2010 Archives

December 17, 2010

  • Correction concerning blues Grammy news. In our listing of Grammy blues and blues related nominations from the newsletter of December 9th, we unintentionally failed to mention that Mavis Staples / You Are Not Alone is nominated under the category of “Americana”. Congratulations Mavis! To see an archive of all past newsletters, click here.
  • Rod Piazza, Candye Kane, and Jimmie Vaughan this week at the Rhythm Room! The Rhythm Room features Rod Piazza & The Mighty Flyers tonight, Candye Kane‘s “Let’s put the X back in X-mas” naughty Christmas show on Saturday, and Jimmie Vaughan and the Tilt-A-Whirl band featuring Lou Ann  Barton on Tuesday. Some other upcoming blues shows at the Rhythm Room include Tail DraggerMud MorganfieldT-Model Ford (a show that also includes Gravel Road and Bill Abel), James HarmanJohnny RawlsGuitar ShortyJaniva MagnessDave Riley & Bob CorritoreGuy Davis, and many more. To see the Rhythm Room website and to sign up for their newsletter, click here.
  • Christmas blues radio special this Sunday! On Sunday, December 19th, Bob Corritore‘s annual Christmas Blues special will air on his radio show on KJZZ. Bob will feature a full 5 hours of Christmas blues and R&B. You can expect to hear Christmas blues by such artists as Charles BrownSmokey HoggLittle Esther PhillipsClarence CarterEddie C. CampbellChuck BerryJessie Mae HemphillFreddie King, and much, much more! Bob’s show is called Those Lowdown Blues and it airs each Sunday from 6pm to 11pm on 91.5FM. in the Phoenix area. TLB can also be heard anywhere in the world via the internet at www.KJZZ.org.
  • The Delta Groove Newsletter! Click here to see the amazing Delta Groove Newsletter, filled with great graphics and information about recent happenings with this great blues label. Check out the great holiday card! Thanks to Randy Chortkoff, Jeff Fleenor, Josh Tempkin, Frank Roszak, Steve Dixon, and everyone at Delta Groove for their brilliant work. To sign up for Delta Groove‘s great newsletter, click here.
  • Big City Rhythm & Blues Magazine article about Amanda’s Roller Coaster! Special thanks to Big City Blues Magazinefor their most recent issue recapping the 4 days at the Rhythm Room for Amanda’s Roller Coaster blues harmonica extravaganza (props to Amanada Taylor). The article, written by Marnie Ring with photos by Marilyn Stringer, does a “play by play” of the proceedings. To quote the closing of the article “We had nothing but the greatest players in the world! And they played for each other and us! Way Cool!” Thanks for the kind words Marnie! Also congratulations to Chris James & Patrick Rynn for being one of the 3 winners of the magazine’s “Coolest Song of the Year” contest. For more information about Big City Rhythm & Blues Magazine, click here.
  • Blues for the Gulf downloadable benefit CD now available! A new Topical blues album called Blues for the Gulf is now available online for download only. The CD contains 20 songs written about the Gulf oil spill, featuring performances byCandye KaneBob Margolin, Hamilton Loomis, Gary AllegrettoDave Riley & Bob Corritore, Lionel Young, Matt Hill, Laurie Morvan, and many others. Here is the description given on the website: “BLUESFORTHEGULF.ORG originally intended to produce a CD which could be sold at the September 26, 2010 benefits for the victims of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The benefits are over for now, though we may generate some more next year. The exploded well has been capped, but the economic and environmental impact of the spill continues and the need for help remains. On any given day, you’ll see a story about it in the news reminding us of ongoing problems. Our “Plan B” is to make all the songs we received available here. Please enjoy the songs written specifically and enthusiastically for this project. Please donate whatever you feel is appropriate for the songs you select.” To see the website and hear song samples click here.  Thanks to Honey Sepeda, Bob MargolinChip Eagle, Jack Sullivan, Christina Kogos, Dan King, Jill Watkins, and Richard Rosenblatt, who made up the team that championed this project.
  • Big Walter Horton On YouTube! Please enjoy this wonderful performance by harmonica legend Big Walter Performance from the touring American Folk Blues Festival of 1970, recorded in Copenhagen. The band includes Willie Dixon, Lee Jackson, Lafeyette Leake, and Clifton JamesBig Walter and the band perform a nice instrumental followed by a great version of “Hard Hearted Woman”. Click here to see.

December 9, 2011

  • Pinetop Perkins appears Friday at the Rhythm Room! The legendary Pinetop Perkins, now 97 years old, makes an appearance on Friday, December 10th, at the Rhythm Room, in Phoenix. He will be backed by the Rhythm Room All-Stars(Bob CorritoreChris JamesPatrick Rynn, and Brian Fahey). Pinetop Perkins is best known as the longtime pianist in theMuddy Waters band who replaced Otis Spann. Pinetop made his first recording for Sun Records with the Earl Hooker band in 1953. Pinetop has won numerous Blues Music AwardsGrammy Awards, and will soon be receiving a 2011 Govenor’s award from the state of Mississippi (click here to read about it). His latest release, Pinetop Perkins & Willie “Big Eyes” Smith / Joined At The Hip, on the Tel-Arc label has just been nominated for a Grammy! For more information on Pinetop Perkins‘ show at the Rhythm Room this Friday and to buy tickets click here. Note the Rhythm Room All-Stars also perform Saturday at the Rhythm Room.

  • Phoenix Harmonica Showcase tonight at the Rhythm room. Tonight the Rhythm Room presents a Phoenix Harmonica Showcase with host band The Rocket 88s featuring Bill Tarsha. Other harmonica players include Sugar Bear, Gypsy, King Gypsy, Doc, Robert Jackson, Harmonica Boyd, John Calley, Walking Cane Mark, Paul Klapper, Roy Pinn, Campfire Rick, Blind Ronnie, Chicago Lenny, Steve Passerelli, Tumbleweed, Rob Hale, Keith Rogers, Rockin’ Rueben, Sam McRae, Larry Polk, Ray DeSylvester, Dwight Miles, Dennis Karp, Bruce Wilson and Bob Corritore. The doors open at 7pm and the show kicks off at 8pm. The Rhythm Room is located at 1019 E. Indian School Rd., Phoenix, AZ 85014.

  • Blues Grammy nominations announced! It is always fascinating to see who makes the final nomination cut in the Grammy‘s. For the most part the nominees are seasoned blues veterans, but this year’s nominees also include a pop artist who crossed over for a one album project, and a youthful blues-rock guitarist who has included some seasoned blues veterans in his project. Whatever your feelings about this are, these are the folks that earned this honor through theGrammy nomination process.
    Best Traditional Blues Album
    1. James Cotton – Giant!
    2. Cyndi Lauper – Memphis Blues
    3. Charlie Musselwhite – The Well
    4. Pinetop Perkins & Willie “Big Eyes” Smith – Joined At the Hip
    5. Jimmie Vaughan – Play Blues, Ballads, & FavoritesBest Contemporary Blues Album
    1. Solomon Burke – Nothing’s Impossible
    2. Dr. John – Tribal
    3. Buddy Guy – Living Proof
    4. Bettye LaVette – Interpretations: The British Rock Songbook
    5. Kenny Wayne Shepherd ft. Bryan LeeBuddy FlettWillie “Big Eyes” Smith, and Hubert Sumlin – Live In Chicago

    Some blues associated artists also appear outside the blues categories. We see nominations for the Carolina Chocolate DropsLuther Dickinson & the Sons of Mudboy, and Maria Muldaur in the Best Traditional Folk Album category. AlsoChubby Carrier has made it into the category of Best Zydeco or Cajun Music Album. Congratulations to all the nominees.

    The winners will be announced at the 53rd Annual Grammys Awards, set for February 13th, at the Staples Center, in Los Angeles. CBS will broadcast the ceremony live, but the blues categories are announced earlier that day, in a non-televised afternoon ceremony.

  • Bob Corritore & Friends / Harmonica Blues in the news! Delta Groove Newsletter! We have recently posted the 60th review of Bob Corritore & Friends / Harmonica Blues (click here, to see). Harmonica Blues has had 4 months on the Living Blues Radio Charts with a peak position of #2, 14 weeks on the Roots Music Report Blues Chart with a peak position of #4, and 9 weeks on the House of Blues Radio Hour Chart with a peak position of #8. It has been and continues to be featured on both XM / Sirius Bluesville and Music Choice. Thanks to everyone at Delta Groove for a grand promotional effort. Bob’s release will be highlighted in the forthcoming Delta Groove Newsletter which should be out soon (to sign up for Delta Groove‘s great newsletter, click here).

  • Pocono Blues Festival discontinued. The Pocono Blues Festival, headed by Michael Cloren, has always represented the highest mark for US blues festivals. Sadly, due the economic slowdown, the Pocono Blues Festival has been discontinued just short of it’s 20th year. To read more about this occurance on the festival website, click here. Thanks to Michael, and all the folks at this festival, for many years of providing a great platform for blues music to be heard.

  • Son House 1969 live concert to be released by Arcola Records! Bob West of Arcola Records reports of a new new Son House CD, due out in early 2011. It will be a 2 CD release of Son House‘s 1969 Seattle concert plus an interview that Bob did with Son at the same time. Bob Groom and Dick Waterman have authored the liner notes for this release. Arcola Records is a small but mighty label with a catalog of important blues CDs, recorded in the 1960s and 1970s, by Furry Lewisand Bukka White (together), Henry TownsendBig Al Calhoun (an amazing CD by this obscure St. Louis harmonica player with Henry Townsend on guitar), Sunnyland Slim, and Babe Stovall. The Arcola catalog also includes a number of jazz titles. For more information on Arcola Records, click here.

  • Sonny Boy Williamson II on YouTube! Please enjoy this wonderful preformance of Sonny Boy Williamson at the 1963American Folk Blues Festival in Germany. Accompanying Sonny Boy is the great Otis Spann on Piano, Willie Dixon on the bass, Billy Stepney on drums, and Matt “Guitar” Murphy. Sonny Boy sings “Nine Below Zero” (Click here, to see).

  • Corrected Chicago Blues Guide link! In our newsletter of November 17th, we posted a broken link to the Chicago Blues Guide‘s coverage of the 3rd annual Blues Blast Music Awards that happened on October 28th at Buddy Guy’s Legends in Chicago. Linda Cain has written a wonderful reflection of this great event (including some nice photos) that has appeared on the Chicago Blues Guide website. Click here to see the correct link! Thanks to Bob Kieser of Blues Blast Magazine for once again throwing this spectacular and well run event! 

  • Brazil Recap! The blues family as I would define it, would be the world-wide network of blues lovers connected by the commonality of their deep love for blues music. I have often been deeply touched by the “family” connections, as I travel to play various festivals and concerts, both in North America and in Europe. Dave Riley and I recently had the honor to travel to Brazil (or Brasil as it is spelled in it’s own country) to do a few concerts. This was our first time in South America and we were greeted with open arms. We were brought over by Adrian Flores, an Argentina born blues promoter, now living in Brazil, with a long resume of blues activity (blues drummer and vocalist, concert organizer, label owner, producer, and former blues radio show host, and blues club owner). Also in Adrian’s team was Luciano “Big Mouth” Boca, a fine blues harmonica player, band leader, promoter and an official endorser of the Brazilian harmonica company Hering Harmonicas. Dave and I had two concerts together. Dave was able to stay an additional week and do two additional shows while I returned home for my previous commitment to do a show at the Tempe Center For The Arts.

    Dave and I flew in on separate flights and met up at the airport in Sao Paulo, Brazil. It was a great coincidence to run into my old friend Teddy Morgan at the airport customs line as we both arrived in the country. It was here we met Adrian, Luciano, and their friend and aspiring harmonica player, Barney Virlei, who would be our driver for a good part of the trip. We had a 3 or 4 hour drive from Sao Paulo to Pocos de Caldas, where our first show would be. The drive involved some sight seeing. We stopped at a wonderful restaurant where waiters would bring skewers of various delicious meats, each with a unique and wonderful flavor. Dave Riley normally does not embrace the cuisine of a foreign country (“Where is the McDonald’s?”), but he really took to the the Brazilian dishes. I really enjoyed the popular Brazilian specialty of chicken hearts, which I had never tasted before. At another point on this drive we stopped at a rest area and Dave and I took photos with some little monkeys who were easily persuaded from their tree by the lure of a banana. When we arrived at our destination we settled into our rooms, cleaned up, and had a nice dinner before rehearsing with Adrian Flores for the next night’s show. Our first show was at an old train station that had been converted into a venue, and had become the home of a regular community concert series. Luciano Boca‘s band opened before Dave and I took the stage. Luciano and his son, Pedro Otávio, would later join us as special guests at the end of our set. It appears that the community was really primed for the show as we had a full house and an amazingly warm response. Thanks to Luciano’s promotional efforts and to the kind people of Pocos De Caldas. To see the poster for this event click here.

    The next day started with a trip back to the Sao Paulo airport to catch a flight to beautiful Porto Alegre. This show featured Dave and I in duet setting in a beautiful concert room at a bank that hosts regular jazz and blues concerts. Once again we were treated to an enthusiastic full house. This audience in particular was a very blues knowledgeable bunch, with folks eager to purchase our hard to come by American blues CDs. While on the road with Adrian Flores, I was very impressed by his many stories of bringing blues acts to South America. He has promoted tours with Phil GuyJohn PrimerHubert SumlinLefty DizzMagic SlimEddie C. CampbellLittle Mack SimmonsJames CottonBilly BranchJames Wheeler,and Larry McCray. He played me numerous, priceless recordings from blues artists appearing on his former radio show, as well as some great live concert recordings. He gave me a present of a stack of wonderful CDs from his Blues Special record label including a Little Mack Simmons release that was done just a few months before Mack’s passing. Adrian has also recorded a whole CD where he sings blues in Spanish to a traditional Chicago blues backing (Note that the language of Brazil is Portuguese while other countries in South America speak Spanish). Adrian really lives the blues and has done this music a great service by tirelessly promoting it to the South American people. His contributions are simply amazing.

    That was it for my shows, but I opted to take an extra day and a half in Sao Paulo where I would visit my friend Ivan Marcio, another fine Brazilian harmonica player that I met on-line a few years ago through Myspace, and would later meet in person at the Chicago Blues Festival. Ivan has worked and recorded with the Igor Prado Band who currently have an excellent new release out with Lynwood Slim on the Delta Groove label called Brazilian Kicks. Ivan recently released a CD called Chicago Blues Session Vol 1 recorded in the windy city in 2008. He played me some duet sessions he did withJon McDonald that will be released in a forthcoming CD. Ivan took me around for some nice meals and some coconut milk (straight from the coconut). He also took me to an amazing store in Santos, Brazil, called Harmonica Master. This store is completely devoted to blues harmonica, and while there I met owner Rodrigo Morenno, and music writer Eugenio Martins Jr., who interviewed me for a future article. Ivan Marcio is also an official endorser of Bends Harmonicas, which is yet another Brazilian harmonica manufacturer. While I was at Harmonica Master, I was pleasantly surprised to learn of the many fine blues harmonica players living in Brazil.

    In summary, I am now in love with Brazil, for its warm, beautiful people, the great food and culture, and for the blues scene it so joyously supports. Dave Riley and I both had the greatest time, and we are very excited to go back for a festival appearance in July. Obregado (that’s thank you in Portuguese). To see a photo page of some of the sites of our trip to Brazil click here.

    – Bob Corritore

November 23, 2010

  • RIP Little Smokey Smothers – Jan 2, 1938 to Nov. 20, 2010Chicago blues guitarist / vocalist Abe “Little Smokey” Smothers passed away on November, 20th after a long bout of bad health, due to complications with diabetes. He was 71 years old. Little Smokey was the younger brother of Otis “Big Smokey” Smothers, with whom he is sometimes confused. A spectacular guitarist and vocalist, Little Smokey played in a more modern blues style than his older brother, who was pure downhome blues. The following bio is quoted verbatim from Wikipedia.

    Little Smokey Smothers (born Albert Smothers, January 2, 1939, Tchula, Mississippi) is an African American, Chicago blues guitarist and singer. Albert “Abe” Smothers learned guitar at the age of 15, and relocated to Chicago two years later. He soon appeared on stage playing alongside Arthur “Big Boy” SpiresMagic SamOtis Rush and Lazy Bill Lucas. In 1958 he joined up with Howlin’ Wolf, and played on Wolf’s recording session for Chess Records the following year. Tracks Smothers contributed to included “I’ve Been Abused,” “Howlin’ for My Darling,” and “Mr. Airplane Man.”

    In 1961 he founded Little Smokey Smothers and the Pipeplayers. He later met Paul Butterfield and became a founding member of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band. He was replaced in the band by Elvin Bishop, but developed a friendship that lasted a lifetime. Throughout the 1960s Smothers appeared with Buddy GuyJames CottonEarl Hooker, and Junior Wells. Musical opportunities dried up in the 1970s, and Smothers worked in construction. He re-appeared in the 1980s with The Legendary Blues Band. Their 1989 recording, Woke up with the Blues, included contributions from Smothers.

    In 1993, Bishop made a guest appearance on Smothers first solo album with the Dutch Black Magic label, Bossman! The Chicago Blues of Little Smokey Smothers. The recording also included work from Smothers’ cousin, Lee “Shot” Williams. Bishop and Smothers played at the 1993 Chicago Blues Festival. Smothers had open heart surgery in 1995, but the following year issued Second Time Around. Smothers performed at the 1999 San Diego Blues Festival, and at a party forMick Jagger‘s 55th birthday.Alligator Records then issued That’s My Partner (2000), a live album recorded in San Francisco, which saw Smothers reunited with Bishop. Smothers also appeared at the 2000 Chicago Blues Festival. In 2006 Smothers and Bishop played live at the Ground Zero club in Clarksdale, Mississippi. Latterly Smothers experienced health problems, and had both legs amputated due to diabetes.In 2009, Bishop compiled the benefit album, Chicago Blues Buddies, incorporating recordings made by Smothers and Bishop dating back to 1992. Proceeds from the album helped to pay for Smothers’ medical costs. On Saturday, November 20, 2010, after a 3 1/2 week long stay in a Chicago hospital, Albert “Little Smokey” Smothers passed away due to complications of long-term illnesses.”

    A few items not mentioned in the Wikipedia bio were Little Smokey’s´ participation in the albums Mojo Buford´s Chicago Blues Summit (produced by Steve Wisner for Mr. Blues Records), and American Blues Legends 1979 (on Big Bear Records). Also he and his brother were the cover story for an issue of Living Blues magazine during the 1970s titled “The Smothers Brothers Of The Blues”. Smokey was a true champion and he will be greatly missed in the Chicago blues scene. God bless you Smokey.

November 17, 2010

  • Dave Riley & Bob Corritore to perform in Brazil! This weekend Dave Riley and Bob Corritore bring their down-home Mississippi and Chicago blues sounds to Brazil! Special Thanks to Adrian Flores, who set up the shows, and is the leader of the host band that will accompany Dave and Bob. Bob will appear at the following venues:
    11-20 Pocos & Blues, Train Station, Pocos De Caldas, Brazil, 8pm show.
    11-21 Santander Cultural, Santander Hall, Porto Allegre, Brazil, 6pm show.
    To see the poster for the Pocos & Blues show click here.
    Dave will remain an extra week and perform at a few more locations, but Bob will head home after these shows for his performances the following weekend at the Rhythm Room on November 26th, and at the Tempe Center For The Arts on November 27th, for a special show titled “Bob Corritore & His Blues Friends” that includes Bobby JonesLeon BlueChris JamesPatrick Rynn, and Brian Fahey (for ticket info for the TCA click here) . Dave and Bob have never performed in South America before and look forward to the beauty of Brazil, and playing for a completely new audience.

  • 2011 KBA recipients announced! Each year the Blues Foundation recognizes
    outstanding contributions in the blues music industry with the “Keeping The Blues
    Alive” or KBA awards. The 2011 KBA recipients have recently been announced:

    Agent: Intrepid Artists, Charlotte, North Carolina
    Blues Club: Chan’s Fine Oriental Dining, Woonsocket, Rhode Island
    Blues Organization: Billtown Blues Society, Williamsport, Pennsylvania
    Education: Gary Allegretto, Los Angeles, California
    Festival (International): Notodden Blues Festival, Notodden, Norway
    Festival (U.S.): Tampa Bay Blues Festival, St. Petersburg, Florida
    Film, Television, and Video: Mako Funasaka, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Historical Preservation: Canada South Museum, Windsor, Ontario, Canada
    International: Paul Jones, London, England
    Internet: Mary4Music.com, Baltimore, Maryland
    Journalism: Tim Parsons, South Lake Tahoe, California
    Literature: Mary Lou Sullivan, Coventry, Connecticut
    Manager: Paul Nelson, Bullseye Management, Stamford, Connecticut
    Photography: Bill Steber, Murfreesboro, Tennessee
    Print Media: Twoj Blues, Chorzow, Poland
    Producer: Michael Freeman, Barrington, Illinois
    Promoter: Didier Tricard, Montferrier sur Lez, France
    Publicist: Debra Regur, Blind Pig Records, San Francisco, California
    Radio (Commercial): Mark PasmanWCSX-FM, Detroit, Michigan
    Radio (Public): Tom WendtKBOO-FM, Portland, Oregon
    Record Label: Electro-Fi Records, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

    The presentation of these awards will happen in a recognition brunch ceremony on Saturday, February 5, 2011 in Memphis Tennessee. This will be part of a week of blues events associated with the International Blues Competition. For detailed information about the awards and its recipients, and to check out The Blues Foundation‘s most informative website, clickhere. Congratulations to all the 2011 KBA recipients!

  • Three new blues bios forthcoming! This news from our friend, Alan Balfour who reports of three forthcoming biographies highlighting the lives of Big Bill Broonzy,Son House, and Mississippi John Hurt, to be released in the spring and summer of 2011! For information on I Feel So Good: The Life and Times of Big Bill Broonzy by Bob Riesman, click here, for information on Preachin’ The Blues: The Life and Times of Son House by Daniel Beaumont, click here.
    and for information on Mississippi John Hurt: His Life, His Times, His Blues by Dr. Phil Ratcliffe click here.

  • Larry Taylor’s new blues book! We recently became aware of a new book called Stepson of the Blues: A Chicago Song of Survival by Larry Hill Taylor. Larry is the stepson of Eddie Taylor, one of the greatest of Chicago bluesmen, and Larry’s book tells his story of growing up in this household on the West Side of Chicago. Larry is also a fine blues drummer and vocalist. This book is a tell-all, and includes gritty images from Larry’s very unique perspective. Please note that this is a different Larry Taylor than the well-known West Coast blues bass player. For more information on this book, click here.

  • Chicago Blues: A Living History to release follow-up CD! In 2009 Raisin Music records released a concept CD that won the hearts of many a blues fan. It was called Chicago Blues: A Living History, and it presented a program that exemplified the development of Chicago Blues, featuring many of the Windy City’s top blues performers; Billy Boy ArnoldJohn Primer,Billy BranchLurrie BellCarlos JohnsonMatthew SkollerBilly FlynnJohnny IguannaFelton Crews, and Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith. This CD earned Grammy, and Blues Music Award nominations, and won a Blues Blast Music Award. This group toured and made numerous high profile appearances to great fanfare. Matthew Skoller and Billy Branch report that a 2nd installment of this concept album is in the works with all of the same musicians from the first CD plus special guestsBuddy GuyJames CottonZora YoungMagic SlimRonnie Baker Brooks, and Billy Dickens. It will be released by Raisin Music in April of 2011, and will be aptly titled Chicago Blues: A Living History, The (R)Evolution Continues. For more information on Raisin Music and to check out their website click here. Congratulations to all involved in this wonderful project!

  • Delmark records announces a collector’s edition CD release of the classic Magic Sam / West Side Soul album! This news just in from Kevin Johnson of Delmark records; Magic Sam / West Side Soul will be re-released on January 11, 2011, in a beautifully repackaged digipak case complete with previously unissued photos and 1960s pluggers (promoting west side gigs) from the private collection of Bill Lindemann. The source material for the CD is the original 1967 analog stereo mix by Stu Black who recorded many of Delmark‘s classic 1960s blues and jazz recordings. These classic sessions feature Magic Sam with a great band that includes Mighty Joe Young, guitar; Stockholm Slim, piano;  Earnest Johnson orMac Thompson, bass; Odie Payne Jr. or Odie Payne III, drums. Also coming out in tandem with this release will be a West Side Soul t-shirt. For more information on Delmark records and their amazing catalog of Jazz & Blues, click here.

  • New Photo Page of the 2010 Blues Music Awards! Please enjoy our new photo page of last May’s 2010 Blues Music Awards. Included are images of Louisiana RedBobby BlandLonnie BrooksBonnie RaittChris JamesBruce Iglauer,Hubert SumlinLittle VictorOtis TaylorJohn PrimerCharlie MusselwhiteBilly BranchMarquise KnoxSuper Chikan,Billy Boy ArnoldSonny PayneJohnnie BassettJaniva MagnessLatimore, and many more! The 2011 Blues Music Awards take place in Memphis on Thursday May 5th. (for more information on the BMAs and the Blues Foundation clickhere). To see our new photo page of the 2010 Blues Music Awards, click here.

  • Chicago Blues Guide covers the Blues Blast Music Awards! The 3rd annual Blues Blast Music Awards happened on October 28th at Buddy Guy’s Legends in Chicago. Linda Cain has written a wonderful reflection of this great event (including some nice photos) that has appeared on the Chicago Blues Guide website. Click here to see! Thanks to Bob Kieser ofBlues Blast Magazine for once again throwing this spectular and well run event!

  • RIP Stanley “Sarge” Davis, birthday unknown to 11/12/10. Stanley “Sarge” Davis is best known as the proprietor of Lee’s Unleaded Blues, a blues club located in the South Side of Chicago, that was the former location of Queen Bee’s Blues Lounge. Stanley fell to cardiac arrest Friday, November 12.  We send our condolences to his family and many friends. He will remembered him fondly for his kind, gregarious personality and for his great service to the blues. For information on Stanley, his life, his club, and funeral services, click here.

  • John Lee Hooker 1960 Newport performances on YouTube! Please enjoy these wonderful performances by John Lee Hooker from the 1960 Newport Folk Festival of 1960s. John Lee Hooker is provided perfect accompaniment by the Muddy Waters Blues Band with Otis Spann and James Cotton. To see John Lee Hooker performing “It’s My Own Fault” and “I Wish You Were Here”, click here.  And for a great version of the song “Maudie”, click here.

November 4, 2010

October 27, 2010

  • Off to Chicago! Dave Riley & Bob Corritore to perform Thursday at Blues Blast Music Awards! Bob Riedy Reunion on Friday with Eddy Clearwater & Sam Lay! Bob Corritore heads back to his old stomping grounds for 2 shows in the Chicago area. Dave Riley & Bob Corritore will be a part of a star-studded lineup at the 3rd annual Blues Blast Music Awardson Thursday at Buddy Guy’s Legends (700 S. Wabash Ave, Chicago, IL 60605, (312) 427-1190). The following night Bob Corritore will participate in the Bob Riedy Chicago Blues Band reunion show featuring Eddy Clearwater and Sam Lay at Dell Rhea’s Chicken Basket at 645 Joliet Road in Willowbrook, Illinois.

  • Bob Corritore & Friends / Harmonica Blues in the news! Thanks to all for the warm reception for Bob Corritore & Friends / Harmonica Blues on the Delta Groove record label. In addition to being #2 last month in the Living Blues Radio Charts and # 5 the month before, the CD is currently a “Clicks To Pick” on XM / Sirius Satellite Radio’s Bluesville station. There are currently 55 great reviews posted for this release with more coming in every few days (click here to see these reviews). Thanks to the great Delta Groove label for their wonderful advertising campaign, and all their great promotional effort. Thanks to all the radio programmers, reviewers and writers for their wonderful support. Thanks to all the amazing musicians who participated in this project and gave it their all. And thank you to all the wonderful fans who have encouraged and embraced this release.

  • Bob Corritore to accompany country legend Jessi Colter for Shooter Jennings opening set. Country music legendJessi Colter and Bob Corritore join forces for an opening set for Shooter Jennings (Shooter is Waylon Jennings and Jessi’s son). Jessi Colter and Bob have worked together occasionally over the last 7 years. They stylistically meet each other in the middle with a warm mix of country ballads, some gospel and some blues. The show happens on Thursday, November 4th, 2010 at the Rhythm Room and Jessi & Bob hit at 8pm.

  • RIP Reggie Boyd – Birthdate information unavailable – October 17th, 2010. Sad news via Dave Specter and Dick Shurman from David Bloom of the Bloom School of Jazz and a former student of the man. Bloom writes:

    “Reggie Boyd Sr., an icon Chicago Jazz guitarist-teacher died Sunday October 17. He taught three generations of great jazz musicians on all instruments. Reggie did some recording on his own, including his Age 45 “Nothing But Good”/”Nothing But Poison” which also featured Earl Hooker, bass on the Vibrations’ hit “Watusi” and guitar on Fenton Robinson (I Hear Some Blues Downstairs) and Milt Buckner LPs, plus other sessions with Syl JohnsonJimmy RogersEtta James, etc. He did the horn charts on Fenton’s Blues In Progress/Nightflight LP which I co-produced in ’84; seeing those two old friends work together was quite a treat. But he may have been best known for being THE teacher other Chicago guitarists turned to, including many blues legends. Otis RushHowlin’ WolfJames WheelerLouis MyersWillie JohnsonJimmy Johnson,Dave Specter, Syl and Fenton were just a few who took lessons from Reggie. Not long before he died, Robert Jr. Lockwood wanted to record Reggie and tried to discuss it with him, but it was too late for various reasons. Some purists criticized Reggie for “ruining” Chicago blues guitarists by teaching them too much sophistication; there’s a well known story of Wolf waving a $1,000 bill at Reggie while telling him that he (Wolf) couldn’t make that kind of money playing the “progressive sh*t” Reggie was trying to teach him. But he obviously had something a lot of his peers wanted, and his knowledge of theory and technique were truly formidable. Hopefully he’s in a better place today, surrounded by his former students.” Dick Shurman adds “Reggie was from Jackson, Tennessee, and Billy Boy Arnold also took lessons from him.” Reggie’s blues guitar work is most prominently exemplified with his fleet fretwork on Jimmy Rogers‘ “Rock This House” and “My Last Meal” cut in 1959 for Chess Records. Unfortunately, Reggie Boyd was a “behind the scenes” giant of a musician, so not much information is available. His work will live on through the recordings he made and by the many musicians that he influenced.

  • Nissan names car after the famous Little Walter song! Coincidence or not, it has come to our attention that Nissan has new car model called Juke! This is also the name of Little Walter‘s classic harmonica instrumental hit of 1952, that launched his solo career. Juke also is a term widely used for a roadhouse or rural bar where blues music is performed (also known as a Juke Joint). To find out more about the Nissan Juke click here. To hear the classic Little Walter instrumental called Juke click here. To see some photo pages devoted to Little Walter click here, and here.

  • Additions and correction to past newsletter items.

    1) Concerning the Robert Lockwood YouTube, Sumito “Ariyo” Ariyoshi tells us that the video was indeed recorded in Japan and the lineup is a fine U.S. band with Robert Lockwood, Jr, (Vocal&Guitar), Odie Payne Jr. (Drums & Vocal), Gene Schwartz (Bass), and Sumito “Ariyo” Ariyoshi (Piano). Ariyo reports that it is an excerpt from a P-Vine Video (recently DVD) called “Annie’s Boogie — Live in Japan,” recorded on July 10th 1985. For more information on this DVD click here. Thanks Airiyo!

    2) Paul Oscher reports that his new CD, Bet On The Blues, on the Blues Fidelity label, is now available on CD Baby. To see this CD and to order click here.

    3) Concerning the Dennis Taylor obit, Eric LeBlanc provided the birth-date and place of November 13, 1953, Barton, VT, and adds that “Dennis died in a Greenville, TX hospital while on tour with Delbert McClinton. He lived in Nashville, TN., with his wife, publicist-songwriter
    Karen A. Leipziger.”

  • Staple Singers On YouTube! The Staple Singers provide such an amazing sound complete with their family formed gospel harmonies and Pops’ Mississippi blues guitar. Please enjoy their wonderful adaptation of the Buffalo Springfield hit “For What It’s Worth” converted into a freedom song. Click here to see.

October 21, 2010

  • Tail Dragger howls in Phoenix this weekend! The unstoppable Tail Dragger travels from Chicago to Phoenix this weekend to play a 2 night engagement at the Rhythm Room on Friday and Saturday, October 22nd, and 23rd, with theRhythm Room All-Stars (Bob CorritoreChris JamesPatrick Rynn, and Brian Fahey). Tail Dragger is perhaps the leadingHowlin’ Wolf styled vocalist, and was named after the famous Wolf song by the man himself. His CDs and DVDs on theDelmark record label have earned him world-wide recognition. To see a photo page devoted to Tail Dragger click here.

  • Blues Blast Music Awards at Buddy Guy’s Legends in Chicago on Thursday, October 28th! The 3rd annual Blues Blast Music Awards ceremony happens this year at Buddy Guy’s new location of 700 S. Wabash Ave, Chicago, IL 60605, (312) 427-1190 on Thursday October 28th, 2010, 5pm doors, 7pm show. Performers slated to perform are Candye Kane (with Laura Chavez), Dave Riley & Bob Corritore (with Dave “Yahni” Riley, Jr. on bass, and Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith on drums), Jackie Scott & The House WreckersLittle Ray NealMarquise KnoxEddie ShawZora YoungShaun Murphy BandMississippi HeatKilborn Alley Blues BandQuintis McCormickCash Box KingsJoel Paterson, and a special tribute pertormance with surprise guests honoring Otis Rush who will receive a lifetime acheivement award that night. To see a complete list of all nominees, click here. For more information on the event and to purchase tickets, click here. Thanks to the Blues Blast Music Awards for providing another avenue to reflect and celebrate the music and musicians keeping this music alive.

  • Bob Reidy Chicago Blues Band reunion with Eddie Clearwater and Sam Lay on Friday, Oct 29th! 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 ClearwaterSam LayMark WydraJon Hiller, and of course, Bob Riedy. Also joining in the lineup will be Bob Corritore who has in recent years served as the reunion’s harmonica player. This night will certainly be a celebration of old school Chicago blues! The reunion takes place at the Blue Rooster Lounge at Dell Rhea’s Chicken Basket at 645 Joliet Road in Willowbrook, Illinois. To see some of the photo collection of Bob Riedy reflecting many of the artists he worked with in the 1970s, click here.

  • New photo page of last November’s European Tour! In November of 2009, Dave Riley & Bob Corritore, along with Tomcat Courtney, made numerous festival, club and school appearances in Switzerland and France. They appeared at Visp Blues Night, The Lucerne Blues FestivalBlues Sur Seine FestivalSemaine BluesBlues StationThe Beautiful Swamp Blues Festival, various clubs in the Bordeaux region of France, various schools, and the Poisy Prison! Note that theRhythm Room All-Stars joined in the fun for the Lucerne Blues Festival. Please click on the various festival links to see this year’s wonderful lineups! Though a wonderful trip, we should mention that the night we played at Blues Station in Tournon De Agenes, Dave Riley got the news that his ailing mother had passed away. Dave decided to continue the tour per his mother’s wishes. The photo page shows some of the visual highlights of this very special trip including the wonderful blues musicians that we ran into on the road. Special thanks to webmaster George Vaught for his hard work constructing this page. To see this page click here.

  • Dave Blake’s Images of Amanda’s Roller Coaster – There have been many great photos and videos posted from the amazing event called Amanda’s Roller Coaster held earlier this month at the Rhythm Room in Phoenix. It was a spectacular showcase of the blues harmonica tradition. You can see these photos and videos all over Facebook, and YouTube and each one shows a different facet of this wonderful blues gathering. We thought we would highlight a photo page by blues photographer David Blake who has put together a set of images of this event in an exceptionally fine presentation. Clickhere to see Dave Blake’s photos from Amanda’s Roller Coaster.

  • RIP Dennis Taylor, November 13, 1953, Barton, VT – October 17, 2010. Saxophonist Dennis Taylor is best known in blues circles for his work on the road and in the recording studio with Delbert McClintonBuckwheat ZydecoClarence “Gatemouth” BrownEarl GainesDuke Robillard, and others. Dennis also worked with Michelle Shocked and Todd Snider. He passed away at age 56 of a heart attack while on tour with Delbert McClinton. In addition to his live performances, Dennis also authored the aclaimed instructional books Blues Saxophone: An In-Depth Look At The Styles Of The Masters, Jazz Saxophone, and Amazing Phrasing. A tasteful, soulful player with a great sense of tradition, Dennis went above and beyond the call of duty by providng a heartfelt and informed sound each time he picked up his sax. To read the article aboutDennis Taylor in the Tennessean, click here.

  • Robert Lockwood on YouTube! Robert Lockwood pays tribute to Robert Johnson, his teacher and stepfather, on his version of the Johnson song, “Steady Rollin’ Man”. Though no credits are given, it is likely that this was recorded live in Japan with a Japanese band who lovingly back him. Lockwood made regular trips to perform in Japan where he was a very popular and influential blues performer. Lockwood sings beautifully and plays marvelously understated guitar. Click here to see.

October 14, 2010

  • Dave Riley & Bob Corritore open for Eric Bibb appear Friday (tomorrow) at the Mesa Arts Center. The masterful contemporary blues singer / songwriter Eric Bibb appears on Friday, October 15th, at the Mesa Arts Center with an opening set by Dave Riley & Bob Corritore. The showtime is 7:30pm at Mesa Arts Center – Piper Repertory Theater, One East Main Street, Mesa, AZ 85211. To read more about this event, click here.

  • King Biscuit name is returned to festival! In a surprise announcement broadcast on the Main Stage at the opening of the 2010 Arkansas Blues & Heritage Festival, Bill Sagan, founder and CEO of Wolfgang’s Vault said, “On behalf of the whole Wolfgang’s Vault family of companies, including King Biscuit, we are pleased to announce a rekindled partnership between King Biscuit and the Blues Festival. It our pleasure to announce that beginning next year, 2011, this Blues Festival will once again be named the King Biscuit Blues Festival in honor of the great historical music legacy we share.” Six years ago blues fans and organizers of Helena, Arkansas’s King Biscuit Blues Festival received a shock when they discovered that a contract had been signed that effectively turned their long-lived name over to a management group from New York. As a result, the 25-year old event was forced to change its name from the ever popular King Biscuit Blues Festival to theArkansas Blues & Heritage Festival. After several years of effort, event organizers learned that the rights to the name had been sold to Wolfgang’s Vault, a private music-focused company established in 2002 dedicated to the restoration and archiving of live concert recordings and the sale of music memorabilia. After learning of Helena’s interest in having the King Biscuit name back, Sagan negotiated a new relationship with the Festival that will see the name return for the 2011 event. The King Biscuit name is taken from the Helena based flour product that had a daily radio broadcast on KFFA that used live performances by Sonny Boy Williamson II to advertise. That program was heard throughout the south and made Sonny Boy Williamson the most popular and influential harmonica in the south., Congratulations to the King Biscuit Blues Festival for regaining its rightful name.

  • RIP Albertina Walker – August 29, 1929 to October 8, 2010. Gospel legend Albertina Walker has passed away. Per the Chicago Tribune “Albertina Walker, the Grammy-winning vocalist known around the world as the “Queen of Gospel” who helped launch some of the biggest names in traditional gospel through her vocal ensemble, the Caravans, has died. She was 81. Walker died of respiratory complications Friday morning at RML Specialty Hospital in Chicago.” Simply an amazing and charismatic vocalist Albertina, will forever leave her definitive mark on gospel music. To hear an example of her fine singing with the Caravans, click here. For the Wikipedia biography of Albertina Walker, click here .

  • Paul Oscher to release new album! Harmonica ace Paul Oscher is important not only for his rich harp sound, but because he was the first white harmonica player in the Muddy Waters band, effectively breaking the perceptions of racial barriers in the blues music idiom. Paul has announced that his new CD, Betting On The Blues will be available later this year on his Blues Fidelity record label. This release will be a limited edition pressing with un-mastered roughs and a Little Walter story with explicit language. These days Paul is a multi-instrumentalist who works primarily as a solo act. He sings and plays guitar, harmonica, and piano. For more information on Paul Oscher, and to check out his web site, click here

  • Muddy Waters on YouTube! Please enjoy this spirited 1960’s concert the Muddy Waters Blues Band performing “Got My Mojo Working.” The band includes Otis Spann on piano, and Paul Oscher on harmonica! Click here  to see.

October 10, 2010

  • RIP Solomon Burke – March 21, 1940 – October 10, 2010.

    This sad news comes to us from Ben The Harpman from his excellent Juke Joint Soul newsletter. We quote Ben’s obit:

    Solomon Burke, the legendary 60s R&B/Soul singer and hitmaker has died at the age of 70 in the Netherlands. He was 70.

    Burke was found dead on a plane en route from his home in Los Angeles to the Netherlands where he was scheduled to perform on Tuesday. No cause of death has been determined as an autopsy is set to be performed. Funeral arrangements are pending.

    Burke was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and began his life in the pulpit. He hosted a gospel radio show on-air in the City of Brotherly Love and met fellow Baptist minister Martin Luther King, Jr. several times. After having a minor gospel hit on the Apollo label, Burke was snatched up by Atlantic Records in 1960 and by 1961 had his first R&B Chart success with the country standard “Just Out of Reach (Of My Two Empty Arms).” Burke, who had grown up listening to the Grand Ole Opry, became known for blending his R&B and Soul tinges with country & western, which many say opened the door forRay Charles‘ later success in the same vein. Between 1961-1964, Burke was one of the driving forces at Atlantic with six Top 10 R&B hits, with four crossing over into Top 40 Pop – “Just Out Of Reach (Of My Two Empty Arms),” “Cry To Me,” “Got To Get You Off Of My Mind,” “You’re Good For Me,” (penned by Don Covay), “Tonight’s The Night” and “If You Need Me” (written by Wilson Pickett). After the mid-60s, Burke’s hit making waned but he continued to record vigorously.

    Burke worked in obscurity throughout much of the 70s through the 90s. However, he saw an interest return in his career in the 80s when the soul comedy act The Blues Brothers covered his soul standard “Everybody Needs Somebody To Love” for their hit movie. Later on in the 80s, the late Patrick Swayze would seduce the character Baby (played by Jennifer Grey) to Burke’s “Cry To Me” in the blockbuster romance Dirty Dancing. Again, Burke’s success would be short-lived and he would return to both touring, recording, and even running a mortuary in his new home of Los Angeles. In 2001, Burke would be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and in 2002 win his first Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Blues RecordingDon’t Give Up On Me on Fat Possum Records. This revival would once again see Burke headlining shows across the country in mostly blues arenas. Burke enjoyed a special relationship with the Catholic Church throughout his life and in 2000, he and his family were invited to perform at the Jubilee of the Family at the Vatican. Since then, he has been invited back to the Vatican for it’s Christmas celebration.

    The last few years saw Burke checkered across the world on star-studded lists performing on national late-night talks shows to appearing at Jerry Lee Lewis‘ “Last Man Standing” Concert in 2006. Burke also graced #55 on the Country Charts in September 2006 for his recording Nashville, which returned him to his country roots. He also honored Ahmet Ertegun by co-hosting the March 2007 celebration of the Atlantic founder’s life at Lincoln Center, participating in the American Master’s documentary “Atlantic Records: The House That Ahmet Built” and in December of that year, performing at the private after-party of the Led Zeppelin reunion concert along with Ben E. KingPercy Sledge and Sam Moore. Earlier in 2009, Burke joined famed R&B producer Willie Mitchell at Mitchell’s Royal Studio in Memphis to work together on a new recording, marking the first time the two ever worked together. Mitchell would pass only a short time later. In May of this year, Burke toured Japan for the first time.

    Though these are only a small list of his many musical achievements, Burke always was quoted as saying his greatest achievement was his large family of 21 children, 90 grandchildren, and 19 great grandchildren. They all survive. Burke had one more musical achievement to go, which now will be released posthumously. Set to be released later this month, Burke went in the studio with Dutch rockband De Dijk and performed their songs in English with them. It would have been his second album to come out this year.

    If you would like more information on Burke, his music, and his career; click here.

    Juke Joint Soul will have more information on arrangements, etc. as they become available.

    – Posted By Ben the Harpman to Juke Joint Soul at 10/10/2010 04:43:00 AM

October 5, 2010

  • Bob Corritore Helena CD Release party this Saturday at the Biscuit! Each year as part of the Arkansas Blues and Heritage Festival, the Delta Cultural Center hosts a series of showcases at their annex located on the ground floor of the Miller Hotel, located at 223 Cherry Street. On Saturday, Oct 9, at 12:30pm Bob Corritore will have a release party for his new CD Harmonica Blues on the Delta Groove record label. The band will include Bob MargolinWillie “Big Eyes” Smith,Bob StrogerBob Corritore and other special guests. They will perform a 75 minute set.There is no cover charge

  • Bob Corritore / Harmonica Blues CD rises on the charts!  Bob Corritore / Harmonica Blues on the Delta Groove label continues to receive great airplay support. It appears at #6 in this week’s Roots Music Report Blues Charts (click here to see). We also just heard from Jim McGrath that Harmonica Blues rose to # 2 for September on the Living Blues Radio charts! Thanks for all the support! To see the growing number of great reviews for the CD click here .

  • Big Pete Pearson Health Concerns. Per a recent posting by French blues journalist Jocelyn Richez on Blindman’s Blues Forum: “I just got from his European agent, my friend Georges Lemaire, that just before he planned to come to Europe, Big Pete had a few tests and was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Fortunately, the cancer is at a very early stage, so chances are it can be cured. Still, Big Pete has to undergo an uninterrupted 45 days treatment that prevents him from coming over.”Big Pete Pearson, who recently relocated from Phoenix, Arizona, to Maine, was unavailable for further comment. Prayers and best wishes to Big Pete for successful treatments.

  • Amanda’s Roller Coaster Recap. About 6 months ago I received a phone call from Amanda Taylor (Kim Wilson‘s wife). She told me of a dream she had the night before that she would have the greatest harmonica show ever at the Rhythm Room. She wanted to showcase different generations; from the surviving legendary inventors, to the generations that followed, all the way to some select up and coming harmonica greats. She wanted this to be an important event that people would travel from far away places to attend. She wanted to document the show through filming, photography and sound recordings. She wanted to include her friends and have it be a family reunion of sorts. Amanda had seen the Rhythm Roomin a similar role in the past as she and Kim had participated in the filming and recording of Time Bring About A Change, A Floyd Dixon Celebration, as well as Kim Wilson‘s Smoking Joint live recording (Thank you to Clarke Rigsby who’s talent and hard work make live recording at the Rhythm Room a positive and great sounding experience). I was so honored to get the call and without hesitation opened my calender as we started this huge undertaking.

    Amanda’s dream was realized last weekend with a 3 day show called Amanda’s Roller Coaster, named after the brilliant Little Walter instrumental. The harmonica players included James CottonBilly Boy ArnoldLazy LesterKim WilsonPaul OscherJames HarmanThe Fabulous ThunderbirdsJohnny DyerBharath RajakumarJohnny Sansone, Jerry PortnoyAl BlakeDave WaldmanBob CorritoreTroy GonyeaRJ MischoSteve MarrinerScott DirksChef Denis DepoitreJoe Filisko, and Vincent Bury. Fans came from all around the world and were treated to a simply unreal experience. The backing bands mostly alternated between Kim Wilson‘s All-Stars with Larry Taylor (bass) , Richard Innes (drums), Barrelhouse Chuck (piano), and / or Billy Flynn (guitar), Junior Watson (guitar), or the Fabulous Thunderbirds with Randy Bermudes (bass),  Jason Moeller (drums), Jon Moeller (guitar), and Mike Keller (guitar). Some of the additional players were Hubert Sumlin (guitar) who guested on the James Cotton set, Laith Toma, who played guitar on Vincent Bury‘s set, Dave Riley, his son Dave Riley Jr., and Leon Blue, who played on my set, and an appearance by the Swedish band Trick Bag. Various combinations were used and the top notch backing always sounded fresh and accommodating to the artist featured.

    Prior to all this music was the frantic 6th month, full time preparation done by Amanda Taylor, who had never done anything like this before. She booked and contracted all the artists, made the film arrangements, booked flights and hotels, oversaw poster designs, had numerous meetings and conferences, interviewed on Sirius / XM Satellite radio(Thank you Bill Wax), and did everything that could possibly be done. She innately knew or soon discovered how all the resources would work together; having the Rhythm Room to do its part (Thanks to Rhythm Room GM Mona Watkins), leaning on her husband Kim Wilson as the musical glue needed to connect the various elements, seeking the advice of Mark CarpentieriRand Chortkoff, Rueben Williams, myself and others, and knowing that she could count on Clarke Rigsby to make the recording agenda work flawlessly. She and I talked on the phone numerous times a day, often for no other reason then focus and moral support.

    So fast-forwarding to last week, Kim and Amanda came into Phoenix early and set up camp in a wonderful rental house. They hosted a wonderful Wednesday night casual dinner party with a small group of musicians and friends as a perfect warm up for the week. On Thursday the proceeding began with a pre-party at the Rhythm Room that I had set up to compliment Amanda’s event and to provide an outlet for many of the harmonica players who had come into town but were not on the bill. Many people from far away places had come to Phoenix to celebrate the blues harmonica and this was a perfect way to kick off the proceedings. After a great set from the NighthawksBill Tarsha opened a harmonica player’s showcase with three masterful songs before an array of special guest harmonica players made their appearances. Everyone sounded great with Dennis Gruenling especially being a crowd pleaser. Kim and Amanda did not make it to this event as they were hosting another dinner party to greet the many artsits on the bill that had just come in that day.

    On Friday the three days of Amanda’s Roller Coaster officially began with non-stop greatness. From the opening notes ofVincent Bury (the first act) everyone knew they were in for something very special. Simply everyone brought their A game to the proceedings. Each performance had a unique craftsmanship and personality. The backing bands did an unimaginably good job in finding just the right groove behind each artist. What impressed me was the generational aspect with the originators being represented by Billy Boy ArnoldJame Cotton, and Lazy Lester, to the next generation of veterans represented by Kim WilsonPaul OscherJerry PortnoyJames Harman and Al Blake, to the “coming of age’ generation represented by RJ MischoJoe FiliskoJohnny SansoneDave WaldmanScott Dirks, and myself, to the young-bloods represented by Bharath RajakumarSteve Marriner, and Vincent BuryChef Denis Depoitre (who had a wonderful set) was in a category of his own, being of the veteran generation with his fine harmonica work being little known outside of his community. Denis is best known as a supporter and booker of other harmonica players as well as a masterful chef. The audience was such a spectacular part of the event by showing a universal love for harmonica blues. The “hang aspect” was indescribable with every possible combination of people gathered in conversation. It should be mentioned that three prominent blues authors were in attendance: Scott Dirks (Blues With A Feeling: The Little Walter Story) Mark Hoffman (Moanin’ At Midnight: The Life and Times of Howlin’ Wolf) and Kim Field (Harmonica’s, Harps, and Heavy Breathers: The History of the Harmonica and Its Role in American Music). Two blues label chiefs were in attendance: Mark Carpentieri ofMC Records who will be releasing the CD next year, and Randy Chortkoff of Delta Groove Productions. Amanda looked stunningly beautiful, and wore a simply gorgeous outfit each of the three nights. She was glowing with love for all the harmonica players, and she was so happy to see her event flawlessly fall into place. So many photos were snapped. Rather then giving the event a play by play, I will just say that every part of every performance was magical.

    In summary, Amanda conceptualized, strategized, and accomplished perhaps the greatest harmonica blues event that has ever been done. Looking ahead, there must be over 16 recorded hours of great performances to sort through, and some hard choices to try to fit the best into a CD. We will keep you posted on this process. Photos from this event will follow shortly. I will leave this by stating my gratitude to Amanda Taylor for accomplishing a modern miracle. Thank you Amanda.

    To see a great example of the high quality at Amanda’s Roller Coaster, please enjoy this video of Johnny Dyer with Kim Wilson & Junior Watson (Click here to see.)

  • Dave Riley & Bob Corritore to open for Eric Bibb at Mesa Arts Center. On Friday, October 15th, Dave Riley and Bob Corritore will have the honor of opening for the masterful blues/singer/songwriter Eric Bibb at the at the Piper Repertory Theater at the Mesa Arts Center. One East Main Street, Mesa AZ 85201. For more information and to purchase tickets, click here.

  • Muddy Waters & Sonny Boy Williamson II together on YouTube! Here is a wonderful video of Muddy singing his hit “Got My Mojo Working” with a great band including Sonny Boy Williamson II on harmonica, Otis Spann on piano, Matt “Guitar” Murphy, on guitar, Billy Stepney on drums, and Willie Dixon on the bass. This was filmed in 1963, in Germany for the American Folk Blues Festival. Click here to see.

September 30th, 2010

  • Lineup Correction for Amanda’s Roller Coaster – Please forgive us for accidentally omitting harmonica ace RJ Mischo,  from the Friday lineup of Amanda’s Roller Coaster at the Rhythm Room. RJ is just back from his extensive tour of Europe and is excited about participating in this harmonica event. To see the Amanda’s Roller Coaster website with complete information on this event, click here.

  • Thanks Bisbee Blues Festival and Jonathan Holden! I have to take a moment to express the joy of performing at last week’s Bisbee Blues Festival. Special thanks to Paul Orlando and everyone involved in this wonderful Arizona festival and especially the warm, blues loving attendees that made this such a special event. It was great to bring the Rhythm Room All-Stars back for our third year in a row and to introduce Dave Riley to this year’s lineup. Dave won many new fans with his great and personal performance as did Chris James for his spectacular part of the show. I also saw great showings by Tab BenoitShemekia Copeland, and Bisbee’s home-grown blues aces, Train Wreck. Thanks to the Bad News Blues for a great after-party jam. I must also mention how great it was to play in Tucson the night before as part of Jonathan Holden’sRhythm & Roots series.

-Bob Corritore

September 28th, 2010

  • Bob Corritore / Harmonica Blues #5 on Living Blues Radio Charts! The August Living Blues Radio Charts finds Bob Corritore / Harmonica Blues on the Delta Groove label in the #5 position. Label mates Elvin Bishop and Mitch Kashmar & The Pontiax / 100 Miles To Go share the spotlight with Elvin at #1 and Mitch at #6. Fellow Rhythm Room All-Stars band members Chris James & Patrick Rynn / Gonna Boogie Anyway occupy the #4 slot (Bob plays on 2 tracks of this CD!). Two harmonica releases occupy #2 and #3 with Pinetop Perkins & Willie “Big Eyes” Smith / Joined At The Hip, followed byCharlie Musselwhite / The Well. Much appreciation to Jim McGrath, who is the person behind collecting and processing the information needed to make these charts. A very special thanks to all the DJs who are playing these records, and supporting the blues! Click here to see the full August Chart.

  • Vintage Barbara Lynn on YouTube! Please enjoy this charming classic 1960s clip of Barbara Lynn singing her big hit “You’ll Lose A Good Thing” from an episode of The Beat TV show. Click here to see.

September 23rd, 2010

September 16, 2010

  • Big Corritore’s Birthday Party this Saturday night! Each year, Bob Corritore celebrates his birthday with a party a filled with good blues music! This time around,the party will happen on Saturday, September 18th, at the Rhythm Room. Appearing will be The Rhythm Room All-Stars with Chris JamesPatrick RynnBrian Fahey, and Bob, as well as special guests, Dave RileyGeorge BowmanLong John Hunter, and Kirk Fletcher! Doors open at 8pm and music starts at 9pm. The Rhythm Room is located at 1019 E. Indian School Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85014

  • Dave Riley & Bob Corritore open for Southern Culture On The Skids tonight! Dave Riley and Bob Corritore bring their rowdy Delta meets Chicago blues sounds to the opening slot at the Southern Culture On The Skids concert . SCOTS is a popular and personable roots rock band that has always been blues friendly. 7pm doors, and 8pm show time with advance tickets available through Ticketmaster.

  • Happy Birthday B.B. King! Today in B.B. King’s 85th birthday. Born September 16th 1925, in Itta Bena, MS, B.B. King is universally aclaimed as the king of the blues. Happy birthday to a man who has, is, and continues to be the most noble representave of the blues genre!

  • RIP Foster “Mr Tater, The Music Maker” Wiley – March 29, 1947 –  September 10, 2010. Foster “Mr.Tater, The Music Maker” Wiley  was a popular street singer who resided and performed in Clarksdale, Mississippi. Mr.Tater passed away on Friday, September 10th, of kidney failure. He was best known for his daily appearances just outside the storefront of Cat Head Delta Blues and Folk Art, where owner Roger Stolle always made him feel welcome. Mr. Tater’s rough and tumble blues style, and warm, toothy smile became emblematic of his home town. He recorded a few locally distributed albums and appeared on a number of anthologies and documentaries. Mr. Tater will be missed by all. To read the article on his life in About.com, click here. To see him on YouTube in an interview and performance click here, and here. To see Mr. Tater in a group shot on the cover of Big City Blues click here, and to see his MySpace site click here.

  • James Brown sings “This Is A Man’s Word” on YouTube! Please enjoy this classic 1967 clip of soul music pioneerJames Brown performing a thrilling, 10 minute version of his classic “This Is A Man’s World” with his dynamic road band. Click here to see.

September 8, 2010

  • Jimmie Vaughan appearing tonight at the Rhythm Room! Dave Riley & Bob Corritore to open! Texas guitar heroJimmie Vaughan is known as both an integral part of the early years of the Fabulous Thunderbirds, and as the older brother of Stevie Ray VaughanJimmie Vaughan left the T-Birds after his brother’s untimely death in 1990, and has since put out a series of successful solo albums. Jimmie appears tonight at the Rhythm Room in Phoenix, for an 8pm show, with a 40 minute opening set by Dave Riley and Bob Corritore . Just a few tickets left to this almost sold out show. Jimmie is touring in support of his new album Plays Blues, Ballads & Favorites. He brings with him another Texas legend, Lou Ann Bartonwho has been a mainstay in his touring band. The Rhythm Room is located at 1019 E. Indian School Rd. in Phoenix.

  • Robin Rogers health update. This sad news comes from Steve Hecht at Piedmont TalentRobin Rogers who has been in the hospital over the last 2 weeks with a severe liver condition. This condition was diagnosed as an inoperable cancerous tumor in her liver. She is currently at home surrounded by her family and receiving hospice care. Over the last few years she has risen to prominence in the blues world, and has a new release on the Blind Pig label due out on Sept 14th. Prior to her hospitalization, she was doing extensive touring with Debbie Davies. Her humble and sincere personality, coupled with her unmistakable talent, made us all take her in and as an adopted little sister. So this news will surely come as a shock wave to the blues community. For more information about Robin from the Piedmont Talent website click here. We love you Robin.

  • Amanda’s Roller Coaster Sold Out! Amanda’s Roller Coaster tickets are now officially sold out with the exception of a few exotic sponsorship packages (one that includes a golf outing with Kim Wilson and Amanda!) and a few remaining tickets to Sunday’s show. For more specific information on ticket availability, click here. Please note that the Thursday pre-party is a separate ticket and is currently not sold out. For those new to this news letter, Amanda’s Roller Coaster is a spectacular 3 day harmonica happening that takes place at the Rhythm Room on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, October 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. Acts include James CottonBilly Boy ArnoldLazy LesterKim WilsonPaul OscherJames Harman, The Fabulous ThunderbirdsJohnny DyerBharath Rajakumar, Johnny SansoneJerry PortnoyDave WaldmanBob CorritoreTroy GonyeaRJ MischoSteve MarrinerBilly FlynnScott DirksChef Denis DepoitreLynwood Slim, and Vincent Bury. The spectacular backing musicians for this event are Larry Taylor (bass & guitar), Randy Bermudes (bass), Richard Innes(drums), Jason Moeller (drums), Junior Watson (guitar), Billy Flynn (guitar), Jon Moeller (guitar), Mike Keller (guitar) & Barrelhouse Chuck (Piano), plus Hubert Sumlin will perform with James Cotton, and Dave Riley will appear with Bob Corritore. The recently added pre-party on Thursday, Sept 30th, has taken on a life of its own. For the pre-party the host band will be the Nighthawks, who will perform a set, followed by a harmonica showcase that will include an ever growing list that currently includes Bill TarshaMartin LangeRonnie ShellistRandy ChortkoffThomas Fiacco, Little Barry G, Dennis Gruenling, Jerry Swartz, Mark Heffington, Ed Marien, Mr. & Mrs. Alaimo, Ken Johnson, Greg Johnson, and Kim Field! Advance tickets to the pre-party are a separate ticket and can be purchased through Ticketmaster by clicking here.

  • RIP Ken Schoppmeyer March 15, 1950 – August 31, 2010. Harmonica player / vocalist Ken Schoppmeyer was one of the seminal figures of blues music in San Diego, and is often credited with helping establish San Diego’s blues scene four decades ago. He founded and fronted a popular San Diego based band called King Biscuit Blues in the 1960s, and often times “King Biscuit” was used as his moniker.  He died in Oceanside this week at the age of 60, the victim of suicide, according to the San Diego County Medical Examiner. To read the Voice Of San Diego article about Ken’s passing, clickhere, and for another article in Sign On San Diego, click here.  Ken’s wonderful playing advanced San Diego’s awareness of blues harmonica and his band was a proving ground for many of that town’s best blues players.

  • Boyd Rivers On YouTube! Boyd Rivers was a powerful southern bluesman who sang only religious songs. Here is a 1979 performance from the Mississippi Delta Blues Festival where Boyd sings a stunning version of “Take Sick And Die.” Clickhere to see.

September 1, 2010

  • Down Home Blues Festival / Phoenix CD Release Party this Sunday! The Rhythm Room in Phoenix traditionally hosts a Down Home Blues Festival each year on the Sunday of Labor Day weekend. This year’s festival will also serve as a CD release party for Bob Corritore / Harmonica Blues on the Delta Groove label. Sunday’s lineup includes Henry GrayCarol FranKid RamosDave RileyChris JamesPatrick RynnRichard Innes, and Bob Corritore. The cover is $13 advance tickets, and $15 day of show. Advance tickets are available through Ticketmaster by clicking here. Doors open at 7pm with an 8pm show time. Please note that Chief Schabuttie Gilliame, who was originally scheduled, will not likely be able to perform, as he is currently in the hospital recovering from heart surgery and complications. To see the poster for this event, click here. To see a beautiful article written by Jason Woodbury for the Phoenix New Times that previews the event, please click here. The Rhythm Room is located at 1019 E. Indian School Rd., Phoenix, AZ 85014.

  • Harmonica Blues airplay, many reviews, a podcast! In addition to the New Times article mentioned above, Bob CorritoreHarmonica Blues has been finding its way onto radio playlists all around the world! An interview with Bob was Podcast onA1 Blues (thanks A1 Mark!) and can be heard here.  We have posted the first 25 wonderful reviews (click here to see). Bob will be interviewed on September 15th, by Roy Prescott of Blues Summit WMWV, Conway ,NH (for more info click here), and on September 27th, by James Hynes of Jim’s Juke Joint and Soul Kitchen WXLV. Thanks to Delta Groove for an exceptional job in getting the word out, and thanks to the fans, reviewers, writers, DJs, and programmers for the great support!

  • Phoenix Magazine honors the Rhythm Room! Phoenix Magazine most recent issue is their annual “Best of the Valley” issue, in which the Rhythm Room is proclaimed “Best Blues Bar” by both the magazine and the reader’s poll. To see the write up click here.  Thanks to Phoenix Magazine for this honor!

  • Robin Rogers hospitalized. Singer / harmonica player / Blind Pig recording artist Robin Rogers has emerged over the last few years as major player in the blues world. She most recently  has been doing some extensive touring with Debbie Davies, and has a forthcoming second CD due out in a couple weeks. Last week, Robin was hospitalized with serious liver problems. Though she is now out of ICU, and has been transferred to a hospital in Charlotte, NC, she has a very tough set of circumstances as described on her Facebook fan page; “Robin Rogers has had Hepatitis Type C and this condition has attacked her liver and has caused multiple complications. Robin has had to have an emergent intubation (tube to maintain her airway) and sedated to help with her pain and discomfort of being placed on a the ventilator (breathing machine)”. Information on how to help Robin has been posted on the Live World Blues website (click here to see). Prayers for our sister in the blues.

  • Big Pete Pearson moves to Maine and opens restaurant!. Arizona’s king of the blues has now become Maine’s king of the blues. Big Pete Pearson has moved from his long standing digs of Phoenix, Arizona to his new residence in Trenton, Maine. He has opened a restaurant called The Blues Wagon that specializes in Big Pete’s Texas style barbeque. Big Pete once before had moved to Maine for a few years in the 1990s, but then returned back to Phoenix. His move leaves an irreplaceable gap in the Phoenix blues scene. Big Pete Pearson recently completed a week long run of shows in Europe, where he was backed by a European blues band known as the Gamblers. Best wishes and continued success to this great bluesman. To read an article about Big Pete’s new restaurant in the Fenceviewer, click here. (check out the photo of the restaurant sign which includes the cover photo from Pete’s album Finger In your Eye)

  • Delmark to release 1966 live recordings by Junior Wells with the Aces! Other good Delmark news! Delmark records emerged in the 1960s to be the label that most avidly represents the Chicago Blues. It roster has always represented the top shelf of Chicago Blues with releases by Junior WellsMagic SamOtis Rush, JB Hutto, and more recently, Eddie C. CampbellTail DraggerJimmy BurnsRockin’ JohnnyWillie Buck, and Shirley Johnson. If there is one artist most emblematic of the label, it would surely be Junior Wells, who’s 1966 Hoodoo Man Blues with it’s stark sound and even starker album graphics, has become a definitive Chicago blues classic. Delmark lovingly has announced a fall release ofJunior Wells & The Aces / Live In Boston 1966. Of course the Aces with Louis & Dave Myers, and Fred Below, were the consummate backing band, and years before (early 1950s) had hired a budding Junior Wells, as their singer (this was before the Little Walter / Aces partnership). This should be a very exciting release! To see a sneak peak of the CD art, click here. To see a wonderful photo page devoted to the Aces, click here. Other Delmark news is a September 11th show at Rosa’sbilled as a modern day “Muddy vs Wolf” battle with Tail Dragger and Willie Buck, plus special guest James Kinds (look for a forthcoming CD by James on Delmark). To see the flyer for this event click here. Also in the Delmark information line is the good news that Kevin Johnson‘s lovely wife Brianna, is expecting! How nice it will be to have a new baby in the blues community! Thanks Kevin for this heartwarming news!

  • Bisbee Blues Festival CorrectionThe Bisbee Blues Festival happens on Saturday, September 25th, at Warren Ballpark in beautiful Bisbee, Arizona with a great lineup that includes Shemekia CopelandTab Benoit, The Rhythm Room All-Stars with special guest Dave RileyTrain Wreck, and The Hounds. Last week we posted the wrong link for the event which brought you to last year’s event. The proper link for the 2010 Bisbee Blues festival is www.thebisbeebluesfestival.com.

  • James DeShay on YouTube! One of the great downhome bluesmen of St. Louis was guitarist/vocalist James DeShay, who was sadly under-recorded. He owned and operated the Santa Fe Lounge, where he frequently performed. He had a wonderful way of keeping it downhome, while adding a few modern twists to the proceedings. Please enjoy these wonderful clips of James, his great voice, and his Flying V guitar! To see a powerful clip of James singing “Crossroads” and “Mistake In Life”, click here. To see James performing “Pony Blues” from 1976, click here.

August 25, 2010

  • A list of available Phoenix, Arizona vintage blues, gospel, and soul recordings. Earlier this year the Southwest Musical Arts Foundation released a compilation of vintage Phoenix Blues titled Flyin’ High, A Collection Of  Phoenix Blues, Rhythm, and Spirit from the 1950’s and 60’s (for those seeking more information on Flyin’ High, Click here). This has brought a new awareness to Phoenix’s rich but largely uncelebrated blues history. But Flyin’ High is just one of a number of satisfying vintage Arizona Blues, Soul, and Gospel reissues. Here is a list for active collectors, of wonderful CDs that partially uncover the musical treasures from this Southwestern, desert city:

    1) Ray Sharpe / Linda Lu,  Bear Family  BCD 15888 AH (Ray recorded this classic blues rocker in Phoenix!)

    2) Various artists  Eccentric Soul: Mighty Mike Lenaburg (producer), Numero 011  (2 disc vinyl release this fall)

    3) Various artists  Soul Side Of The Street  Hadley Murrell (producer)1964-1972,  Dionysus BA 11103  (also 1 disc vinyl LP)

    4) Eddie & Ernie / Lost Friends, Kent CDKEND 214

    5) Dyke & The Blazers / We Got More Soul, BGP CDBGP2 180  (also 2 disc vinyl LP) Note that Dyke & The Blazers recorded the original “Funky Broadway” in Phoenix and make references to the Broadway Street of Phoenix, Arizona

    6) The Servicemen / Meet The Serviceman,  Wind Hit WH-100

    7) Rev. Louis Overstreet / Recorded live in Phoenix, AZArhoolie 442  (recently released on vinyl on Mississippi Records MR-049)

    8) And of course Flyin’ High, A Collection Of Phoenix Blues, Rhythm, and Spirit from the 1950’s and 60’s on the Southwest Musical Arts Foundation label,  SWMAF 07

    Special thanks to Phoenix music historian John “Johnny D” Dixon for providing this list, and for his amazing efforts in making many the above releases happen.

  • Blues Blast Music Awards voting closes August 31st. The voting for the 2010 Blues Blast Music Awards will close on Tuesday, August 31st. Voting is open to anyone who is a Blues Blast Magazine subscriber. Subscriptions are free and you can sign up as part of the voting process. Please note that Dave Riley & Bob Corritore / Lucky To Be Living,  is nominated under the category of “Best Traditional Blues Recording.” To see a complete list of all nominees and to vote please click here. The awards, put on by Blues Blast Magazine, will take place on Thursday, October 28th, at Buddy Guy’s Legends new location of 700 S. Wabash Ave., Chicago, IL 60605. With this being the 3rd year for the Blues Blast Awards, the event and the recognition that it provides, has now become a proven and institutionalized part of the blues infrastructure.

  • Thomas Yearsley in train accident. Thomas Yearsley, the longtime bass player of the Paladins, and the former husband of Candye Kane, was hit by a train on August 16th, while trying to save his dog Swango, who was stuck on the tracks. The dog did not make it, but Thomas survived with a a broken leg and a banged up head. A web site has been set up for Thomas at www.helpthomas.com. Thanks to Candye Kane and Dave Gonzalez for this information.

  • Albert King performs “Blues Power” on YouTube! Please enjoy this great clip of blues master Albert King in an electrifying live performance of “Blues Power”. Click here to see.

August 17, 2010

August 12, 2010

  • Dave Riley & Bob Corritore’s Phoenix appearances this weekend! The down home blues team of Dave Riley & Bob Corritore have two scheduled appearances at the Rhythm Room this weekend. On Friday, Dave and Bob will do a half hour duo set from 8:30 to 9pm, at the Rhythm Room, before the newly formed Transition ‘N Blues Band (a newly formed Phoenix band featuring George Bowman & Lila Sherman) take the stage. The next night is the “Saturday Night Blues Party:” at theRhythm Room with host band the Rocket 88s plus guests Johnny Rapp, Maxine Johnson, and Dave Riley & Bob Corritore. the Rhythm Room is located at 1019 E. Indian School Rd., Phoenix, AZ 85014.

  • Bob Corritore / Harmonica Blues on Delta Groove to be released August 17th! Phoenix CD release party announced! The release of Bob Corritore‘s new album Harmonica Blues happens next Tuesday, August 17th. Harmonica Blues celebrates Bob’s 40th year of playing harmonica, and features a simply amazing list of special guests that includesKoko TaylorLittle MiltonRobert Lockwood, Jr.Pinetop PerkinsHoneyboy EdwardsNappy BrownEddy Clearwater,Louisiana RedCarol FranDave RileyBig Pete PearsonTomcat Courtney, The Rhythm Room All-StarsChief Schabuttie GilliameWillie “Big Eyes” SmithEddie ShawChico ChismBob MargolinKid RamosDavid MaxwellEddie Taylor, Jr.,Bob Stroger, and more. Delta Groove recently launched their promotional efforts. Airplay is beginning to hit and numerous mentions and references are all over the internet. Delta Groove has included this release in a series of their, customary well placed, full page, color ads. The CD has already received its first review which you can see by clicking here! The current issue of Big City Blues Magazine has a harmonica feature with an interview by Bob and DG label chief Randy Chortkoff.Mark Wade of KCOR, Kansas City did a Bob Corritore interview and CD feature last week. If you go to the Delta Groovewebsite they are playing the opening track of the CD and if you call the Delta Groove offices they are playing it on their “on hold” music (Thanks!). To see the wonderful Delta Groove ecard promoting this release, click here. The Phoenix CD release party will take place in conjunction with the Rhythm Room‘s annual Down Home Blues Festival, which happens each year on the Sunday of Labor Day weekend. This year the festival / CD release party happens Sunday, September 5th, and the lineup includes Henry GrayCarol FranKid RamosDave RileyChris JamesPatrick RynnRichard Innes, and Chief Schabuttie Gilliame (health permitting), and Bob Corritore. To see the poster for this event, click here. Thanks to everyone at Delta Groove for believing in this release, and to all the reviewers, writers and DJs for their support!

  • RIP Steve Arredondo, July 12, 1952 – July 30, 2010. Steve Arrendondo was a San Diego based blues harmonica player who was active with both BLUSD (Blues Lovers United of San Diego), and the Paul Butterfield Fund and Society. He passed away from complication of cancer on July 30th at age 57. Though not well known outside of his region, he was a positive and supportive force for the blues in all of his dealings. To read a loving obituary posted by his children, click here. We are not aware of any recordings by Steve, but any harmonica player who has appeared in San Diego, would have likely met Steve, who would would frequent such occasions with sincere interest and an outreached hand. Chet Cannon has helped to organize a San Diego memorial show for Steve that happens this Sunday, August 15th, at Tango Del Rey. For more information on this event click here.

  • Calvin “Fuzz” Jones Funeral information. Funeral services for Calvin “Fuzz” Jones are Saturday August 14th, 10am at Rodger’s Funeral Home, 10296 Hwy 51 North, Coldwater, MS 38618. Phone 662-622-5608 or 1-888-622-5608. Fax 662-622-5697

  • Bob Corritore Now On Twitter! Bob Corritore has just set up a Twitter account. Those interested in getting short, timely messages (Tweets) from Bob can sign up at http://twitter.com/BobCorritore.

  • Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup on YouTube. Best known as a blues songwriter who penned classics that would be recorded by artists as far ranging as Little Walter to Elvis PresleyAurthur “Big Boy” Crudup was a great artist in his own right. Please enjoy these 1972 film clips from a Documentary called Born In the Blues.

    1) Born In The Blues Pt 1 – “If I Get Lucky”, click here.

    2) Born In The Blues Pt 2 – “Nobody Wants You”, click here.

    3) “My Baby Left Me”, click here.

    4) “So Glad You’re Mine”, click here.

    5) “Greyhound Bus” with his sons, click here.

August 10, 2010

  • RIP Calvin “Fuzz” Jones, June 9th,1926 – August 9th, 2010. Best known as the longtime bass player of the Muddy Waters Blues Band, Calvin “Fuzz” Jones, a Greenwood, Mississippi native, passed away last night of complications from lung cancer. He was 84. “Fuzz” was the definitive blues bass player, a stirring vocalist, and a wonderful human being. Here is the email that Bob Margolin, his longtime friend, and fellow Muddy alum, wrote this morning:

    Calvin “Fuzz” Jones passed away early this morning at Baptist Memorial Hospital-DeSoto in Southaven, Mississippi. His family is making funeral arrangements for Saturday in Mississippi. No more information on that yet, update soon.

    Calvin “Fuzz” Jones is best known for the 10 years he played bass in Muddy Waters’ band, about 1970-’80. Previously, he had worked with Howlin’ WolfLittle Walter, and Elmore James. He was appreciated for his strong electric bass playing, rocking stage presence, deep Blues singing, and the friendly laugh and smile he had for all.

    Calvin had been living in Senatobia, MS for the last few years after decades in the Chicago area. Some of you receiving this e-mail were very kind to help him financially to stay in his apartment when he faced eviction in January. He appreciated that so deeply, understanding fully that the Blues music we all love had brought him your timely help. He had beat lung cancer, and in the late 1990’s he had a large tumor successfully removed from the back of his neck. Apparently the cancer came back in one lung and he developed pneumonia in the other and couldn’t breathe and was rushed to the hospital. He suffered a heart attack there, and though he was stabilized, his heart was weakened and gave out on him for the last time this morning.

    I visited him last Friday afternoon, and he was deeply sedated. I’m glad to have seen him one more time, but he didn’t know I was there. I think he was beyond medical recovery, and that his illness overtook his strength. He was 84 years old, and was enjoying his life as much as possible until very recently. He had a sincere good word for everyone, and his reaction to any kind of health, musical, or financial challenge was his hearty trademark laugh. I asked him how he could laugh so easily when life hurt him, and he said “When you laugh the world laughs with you, when you cry, you cry alone.” He brought us deep Chicago and Mississippi Blues on the bandstand and on recordings, and his Blues and love for his friends, family, and all of us are his legacy.

    Sadly, Bob Margolin

July 30, 2010

July 28, 2010

  • T-Model Ford, Rick Estrin and Rhythm Room All-Stars at the Rhythm Room this week! The next three days at the Rhythm Room feature a strong blues lineup. On Thursday, July 29th T-Model Ford brings his deep Mississippi groove to Phoenix! On Friday July 30th, harmonica master Rick Estrin & the Nightcats appear with an 8:30pm opening set by theRhythm Room All-Stars, kicking off the night! The Rhythm Room All-Stars with Bob CorritoreChris JamesPatrick Rynn, and Brian Fahey carry the night on Saturday. The Rhythm Room is located at 1019 E. Indian School Rd in Phoenix. For more details on these, and other shows at the Rhythm Room, click here.

  • Ike Turner honored with Mississippi Blues Trail Marker! Ike Turner was a brilliant guitarist and pianist who is considered to be the founder of Rock & Roll. A great business man, producer, arranger, band leader, and talent scout, Ike Turner helped to launch the careers of Howlin’ WolfLittle MiltonB.B. KingElmore James, and many others. He is best known for his work with the Ike & Tina Turner Revue, and for a villainous and misleading portrayal in the movie What’s Love Got To Do With It. Ike passed away on December 12, 2007, at age 76, leaving an amazing musical legacy.Thoughconsidered a controversial figure in today’s world, nobody can deny that Ike was a simply brilliant musical force. Ike Turnerwill be honored with a Mississippi Blues Trail marker which will be unveiled in Ike’s hometown of Clarksdale on Friday, August 6th. The ceremony takes place at 10 am at 127 Third street in downtown Clarksdale, Mississippi. Thanks to Alex Thomas of the Mississippi Department of Tourism for this information. To see a photo page dedicated to Ike, click here.

  • Cousin Joe on YouTube! Cousin Joe was a New Orleans based blues piano master with a gift of writing songs that tell a story. Please enjoy these two masterful performances, filled with personality:

    1) Cousin Joe performing “Cripple Crab A Crutch”, click here

    2) Performing “Life Is A One Way Ticket”, click here

July 22, 2010

  • RIP Phillip Walker, February 11th, 1937 – July 22, 2010. It is with great sadness that we report the passing of Phillip Walker this morning at 4:30 AM of heart failure. He was 73. Phillip was a great singer and guitarist who was considered legendary, though he never broke through to the success that his talent merited. He played guitar on the Specialty and Chess recordings of Clifton Chenier (Phillip once said that it was him and Etta James singing the backup on Clifton’s song “My Soul”). He moved from Louisiana to California in 1959, and released his first record “Hello My Darlin”, produced by J.R. Fulbright. Phillip’s first full album, produced by Bruce Bromberg and called Bottom Of The Top was released in 1973 on thePlayboy Record Label (actually a business division of the magazine). He also made great recordings on GalaxyVault, Joliet, HighToneJSPBlack TopRounderAlligatorP-VineMC, and most recently on Delta Groove. Additionally, Phillip was a noted sideman who contributed to albums by  Lonesome SundownEddie TaylorPercy Mayfield, and Johnny Shines. Phillip toured frequently with a great band that included his longtime partner, James “Broadway” Thomas, on bass.He was lovingly booked by Tom Radai of Blues Management Group. His passing highlights the loss of the few remaining blues artists of his generation. We salute Phillip for always delivering the true blues, for his kind and giving personality, and for his unique and awe inspiring blues style. To see Phillip Walker’s website click here , for an extensive bio click here. So long Phillip, we will miss you.

July 20, 2010

  • Blues Blast Music Award voting has begun! The voting for the 2010 Blues Blast Music Awards has begun. Voting is open to anyone who is a Blues Blast Magazine subscriber. Subscriptions are free and you can sign up as part of the voting process. Please consider a vote for Dave Riley & Bob Corritore / Lucky To Be Living, which is nominated under the category of “Best Traditional Blues Recording.” To see a complete list of all nominees and to vote please click here. The awards, put on by Blues Blast Magazine, will take place on Thursday, October 28th, at Buddy Guy’s Legends new location of 700 S. Wabash Ave., Chicago, IL 60605

  • Part 2 of the Andre Hobus Blues Photo Library now online! The André Hobus Photo Library features beautiful, candid images of great bluesmen taken during the 1970s and 1980s by Belgium-based photographers André Hobus, Bob Vanderschueren, Claude Meyer, Annique Massange, and Marc De Jonghe. Last year we presented a part 1 of the Andre Hobus Blues Photo Library (Click here to see part 1) and we now proudly present an amazing second installation. Included are spectacular and historic photos of Sunnyland SlimFreddie KingBig Walter HortonSam MyersJohnny DyerMaxwell StreetThe Delta Fish MarketAndrew BrownEddy ClearwaterLittle Willie AndersonLouisiana Red,http://www.hubertsumlinblues.com/index.htmlMaxwell Street Jimmy DavisPat RushingL.V. BanksLeft Hand Frank,Good Rockin’ CharlesSmokey WilsonWille Kent and more! Click here to see this 8 page photo presentation, and click”next page of Andre Hobus photos” to get to all the pages.

  • Blues In The Schools Benefit this Sunday at the Rhythm Room. The Phoenix Blues Society hosts a Blues For Bits Benefit this Sunday, July 25th at the Rhythm Room, 1019 E. Indian School Rd. in Phoenix. BITS of course stands for Blues In The Schools. One can not overemphasize the need to present the blues to the next generations. An awareness of this great music form will help to shape appreciation, and encourage future participation and leadership in the blues community. The Phoenix Blues Society has always stood for an educational outreach as part of its cause. This event includes Hans OlsonKathy MabryBooyaThe KC Blues BandThe V-Knights, The Common Ground Blues BandHank Tomlin & The Tomcats, and The Blues Hounds. Doors open at 3:30pm, and a full day of music begins at 4:30pm. For more information on this event, and the Phoenix Blues Society click here. For more information on the Rhythm Room click here. Also at the Rhythm Room this weekend are our friends Debbie Davies and Robin Rogers, who appear on Saturday night, July 24th.

  • RIP Randy Joe Fullerton, Sept 18, 1949 – June 27, 2010. This news comes in from Will “Smokey” Logg. Bassist Randy Joe Fullerton passed away on June 27 in Dallas, Texas. He was 60. Fullerton was a popular blues bass player in the late 60s and 70s who worked with Luther AllisonRod PiazzaPaul FilipowiczJim LibanBilly FlynnMadison Slim and many others. He is probably best known as the young, long haired bass player in the 1970 video of Howlin’ Wolf performing Highway 49 at a blues festival in Washington D.C. where he was a capable fill in for Wolf’s curtailed bass player. To see this unbelievable video, click here. To see Randy Joe Fullerton‘s myspace, click here. Randy remained an active performer his whole life and is considered a top shelf bassist by all that knew him. He will be greatly missed.

  • RIP James “Slim” Sroggins, April 28, 1953 – July 9, 2010. Phoenix based blues and soul drummer James “Slim” Scroggins was a talented and popular performer in his home town. He died on July 9th at age 57 from complications of blood clots. Over the last 30 years Slim worked with some of the quintessential Phoenix artists and bands including George BowmanBig Pete PearsonFire In The SkyThe Whitehead Brothers, and his own James Matthews Band. He most recently was the powerhouse drummer with Cold Shott & The Hurricane Horns.  Slim stood 6′ 8″ tall and had a professional and charismatic personality. For more information about James “Slim” Scroggins from the Cold Shott website clickhere. There will be a marathon memorial concert for Slim on Friday August 6, at the Rhythm Room, hosted by Cold Shott & The Hurricane Horns with many special guests.

  • Amanda’s Roller Coaster Update. Pre-Party lineup expands! Amanda’s Roller Coaster tickets are just about sold out and perhaps by the time you read this, the show will be. If you want to make a last effort in that direction, you can visit the website and put in your request by clicking here. For those new to this news letter, Amanda’s Roller Coaster is a spectacular 3 day harmonica happening that takes place at the Rhythm Room on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, October1st, 2nd, and 3rd. Acts include James CottonBilly Boy ArnoldLazy LesterKim WilsonPaul OscherJames HarmanThe Fabulous ThunderbirdsJohnny DyerBharath Rajakumar, Johnny SansoneJerry PortnoyAl BlakeDave WaldmanBob CorritoreTroy GonyeaRJ MischoSteve MarrinerBilly FlynnScott DirksChef Denis DepoitreLynwood Slim, andVincent Bury. The spectacular backing musicians for this event are Larry Taylor (bass & guitar), Randy Bermudes (bass),Richard Innes (drums), Jason Moeller (drums), Junior Watson (guitar), Billy Flynn (guitar), Jon Moeller (guitar), Mike Keller (guitar) & Barrelhouse Chuck (Piano), plus Hubert Sumlin will perform with James Cotton, and Dave Riley will appear withBob Corritore. The recently added pre-party on Thursday, Sept 30th, has taken on a life of its own. For the pre-party the host band will be the Nighthawks, who will perform a set, followed by a harmonica showcase that will include an ever growing list that currently includes Bill TarshaMartin LangeRonnie ShellistRandy ChortkoffRaoul BhanejaThomas Fiacco, Little Barry G, Dennis Gruenling, Jerry Swartz, Mark Heffington, Ed Marien, Mr. & Mrs. Alaimo, Ken Johnson, Greg Johnson, and Kim Field! Advance tickets to the pre-party are a separate ticket and can be purchased through Ticketmaster by clicking here. Special thanks to Bill Wax, host of B.B. King’s Bluesville on Sirius/XM Satellite radio, for his recent interview with Amanda about the event.

  • Billy Branch interview in Harmonica 411! Jeff Silverman, the proprietor of the Harmonica 411 website, writes to tell us of a newly published interview with our friend Billy Branch. Jeff reports “This not-so-new Kid on the Block talks of his friends; Junior WellsBilly Boy Arnold, and more. He offers opinions on the state of the blues harp today and preaches on about the blues like no one but Billy can.” Harmonica 411 is a website devoted to the harmonica and its players. To see this website and the Billy Branch interview click here.

  • Billy Boy Arnold and Junior Wells remember Sonny Boy Williamson I on YouTube! This video and explanation was provided by harmonica ace / writer Scott Dirks. Here is what Scott had to say:

    “The Billy Boy Arnold video was part of a feature that was produced by Mark Baum and the Fox Valley Blues Society in honor of the 60th anniversary of John Lee “Sonny Boy” Williamson’s first recording session in 1937, which took place in the Sky Room club on the top of the Leland Hotel in Aurora, IL, about 40 miles southwest of Chicago. For many years the Leland Hotel was the tallest building between Chicago and St. Louis (I think it’s 17 stories), and on the top floor was a ballroom and nightclub that was known at various times as the Sky Room, The Sky Club, and The Blue Sky Lounge. As with many hotels of the era, the ballroom featured a live dance band, sometimes broadcast on a local radio station.  This was not a blues venue though – it was strictly white dance and pop bands. But in the ‘off hours’ it served as a good place for recording sessions, since it had decent acoustics and was already set up for radio broadcasts, and was acoustically isolated from the guest rooms. The story I’ve always heard is that Sonny Boy’s record label, in order to dodge the powerful musicians union in Chicago, rented the space for the sessions in Aurora so they could be outside the jurisdiction of the union. At any rate, Sonny Boy’s first several recording sessions were held there, along with early sessions by people such as Big Joe Williams, Robert Lee McCoy (who recorded the song “Prowling Night Hawk” there, which gave him his nicknameRobert Nighthawk), Walter DavisYank RachellHenry Townsend and many others.

    Because Billy Boy was mentored briefly by Sonny Boy, and was profoundly influenced by his music, he was invited to be interviewed by Mark Baum and myself for a video production for local cable TV in Aurora. The cable TV studio was literally in the shadow of the Leland Hotel building, which by this time had been converted to Fox Island Place Condos. The management graciously allowed us access to the ballroom (which had in recent years been divided up for use as dance rehearsal studios), so after the interview, we went up and shot video of Billy Boy performing a couple of Sonny Boy’s songs which had been recorded in the same room 60 years earlier, along with one of Billy Boy’s own songs from his recent Alligator CD. The whole thing was produced into a one hour feature which was shown on local cable TV a few months later, coinciding with the Fox Valley Blues Festival, which is held a couple of blocks away from the former Leland Hotel.

    I attended that festival strictly as a fan, but while I was there, Mark Baum asked if I would do a brief interview Junior Wells, who was playing on the fest. Junior had of course also been deeply influenced by Sonny Boy, having recorded several of his songs including “Good Morning Schoolgirl”, “You Better Cut That Out”, and “Hoodoo Man Blues”. 10 minutes later we were on our way up to the Sky Room again, where we did a brief and completely off the cuff interview with no notes, no preparation, about 20 minutes to go before Junior was scheduled to hit the stage – and maybe most importantly, no air conditioning or open windows on one of the hottest days of the year. Not exactly ideal conditions, but I’m glad I was able to do it, and of course Junior was as gracious as could be and a complete pro. Little did we know at the time, but this was probably Junior’s last interview; not long after, Junior was diagnosed with cancer, ceased public appearances, and died the following January.”

    Here are the clips:

    1) Billy Boy Arnold singing “Good Morning Little School Girl” with Rockin’ Johnny on guitar and a intro by Scott Dirks (click here)

    2) Billy Boy singing “Black Gal” (click here)

    3) Billy Boy singing his song “Man Of Considerable Taste” and end credits (click here)

    4) Junior Wells interview with Scott Dirks, part 1 (click here)

    5) Junior Wells interview,  part 2 (click here)

July 7, 2010

  • Happy Birthday Pinetop Perkins! Today Pinetop Perkins turns 97 years old! Born Joe Willie Perkins on July 7th, 1913, Pinetop is still an active touring musician, and is widely considered the greatest living blues piano player. His new album Pinetop Perkins & Willie “Big Eyes” Smith / Joined At The Hip on Telarc is receiving high praise. As a testament to his longevity, Pinetop will be traveling to Spain today to participate in the Hondarribia Blues Festival. Please take a moment to write Pinetop a happy birthday wish on his Facebook page (click here to access Pinetop’s facebook). To see a photo page devoted to Mr. Perkins, click here. Thanks Pinetop, for being our inspiration!

  • Chico Chism, Sam Moore, and the Reed Family inducted into Arizona Music And Entertainment Hall Of Fame! The Arizona Music and Entertainment Hall Of Fame has a diverse group of inductees from all types of entertainment, and all genres of music. This year the inductees include three from the blues corner: Chico Chism, who was best known as Howlin’ Wolf’s last drummer, moved to Phoenix in 1986, and thrived as a blues performer and celebrity until his death in 2007, Sam Moore is best known as the Sam of Sam & Dave, the Stax and Atlantic Records soul sensation, and the Reed family which includes Francine, Margo, Michael, Bucko, Mellody, Laverne, and Girley have brought rich gospel, blues, soul and jazz vocal textures to the Phoenix area. Thanks to AMEHOF for including a healthy showing for the blues in the recently announced new inductees. The ceremony will take place on February 13th, 2011 at the Orpheum Theater in Phoenix. Please visit the AMEHOF web site by clicking here.

  • Special Thanks to the IH Mississippi Valley Blues Festival and to Wilbeski’s Blues Saloon! Dave Riley & Bob Corritore are appreciative of this past weekend’s gigs in the Midwest! Dave & Bob had the honor at performing at the legendary Wilebski’s Blues Saloon in St. Paul, MN, which has been the home of many great blues performances. Then it was off to Davenport, Iowa, for the spectacular IH Mississippi Valley Blues Festival! Thanks to these venues and to the many fans that came out to see us. Thanks also to the IHMVBF for another exceptional lineup, their warm hospitality, and the ridiculously fun nightly after-party/jams!

  • Blues Blast Music Awards voting begins tomorrow! The voting for the 2010 Blues Blast Music Awards begins on Thursday, July 8th. Voting is open to anyone who is a Blues Blast Magazine subscriber. Subscriptions are free and you can sign up as part of the voting process. Please consider a vote for Dave Riley & Bob Corritore / Lucky To Be Living, which is nominated under the category of “Best Traditional Blues Recording.” To see a complete list of all nominees and to vote please click here. The awards, put on by Blues Blast Magazine, will take place on Thursday, October 28th, at Buddy Guy’s Legends new location of 700 S. Wabash Ave., Chicago, IL 60605

  • Dave Riley and Bob Corritore interviews appear in current issue of Austria’s Concerto Magazine! Special thanks to interviewer Dietmar Hoscher of Austria’s Concerto Magazine, for including interviews by Dave Riley and Bob Corritore in the July issue. Also in that issue is an interview with our dear friend Mud Morganfield, the son of Muddy Waters. These interviews were conducted last November at the amazing Lucerne Blues Festival. To see the interviews, click here.

  • Phoenix Vintage Blues Anthology gets reviews in Living Blues and ABS magazines! Earlier this year the Southwest Musical Arts Foundation released a compilation of vintage Phoenix Blues titled Flyin’ High, A Collection Of Phoenix Blues, Rhythm, and Spirit from the 1950’s and 60’s. The CD’s 27 tracks include Big Pete Pearson‘s first recordings, Reverend Louis Overstreet, J.C. Arline, The Lone Wolf, Duke Draper, Maxine Johnson, John “Oklahoma Zeke” Lewis, Dumas King,Roosevelt Nettles, Budd Spudd & The Sprouts, Jimmy Knight, Baby Jean, the Curtis Gray Combo, and more. Flyin’ High recently received 2 more great reviews, one in Living Blues Magazine by Jim DeKoster, and the other in France’s ABS Magazine by Vincent Joos. You can read these and other reviews on-line by clicking here. To see the cover art for Flyin’ High, click here, and to read the extensive liner notes by John Dixon, click here. This CD is currently available through Bluebeat Music and can be purchased by clicking here. Proceeds from the sales of this CD will go to the Southwest Musical Arts Foundation, who are planning more historically important blues releases.

  • Amanda’s Roller Coaster Update. Nighthawks to host Thursday preparty concert / harp jam! Amanda’s Roller Coasteris a spectacular 3 day harmonica happening that takes place at the Rhythm Room Room on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday,October 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. Acts include James CottonBilly Boy ArnoldLazy LesterKim WilsonPaul OscherJames HarmanThe Fabulous ThunderbirdsJohnny DyerBharath RajakumarJohnny SansoneJerry PortnoyAl BlakeDave WaldmanBob CorritoreTroy GonyeaRJ MischoSteve MarrinerBilly FlynnScott DirksChef Denis DepoitreLynwood Slim, and Vincent Bury. As an additional feature of the event, Thursday, September 30th, has just been added as a preparty with the Nighthawks, who will perform a concert set at 8pm, and then host a harmonica showcase. This will serve as a wonderful preparty, and as a way for many of the attending harmonica players who are not on the main bill, to have an outlet to showcase their playing. So far Martin Lange has signed on as the first special guest harmonica player for the preparty. Please be aware that at the time of this e-mail only 50 tickets remain for this soon to be sold out event, and only 20 discount rate hotel rooms remain at our host hotel. For more details, a schedule of performances, hotel information, and to order tickets, check out the Amanda’s Roller Coaster website by clicking here.

  • Acoustic Freddie King on YouTube! Please enjoy these great performances by Freddie King at Travis County Jail from April 11, 1976. Freddy and his brother play acoustic guitars and cover “Sweet Home Chicago”, and “Let The Good Times Roll”. You can really see the star quality of Freddie from these clips. Click here to see.

June 30, 2010

June 25, 2010

  • 2010 Blues Blast Music Awards nominations announced! Dave Riley & Bob Corritore / Lucky To Be Living nominated for Traditional Blues Album! The Blues Blast Music Awards are now in their third year and already have quickly become an institution in the blues world. The awards, put on by Blues Blast Magazine, will take place on Thursday, October 28th at Buddy Guy’s Legends new location of 700 S. Wabash Ave., Chicago, IL 60605. This week the 2010 nominees were announced and among 6 very worthy candidates listed  in the “Best Traditional Blues CD” category wasDave Riley & Bob Corritore / Lucky To Be Living on the Blue Witch label. To see the complele list of all the 2010 Blues Blast Music Award nominees click here. Voting to determine the winners begins July 8th, 2010 and continues until August 31st, 2010 at www.TheBluesBlast.com. Voting is open to anyone who is a Blues Blast Magazine subscriber. Subscriptions are free and you can sign up as part of the voting process. Thank you Bob Kieser and everyone from Blues Blast Magazine!

  • Phoenix CD Party for Chris James & Patrick Rynn’s new Earwig CD this weekend at the Rhythm Room! Chris James & Patrick Rynn‘s sophomore release, Gonna Boogie Anyway on the Earwig label, finds this unstoppable blues team exploring their award winning formula on a set of mostly original songs. Chris and Patrick will celebrate their new release tonight and tomorrow, Friday, June 25th, and Saturday, June 26th, at their monthly gig with the Rhythm Room All-Stars at the Rhythm Room. The Rhythm Room All-Stars lineup consists of Big Pete PearsonBob CorritoreChris JamesPatrick Rynn, and Brian FaheyGonna Boogie Anyway will be available for sale at this event! The Rhythm Room is located at 1019 E. Indian School Rd. in Phoenix, and doors open at 8pm with a 9pm showtime.

  • RIP Calvin Leavy 1940 – June 6, 2010. Arkansas blues singer/guitarist Calvin Leavy was best known for his often covered hit “Cummins Prison Farm”. He died Sunday, June 6th of complications from Diabetes. He was 70. Aside from “Cummins Prison Farm”, Calvin also had regional hits with “Going Back To The Dogs”, and “If Life Lasts, Luck Is Bound To Change”. Sadly his songs were prophetic as Calvin would be sent to Cummins for a drug related charge. He passed away with just one more year of time to serve. His rich, warm voice, great guitar work, and perfect blues songwriting will assure him his eternal place in blues history. To read more about Calvin Leavy, click here, and to hear “Cummins Prison Farm” click here.

  • Sixties Mickey Baker on YouTube! Please enjoy this 1966 film clip of blues guitar master Mickey Baker playing a groovy blues instrumental to some dancing hipsters! To see this clip click here.

  • Happy 70th Birthday Bob Porter! Noted producer / radio host / reissue compiler Bob Porter celebrated his 70th birthday with a wonderful jazz/blues party on Monday at Crowne Plaza Hotel in Englewood, New Jersey. The amazing house band at the party included Bernard Purdie, Melvin Sparks, Bill Easley, and Akiko Tsuruga and the night included guest appearances by David KeyesBob CorritoreGuy DavisAngel RissoffDuke RobillardShemekia Copeland, and Lou Donaldson. Also in the house was the great Houston Person. Leave it to Bob Porter to find the perfect common ground between jazz and blues. Happy Birthday Bob Porter, and thanks for all that you have done and are doing for the blues!

  • Chicago Recap! I always love going back to my home town of Chicago during the Chicago Blues Festival, as it allows allows for many great reunions and performance opportunities. Being back home also reconnects me with many fond musical memories and reminds me of what I most love about the blues. Chicago blues as a musical genre has a glorious, distinctive sound filled the tradition of its forefathers. Though many of the originals are now gone, the sound, albeit updated somewhat, remains intact and widely performed around the city. Speaking of forefathers, this year’s fest honored the centennial of Howlin’ Wolf’s birthday, with many performances and panel discussions centered around the mighty Howlin Wolf. Here is an incomplete list of just some of the many highlights of my week in Chicago:

    1) Harp & Soul Festival. Thanks to Lynn OrmanScott ShumanBill Wax and Dave Specter for this magical night which was equal parts musical showcase and reunion. My set opened the show with a great group that included Billy FlynnChris JamesPatrick RynnBob Riedy, and a guest appearance by the legendary Sam Lay! Other sets were by Willie “Big Eyes” SmithRob Stone (with Sam Lay on drums!), Grady Champion, and Billy Flynn (who in addition to his fine guitar and mandolin work that night played some spectacular chromatic harmonica). Martin Lange also made a brief guest appearance,sitting in on Rob Stone‘s set.

    2) Tail Dagger’s set at the Front Porch Stage. Of all the shows at the Chicago Blues Festival, none captured the spirit of Howlin’ Wolf better then Tail Dagger‘s Friday afternoon set at the Front Porch Stage! With a great band that included Jimmy Dawkins and Billy Flynn on guitars, and Martin Lange playing ferocious harmonica, Tail Dragger delivered the goods with no apologies!

    3) Lunch with Amy Brat! Amy Brat is best known for her photography and for her work with the Windy City Blues Society, Amy has always been a goodwill ambassador for the blues. Though we have known each other for years through various blues events that we frequent, this was the first time we had to sit down and have an extended conversation. We met for a nice Italian meal at Cafe Baci on Michigan Ave and had a great conversation about how the blues fits into various forms of social networking such as Facebook, Twitter, and Myspace. BTW, I recently started a new Facebook page which you can visit by clicking here. Thanks Amy for the good information and advice!

    4) Interview with Clarence Stevens and Cookie Taylor. While at the Chicago Blues Festival, I stopped by the Koko Taylor tent. Though Koko had passed about a year ago, her daughter Cookie, is maintaining the tent and Gary, Indiana blues radio host Clarence Stevens and Cookie were taping interviews for his “Blues You Can Use” radio show. How reaffirming to have Koko’s daughter thanking me in the interview for recording her mother (Koko Taylor is featured on the opening track of my new CD, Harmonica Blues, on the Delta Groove label)

    5) Billy Flynn’s gig at The Smoke Daddy! Billy Flynn has a magical quality of bringing a scene together for his shows at The Smoke Daddy. He is a great musician who is best known as a guitarist, but also plays great mandolin, harmonica, and drums. Billy had invited me to make a guest appearance on his Friday show. Billy’s core group included Eddie Kobek on drums (recently back from a year long playing hiatus), and Mike Flynn (Billy’s brother) on the bass! Guests appearances were also made by the legendary Jody WilliamsDave WaldmanMartin LangeScott DirksKate MossRockin’ Johnny, and Eugene Plotnick, a fine harmonica player from New Jersey who I met that night. A real Chicago blues party!

    6) Saturday with Sam Lay and Bob Riedy! It has been a joy to have become good friends with Bob Riedy over the last few years, and to be regularly included on his shows. Bob was a major musical and business force in the seventies, and more then anyone else, can be credited for bringing blues to the north side of Chicago during that time period. His RMR productions created booking arrangements with various clubs to rotate blues bands from his roster of great talent. Bob has been a major influence in my life as an example of how to combine business savvy with musicianship. The Bob Riedy Blues Band was part of the lineup of a new stage at the Chicago Blues Festival called the Street Stage, which was booked and coordinated by the Windy City Blues Society. This stage was a big hit at the festival because of its very entertaining and high quality rotation of acts. We had a 5pm slot on Saturday with a one hour show. The great Bill Lupkin kicked off the set singing and playing harmonica for the first half of the show. Then they called Sam Lay and I up to perform together for the remainder of the set. Though raining at that point we had a huge crowd, many of whom had umbrellas and raincoats and endured the weather for our set! Other band members include Jon HillerMark WydraJim Wydra, and Frank Capek. Later that night, the same band would appear at Dell Rhea’s Chicken Basket in Willowbrook for a fun show that would be filmed as part of a documentary DVD project that Bob Riedy and David Jack are working on. The Chicken Basket is a wonderful stop on Route 66 complete with great home-style meals. I had a wonderful chicken dinner complete with some of great chicken dumpling soup, the best biscuits ever, and the locally brewed root beer called Route 66 Beer! The car ride home with Sam LayBob Riedy, and photographer Daniel Swadener was hysterical with Sam Lay cracking jokes the whole time. It is a great honor to be included in this group!

    7) Delmark Blues Brunch. It is a tradition to go to the Delmark Blues Brunch at the Jazz Record Mart on the Sunday of the Blues Fest. The brunch provides a showcase of Delmark artists as well as great gathering of blues people and a great excuse to do some nice CD and LP shopping! I had to stop in to visit with my lifelong friend of Bob Koester. I started going to the JRM when I was in my early teens. and Bob and his wife Susan have seen me through all my stages of life. It was great to hang with my former employers Tail Dragger and Willie Buck, who have both come into prominence in recent years from their recorded work on the Delmark record label. Also performing at the brunch were John PrimerEddie C. Campbell,Scott DirksMartin LangeLittle Al Thomas, Quique Gomez, Pierre Lacocque (of Mississippi Heat), and many others. The blues was alive and well that Sunday Morning at JRM!

    8) Buddy Guys Legends! I was able to attend two shows at the new Buddy Guy’s Legends; the Grammy chapter blues show, and Li’l Ed and the Blues Imperials. The new club maintains the vibe of the original club, but with a slightly larger room, a better sound system, and a fresh coat of paint! What a blues party!

    9) Joe Filisko’s Harmonica Class! Joe Filisko is a proactive force of blues harmonica, as a great performer and recording artist, a craftsman of his namesake brand of customized harmonicas, and as a nuturing teacher of the instrument who has had a class at the Old Town School Of Folk Music. It was an honor to be invited to speak at this class on the Monday after the festival. Joe has cultivated this earnest and suppotive enviroment for his students, of which many have gone on to be highly respected working musicians around the Chicago area. After some class instruction by Joe  (which I thoroughlyenjoyed) there was a break before my presentation. Joe had four of his star students (Zoe SavageKirk ManleyGrant Kessler, and Highway Rickey) start out the presentation with a song each. I was knocked out by each of their performances, and it highlighted the level and commitment of the class! Then I was called up for my presentation, which I approached with equal parts performance, history, and philosophy. The class asked many informed questions (about Big WalterPaul Butterfield, producing records, etc.) and I did my best to answer each one in the most informative way. The positive feedback that I received from the class was reaffirming and overwhelming. Along with the students, I was pleased by the attendance of harmonica aces Scott Dirks, and Ivan Marcio who came by to check out the class, as well as my longtime blues buddy, Paul Hopkins, whom I used to see many a show with in the 1970s! Thank you Joe, for the honor of participating in your great class!

    All in all, it was a wonderful trip, and it appears that the blues is going strong in Chicago. Many more great moments occured that were too numerous to mention, but I have listed some of  my favorites! Thanks to Barry Dollins for years of service to the Chicago Blues Festival as word has it that he will soon be retiring from the fest’s coordinator position.

June 8, 2010

June 4, 2010

  • Advance tickets available for June 10th Harp & Soul Festival at SPACE in Evanston. This year’s Blues On The North Shore will be a harmonica festival called Harp & Soul, which happens on June 10th, 8pm, at SPACE in Evanston, Illinois. Bob Corritore will kick off the event with a set featuring Billy Flynn on and guitar vocals, Chris James on guitar and vocals,Bob Riedy on piano, Patrick Rynn on bass, Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith on drums, and a guest appearance by the legendary Sam Lay. This set will also serve as a CD pre-release party for Bob’s new CD, Harmonica Blues on the Delta Groove label. Other sets in the Harp & Soul Festival feature Willie “Big Eyes” Smith (who has a new CD with Pinetop Perkins on Telarc), Rob Stone (who has a new CD out on the Earwig label), and Grady Champion (this year’s winner of theInternational Blues Challenge). Emceeing the event will be Bill Wax, host of B.B. King’s Bluesville on Sirius/XM Satellite radio. This show will be the unofficial pre-party for the 2010 Chicago Blues Festival which kicks off its 3 day run the next day.Thanks to Lynn Orman and Scott Shuman for producing, organizing, and promoting Harp & Soul. To see the Blues On The North Shore website, and to purchase advance tickets, click here, and to see the Front Row Music website with information on this and other events click here.

  • Bob Corritore to do a June 14 harmonica seminar at the Old Town School Of Folk Music in Chicago! Each Monday nioght, harmonica master Joe Filisko (of Filisko & Noden fame) teaches a class for some of the most dedicated blues harmonica students in Chicago. His classes have become a Chicago subculture, and his students are well known for their knowledge and proficiency. Bob Corritore will be a guest of this wonderful gathering on Monday, June 14th. The event takes place at the Old Town School Of Folk Music at 4544 North Lincoln Avenue, Chicago, IL 60625-2103, (773) 728-6000. Joe will kick off the class at 6:30 with Bob appearing around 8pm. There is no cover charge, and visitors are welcome, but non-class members are asked to make reservations by emailing michelle@filisko.com. Please note that the legendary Jerry Portnoy will also be a guest speaker in this class on September 13, 2010. To read more about Joe Filisko‘s class and to sign up for his harmonica newsletter, click here.

  • Simi Valley Festival Reflection. Special thanks to Randy Chortkoff and everyone from Delta Groove Records for successfully and inspirationally hosting the blues stage at the Simi Valley Cajun and Creole Festival last Saturday and Sunday. The Delta Groove roster (including artists on sister label Eclecto Groove) was shown to great advantage at this two day festival with performances by the Hollywood Blue FlamesElvin BishopThe Mannish BoysMitch KashmarThe Soul of John BlackMike ZitoKirk FletcherArthur AdamsCandye Kane (with guest appearance by Bob Corritore), Lynwood Slim with the Igor Prado Band, The Jackie Payne / Steve Edmondson BandLos Fabulocos featuring Kid Ramos, and TheInsomniacs. the Delta Groove label has created a family feeling for its artists, and its multi-band presentations. The Delta Groove label has recently opened a booking agency called Festivals Exclusive which promises more great events to come!

  • Gary Allegretto’s Harmonikids program returns from Haiti. Harmonica player and goodwill missionary, Gary Allegretto recently returned from Port Au Prince, Haiti where he brought his music therapy program called Harmonikids to bring comfort to the children of this earthquake stricken area. To read the full story click here. Thanks Gary, for your continued goodwill offerings, and for channeling the magic of blues harmonica into a healing force.

  • RIP Esther Mabry (aka Mama Nip) – May 25, 1920 to May 31, 2010 – She was 90 years old. Esther Mabry is best known in the Oakland, California area for owning and operating a legendary blues club called Esther’s Orbit Room. After moving from Texas to Oakland in her early 20s, she opened Esther’s Breakfast Room in 1950. Nine years later, she and her husband William bought the building and expanded it to offer live music and cocktails. So began Esther’s Orbit Room, a club that would be known in the Bay Area for appearances by B.B. KingCharles BrownLou RawlsT-Bone WalkerBig Joe TurnerBobby “Blue” BlandIke & Tina TurnerJimmy McCracklinBig Mama ThorntonLowell FulsonAl GreenEtta James, and others. The club ran until just last year, when Esther’s health problems dictated that she close the business after its glorious 59 year run. Esther was a behind the scenes hero of the blues who was not well known outside of her community, but people like Esther are the backbone and the spirit of this industry. and the provider of a place for blues musicians to play. God bless you Esther for all you did. To see her 2008 induction in the West Coast Hall Of Fame click here. To read more about Esther Mabry click here, and here.

  • The Rum Boogie celebrates its 25th anniversary this weekend! This Saturday June 5th, 2010, Memphis’ mainstay blues bar, the Rum Boogie will celebrate its 25th year with a blowout party that includes John Lee Hooker Jr.Billy GibsonDon McMinnJames Gaven & The Boogie Blues Band, the Memphis Blues Society Band, and many others. The Rum Boogie is right at the heart of Beale Street. They provide blues music 7 nights a week to the residents and visitors of Memphis, and frequently are the home of star-studded celebrity blues jams during IBC and BMA weeks. For more information on this event click here, and to see the Rum Boogie’s great website click here.

  • DeFord Bailey on You Tube! DeFord Bailey was an amazing harmonica player, known for his great unaccompanied harmonica masterpieces, and for breaking the racial barrier at the Grand Ole Opry. Check out his wonderful train imitation on the song “Pan American Blues” by clicking here.

May 28, 2010

  • Delta Groove All-Star Blues Revue at The Simi Valley Cajun Creole Music Festival This weekend! Delta Groove Records will host it’s annual All-Star revue this year as a blues stage with two days of non stop entertainment at the 21st Annual Cajun Creole Music Festivalon Saturday May 29, and Sunday May 30 (Memorial Day Weekend), in Simi Valley, California. Artists from the Delta Groove and Eclecto Groove labels appearing at the festival include the Jackie Payne / Steve Edmondson BandArthur AdamsLynwood Slim with the Igor Prado BandThe Insomniacs, the Kirk Fletcher Band,Los Fabulocos featuring Kid RamosThe Soul of John BlackThe Hollywood Blue FlamesMike ZitoCandye Kane (with guest appearance by Bob Corritore), the legendary Elvin Bishop and a very rare Southern California appearance by The Mannish Boys! Bob Corritore‘s Harmonica Blues CD release will be officially released on August 17th, but advance copies will be available at the the festival merchandise area. Simi Valley’s Cajun Creole Music Festival, now with a “Blues Infusion”, is put on every year by the Rotary Club, with one hundred percent of the profits going to charity. For more information, please visit the festival’s website at www.simicajun.org

  • Buddy Guy’s Legends moves to new location! Buddy Guy’s Legends has been a leading force in bringing blues to the heart of Chicago. It is the Chicago stop for most touring blues acts. After years of hearing about changing venue locations, Legends officially opens today at its new address on 700 S. Wabash Avenue, with a show by Shannon Curfman. For more information on the new location and to see the schedule at Buddy Guy’s Legends, click here.

  • RIP Rene Solis September 16, 1954 to April 11, 2010We have word that beloved bay area guitarist/vocalist Rene Solishas passed away. He was 55. Rene was the leader of Nite Cry, a band which, years ago, also featured a young Tommy Castro. Rene also worked with John Lee HookerLuther TuckerCoco Montoya, and Debbie Davies. For more information on Rene Solis, and see his website click here. Thank you Rene, for a life devoted to the blues.

  • Wolf Records to release a CD of 70’s and 80’s recordings by R.L. Burnside! The late R.L. Burnside, along with Fat Possum Records, spearheaded a movement that popularized Mississippi blues for a new generation. R.L.’s larger than life personality, a spellbinding, hypnotic approach to blues, and his rich, southern voice were all parts of his successful formula. He passed away in 2005 after converting hundreds of thousands of young people into blues fans. Wolf Records has announced the June 7th release of R.L. Burnside / Rollin’ & Tumblin, with 19 songs and an interview, all recorded in 1975, 1981, and 1982 on R.L.’s front porch. For more information on Wolf Records click here. To see a photo page dedicated to R. L. Burnside click here.

  • Junior Kimbrough on YouTube! Please enjoy this video of Junior Kimbrough at his hypnotic best, performing “All Night Long” at his juke joint in Holly Springs, Mississippi. This excerpt is from the movie “Deep Blues”. To see this clip click here.

May 21, 2010

  • Chico Chism remembered at the Rhythm Room this Saturday. The late Chico Chism was Howlin’ Wolf’s last drummer and a highly noted player in the Chicago blues scene of the ’70s and early ’80s, and the Phoenix blues scene after that. Chico moved to Phoenix, Arizona to work with Bob Corritore in 1986 and found great acceptance in its music community. In addition to being a popular performer, Chico became an influential blues figure to a number of younger blues artists whom he personally mentored. Chico spent the last 20 years of his life calling Phoenix his home, until he passed away in 2007 at age 79. Each year the Rhythm Room (where Chico spent much of his time) holds a memorial birthday bash, honoring our fallen hero. This year’s event happens on Saturday, May 22, with 7pm doors and a 8pm show and acts include George Thomas & The Flamekeepers (Chico’s last band), Rocket 88sBig Pete PearsonHans OlsonNina CurriWalkin’ Cane Mark, Harmonica Mark, Gypsy, George BowmanRD OlsonMikel Lander & Meridith Moore, and more! To see some great photos of Chico, click hereherehere, and here. Chico is gone, but not forgotten.

  • RIP Larry Dale – January 7, 1923 to May 19 2010. Guitarist/vocalist Larry Dale is best known for 1950s and ’60s session work in New York which yielded many great sides. His amazing vocals could transport a song to an other-worldly quality but he also was a fine guitarist who would be called into recording sessions as an accompanist to other vocalists. Born Ennis Lowery on January 7th, 1927 in Wharton Texas, he would later move to New York where he would record sides for AtlanticJaxHeraldGrooveVik, and Glover. In addition to his own fine recordings, he played on sessions with Champion Jack DupreeBob GaddyPaul Williams, Big Red McHouston, Mr. BearCootie Williams, and others. He passed away on Wednesday at his apartment in New York. He was 86 years old. To see Larry Dale’s full discography, click here. To read a nice bio, click here.

  • Harp & Soul Festival in Evanston to be a pre-party to the Chicago Blues Festival! This year’s Blues On The North Shore will be a harmonica festival called Harp & Soul, which happens on June 10th, 8pm, at SPACE in Evanston, Illinois. Bob Corritore will kick off the event with a set featuring Billy FlynnBob RiedyChris James & Patrick RynnKenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith, and a guest appearance by the legendary Sam Lay. Bob grew up on the north shore and the first blues show he ever saw was a 1971 concert by the Sam Lay Blues Revival in the auditorium of New Trier West High School! This set will also serve as a CD pre-release party for Bob’s new CD, Harmonica Blues on the Delta Groove label. Other sets in the Harp & Soul Festival feature Willie “Big Eyes” Smith (who has a new CD coming out with Pinetop Perkins on Telarc), Rob Stone (who has a new CD out on the Earwig label), and Grady Champion (this year’s winner of the International Blues Challenge). Emceeing the event will be Bill Wax, host of B.B. King’s Bluesville on Sirius/XM Satellite radio. This show is all about the blues harmonica. Thanks to Lynn Orman and Scott Shuman for producing, organizing, and promoting Harp & Soul. To see the Blues On The North Shore website click here, and to see the Front Row Music Website with information on this and other events click here.

  • Phoenix CD Party announced for Chris James & Patrick Rynn’s new Earwig CD! Chris James & Patrick Rynn‘s sophomore release Gonna Boogie Anyway on the Earwig label, finds them exploring their award winning formula on a set of mostly original songs. Chris and Patrick will celebrate their new release on on June 25th, and 26th, at their monthly gig with the Rhythm Room All-Stars at the Rhythm RoomGonna Boogie Anyway will be available for sale at this event!

  • Rhythm Room acknowledged by 944 Magazine! Phoenix’s 944 magazine  has declared the Rhythm Room “Small Music Venue Worth The Price Of Admission” in their current “944 Pics” issue! Thanks for these kind words.

  • Vintage Otis Rush on YouTube! Please enjoy this great Otis Rush clip from the 1966 American Folk Blues Festival performing his hit “I Can’t Quit You Baby.” Click here to see.

May 14, 2010

-Bob Corritore

  • RIP Willie Pooch – 1937 to May 5th, 2010 Columbus, Ohio based blues singer Willie Pooch passed away on May 5th, 2010 from  diabetes complications. He was 72. Born William Johnson in Tupelo, Mississippi in 1937, Willie grew to be a spectacular vocalist and entertainer. He was a huge part of the Columbus, Ohio Blues Scene and will be greatly missed by his community. He recorded and great CD with Cadillac Zak called The Blues Do Something To Me which is available on Zack’s website by clicking here. For more information on Willie Pooch, including some nice video clips, click here.

  • Robert Pete Williams On Myspace! Louisiana country bluesman Robert Pete Williams performs his atmospheric, spell binding blues on these wonderful film clips: Performing “Scrap Iron Blues” (click here to see). A 1970 clip of “Baby Please” (click here to see). A 1970 clip of “Better Listen To Me” part 1 (click here to see): And part 2 (click here to see), and performing “Old Girl At My Door” (click here to see).

May 3, 2010

April 22, 2010

April 17, 2010

  • Rick Estrin to co-host Bob’s radio show tomorrow! Rick Estrin is best known for his great harmonica playing and singing with the Nightcats(Formerly Little Charlie & The Nightcats and now Rick Estrin & The Nightcats). Rick & the Nightcats will have a late afternoon performance on Sunday, April 18th, at the Glendale Jazz & Blues Festival. After that Rick will be coming to KJZZ to join Bob Corritore for a 2 hour guest appearance. Rick will be sharing some of his favorite vintage blues songs, complete with stories and explanations. In addition, he promises some live on air performances. Bob looks forward to the honor of this guest appearance. Bob’s show is called Those Lowdown Blues and it airs each Sunday from 6pm to 11pm on 91.5FM. in the Phoenix area. TLB can also be heard anywhere in the world via the internet at www.KJZZ.org.

April 16, 2010

  • Dave Riley & Bob Corritore to appear Saturday at the Rhythm Room! The Dave Riley / Bob Corritore Juke Joint Blues Band bring their rowdy, fun-loving, down-home blues show to the Rhythm Room this Saturday for a 9pm show, doors at 8pm. The Rhythm Room is located at 1019 E. Indian School Road in Phoenix, Arizona.

  • Louisiana Red racks up awards and nominations! Down-home blues master Louisiana Red has always been an amazing force in the blues. With last year’s release of Louisiana Red with Little Victor’s Juke Joint / Back To The Black Bayou on Ruf Records, Red was propelled into great visibility. That was followed up later in the year with a collaboration with piano ace David Maxwell called You Got To Move on the VizzTone Label Group. Red has recently been recognized with these awards, nominations, and recognitions:

    1) 2009 Grande Prix du Disque (for Blues music) in France. This is the French equivalent of the Grammy and it recognized Back To The Black Bayou as the best blues album of last year. The award was signed by French president Nicholas Sarkozy.

    2) 2009 Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik (quarterly critics award) in Germany.

    3) 2009 Blues News Magazine (Germany) Poll ‘best national album of the year’ and ‘best international album of the year.’ This is the first time both awards were won by single artist!

    4) Red was honored in March by the Oslo Blues Society in Norway with a “Lifetime Achievement Award”

    5) Red will be have a feature interview in a forthcoming issue of Blues Revue Magazine!

    6) Red received five Blues Music Award nominations this year! Winners will be announced May 6th in Memphis! Red’s nominations were in the following categories: Blues Album, Traditional Blues Album, Acoustic Blues Album, Traditional Male Blues Artist, Acoustic Blues Artist.

    Let’s hope that Red continues his winning streak and takes home some BMA statues! Thanks to Dora Minter (Red’s wife)Little Victor, Rainer Faust, and Art Tipaldi for this information. Louisiana Red , his wife Dora and Little Victor will be traveling from Europe to attend this year’s BMAs. Red, Little Victor, and Bob Corritore will appear the following day, May 7th, at Alfred’s on Beale Street for an afternoon concert. To see photo pages devoted to Louisiana Red click here  and here.

  • RIP Walter “Mississippi Slim” Horn, August 13 1943 to April 14th, 2010. Beloved Mississippi based blues singer Mississippi Slim passed away on Wednesday. He was 66. Slim, known for his multi-colored suits and remarkable stage presence, was a crowd favorite at the Mississippi Delta Blues Festival in 2008. He was born in Shelby, Mississippi, raised in Greenville. He recorded for the Sunflower, LaJam, and G-Town labels. For a complete bio of Mississsippi Slim click here. Thanks to Alex Thomas for providing us with this information.

  • Harmonica Summit DVD filming planned! Amanda Taylor (Kim Wilson‘s wife) is producing a spectacular gathering of some of her favorite harmonica players. Included in this lineup are James CottonLazy LesterKim WilsonPaul Oscher,Johnny DyerBharath RajakumarJohnny SansoneJerry PortnoyDave WaldmanBob CorritoreRJ MischoSteve MarrinerBilly Flynn, Vincent Bury and a few suprise guests. The excellent backing band for this event consists of Larry TaylorRichard InnesBilly Flynn, and Barrelhouse Chuck. The event will happen on Friday and Saturday, October 1st, and 2nd, at the Rhythm Room in Phoenix. It will be filmed and recorded with Clarke Rigsby at the technical helm, and will be released in 2011 on CD and DVD on MC Records. This is a once in a lifetime gathering of some of the greatest living players of the blues harmonica traditions. There is a multi generational “fathers and sons” sub-theme running through this event with ages 22 through 76 represented. There be limited tickets sold. A hotel deal will be made available and we expect tickets to go on sale via Ticketmaster in 2 to 3 weeks. More information forthcoming.

  • Furry Lewis 1968 Film Clips on YouTube! They do not make bluesmen like Furry Lewis anymore. Please enjoy these clips of a true master of country blues. Furry performing his classic Kassie Jones (click here). Furry performing East St. Louis Blues (click here).

April 8, 2010

  • A Night with Little Walter, Cambridge, 1964! Rare Little Walter Photos! Thanks to Dave Luxton & Al Thompson for sharing some rare photos of Little Walter taken in 1964 at the Alley Club in Cambridge, England. Some of these images first appeared in the booklet of the grammy winning Little Walter / The Complete Chess Masters (1950 – 1967) on Hip-O Select, but some are previously unseen. To see these photos, and to hear the full story click here.

  • RIP Herb Ellis, August 4, 1921 – March 28, 2010. Jazz guitarist Herb Ellis always had a blues sensibility to his fine playing. In the words of the New York Times “Herb Ellis, a jazz guitarist whose polished, blues-inflected playing earned him critical acclaim as an outstanding soloist and worldwide recognition as a member of the pianist Oscar Peterson’s trio, died Sunday at his home in Los Angeles. He was 88.” Ellis recorded with Ella FitzgeraldLouis ArmstrongDizzy GillespieStuff SmithStan Getz, and of course Oscar Peterson. Ellis’ co-wrote the jazz classic “Detour Ahead” which was most notably covered by Billie Holiday. To read the full New York Times obit, click here.

  • RIP Ray Hoff, December 29, 1942 – March 19, 2010Gil Onyett reports on the passing of Australian blues/roots rock musician Ray Hoff. In Gil’s own words; “Australia lost another rock ‘n’ roll/rhythm ‘n’ blues legend with the passing of Ray Hough, who recorded as Ray Hoff. He made some recordings in the ’60s as Ray Hoff & The Offbeats. Hoff’s only subsequent recording, “Loud, Dirty, ‘n’ Rockin’, appeared in 2000, and was produced by Australian rockabilly star Red Rivers“.  To read more about Ray Hoff, click here.

  • Bob Corritore & Friends included in the Lakeside Jazz Series at Tempe Center for the Arts! Bob Corritore will bring a showcase of his blues associates to the beautiful Tempe Center for the Arts on Saturday, November 27th at 8pm, as part of the Lakeshore Jazz Series. This spectacular performance center is a joy for both artist and audience alike. The series features top names in the business including Mose AllisonBenny Green TrioBrian Bromberg and others. To find out more about the Lakeshore Jazz Series and to purchase tickets click here.

  • Candye Kane appears at the Rhythm Room this Friday! Delta Groove recording artist Candye Kane brings her fun loving show to the Rhythm Room on Friday, April 9th with an opening set by Skip Heller. The Rhythm Room is located at 1019 E. Indian School Road, Phoenix, AZ 85014. Doors open at 8pm, cover charge is $12. Rack Shack Barbeque will be available at this event. This night will be a patio smoking only event; no indoor smoking will be permitted.

  • Bukka White on YouTube! Please enjoy this great film clip of Bukka White singing and playing “Got Sick And Tired”. Bukka’s tough voice, insistently percussive guitar style, and passionate delivery make him one of the greatest champions of country blues. Note that Howlin’ Wolf and Son House are in the background of this film. Click here to see the clip.

March 30, 2010

  • New Pinetop Perkins / Willie “Big Eyes” Smith CD forthcoming! Producer Michael Freeman of Coachouse Music reports “I’ve just finished producing a long awaited album for Pinetop Perkins and Willie “Big Eyes” Smith for Telarc, titledJoined At the Hip, and due for a May/June release.” We look forward to this very natural pairing of alumni of the Muddy Waters band, which BTW, also includes the great John Primer on guitar (another Muddy alum). Pinetop is now 96 years young, and is still playing at the top of his game. Willie “Big Eyes” Smith has emerged a frontman / harmonica player in the last few years, and this CD will surely help advance his already solid reputation. Thanks Michael for this great news!

  • RIP Bobby Alexis, birth-date unknown – March 4, 2010. Dorothy Hill reports that keyboardist Bobby Alexis died in Houston on March 4th of a heart attack. Alexis worked for many years in the Albert Collins band, and also had played with Guitar Shorty, and Bo Diddley. Sadly, very little biographical information is available about Bobby Alexis, though he was very well known in musician circles.

  • Get well cards for Fontella Bass. Deitra Farr reports on an ailing Fontella Bass, the St. Louis based soul singer, best known for the hit “Rescue Me”Deitra states “Fontella Bass has been very ill from a series of strokes. I would love for her fans and fellow musicians to show her some love and support.” Get well cards and letters may be sent to:

    Fontella Bass
    c/o Rosewood Care Center of St. Louis
    Room 415
    11278 Schuetz Road
    St. Louis, Missouri 63146

  • Chicago Blues Festival honors Howlin’ Wolf! Lineup announced! The Chicago Blues Festival takes place on June 11th, 12th, and 13th, at Grant Park. This year the Fest celebrates the centennial of Howlin’ Wolf’s birthday with performances and panels by his former band members and associates. Among those associates performing will be Eddie ShawHenry GrayHubert SumlinSam LayJames Cotton, and Abb Locke! For more information and to see a full lineup for the Chicago Blues Festival, click here. To see a recently published photo page honoring the great Howlin’ Wolf, click here.

  • 2009 BMA photo page posted! The Blues Music Awards is the greatest annual gathering of the blues world. The BMAs are a simply wonderful party, where some wonderful and unique blues people meet and greet. Please enjoy this photo display from last year’s Awards show. Included are photos of Koko TaylorBobby RushSteve GuygerThe Mannish BoysLil’ Ed,B.B. KingBonnie RaittChris JamesPatrick RynnBig Pete PearsonBill WaxBob and Linda PorterFionna BoyesHubert SumlinSteven SeagalIrma ThomasBobby Bland, and more! This year’s BMAs will take place in Memphis on Thursday, May 6th. To see the 2009 BMA photo page click here. For more information on this year’s BMAs click here.

  • Some great new blues books! Three wonderful, newly published books have come to our attention. The first is Blues Before Sunrise, The Radio Interviews, which features a sampling of amazing interviews that Chicago author / radio show host Steve Cushing conducted with blues artists and producers such as Yank RachellGray GhostJody WilliamsLittle HudsonRalph BassJohn and Grace BrimJohnny WilliamsCadillac BabyAlberta Hunter, and more! Steve’s uncanny historical knowledge is apparent throughout this fascinating set of life stories that Steve ably coaxes from each interview subject. We should also mention that Steve is a great blues drummer and producer, who made records with Magic Slim and Big Smokey Smothers. For more information on Blues Before Sunrise, The Radio Interviews, click here. To enjoy a filmed interview with Steve Cushing on WGN click here. Also from, and about the windy city comes The Chicago Music Scene, 1960’s and 1970s by Dean Milano. This is a thought provoking photo essay of a time and place filled with musical zest and activity. Approximately a fifth of this book is devoted to the blues, and does so in fine form, with great era photos of the most prevalent blues artists of that period. The cover photo alone is worth the price of admission with a great shot of Lonnie Brooks performing at Chicago Fest at Navy Pier in the late 1970s. To see the cover and read more about this book click here. The third book that has come to our attention is Blues, Booze, and BBQ by Michael Loyd Young which is a spellbinding photographic journal of the modern day Mississippi blues experience. With stunningly colorful and vivid images in high quality reproduction, Young takes us on a journey through Highway 61. This is the Delta of today, complete with both the timeless deep south quality of the blues, and the juxtaposed tourist based blues modernization that is now part of the landscape. To read more about Blues, Booze, and BBQ and see a slide show of some of the book’s images click here, then Essays, and Blues, Booze, and BBQ. All three of these books are spectacular in that they aptly accomplish their mission statement and bring a wonderful focus to the blues!

  • Anthology CD of vintage Phoenix blues gets first reviews! Earlier this year the Southwest Musical Arts Foundation released a complilation of vintage Phoenix Blues titled Flyin’ High, A Collection Of  Phoenix Blues, Rhythm, and Spirit from the 1950’s and 60’s. The CD’s 27 tracks include Big Pete Pearson‘s first recordings, Reverend Louis Overstreet, J.C. Arline, The Lone Wolf, Duke Draper, Maxine Johnson, John “Oklahoma Zeke” Lewis, Dumas King, Roosevelt Nettles, Budd Spudd & The Sprouts, Jimmy Knight, Baby Jean, the Curtis Gray Combo, and more. It has received its first two reviews, courtesy of Blues Source and Blues & Rhythm Magazine. You can read these reviews online by clicking here. To see the cover art for Flyin’ High, click here, and to read the extensive liner notes by John Dixon, click here. This CD is currently available through Bluebeat Music and can be purchased by clicking here. Proceeds from the sales of this CD will go to the Southwest Musical Arts Foundation who are planning more historically important blues releases.

  • Posthumus Gary Primich CD released! This news just in from Harri Haka: “A newly released CD collection of Gary Primich live performances in Finland, called Gary Indiana, has been released by the Finnish Blues Society on the Blue North record label.” Harmonica ace Gary Primich,  passed away on Sept 23rd, 2007, at the early age of 49, so this continuance of his legacy is most welcome. For more information on the new release click here.

  • Albert Ammons & Pete Johnson on YouTube! Please enjoy this amazing colaboration of Albert Ammons and Pete Johnson, two of the definitive innovators of boogie woogie piano, who perform together on this vintage film clip of “Boogie Woogie Dream” (click here to see)

March 26, 2010

  • RIP Clayton Love November 15, 1927 – Feb. 28, 2010. Clayton Love  will best be remembered as the vocalist and pianist in Ike Turner’s Kings Of Rhythm. He passed away at a hospice in St Louis from complications of a stroke and heart problems, He was 82. He was born in Mattson, Mississippi in 1927. During 40s and 50s Love was a popular musician around the Vicksburg area, fronting and organizing sophisticated swing bands. This sound was reflected in his first recordings done for the Trumpet label in 1951. His association with Ike Turner soon followed and eventually led to his mid 1950’s relocation to St. Louis, where he would front Ike’s band, The Kings of Rhythm, and record such great songs as “Do You Mean It”, “She Made My Blood Run Cold”, and “The Big Question”. Clayton Love would make St. Louis his lifelong home, and he was one of that town’s proud blues statesmen until the day he died. His long career saw releases with TrumpetModernAladdinFederalGrooveBobbinMonadModern BluesAceCharleyCollectibles, and Alligator. His great R&B vocals and spectacular recordings will live forever in blues history. To see a Clayton Love interview with with STL Blues click here.

  • RIP Rockie Charles November 14, 1942 – March 12, 2010. New Orleans soul singer and guitarist Rockie Charles passed away in his home town on Friday March 12th, after a long struggle with cancer. He was 67. Born Charles Merrick in Boothville, Louisiana, he would learn guitar at an early age from his father, and at age 13 moved to New Orleans where he would formally study music. As a young man in the 1960s he hit the road backing O.V. WrightPercy SledgeOtis Redding, and others. He would record a handful of singles and albums, of which the best known is his CD, Born For You, on theOrleans label, which finds this wonderful vocalist and songwriter at the top of his game. He had become a popular attraction at the annual retro roots festival called Ponderosa Stomp. To read the NOLA.com article about Rockie Charles‘ life and times, and to see a nice video clip, click here.

  • RIP Marva Wright March 20. 1948 – March 23, 2010. New Orleans blues and gospel singer Marva Wright passed away from complications from a 2009 stroke. She was 62. She came into prominence in the 1980s and became known as the “Blues Queen of New Orleans”. She recorded and toured frequently, and won over audiences in the US and Europe with her powerful voice and stage presence, and her kind and sincere personality. For more information on Marva and to enjoy her beautiful website click here. To see a film clip of Marva performing “Heartbreakin’ Woman” click here, and performing “Bluesiana Mama” click here. Thanks Marva, for giving us your heart with each performance.

  • RIP Rod ‘Beachhead’ Jeffery, birth-date unknown –  February 26, 2010. This sad news in from Colin Briscoe of Sydney, Australia, who reports “Rod “Beachhead” Jeffrey, one of the pioneering Australian bluesman, and vocalist with the band Beachhead, passed away on Friday, February 26th, after a long and arduous fight with cancer.”Rod’s bio indicates that his major activities took place in the 1980s and his influence and blues contribution, in his community was great. To see Ron “Beachhead” Jeffery’s website, filled with photos and information, click here.

  • RIP Barbara Brown, birth-date unknown – February 3, 2010.  Ace Records Reports that Memphis soul singer Barbara Brown, passed away on February 3rd. She was in her 70s. Brown was best known for her hit “Big Party”, on the Stax label, with Barbara & the Browns (featuring her and her 3 sisters). She would also record classic soul sides for XLCadetTowerAtcoSounds of Memphis. Her short lived career ended in 1972 when she left music for good. But a resurgence of interest happened in 2007, when Kent reissued her classic sides on the album Can’t Find Happiness, and again a year later when the highly acclaimed soul collection Take Me To The River (also on Kent Records), featured one of her brilliant recordings. It is wonderful that she was able to see this appreciation during her her lifetime. To see the article on Ace Records website, click here.

March 12, 2010

  • RIP Patte’ Williams – November. 21, 1945 to March 6, 2010. Phoenix’s first lady of soul, Patte’ Williams (AKA Patti Williams) passed away Saturday, March 6th while recuperating in the hospital from surgery a few days before. She was 64. Though barely known outside the Phoenix area, and terribly under-recorded, Patte’ Williams was considered by many to be Phoenix’s top female soul singer. She possessed a powerful, gospel inflected singing voice that was often compared to that of Aretha Franklin. During the seventies she released a wonderful single called “One Time Around Kind Of Thing” and had an acting part in the Rudy Ray Moore Movie Human Tornado. She performed regularly in Phoenix and California, and was also very active in the church community. She was a beautiful woman with kind word and a smile for everyone. She will be greatly missed. To read the Arizona Republic article by Larry Rodgers click here. To hear Patte’ singing “Doing The Best That I Can” click here. To see a YouTube Clip of Patte’ performing “Damn Your Eyes” at the Rhythm Room click here. To see an interview on Backstage Pass with both Chico Chism and Patte’ Click here. Services will be held on Saturday at 10am at First Pentecosal Church, 2701 E. Marguerite, Phoenix, 85040. Thank you Patte’, for blessing Phoenix with your musical gifts and your exemplary dignity.

  • Rhythm Room All-Stars appear Friday and Saturday at the Rhythm Room! The Rhythm Room All-Stars return to their home base on Friday and Saturday, March 12th and 13th, for a weekend of house rockin’ and blues shoutin’. The Rhythm Room All-Stars consist of Big Pete PearsonBob CorritoreChris JamesPatrick Rynn, and Brian Fahey. This weekend, special guest Dave Riley will stop in to do a guest set each night. Doors are at 8pm, with a 9pm showtime. The Rhythm Room is located at 1019 E. Indian School Rd., Phoenix, AZ. 85257.

  • Dave Riley & Bob Corritore European interviews! Two prominent European music magazines have recently published interviews that were conducted last November during the Lucerne Blues FestivalMarino Grande, of Italy’s presigious blues magazine Il Blues met with both Dave Riley and Bob Corritore for seperate interviews which are now included in the latest issue. You can see these interviews by clicking here. Marco Piazzalonga of Switzerland’s Jazz ‘N More Magazine also did a Bob Corritore interview which is out in the current issue of that magazine. You can see Bob’s Jazz ‘N More interview by clicking here. We also recently posted an article/interview done with Bob for the Lucerne local newspaper which can be viewed by clicking here. Thanks to all the publications who have taken interest in Dave Riley and Bob Corritore.

  • Rhythm Room All-Stars activities. The Rhythm Room All-Stars have been actively involved in various musical projects and activities. Chris James and Patrick Rynn are working on the finishing touches of their sophomore release on the Earwig label. The new CD is called Gonna Boogie Anyway. Chris and Patrick will also participate in the 2010 Spring Harp Festival in San Diego on April 3rd, 21010 (click here for more information). Chris has also produced a forthcoming CD by harmonica player Rob Stone (Chris’ long time associate). Patrick Rynn, who was recently nominated for a BMA in the bass player category, has a interview feature in the latest issue of Big City BluesBrian Fahey is on the cover of the most recent issue of Belgium’s Back To The Roots Magazine. Brian will also participate in a two week Paladins reunion tour in Europe in early May. Bob Corritore is working on his next album called Harmonica Blues with an amazing array of special guests (more on this shortly!). Big Pete Pearson is recovering nicely from knee replacement surgery and after a week was already back to performing! Big Pete Pearson was recently featured on Blues Quest syndicated Blues show with host Mike Sanders (Clickhere to enjoy the podcast). Thanks for the attention received by the Rhythm Room All-Stars, both as a band and individually. Each member of this group brings allot to the table.

  • Mississippi Valley Blues Festival lineup announced! Each year the Mississippi Valley Blues Society host a top notch, 3 day blues festival during the 4th of July weekend at beautiful LeClaire Park in Davenport, Iowa. This Festival is considered one of the best blues gatherings in the country and each year has a stellar lineup. This year the 26th annual IH Mississippi Valley Blues Festival lineup includes Li’l Ed and the Blues ImperialsAna PopovicZac HarmonVasti JacksonRosie LedetRuthie FosterBilly Branch and the Sons of the BluesShawn KellermanLucky PetersonThe Legendary Blues Cruise Revue featuring Tommy Castro and Debbie DaviesDave Riley and Bob CorritoreThe Nighthawks with Hubert Sumlinand a tribute to descendants of blues legends, featuring Mud MorganfieldBernard AllisonLittle Pink AndersonCaroline ShinesLurrie Bell, and Shirley King. The festival also includes free blues workshops, and “BlueSKool” for the kids. For more information about the festival and it’s hosts click here.

  • Helen Humes’ star studded blues jam on YouTube! Please enjoy this wonderful blues gathering that features Helen Humes, Willie DixonSonny Terry & Brownie McGhee, Jump Jackson, and T-Bone Walker! This 1962 film clip was part of the American Folk Blues Legends Tour of that year. Click here to see this unique blues gathering.

February 26, 2010

  • RIP Brian “B.B.”Bruce – September 17, 1946 – February 24, 2010. Harmonica player, Brian “B.B.” Bruce passed away Wednesday, February 24th, of colon cancer in his home of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He was 63. Best known for his long association with Henry Gray, Brian and Andy Cornett co-founded Henry Gray & The Cats in the mid 1970s. Bruce also worked with the legendary Tabby ThomasRudy RichardLarry GarnerLil’ Buck SinegalHarry “Big Daddy” HypoliteCarol Fran and a host of other Louisiana artists. Bruce received a Slim Harpo Award from the Baton Rouge Blues Foundation in the mid 1990s. Cornett has this to say about his longtime friend and musical associate; “Brian”B.B.” Bruce embodied a sense of delight and gratefulness, delivered 110% commitment, dedication, heart and soul in all of his performances no matter where he performed in the world. He touched and many people’s hearts with his music and his life.” Memorial services will be held at Rabenhorst Funeral Home on Florida Blvd. in Baton Rouge, LA this Saturday, February 27th, at 3:00 pm. Thanks to Andy Cornett for providing the biographical information.

  • Louisiana Red Raves On Blogcritics.org! In anticipation of the Blues Music Awards, of which Louisiana Red is nominated for five (count ’em five!), Blogcritics web site has posted a series of comments on Red’s album, Back To The Black Bayouon Ruf Records. This CD was produced and organized by Little Victor, who also does some champion backing of Red. To see the Blogcritics review of this CD, click here. To see the discussion of the song “I’m Louisiana Red” with Kim Wilson on harmonica click here. To see the discussion of the song “You Done Quit Me” with Bob Corritore on harmonica, click here. Please note that voting closes on the morning of March 1st so make sure and cast your ballots! Best of luck to the great Louisiana Red!

  • Whistler’s Jug Band on YouTube! – Please enjoy this wonderful 1930 preformance by Whistler’s Jug Band playing “Foldin’ Bed”. Whistler’s Jug Band were from Louisville, Kentucky. The leader of the band was Buford Threlkeld, who went by the stage name of Whistler. Guitars, jugs, banjos, hand claps, and great vocals, are all a part of the fun and frolic. To see this film clip, click here.

February 25, 2010

  • Mud Morganfield to perform with the Rhythm Room All-Stars for Blues Blast pre-party this Friday at the Rhythm Room. It is uncanny how Mud Morganfield can summon up the sound and presence of his late father, Muddy Waters. A chilling singer and bandleader, Mud’s powerhouse performance at the 2009 Lucerne Blues Festival swept the audience off their feet. Mud comes to Phoenix to join with the Rhythm Room All-Stars (Bob CorritoreChris JamesPatrick RynnBrian Fahey, and Johnny Rapp) on Friday, February 26th, for an evening of no nonsense blues in the true spirit of Muddy Waters. This night also serves as the preparty for the Blues Blast Festival 2010!

  • Blues Blast 2010, Phoenix’s Blues Festival! Each February the Phoenix Blues Society hosts its annual blues festival, called “Blues Blast” (not to be confused with the online magazine of the same name), at the Mesa Amphitheater, with an interesting program of national and home grown talent. Blues Blast 2010 happens on Saturday, February 27th and features Big James & The Chicago PlayboysCandye KaneThe InsomniacsThe Sugar ThievesThe Jump Back Brothers, and Tom Walbank and Arthur Migliazza. Gates open at 10am with music from 11am til around 7pm. Later that night the Rhythm Room will host a Blues Blast After-party and Celebrity Jam with the Rhythm Room All-Stars and many special guests. To read more about Blues Blast 2010 click here.

  • Wilroy Sanders RIP – Birthdate unkown – February 16, 2010 Beloved Memphis blues guitarist and singer Wilroy Sanders passed away on Tuesday after a battle with lung cancer. He was 76, Wilroy played in the Binghampton Blues Boys, formed and led The Fieldstones, and owned the Memphis blues bar, Green’s Lounge. though a wonderful down home singer and guitarist, Wilroy would never achieve great fame. He did make some very memorable records which appeared on the XL,High WaterHighTone, and Shangri-La labels. To read more about Wilroy’s passing click here. For the Blues World article about Wilroy lick here.

  • Blues Foundation announces 2010 Hall of Fame Inductees. Each year the Blues Foundation honors past and presentartists, recordings, authors, books, and other notable achievements in the blues. These honors are presented in a private special awards dinner in Memphis, on Wednesday, May 5th, 2010, the night before the Blues Music Awards. This year’s recipients have recently been announced and include Charlie MusselwhiteLonnie BrooksBonnie RaittW.C. Handy,Gus CannonSonny PayneAmos Milburn, and many others. For a full list of inductees click here. Congratulations to all of the 2010 Blues Hall Of Fame inductees!

  • New Live William Clarke CD now available! Jeanette Lodovici, the widow of the late West Coast harmonica masterWilliam Clarke, has lovingly been releasing her late husband’s recorded work in a series of collectors CDs. The latest installment is called William Clarke / Live Bootleg Cassette Anthology, and features surprisingly good sounding board tapes of live shows from 1991 and 1996. The 1996 shows were recorded on his last tour just weeks before William’s untimely passing at the age of 45, with a band consisting of Paul Bryant, Rick Reed and Brian Fahey. This CD is a wonderful reminder of the powerful talent of this harmonica great. To read more about this release click here.

  • The Flamingos rock on YouTube! The Flamingos were one of the greatest harmony groups of the 1950s and their stage show, complete with choreography, was just wonderful. Please enjoy this example of their work as they perform the jump blues song “Jump Children” (click here to see).  Though poorly lip synced, this film clip has some of the best stage energy ever!

February 15, 2010

  • RIP Dale Hawkins, Aug 23rd, 1936 – February 14th, 2010. Rock & Roll Pioneer Dale Hawkins  passed away in Little Rock, Arkansas on Feb 14th, after a battle with colon cancer. He was 73. Dale was best known for his 1957 classic “Susie Q”, which would later be covered by both the Rolling Stones and by Creedence Clearwater Revival. Dale’s band was a training ground for many amazing guitarits including James BurtonScotty MooreJoe OsbornRoy BuchananFred Carter, and Kenny Paulsen. Dale was inducted into both the Rockabilly Hall Of Fame, and the Louisiana Music Hall Of Fame. For more information on Dale Hawkins’ passing click here. For Dale’s website (which plays “Suzie Q” while you are checking it out!) click here, and for his discography click here. Dale Hawkins’ “Suzie Q” will remain a timeless work of art.

  • RIP Lil’ Dave Thompson – May 21, 1969 – February 14th 2010. It is with great sadness that we report that Mississippi blues guitarist Lil’ Dave Thompson died today from an auto accident outside of Augusta, Georgia, while touring with his band. His van overturned and Dave was thrown from the vehicle and pronouced dead on the scene by the paramedics. Other members of the group were reportedly not seriously injured. Dave was born in Hinds County, Mississippi and was greatly influenced by musicans from that area. He made his first record for Fat Possum in 1995, and subsequently had two beautiful releases for Electro-Fi. In the last few years he had toured extensively as he built his career. He had developed into a spectacular singer and a fine, modern blues guitarist. For more details on Dave’s untimely death click here, and here. To see Dave Thompson‘s website click here. Rest In peace Lil’ Dave.

February 8, 2010

  • W.C. Clark appearing Tonight at the Rhythm Room! Texas blues and soul crooner W.C. Clark, stops by the Rhythm Room for a rare appearance on Friday, February 12th, as he makes his way towards, California on his Southwest tour. The doors open at 8pm for a 9pm show. The Rhythm Room is located at 1019 E. Indian School Road in Phoenix, Arizona.

  • Dave Riley & Bob Corritore to appear Saturday at the Rhythm Room! The Dave Riley / Bob Corritore Juke Joint Blues Band bring their rowdy, fun-loving, down-home blues show to the Rhythm Room this Saturday for a 9pm show, doors at 8pm. The Rhythm Room is located at 1019 E. Indian School Road in Phoenix, Arizona.

  • Dave Riley & Bob Corritore / Lucky To Be Living named among Top Releases of 2009 in numerous listings! Dave Riley & Bob Corritore / Lucky To Be Living has been included in numerous best of the year lists. L2BL was among the “Top 50 Blues Albums For 2009” as listed by Living Blues Magazine in the February 2010 issue (with John Primer on the cover). L2BL was listed among the “Top 25 Soul & Blues Releases of 2009” by Juke Joint Soul (click here to see ). L2BL was among the “Best Hits Blues & Ballads & Hard Rock” on Russia’s TFile website (Click here to see). L2BL was listed as the #1 blues CD in “WMWV’s Blues Summit Top 50 Blues CDs For 2009″! Lucky To Be Living has also appeared in numerous places as critics best of the year. Thanks for all the support!

  • Nick Curran Benefit this Monday at the Rhythm Room. The Rhythm Room has put together a benefit for Nick Curran to take place on Monday, February 15th, 8pm. Nick Curran, 31, was recently diagnosed with tongue cancer and is not working while he undergoes radiation treatments. Nick has a long history at the Rhythm Room having played the venue with Ronnie DawsonKim Lenz, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, and of course his own band, Nick Curran & The Nitelifes. Nick recently reactivated his solo career after a long stint with the Fabulous Thunderbirds, and he has a new CD out called Reform School Girl on the Eclecto Groove Label. Appearing at the Rhythm Room Benefit will be The Rocket 88’sThe Jump Back Brothers, The Dave Riley / Bob Corritore Juke Joint Blues BandJim RobertsonMario MarenoNina Curri, and the Mike Eldred Trio, and more! Special thanks to Jim Robertson for putting this event together. Prayers to Nick for a speedy and full recovery.

  • Etta James Health Update. This just in from the PerezHilton.com websiteEtta James‘ son Donto stated today that his mother’s condition is improving and doctors have been able to control the infections that led to her hositalization two weeks ago. Etta has been transferred to a medical center in a Los Angeles suburb. Donto has said that she is eager to get back to performing although it’s unknown when she’ll be released. Get well soon, Etta!

  • Lucerne Blues Festival reviewed in Il Popolo del Blues. Thanks to Luca Lupoli of Il Popolo del Blues for covering the spectacular Lucerne Blues Festival, and much appreciation for his kind words about Tomcat CourtneyDave Riley & Bob Corritore. To see this article click here.

  • Tomcat Courtney To Be Inducted in West Coast Blues Hall Of Fame! The Bay Area Blues Society will present the West Coast Blues Hall of Fame on Sunday, March 28, 6pm, at the Grand Ballroom of the Hilton Oakland Airport, One Hegenberger Rd, Oakland, CA 94621. Congratulations to Tomcat Courtney, the 81 year old San Diego based bluesman,who reports that he will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in this ceremony. To see some photo pages featuring Tomcat Courtney, click here, and here. To read more about this event click here.

  • Dorothy Love Coates on YouTube! Gospel belter, Dorothy Love Coates and her great harmony group, the Gospel Harmonettes, were champions at delivering the testifying, soul side of gospel. Dorothy was from Birmingham, Alabama and after a hard childhood, rose to gospel stardom in the 1950s, combining her powerful voice with her passionate conviction, for an unstoppable presentation. To see Dorothy performing “The Winner” click here,  and performing “I’m Holding On” click here.

February 3, 2010

  • Blues and the Grammys! Little Walter Wins Best Historical Album! Each year the Grammy Awards recognize releases from all genres of music, and all aspects of the music industry. The televised, sensationalized presentation of the Grammy Awards is an amazing spectacle, filled with star power, glitz, and pomp. The blues has always had its place at the Grammys, albeit a small place in comparison to the pop world. But a Grammy is probably the highest musical honor that a musician can achieve. This year the two categories that are specifically designated for the blues (Traditional Blues Album, and Contemporary Blues Album) were taken out of the separate blues category, and put into a new category called American Roots, which also contains subcategories of such varied musical styles as Folk, BluegrassAmericana,HawaiianCajunZydeco and Native American Music. To vote in the Grammys, one must be a member of NARAS (The National Academy of Recorded Arts and Sciences), which requires some involved music industry credentials. WhenNARAS members receive their ballot, each member can vote in up to eight musical categories. By having this new American Roots category, it opens it up for more people to vote in the blues category. Put this all together and you have a voting base that is often times more versed in music as a whole than specifically the blues. So a win in the blues often reflects the mainstream or crossover recognition of the artist. This differs greatly from the Blues Music Awards, or the Blues Blast Music Awards, where voters are specifically from the blues community. This is all being said to put the Grammy’s into the proper context.

    It is fascinating that over 40 years after Little Walter‘s death, he would receive his first Grammy award. This was in the category of best Historical Release for the album Little Walter / The Complete Chess Masters (1950-1967), a five CD set produced by Andy McKaie, and compiled by Scott Dirks and AndyLittle Walter is to this day considered an unequaled genius of blues harmonica, and his recordings stand among the greatest examples of Chicago blues. Little Walterhas had much mainstream attention as of late, with his odd portrayal in last year’s movie Cadillac Records, and his 2008 induction in the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame. This win is an exceptional statement of the power and longevity of the blues! Speaking of longevity, Honeyboy Edwards made the blues world proud with his special merit Grammy for lifetime achievement! Honeyboy is now 94 years old and has recorded in every decade since the 1940s! He had a direct connection with Robert Johnson, brought Little Walter to Chicago in his travels, and remains a world wide touring phenomenon. In the blues categories, the winners are; Traditional Blues Album: A Stranger HereRamblin’ Jack Elliott, and Contemporary Blues Album: Already FreeThe Derek Trucks Band. Some blues related artists and songs creeped into some non-blues categories, and these winners are; Zydeco or Cajun Music Album: Lay Your Burden DownBuckwheat Zydeco,Traditional R&B Vocal Performance: Beyoncé, “At Last” (covering the Etta James classic), Pop Instrumental Album:Potato HoleBooker T. Jones (of Booker T & The MGs), Traditional Gospel Album: Oh Happy Day, Various Artists (includes Mavis StaplesAaron NevilleAl GreenRobert Randolph with mainstream artists), and as we mentioned before,Historical Album: The Complete Chess Masters (1950-1967)Little Walter.  For a complete listing of all the 2010 Grammy winners click here.

    Congratulations to all the winners, and to all the nominees, who just by becoming nominated, gain great musical clout.

  • Etta James Hospitalized. The legendary Etta James has been hospitalized in California after suffering various ailments including blood infection. Etta has had numerous health issues over the years, but has always come through them to warm our hearts with her amazing performances. The latest word is that she is slowly recovering. For more information click here.

  • Dave Riley / Bob Corritore to appear at The Mississippi Valley Blues Festival! This just in: Dave Riley & Bob Corritore will appear on July 4th at the Mississippi Valley Blues Festival, in Davenport, Iowa. The three day festival, now in its 26th year, takes place each 4th of July weekend, and brings in top blues entertainment to perform on numerous stages and workshops. More information and a full festival lineup will be forthcoming.

  • Vintage Phoenix Blues Anthology now available! The Southwest Musical Arts Foundation has released a complilation of Phoenix Blues from the 1950s and 60s! Though Phoenix is not often celebrated as a town with a rich blues history, but this release will remedy any misconceptions. This limited edition, collectors issue  is titled Flyin’ High, A Collection Of  Phoenix Blues, Rhythm, and Spirit from the 1950’s and 60’s. The CD’s 27 tracks include Big Pete Pearson‘s first recordings,Reverend Louis Overstreet, J.C. Arline, The Lone Wolf, Duke Draper, Maxine Johnson, John “Oklahoma Zeke” Lewis, Dumas King, Roosevelt Nettles, Budd Spudd & The Sprouts, Jimmy Knight, Baby Jean, the Curtis Gray Combo, and more. Look for this release in early 2010. To see the cover art for Flyin’ High, click here, and to read the extensive liner notes by John Dixon, click here. This CD is currently available only through Bluebeat Music and can be purchased by clicking here. Proceeds from the sales of this CD will go to the Southwest Musical Arts Foundation who are planning more historically important blues releases.

  • Music Maker Foundation Artists on YouTube! The Music Maker Relief Foundation is one of the modern miracles of blues philanthropy. Headed by Tim Duffy, and based in Hillsborough, NC, the Music Maker Relief Foundation has provided financial assistance and recognition for some of the nearly forgotten, veteran heroes of the blues, particularly from the southeastern area of the United States. Here are a few filmed examples of the artists they have helped: Adolphus Bell‘s  Public Service Announcement (click here). Adolphus Bell performing “Pawn Shop Blues” (click here), Captain Luke with Tim Duffy Public Service Announcement (click here), and John Dee Holeman performing “One Black Rat” (click here). Thank you MMRF for your great service to the blues!

January 29, 2010

  • Dave Riley & Bob Corritore to appear Saturday at the Rhythm Room! The Dave Riley / Bob Corritore Juke Joint Blues Band bring their rowdy fun-loving show to the Rhythm Room this Saturday for a 9pm show (doors at 8pm). This will be their first show after a well received appearance at the Blind Raccoon Showcase in Memphis last Friday. The Rhythm Room is located at 1019 E. Indian School Road in Phoenix, Arizona.

  • Art Tipaldi New Editor Of Blues Revue! Art Tipaldi is known throughout the blues as a writer, reviewer, educator, emcee, photographer, and an active Blues Foundation participant. He now adds editor of Blues Revue magazine to his long list of credentials! Art succeeds editor Ken Bays as the next in the grand tradition of this noble magazine. We congratulate and welcome our friend Art Tipaldi as he takes on another great service to the blues.

  • Grammy’s to recognize Honeyboy Edwards with a Special Merit Award tomorrow! The Recording Academy will present David “Honeyboy” Edwards with a Special Merit Award at a ceremony happening on Saturday, January 30th, in conjunction with Sunday’s Grammy Awards ceremony. The 94 year old blues man has recorded since the 1940s, and is one of the last living practitioners of classic delta blues. Other Special Merit Award recipients this year include Leonard Cohen,Bobby DarinMichael JacksonLoretta LynnAndré Previn, and Clark Terry. We congratulate the amazing Honeyboy Edwards and are happy that he could see this honor in his lifetime. To see an in depth article on Honeyboy, click here. To see a photo page devoted to Honeyboy, click here.

  • Eddie Taylor honored with Mississippi blues Trail Marker! The late Eddie Taylor was a spectacular blues guitarist, best known for his sensitive accompaniment on the Vee Jay recordings of Jimmy Reed and John Lee Hooker. Eddie was also a great singer and his recordings such as “Bad Boy”, “Big Town Playboy”, and “Stroll Out West”, show him to be a star in his own right. Though Eddie Taylor’s work has helped to define Chicago blues, he always brought forth the feel of his native Mississippi. Clifford Antone, of Antone’s records, once referred to Eddie as “the greatest guitar player in the world”. Eddie will be honored with a Mississippi Blues Trail Marker in his hometown of Benoit, Mississippi. The unveiling ceremony will take place on Monday, February 1st, 2pm, at the intersection of Highways 1 and 448 in Benoit. Thanks to Leigh Portwood and everyone involved in recognizing this legendary artist. For more information on the Mississippi Trail Marker program click here.

  • Contemporary Blues Harmonica Podcast! Special thanks to Tess Coleman, host of Tess’s Bluesgroove from Adelaide, Australia, for her recently posted podcast titled “Contemporary Blues Harp Players – Part 1”, which features (in order of airplay sequence) Rod PiazzaMitch KashmarSteve GuygerDennis GruenlingRick EstrinBob CorritoreSandy Mack,Harpdog BrownHarmonica Shah, and Kim Wilson. To hear this podcast click here and press Episode 34. Thanks Tess!

  • More Big Walter information. In the last newsletter, we reported that a new Big Walter Horton reissue had come out calledKing Of The Harmonica Players. Since then, we have been notified by Clas Ahlstrand of the Scandinavian Blues Association, who recorded some of these wonderful sides on a portable recorder while visiting Chicago, that this is not a licenced release. Clas also reports that eight of these sides are available as free downloads on the Jefferson Magazine site (Click here to see). Along with the downloads are the story and photos of the journey to Chicago and the home recording sessions with Big Walter. Thank you Clas for this additional information, and for recording these great sides for the world to enjoy.

  • Wolfgang’s Vault releases Muddy Waters solo appearance at Newport in 1969, and Willie Dixon with Big Walter Horton from 1972! Wolfgang’s Vault is a website devoted to Rock & Roll Memorabilia and downloadable concerts. Along with their featured rock music offerings are numerous blues nuggets, of which the latest two are very exciting. In July of 1969, both Muddy Waters and his mentor, Son House were scheduled to perform at the Newport Folk Festival. When word came that Son would not be able to make his appearance, Muddy Waters graciously stepped in to cover for his friend, and he performed an impromptu solo acoustic set. six songs from this set are now available by clicking here. In 1972, Willie Dixon brought his Chicago Blues All-Stars to the Ash Grove in California. The band on that show included Big Walter HortonBuster BentonLafeyette Leake, and Frank Swann. Seven songs from this concert are now available by clickinghere. To check out more of the many concerts available at Wolfgang’s Vault and to learn more about this organization clickhere. Special thanks to Jim Themelis for the tip.

  • Rhythm Room to host Nick Curran Benefit on February 15th. The Rhythm Room has put together a benefit for Nick Curran to take place on Monday 15th, 8pm. Nick Curran, 31, was recently diagnosed with tongue cancer and is not working while he undergoes radiation treatments. Nick has a long history at the Rhythm Room having played the venue with Ronnie DawsonKim Lenz, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, and of course his own band, Nick Curran & The Nitelifes. Nick recently reactivated his solo career after a long stint with the Fabulous Thunderbirds, and he has a new CD out called Reform School Girl on the Eclecto Groove Label. Appearing at the Rhythm Room Benefit will be The Rocket 88’sThe Jump Back Brothers, The Dave Riley /  Bob Corritore Juke Joint Blues BandJim RobertsonNina Curri, and the Mike Eldred Trio, and more! Special thanks to Jim Robertson for putting this event together. Prayers to Nick for a speedy and full recovery.

  • Memphis Recap. Last week I headed to Memphis for events happening around the International Blues Challenge (AKA IBC, where scores of bands and solo/duo acts from all over the world come to compete. This event is meticulously organized by the Blues Foundation, and it encompasses and unities blues societies from all over the globe who, prior to this event set up local competitions to determine the candidate who will represent the blues of their community. It is well known that whoever wins this event will have the opportunity of a lifetime, as their career will be fast forwarded to one of record deals, festival inclusion, and great notoriety. This collective energy is coupled with the annual Keeping The Blues Alive(AKA KBA) presentation, seminars, showcases, after hours jams, and lots of blues networking. Blues fans come from all over to support their hometown bands. Also labels, booking agents, non competing blues artists, blues societies, festivals, writers, photographers, publicists, educators, and managers come to be part of this grand gathering.

    I was there primarily to perform with Dave Riley at Betsie Brown‘s Blind Raccoon Roots and Blues Showcase (a non competitive presentation), but also to enjoy this blues gathering. I arrived in Memphis late on Thursday so I completely missed the first day of competition. Dave had driven to Memphis and was able to meet me at the airport and get me checked in to the Memphis Marriott where we were staying. The next day we went early to the showcase to see some of the other acts performing at the showcase. Beale Street was closed to through traffic and it was a “meet and greet” as we slowly made our way to the club, being stopped every few feet by our many friends and blues associates. The showcase took place at Kings Palace, where I frequently go to enjoy their famous gumbo when I am in Memphis. We really enjoyed the set by Steve Howell, which was right before ours. Dave and I performed a well received show.to both our close friends and fans, and many new faces. Thanks to Betsie Brown for her great publicity work, Billy Gibson for lending me his great sounding, vintage Surpo amp, and Dale Baich of Blue Witch Records for his great support of Dave Riley and myself. Since we were the final act of the Showcase, the event segued right into the second night of the semi-finals. The way the IBCs work is that around 10 bands play each venue for two nights, and are graded by a panel of judges which differ each night. At the end of night number two, each venue will produce one winner who will be in the finals the next day. So each set is a heartfelt representation of that bands best effort. While starting out my night, I was delighted to get a surprise call from my friend Bharath Rajakumar, who I had no idea would be in Memphis. Bharath is a great harmonica player based in Montreal who is beginning to get some great industry recognition. Bharath was on his way to California to make a record with Junior Watson, and planned a stop in Memphis to cheer on his good friend Karl Cabbage, from San Diego, who was competing. So Bharath, Karl, and I spent lots of time together hanging out. We stopped by to see a fine set by fellow harmonica slinger Ryan Hartt and his band, the Blue Hearts, who were representing Connecticut, we ate some gumbo at Kings Palace, and we stopped in to numerous venues along Beale, before landing at Bob Margolin‘s after-party jam at the Rum Boogie (an IBC tradition). We all performed as did Zac Harmon (a former IBC winner), Candye KaneSteve Marriner (of the band Monkey Junk), and others. Bob Margolin has a magical way of bringing people together, and making us all feel welcome. Since I had plans for an early morning I left early while the after-party was still in full throttle.

    The next day was the KBA brunch, which I greatly enjoy each year. I received a Keeping The Blues Alive award three years ago for my radio show, so it is wonderful to see others accepting their awards, and to hear the many heartfelt speeches. It was great to see David Fricke of Rolling Stone Magazine humbly telling of the magazine’s commitment to blues. It was gratifying to see old friends Rien and Marion Wisse of the Dutch publication Block Magazine, accept the award for Blues Print Media. How great it was to see Pat Morgan, who I have had the privilege of working closely with over the years, receiving a KBA for Best Manager / Agent for her amazing work with Pinetop Perkins and Willie “Big Eyes” SmithJay Sieleman was presented with a surprise award for his great work in advancing the Blues Foundation as it’s Executive Director. Each speech was individually spectacular and heartfelt, and showed the depth and commitment of those people who organize, promote, and encourage the blues behind the scenes. The Blues Foundation does a great service by recognizing these unsung heroes of the blues. To see a list of this year’s KBA recipients click here.

    After the late night I caught an afternoon nap while the Solo / Duo Finals were taking place but I was able to make the band finals. This took place at the beautiful Orpheum Theater, a luxuriously ornate facility that used to be the venue for the Handy Awards (now called the Blues Music Awards) before the awards expanded, and therefore needed to move to the Cook Convention Center. I caught most of the acts while alternately spending time in the lobby which was the place to hang and socialize. When Grady Champion of Mississippi was announced the winner, the event was likely moving into after-party mode with Beale Street just a few steps away. I opted to get my rest since I had an early flight back to Phoenix the next day, and a radio show to host the next night. I left Memphis with a warm, invigorated feeling after being around so many of my blues friends, and receiving so much goodwill and reaffirmation. The blues is a great family to be a part of. Congratulations to all the participants and to the Blues Foundation for a highly successful event.

    – Bob Corritore

  • Lightnin’ Hopkins on YouTube! Please enjoy these wonderful film clips of Lightnin’ Hopkins, a true icon of Texas country blues. A clip from the Les Blank documentary The Blues According To Lightnin’ Hopkins. Lightnin performs. “That Woman Named Mary” from 1967. Click here to see. “Mojo Hand” from 1962. Click here to see. The Blues According To Lightnin’ Hopkins (Documentary opening scene) with Mance Lipscomb and Billy Bizor from 1967. Click here to see.

January 18, 2010

  • Off to the IBC! Dave Riley & Bob Corritore will head to Memphis this week to participate in the Blind Raccoon Showcase on Friday January 22nd, at Kings Palace, on Beale Street in Memphis. The event takes place from 11:30 to 5pm. This showcase coincides with the International Blues Competition, where hundreds of blues bands from all around the world come to compete. In addition to all these bands, many labels, press, and blues dignitaries also attend the IBC. Click here to read more about the International Blues Competition, and click here to see the flyer with show details and the full lineup.

  • New Big Walter Horton Reissue! Two obscure LPs by harmonica master Big Walter Horton have found their way onto CD for the very first time. Big Walter Horton / King Of The Harmonica Players is now out on the Deltacat label. This CD features 24 cuts; 17 of which were recorded in the early to mid 1970s with backing by Floyd Jones and Johnny Young. The other 10 are vintage recordings from the 50’s featuring Horton playing with Tampa RedSunnyland SlimWillie Dixon andJimmy DeBerry. Horton’s harmonica was magical with its bell-like tone and perfect phrasing, and his legacy lives on through reissues like this one. To read more about this CD, and to order it, click here. To see a photo page devoted to Big Walter Horton click here.

  • Nick Curran Diagnosed With Tongue Cancer. This sad news came from Harry Turner; 31 year old singer / guitarist Nick Curran has recently been diagnosed with tongue cancer and will be undergoing radiation treatments. Though still a young man, Nick is a road veteran, having worked with various, blues, rockabilly, and roots rock acts including The Fabulous ThunderbirdsRonnie DawsonKim Lenz, and his own band Nick Curran and the Nitelifes, Nick has a new CD just out on the Eclectro Groove record label, and was to have numerous national and international tours that are now all postponed. Prayers to Nick, as he fights this battle. To see the official press release click here. To see Nick’s myspace page click here.

  • RIP Arnie Caplin, May 8, 1929 – December 25th, 2009. Arnie Caplin, the founder of Biograph Records, died on Dec 25th, at a nursing home in Massachusetts. He was 80. Arnie was a jazz drummer and artist before starting his Biograph Records in 1967. The Biograph label would release over 250 titles in the genres of blues, jazz, ragtime and folk music. Blues releases included Bukka WhiteSkip JamesReverend Gary DavisFurry LewisRobert WilkinsSon HouseLeadbelly, and more. In addition to his blues work, Arnie had a major influence in bringing forth the ragtime music of the now famous Scott Joplin. Though a behind the scenes force in the blues, the importance of Arnie Caplin can not be overemphasized. To read more about Arnie’s life, click here, and to see the Biograph discography click here. Thank you Arnie for your great work.

  • RIP Teddy Pendegrass, March 26,1950 – January 13, 2010. Best known for his stirring, romantic soul songs of the 70s, Pendegrass rose to popularity as lead singer of Harold Melvin and The Blue Notes, before creating a string of his own hits. Pendegrass‘ life was severely altered in 1982, when a tragic auto accident left him paralyzed. Despite his crippling injury he remained active in music throughout his life. He also created the Teddy Pendergrass Alliance, a foundation that helps those with spinal cord injuries. He died in Philadelphia on Wednesday of complications from colon cancer. He was 59. He will be remembered as a superstar of the highest degree. For his complete life story click here.

  • RIP Bobby Charles, February 21, 1938 – January 14, 2010. Louisiana Singer and Songwriter Bobby Charles Guidry, AKA Bobby Charles, is best know for being the writer of Fats Domino’s “Walking to New Orleans,” Bill Haley and the Comets’ “See You Later, Alligator,” and Clarence Frogman Henry’s “But I Do,” Charles died Thursday at his home in Abbeville, Louisiana at age 71, after a struggle with diabetes and cancer. He had recently completed an album called Timeless, which was co-produced by Dr. John and dedicated to Fats Domino. His beautiful songs helped to define the music of Louisiana, and will live on forever. For the complete story via the New York Times click here.

  • Martin Luther King Video Links. On this day, set aside to honor the memory of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., we present some video reflections of this great man and his timeless speeches. We start with a blues clip of J.B. Lenoir and Fred Below performing with interspersed images and sound bytes from the civil rights movement (click here to see). The Staple Singers, inspired by Dr. King, were part of the soundtrack of the civil rights movement, and here is a clip of their song, “Freedom Highway” with photos from that time period (click here to see). Here are some powerful speeches by Martin Luther King: To see Dr. King’s “I Have A Dream” speech click here. To see his “How Long? Not Long” speech click here. To see his prophetic final speech, the day before his assassination, click here. Dr King’s brilliant words are as current today as they were 5 decades ago.

January 7, 2010

  • RIP Earl Gaines August 19, 1935 Dec 31, 2009. The blues world mourns the loss of R&B vocalist Earl Gaines who died on New Year’s Eve at a Nashville hospital.  He was 74. Gaines was a magnificent vocalist who was closely associated with the Nashville R&B scene. He first came into prominence as the lead vocalist of Louis Brooks & His Hi-Toppers with the hit “It’s Love Baby” (AKA “24 Hours A Day”). He would later emerge as a solo artist with a number of hits including “The Best of Luck to You” in 1966 and “Hymn Number 5” in 1973. He recorded for numerous record labels including StardayKingDeLuxeExcelloChampionPoncelloHanna-BarberaHBR, Athens, Sound Stage 7Ace, Meltone, AppaloosaBlack Top,Ecko and Blue Fye. He was a featured artist on the 2005 Grammy-winning best historical album, Night Train To Nashville: Music City Rhythm & Blues 1945–1970. His loss comes on the heels of other recently deceased Nashville R&B greats such as Johnny Jones, and to read the story of his passing in the Tennessean click here

  • RIP WilIie Mitchell, March 1, 1928 – January 5, 2010 The following obituary comes courtesy of the recording academy via Betsie Brown of Blind Raccoon. We are deeply saddened by the passing of Willie Mitchell. An accomplished trumpeter who led one of the region’s premier bands of the ’50s, he made the transition to recording star at Hi Records in the ’60s. At Hi he became a vital part of the organization by engineering, producing, scouting talent and eventually running the label. A true renaissance man, Willie Mitchell created his own Memphis sound – a uniquely sophisticated brand of funk. He put together one of the world’s greatest rhythm sections – Hi Rhythm – featuring Teenie Hodges on guitar, Charles Hodges on organ,Leroy Hodges on bass and drummer Howard Grimes. He made stars of Ann PeeblesOtis ClayO.V. Wright and Syl Johnson, creating recordings still revered, covered and sampled to this day. In 1969 while on tour with his Willie Mitchell Band, he met a young singer from Michigan in Midland, Texas and brought him back to Memphis. Together, he and Al Green made history, creating an unparalleled body of work featuring arguably the greatest voice in soul backed by Mitchell’s unique mix of gritty southern R&B and elegant arrangements. In 2007 he was recognized by the Memphis Chapter of The Recording Academy at The Recording Academy Honors. In 2008 he received an even larger honor from The Recording Academy at the 50th annual Grammy Awards – The Trustees Award. His impact on Memphis and music is immeasurable. There will probably never be another one like him.

  • Rhythm Room All-Stars appear Friday & Saturday at the Rhythm Room. The Rhythm Room All-Stars feature Big Pete PearsonBob CorritoreChris JamesPatrick RynnBrian Fahey will appear this Friday and Saturday at their home base and namesake. Also on the bill will be Dave Riley, who will make a guest appearance each night. The Rhythm Room is located at 1019 E. Indian School Rd. Rack Shack BBQ will be available for purchase.

  • Brian Fahey Cover Story to be released in Belgium’s Back To The Roots MagazineRhythm Room All-Stars Drummer, Brian Fahey will appear on the cover of the next issue of Back To The Roots Magazine and will have a featured interview. Brian is a well credentialed drummer in both blues and rockabilly. He is best known for his many years with the Paladins but has also worked with William Clarke (he was William’s last drummer), Smokey WilsonCharlie Musselwhite, and others. This issue will be out this week! For a look at the cover click here. Thank you to Back To The Roots editor Franky Bruneel!

  • Elvin Bishop Releases Benefit CD to help Little Smokey SmothersElvin Bishop has released an album with his longtime friend and musical mentor, “Little Smokey” Smothers to help during a time of need. Smokey has had declining health over the last few years and recently has lost both his legs to diabetes. Elvin met Smokey in Chicago in 1960 while attending regular college at the University of Chicago and “blues college” on the south and west sides. Smokey would have a steady mostly local career in the Chicago blues scene, while Elvin would gain prominence, first with the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, and then as an artist in his own right. The CD is called “Chicago Blues Buddies” and is produced by blues kingpin Dick Shurman. It features both studio and live recordings as well as an interview with the blues buddies conducted at the Chicago Blues Festival. Elvin paid for this project and all revenues are going directly to Smokey. To read Linda Cain‘s article about this release in the Bluegrass Special click here.To purchase this CD click here.

  • Year end recap additions. Here are a few items that I realized I did not mention in the 2009 recap. I failed to mention the October 24th show with the Rhythm Room All-Stars at the Rhythm Room when portrait artist / harmonica player Rusty Walker presented Big Pete Pearson and I with beautiful full size portraits. Click here to see some photos. I also failed to mention in the list of Rhythm Room shows a “Women of Boogie Woogie” night that we presented with Lisa OteyWendy DeWittDona Oxford, and Sue Palmer.

  • Vintage Ruth Brown on YouTube! Ruth Brown was an R & B fireball! She recorded a string of hits for Atlantic during the 1950s and remained active in music until she died of cancer a few years back. Check out her amazing gown, her radiant and rowdy personality, and her wonderful voice as she sings and charms her way through three songs performed during the mid 50’s. To see Ruth performing “Mama He Treats Your Daughter Mean”, click here, “Oh What A Dream” click here, and “Teardrops From My Eyes”, click here. Go Miss Rhythm!

January 4, 2010

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