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Your Blues Internet Magazine
November 14, 2007
© 2007 IllinoisBlues.com
News, reviews, live Blues show links AND MUCH MORE at Bottom! - Scroll Down!
Hey Blues fans,
Last week we had a chance to see some mandolin Blues! This was a great show by Bluesman Rich Del Grasso at the River Music Experience in Davenport, IA. Rich was there as part of Mississippi Valley Blues Society's Artist in residency series.
Rich did several Blues in the Schools appearances last week and then this public performance with a Quad Cites backing band that included Larry Davis on harmonica.
Larry was the winner of the River City Harmonica Blowout at the River City Blues Society's Winter Blues fest last March. What a performer!
IllinoisBlues.com was there and we have some pictures of the fun! CLICK HERE to view them.
New to the Blues Blast & IllinoisBlues.com?
CLICK HERE to go directly to the list of Live Blues Music. Or click a link for more Blues content on our website. Reviews Links Audio Interviews Photos Videos Blues Radio To advertise your blues shows or event for FREE Click HERE! To see The Blues Blast Archives Click HERE
So you thought the Blues season was over? No Way! This week brings the Gala Blues Summit in Osijek, Croatia, RGV Blues Festival in Mission, Texas and the Ultimate Blues Show in Greenville, Mississippi.
Also be sure to check our Blues Society News section and our Blues Fans & Friends section below (Scroll Down) for upcoming live Blues performances by Dave Riley, Andrew "Jr Boy" Jones, Nick Moss and The Fliptops and Watermelon Slim and others in areas around the US. Also check the IllinoisBlues.com Live Blues show listings for a show near you! CLICK HERE
Support Live Blues near you by attending one of these events!
Blues Link of the Week
Backbone Of The Blues Club List
This weekend IllinoisBlues.com is headed to Los Angeles, California in search of more Blues news for YOU! Of course we looked for a resource to find information on Los Angeles Blues clubs. We came across this site that has a list of live Blues clubs by region of the US.
This list should be helpful to all those road traveling Blues bands that want a gig in any area of the US and for fans wanting to find some Blues while visiting family and friends over theholidays. While this list is not the most complete available it does list most of the well known Blues clubs in each region and provides a link to their respective website. So have a Blues Christmas and find some live Blues here.
For more Blues links CLICK HERE to visit the IllinoisBlues.com Links Page
If you know of a COOL Blues link, please send it to
Streaming Blues Link of the Week
This station is from an organization called Internet Radio Inc (IRI), a company specializing in creating and managing ORS (Online Radio Stations). Choice Radio has music streams in most styles of music from Adult Alternative to World music and everything in between. To go straight to their list of styles CLICK HERE. One of those choices is Blues. The site mentions that they have 831 song selections in their Blues juke box. That should keep most of us occupied for a while.
To go right to the Blues stream and listen, CLICK HERE
Other IMPORTANT News Help Save the music! CLICK HERE to Keep Blues Radio Alive!
Dutch film-makers Saskia Rietmeijer and Bart Drolenga of Visible World Films came to America with the intention of producing a documentary about African American arts and culture in the deep South. When they met Willie King, they decided instead to devote their efforts to creating a DVD about Willie's life and times.
Over a period of several months, the couple recorded Willie King as he worked with his community in Pickens County and performed at festivals, juke joints and parties.
The DVD is a fascinating collage of Willie King's life and many activites, illuminated by searing live performances and interviews with his family and friends. It enables the viewer to experience what it is like to be a modern bluesman living in the Alabama Black Belt, "down in the woods."
To Purchase this DVD Now CLICK HERE
Featured Blues Reviews
James “Skyy Dobro” Walker , noted Blues writer and Blues Blast contributor reviews a new CD by Dave Riley and Bob Corritore - Travelin’ the Dirt Road
Riley and Bob Corritore
Travelin’ the Dirt Road
By James “Skyy Dobro” Walker
10 songs; 51:07 minutes; Highly Recommended
This week let’s get introduced to newcomer Dave Riley. The “newcomer” part is a joke, of course, based on Riley’s “new found” recognition and acclaim. Born into a lifetime of music, Dave Riley has quietly been playing his blues and paying his dues, nationally and internationally, waiting for the big break that this CD will hopefully provide.
When it comes to playing the Blues, some folks decide to do it, and some are born to it. Born in 1949 in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, Riley brings real-deal experiences to his art: picking cotton, Chicago habitation near Maxwell Street, combat duty in Vietnam, working as a Joliet IL prison guard in the “tombs” segregation unit of death row, alcohol and substance abuse and recovery, broken neck in near fatal car wrecks (that’s plural), and associations with everyone from “Pops” Staples to Jimmy Reed to Sam Carr to Arkansas Governor, Mike Huckabee, who backed him on bass guitar, and now, this duet-plus-friends with Bob Corritore on harmonica.
Travelin’ the Dirt Road is a thoroughly enjoyable album of Mississippi and Chicago styled blues that is remarkable for being unremarkable. Nothing in the CD is virtuoso-tic (singing, lyrics, guitar, harmonica, innovation), yet the more than competent musicianship and elements all meld into one of the best traditional blues audio releases of the year.
Produced by Chicago raised but now Phoenix-based Corritore, a prolific, Grammy-nominated producer in addition to club owner and radio host, Travelin’ the Dirt Road features eight original songs by Riley, who handles guitar and vocals, with two others created by the late John Weston, Riley’s friend and former band mate. Studio guests are Riley’s son Dave Jr. on bass, Johnny Rapp on second guitar, Matt Bishop – piano, Paul Thomas – bass, and Tom Coulson – drums.
The songs feature Riley’s wonderfully gruff and powerful, world-weary voice and an understated but tone-rich guitar style. Corritore provides Little Walter inspired harp on the title track and does some uniquely interesting playing, often continuing to play through the vocals (as opposed to fills between choruses) and playing simultaneous solos with the guitar (as opposed to sharing leads). The lyrics at times are: just an excuse to delve deeply into a song (“Let’s have Some Fun Tonight”); humorous (“Well, they say I shouldn’t wear no overalls / Well because, you know, I don’t wear no doggone drawers”); blues cliché (“My Baby’s Gone”); and spiritual - from Riley’s youthful, Gospel days (“Safe At Last”).
Dave Riley has been on a journey to success since he was born, and if he has to Travel with a partner on a Dirt Road to get there, so be it. Look for this one among Blues Music Awards nominees.
To Purchase this CD Now CLICK HERE
For More reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.
Reviewer Karen McFarland is a former officer and long time board member of the Mississippi Valley Blues Society. She is also a member of the board of directors of the Blues Foundation. This week Karen reviews Willie King's latest CD - One Love
Freedom Creek Music
By Karen McFarland
Willie King is one of the featured artists on the Alabama Arts Council’s website. He says there, “Well music, music to me is a spiritual, it’s a spiritual thing. See, it helps the mind. See, it reach into your--what we call your soul, your mind. And see, it ain’t your body, it’s what your mind tell you to do and your body gonna try and do it, you know. So it’s in the mind, and get that mind thinking reality to come down. And it’s what the blues do to get you kinda thinking reality. The real thing.”
King’s latest release, One Love, is the real thing. Similar to his live Jukin’ at Bettie’s, which was recorded at a Mississippi juke joint just over the Alabama border and was nominated for a Blues music award as “Traditional Album of the Year” in 2006, One Love sounds live in the studio, and its extended jams will get you dancing in your own virtual juke joint.
From the Hooker-like one-chord boogie of the opener “Sweet Potato Man” through the Tyrone Davis-inflected “One Love,” the instrumentation remains tight, and the constant call-and-response between singer Willie Lee Halbert and Willie King’s raw vocals gives everything the rough edge of authentic blues. There’s a variety of styles throughout—Chicago blues on “Like It Like That” and “Holding the Line,” electified Delta on “Ride Sally Ride,” a modal North Mississippi sound on “Writing in the Sky (Katrina),” and a stop-time shuffle on the raucous “Mama Killed a Chicken.” The one cover on the album is a downhome version of “Spoonful,” with King growling eerily like the Wolf.
Wolf and Hooker along with Muddy Waters and Jimmy Reed have all been influences on Willie King, from the time he lived in Chicago in the late ‘60s. But he soon returned home to the poverty of Old Memphis, Alabama, just across the border from his birthplace of Prairie Point, Mississippi. Willie King became a social activist, and his philosophy is reflected in his lyrics. “One Love” talks about not looking at skin color because we all look the same on the inside; “no matter where you live, it’s that same love—it makes no difference if you’re rich or poor, black or white, where you come from: that same one love, that same one soul that everything came from.”
Independently issued on the Freedom Creek Music label, One Love features some of King’s compatriots from the educational Alabama Blues Project, in particular Debbie Bond on guitar and backing vocals, producer Rick Asherson on keyboards and harmonica, and Willie James Williams on drums. Eric Lanier fills in the bass lines, and Brooke McSwain adds a bit of soul with her saxophone.
The final cut on the album is a three-minute monologue called, like the song and the album title, “One Love.” It wouldn’t be a real Willie King album if he didn’t use his voice to speak his mind:
“We’re trying to spread universal love all over the world…. The blues have help heal the world…. The blues is a medicine for the soul…. This CD is dedicated to the one love for the whole round world.”
To Purchase this CD Now CLICK HERE
For More reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.
IllinoisBlues.com also features a Live performance review by Blues Songwriter, Musician, DJ and Journalist, Ben Cox.
Gina Sicilia featuring Dave Gross - The Alamo – Springfield IL November 12, 2007
He made it look easy and she made her voice sound effortless. In the three years I’ve been going to the Alamo in Springfield, never in the time have I gone there not seen the featured performers break a sweat. The friendly confines of the Alamo are always warm and sultry, like a warm night in a juke joint in Mississippi. Needless to say, these two new East Coast Blues phenomena were as cool as an Upstate New York club.
Sicilia’s vocals ranged from rabid howling and meowing to out and out smooth, sultry, and soulful and at barely over 20 years of age, purely brilliant. Gross, the obvious band leader navigated a crash course between chunky Delta blues to the sophistication of the urban blues and swing of the late 40s and 50s with jazz stylings like influence T-Bone Walker and tonal quality like that of the early Kent Recordings of BB King.
Needless to say, on this rainy night in Springfield; the crowd that trickled in slow at first, and then full by 11PM were served up with heavy doses of foot-tapping delight and the awe of two young virtuosos commanding the stage.
Sicilia’s only flaw was in her nerves. At times, the young belter of soul and blues seemed to step behind the shadows of Gross’ guitar and in the shades of Dan Hill, the other fellow guitar player. These however were very sustainable shadows that she easily peeked out from behind these shadows to give us glimpses of a diva ready to take command. As the time passed, Sicilia seemed to ease into her singer’s chair and share herself more with the crowd; and give them more of what they wanted, some great female blues power!
The other musicians, who were equally as brilliant, were also given equal times in the spotlight taking turns on the old Elmore James classic “Shake Your Moneymaker” to solo after the first set. Hill, who often gigs with the great guitar player of latter day Muddy Waters, Bob Margolin in his home state of North Carolina easily, conjured both influences at the drop of a hat with ease and superiority. Hill effortlessly turned the switch to match his counterparts on the jazzy side of the blues. The rhythm section of Steve Poz and Scot Hornick also demonstrated the splash and in-the-pocket stylings of jazz aficionados. However, the band never being bigger than the sum of its parts, could easily slide behind Sicilia’s vocals unnoticed and then reform and repower out into the spotlight in the constant play that is any improvisational music.Near the end of the night, Gross and company were given the opportunity to shine a little more as Gross took the mic and the lead into two songs that kept the crowd toe-tapping on into the midnight hour. It is needless for me to say that next time this group comes through Central Illinois that you should get yourself out and see two of the most exciting new young people on the blues circuit today! Oh, and keep your eye out to Sicilia’s follow-up album due out next year.
For More reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.
Chicago Blues Update
Live Blues reviews by Chicago Blues editor Lordy
Blues Beat: Chicago, Saturday, November 10, 2007 (Photos by August Lord)
Biscuit Miller & The Mix at The Harlem Avenue Lounge
There was no missing Biscuit Miller & The Mix at The Harlem Avenue Lounge on Saturday. As a certified blues fan, I am officially declaring Biscuit a Chicago Blues guy, although we currently share him with Indy.
His career has taken him from Chicago, to Clarksdale to Minneapolis, to Chicago, etc. After a long stint as bassist in The Lonnie Brooks Band, I caught him with his Mix at the Slippery Noodle in Indy. That was five years ago, and I haven’t stopped talking about it since. He was off on the road again for another five years as Anthony Gomes bass man, but now we have him back. So in my mind, this was like a homecoming. Apparently, the Chicago blues community felt the same, as they showed up in large number with love and axes.
Biscuit’s Mix was Stan The Man on drums, Paxton Norris (Indy) on Telecaster, Chicago’s C.C. Copeland on keys and Biscuit on bass. Anyone of these players could have provided the energy, but they all did, which leaves me feeling hyper-caffeinated even now on Tuesday morning. All these guys can sing as well. One of their first tunes was Let’s Go Fishin’ (from the Come Together cd), and I knew right then that three sets would come and go in a flash.
Now it gets surreal. Singer/bassist and all around performer Sam Cockrell shows up to welcome back his friend and co-recording artist Biscuit Miller. Biscuit passes his amp cord to Sam, and then C.C. Copeland leaves his keys and grabs his bass. Biscuit then referees a bass-off between Sam and the hyperkinetic C.C. This is great. No wait, Biscuit picks up his own bass and plugs in. C.C. Copeland, Biscuit Miller and Sam Cockrell in a world class bass jam. You should have been there! Guitar players get to do this all the time, but this was a night for us bass lovers.
When they got done, I had to light up a cigar. No time for afterglow here at Harlem Avenue, as in come Big Ray (drums) and Toronzo Cannon (guitar) to show their respects to Biscuit. How about drummer Lenny Spatafore and even Mojo the washboard player? Big Ray and Toronzo sang and played us through a Sly medley that was awesome. Where were you? All I can do is tell you about it and show you some pictures, but next time I expect to see you there.
CLICK HERE to visit Lordy's website at ChicagoBluesBeat.com
To see a Chicago Area list of upcoming events CLICK HERE
If you know of a Chicago Blues event or
please send it to
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Place your WANT AD here for FREE. Buy or sell, musicians wanted, gigs wanted etc. Limit 500 words. All ads submitted will be used if space allows. If space is limited, a selection of ads submitted will be randomly selected to appear in the Blues Blast.
Send your ad submission to
Springfield's newest and BEST Blues Bar
11 W. Old State Capitol
Plaza Springfield, IL
Quad-Cities "only Blues" venue!
3303 Brady St. Davenport, Iowa * MAP * (563) 324-4619
3207 N University Peoria IL 61604
Located in the Community Bingo Building
Upcoming Blues Bands
Blues Society News
The West Virginia Blues Society - Charleston, WV
The WV Blues Society will be sending TWO Blues Acts , Izzy & Chris,Duo Div. and Billy the Kid and the Regulators, Band Div. to Memphisso they can represent our Blues Society by competing in the Blues Foundation's 24th Annual 2008 International Blues Challenge. WE NEEDYOUR HELP.
These two Acts beat out entrants in our Appalachian Blues Competition from NINE States. Our Society stands a better than even chance of bringing home a winner this year. But, we can't do it without your help. We are looking for clubs and venues to showcase them in and have benefit fundraisers. We are looking for Sponsors. The end of January will be here before we know it. Remember, this competition will put your Blues Society on the National and International map in the Blues Scene. Your donations could be tax deductable.
Izzy made it to the final round last year and placed seventh overall with competition from over 145 locations worldwide. So, if you really love the blues and want to make a difference this is your chance. If you have any Blues artifacts that we could auction or anything thing or way to help defray the cost would greatly benefit our Representivtes. Lets show our Support and bring home a winner. We can be reached thru our web site at, www.wvbluessociety.org or by calling, 304-389-1439. Jack Rice, President - West Virginia Blues Society, Inc. PO Box 11646, Charleston, WV 25339 www.wvbluessociety.org
The Blues, Jazz & Folk
Music Society - Marietta, Ohio
Chicago Blues Legend Eddie Shaw and “The Wolf Gang”
Friday Night, November 16 at 9PM - Hotel Lafayette, 101 Front Street, Marietta, Ohio
Tickets are only available at the doors, which open at 8PM, on a first-come, first-served basis. Ticket are $10 for Blues, Jazz & Folk Music Society members, $15 for non-members. The Hotel Lafayette has a large dance floor and a cash bar available. Ohio State law now makes the hotel and the ballroom smoke-free.
For more information visit
www.bjfm.org or contact Steve
Wells at (304) 295-4323 or email
Illinois Central Blues Club Blue Mondays
The Alamo 115 N 5th St, Springfield, IL (217) 523-1455 8:30pm $2 cover
November 19 6V6 Blues Band November 26 Frank Herrin & Blues Power
Suzy & The Smokers December 10 Andrew “ J R Boy” Jones
December 17 Sally Weisenburg & The Famous Sidemen
Mississippi Valley Blues Society - Davenport, IA
Watermelon Slim and The Workers November 15, 2007 8:00pm The Redstone Room, River Music Experience - 131 W. 2nd St, Davenport, IA 563-326-1333
Nick Moss and The Fliptops November 21, 2007 8:30p.m Blueport Junction 6605 West River Drive, Davenport IA 563 326-2151
Send your Society's BIG news or Press Release to:
Blues Fans & Friends Submissions
Upcoming Friends of the Blues EARLY shows:
Tuesday, November 20 - Dave Riley, 7:00 PM Brandon Casey’s, 235 N Kinzie Ave (Route 50), Bradley IL 60915. 815-802-0202. CD Release Party To celebrate his new release on Blue Witch Records, Travelin' The Dirt Road! www.myspace.com/daverileybobcorritore Be sure to read James Walker's review of Dave's
Wednesday, Nov 28 - Bill Lupkin and the Chicago Coalition, 7:00 PM, Brandon Casey’s. www.billlupkin.com
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