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March 4, 2008
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Hey Blues fans,
We've got another Blues packed issue with pictures of last weeks soon to be legendary show by David "Honeyboy" Edwards, Michael Frank and Kilborn Alley. Plus we have a review of the show, CD reviews (Including Honeyboy's new CD), Blues news, announcements, Blues want ads and more. Page down! Check it out!
On another note, we passed on the sad news of the death of Jeff Healy this week from cancer at the age of 41. We got many replies about this gifted musician. We found a great video of Jeff in his prime that you do not want to miss. This man was truly amazing!
We are pleased to announce a new contributor this week. Brian Holland is a music journalist who resides in Massachusetts. His music writings have appeared in many publications including Modern Guitar magazine. To see his great interview of Blues legend Ronnie Earl on our website, CLICK HERE
A Hand From the Past , A Glimpse of the Future
by Ben Cox
David “Honeyboy” Edwards and Michael Frank
Block’s Brewery, Decatur IL February 28, 2008
Photos by Bob Kieser © 2008 - Click any photo to see full size image!
To see ALL the pictures of the fun, CLICK HERE
“He won a Grammy only a few weeks ago and now he’s on stage with us in Decatur, Illinois,” said a jubilated Andrew Duncanson, lead singer of Kilborn Alley Blues Band about his evening performing with and listening to the legendary Delta bluesman David “Honeyboy” Edwards. It was truly a night to remember for the packed house at Block’s Brewery just off Main Street in Decatur. You couldn’t have squeezed one more person into the place, as you could feel the room’s anticipation just waiting for a glimpse of Honeyboy to come out and play.
As Earwig Records President and close friend Michael Frank led Honeyboy to the stage in his ball cap and guitar, even before the first note was hit, a huge cheer went up. After set-up was done and Honeyboy had settled in, he and Frank lit up the room for the next hour, doing a tour de force of anything and everything you could possibly imagine and hear from the Delta. This man, this legend wasn’t merely interpreting a genre of music and a story, he was the story still living and breathing every bit of the blues. With each jerk on his guitar and each ear-piercing sting of his slide, howls and cheers went up. As label-friend Frank would recall later, “I’m the guy that everybody forgets to introduce,” he’d say with a smile. He smiled because he knew that Edwards’ praise was just deserts for a man with a long and storied career that continues to roll on with each mile he travels to play his next show.
Midway through Honeyboy’s first set, the cold winter of Illinois unleashed its fury, drenching the outside in a blanket of snow and cold. The crowd would not be moved and hung on every note. Honeyboy and Frank then met the crowd of well-wishers, admirers, and old friends for an hour with autographs, pictures, and hand shakes.
Kilborn Alley started their show a little after 9:30, doing cuts from their latest BMA-nominated album Tear Chicago Down, kicking it off with “Fighting Fire With Fire” and a stirring rendition of “Everyday I Have the Blues,” which Honeyboy watched attentively off to the side of the stage. Honeyboy then joined the band for an hour set, taking them through Delta-meets-Chicago stylings. The young fellows were a little uneasy at first, but anchored by the watchful eye of Kilborn’s elder statesmen Ed O’Hara on the ruff and tumble drums and the king of groove Chris Breen, the boys managed to keep the groove going.
An amazing point in the show was when guitarist Josh Stimmel and harp smith Joe Asselin traded lead riffs with Honeyboy. After another hour, Honeyboy turned the stage over to Kilborn and calmly took his seat at the side of the stage, clapping and singing along with many familiar Chicago Blues tunes that Kilborn had in their days before the BMAs. Such numbers like Buddy Guy’s “The Dollar Done Fell,” Little Walter’s “My Babe,” Muddy Waters’ “Long Distance Call,” and the seminal “Catfish Blues” which Honeyboy himself had played earlier in the evening and now sang along at the side of the stage.
Kilborn was also joined by a few special guest, fellow harmonica man Deak Harp joined the set and played four numbers, bringing the house down on the final song dueling with Asselin on “Got My Mojo Working.” Kilborn also had saxophone-man and Quincy IL native Dave Faubel, whom some may remember from Kilborn’s first BMA-nominated album Put It In the Alley. Honeyboy reaped praise on the young men after the show saying, “You boys have got something. Keep doin’ what you’re doin’. You’re almost there.”
With well over three hours of music, the twenty dollars at the door was a complete bargain for the history and the quality of music one was blessed to have heard in the little bar and grill off Main Street in Decatur one cold and snowy night in February. For the young folks in the crowd, it’ll become a story that they’ll tell friends, family, and fellow music lovers for years to come. They’ll say that they got to hear and shake the hand of the man who was a part of where all American roots music was born.
Ben Cox is a Blues Songwriter, Musician, DJ and Journalist.
For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.
Live Blues Calendar
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Thursday, May 22 - Saturday, May 24, 2008
Phone: (708) 524-6050
Dominican University (located just minutes from the Chicago Loop) hosts the Blues and the Spirit Symposium, emphasizing the heritage of African-American Chicago and exploring the shared roots of Blues and Gospel.
Streaming Blues Link of the Week
KCUR-FM, Kansas City
KCUR-FM has a significant amount of Blues programming. Each Friday and Saturday they present a show called "Fish Fry" with Chuck Haddock from 8pm to midnight. They stream the show live which is great if you are staying home on Friday and Saturday nights. But even better they archive the shows and have about 1200 hours of archives on their website that you can listen to anytime. To check out their play list/archive of past shows, CLICK HERE.
When you get there click the date arrows to see past shows and play lists. (HINT: Look for the <<PREV and NEXT>> controls to navigate to past shows.)
You can also search for a specific artist and the search will list all programs that contain the artist you search for.
Check out other great Blues Music Streams Click HERE
Other IMPORTANT News Help Save the music! CLICK HERE to Keep Blues Radio Alive!
May 9th &
10th - Fort Madison, IA
Friday May 9th
Saturday May 10th
Blues Link of the Week
David Barrett is a leader in Blues harmonica education. His site ( http://www.harmonicamasterclass.com) has everything you ever wanted to know about playing Blues harmonica. This is a great place to start if you are looking to master the tin sandwich.
But his Vintage Collection page is a glimpse of vintage equipment that is really impressive. They have amps and microphones that are the stuff of legend. If you are a harp player, try to keep from turning green with envy!
For more Blues links, CLICK HERE to visit the IllinoisBlues.com Links Page
MARCH 19 to MARCH 23rd
THE 6th ANNUAL ST. JOHN BLUES FESTIVAL
Coral Bay Ball Field – Coral Bay
Chubby Carrier & The Bayou Swamp Band
Sean Carney & The Sean Carney Band
For further information contact Steve Simon at 340-693-8120
email@example.com or go to www.stjohnbluesfestival.com
6 live Blues shows over 5 days beginning on March 19th and running through March 23rd.
Featured Blues Reviews
19 songs; 51:13 minutes; Reference Quality
“Us blues purists have got to stick together,” said blues fan Ron the Watermelon Man recently in a telephone conversation. Ok, Ron, here is a unification plan all those purists can join: purchase the latest album Roamin’ and Ramblin’ and celebrate the music of David “Honeyboy” Edwards. When it comes to “pure blues,” it does not get more authentic than Mississippi Delta Blues, especially when the practitioner is, amazingly, one of the last remaining original Delta Bluesmen.
Born in the Mississippi Delta in June 28, 1915, the son of a sharecropper, David “Honeyboy” Edwards traveled the South hobo-ing as an itinerant bluesman in the 1930s and helped shape early folk music into what later generations turned into Rock and Roll. Still touring internationally, he is in demand today both for his sharp memory as a purveyor of the oral history of the blues (He was there the night Robert Johnson was poisoned) and for his music, performing at festivals, arts centers, colleges, clubs and special events.
This album is both a historical perspective and modern update with tracks from 1942, 1975-76, and 2007. The CD is producer and label owner Michael Frank’s attempt to recreate the guitar/harmonica duo and small group performances harkening back to the golden era of 1930s pre-WWII blues, when Honeyboy and the greatest Delta harmonica players gigged together, before any of them had recorded or gained notoriety. The CD features Honeyboy's old school guitar and vocals, fresh takes on old gems, and the first time release of some historic recordings. There are new 2007 sessions with harmonica greats Bobby Rush, Billy Branch and Johnny "Yard Dog" Jones, previously unreleased 1975 studio recordings of Honeyboy and Big Walter (“Shakey”) Horton, and circa 1976 live concert tracks - solo and with Sugar Blue. Michael Frank, Paul Kaye, Rick Sherry and Kenny Smith also play on the album on various tracks. Honeyboy and Bobby Rush also tell some short blues tales on two tracks.
At age 17, Edwards impressed Big Joe Williams enough to take him under his wing. Rambling around the south, often by hopping freight trains, Honeyboy experienced the great Charley Patton and played often with Robert Johnson. Honeyboy worked with Howlin’ Wolf, Sonny Boy Williamson II, and countless others while honing his musical skills on the streets and in juke joints across 13 states. Musicologist Alan Lomax came to Clarksdale, MS, in 1942 and captured Edwards for Library of Congress-sponsored posterity. Honeyboy met teenage blues harmonica player Little Walter Jacobs, and took Jacobs to Chicago in 1945, where they frequented the city’s famous Maxwell Street Market. After deciding to make Chicago his permanent home in 1956, he quickly became known as one of the city’s finest slide guitarists.
For new comers to the blues, understand that this is not contemporary full band music powered by electric guitars and high powered pyrotechnics acknowledged by the public’s civilians as “blues music.” This is the music that is at the roots of all the later styles!
For example, in the 1970s, I was always impressed with Neil Young playing guitar and blowing a harmonica on a neck rack simultaneously. Now play track 7, “The Army Blues” recorded in 1942, and listen to a 27 year old Honeyboy Edwards perfect the method that undoubtedly influenced Young. Edwards isn’t playing lead on one and rhythm on the other, he is playing complex lead melodies on both instruments - at the same time!
Truly hair-raising moments for any true blue fan: Honeyboy and Sugar Blue live in 1976’s upbeat shuffle “I Was In New Orleans Last Night” and two 1975 recordings with Big Walter Horton on harp, an instrumental “Jump Out” and “Smoky Mountains” with Horton providing alternate vocal lines with Edwards. Another highlight is a 2004 live recording of “Little Boy Blue” with Michael Frank backing Honeyboy on harp as done in most current live shows.
As with all “Reference Quality” albums, every track is simply great music! Time magazine is a periodical; National Geographic is a reference. Most music today is a periodical – something that marked a certain time - a month, sometimes a week. These recordings, and the man himself, are timeless.
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.
If you want a pure, traditionalist’s traditionalist; D. Johnson is it. This guy is a student and he’s very well educated in the blues tradition of the 1930’s Pre-War acoustic blues. Every little nuance you’d expect; from the recording process to the guitar work to the vocals are all present in his release Doney Blues.
Sporting covers from the pillars of the era Robert Johnson and Son House as well as a rare Lightnin’ Hopkins cover, Johnson shows us in these modern times just how it was done and how it should be done to call up the masters. The oft-covered Johnson tuens of “Crossroads” and “Kind Hearted Woman” don’t sound tired or over-abused or watered down. The only thing holding it back is probably accessibility. Those who don’t appreciate this style of blues probably won’t like the record, but that’s alright. Johnson is uncompromising, too. He refuses to veer left or veer away from his influences. His no-water added approach to these timeless songs is refreshing and amazing to hear from a guy as far removed from the Delta as possible. He’s from California!
Johnson’s true fire burns when he rips into Son House’s catalog, sporting House’s whiskey-drenched vocal rage in songs like the oft-covered “Death Letter” and “Pony Blues,” with the latter taking you on the gallop of the horse in rhythm.
Johnson doesn’t water anything down. All the tracks are recorded live with little to no accompaniment but the hard wood floor he stomps on for the beat. The accompaniment is texture for the most part. On songs like R.J’s “They’re Red Hot” and the D. Johnson penned (one of only two self-written works on the CD, the other being “Doney Blues”) “That’s Not Right” the trombone adds the vaudevillian side of the blues that most refuse to or can’t replicate anymore.
If you’re looking for something to spin you off in a new direction, don’t come here. D. Johnson is going to take you back and show you how it used to be done and in some circles, how it still should be done. If you’re a lover of the masters, here’s a take on them from today’s modern times. It shows just why and how the artists from yesterday are still reticent in song today, and how when someone catches the blues bug that it gets infectious and never lets you go. Just ask D. Johnson. I’m sure he’ll show and tell you.
Ben Cox is a Blues Songwriter, Musician, DJ and Journalist.
For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.
Chicago Blues Update
Live Blues reviews by Chicago Blues editor Lordy
Blues Beat: Chicago (Photos by August Lord)
The Marty Sammon Band at The Harlem Avenue Lounge
I was witness to another Marty-party at Harlem Avenue Lounge. Every once in a while I drag my non-blues siblings to hear a show that I know will wow them, blues fans or not. When Harlem Avenue’s Kenny Zimmerman sent me the February lineup, I pulled big brother rank on my siblings and told them they had to be there for the Marty Sammon Band. After all, he is usually on the road playing piano for Buddy Guy, so they had better catch the act now.
They are still raving about it. Sammon could carry a show by himself, but on this weekend gig he surrounded himself with an elite bunch of music men. Daryl Wright on bass follows Marty’s music from Chicago, to New Orleans and back without missing a step. Percussionist Rick King and Sax man Jay Moynihan frequently share the stage with Marty Sammon, and I think they now breathe in unison.
Special guest, the great Doug McDonald held center stage with a microphone and a seemingly magic six string. I think the Razorback never plays the same solo once. He coaxes Marty, and Marty tries to test Doug. The result is a great live show. Doug McDonald seems to have a deep well of music within him that he can summon and fit to any song you throw at him. Doug doesn’t just fit and fill the song he brings it to life.Like Marty’s, Doug’s playing is always interesting. I can’t look away to take good notes when Jay or Rick take over either. They are all that good. I had many notes about this night’s performance, none of which are legible. Sure alcohol may have something to do with that, but if you look away too long you miss something worthwhile. For example, you might have wanted to see Marty play with his feet or his goatee. He doesn’t give you a break between songs either, but just calls the next song and keeps the show going. Marty Sammon is an entertainer, it would seem. But enough about Martin J.Sammon and company, let’s talk about me.
I have new found validity with my family. I already know what they are getting for their 2008 birthdays. Sammon and Tom Holland (James Cotton, Shuffle Kings) have completed a CD and when it is released I will grab my copies. It kind of sucks that my family is so big. Finally, now that you know what a great big brother I am, pretend I am yours. In my own brotherly, supportive (obnoxious) way, I am strongly recommending that you see Marty Sammon play with his band, or even with Buddy Guy’s when they come to your town. Don’t even ask, because I already know that I can’t buy all of you the Sammon/Holland CD, so you had better get it yourself.
To see a Chicago Area list of upcoming events CLICK HERE
Top 100 CD's list for the last 9 months in Real Blues Magazine
Mr. B.B. King said of Malkum "This guy is marvelous. He has a rare talent".
“solid blues.. good shuffles.. good harp tone.. vocals have a lot of personality…the whole band plays with a lot of verve and good energy..” Bruce Iglauer Alligator Records and Artist Management
“Malkum’s harp sounds unique…across between Jr. Wells, James Cotton and Snooky Pryer…with Sonny Terry melodic passages. Malkum blows his face off.” Andy Grigg Editor, Real Blues Magazine
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With the new year, Blues festival promoters and Blues societies begin work planning a great 2008 Blues season for all. Festival committees are hard at work booking Blues performers, planning their advertising budgets and getting ready to put on the next great Blues show.
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The Blues, Jazz & Folk Music Society - Marietta, Ohio
17th Annual River City Blues Festival Overtakes Marietta Festival starts Friday, March 14th and continues all day and evening on Saturday, March 15th. PerformersInclude: Mikey Jr., The Holmes Brothers, E.G. Kight, Thornetta Davis, Sean Carney Band, and Watermelon Slim & The Workers. For complete festival information CLICK HERE
Madison Blues Society - Madison, WI
“Wild Women Never Get the Blues” is a benefit event to be presented by the Madison Blues Society (MBS) on International Women’s Day – March 8, 2008 – 8:00 PM at The Brink Lounge, 701 E. Washington Ave. Madison. Wild Women of the Blues will feature internationally acclaimed blues superstar Sue Foley and Midwestern blues talent Sue DaBaco. The event is a benefit to raise funds for Madison Blues Society’s Blues in the Schools and other community blues education programs. Tickets: $15 ($12 advance or Blues Society members).
The Grafton Blues Association - Grafton, WI
The Grafton Blues Association will host
it’s annual Blues in the Schools and Scholarship fundraiser with the Legends of
Illinois Central Blues Club
Call For Volunteers for March 8 - Illinois Central Blues Club 22nd Birthday will be celebrated March 8 at Capital City Bar and Grill's "City Nights" in Springfield, IL beginning at 7:30. Volunteers are needed to work the door from 7-11. Shifts will be 1 1/2 hours, and there will be 2 people on each shift. Headliner for the show is "Mississippi Heat" from Chicago' Please call Volunteer Coordinator Maria Ferraro at 452-0171 (home) or 622-5015 (cell), or reply email Maria Ferraro at firstname.lastname@example.org or Judy Burgess at email@example.com .
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Bands wanted for the 6th Annual BBQ Blues Bash, August 15th and 16 2008, Billie Limacher Bicentennial Park, Joliet, Illinois. 6 Bands 2 days Nuthin But Blues please. Forward CD Demo to R. Dale Evans, 6 S. Broadway Street, Joliet, IL 60436. All proceeds to benefit The Housing Authority of Joliet After-School Programs
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