finest 88's work of the year, Ann Rabson Mark Lincoln "Mr. B." Braun, and Al Hill show the world how its done. James O'Donnell sounds like he's right out of a Harlem or Detroit club of the 40s with his muted trumpet work on "I'm Worried." Adams also turns in one of her best vocal performances on the same track.

The title track, which was written especially for Alberta is belted out as hard as she can. The band is sharp. Adams' voice is weary but the track still swings. "Doctor Blues" has got a rhumba swing complimented by a beautiful horn arrangement, jazzy guitar licks from Paul Carey, and colored underneath by the piano of Ann Rabson who also wrote the song. This seems to be the tail of the tape for most of the album until CeeCee Collins and Thornetta Davis step up to the mic to help one of their influences. These two ladies add some wonderful background and lead vocals along with this icon from their hometown. Trying not to steal the show (but she does) on the oft-covered Magic Sam tune "Just A Little Bit," Cee Collins belts out this old school tune with some great zest and the backing band is just ruckus! The song is the lone live cut and is a hidden track, tacked to the end of "Hopin' It Will Be Alright."

Adams is at her best and most evocative in her lower registers. See songs like "I'm Worried" and "Always Home" and you'll find two of the most vocally successful songs on the disc for a woman who's lived 91 years. Her voice falters on parts that normally would be belted out by the strongest singer. However, the sass is still there underneath it all. I hope I can still talk at 91, let alone sing. You know the album is completely hers and you stand at attention and recognize when she sings it. Alot of the success of this album really does hinge on the backing band and the co-lead vocal songs (check out the New Orleans flavored "Struttin' My Stuff"). With a host of players too numerous to mention, these guys and ladies are really the cream of the crop when it comes to producing these old school blues & early-sounding R&B tunes. Adams may definitely be the Queen of Detroit's Blues but she's definitely got her a great bunch of subjects to help her continue that reign.

Review By Ben "the Harpman" Cox. Visit his website Juke Joint Soul

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.

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