2009 Archives

December 31, 2009

December 15, 2009

  • Rhythm Room All-Stars appear Friday and Saturday at the Rhythm Room! The Rhythm Room All-Stars feature Big Pete PearsonBob CorritoreChris JamesPatrick Rynn, and Brian Fahey. This weekend they appear at their namesake home base. Note that Dave Riley will do a guest set both nights and that Big Pete will only appear on the Friday night of this weekend. The Rhythm Room is located at 1019 E. Indian School Road, Phoenix, AZ 85014.

  • Honeyboy Edwards to appear on NBC Today Show, and to receive Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award! The 94 year old delta bluesman, Honeyboy Edwards, will appear on national television with an appearance on the Today Show Sunday, December 20th. This was arranged through the efforts of Lynn Orman of Orman Music and Media Group. News has also come down the pike that Honeyboy Edwards is to receive a lifetime achievement award at the Grammy‘s, in a special private ceremony that will honor musicians and achievers from all aspects of the music industry. Honeyboy is also prominently featured in the documentary film Six Generations Of The Blues, a film by Executive Producer Michael Frank and Co-Producers Lynn Orman & Scott Shuman, which looks at the 30 year history of Chicago’s Earwig Music, and it’s founder Michael Frank. If in Chicago this Wednesday night, you can see a screening of this film at SPACE in Evanston.

  • Henry Gray Up For Offbeat Music Award! Andy Cornett reports that Henry Gray has been nominated for the prestigious Louisiana based Offbeat Magazine‘s “Best Of Beat’ Awards in two categories; “Best Male Blues Performer” and “Best Blues CD”. These nominations coincide with Henry’s recent Blues Music Award nomination for best blues instrumentalist in the piano category. To read more about the Offbeat awards and to vote, click here, and read more about the BMAs click hereHenry Gray, now 84 years old, is still is vibrant and growing piano force on the blues scene. He brings with him all his great Chicago Blues history as a participant in some of the greatest classic recordings by Howlin’ WolfJimmy Rogers,Jimmy ReedBilly Boy Arnold, and others. Henry represents the blues well. To see a photo page honoring Henry Gray click here.

  • Bob presents his annual Blues Christmas radio show this Sunday on KJZZ! Each year on the Sunday before Christmas, Bob presents a 5 hour blues Christmas special on his weekly radio show “Those Lowdown Blues” on KJZZ. In addition to Christmas blues classics by Charles BrownLowell FulsonMabel Scott, and Freddie King, will be Big Maybellesinging “Silent Night”, Chief Schabuttie Gilliame‘s “The Week Before Christmas”, Rufus Thomas‘ “I’ll Be Your Santa”, andJessie Mae Hemphill‘s “Merry Christmas Pretty Baby”, just to name a few. Bob’s blues Christmas Special can be heard this Sunday, December 20th, from 6 -11pm (Mountain Time) at 91.5 FM in Phoenix. and anywhere in the world at www.kjzz.org.

  • Classic Muddy Waters on YouTube! Please enjoy this film clip of Muddy Waters performing “You Cant Lose What You Never Had” with his classic 1960s band including James CottonOtis SpannPee Wee Madison, and SP Leary. Click here to see.

December 8, 2009

December 4, 2009

  • Blues Events This Weekend at the Rhythm Room. The Rhythm Room features a great blues lineup this weekend. On Friday Dec 4th Phoenix R&B legend George Bowman celebrates his birthday. On Saturday Dec 5th there are two great shows; first an early show called Women Of Boogie Woogie Piano Blowout with Lisa OteyWendy DeWittDona Oxford, and Sue Palmer (4pm doors 5pm to 7pm show), then it’s the amazing Kim Wilson with an all-star Blues Band that includes Billy FlynnBarrelhouse ChuckLarry Taylor, and Richard Innes. For more information about the Rhythm Room and these events click here.

  • Dave Riley & Bob Corritore and Chris James & Patrick Rynn nominated for Independent Music Award.This great news just came in; Dave Riley & Bob Corritore are nominated for Best Blues Song for “Lucky To Be Living“, the title track of their new CD on the Blue Witch label. Also in the same category are Chris James & Patrick Rynn for “Mr. Coffee”, a song which also features Bob Corritore on harmonica. To see the website and to vote please click here. This is a wonderful honor!

  • Blues Grammy Nominations Announced! The National Academy Of Recording Arts & Sciences recently announced nominations for the 52nd Annual Grammy Awards. Here are the blues nominees:

    Best Traditional Blues Album (Vocal or Instrumental.) – Category 66:
    A Stranger Here – Ramblin’ Jack Elliott (Anti)
    Blue Again – The Mick Fleetwood Blues Band Featuring Rick Vito (429 Records)
    Rough & Tough – John Hammond (Chesky Records)
    Stomp! The Blues Tonight – Duke Robillard (Stony Plain Records)
    Chicago Blues: A Living History – Various Artists including Billy Boy ArnoldJohn Primer, Billy BranchCarlos Johnson,Matthew SkollerBilly Flynn, and Felton Crews (Raisin’ Music)

    Best Contemporary Blues Album (Vocal or Instrumental.) – Category 67:
    This Time – The Robert Cray Band (Nozzle Records / Vanguard)
    The Truth According To Ruthie Foster – Ruthie Foster (Blue Corn Music)
    Live: Hope At The Hideout – Mavis Staples (Anti)
    Back To The River
     – Susan Tedeschi (Verve Forecast)
    Already Free – The Derek Trucks Band (Victor Records)

    Outside of the blues categories we see that Buckwheat Zydeco earned a nomination for Lay Your Burden Down (Alligator) under the category of Best Zydeco Or Cajun Music Album. The Soundtrack for Cadillac Records earned a nomination for Best Compilation Soundtrack Album for Television, Visual Arts, or Motion Picture. This soundtrack features Beyoncé (performing Etta James Songs), Kim WilsonBilly Flynn (two of Billy’s projects got Grammy nods!), Barrelhouse ChuckEddie Taylor Jr.Larry Taylor and others. Beyoncé also earns a nomination in the category of Best Traditional R&B Performance for her take on Etta James‘ “At Last.” The legendary organist Booker T. Jones (of Booker T & the MGs fame) earns two nods for his album Potato Hole this year, one in the Best Pop Instrumental Album and one of the composition “Warped Sister” in Best Rock Instrumental Performance.

    A really exciting Grammy nod is that of Little Walter Jacobs / The Chess Masters (1950-1967) under the category of Best Historical Album. This 5 CD set was produced by Andy McKaie, compiled by Scott Dirks and Andy, and features an extensive look at one of the blues most important figures. Little Walter is, of course, the blues harmonica player who’s genius created a groundbreaking approach to amplified harmonica, that all blues harmonica players after him owe a debt to. Happy to see that these amazing Little Walter recordings are still making history 5 decades later.

    Congratulations to all the nominees. The 52nd Annual Grammy Awards will be held on Sunday, January 31, 2010 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, and televised on CBS. Please note the blues awards are announced in the afternoon ceremony which is not televised, though they will briefly flash all afternoon winners throughout the televised broadcast. Thanks to Ben “The Harpman” Cox of Juke Joint Soul for some of this information.

  • Previously Unknown Big Walter Acetate discovered! This exciting information from Jim Themelis about an acetate recording of Big Walter Horton from Memphis / early 50’s that has appeared on an Ebay auction. Here is what the auction listing says:

    “Up for auction is a 10 inch acetate with custom labels on both sides that say “Memphis Recording and Sound Service“. Typed in at the bottom of the label on one side it says “Tell Me Mary Lou” Mumbles Horton (dub). On the other side it says: “What’s Wrong with You” Mumbles Horton (dub). I purchased it at a Goodwill Store in Eugene, Oregon in September, 2004. It was in an album of 78’s that included several Modern Records 78 singles. I’ve tried to research this record and was able to find out that Sam Phillips recorded Big Walter Horton a number of times in the early ’50’s. For some reason he recorded him under the name “Mumbles” Horton and sent the acetates to Modern Records which released some, but not all of them. So far, I’ve been unable to find out anything about “Tell Me Mary Lou” (maybe it wasn’t released). A song called “Baby, What’s Wrong with You?” is available on an Ace Records (U.K.) CD which has a number of Big Walter Horton songs on it that were recorded at the Memphis Recording Service. I would grade the “Baby, What’s Wrong with You?” side a VG-; it has several light scuffs and very light scratches on it. It plays without any loud pops, repetitive clicks or skips and has a little light surface sound. The “Tell Me, Mary Lou” side grades a G+ with a few more light scuffs and very light scratches on it. It also plays without any loud pops, repetitive clicks or skips and also plays with a little surface sound (a little louder than the other side). There are no numbers or letters on either side in the trail-off. The red and white labels both have dark brown stains on them, but all of the typed in words are easily legible. To me, this record is significant because Big Walter Horton was one of the greatest blues harmonica players of all time and this record reveals him in his prime.”

  • XM Radio features Dave Riley & Bob Corritore as B.B. King’s Picks to Click! Thank you to Bill Wax, blues programmer of Bluesville on Sirius/XM Satellite Radio channel 74 for programming Dave Riley & Bob Corritore / Lucky To Be Living as #9 on B.B. King’s Picks to Click for the Week of November 16th. Thanks Bill for all the support.

  • Dave Riley and Bob Corritore featured on Aspen Public Radio! Thanks to blues DJ Cheryll “Bluebird” Koehne of KBCO 97.3FM out of Boulder Colorado for featuring Dave Riley & Bob Corritore / Lucky To Be Living on her program “Blue Horizon”. To hear this program as a podcast, click here.

  • Recession Forces Blues Downsizing in the US Midwest region. The hard hit US economy is taking it’s toll on the presentation of the blues, as is highlighted by recent announcements from Illinois and Iowa. The trend became apparent with the announcement earlier this year that the 2009 Chicago Blues Fest would be reduced from 4 days to 3 days and would discontinue 2 of the smaller stages. Then Bill’s Blues in Evanston was forced to shut it’s doors in October. We recently got word that Blue Chicago will close the smaller of it’s two location. And recently Matt Eimer sent out an email blast that his cherished Simply The Blues Festival in Fort Smith, Iowa would be discontinued due to rising expenses. Though the blues is alive and well as a music form, the presentation of blues, which requires a business justification, is having a rough year. We hope that the economy will soon recover, and with it, the blues consumption needed to support venues, festivals, artists, and labels. To read Time Out Chicago‘s article on these recent occurrences click here.

  • Bear Family to release complete Christine Kittrell recordings! Once again Germany’s Bear Family Label has compiled an amazing look at the complete recorded works of a great blues artist. Christine Kittrell / Call Her Name; The Complete Recordings 1951 – 1965 (BCD 16942) will be released February 2nd, 2010 as a single disc digi-pack with a 40 page booklet. Christine Kittrell  had a strong, smooth voice, and recorded consistently fantastic sides for labels such as Tennessee,ChampionKing / Federal, and Vee-Jay. To learn more about Christine and to hear her wonderful music, check out her myspace page by clicking here.

  • Jimmie Lee Robinson on You Tube! Please enjoy this 1965 performance of Jimmie Lee Robinson at his spellbinding best. This film was made as part of the American Folk Blues Festival and features Jimmie Lee playing guitar and singing with Fred Below accompanying him on the drums. Click here to see.

November 17, 2009

  • RIP Sarah Moore 9/20/1935 – 10/30/2009. This information comes via Roger StolleSarah Moore, best known as the proprietor of the popular restaurant and music venue Sarah’s Kitchen in Clarksdale, died on Oct 30th as a result of a car accident. She was 74. The list of blues musicians that graced Miss Sarah’s stage through the years includes Robert “Bilbo” WalkerT-Model FordLightnin’ Malcolm, The Deep Cuts, Super ChikanLouisiana Red, various Burnsides / Kimbroughs,Sam CarrDave Riley, Mississippi Marvel, Terry “Big T” WilliamsWesley “Junebug” Jefferson, David Lee Durham, Pat ThomasKM WilliamsRev Peyton’s Big Damn Band, “Mr. Johnnie” Billington, Big Pete Pearson, etc etc. Miss Sarah was as well-known for her delicious soul food plate lunches as she was her festival weekend blues blowouts. The Delta Blues Education Fund also held regular blues classes for local kids at Sarah’s Kitchen for several years. She will truly be missed as both a beautiful person and an integral part of the blues community in Clarksdale.

  • RIP Big John Evans, deceased 11/9/2009 Sacramento master blues drummer Big John Evans passed away on Monday, November 9, 2009. Big John had suffered from a stoke in September of this year. Best known for his many years of work with Johnny Heartsman, Evans also worked with Little Junior Parker and recorded with Heartsman, Tiny Powell, and Charlie Musselwhite. Big John was recognized with a West Coast Blues Hall Of Fame induction in 2007. Sadly, no biographical information is available at this time.

  • RIP Alvin Short, 12/15/50 – 11/15/09. This email just in from Johnny Drummer; “Sorry to inform you and fans of the passing of Alvin Short, also known as Al Guitar, lead guitar player for the last eight years in my band; Johnny Drummer & The Starlighters. Al played with many greats such as Howlin WolfEarl HookerOtis Rush, and Bobby Rush. Al also played on my last Earwig CD, Rockin’ In The Juke Joint. Alvin passed away at 11:30 am, Sunday , November 15th. He had a massive stroke in June and he never came out of a coma.” Alvin Short was 58. Johnny also reports that Alvin was born in Vicksburg, Mississippi. No other biographical information is available currently.

  • Blues Blast Music Awards Reflections. 2nd Annual Blues Blast Music Awards, held at Buddy Guy’s Legends on Thursday, October 29th, 2009, was a spectacular blues party. Here are some of the articles covering this great event: Juke Joint Soul by Ben “The Harpman” Cox click hereChicago Blues Guide by Linda Cain with photos by Michael Kurgansky, Constance Kenny, and Jennifer Wheeler click here.

  • Dave Riley & Bob Corritore / Lucky To Be Living up for a House of Blues award. Please vote now. Bob and Dave’s new CD Lucky To Be Living is being considered for a House Of Blues Radio‘s Record Of The Year. Note that this record is in the company of many other fine blues new releases. We would ask our friends to consider voting for us. To place your vote click here.

  • Numero Record Label releases 70s Chicago Blues Compilation! The Numero Record label  specializes in wonderful reissue compilations that thematically bring to light obscure but wonderful labels and music. Their new release is called Light: On The South Side, and it captures the wonderful vibe of the 45s coming out Chicago during the 70s. Included are songs by Little Mack, Willie Williams, Arlean Brown, Lady Margo, Syl Johnson, Andrew Brown, Bobby Rush, Artie White, Lucille Spann, and many others. This release comes out as a 2 LP set with a book filled with images and information from that wonderful, but often overlooked period in Chicago Blues. To read more about this release click here. They also have released a set of photo trading cards as a companion to this release. To read about the trading cards, click here. Thanks to Rusty Zinn for the tip on this new release.

  • Bill’s Blues In Evanston, IL Closes. A sad sign of the U.S. recession are the many businesses across the board who are not able to make it. The latest casualty in the blues world is Bill’s Blues In Evanston, owned by Bill Gilmore, who shut down on Tuesday, November 9th. Bill Gilmore is a seasoned blues club proprietor having been involved in Elsewhere, then Elsewhere on Lincoln, then B.L.U.E. S., B.L.U.E.S. Et Cetera, and Chicago Blues before opening Bill’s Blues in the college town of Evanston, best known for Northwestern University. To read the Pioneer Press story on this occurence click here . Thanks Bill for your years of great service to the blues!

  • Lucerne Blues Festival Recap Forthcoming. Off To France! After spending the last 11 days in Switzerland attending and performing at the Lucerne Blues Festival and its satellite events, Bob Corritore heads to France today to perform two weeks of gigs including the Blues sur Seine FestivalNuit du Blues, the Beautiful Swamp Blues FestivalBlues StationRat Pack Club, La Mamiselle, a couple schools and a prison. Bob performed at the 2009 Lucerne Blues Festival, doing sets withDave RileyTomcat Courtney, and Chris James & Patrick Rynn. It is a festival of top shelf blues combined with great hospitality and presentation. Bob will recap this major blues event shortly.

  • KBA Recipients Announced! This just in from Jay Seilman: Each year, The Blues Foundation recognizes excellence in Blues Music by non-performers by presenting the Keeping the Blues Alive Awards. The 2009 Keeping the Blues Alive recipients are:

  • Art and Photography: Michael Maness, Memphis, TN 
  • Blues Club: Bradfordville Blues Club, Tallahassee, FL
  • Blues Organization: Connecticut Blues Society
  • Education: Spencer Bohren, New Orleans, LA
  • Festival: Heritage Music Blues Festival, Wheeling, WV
  • Festival International: Piazza Blues, Bellinzona, Switzerland
  • Historical Preservation: Eric Leblanc, British Columbia, Canada
  • International: Finnish Blues Association, Helsinki, Finland
  • Journalism: David Fricke, Rolling Stone, New York, NY
  • Literature: Crossroads, The Life and Afterlife of Blues Legend Robert Johnson Tom Graves, Memphis, TN
  • Manager/Agent: Pat Morgan, Kailua-Kona, HI
  • Print Media: Block, Almelo, Netherlands
  • Producer: Andy McKaie, Universal Music Enterprises, Santa Monica, CA
  • Promoter: Pozitif Productions, Istanbul, Turkey
  • Publicist: Richard Flohil, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • Radio Commercial: Charles Evers, Jackson, MS
  • Radio Public: Rick Galusha, Omaha, NE
  • Record Label: Crosscut Records, Bremen, Germany
  • Visual Broadcast: Film, Television and Video: Pocket Full of Soul, Houston, TXThe 2010 KBA awards will be presented Saturday, January 23, 2010 at the Double Tree Hotel in Memphis TN as part of the 2010 International Blues Challenge.
  • Henry Townsend on YouTube! Please enjoy this mesmerizing clip of St. Louis Bluesman Henry Townsend from 1976 playing some hypnotic piano and singing his always poignant lyrics. Click here to see.

November 2, 2009

October 27, 2009

October 21, 2009

  • RIP Dennis Brooks 3/28/50 – 10/20/09 – Dennis Brooks is best known as the founder and former president of Memphis’ Beale Street Blues Society. He passed away on Tuesday, October 20th of a sudden heart attack. He was 59. Dennis was known by all as a tireless friend and supporter of the blues. He saw that blues artists would always have an airport pickup or a place to stay. Born and raised in Memphis, Dennis embraced his hometown music. He helped along and booked many artists including Blind Mississippi MorrisRichard JohnstonSuper ChikanSlick Ballinger and Jessie Mae Hemphill. He did extensive volunteer work for the Blues FoundationMemphis in May and Blues Ball, produced the first Jug Band festival in Memphis, and he was a contributor to this newsletter. Dennis was also very involved in Memphis’ Jewish community. Just minutes before his heart attack he was enjoying a deep discussion on the blues with his friend Heidi Knochenhauer. Rest in peace Dennis, you served the blues well. Thanks to Charley BurchBruce Iglauer and Joe Whitmer for providing this information.

  • Rhythm Room All-Stars Appear Friday and Saturday at their Home Base: Come see The Rhythm Room All-Stars this weekend at the Rhythm Room! The Rhythm Room All-Stars lineup consists of Big Pete PearsonBob CorritoreChris James, Patrick Rynn, and Brian Fahey. They appear this Friday and Saturday, October 23rd and 24th, 2009 at their home base of the Rhythm Room. The Rhythm Room is located at 1019 E. Indian School Rd. in Phoenix. Doors open at 8pm, cover charge is $7. These nights will be patio smoking only events; no indoor smoking will be permitted. Rack Shack Barbecue will be available at these events.

  • Rootstime interview with Bob Corritore online! Bob Corritore was interviewed by Rootstime in May at the Spring Blues Festival in Belgium. To see this interview including photos click here then go to interviews. Thanks to Freddy Celis and everyone at Rootstime for this honor!

  • Dave Riley & Bob Corritore #1 on Collectif Des Radios Blues! Thanks to all the blues radio hosts in Europe and Canada who helped to make Dave Riley & Bob Corritore #1 on the CRB charts! Click here and scroll down the page to see the the Blues Radio Airplay section. Note also that Dave & Bob’s CD Lucky To Be Living on the Blue Witch Record label is #2 on the Power Blues charts (also listed on same page).

  • 2009 inductions into the Arizona Blues Hall Of Fame! Congratulations to Long John HunterTom WalbankScotty Spenner, and Big Nick & The Gila Monsters for their recent induction into the Arizona Blues Hall Of Fame. To see the ABHOF Website and the full list of ABHOF inductees click here.

  • Arkansas Blues and Heritage Festival Recap coming soon! A complete recap of the amazing Arkansas Blues and Heritage Festival, and Pinetop’s Homecoming at Hopson’s Plantation will be included in next week’s newsletter.

  • Bukka White on You Tube! Since Bukka White was recently honored with 2 new Mississippi Blues Trail Markers, it seems appropriate to share some nice film clips of this true blues master. Bukka’s trail markers were unveiled on October 14th in Aberdeen and Houston, Mississippi. Please enjoy Bukka performing “Mama Dont Allow” (click here), and “Poor Boy A long Away From Home” (click here).

October 19, 2009

  • RIP Johnny Jones 8/17/36-10/16/09 Nashville blues and soul singer/guitarist Johnny Jones passed away on Friday Oct 16th. He was 73. Born in Edes, Tennessee and raised in a gospel oriented family, Jones became influenced by the blues of Memphis and Chicago and picked up guitar along the way. He moved to Chicago in the 1950s and worked gigs with Junior Wells and Freddie King. He moved to Nashville in the 60s and worked as a session guitarist and cut a few singles under his own name. He appeared on the Beat TV show as a second guitarist in Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown’s Band. In later years, Jones owned and operated a Soul Food restaurant but was rediscovered through the efforts of Fred James and European festival bookers. This led to festival appearances, a new European interest in this seasoned veteran, and some CDs. A wonderful guitarist with a warm and passionate voice, Johnny Jones will be remembered as a great blues artist to those lucky enough to have known him. Please note that this artist should not be confused with the blues artist of same name, who was famous for his piano work with Elmore James. For the complete story click here.

October 13, 2009

  • RIP Freddie Robinson 2/24/39 – 10/8/09 Guitarist/vocalist Freddie Robinson, who would later become known as Abu Talib, passed away at a hospital in Lancaster, California on Thursday, Oct 8th at age 70 after a battle with cancer. A spectacular guitarist with leanings in both blues and jazz, he was highly respected among his peers. Born in Memphis on February 24th, 1939, and raised in various towns in Arkansas, Robinson would move to Chicago in 1956. His first recorded work was later that year backing Birmingham Jr. (AKA Birmingham Jones) on the Ebony single “Birmingham ‘s Late Hours” b/w “Your Too Bad”. He then did some great session work for the Chess label, backing Little WalterJimmy Rogers, and Howlin’ Wolf on a number of classic sides. He first recorded as a leader during the 1960s for the Queen, Raries, Limelight and One-derful record labels. During the late 1960’s he settled in California where he joined Ray Charles band for a period before re-emerging as a band leader. He went on to cut many spectacular albums, most notably At The Drive-In with the song “Bluesology” which is a spoken story with musical examples of the memorable times at Theresa’s basement blues bar in Chicago’s south side. Robinson’s discography includes records with Harold BurrageBobby BlandLouis MyersBig Leon BrooksLee Shot WilliamsStanley TurrentineBlue MitchellJimmy McCracklinMonk HigginsJohn MayallShakey JakeGary Sloan, and Mitch Kashmar. In 1975 he embraced the Islam religion and a few years later changed his name to Abu Talib, though he sometimes used his established moniker when recording. Freddie Robinson was simply a cool guy;always perfectly dressed in the most soulful of clothes, always articulate in his speech, and always brilliant in his playing. To see a detailed Freddie Robinson discography (with some omissions) click here. Thanks for all the great music Freddie. We will remember you always.

October 6, 2009

September 24, 2009

  • Photographer Ray Flerlage’s Blues Photos Appear in New Folk Music Book! Robert Riesman reports the following: “I’m writing because the publisher ECW has released Chicago Folk, the new book of Ray Flerlage’s photos of the Chicago folk scene of the 1960’s. I’ve co-edited the book, along with folk music historian Ron Cohen, and the performers include blues artists such as Son HouseMississippi John HurtBig Joe WilliamsMississippi Fred McDowellJohnny Shines,Washboard Sam, and Luther Allison. You might also be interested in knowing that ECW is also simultaneously reissuing Chicago Blues, the previously-released book of Ray’s exceptional blues photos”. Thanks, Robert, for this good news!
  • Thank you, Phoenix New Times! A big thanks to the Phoenix New Times for highlighting Bob Corritore in the just out annual “Best Of Phoenix” issue. Bob was dubbed “Best Blues Man” by this issue for his contributions to the Phoenix music scene. To see this article, click here. The New Times also gave the Readers’ Choice Award to the Rhythm Room as best “Blues or Jazz Club”.
  • Sam Carr Funeral Information: Funeral services for legendary blues drummer Sam Carr will be held this Saturday, September 26, 2009, 11am at the Century Funeral Home, 506 Ashton Ave., Clarksdale, MS 38614-5638, (662)627-4182. Sam passed away on September 21, 2009 at age 83. Sam was a pivotal figure in the southern blues scene, and will be greatly missed by all blues fans.
  • Arizona Blues Showdown: The Phoenix Blues Society hosts the annual Arizona Blues Showdown preliminary rounds at the Rhythm Room this Sunday, September 27, 2009. The competitors will vie for slots at the final rounds the following week, and the winners enjoy the privilege of competing at The Blues Foundation’s International Blues Challenge in February 2010 in Memphis. Best of luck to all the competitors, and what a great night of blues for all the fans! Doors open at 6:30pm, cover charge is $6. The Rhythm Room is located at 1019 E. Indian School Rd., Phoenix, AZ 85014.
  • Henry Gray Grammy® Nomination Information: Henry Gray, Louisiana’s oldest active legendary traditional blues pianist and vocalist, whose career spans over seven decades, has the honor of having his new CD Times Are Gettin’ Hard listed as an entry for consideration for a Grammy® nomination. Henry worked with many of the greatest traditional blues legends – Howlin’ Wolf (1956-1968), Muddy WatersLittle WalterElmore JamesJimmy ReedJimmy RogersBig Maceo MerriweatherDusty Brown, and Robert Lockwood, Jr. to name a few. So, if you are a voting member of NARASHenry would appreciate your consideration of his project, Henry Gray & The Cats / Times Are Gettin’ Hard – as a choice for a nomination. If you are not a voting member, please pass this on to others who may be voting members.
  • 1976 BBC Blues Filming on YouTube! This set of videos come with a story, as I had the coincidental privilege of being at their filming. I believe that these were done in 1976, but I cannot recall the exact date. The filming took place at Eddie’s Place, also known as The 1815 Club, located at 1815 West Roosevelt on the West Side of Chicago. I was no stranger to this club, as I had gone to see Howlin’ Wolf there many times, as well as other bands such as Mighty Joe YoungOtis RushJohnny Littlejohn, and Eddie Shaw and the Wolf Gang (Howlin’ Wolf’s band who went on after Wolf died). I once saw Freddie King hanging out there with his old friend Eddie Shaw. I called the 1815 Club one night during the week to see who would be playing over the weekend. The woman who answered the phone asked if I was coming down tonight, since they were having a BBC blues filming. So off I went to see what was up, not even knowing what artists would be playing. Since this filming was early in the week on a Tuesday or Wednesday (if I recall correctly), there were very few people at the club. Mainly the artists performing, the bar staff, the film crew, a few band friends and club patrons were there. This show was not advertised anywhere, and seemed to be on the QT. When I walked in, The Aces were playing, and later in the set, various artists would join them one at a time: Billy Boy ArnoldGood Rockin’ Charles, and Joe Carter. Note that The Aces (best known as Little Walter’s band in the early stages of his solo career for Chess) were one of the most respected blues groups in Chicago, and were often featured as a prime backing band for numerous sessions and musical occasions. The Aces featured Louis Myers on guitar (sometimes harmonica) and vocals, Louis’s brother Dave Myers on the bass, and Fred Below on the drums. After The Aces performed an easy rockin’ version of the Robert Lockwood, Jr. classic “Take A Little Walk With Me“, each of the guest artists called up would do just a song or two with The Aces as their backing band. At that time, film was very expensive, so there were no retakes and very little time between songs. After The Aces and guests completed their part of the program, Fenton Robinson and his band took the stage and did a few numbers. The night seemed to be over after around an hour of filming. I seem to recall that Andrew “Big Voice” Odom was there, but did not perform. I understand that these films were later edited and aired on Alexis Korner’s BBC television special called The Devil’s Music, shown only in the UK. Years later the audio from this night came out on a Red Lightning LP called by the same name as the TV show. That album lists a late January filming date, which I think might not be exactly correct. Anyway, I hope this little background story will add to your enjoyment of these wonderful clips.The Aces – ”Take A Little Walk With Me”, click hereGood Rockin’ Charles – ”Don’t Start Me To Talkin’”, click hereFenton Robinson – ”Somebody Loan Me A Dime”, click hereFenton Robinson – ”Don’t Know What Love Is”, click hereBilly Boy Arnold – ”She Fooled Me”, click here

September 21, 2009

  • RIP Sam Carr 4/17/1926-9/21/2009: This terrible news just in from Dave Riley: beloved Mississippi blues drummer and band leader Sam Carr has passed away. He was 83. Sam was born into legend as the son of guitarist / vocalist Robert NighthawkSam is best known for his longtime association with Frank Frost & The Jelly Roll Kings. He was considered one of the greatest blues drummers of all time, and was annually nominated for a Blues Music Award (AKA Handy Award) in the drummer category. He had been struggling with health issues over the last few years, and recently lost his longtime wife Doris, which forced him to live in a nursing facility. For a complete Sam Carr bio by Scott Barretta, click here.

September 11, 2009

  • Dave Riley & Bob Corritore CD Release Party on Saturday, September 12, 2009 at the Rhythm Room: The new Dave Riley & Bob Corritore CD Lucky To Be Living was officially released on Tuesday, September 8, 2009. A CD release party happens this Saturday, September 12, 2009 at the Rhythm Room, 1019 E. Indian School Road in Phoenix with music by the Dave Riley / Bob Corritore Juke Joint Blues Band (Dave, BobDave Riley, Jr., and Brian Fahey). The CD has been released with much fanfare, and you can see the accumulating reviews the CD has received by clicking here. Come by Saturday night to enjoy the festivities and pick up a CD.
  • Tucson CD Release Party for Big Pete Pearson / Finger In Your Eye on Friday, September 18, 2009! Big Pete Pearson’s new album Finger In Your Eye will be celebrated on Friday, September 18, 2009 with a CD release party at Old Town Artisans in Tucson as part of Jonathan Holden’s famed Rhythm And Roots series. The Rhythm Room All-Stars (Big Pete PearsonBob CorritoreChris JamesPatrick Rynn, and Brian Fahey) will perform and CDs will be available. Old Town Artisans is located at 201 N. Court, Tucson, AZ 85701 in the downtown Tucson area. To find out more about this event and the Rhythm And Roots series, click here. Thanks to blues DJ Marty Kool of Tucson’s KXCI for featuring Finger In Your Eye on his radio show.
  • Bisbee Blues Festival on Saturday, September 19, 2009! Rhythm Room All-Stars to Perform and Back Up Pinetop Perkins! The small but mighty Bisbee Blues Festival will enjoy its fifth annual addition on Saturday, September 19, 2009. The beautiful and historic border town of Bisbee keeps expanding the festival, and this year they have moved the festival from the downtown area to the Warren Ball field to accommodate the growing popularity of the event. The lineup this year includes The Tommy Castro Band, Pinetop PerkinsThe Rhythm Room All-StarsTrain WreckThe Sugar Thieves (Formerly known as Mikel Lander / Meridith Moore Band), and The King Bees. For more information about the Bisbee Blues Festival and to order tickets, click here.
  • Lightnin’ Book Announced! This information from Alan Balfour about a forthcoming book: Lightnin’ Hopkins: His Life and Blues by Alan Govenar, Chicago Review Press, to be released May 2010. This biography delves into Hopkins‘ early years, debunking the myths surrounding his meetings with Blind Lemon Jefferson and Texas Alexander, his time on a chain gang, his women, and his life-long appetite for gambling and drinking. Hopkins didn’t begin recording until 1946, when he was dubbed “Lightnin’” during his first session, and he soon joined Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker on the national charts. But by the time he was “rediscovered” by Mack McCormick and Sam Charters in 1959, his popularity had begun to wane. A second career emerged – now Lightnin’ was pitched to white audiences, not black ones, and he became immensely successful, singing about his country roots and the injustices that informed the civil rights era with a searing emotive power. More than a decade in the making, this biography is based on scores of interviews with Lightnin’s relatives, friends, lovers, producers, accompanists, managers, and fans.
  • September 11th Blues: We take time out on this day to reflect on the tragic events of 8 years ago, and if there ever was a blues moment, September 11th is it. Louisiana Red wrote and recorded his tribute song, “September 11th Blues” in memoriam to the loss of life on September 11, 2001. This song appears on Red’s CD No No Turn On Red, and can be heard on Red’s MySpace.
  • Bob’s Birthday Party Announced! Bob Corritore will celebrate his 53rd birthday with a blues party on Saturday September 26, 2009 at the Rhythm Room, 1019 E. Indian School Rd. in Phoenix. Appearing that night will be The Rhythm Room All-Stars (Big Pete Pearson, Bob CorritoreChris JamesPatrick RynnBrian Fahey), Dave Riley, and some surprise guests! To see the flier for this event, click here.
  • Memphis Slim on YouTube! Please enjoy this film clip of blues piano master Memphis Slim playing blues and boogie in a series of 4 songs. Click here to see.

September 3, 2009

August 31, 2009

August 31, 2009

  • RIP Jesse Fortune 2/28/1930-8/31/2009: Word just in from Susan Koester that blues vocalist Jesse Fortune passed away early this morning after collapsing onstage during his performance at the Playmate Lounge. He was 79. Jesse Fortune was a blues singer of the highest order. He was born in Macon, Mississippi in 1930, and grew up around Hattiesburg. He was greatly influenced by the vocals of B.B. King. In 1952, he relocated to Chicago, and became a highly respected singer on the windy city blues circuit. His first recording session was arranged and produced by Willie Dixon for the USA record label in 1963. The session featured Buddy Guy and Big Walter Horton as sidemen, and yielded 4 brilliant songs, including theDixon-penned “Too Many Cooks”, for which Fortune is best known. “Too Many Cooks” would later be recorded by Robert Cray, and it has become a highly-covered number among blues bands. After a period of musical inactivity during the 70s and 80s where Jesse supported himself as a barber, his musical career was reactivated with a spectacular 1993 release,Fortune Tellin’ Man, on the Delmark record label, featuring great backing from Dave Specter and his band. Jesse’s recent appearances around Chicago showcased an artist of great ability. He left us doing what he loved, and we will always love him for the great blues he brought us. To read the Chicago Tribune obituary, click here.

August 28, 2009

  • Corrections: Last week’s newsletter has two corrupted links. To see the poster for the Rhythm Room’s Down Home Blues Festival, click here. To see the catalog page for Bear Family’s exciting Freddie King box, click here.
  • Mance Lipscomb On YouTube! Please enjoy this engaging film clip of Texas blues songster Mance Lipscomb performing “Jack Of Diamonds“. Note the open tuning of his guitar and how Mance plays slide with a pocket knife. To see this warm and engaging performance, click here.

August 18, 2009

  • The Rhythm Room’s Down Home Blues Festival Lineup Announced! Elmore James, Jr. Henry Gray, Rhythm Room All-Stars, & Dave Riley Included: Each year on the Sunday night of the Labor Day weekend, the Rhythm Room in Phoenix honors the grand tradition of down home blues with a mini-festival featuring a stunning lineup of great artists. This year’s festival features Elmore James, Jr. (the son of Elmore James), Henry Gray (one of the greatest blues piano players alive), The Rhythm Room All-Stars (Big Pete PearsonBob CorritoreChris JamesPatrick Rynn, and Brian Fahey) and the down-home duet of Dave Riley and Bob Corritore. The show takes place on Sunday, September 6, 2009, with a 7pm door and 8pm showtime. The Rhythm Room is located at 1019 E. Indian School Rd. in Phoenix. The cover charge is $14. Rack Shack Barbecue will be available at this event. This show will be patio smoking only; no indoor smoking will be permitted. To see the flyer for the Rhythm Room’s Down Home Blues Festival, click here.
  • Tucson CD Release Party for Big Pete Pearson/Finger In Your Eye Announced! Big Pete Pearson’s new release Finger In Your Eye will be celebrated on Friday, September 18, 2009 with a CD release party at Old Town Artisans in Tucson as part of Jonathan Holden’s famed Rhythm And Roots series. The Rhythm Room All-Stars (Big Pete PearsonBob CorritoreChris JamesPatrick Rynn, and Brian Fahey) will perform and CDs will be available. Old Town Artisans is located at 201 N. Court, Tucson, AZ 85701 in the downtown Tucson area. To find out more about this event and the Rhythm And Roots series, click here. Thanks to blues DJ Marty Kool of Tucson’s KXCI for featuring Finger In Your Eye on his radio show.
  • Tempe Center For The Arts presents Bob Corritore and His Blues Associates in their Lakeshore Jazz Series: On Friday, September 25, 2009, the Tempe Center For the Arts presents Bob Corritore’s Blues Bash as part of its Lakeshore Jazz SeriesBob will bring some of his closest musical associates with him: Tomcat CourtneyDave RileyBig Pete PearsonChris JamesPatrick Rynn, and Brian Fahey. This is a rare opportunity to see blues in a state of the art performance center. The room that the performance will be held in will feature cabaret seating, and the stage will have a backdrop of a picture window with an amazing nighttime view overlooking Tempe Town Lake. Another special thing about this show is that it is all ages, which is hard to find in most blues presentations. Special thanks to series coordinator Woody Wilson for the honor of being included in this innovative series at such a beautiful venue! To find out more about this event and to purchase tickets, click here. To see some photos of Tempe Center For the Arts, click here, and to find out more about the Lakeshore Producer’s Jazz Series, click here.
  • Blues Blast Music Awards Ceremony Announced! The second annual Blues Blast Music Awards will take place on Thursday, October 29, 2009 at Buddy Guy’s Legends in Chicago. Chris James and Patrick Rynn, who are nominated for two award categories (Best Traditional Blues Album and Best Song), will perform a set at the event. Bob Corritore will appear with Chris and Patrick on this date. A full lineup of ceremony performance will follow. Voting ends August 31, 2009. You can see a complete listing of all nominees, sign up for the Blues Blast newsletter, and place your votes, by clicking here.
  • Bob Corritore Highlighted on Hohner Website! Bob Corritore has been an official endorser of Hohner Harmonicas since the mid 1980s, and later this year Bob will have been playing Hohner Marine Bands and the Hohner 69 Chromonica for 40 years! Bob is thrilled to be featured on the Hohner website in the endorser section with many other fine players. To see the feature, click here. Thanks to Bill Greenhalgh and Bart Thomas of Hohner for this honor.
  • Tomcat Courtney Back To The Roots Article Now Online: We have just posted the Tomcat Courtney cover feature from Belgium’s Back To The Roots MagazineTomcat Courtney, now 80 years old, is highly regarded as a master of the almost forgotten Texas country blues style. To see this wonderful article, click here. Thanks to interviewer Lambert Smits and magazine chief Franky Bruneel for making this great story happen. Thanks also to photographer Bengt Nyman for the marvelous cover shot.
  • Freddie King Box Set Is Out! Bear Family Records has once again created a definitive release honoring a great blues artist! The seven-CD Freddie King box set is titled Taking Care Of Business, and features a 104 page hardcover book written by Bill Dahl and all Freddie’s studio recordings between 1956 and 1973. The set features 168 tracks, from his first record for the El-Bee through his marvelous Federal / King period into his later CotillionAtlantic, and Shelter recordings. Thanks to Bear Family for this wonderful release and thanks for including the Bob Corritore Blues Newsletter in the special thanks! To find out more about this release and to order, click here.
  • RIP Billy Lee Riley 10/5/1933-8/2/2009: Though best known as the famed rockabilly artist who recorded for Sun Records,Billy Lee Riley always had his heart in the blues. He was a fine singer and harmonica player, and in addition to his rock ‘n roll rave ups, had recorded albums of straight ahead Southern blues. His versions of “Flyin’ Saucer Rock ‘N Roll” and his rockabilly remake of Billy “The Kid” Emerson’s “Red Hot” stand as classics in the genre. He passed away on August 2, 2009 of complications from colon cancer at age 75. He remained active musically, and the coolest of cats until the end; and he was a great mentor to all younger artists lucky enough to meet him. To read Billy Lee Riley’s bio, click here; and to read the LA Times obituary, click here.
  • RIP Betty Miller 1/16/1934-7/30/2009: Bernie Pearl reports the death of West Coast blues promoter Betty Miller, a friend to all in the blues. This is what the Southern California Blues Society says on their website: We are sad to report the passing of Betty Miller, one of the country’s biggest blues supporters. Betty died at her home August 6, 2009 after a lengthy battle with cancer. Betty Miller attended the very first meeting of the Southern California Blues Society in the early 80’s and became one of its first officers. With Betty’s guidance, the SCBS established several programs to advance American blues music. She was also instrumental in the formation of The Big Joe Turner Fund, a group dedicated to providing artist assistance. Betty and her husband Jack, as owners of The Music Machine nightclub, were among the first to bring legendary national blues acts to the West Side. Betty was, and always will be, remembered for her devotion to the blues genre and will be greatly missed by all who knew her. Condolences may be sent to:

    Teri Duncanson
    9468 Jack Rabbit Drive #105
    Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91730To see a photo of Betty, click here. Sorry to say goodbye to this wonderful person.

July 22, 2009

  • Canada Recap: Last weekend The Rhythm Room All-Stars traveled up north to perform at The Cisco Ottawa Blues Festivaland being in such close proximity, Kim and I went a few days early to visit Montreal and spend time with some dear friends. The trip began on Tuesday with a pickup at the airport from Bharath Rajakumar, and his lovely wife, Sonia Lareau. Those unfamiliar with Bharath should know that he is a brilliant harmonica player who really knows how to capture the spirit of the 1950s Chicago blues. He specializes in Little Walter instrumentals, and has made some very convincing CDs covering some chestnuts and throwing in a few originals based in the vintage style. Junior Watson, who first made me aware of Bharath, refers to him as “the closest to the Little Walter sound”. Check out Bharath’s MySpace with song samples by clicking hereBharath and I met through MySpace a few years ago, and became fast friends with our common interest inLittle Walter, but this was my first time meeting him in person. Bharath, Sonia, Kim, and I enjoyed a nice meal together that night. The next day Bharath had a day planned of playing and recording at his living room studio with a fine band including Bharath (mainly playing guitar and singing), Ben Caissie on drums, Louis Janelle on guitar, Costa Zafiropoulos on stand-up bass and myself on harmonica. We had a blast playing and it so nice to meet these like-minded musicians who are totally steeped to the old school Chicago blues. We recorded quite a few songs until the early evening when Bharath went to the airport to pick up Junior Watson who was flying into town to recording with Bharath the next day. Bharath and Junior would also perform together at various festivals through the weekend. Kim and I would spend time with Junior the next morning in the lobby of the Marriott, where we were both staying.The plan for Thursday was to meet up with long time friend Bill Barclay and drive to Ottawa. Bill is a co-editor of Canada’s Real Blues Magazine, and he is also working on a highly-anticipated documentary on Helena, Arkansas. Before leaving Montreal, Bill took us to visit documentary co-producer Peter Starr. The rest of The Rhythm Room All-Stars (Big Pete PearsonChris JamesPatrick Rynn, and Brian Fahey) were flying in to Ottawa that night. Friday was our first performance at The Cisco Ottawa Blues Festival, and I have to say the festival really had it together. They had a transportation department working non-stop to get everyone where they needed to be. The food tent had hearty, healthy meals, which is a real treat while on the road. The merch people gave each artist’s CDs special attention (especially during the scheduled autograph signings). The stage managers and crews were all incredible, and the audiences were very blues-knowledgeable and friendly. What was also a treat is that the fest hires some musicians for a residence during the festival to supplement the sound of bands that chose to use them. This year these musicians included piano great David Maxwell and the wonderful Kaz Kazanoff and The Texas Horns. Each of our sets included great guest appearances by these resident players. It was luxurious to be able to add extra layers to our material with such seasoned players. The Rhythm Room All-Stars did a set each day (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday), and on Saturday, we also served as the backing band forLouisiana RedRed and David Maxwell also played a duet set on Sunday as a celebration of their new duet CD called You Got To Move, soon to be out on the VizzTone Label Group (street date is September 1, 2009). Red called Chris James and I up for the last few songs of this show. A total of five performances over the course of three days!A few fond memories from the fest include: 1) Reminiscing about Big Walter Horton with Kaz Kazanoff in the green room which led to us to breaking out our instruments to play an impromptu version of the Horton instrumental “Relaxin’” (Kaz recorded that song with Horton on the Blind Pig album Fine Cuts). 2) Hearing Bharath and Junior Watson’s fine set on Saturday: simply a great chemistry between those two. 3) Seeing my close friend Louisiana Red and his lovely wife Dora, and discussing with Red the age-old question of various attributes of slide types (steel vs. brass vs. glass. etc.). 4) Seeing our dear friend Liz Sykes, the president of the Ottawa Blues Society, who brought the band gifts of little tins of maple syrup so that we could each bring a little taste of Canada home with us. 5) A hysterical discussion with Reverend Billy C. Wirtz at the food tent, in which he somehow was able to draw a comparison between cool shoes and beautiful women (or as he puts it “Chicks” and “Kicks”). 6) Hearing Freddie Roulette’s amazing lap steel guitar set while we were at the autograph signing booth meeting some enthusiastic festival-goers. 7) Running into both Louisiana Red and Freddie Roulette at the airport on Monday, and the inevitable Earl Hooker discussion that followed. I was very impressed at how clearly Freddie recalled his Chicago blues days.Thanks to festival chief Mark Monahan and everyone at The Cisco Ottawa Blues Festival for a spectacular music event and for the honor of being included as a small part of it. To see some recently posted photos of The Rhythm Room All-Stars appearing at the fest, click here.- Bob Corritore

July 13, 2009

  • Big Pete Pearson/Finger In Your Eye #1 on CRB Radio Charts! This just in! Big Pete Pearson’s latest CD Finger In Your Eye (VizzTone Label Group) was number one on the Collectif des Radios Blues charts in the month of June. The CRB charts are compiled from the playlists of numerous French, Belgian, and Canadian blues radio shows. To see these charts, click here and here. Thanks to all the CRB DJs who made this possible!
  • Dave Riley/Bob Corritore MySpace Revamped + Song Samples from Forthcoming CD Included: The Dave Riley / Bob Corritore MySpace site has just been revamped in preparation for their highly anticipated new CD Lucky To Be Living, which will be released September 8, 2009 on Blue Witch Records. Song samples from the new release have just been uploaded on the site, along with songs from their first CD, Travelin’ The Dirt Road, also on Blue Witch. Tour dates and CD release party information have also been added, as well as a number of new photos. To see the revamped MySpace and hear selections from the new CD, click here.
  • Chicago Blues Guide’s Tribute To Koko Taylor: Special thanks to Linda Cain and the Chicago Blues Guide for lovingly compiling remembrances and photos of Koko Taylor in a recently published piece. Click here to see the article. The Queen of the Blues is gone, but will never be forgotten.
  • A Morbid Occurrence Affecting The Blues: This sad news from Chicago: A grave-robbing scheme was discovered at the historic Burr Oak Cemetery where Willie DixonDinah Washington, and Otis Spann were laid to rest, as well as Emmett Till. Apparently, graveyard employees were digging up hundreds of graves and reselling the plots, while discarding the remains. No word yet on whether historic blues artists graves were disturbed. To read more about this sad story, click here.
  • Henry Gray New Release: Henry Gray is among the highest stature of blues piano players. Henry was born in Kenner, Louisiana on January 19, 1925. Henry moved to Chicago in 1946 and studied under pianist Big Maceo, who remains his greatest stylistic influence. He is best known for his work in the 1950s and 1960s in Chicago as a key member of Howlin’ Wolf’s band. He also recorded classic sides with Jimmy RogersJimmy ReedBilly Boy ArnoldLittle Walter, and Morris Pejoe, as well as brilliant sides under his name. Returning to his home state of Louisiana in 1968, Henry upholds the blues piano tradition locally, and at numerous festival dates around the world. In 2006, Henry Gray was awarded a Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts,Lucky Cat Records has just released a new Henry Gray CD that shows Henry in fine form, backed by his dedicated road band “The Cats“. The CD is called Times Are Getting Hard (reworking a song originally released on Henry’s Plays Chicago Blues CD), and Henry includes a number of new original songs, including the riveting “Barack Obama Boogie“. Thanks to bassist / manager Andy Cornett for releasing this fine CD, and for years of looking out for Henry. To find out more about this release, click here. To see a photo page devoted to the great Henry Gray, click here.
  • Dinah Washington on YouTube! Please enjoy these wonderful, vintage clips of the amazing Dinah Washington. She possessed one of the greatest singing voices ever. To see her singing “Send Me To The ‘Lectric Chair“, click here; and to see her singing “I Don’t Hurt“, click here.

July 6, 2009

  • Correction To Phillip Guilbeau Obituary: Thanks to Eric LeBlanc who let us know that Phillip Guilbeau actually passed away in 2005. Our source for the obit information, Joel Dufour, had read a recently published remembrance by Guilbeau’s daughter, which lead him to the earnest assumption of Guilbeau’s passing being recent.

July 5, 2009

June 23, 2009

June 20, 2009

June 17, 2009

June 8, 2009

June 4, 2009

  • RIP Sam Butera 8/17/1927-6/3/2009: Sam Butera, best known as Louis Prima’s rippin’ R & B saxophonist, died Wednesday, June 3, 2009 in Las Vegas. He was 81. Sam Butera’s energetic sax style and gregarious personality enabled the ruckus raising, jump-and-jive shenanigans of Prima’s fun-loving stage show. To see Keith Spera’s in-depth article on the great Sam Butera from Nola.com, click here. To see a great video of Sam and Louis in a riveting version of “Oh Marie“, click here, and Sam featured lip synching “Chantilly Lace“, click here. To watch Louis and Keely Smith with Sam again featured on sax on “Zooma Zooma“, click here.
  • Koko Remembrances: I first heard Koko Taylor’s “Wang Dang Doodle” in the early 70s on the radio in Chicago. It knocked me out and I was a Koko fan from that point on. I first started seeing her perform live in 1974. She used to play regularly at a North side Chicago bar called Biddy Mulligan’s. She had a great band with Johnny Twist on the guitar, and later Johnny B. Moore. She would tear the house down regularly. I was just 18 and 19 at the time. I often sat with her and her husband Pops on the breaks. Such friendly, wonderful people! They used to let me play a number or two with the band before she hit the stage. One night Pops asked me to come to a band rehearsal to audition. He said that they were thinking about adding another piece to the band. I was still very young at the time, with plans for completing college, and my parents would hear nothing of this, and refused to lend me the car. I really would not have been of the level of playing needed to pass an audition at that point. I still have the torn note card with Koko’s number that she gave me to set this up. I went to the 1975PBS filming of the Blues Summit Concert with KokoMuddyJunior WellsWillie DixonJohnny WinterDr. John, and others. Once at Biddy Mulligan’sPaul Butterfield came by and sat in with Koko and her band for a set. Years later after I moved to Phoenix and opened up the Rhythm Room, I was able to book Koko a number of times. It warmed my heart to present her with a photo of her and her late husband that I had taken years before at Biddy Mulligan’s. In 2005, I had one of the greatest thrills of my life which was taking Koko into Rax Trax studio in Chicago and recording a song with her. I put together a great band that included Bob MargolinWillie “Big Eyes” SmithBob Stroger, and Little Frank, and we knocked out a killer version of “What Kind Of Man Is This“. I had arranged this recording session through my friend Bruce Iglauer ofAlligator Records who, knowing how important this was to me, was gracious enough to allow me this honor – with the stipulation that I not release the cut for 5 years (I hope to put it out next year). This recording session was a true satisfaction, because I always wondered what would have happened if years before I had gone to that rehearsal. I had this special time with Koko, and it produced a beautiful recorded cut that can live on forever. In the last 5 years, it seemed like I was regularly meeting up with Koko and her family. This would happen at a wide range of places: at the Chicago Blues Festival, where she would have a booth each year, the Blues Music Awards, the Scottsdale Music Festival, the Lucerne Blues Festival, the Grammies®, etc. One time (must have been 2006) at the Chicago Blues Festival, Cookie (Koko’sdaughter) had my lovely Kim and I stay with Koko for a few hours, and we had such a wonderful time in the green room of the Petrillo Bandshell as Koko sang us some of her favorite tracks from the then forthcoming Old School CD. Just a month ago, she was the highlight performance at the BMAs, as she sang “Wang Dang Doodle” with The Mannish BoysKoko has been a constant in my life. She has always stood for the tough, real deal Chicago blues, while having a heart of gold, and a simple joy in performing her music. I will miss her greatly.- Bob Corritore

June 3, 2009

  • RIP Koko Taylor 9/28/1928-6/3/2009: This just in from Tim Kolleth of Alligator Records: “It’s with a heavy heart and deep sadness that I must inform you of the passing of The Queen of the Blues, Koko Taylor. There will never be another one like her. That’s all I can say right now except to thank all of you for playing her music all these years. I can only encourage you to keep her spirit, her voice and her timeless music alive. She will be missed forever here.”

May 28, 2009

  • “Sugar Chile” Robinson on YouTube: Please enjoy this sensational video of child boogie-woogie piano ace “Sugar Chile” Robinson as presented by Count Basie, who does the verbal skit with Sugar Chile in between the two songs. To see this clip, click here.

May 22, 2009

May 12, 2009

  • Sam Carr Update: We have heard from Dave Riley that Sam is feeling a little better. Also, Patty Johnson sent this note along that more fully explains Sam’s situation:”I just thought you’d like some further info about Sam. He had surgery to put in a pacemaker a short while back, and a blood clot developed after that. Although he moved into a lovely apartment after Doris’s death, he had a difficult time caring for himself…cooking and general homemaking are not his strong suit!!! He was treated and released for the blood clot, and dear friends and family assisted with all the red tape to get him into Greenbough, where he receives well cooked meals and supervision. It is a well run facility, and he has the benefit of greater socialization than when he was out in the country. He can come and go if someone wants to take him out for the day. We are all hopeful he will get stronger here!”Prayers for Sam Carr’s speedy recovery and thanks for all the visits and kind notes.

May 10, 2009

  • Sam Carr Health Concerns: The following message came to us from Geni Ward, the sister of Sam Carr: “I would like to let everyone know that Sam Carr has taken ill and is in a nursing home in Clarksdale, Mississippi:Greenbough Nursing Center
    Room 308
    340 DeSoto Avenue Extension
    Clarksdale, MS 38614
    Phone: (662) 627-3486He has a blood clot in his leg, and his kidneys are beginning to fail. The doctors are treating him for the blood clot, and are giving him medicine to treat his kidneys. I would like for everyone to send up prayers on his behalf, and if anyone lives in the area, please go and visit him. Steve Kolbus has been going by to see him every day; if someone comes to see him often, they will give him better treatment. Thanks!”- Geni Ward

May 4, 2009

May 1, 2009

April 20, 2009

  • Dave Riley & Bob Corritore Duet Appear Wednesday at the Rhythm Room: The BMA and BBMA-nominated down home blues combination of Dave Riley and Bob Corritore appear Wednesday at the Rhythm Room. The Rhythm Room is located at 1019 E. Indian School Rd. in Phoenix. Doors open at 7pm, cover charge is $5. This night will be a patio smoking only event; no indoor smoking will be permitted. To see a photo page of Dave and Bob, click here.
  • Charlie Musselwhite Gets Mississippi Blues Trail Marker: Legendary blues harmonica ace Charlie Musselwhite will be honored with a Mississippi Blues Trail Marker this week. The ceremony will take place in Kosciusko, MS at 3pm on Friday, April 24, 2009. The State of Mississippi (with the assistance of blues historian Jim O’Neal), has been honoring its blues heritage with historical markers erected throughout the state. To see the invitation, click here; and to see a map of the location of the ceremony, click here.
  • RIP Manuel Arrington 4/24/1944-4/16/2009: Chicago area comedian/blues musician Manuel Arrington passed away on Thursday, April 16, 2009. He was 64. He was born in Collins, Mississippi on April 24, 1944. After serving in the military during the Vietnam War, he relocated in Chicago during the 1970s. He soon became well known in Chicago, and was hired to be emcee/comedian for many of the biggest blues shows in the city (B.B. KingJohnnie TaylorTyrone Davis, and others). During the 1980s, he added blues singing to his act, and would later become a show promoter and organizer. He is fondly remembered for his many wonderful jokes, including his famous double-entendre story called “Candy Bars”. He will be greatly missed in the Windy City.
  • RIP Michael “Dr. Mike” James 6/10/1965-4/8/2009: Clarksdale favorite local musician Michael “Dr. Mike” James passed away last week. He was 43. James was born in Shaw, Mississippi on June 10, 1965. Michael, a talented guitarist, was a longtime member of the Wesley Jefferson Southern Soul Band, and was an arts & education program instructor for a while at the Delta Blues Museum. Thanks to Steve Cheseborough for sending this information.

April 14, 2009

March 31, 2009

March 24, 2009

March 23, 2009

March 20, 2009

March 20, 2009

March 20, 2009

March 11, 2009

  • Rhythm Room All-Stars Appear This Weekend at the Rhythm Room: The Rhythm Room All-Stars‘ highly-credentialed lineup consists of Big Pete PearsonBob CorritoreChris JamesPatrick Rynn, and Brian Fahey. This group has played festivals across the US and Europe, as well as having a deep discography of high profile recordings. They appear this Friday and Saturday, March 13-14, 2009 at their home base of the Rhythm Room. The Rhythm Room is located at 1019 E. Indian School Rd. in Phoenix. Doors open at 8pm, cover charge is $7. This night will be a patio smoking only event; no indoor smoking will be permitted. Rack Shack Barbecue will be available at this event.
  • Bobbie Mercy Oliver Posts Bob Corritore Article! Special thanks to bluesman blogger Bobbie “Mercy” Oliver for his recent post on Bob Corritore in his Blues News newsletter. Bobbie is a fine down-home blues singer/harmonica player/guitarist based out of Marshall, Texas (Bobbie plays a mean version of “Juke” on harmonica!). To see this article and to sign up for his newsletter, click here.
  • March 10 Release For Louisiana Red’s New CD! The legendary Louisiana Red’s new Ruf Records release is now out! This spectacular CD is called Back To The Black Bayou, and features top notch backing by Little Victor’s Juke Joint (Victor was also the producer), plus special guests Kim WilsonBob Corritore, and David Maxwell. To see the Ruf Records website listing with an in-depth press release, click here. Mark Pucci will be the publicist for this release, and already we are seeing great interest in this deserving and often under-appreciated blues giant. Please check out this recently posted Louisiana Red bio on the Blues News site (click here to see). For a great collection of photos of Louisiana Red, click here and here.
  • Bob Riedy Chicago Blues Reunion Show / DVD Filming April 17 at the Rhythm Room – Eddy “The Chief” Clearwater Featured W/ Original Lineup: Blues pianist Bob Riedy was a pioneer bandleader in the early 1970s in Chicago, and was a major force in bringing blues artists to the North Side. He will be reuniting members of his 1970s outfit including Eddy ClearwaterRick KnappJon HillerMark Wydra, and of course, Bob Riedy. Also joining in the lineup at points will be Chris JamesPatrick Rynn, and Bob Corritore. This show will be filmed and combined with some vintage 1970s footage of theBob Riedy Blues Band that includes the now deceased Johnny LittlejohnRichard “Hubcap” Robinson, and mandolin blues giant Johnny Young. The new footage, along with the 1970s clips, will provide a retrospective of an important piece of Chicago Blues history. The show happens at the Rhythm Room in Phoenix on Friday, April 17, 2009 (one night only), with an 8pm door and a 9pm show. Cover charge will be $15. Come be a part of this historical music filming. To see some of the photo collection of Bob Riedy reflecting many of the artists he worked with in the 1970s, click here.
  • Eddy Clearwater on YouTube! Please enjoy this sweet groovin’ 1978 clip of Eddy Clearwater from the North Sea Jazz Festival with a band that includes Jimmy JohnsonDave Myers, and Odie Payne, Jr. To watch, click here.

March 8, 2009

  • RIP Willie King 3/8/1943-3/8/2009: This sad news just in: Alabama blues legend Willie King has died of a heart attack. He was 66 (sadly, it was also his birthday). Widely acclaimed as a master of down home, juke joint blues, Willie was ambassador this music at numerous festivals in the U.S. and Europe. His music often reflected his admiration for the music of Howlin’ Wolf. He put a socially conscious political emphasis on many of his songs. He also sponsored the annual Freedom Creek Blues Festival. A kind and generous man with a great talent, Willie recorded great albums for the Rooster Blues and RMA labels, a DVD for Visible World Films, and was a part of Martin Scorsese’s The Blues documentary. For a complete bio of Willie King, click here. To see film clips of Willie King on YouTube, click herehere, and here. Thanks, Willie, for your great music and your message contained within it.

March 4, 2009

March 3, 2009

March 1, 2009

  • Mark Sallings Services To Be Held: New information just in from Rayne Gordon of the Arkansas Blues and Heritage FestivalCharles Ragsdell, and Liz Lottman:Services for our friend Mark Sallings:Monday 03/02/09
    Walk Down Beale Street – Blues Second Line
    4:00 pmRemembrances and jam at the Hard Rock Café

    Tuesday 03/03/09
    The McCrory, Arkansas Methodist Church
    Viewing 9:00 am; Services 11:00 am
    219 North Edmonds Ave.
    McCrory, Arkansas

    Wednesday 03/03/09
    Burial will be 1 PM at
    Brashears Cemetery

    If you would like to send a card:

    Sandra Sallings
    181 Co Rd 734
    Wynne, AR 72396

    Please keep Mark’s family in your prayers.

February 26, 2009

  • Memphis Harmonica Player Mark Sallings Killed In Auto Accident: This terrible news just in: Arkansas State Police say harmonica player Mark Sallings, 56, died when his 1995 Buick veered onto the westbound shoulder of Highway 64. Click here to see the story. Click here to see Mark’s website, and here to see his MySpace with song samples. Mark was a good man, a fine harmonica player, and was a very active musician in the deep south. We are so sorry to report his untimely passing.

February 26, 2009

  • Bob Appears Saturday, February 28, 2009 on Sets with Dave Riley and Big Pete Pearson at the 15th Annual Music Festival and Carnival Celebrating Black History Month: Also on the bill are Greg Kelly FoundationSoul PowerRoyce MurrayTommy DukesJimmie McElroy Band, and many others. The lineup covers a wide array of musical genres including blues, jazz, soul, gospel, and hip-hop. This event is put on by the Northwest Black History Committee, and takes place at the Peoria Municipal Complex, 83rd Avenue and Cinnabar in Peoria. To see the flyer, click here. For more information, click here.
  • Dave Riley and Bob Corritore Appear Tonight at the Rhythm Room: Dave and Bob will perform their Juke Joint blues tonight, Thursday, February 26, 2009 at the Rhythm Room. The Rhythm Room is located at 1019 E. Indian School Rd. in Phoenix. Doors open at 7pm, cover charge is $5. This night will be a patio smoking only event; no indoor smoking will be permitted.
  • Blues Blast 2009 Weekend Reviewed on the Web: Congratulations to the Phoenix Blues Society for a successful festival last weekend. This well-attended festival was filled with great performances, and served as a true gathering point for Phoenix area blues lovers. To read Larry Rodgers’ review of this event, click here. To see some great photos from Blues Blast, click here. Also, check out some photos of the pre and after parties at the Rhythm Room by clicking here. A big thank you to Janiva Magness, who tore it up both at the festival and the after-party hosted by The Rhythm Room All-StarsJaniva Magness and the Mojomatics (click here to see a photo of this band); so coming back to town as an Alligator recording artist and festival headliner was her proud homecoming! Thanks to President Kyle Deibler and everyone from the Phoenix Blues Society for a well constructed, smooth running show with lots of heart.
  • Memphis Photos: Check out these photos of the IBC (International Blues Challenge) in Memphis recently posted on theweb by photographer Rob Smith. To see, click here.
  • Bear Family Looking for Freddy King Photos and Memorabilia: Our friend Detlev Hoegen of the Bear Family label reports that they are currently collecting high quality photos and memorabilia of Freddie King for the new box sets that will reissue all of Freddie King’s studio work. If you have anything that might be considered, please email Detlev atdetlev.hoegen@bear-family.deDetlev also noted that he is not the “Label Chief” as he was referred to in a past newsletter, and that this honor belongs to founder Richard Weize. Thanks again to Bear Family for their serious commitment to presenting great music.
  • Albert King On YouTube! Please enjoy this great clip of Albert King live at the Fillmore East in 1970 performing his song “Blues Power” at the top of his game. To see this clip, click here.

February 19, 2009

February 12, 2009

February 3, 2009

January 28, 2009

  • Previously Unseen American Folk Blues Festival Footage Now Available on DVD: Scott Dirks reports the following exciting news: The brand new DVD of never-before-seen video of Little WalterBig WalterJimmy ReedT-Bone Walker,Big Joe WilliamsHound Dog TaylorKoko TaylorSon HouseSkip JamesMagic SamEarl HookerCarey BellCurtis JonesClifton Chenier, and others has just been released. Legends of The American Folk Blues Festival contains the complete German TV programs of the 1967, 1968, and 1969 AFBF shows. Segments of the 1969 program were used in another DVD release a few years ago, but the 1967 and 1968 shows have never been released or seen anywhere since they were originally broadcast in the ’60s – these are not included in the Reelin’ In The Years DVDs of a few years ago. The ’67 show features Little Walter singing “My Babe“, “Mean Old World“, and a playing a great untitled harp instrumental. The ’68 show features Big Walter Horton playing “Juke” (!) and playing behind John Lee Hooker on several songs, plus the only known video of Jimmy Reed performing with his long-time musical partner Eddie Taylor. It also features T-Bone Walker, both leading the band, and playing some nice piano behind John Lee Hooker. Other featured artists include Big Joe WilliamsT-Bone Walker, and Curtis Jones. The 1969 show is the only one that has been seen before, but only partially – a few excerpts were released a few years ago, but this is the entire program as originally broadcast. All of this is on a single DVD, which can now be ordered from the company releasing it in Germany. The one catch is that the DVD is in the European standard PAL video format, and not the US standard NTSC video format. I’ve been told that PAL DVDs will play in any computer’s DVD drive (and can confirm that it plays in mine). And even though they’re not advertised as such, many current stand-alone US standard DVD players will play PAL format DVDs – my run-of-the-mill Toshiba DVD player plays it perfectly. For more info on the DVD including sample video clips, click here; to order, click here.

January 26, 2009

January 22, 2009

January 20, 2009

January 8, 2009

January 6, 2009

  • RIP Sam Taylor 10/25/34-1/4/09: World renown blues and soul singer / guitarist / songwriter Sam “Bluzman” Taylor passed away of heart complications on Sunday, January 4th at his home of Islandia, New York. He was 74. Taylor was the son of renowned saxophonist Sam “The Man” Taylor. His early sides include a Bobby Robinson-produced session for the Firerecord label. He had many notable achievements in the blues throughout his long and active career. Taylor worked with soul greats Otis ReddingSam and Dave, and The Isley Brothers. During the 1980s, he spent time in Los Angeles and later settled in Tucson, Arizona, where he made his home for over a decade before moving back to New York, where he spent his last years. He toured Europe frequently in 1990s and 2000s. Sam Taylor’s band served as a schooling for many  budding blues musicians who credit Sam in their resume. He often teamed up with Tucson blues violinist Heather Hardy for a unique stylistic blend that seemed to suit Taylor well. He was inducted in the Arizona Blues Hall Of Fame in 1997, and theLong Island Blues Hall Of Fame in 2006. A short, but sturdy man with a charismatic stage presence and a spectacular voice, Sam was a master bandleader, songwriter, and arranger. Sam will be deeply missed by those of us lucky enough to have known him, his great music, and his ever-present smile. When you asked Sam Taylor how he was doing, he would respond “I feel blessed”. Click here for the newsday.com obituary.

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