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December 5, 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 to a benefit show in downtown Galesburg, IL featuring harmonica virtuoso David (Bernie) Berntson, a Tulsa Oklahoma musician and educator. He returned to Galesburg, his hometown, to play a benefit to raise funds for the Mississippi Valley Blues Society.

David is a founding member of the Pine Street Persuaders, a Galesburg blues band formed in the late 1970's. In 2006, David won a second, Keeping Blues Alive Award, in Education, from the Blues Foundation.

Backing up David were local musicians Chuck Jones, Ian Johnson, Justin Mooney, and Curtis Hawkins. Other blues friends sat in with the David though out the night. This was as good as pure Blue fun for a good cause can possibly get!

Blues Legends Pass

Chico Banks 1961 - 2008

We are saddened to hear of the sudden death of guitarist, singer and songwriter Vernon "Chico" Banks on December 3, 2008. Chico was hospitalized and declared brain dead on December 2 according to reports from Bob Corritore. He passed away the next day. No information is available regarding funeral services at this time.

This is a huge loss for the Chicago Blues community. As the second generation of Chicago Blues players like Bernard Allison, Chico played with everybody including Otis Clay, Buddy Guy, Junior Wells and James Cotton to name a few. We have also seen him play with Little Milton, Magic Slim, Big Time Sarah, Chick Rogers, Willie Kent, Melvin Taylor and Big Ray. The photo is from a show with Big Ray at the 2007 Nothin' but the Blues fest. He was just 47 years old. He will be missed.


(Photo by Bob Kieser)



Odetta  1930 - 2008

From Bob Corritore - It is with great sadness that we write about the passing of Odetta Holmes. Known in the circles of blues, spirituals, and folk, as well as being a beacon for the civil rights movement, Odetta was one of the most memorable musical personalities to emerge from the 1960s. She died of a heart attack on December 2, 2008 after being hospitalized for kidney failure. She was 77.

Odetta was born on December 31, 1930, and at age 3, she moved to Los Angeles with her mother where she started singing and playing guitar. She earned a music degree from Los Angeles City College, focusing on musicals and classical, but her real love was the expressiveness of folk songs and spirituals. While working in the West Coast theater circuit, she found her way to the then emerging San Francisco folk scene, where she felt right at home. She made her first record, Odetta Sings Ballads & Blues, of which Bob Dylan stated in a 1978 interview with Playboy, was "The first thing that turned me on to folk singing".

She recorded several albums during the 1960s, and became perhaps the most prominent musical voice in the civil rights movement, highlighted by a famous performance of the song "Oh Freedom" at the August 1963 March On Washington. She married three times, with one of her husbands being Louisiana Red, whom she wed in 1977. In recent years, her career was revitalized by her recorded work with Mark Carpentieri's MC Records.

She recorded three CDs for MC, which earned her a W.C. Handy Award nomination (now called Blues Music Awards) and two Grammy® nominations. In 1999, Odetta was awarded the National Medal of the Arts and Humanities by President Clinton. In 2003, the Library Of Congress presented her with a Living Legend Award. She was a great musician and a kind and insightful person with a purposefulness to all her actions. 

In her last days, Yeager said, she had been hoping to sing at the presidential inauguration for Barack Obama.

51st Annual Grammy Awards Nominations for Blues Announced

The 51st Annual Grammy Awards will be held February 8 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

Best Traditional Blues Album

Elvin Bishop - The Blues Rolls On
Buddy Guy - Skin Deep
John Lee Hooker Jr. - All Odds Against Me
B.B. King - One Kind Favor
Pinetop Perkins & Friends - Pinetop Perkins & Friends

Best Contemporary Blues Album

Marcia Ball - Peace, Love & BBQ
Solomon Burke - Like A Fire
Dr. John and The Lower 911 - City That Care Forgot
Taj Mahal - Maestro
Irma Thomas - Simply Grand

Upcoming Blues

If you are in the Midwest be sure to check out the new Wednesday Blues show series by our friends at the River City Blues Society in Pekin, IL. This Wednesday, December 10 they kick off their series with a show by Chicago Blues legend, Nick Moss. Check out the ad for the show below, SCROLL DOWN!!!

Also be sure you get your hotel rooms and tickets for the upcoming 25th International Blues Challenge in February.  There will be more than 180 Blues acts performing in the Challenge. To see a complete list of all the acts participating, CLICK HERE

See their ad below and get them NOW as the closest hotels are selling out FAST. You do NOT want to miss this!

Blues Review this week - James Walker reviews a CD from The Beat Daddys.

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

 Blues Want Ads

 Blues Musicians Place Your Want Ad here for FREE

"workin Blues performers" ONLY can place Want Ads here for FREE.  NO Commercial Ads! 
Buy or sell equipment , musicians wanted, gigs wanted etc. Limit 100 words.

Blues Music Reviews wanted

Blues Blast Magazine is looking for reviewers to review new Blues CD's. If you have a background and experience with Blues music and like to write we can provide new CD's for you to review. Person 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

Information on Guitar Player Willie Lee Johnson wanted

Looking for info on Willie Lee Johnson and The Rolling Crew. Wolf's first Guitar Player Willie Lee Johnson, who was he who else did he work with, was he someone else using this name? Any discography or history info out there? Also The Rolling Crew, They Did Home on Alcatraz and Cryin' Emma on Aladdin records. Who were the group members, did they do any other records or perform as any other group(s)?
Thanks in advance for any info.! John Lee Williamson Conjur Root Records 

Drummer seeks band

Former Walter Trout Drummer-----Joey Pafumi formerly with Walter Trout for 6 years 2002-2007--looking for full time touring band. Contact Joey at  or 818-749-8856

All ads submitted will be used if space allows. If space is limited, ads will be randomly selected to appear in the Blues Blast. Ads may be edited.  Send your ad submission to

 Featured Blues Review

The Beat Daddys - Live at the Quincy Blues Fest 2007

Independent Release/Crippled Frog Music BMI

14 songs; 67:26; Suggested

Style: Blues-rock/Southern blues-rock

As I sat and pondered, weak and weary, the weather outside, bleak and bleary,
A memory arose to warm my soul, of a summer blues festival of yore.
With the television insanely yapping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one rapping and slapping at my consciousness’ door.
The message: “Find comfort in MUSIC recorded live outdoors, from a festival of yore.”
T’was only that and nothing more.


Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December......Ok, that is enough of waxing POE- etic. But, the blowing snow propelled by a strong wind created layers of ice in the scene out my window. It is our first winter blast here in central Illinois, depressingly on an Autumn day, December 1. Pleasant memories of summer fun at blues festivals automatically flowed.

More than memories were needed to warm the cowbells of my heart, however. That is what made this album by the Beat Daddys so perfect for the occasion. Recorded live at the Quincy IL Blues Festival in the summer of 2007, the upbeat fun just exploded from the speakers, warming the room.

Featuring nine original songs of the fourteen presented, the CD opens, following the stage introduction, with Tommy Stillwell’s lead electric guitar sounding like he was fully warmed up, not playing the first song of a set. By a buck-thirty into “She’s All That,” lead singer Larry Grisham sings powerfully in a voice made to sing the blues while adding guitar licks of his own.

As the applause wanes, Jeremy Clement’s drums establish a steady rhythm for Stillwell’s slide guitar to rip a new hole in the ozone layer. Here on “Train in the Distance,” and throughout the CD, Jon Rochner plays absolutely masterful bass. With about a minute left, Grisham whips out his harmonica to completely seal the deal – this is a summer blues party! (2008 Note: current drum duties are provided by Dave Sappington.)

By the third song, Grisham doesn’t wait for the applause to end; he opens a cappella, “I met a f-i-i-n-n-e beautician; in very f-i-n-e condition....” The band jumps in, popping, on BB King’s “Beautician Blues” for a fun romp.

Next, just to see if anyone was sober enough to pay attention, they played a mid tempo blues version of the theme song from the old Beverly Hillbillies television show! Intermingling with two ripping guitar solos in the middle sandwiched around a harp solo, Grisham pours out the original lyrics, verbatim. Who woulda thunk it? But, didn’t I say right up front this is a “fun CD”?

Slow blues with a sad story? Sure, the Beat Daddys next play an, “Pale White Circle” referring to the missing wedding ring on the protagonist’s finger. Requisite mournful guitar solos pour out, but Rochner’s bass lines steal the show.

Ok, enough of that slow stuff; the up tempo track six, “Beg Borrow Steal” rips open with wailing harmonica underpinned by Rochner’s bass and Clement’s drums. After a Stillwell guitar solo, Grisham sings the lyrics, “Beg Borrow Steal” that is somewhat reminiscent of “Flip Flop Fly.”

By mid-set, the boys throw down Sonny Boy Williamson’s “Sloppy Drunk,” followed by audibly obvious crowd pleasers by Hendrix, “Hey Joe” and “Little Wing” featuring Stillwell’s scorching guitar.

Grisham and Stillwell played together near Evansville in southern Indiana in 1970. Stillwell's first lasting exposure to the blues came in 1972, as a 17-year-old at a music festival at Bull Island, near Griffin, IN. He became inspired watching blues legend Albert King. (Anyone remember Bull Island? My wife and I were there, too.)

The Beat Daddys’ legend spread from Southern Indiana well into the deep South. They opened shows in the Mississippi Delta for such blues luminaries as Johnny Winter and B.B. King. They signed a recording contract with Waldoxy, a subsidiary of Malaco, a respected Jackson MS, blues and gospel label. The Beat Daddys' first two records for Waldoxy were 1992’s "No, We Ain’t From Clarksdale," and 1994’s "South to Mississippi." Their first independent album, however, "Houserocking Rhythm and Blues" in 1989, is much truer to their live sound.

For blues-rockers, The Beat Daddys may not be doing anything new, but what they do is done incredibly and energetically well. This is a summer set that thankfully got recorded by the good folks of the Mid-Mississippi Muddy Waters Blues Society. Give their CD a try, and see if it doesn’t just melt away those winter doldrums for you, too.

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.

The River City Blues Society presents

Wednesday Blues Featuring Chicago Blues Legend

Nick Moss & the Flip Tops

December 10, 2008 - 7:00pm

Captain's Wheel

2801 Court Street

Pekin, IL 61554

(309) 346-1154

Map to Club CLICK HERE

 8-time Blues Music Award Nominee

Best Blues Song - 2008 Blues Blast Music Awards

 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

In conjunction with the Concorde Inn and the Captains Wheel Lounge in Pekin, IL the River City Blues Society is pleased to announce their new series of weekly Blues Shows in Central, Illinois starting Wednesday, December 10th, 2008. These Early shows will 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.

The kick off performance on December 10th features Nick Moss and the Flip Tops. Other 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

Elks Country Club Blues Show - Tuesday, December 9, Kilborn Allay Blues Band, 7:00 PM, Elks Country Club Blues Show, Kankakee Elks Country Club, 2283 Bittersweet Drive, St. Anne IL. Please join us for one more show this Season. The Kankakee Elks have invited us out to their beautiful club house with its spacious dining room / concert room. Together, we are producing a wonderful dinner and show. For menu and more information call 815-937-1228.

Also 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

The Mississippi Valley Blues Society presents Chicago bluesman Joe Moss at the Iron Wheel Pub—1211 W. 5th St. (Old Hwy. 6) in Wilton, Iowa—on Friday December 5.  The show starts at 7:30;  admission is $10, $8 for MVBS members. For more information contact the Blues Society at or call (563) 322-5837

The Blues Society of Omaha - Omaha, Nebraska

The Blues Society of Omaha, for the third consecutive year, will tie-in their Annual Holiday Party with Omaha Rockabilly guitarist Lash Larue's Toy Drive for the Children of the Pine Ridge Reservation.  The event will take place from 5pm-9pm on Sunday, December 7, 2008 at BarFly (707 N. 114th St.) in Omaha, NE.

Featuring The Dallas Blues stars with Mike Morgan and The Crawl, featuring Jim Suhler. The Side Effects will open the show followed by The Loose Brothers.  Admission is $10, or a new unwrapped toy. Proceeds from the beverage sales will also benefit the Toy Drive. Details at:

Illinois Central Blues Club - Springfield, IL

ICBC BLUES GIVES BACK TO THE COMMUNITY WITH FREE MUSIC AND FOOD AT A BLUES CHRISTMAS PARTY - The Illinois Central Blues Club in conjunction with the Illinois Arts Council, announces a Blues Christmas Party Sunday, December 7, 2008 from 5:00pm – 8:00pm at Robbies, 4 Old State Capitol Plaza, Springfield, IL. The Blues Expressions will provide “postwar” blues music with choice selections from artists such as B.B. King, Albert King, Bobby “Blue” Bland, Sonny Boy Williamson and Muddy Waters.

Blue Mondays- Held at the Alamo 115 N 5th St, Springfield, IL (217) 523-1455 every Monday 8:30pm $2 cover  - December 8 - The Workers (Watermelon Slim's Band) with special Guest Bill Lupkin,  December 15 - Studebaker John, December 22 - Scottie Miller and the Uptake Inhibitors, December 29 - Sally Weisenburg and the Famous Sidemen


New CD

Mighty Mighty

CLICK HERE to Purchase this CD



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

Live Blues Calendar

 YOU can submit your Blues performances for FREE at:


Performance dates were submitted by Musicians, Club Owners, Blues Societies and Blues festivals. is not responsible for errors or omissions.

CLICK HERE - for the Latest Complete Blues Calendar on our website at:

or click a state to see Blues shows by State

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Performance dates submitted by Musicians, Clubs, Blues Societies and Blues festivals. is not responsible for errors or omissions.

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Blues fans WANT to know about your Blues event of product. Call Bob at (309) 267-4425 or send an email to for a confidential quote today! covers Blues all over the US - NOT just in Illinois! also offers effective advertising for Festivals and Club Owners, Recording Companies and Performers. Put your Blues advertisement on our homepage at:  either as a sponsored event or as a featured event, product, recording or merchandise.  We get 10,000 visitors and 800,000 hits A MONTH on our website!

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