2012 Archives

Friday December 21, 2012

  • Euro Tour Recap – Lucerne Blues Fest and Chicago Blues Festival Tour! After being away for five weeks I write this recap while still a little jet-lagged, but with happy reflections of a wonderful trip. On November 12th, I left for a two part musical adventure with the first part being the amazing Lucerne Blues Festival, in Lucerne, Switzerland. I was the band leader/organizer of a Chicago blues revue that highlighted three front artists; Elmore James Jr.Eddie C. Campbell, and John Primer with a great band of Billy FlynnBarrelhouse ChuckBob StrogerKenny Smith and myself. So John, Billy and I would perform twice at the festival, and what a joy to work with these amazing artists. We presented two powerful shows where the grand tradition of Chicago Blues was on proud display and performed by some of the greatest players of that genre around today. One of the many great things about this festival is that the lineup of players is always great, and you get to enjoy the other performers both on, and off stage: dinner with Anson Funderburgh and Wes Starr, hotel room jams with Marquise KnoxJohn Primer and Eddie C. Campbell, having Charlie Musselwhite who was in the hotel room next to me, stop by to share harmonica riffs and enlighten me on his musical philosophies, having Mark Hummel guide Billy Flynn and myself through the photos of his new book Big Road Blues, hanging out at the Blues Brunch with Guitar Shorty, and JT Lauritsen while listening to the sweet music of Irma Thomas, hanging out with Jennifer Noble talking about taking her great photography to a higher profile, catching up and reflecting with Little Charlie Batey and much more! Another great thing about the festival is how well they treat each artist with every possible detail being looked after. I also have to highlight the world event that this festival is, bringing so many of the world’s most noted blues movers and shakers together for an event that can almost be viewed as much a convention as it is a musical presentation. I want to thank Guido Schmidt and Martin Brundler as well as all the amazing staff of the Lucerne Blues Festival for another festival that was successful on all counts, and for letting me add my contribution to this great happening.Part two of this musical adventure was the Chicago Blues Festival Tour, which is a now legendary annual tour that was started by Didier Tricard in 1970 and who’s legacy includes a proud list of some of the greatest names of the blues. Each year’s lineup presents a different all-star lineup who, for the month, become a touring band. I was honored to get the call from Melvin Smith, best known as Koko Taylor‘s longtime bassist, who was organizing this year’s lineup which included Melvin, Peaches StatenWillie HayesJohn PrimerBilly Flynn and myself. So John, Billy and I would just move directly from Lucerne to this tour. We had a great driver / tour manager in Guilllaume Fontenille and a fantastic Mercedes tour mini-bus which became our home for most of these 4 weeks. This excellent band was a little more “progressive” with the blues format combining soul classics with the traditional Chicago blues. Each artist was featured for part of the show making it a revue format. (I would perform “Juke” each night as my feature!) So off we went on our tour, hitting new venues in new towns and countries each day (France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Holland, and Spain). As is a testament to both the tour’s legacy and the artists involved in this year’s edition, every show in every venue was well promoted and completely packed out. We were met with standing ovations and encore calls at each of our shows. We were booked mainly at theaters and arts performance centers and a few excellent clubs with each venue being really great! It was a real pleasure to work with each of these great musicians and collectively we worked hard to create a supportive and professional vibe for the other musicians – an essential part of the close-working situation of a tour of this magnitude. Of each of our stops we were greeted by musicians, promoters, blues magazines, DJs, label chiefs and longtime friends which added so much to our trip. After three weeks of one nighters and long travel we were happy to have our final 5 days of the tour at one place – The JazzClub Le Meridienin the heart of downtown Paris! We were sad to say goodbye to Guillaume whose job was completed after seeing us through our first night in Paris, and even more sad to say goodbye at the end of the tour after a month of becoming each others surrogate family. I have shared many of my photos from the tour on my Facebook Fan Page (click here to see) and a photo page of highlights is forthcoming. I am happy to be home for the holidays and grateful to have enjoyed this rich andwonderful blues experience! For a list of venues and places from this tour please click here and scroll to the newsletter of Nov 12.
  • Bob Corritore receives Blues Music Award nomination nods! Thanks to the the Blues Foundation for its announcemnet last week of the Blues Music Awards nominees. Included in that announcement, Bob Corritore is up for “Instrumentalist – Harmonica” along with a pretty heavy cast of fellow nominees: Billy Boy ArnoldKim WilsonJohn Nemeth, and Rick EstrinBob Corritore also produced and performs on Mud Morganfield‘s Son Of The Seventh Son CD (Severn Records) which is up for awards in the “Album” and “Traditional Blues Album.” Also nominated in those same categories is The Mannish Boys / Double Dynamite (Delta Groove Productions) in which Mud and Bob Corritore make a guest appearance along with a huge array of other great special guests. Congratulations to all the nominees, which you can see by clicking here. The BMA winners will be announced on Thursday May 9, 2013 at the Cook Convention Center in Memphis, Tennessee. You can vote and find out more about the awards ceremony at www.blues.org.
  • Bob Corritore’s Christmas blues radio special! Tune in this Sunday, December 23 for Bob Corritore‘s annual Christmas Blues special on his weekly radio program Those Lowdown Blues on KJZZ. Bob will spin five hours of the best in Holiday blues! You can tune in to Bob’s blues radio show online at www.kjzz.org each Sunday from 6pm to 11pm Mountain Standard Time.
  • Dave Riley & Bob Corritore to play NYE at Highway 99 in Seattle! The down home blues partnership of Dave Riley & Bob Corritore bring their wild sound to Seattle, WA on Dec 31st for a New Year’s Eve celebration at Highway 99 Blues Club. Dave and Bob will appear with drummer Andrew Cloutier and bassist Scott Simmons, the same killer rhythm section that they appeared with last year at the Gray Sky Blues Festival in Tacoma! Also appearing on the night’s three act bill will be Blue Velvet Rhythm & Blues Revue featuring the greatKaren Lovely (with burlesque dancers!) and Mark Pickerel & Nick Vigarino! Highway 99 is located at 1414 Alaskan Way in downtown Seattle.
  • Finis Tasby suffers stroke. Delta Groove label chief Randy Chortkoff reports that legendary West Coast blues vocalist Finis Tasby has suffered a severe stroke which has left him hospitalized. After about a week Finis is now talking and regaining mobility. He will be receiving physical therapy shortly. Finis is on Medicare, but without being able to gig he has no income. Randy has set up a pay pal fund for Finis on the Delta Groove home page (click here to access). Finis would love to hear from his many friends and fans and get their moral support.Please send cards and donations to:

    Finis Tasby
    c/o Delta Groove Productions
    16501 Sherman Way Suite 100
    Van Nuys, CA. 91406 USA

  • RIP Jimmy McCracklin – August 13, 1921 to December 20, 2012. Jimmy McCracklin, one of the legendary hit-makers of the blues, died on Thursday at a healthcare center in San Pablo, California at age 91. Best known for his great voice and spectacular songs, Jimmy was a leading light in the Bay Area blues scene. His hits included “The Walk,” “Think,” “Just Got To Know,” and “My Answer.” Jimmy was also a fine pianist and harmonica player. Born in St. Louis, Jimmy would move to California in the ’40’s after a stint with the Navy. He formed a group called Jimmy McCracklin & his Blues Blasters in 1946, with star guitarist Lafayette Thomas who remained with group until the early 1960s and became a trademark part of Jimmy’s sound. Jimmy McCracklin made records for many labels; Modern,PeacockChessMercuryImperialMinitStax and Bullseye Blues in his long recording career of over 60 years. In the 1960s he began incorporating female backing vocals to his signature sound. He co-wrote with Lowell Fulson the hit song Tramp which was a hit for both Lowell and Otis Redding & Carla Thomas. He received a Pioneer Award by the Rhythm & Blues Foundation in 1990, and the Living Legend and Hall of Fame award at the Bay Area Black Music Awards in 2007, and was inducted in the Blues Foundation‘s Hall Of Fame in 2008. He will be featured on a number of songs on a forthcoming Walter Davis tribute CD that will be released on the Electro-Fi labelearly next year.Here is some of Jimmy McCracklin‘s memorable music:“The Walk”
    “I’m Gonna Tell Your Mother”
    “The Bitter And The Sweet”
    “The Wobble”
    “Think”

Film Clips:

Mickey Baker 1966 clip of instrumental on TV show 
Mickey Baker with Coleman Hawkins Quintet / South Of France Blues
Mickey Baker plays acoustic guitar and sings “C.C. Rider”

Songs:

Mickey Baker / “Do What You Do
Mickey & Sylvia / “Love Is Strange
Little Esther Phillips / “If Its News To You Baby
Nappy Brown / “Don’t Be Angry” and “It’s Really You
Mickey Baker / “Spinnin’ Rock Boogie
Larry Dale / “Midnight Hours”
Louis Jordan / “Caledonia
Mickey Baker / “Third Man Theme
Mickey Baker / “Whistle Stop
Mickey Baker / “Steam Roller

  • RIP Eddie Burns – February 8, 1928 to December 12, 2012. With the passing of singer/guitarist/harmonica player Eddie Burns we say goodbye to one of the greatest of classic Detroit blues artists. Born in Belzoni, Mississippi, Eddie Burns relocated to the Motor City in 1948 where he would rise to musical prominence and spend the rest of his life. During the late 40’s to mid 1960s Burns recorded scores of singles on many labels: ChessCheckerDeLuxe, Palda, Harvey, Von, and Gotham as well as playing harmonica on a number of classic John Lee Hooker songs for the Sensation label. In 1972 Burns went on a European tour and while in the UK recorded his first full length album titled Bottle Up & Go on the Action label. Later albums followed for Big Bear RecordsBlack & BlueBlue Suit and a wonderful 2002 colaboration with Eddie’s brother Jimmy Burns called Snake Eyes on the Delmark label. Eddie Burns possessed a spectacular singing voice, a fleet but down home guitar style, and a wicked harmonica approach which was very influenced by Sonny Boy Williamson I. His classic recordings helped to define the postwar Detriot blues sound and will forever be a part of that city’s musical legacy.

Here are some samples of Eddie Burns amazing music:
1) “Mean & Evil”
2) “Gangster Blues”
3) “Orange Driver”
4) “She Keeps Me Guessing”
5) “Hard Hearted Woman” 
6) Eddie Burns backing John Lee Hooker on “Black Cat Blues”
7) Eddie Burns backing John Lee Hooker on “Burning Hell”

  • Photos from the Kid Ramos Benefit! On November 2, 2012, the Rhythm Room hosted a star-studded benefit for Kid Ramos who is stuggling with cancer. Both National and Phoenix talent came to the call and the result was a heartfelt night of music and fundraising for a great cause. Photographer David Blake put together an amazing photo recap of the night which you can see by clicking hereKid Ramos reports “Let anyone know who asks that I am fighting on and feeling OK.”
  • Lightnin’ Hopkins on YouTube! Please enjoy this clip of the legendary Texas country bluesman Lightnin’ Hopkins as he performs his “Lonesome Road Blues.” Click here to see.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Congratulations to all the newly announced Blues Music Award nominees!

Here is the complete list of nominees. Voting informationis available now
at the Blues Foundation website www.blues.org

34th Blues Music Award Nominees

Acoustic Album 
Billy Boy Arnold Sings Big Bill Broonzy – Billy Boy Arnold
Blues on Solid Ground – John Primer
Deeper in the Well – Eric Bibb
Not Alone – Ann Rabson w/ Bob Margolin
Talking Guitar – Paul Rishell

Acoustic Artist
Carolina Chocolate Drops
Doug MacLeod
Eric Bibb
Harrison Kennedy
Paul Rishell

Album
And Still I Rise – Heritage Blues Orchestra
Double Dynamite – The Mannish Boys
Show of Strength – Michael Burks
Son of the Seventh Son – Mud Morganfield
Stronger For It – Janiva Magness

B.B. King Entertainer
Curtis Salgado
Janiva Magness
Joe Louis Walker
John Nemeth
Rick Estrin

Band
Lil’ Ed & the Blues Imperials
Phantom Blues Band
Rick Estrin & the Nightcats
Tedeschi Trucks Band
The Mannish Boys

Best New Artist Debut
24 Hour Blues – Charles “CD” Davis
They Call Me Big Llou – Big LLou Johnson
Turning on the Naughty – Paula Harris
Uphill from Anywhere – Brad Hatfield
Wanna Feel Somethin’ – Mary Bridget Davies

Contemporary Blues Album
Blak & Blu – Gary Clark, Jr.
Blues Live – John Nemeth
Candy Store Kid – Ian Siegal & the Mississippi Mudbloods
Hellfire – Joe Louis Walker
Show of Strength – Michael Burks
Stronger For It – Janiva Magness

Contemporary Blues Female Artist
Bettye LaVette
Janiva Magness
Shakura S’Aida
Shemekia Copeland
Susan Tedeschi

Contemporary Blues Male Artist
Gary Clark, Jr.
Joe Louis Walker
Michael Burks
Robert Cray
Tab Benoit

DVD
Blackbird Music/55 for Arts Club Production for The Lucky Peterson Band feat. Tamara Peterson: Live at the 55 Arts Club Berlin by Lucky Peterson
Cat Head Delta Blues & Folk Art/Broke & Hungry Records for We Juke Up in Here! Mississippi’s Juke Joint Culture at the Crossroads
Delta Groove Music for That’s My Thing – Elvin Bishop Live in Concert by Elvin Bishop
Eagle Rock Entertainment for Live at Checkerboard Lounge by Muddy Waters & The Rolling Stones
J&R Adventures for Beacon Theatre – Live from New York by Joe Bonamassa

Gibson Guitar
Derek Trucks
Joe Bonamassa
Joe Louis Walker
Kid Andersen
Michael Burks

Historical Album
Bear Family Records for Plug It In! Turn It Up! Electric Blues by Various Artists
Real Gone Music for Complete Hit Singles A’s & B’s by Little Willie John
Rock Beat Records for Raw Blues: Magic Sam Live 1969 by Magic Sam
Silk City Records for Someday… by Otis Spann
Universal Music Group for Ladies & Gentlemen… Mr. B.B. King by B.B. King

Instrumentalist-Drums
Cedric Burnside
Cody Dickinson
Jimi Bott
Kenny Smith
Tony Braunagel

Instrumentalist-Bass
Bill Stuve
Bob Stroger
Patrick Rynn
Richard Cousins
Scot Sutherland
Willie J. Campbell

Instrumentalist-Harmonica
Billy Boy Arnold
Bob Corritore
John Nemeth
Kim Wilson
Mark Hummel
Rick Estrin

Instrumentalist-Horn
Al Basile
Big James Montgomery
Eddie Shaw
Kaz Kazanoff
Terry Hanck

Koko Taylor Award (Traditional Blues Female)
Diunna Greenleaf
Jewel Brown
Maria Muldaur
Ruthie Foster
Tracy Nelson

Rock Blues Album
Blues for the Modern Daze – Walter Trout
Driving Towards the Daylight – Joe Bonamassa
Everybody’s Talkin’ – Tedeschi Trucks Band
Here I Am – Nick Moss
Royal Southern Brotherhood – Royal Southern Brotherhood

Pinetop Perkins Piano Player
Barrelhouse Chuck
Chuck Leavell
David Maxwell
Deanna Bogart
Mike Finnigan
Victor Wainwright

Song
“I Won’t Cry”- Janiva Magness & Dave Darling – Stronger for It – Janiva Magness
“Lemon Pie”- John Hahn & Oliver Wood – 33 1/3 – Shemekia Copeland
“She Didn’t Cut Me Loose” written by Curtis Salgado, Marlon McClain & Dave Duncan on Soul Shot by Curtis Salgado
“The Devil Ain’t Got No Music” written by Matthew Skoller on The Devil Ain’t Got No Music by Lurrie Bell
Too Much Jesus (Not Enough Whiskey) written by Sam McClain & Pat Herlehy on Too Much Jesus (Not Enough Whiskey) by Mighty Sam McClain

Soul Blues Album
Blues Heart – Dorothy Moore
Soul Live – John Nemeth
Soul Shot – Curtis Salgado
Soul Survivor – Johnny Rawls
Too Much Jesus (Not Enough Whiskey) – Mighty Sam McClain

Soul Blues Female Artist
Barbara Carr
Denise LaSalle
Dorothy Moore
Irma Thomas
Sista Monica

Soul Blues Male Artist
Bobby Rush
Curtis Salgado
John Nemeth
Johnny Rawls
Mighty Sam McClain

Traditional Blues Album
And Still I Rise – Heritage Blues Orchestra
Double Dynamite – The Mannish Boys
Milton Hopkins with Jewel Brown – Milton Hopkins with Jewel Brown
Son of the Seventh Son – Mud Morganfield
Spider Eating Preacher – Eddie C. Campbell

Traditional Blues Male Artist
Bob Margolin
John Primer
Lil’ Ed
Magic Slim
Mud Morganfield

Congratulations to all the newly announced Blues Music Award nominees!

Friday, November 16, 2012

  • 2013 KBA Award winners anounced! The Blues Foundation will honor 15 individuals and organizations with its 2013 Keeping the Blues Alive (KBA) Awards during a recognition luncheon Friday, February 1, 2013, in Memphis, Tennessee. Each year, The Blues Foundation presents the KBA Awards to individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to blues music. The KBA ceremony will be held in conjunction with the 29th International Blues Challenge (IBC), which begins January 29 and features the final rounds of the world’s largest and most prestigious blues music competition, as well as seminars, showcases, and receptions for blues societies, fans, and professionals.The KBAs are awarded on the basis of merit by a select panel of blues professionals to those working to actively promote and document the music. Committee chair Art Tipaldi (who is also the editor of Blues Revue Magazine) states “The fifteen recipients represent an outstanding cross-section of blues boosters. We are pleased to honor these people and organizations as a tribute to the years each has given to supporting the blues.”The 2013 Keeping the Blues Alive Awards recipients are:Affiliate – Colorado Blues Society
    Art – Stan Street, Clarksdale, Mississippi
    Club – Boulder Outlook Hotel, Boulder, Colorado
    Education – Nat Dove, Bakersfield, California
    Festival: International – Festival International du Blues De Tremblant, Mont Tremblant, Quebec, Canada
    Festival: U.S. – Mount Baker Rhythm And Blues Festival, Bellingham, Washington
    Historical – Shelley Ritter, Clarksdale, Mississippi
    International – Vicente Zumel, Barcelona, Spain
    Journalism – Bob Margolin, High Point, North Carolina
    Literature – I Feel So Good: The Life and Times of Big Bill Broonzy by Bob Riesman, Chicago, Illinois
    Manager – Marty Salzman, Chicago, Illinois
    Print Media – Blues News, Oslo, Norway
    Radio: Commercial – Gil Anthony, Dothan, Alabama
    Radio: Public, Scott Mullins, Baltimore, Maryland
    Record Label – Telarc, Cleveland, OhioTickets to the KBA ceremony are available online at http://www.blues.org/ or by calling 901-527-2583.

Monday, November 12, 2012

  • Bo Diddley on YouTube! Please enjoy this raucous, propulsive 1965 performance of Bo Diddley in his prime playing to a screaming, groovin’ audience. To enjoy this clip click here.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Thursday, October 11, 2012

  • Southwest Musical Arts Foundation will release a CD to benefit Kid Ramos. CD artwork unveiled!  It will be called The Kid Ramos / Bob Corritore Phoenix Blues Sessions and will have an initial limited run of 1000 copies of which 100% of CD sales go to Kid Ramos. This CD will be culled from 4 recording sessions Kid and Bob did in the mid to late 1990s with Henry GrayNappy BrownBig Pete PearsonChief Schabuttie Gilliame, and Chico Chism. Most of this collection has been previously released on multiple CDs but this is the first time that the sessions will be presented in one package with this focus. The selections will showcase a simply beautiful body of work and will be officially released on Oct 23. Special thanks to Kathy Bolmer and Andy TDelta Groove ProductionsBluebeat Music,Sonorous Mastering for their parts in making this happen.CDs will be available through The Blues Foundation’s Hart FundBluebeat Music and at various benefits with all proceeds going to Kid Ramos. To see the CD cover designed by Tony Amato click here.
  •  RIP Nick Curran – September 30, 1977 to Oct 6, 2012. It is heartbreaking to report the passing of blues / roots guitarist Nick Curranwho lost his battle with cancer. He was 35. Nick had an old soul with an innate understanding of the historic intricacies of 1950s styleblues and rock & roll. Born in Biddleford Maine, Nick began a pro carrer at age 19, touring with veteran rock & roller Ronnie Dawson. He moved to Texas and would then work with Rockabilly queen Kim Lenz before launching his own career as a blues artist. His stirring first two releases, Fixin’ Your Head (2000) and the Nitelife Boogie (2001) on the Texas Jamboree label set him apart from the crowd as he handily recreated a classic 1950s jump blues sound and showcased his classic guitar and a fantastic voice. He made his recordings with vintage studio equipment and achieved a nuanced classic sound in all his recordings. He signed with Blind Pig Records in 2003 and released 2 more more top shelf CDs, Doctor Velvet (2003), and Player (2004). Doctor Velvet won Nick ArtistHere are some examples of Nick’s amazing music:”Women And Cadillacs” click here
    “Doctor Velvet” click here
    “Shena’s Back” click here
    “Get Rich Quick” click here
    “Kill My Baby” click here
    “Player” Click here
  • Magic Slim and Grana Louise movie to begin filming! Production will start late this year for a film called “We Be Kings” staring veteran blues artists Magic Slim and Grana Louise. Supporting cast are Cee Cee James, the 23 year old Jonathan “Boogie” Long from Baton Rouge, and America’s Got Talent winner Bianca Ryan. In this fictional movie Magic Slim‘s character is tooling through the upper midwest in an amplified Winnebago called “The Blues Bucket.” He’s playing for cash in Wal Mart and Target parking lots, Denny’s (free breakfast for blues), and at elementary school lunch hours. Slim’s character is haunted by the ghost of his wife and playing partner (Grana), and he’s found half dead in a parking lot by two metal heads (J Long and Bianca). All together they save the bluesman and head down Rt. 61 as the movie’s plot unfolds. To find out more about this movie click here, and here.
  • Anson Funderburgh and Sam Myers on YouTube! It serves as a fond reflection of the recent past to hear the late Sam Myers singing his heart out with supurb backing by Anson Funderburgh & The Rockets. Sam sings “Changing Neighborhoods” and Anson plays guitar with a master’s touch. This long time partnership was prolific and set a standard for playing traditional blues in a contemporary setting. To see this clip, click here.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

  • Tail Dragger / Bob Corritore Phoenix CD Release Party Oct 12 and 13! Tail Dragger & Bob Corritore / Longtime Friends In The Blueswas released in late March and there will be a celebration of this CD in Phoenix on Friday and Saturday Oct 12 and 13. Tail Dragger and Bob will be joined by Chris JamesPatrick RynnBrian Fahey and very special guest Henry Gray, all who appear on the CD! To see 85 rave reviews for this CD from all around the world, click here. To see the event poster designed by Amy Brat, click here.
  • Bob Corritore Receives Certificate of Appreciation from City of Phoenix! Phoenix Councilman Tom Simplot came to Bob Corritore‘s birthday party last Saturday at the Rhythm Room not only to enjoy the festivities and the amazing blues of Rod Piazza & The MightyFlyers, but to present Bob with a gift. Councilman Simplot presented Bob with an official Certificate of Appreciation from the City of Phoenix! Thanks to the City of Phoenix for this great honor. Thanks also to the packed house that came out on Saturday to the Rhythm Room, and for the graciousness of Rod Piazza to allow Bob and Dave Riley to join him on the stage. A great time was had by all. To see the certificate click here.
  • Albert King on YouTube! Please enjoy this 1970 performance of Albert King playing his song “Blues Power” in concert at the Filmore. Pure power! Click here to see.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Friday, September 14, 2012

Contemporary Blues CD: Janiva Magness / Stronger For It

Traditional Blues CD: Mud Morganfield / Son Of The Seventh Son

Song Of The Year: “I Won’t Cry” written by Janiva Magness & Dave Darling

New Artist Debut Release: Sena Ehrhardt Band / Leave The Light On

Female Blues Artist: Janiva Magness

Male Blues Artist: Tab Benoit

Blues Band Of The Year: Tampled Under Foot

Sean Costello Rising Star Award: Mud Morganfield

Thanks to Bob Kieser and everyone at Blues Blast Magazine for providing this reflection point to celebrate the blues community and its endeavours.

  • Dave Riley & Bob Corritore to open for Jimmie Vaughan! Texas blues guitar slinger Jimmie Vaughan & The Tilt-A-Whirl Band with guest Lou Ann Barton will appear at the Rhythm Room in Phoenix on Wednesday, September 26. Opening the show will be the downhome blues duo of Dave Riley & Bob Corritore. To see the beautiful concert poster designed by Amy Brat click here.
  • Kid Ramos update. West Coast guitar master Kid Ramos‘ recent cancer news sent shock waves through the blues community. Randy Chortkoff sent this report earlier today “Found out yesterday that Kid has a very rare form of cancer normally found in kids called Ewing’s sarcoma. Kid will have to start months of heavy chemo and radiation therapy. Very expensive and intense”. Kid just found out that he will begin treatments next week and that his full program of procedures will last for about a year. He feels strong, supported, and ready for this fight. Delta Groove Records has set up a web-page for donations here. There are 4 benefits set up so far that we are aware of:

Sunday, October 7, Nick’s Taste Of Texas, Covina, CA, 1pm to 9pm, with The BlastersLos FabulocosMike Eldred TrioThe Delgado BrothersThe Blazers, Dale Peterson, TremlocoMiguel Gracia & The Vaquetones. For more info click here.

Saturday, October 13, Italian harmonica champion Marco Pandolfi is organizing a benefit in Italy. Information will be posted soon at this site.

Friday, November 2, and Sunday, November 4, The Rhythm Room in Phoenix is hosting 2 benefit shows, with a Friday night blues presentation and a Sunday afternoon rockabilly oriented benefit. Friday will feature The Nick Nixon / Andy T. BandMarkey Jeanette,Randy ChortkoffSugaray Rayford (Of The Mannish Boys), Lil’ RonnieRocket 88sBob Corritore, with many more still being added. The Sunday afternoon Rockabilly show on November 4 will be coordinated by Brenda Lee Pinup with the lineup forthcoming. That Saturday night, November 3 will feature Candye Kane who has had her own cancer battles.

Saturday, October 6, Dutch harmonica sensation Big Pete hosts a benefit at La Bonne Source, in Fleurus, Belgium. with Paul SizeKirk FletcherSugaray RayfordGene Taylor, Tia Gouttebel, Dusty CiggaarSander KooijmanBig Pete, Marc Tee, Nico Duportal, Big Dave,Erkan ÖzdemirWillie ‘Wuff’ MaesJody van Ooijen, René Stock and others.

Randy Chortkoff states that he and Kim Wilson will be setting up an additional benefit show in late November or early December with details TBA.

  • Southwest Musical Arts Foundation will release a CD to benefit Kid Ramos. It will be called The Kid Ramos / Bob Corritore Phoenix Blues Sessions and will have an initial limited run of 1000 copies of which 100% of CD sales go to Kid Ramos. This CD will be culled from 4 recording sessions Kid and Bob did in the mid to late 1990s with Henry GrayNappy BrownBig Pete PearsonChief SchabuttieGilliame, and Chico Chism. Most of this collection has been previously released on multiple CDs but this is the first time that the sessions will be presented in one package with this focus. The selections will showcase a simply beautiful body of work. It will be released mid to late October and more details are forthcoming. Special thanks to Kathy BolmerDelta Groove ProductionsBluebeat MusicTempest Recording, and Sonorous Mastering for their parts in making this happen.CDs will be available through The Blues Foundation’s Hart FundBluebeat Music and at various benefits with all proceeds going to Kid Ramos.
  • Virginia and North Carolina thanks. Special thanks to Lil’ Ronnie & The Grand Dukes for hosting a harmonica showcase at the Blues On The Beach festival at Virgina Beach and for booking additional support dates at Loafers in Raleigh, NC and The Capital Ale House in Richmond, VA. The harmonica showcase featured Lil’ RonnieBob CorritoreMitch Kashmar, and Kurt Crandell with backing by theGrand Dukes (Ivan Appelrouth, John Sheppard, John Fralin, and Stu Grimes). Also thanks to Reverend Billy C. WirtzTad Walters, andAndy Poxon who guested at the club shows. It was also great to stop by the home office of Hohner Harmonicas in Richmond and to meet USA marketing chief Derek Crowder. Thanks to Cleve Baker of WPTM and WTRG for the radio interview. It was a great time for all of us harmonica players to have this time together and feed off of each other’s music and share stories and jokes. I was very impressed withLil’ Ronnie‘s southern playing and singing and Mitch and Kurt were masters of that jazzy style of chromatic that features octaves. Great to see so many friends from far away places, and meet so many good people. Great to meet Watkins Ellerson who is Lil’ Ronnie‘s partner in EllerSoul Records (check out the label website). Thank you Lil’ Ronnie for making this happen!- Bob Corritore
  • Chicago’s Artis’ Lounge Closes. Chicago Blues Guide reports that Artis’s, a mainstay blues club on Chicago’s South Side, has closed its doors after nearly 30 years. Artis’s was known as the home of Billy Branch’s Monday night blues jams which attracted blues artists and fans from around the world. Owner Artis Ludd opened the venue , located at 1249 E. 87th Street, Chicago, in 1982. She didn’t own the building and was renting the space. The owners didn’t renew Ludd’s lease and the club was forced to close last month.
  • Professor Longhair on YouTube! Please enjoy this 1973 clip of the influential New Orleans piano master Professor Longhair performing his song “Big Chief” with a tight, groovin’ band at the Montreux Jazz Festival. Click here to see.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Wednesday August 8, 2012

Friday July 20, 2012

  • Bob Corritore performs with the Rocket 88s tomorrow! On Saturday, July 21 the Rocket 88s (Bill and Susie Tarsha, and Dave Forster) bring their extra cool traditional blues sound to the Rhythm Room with special guests Johnny Rapp, Keith Rogers, and Bob Corritore. The Rhythm Room is located at 1019 E. Indian School Rd,. Phoenix, AZ 85014. Bill Tarsha, who is a simply wonderful harmonica player is also a fantastic drummer, will be playing both instruments that evening.
  • Tail Dragger and the late Willie “Big Eyes” Smith receive awards in Spain! Thanks to the Hondarribia Blues Society in Spain for honoring Tail Dragger and the late Willie “Big Eyes” Smith last weekend with awards at the  Hondarribia Blues Festival in Spain. Tail Dragger was performing at the fest part of a Chicago blues package that also included Zora Young and Eddie ShawKenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith was on hand to accept the award for his father Willie. To read the article (in Spanish) Click here, and for an explanation (in English) about the awards on the festival website click here.
  • The Year Of Mud! An article in Argentina’s Malbec & Blues online magazine refers to this year as “El Año De Mud” or “The Year Of Mud.” The article refers to Mud Morganfield, and his first national release Son Of The Seventh Son. The article speaks of all the fanfare this CD has received with airplay, chart positions, reviews (thank you Mark Pucci), major festival headlining slots, and the cover story of Living Blues MagazineMud Morganfield is of course, the eldest son of Muddy Waters and bears an uncanny resemblence to his father in both look and sound. He has been taking the blues world by a storm. Mud is currently on tour in South America. To see the “Year Of Mud” article click here, and scroll down the page.
  • Curtis Salgado Surgery. Blues/soul singer & harmonica player extraordinaire Curtis Salgado had successful surgery on July 18th, removing a cancerous spot on his lung. This is the second surgical procedure in the last few years for Curtis. Jake Lankheit of Intrepid Artists reports that the procedure went incredibly well and that Curtis is currently recovering in the hospital and plans to be performing again soon! Nick Moss (Curtis’ close friend and blues collaborator) has set up an online fund to help with costs here. Curtis recently released Soul Shot on Alligator Records to much critical acclaim. Well wishes and prayers for this great artist.
  • T-Model Ford Documentary in Production! Chaz Geisler is currently in the process of producing a film documentary of Mississippi blues hero T-Model Ford. The film, titled Put A Stamp On It: This Is T Model Ford, will contain live performances, interviews, life on the road and at home, as well as commentary by musicians and friends such as Lightnin’ MalcolmGravel RoadJimbo MathusDan Auerbach (Of the Black Keys), Bob Corritore, Scott Barretta, Jim O’Neal and others. The film will contain previously unreleased recordings. Look for this to be debuted at film festivals early next year. T-Model Ford is currently alive and well but is taking time off from performing to recover from a recent stroke. If anyone has footage, posters, photos or any T-Model Ford paraphernalia please contact Chaz at info@putastamponit.com. Updates will be posted on their site or the film’s Facebook page. On a sad sidenote, Chaz reports that T-Model’s longtime drummer who was affectionately called Spam, had passed away earlier this year. If we can gather enough biographical information for Spam we will present a proper obituary at a later date.
  • Big Pete Pearson releases new CD! Veteran blues vocalist Big Pete Pearson has a wonderful new CD out currently called Choose. This album features backing by The Gamblers, an Italian band with whom Big Pete does bi-annual European tours. To find out more about this new release and to hear song samples click here. To see a photo page devoted to Big Pete Pearson click here.
  • Bukka White on YouTube! Here is a great example of the pure power of country blues. Please enjoy Bukka White performing the Aberdeen Mississippi Blues from the 1960s. He uses his guitar for equal parts melody and percussion. Click here.

Thursday July 5, 2012

  • 2012 Blues Blast Music Awards Announced! Bob Corritore, Mud Morganfield and Diunna Greenleaf garner nominations! Blues Blast Magazine will reflect upon and celebrate the blues world with it’s annual awards! This being the awards 5th anniversary it feels like both the magazine and the awards have grown to be an industry standard – thanks to the foresight and hard work of editor Bob Kieser and his great staff. In the running are so many great and worthy artists and among them are nominations for Mud MorganfieldDiunna Greenleaf and Bob Corritore. Voting for the 2012 Blues Blast Music Awards is now open and continues until August 31st, 2012. To see a complete list of nominees, and to vote, click here. Voting is open to the public! Thank you Blues Blast Magazine!
  • Living Blues Awards voting now in progress! Voting closes on July 15. The 2012 Living Blues Awards represent a reflection of the blues music industry through ten categories of achievement. Voting online is open to everyone! We are pleased to announce that Tail Dragger is up for “Most Outstanding Blues Singer” and “Best Live Entertainer” and Bob Corritore is nominated for “Most Outstanding Musician (Harmonica).” Voting is going on as we speak and will conclude on July 15th. There is a voting ballot inside the latest issue of Living Blues with Mud Morganfield on the cover. You can also vote online at www.livingblues.com. Just go to the site and click the vote icon! Thank you Living Blues!
  • Floyd Dixon Celebration DVD forthcoming! Bob Auerbach and Kid Ramos inform us that the long awaited documentary DVD of the 2006 Floyd Dixon Celebration show is now in editing and production and is slated for a 2013 release. The show took place on June 1 and 2, 2006. With the news of Floyd Dixon having terminal cancer, High John label owner Bob Auerbach quickly put together a plan to document this great man. He called upon the services of Kid Ramos who lovingly assembled a great band and headed a production team that also included Bob AuerbachClarke Rigsby and Bob Corritore. A two day concert filming at the Rhythm Room was scheduled and it was just in a nick of time. The show was all about Floyd but also featured some of his friends and fellow keyboard legends. Pinetop Perkins and Henry Gray were included on the bill, as was Johnny TuckerJoe Banks, and Kim Wilson. So with a four camera shoot and Clarke Rigsby on audio, a pair of incredible and heartfelt nights of music were captured. Floyd was in fine form and the meaning of this show to him was everything that he stood for. Floyd would die just a few months later and High John records rushed out the CD release titled Time Brings About A Change: A Floyd Dixon Celebration. Now after many years the DVD is being edited and compiled by husband/wife documentary specialists Phillip and Lissett Cruess, and will be available by early next year! In addition to beautiful concert footage there will be interviews with all the artists, and recent interviews with Kid and Bob Auerbach which will provide insights on the this event and the man it was built around. To see photos from this event click here.
  • Tail Dragger and Bob Corritore interview on Blues – Finland website! Thanks to our friends in Finland for their huge support of the collaboration of Tail Dragger & Bob Corritore. In April of this year, the Finnish Blues Society and the US Embassy brought Tail Draggerand Bob to Helsinki to perform a spirited set at the Stompin’ At The Savoy Festival with the great Tomi Leino Band. On June 7, a number of our friends from Finland came out to support the Tail Dragger / Bob Corritore CD Release Party at B.L.U.E.S. on Halsted in Chicago (which was also a pre-party for the Chicago Blues Festival). The latest issue of the printed magazine Blues – Finland has Tail Dragger on the cover and a review of the CD (Click here to see the cover). We are told that the next magazine issue will feature a Bob Corritore interview. And most recently a separate joint interview with Tail Dragger & Bob appeared on the Blues Finland website which you can see by clicking here. Thanks so much to all our friends and supporters from the beautiful country of Finland! To see the 65 plus reviews for the Tail Dragger / Bob Corritore CD Longtime Friends In The Blues on the Delta Groove label, click here. Also note that this CD will be featured on Stan Bindell’s “Blues Magician” show which will air from 7-8 pm, July 9 with streaming on KUYI.net
  • Japanese documentary features 1983 Chicago blues clips with Eddie Taylor, Tail Dragger, and others! This clip was brought to our attention via Shoji Naito who comments “My Japanese friend posted this old Japanese news show clip. This must be very rare and the TV station will take it down as soon as they find this.” In the clip you see Eddie Taylor at home playing a beautiful deep blues, Maxwell Street musicians Iceman Robinson and John Henry Davis rockin’ the blues, and great a segment from the Delta Fish Market with Tail Dragger and a great band with Hubert SumlinJohnny B. MooreShorty GilbertDave Waldman, and Kansas City Red! This clip really showcases both the music and the vibe of Chicago blues. To see this clip, click here.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

  • Living Blues Awards voting now in progress! Voting online is open to everyone! The 2012 Living Blues Awards represent a reflection of the blues music industry through ten categories of achievement. We are pleased to announce that Tail Dragger is up for “Most Outstanding Blues Singer” and “Best Live Entertainer” and Bob Corritore is nominated for “Most Outstanding Musician (Harmonica).” Voting is going on as we speak and will conclude on July 15th. There is a voting ballot inside the latest issue of Living Blues with Mud Morganfield on the cover. You can also vote online at www.livingblues.com. Just go to the site and click the vote icon! Thank you Living Blues!
  • This weekend at the Rhythm Room! This weekend features three solid nights of blues. The Smokin’ Joe Kubek Band featuring B’Nois King bring their Texas rockin’ blues sound to the Rhythm Room on Friday night. They have just recorded a new all acoustic, all original CD for Delta Groove Productions due out in the early fall. Saturday night features Phoenix’s: Bill Tarsha & The Rocket 88s with special guests Keith Rogers, Doug Lloyd, Dave Riley and Bob Corritore. The 88s always deliver a cool, artful, well textured blues show. Then Sunday it’s the majestic New Orleans sound of the Joe Krown Trio with Walter “Wolfman” Washington and Russell Batiste. The Rhythm Room is located at 1019 E. Indian School Rd., Phoenix, AZ 85014.
  • Henry Gray, Bob Stroger, Simi Valley Cajun & Blues Music Fest highlighted in recent issues of Blues Blast Magazine. Special thanks to Blues Blast Magazine for their free weekly email publication and their tireless efforts to promote blues music. Recent issues of this magazine feature cover stories on veteran blues legends Henry Gray (Click here to see), Bob Stroger (Click here to see) and Simi Valley Cajun & Blues Music Festival (Click here and scroll down to see the great pictorial piece). To sign up for Blues Blast’s free weekly newsletter, click here.
  • Tail Dragger cover story in Blues News Finland Magazine! The latest issue of Blues News Finland features an in-depth interview withTail Dragger and a simply beautiful cover shot of this rough and ready down home Chicago bluesman. Tail Dragger and Bob Corritore appeared earlier this year at the Stompin’ At The Savoy Festival in Helsinki which was when this interview took place. To see the cover click here, and the article click here.
  • RIP Pete Cosey – October 9, 1943 to May 30, 2012. Pete Cosey was an innovative guitarist who brought his distinctive distorted sound to recordings with Miles DavisHowlin’ Wolf and Muddy Waters. Cosey died at on May 30 of complications from surgery at the Vanguard Weiss Memorial Hospital in Chicago. He was 68. Though never known as a blues purist, Pete would add his rock tinged guitar sounds to the crossover experimental concept albums Muddy Waters’ “Electric Mud” and Howlin’ Wolf’s “Howlin’ Wolf Album.” As a Chess Records studio musician, Cosey also recorded with Etta JamesFontella BassChuck Berry and others. Though born in Chicago, Cosey was raised in Phoenix and was an active musician in the Phoenix R&B scene of the 1950s and early 1960s before relocating to Chicago.To read Pete Cosey‘s Wikipedia biography click here.
  • Rip Lee Pryor on YouTube! Please enjoy this great performance by Richard “Rip Lee” Pryor, the singing / harmonica playing / guitar playing son of Snooky Pryor. He really carries his father’s sound forward in a joyous way as he performs the Snooky original “Boogie Twist” and one of his father’s favorites, “Nine Below Zero” (a classic written by Sonny Boy Williamson II). To see the clip click here.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

  • The Fremonts with special guest Bob Corritore appear Friday in Tucson, and Saturday in Phoenix! The Fremonts have always stood for good traditional blues and have culled material from the Excello Records and Chess catalog as well as material by Frank Frost,Billy Boy Arnold and a bunch of their originals which are always in the traditional blues style. Based in San Diego and fronted by the great vocals of Mighty Joe Milsap, these gentleman now have 3 CDs to their name. Their former harmonica player, the excellent Troy Sandow, now tours regularly with Nathan James, and James Harman, as both a bass player and a harmonicist. Bob Corritore will join this band on their Arizona dates: Friday, June 15, 8pm show at the Sheraton Hotel in Tucson, and Saturday, June 16, 9pm at the Rhythm Room in Phoenix! To see the Tucson poster click here.
  • Tail Dragger & Bob Corritore CD receives over 50 rave reviews! What started as just a fun studio gathering between friends has turned into a CD that has become an intertational sensation. Click here to see the 50+ reviews that we have posted from all around the world! Thanks you Delta Groove Productions for really getting behind this spirited traditional blues release!
  • Chicago Blues Festival Recap. Blues fans from near and far gathered last weekend at the Chicago Blues Festival to honor this music form in one of the places most known for its blues style. Five stages presented blues acts, often simultaneously, while various tents and booths provided sideline entertainment. Nightclubs around town were filled with extracurricular blues activity. Even former President Bill Clinton was in attendance at the Chicago Blues Festival. My recap will only reflect my very limited view of the fest, since I was primarily there to perform. The thousands of fans who were there were treated to a wide array of blues shows and activities. There were many wonderful shows that I wish I could have attended.For me the fest is a trip to my former hometown where I get a chance to catch up and make music with many of my longtime friends. My week was especially busy with gigs, a photo shoot and a recording session. After flying in on late Tuesday I kicked off Wednesday with a breakfast with Amy Brat and Scott Dirks. From there Amy drove me to Joyride Studios where I did a session with John Primer that also included Billy FlynnBarrelhouse ChuckBob Stroger, and Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith. Right before this session John and I did a photo shoot with photographer Chris Monaghan. After knocking out five great songs I had a chance to visit with Jerry Del Giudice (Co-owner of Blind Pig Records) who had stopped by the studio for some post production on the forthcoming Magic Slim release which will tentatively be called Bad Boy.From there Amy, Scott and I met at Rosebud Italian Restaurant for a nice meal before stopping by the Pro-Jam at House of Blues. I was called up to play with Lurrie BellJimmy Burns, and later Lil’ Ed and Dave Katzman. Other artists performing were Bob StrogerBilly FlynnJimmy MayesScott Dirks, Tim Betts, and others. Thanks to Dave Katzman for organizing this event and for the invite.

    Thursday was the CD Release Party at B.L.U.E.S. on Halsted for Tail Dragger & Bob Corritore / Longtime Friends In The Blues on the Delta Groove label. The great band included Illinois Slim, Kevin Shanahan, Todd Fackler, and Twist Turner and we invited up a few special guests including the great Martin LangeRockin’ Johnny, and Joe Louis Walker. The club was packed with an exceptional amount of our friends from Europe and South America. This night was recorded by Delmark‘s Steve Wagner who will present it on his internet podcast website. It was especially great to reunite with my friend Illinois Slim who I have known and performed with since 1975.

    Friday started by going to the opening day of the Chicago Blues Festival. I enjoyed running into many friends and I caught a nice set by Matthew Skoller on the Crossroads Stage. I met up with my webmaster, George Thomas Vaught and it was a pleasure to introduce him to many of the people who are frequently part of the newsletter and website! That night I was a featured guest on Billy Flynn‘s show at Smoke Daddy where I played a nice set that also included the powerful singer Milwaukee Slim and a three harmonica instrumental with Dave WaldmanScott Dirks, and myself.

    Saturday was an amazing day for me as it included five separate appearances! I have never had that many shows in one day before and I would not have wanted to missed a single moment of that great experience. The first stop was a one song guest appearance on Diunna Greenleaf‘s set where we performed the song “Be For Me” together as we do on her latest CD Trying To Hold On. Then a pre-arranged festival golf cart zoomed me to the Windy City Blues Society’s Street Stage where I had just enough time to set up before my set with Sam Lay and Bob Riedy. Then off to the Front Porch Stage where I was part of the Hubert Sumlin Tribute with an all-star band of Eddie ShawBob MargolinDave SpecterBob StrogerKenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith,Johnny Iguana & myself. A very powerful set! Then off to the Petrillo Band-shell where I was a guest on the Disciples Of Muddy Waters set which included Mud MorganfieldBob MargolinKenny “Beedy Eyes” SmithBob StrogerJimmy MayesBarrelhouse ChuckLittle Frank and Joe Filisko! I played two crowd pleasing numbers with Mud Morganfield and was called back for the set-closer of “Got My Mojo Working” which also included a brief appearance by the great Billy Branch. I always aspired to play the Petrillo and it was just wondwerful looking out to thousands of blues fans with the Chicago skyline in the background!

    From there I was off to Willowbrook to a show with Sam Lay and the Bob Riedy Blues Band with Mark WydraHarlan Terson, andJon Hiller. Harpman Harry Garner hosted the event and opened each set with spirited performances. At the end of the day, after 5 wonderful shows, I was too happy to feel tired. I had such a wonderful day of playing music.

    On Sunday I slept in until mid afternoon and then hit the fest for a bit before going to my gig at Smoke Daddy with Morry Sochat & The Special 20s! Morry calls these shows his “Half Chicken Special” and the great band that night included Billy FlynnKenny “Beedy Eyes” SmithTed Beranis and myself. Morry, who is a fine harmonica player himself and a great singer/bandleader really puts together a party! We did numerous harp duets and combinations, and the night was graced by impromptu special guestsMarco PandolfiDeak HarpRodrigo MantovaniDave WaldmanMilwaukee SlimScott DirksMichael LedbetterShoji Naito, and others! Morry is the consummate host and I was honored to be a part of this great party! As I headed back to Arizona on Monday morning, I felt completely satisfied while reflecting on a week just packed with great music and musicians. Sweet home Chicago indeed!

  • RIP Nat Reese – March 24, 1924 to June 8, 2012. West Virginia blues artist Nat Reese represented the rich regional songster tradition of combining blues, swing, folk songs and standards into a well rounded reperitoire. He posessed a great voice, solid guitar technique and a charismatic stage presence. He died Friday at age 88. Nat began playing the guitar as a young man and performed in various string bands throughout the coalfield areas of Virginia. He later became the leader of the Starlight Gospel Singers before teaming  up with fiddler Howard Armstrong. He recorded a number of albums and occasionally toured Europe. In 2009 he was inducted in the West Virginia Music Hall Of Fame. He most recently collaborated with harmonica player Phil Wiggins and a album by the pairing has been recorded and will hopefully be released soon.To read an in depth interview with this great musician click here. Though not a well known artist outside of his home-base, Nat Reese was a hero to those that knew him. We thank him for his rich musical contributions.
  • Lightnin Hopkins on YouTube! Please enjoy this excerpt from the Les Blank documentary film The Blues According to Lightnin’ Hopkins. Simply a master at work! Click here to see.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

  • RIP Lou Pride May 24, 1944 to June 5, 2012. CHICAGO, IL – Another classic soul-blues voice has been stilled with the announcement today of the passing of Severn Records artist, Lou Pride, who died in his hometown of Chicago June 5th, of natural causes while in hospice care. Pride had undergone numerous medical challenges for many years, having suffered several heart attacks and additional circulatory problems. Funeral arrangements have not been announced.“It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of the great soul singer Lou Pride,” said Severn Records President David Earl. “Lou lived his life through his music and through the belief that love is always the solution to any worldly problems. It was an honor to know him, call him my friend and to have the opportunity to document his music. We will miss him.”Over the course of many months last year and into early 2012, Lou Pride had been recording a new album for Severn Records, and that CD, Ain’t No More Love in this House, will be released in the fall. Lou Pride’s powerful soul-drenched voice will be heard on a number of new songs, as well as an amazing version of the Simply Red classic, “Holding Back the Years,” which will leave an indelible legacy of the artist’s career.Severn Records released three prior CDs on Lou Pride, including Words of Caution in 2002 and Keep on Believing in 2005, as well as compilation of some of his greatest early singles and unreleased tracks, titled The Memphis/El Paso Sessions (1970-73). That CD included a number of tracks recorded at Willie Mitchell’s famous Royal Recording Studios in Memphis and featured him backed the Hi Records house band of Teenie Hodges (guitar) Charles Hodges (organ), Leroy Hodges (bass) and Howard Grimes (drums), along with the Memphis Horns and Memphis Strings.Although not as widely known as some of his contemporaries, such as Bobby “Blue” Bland, Little Milton and Johnnie Taylor, Lou Pride’s talent and soulfulness were the equal of any of those iconic singers. He was known for his electrifying live shows and a vocal delivery that went from a whisper to a commanding growl.Born George Lou Pride on May 24, 1944 in Chicago , he grew up on the Windy City ’s north side and first experienced singing gospel music, attending the Baptist Church pastored by Nat King Cole’s father. Watching a live B.B. King performance converted Pride, however, and he was soon on his way singing soul and blues on the Chitlin’ Circuit throughout the South and Midwest . His first acclaimed singles were recorded in the early ‘70s while living in El Paso , Texas , and he soon relocated to New Mexico . He toured early on with such artists as B.B. King, Clarence Carter, Betty Wright, Koko Taylor and Kool and the Gang.

    After returning home to Chicago , he was introduced to the great Curtis Mayfield, who recorded him for his Curtom Records label. He later recorded for a number of other labels, including several albums for Ichiban in the ‘90s before hooking up with Severn Records at the turn of the 21st century.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

  • Rhythm Room All-Stars with special guest Dave Riley appear this Friday and Saturday at the Rhythm Room! Back at their home base, the Rhythm Room All-Stars play tonight and tomorrow, Friday, and Saturday, June 1 and 2 at the Rhythm Room. The Rhythm Room All-Stars feature Bob CorritoreChris JamesPatrick Rynn, and Brian Fahey. Just added will be a guest appearance by Dave Riley! Look for a couple nights of house-rocking down home blues!
  • Chicago Blues Festival next week! Simply put, this is a major blues event. Each June the city of Chicago honors its rich blues heritage with the Chicago Blues Festival, combining the cities rich musical talent with carefully chosen out of town acts. The festival is free, and takes place right on the beautiful lakeshore of downtown Chicago at Grant Park. It features numerous stages, panels, vendors, and satellite events around town. Chicago and its great blues scene is extra-alive during this time, as people from all over the world pour into town to embrace this festival and the rich blues history of the city that hosts it. Bob returns to his hometown each year to visit during the festival, as it gathers many of Bob’s friends in one spot, and allows many enjoyable performance opportunities. The festival happens next weekend on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, June 8, 9 and 10. The spectacular lineup can be seen in great detail by clicking here.
  • Bob Corritore’s gig schedule for the Chicago Blues Festival! Bob Corritore will keep very busy this year at the Chicago Blues Festivaland at clubs around town in an array of performance settings with top notch artists. Here is Bob’s schedule:

06/07/12 Chicago, IL – BLUES on HalstedTail Dragger & Bob Corritore CD Release Party with Chris JamesPatrick Rynn, Kevin Shanahan and Rob Lorenz. 9pm show.

06/08/12 Chicago, IL – Smoke Daddy. Guest appearance on Billy Flynn‘s show which also includes Jimmi Mayes, Jody Williams, and Milwaukee Slim. 9:30 p,m show.

06/09/12 Chicago. IL – Chicago Blues Festival, Windy City Blues Society Street Stage, 1pm – Appearing with Bob Riedy Blues Bandfeaturing Sam Lay.

06/09/12 Chicago. IL – Chicago Blues Festival, Front Porch Stage, 4:30pm – Appearing as part of a Hubert Sumlin Tribute with Eddie ShawBob MargolinDave SpecterKenny “Beedy Eyes” SmithBob Stroger, and Johnny Iguana.

06/09/12 Chicago. IL – Chicago Blues Festival, Petrillo Bandshell, 6:30 to 8pm Guest appearance on the Muddy Waters‘ Disciples set honoring Pinetop PerkinsWillie “Big Eyes” Smith & Mojo Buford. This set features Bob MargolinMud MorganfieldKenny “Beedy Eyes” SmithBarrelhouse ChuckLittle Frank , Bob StrogerJoe Filisko & Bob Corritore.

06/09/12 Willowbrook, IL – Blue Rooster Lounge at Dell Rhea’s Chicken Basket – Appearing with Bob Riedy Blues Band featuring Sam Lay. Bob appears at approximately 9pm.

6/10/12 Chicago, IL – Smoke Daddy. Appearing as part of Morry Sochat & The Special 20s “Half Chicken Special Show” with special guests Billy FlynnKenny “Beedy Eyes” SmithBob Corritore and Ted Beranis. This show serves as a close to the Chicago Blues Festival. 9:30pm show.

  • New Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith website! Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith is the son of the late Willie “Big Eyes” Smith. He learned blues drumming from his father at an early age and over the years has established himself as one of the nation’s greatest blues drummers. Though in his early 30s, Kenny is is an old soul in the blues, and is Chicago’s first call drummer for gigs, sessions, festivals and tours. He has recently launched a beautiful website that includes bios, photos, (see the photo of Lightnin’ Hopkins holding Kenny as a young child), testimonials and more. You can enjoy this website at www.beedyeyes.com

  • Thank You Simi Valley Blues Festival! Last weekend, the Simi Valley Cajun & Blues Music Festival delivered the goods! A spectacular festival lineup was intricately set up with top bands, special guests and many revue sets that treated the audience to the a non-stop blues ride. That this festival has come into its own was apparent from the many blues organizations and publications who came from far-away places to attend.  I am personally appreciative of being included on the Muddy Waters Tribute set which was a symbolic career highpoint for me. It was great to see the amazing reaction that Mud Morganfield received, as he summoned the spirit of his father in a breathtaking way. Thanks to festival organizers Randy Chortkoff and Delta Groove Productions for a job well done. To see the festival posters click here, and here.

  • Mud Morganfield on the cover of Living Blues Magazine! With the release of Mud Morganfield‘s latest CD Son Of The Seventh Son on Severn Records, Mud has been thrust into the international limelight. The latest in Mud’s many high profile achievements is the beautiful cover of Living Blues magazine and an in-depth article featuring some never before seen vintage photos of Muddy Waters provided by Mud’s mother, Mildred McGhee. To see this article online and enjoy this wonderful magazine click here.

  • Tail Dragger, Bob Corritore garner Living Blues Awards nominations! The latest issue of Living Blues Magazine also unveils the nominees of the 2012 Living Blues Awards! Among the 10 award categories we find Tail Dragger receiving nominations as both “Most Outstanding Blues Singer”, and “Best Live Performer”. Bob Corritore is nominated in the category of “Most Outstanding Musician (Harmonica) and shares this nomination with Sugar BlueHarmonica HindsBilly Branch and Rod Piazza. Thanks for this wonderful recognition! To see the full list of nominees click here and go to page 71. Congratulations to all the Living Blues Award nominees!

  • RIP Carrie Smith – August 25, 1925 to May 20, 2012. Jazz / blues singer Carrie Smith will be warmly remembered for her work on the Broadway musical revue, Black & Blue. Se died of cancer in Englewood, N.J on May 20th. She was 86. She possessed a beautiful, husky voice and a kind stage persona. Born in Fort Gaines, Georgia she started her career as a gospel singer, appearing at the 1957 Newport Jazz Festival with the Back Home Choir of the Greater Harvest Baptist Church in Newark. In the 1960s Carrie Smith began working in various jazz settings in which she would often perform the blues. Carrie became internationally known in 1974 playing Bessie Smith (no relation) in Dick Hyman’s Satchimo Remembered at Carnegie Hall. She starred in the Broadway musical Black And BlueBroadway musical from 1989 to 1991 and would also find popularity touring in Europe. Carrie Smith recorded a number of albums in both jazz and blues. To hear an example of Carrie Smith‘s beautiful voice singing “In The Dark” click here.
  • Elmo Williams & Hezekiah Early on YouTube! Here is a 2009 clip of the Delta duo of Elmo Williams & Hezekiah Early playing some extra-raw down home blues on the song “Natchez Burning”. Note that Hezekiah plays both drums and harmonica simultaneously. This song recalls the tragic fire of 1940 which devastated the town of Natchez, Mississippi (to find out more about the fire click here). To watch the video clip, click here.

Thursday May 24, 2012

-Bob Corritore

  •  World Of Harmonica features Bob Corritore in Artist Spotlight. Thanks to the UK’s World Of Harmonica Website run by Shaun Monument May, for its artist spotlight feature of Bob Corritore with rare and historic photos sound clips, and videos, presented on a wonderful page. To see this feature click here. Thanks World of Harmonica!
  • Little Walter, Baby Face Leroy, Muddy Waters unissued Parkway alternate takes released! Louis Records from the UK has recently issued two limited edition collector’s 45rpm vinyl records of great interest to fans of classic Chicago blues. In 1950 Parkway Records produced a session featuring the amazing trio of Little WalterBaby Face Leroy and Muddy Waters. Most of these have been reissued on Delmark Records compilation called The Blues World of Little Walter. But low and behold, thanks to UK blues artist and collector Big Joe Louis and his Louis Records, we are now treated to some previously unheard material from this historic session, . One single features previously unreleased alternate takes of Little Walter‘s “Just keep Lovin’ Her” and Baby Face Leroy‘s “Boll Weevil”. A second single features extended versions, without fade outs of parts 1 and 2 of Baby Face Leroy classic version of “Rollin’ and Tumblin” with the amazing harmony of Leroy, Walter, and Muddy all moaning the melody line! This is simply top shelf blues that was innovating at the moment it was being recorded. To hear these great sides, and to order, you can click here. If you live in the USA it might be easier to order these from Norton Records. Thanks Big Joe for making this priceless music available!
  • RIP Donald “Duck” Dunn – November 24, 1941 to May 13, 2012. If ever there was a definitive soul / blues bass player it was Donald “Duck” Dunn. Best known as the house musician for Stax Records, and a member of Booker T & The MGsDuck Dunn is responsible for some of the most memorable bass-lines in history. Think Albert King “Born Under A Bad Sign”, Sam & Dave “I’m A Soul Man”, Otis Redding “Sitting On The Dock Of The Day”, and Eddie Floyd “Knock On Wood” as examples of his great work. His contributions include thousands of classic recordings made over many years. He was also in the original Blues Brothers and appears with acting parts in both of the movies. He received a lifetime achievement Grammy award in 2007. He died while on tour in Tokyo at age 70. To see his amazing discography click here. To see the article in Rolling Stone click here. Thank you Donald “Duck” Dunn for your groundbreaking contributions to American music!
  • RIP Michael Burks July 30, 1957 to May 6, 2012. Guitarist / Vocalist Michael “Iron Man” Burks was well known for his fine contemporary blues records on the Alligator label and for his powerful live performances. Michael had a heart attack at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Georgia after returning from a European tour. He was 54. Michael was a hero at the King Biscuit Blues Festival in Helena, Arkansas and had legions of fans across the globe. He was a kind, gentle soul offstage and a powerhouse on. He played a Gibson Flying V guitar much like that of his mentor, Albert King. His untimely passing has sent shock throughout the blues community. To see Michael Burks website with CDs, photos, music and  a complete bio, click here.
  • Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee on YouTube! Please enjoy this great performance of Sonny Terry with his harmonica workout on “Hootin’ Blues” with the always cool Brownie McGhee rockin’ on guitar. Click here, to see.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Friday, April 18, 2012

  • Dave Riley & Bob Corritore appear Saturday afternoon at the Multi-Cultural Festival in El Mirage, AZ! Dave Riley & Bob Corritore will perform  tomorrow, Saturday, April 21st at the Multi-Cultural Festival 2012 in New Gateway Park, 10100 E. El Mirage Rd, El Mirage, Arizona. Dave and Bob will represent the blues portion of the proceedings and other acts, from many musical genres include Elaine Stepter (formerly of Rose Royce), Fel DavisDenitra ChampCarvin JonesPastor Wade with the MCBC Choir, Monica Castro, Two-Tone Lizard Kings, and B.Scales. The show runs from 1pm to 8pm and Dave and Bob hit at 5pm for a half-hour set. This show is put on by the AZNBHO.Org. For more information call 623-204-0959. Admission is free! To see the flyer for this event, click here.
  • Hohner Harmonica’s new Blues Harp packaging! Hohner Harmonica now has a new packaging for their Blues Harp brand. The Blues Harps now come in a carton with a sharp design that includes 3 harmonica players: Dan Smith (the great gospel harmonica player), Bob Corritore, and Junior Wells. Bob is honored to be included on this packaging and to be included with such fine company. To see the new sharp design for the Hohner Blues Harp packaging, click here.
  • New Mannish Boys CD  and RJ Mischo to be released May 15th on Delta Groove! New Photo Page of Mannish Boys recording session! The Mannish Boys are somewhat of a modern day blues phenomenon. Led by the vision of Randy Chortkoff, this group has become known as an amazing revue of the West Coast’s top blues players with family of special guests that represents Randy’s deep conviction to the blues. The new double CD will be called Double Dynamite and will be officially released May 15th on Delta Groove Productions. Here is Amazon’s editorial pre-review of the CD:
    (2-CD set) The Mannish Boys transcend their five previous critically acclaimed recordings with Double Dynamite – an unprecedented double studio album containing outstanding musicianship with many spectacular and notable special guests. Featured artists includeFinis TasbySugar Ray RayfordMud Morganfield, Jackie PayneElvin BishopRod PiazzaJames HarmanJason RicciBob Corritore,Randy ChortkoffKirk FletcherFrank GoldwasserJunior WatsonKid RamosNathan JamesMike FinniganFred KaplanRob Rio,Willie J. CampbellBill StuveJimi Bott and many more!
    We must also note that another highly anticipated Delta Groove CD will be out on the same release date with the label debut of harmonica master RJ Mischo and his new disc Make It Good. To see the Delta Groove artist page for RJ Mischo and to hear a sample of his music click here. Thank you Delta Groove for the commitment to traditional blues. We have constructed a web page of beautiful photos from the sessions for the Mannish Boys CD which you can see by clicking here.
  • Thank you to Stompin’ At the Savoy Festival! Last weekend the Scandinavian town of Helsinki, Finland became a hub for the blues as the Stompin’ At The Savoy Festival presented a wonderful program of blues and roots at the beautiful Savoy Theater. Thanks to our friends from Stompin’ At The Savoy, the Finnish Blues Society, and the US Embassy for bringing Tail Dragger & Bob Corritore to this event. Thanks to the amazing Tomi Leino Band for their stellar backing work. Thanks to all our friends and fans in Helsinki who made the trip a memorable and positive experience! Thanks to all the great musicians for some great camaraderie and for some great after party jams! To see a cool video of Tail DraggerBob Corritore and the Tomi Leino Band performing at Stompin’ At The Savoy, click here.
  • Radio Interview with Jimmy Rogers’ son this Sunday on KJZZ! This Sunday Bob Corritore will interview JD Mosley, the adopted son of Chicago blues architect Jimmy Rogers, who will share stories of growing up in a house filled with the blues. You can expect to hear stories of Jimmy’s Gold Tailed Bird album, Jimmy’s work with Howlin’ Wolf, Jimmy’s encouragement from Johnny Littlejohn to return to music after a short retirement and much more. By the way you can see JD and the Jimmy Rogers family standing on their porch on the back of Jimmy’s Gold Tailed Bird LP on Shelter Records. Along with the interview will be lots of priceless music by the masterful Jimmy Rogers! Bob’s radio show, Those Lowdown Blues is aired each Sunday from 6 to 11pm Arizona time, at www.kjzz.org. And this Sunday, April 22, you can hear the interview in the last two hours of the show, from 9 to 11pm.
  • RIP Levon Helm – May 26, 1940 to April 19, 2012 Drummer/ vocalist/harmonica player/actor Levon Helm is best known in popular culture for his work with The Band and Bob Dylan, but he had a lesser-known affiliation with the blues. He passed away yesterday in New York, after a long struggle with cancer. Levon Helm‘s musical contributions are many and well documented, and we will refer to the Wikipedia page for his bio. Though we will not detail his pop music activity in this obit, let’s review some of Levon’s very active blues offerings: As a native of Arkansas he was influenced at an early age by the work of Sonny Boy Williamson IIRobert Lockwood, Jr., and James “Peck” Curtis (who Levon credits as his early drum inspiration). In the early 1960s Levon would land a gig with Canadian blues / rock ‘n roller Ronnie Hawkins, and in 1964 he would appear on the John Hammond album So Many Roads. In the mid 70s, while The Band was at the height of their career, Levon appeared on Muddy Waters‘ Grammy-winning Woodstock Album. Levon was also crucial in getting Muddy Waters (with Pinetop PerkinsPaul Butterfield and Bob Margolin) on The Band‘s 1976 finale concert / documentary film, The Last Waltz, and when the organizers of that show considered a last minute cut of Muddy’s segment due to time and budget concerns, it was Levon who stood up to organizational pressure and refused to perform unless Muddy’s part of the show was honored. In his post-Band years, Levon’s work would gravitate to a blues format as he hosted regular star-studded “Barn Concerts” that were literally at the barn of his Woodstock, New York residence. His group would feature a series of harmonica player / vocalists who would serve as the frontmen including Chris O’LearyLittle Sammy Davis, and Steve Guyger. Levon was also involved in Louisiana Red‘s 2002 CD, A Different Shade Of Red, The Woodstock Sessions on Severn Records. Levon’s reputation among the blues world was of the highest order. Bob Margolin refers to Levon as “an amazing musical soul.” We thank this great man who, while rising to the heights of pop stardom, always worked to better the blues. To see a great article by Bob Margolin about his recollections of The Last Waltz, click here. To see the New York Times obit click here.
  • Sonny Boy Williamson II sings “Bye Bye Bird” on YouTube! Please enjoy this video of Rice Miller AKA Sonny Boy Williamson II singing and playing harmonica “Bye Bye Bird” with all sorts of wonderful rhythmic effects! This clip was filmed in the UK in 1964 as part of the American Folk Blues Festival. Click here.

April 5, 2012

  • Dave Riley / Bob Corritore Juke Joint Blues Band appear this Saturday at the Rhythm Room! The 7 year blues partnership of Dave Riley and Bob Corritore will be presented this Saturday, April 7th at the Rhythm Room. Dave and Bob will appear that night with Dave’s son Dave “Yahni” Riley, Jr. on bass and Brian Fahey on drums. Look for some good down home blues this night. To see a photo page devoted to Dave and Bob’s blues adventures click here. To hear some samples of Dave and Bob’s recorded music click here. The Rhythm Room is located at 1019 E. Indian School, Phoenix, AZ 85014.
  • Mud Morganfield and Tail Dragger/Bob Corritore place high in the March Living Blues Radio Charts! Bob’s two most recent productions Mud Morganfield / Son Of The Seventh Son on Severn Records and Tail Dragger & Bob Corritore / Longtime Friends In The Blues on Delta Groove Productions both scored high on the March Living Blues Radio Charts. Mud reaching the # 2 position, and Tail Dragger / Bob Corritore reaching #4! Thanks to all of the blues radio shows who have embraced these new releases, and to Jim McGrath who compiles the charts!
  • Tail Dragger & Bob Corritore headline Stompin’ At The Savoy Festival next week in Finland! With their new release Longtime Friends In The Blues on the Delta Groove label, Tail Dragger and Bob Corritore head to Helsinki, Finland to headline the Stompin’ At The Savoy Festival. The 3 day festival happens on April 13, 14 and 15 with Tail Dragger and Bob’s set happening on Saturday, April 14. This set will be backed by Finland’s excellent Tomi Leino Band. Also appearing at the fest will be Steve JamesSven ZetterbergBeat From PalookavilleQueen Fatima & The Royal FourDave Acari & The Hellsinki HellraisersHoney B & The T-Bones featuring Paleface, and Maxwell Street Market. DJs Pete H and High-Q, Black River Bluesman and Bad Mood Hudson. To see the beautiful poster for the festival click here. To get more information on Tail Dragger & Bob Corritore / Longtime Friends In The Blues, and to order click here.
  • Photos from the Mud Morganfield CD Release Party at Legends! Last weekend Bob Corritore flew to his former hometown of Chicago to participate in the CD release party for Mud Morganfield‘s new album Son Of The Seventh Son on Severn Records. This party happened last Saturday night at Buddy Guy’s Legends and the day before the band made a live appearance on WGN Television!  This led to a truly special event as Chicago blues fans packed into Legends to honor and celebrate the eldest son of Muddy Waters and the extension of his father’s legacy that he represents. The band that played on the record was mostly reunited with Mud, Bob, Rick Kreher,Harmonica HindsBarrelhouse ChuckE.G. McDaniel, and Kenny “Beedy Eyes” SmithBilly Flynn who also played on the CD had a prior engagement but was able to participate in the WGN broadcast. To see a photo page devoted to this wonderful and symbolic time, click here.
  • New documentary film examines the Mississippi juke joint tradition! The makers of the award winning documentary “M for Mississippi” have continued their mission with a follow up film titled We Juke Up In Here: Mississippi’s Juke Joint Culture at the Crossroads. The film will premiere Friday, April 13 with a 5:30pm inaugural screening at Delta Cinema, 11 Third Street in Clarksdale, MS. The event is free and open to the public and  will kick-off the Juke Joint Festival weekend in Clarksdale (www.jukejointfestival.com). The film is produced by Roger Stolle of Cat Head Delta Blues & Folk Art (www.cathead.biz) and Jeff Konkel of Broke & Hungry Records (www.brokeandhungryrecords.com) who both are dedicated folklorists, specializing in the blues of Mississippi. For more information on the film please see the website at www.wejukeupinhere.com.
  • Muddy Waters at Newport 1960 on YouTube! We honor this late legend of the blues during his birthday week. Please enjoy these clips of the great Muddy Waters peforming at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1960. The great band includes Otis Spann on piano and James Cotton on harmonica. Here is Muddy at the top of his game!”Hoochie Coochie Man”: click here
    “Rollin Stone”: click here
    “Got My Mojo Working”: click here

March 29, 2012

  • Mud Morganfield CD Release Party Saturday at Legends! On March 20 Severn Records released the first national release by Mud Morganfield, the eldest son of Muddy Waters. This release is called Son Of The Seventh Son and it has already received about 20 rave reviews which you can read by clicking here. A CD release party is planned for Saturday night, March 31st at Buddy Guy’s Legends with an opening set by Eddie Taylor, Jr. before Mud and band take the stage! Mud Morganfield‘s band that night will consist of Rick KreherBarrelhouse ChuckKenny “Beedy Eyes” SmithE.G. McDanielHarmonica Hinds and Bob Corritore plus guest appearances by Katherine Davis and Deitra plus a few surprises! Copies of Son Of The Seventh Son will be available that night. To see the flier for this event click hereBuddy Guy’s Legends is located at 700 S. Wabash, Chicago, IL 60605. Also Mud and the band will make a live televised appearance Friday morning, March 30 on Chicago’s WGN and this broadcast is available throughout the USA.
  • Tail Dragger & Bob Corritore / Longtime Friends In The Blues makes a strong entry! Tail Dragger & Bob Corritore collaborated on the powerful album Longtime Friends In The Blues which was just released last week on the Delta Groove label. With promotion just started 2 weeks ago this CD has been met with an initial wave of positive reaction. To see the first 15 glowing reviews of this CD click here. To see the Roots Radio Report for this week which debuts this CD at #17 click here. The CD has been listed in the the “Top 50 Breakthrough Recordings” in the Antiquarian Librarian which lists all musical genres! To see this listing click hereTail Dragger and Bob will headline the Stompin’ At The Savoy festival in Helsinki, Finland on April 14th. To see the beautiful poster for the festival click here. There will be an official CD release party on Thursday, June 7 at B.L.U.E.S. on Halsted in Chicago which BTW is the day before theChicago Blues Festival. Features on Tail Dragger will appear in upcoming issues of Living Blues and IL Blues Magazines. Bob just did an interview on Jim and Diane on WCTG in VA,  and both Tail Dragger and Bob interviewed with Matt Kacar at Artist Connection Podcast, and Mark Wade at A1Blues.com. Thanks to all the writers, reviewers, radio show hosts, bloggers, and fans for their support!
  • Louisiana Red remembered with new photo page! We remember  and celebrate the life of the recently deceased Louisiana Red with a beautiful photo page. Red was a gloriously talented down-home blues artist and his musical contributions will live through eternity. Thanks to all the folks who sent in photos of Red upon the news of his passing. Some of those are included on this page, which you can see by clicking here.
  • RIP Jerry McCain – June 18, 1930 to March 28, 2012 Harmonica master Jerry McCain passed away yesterday at age 81.  He was born in Gadsden, Alabama which remained his home town throughout his life. He became a harmonica player at an early age and made his debut recordings for Trumpet in 1953. This would be followed by brilliant recordings for ExcelloRexOkehJewelRomulus,GASIchiban, Cedar, and Music Maker. McCain is worshiped by blues harmonica lovers for his great sense of phrasing, some wonderful trademark licks, and a beautiful full-bodied tone. He was also a great singer and a brilliant and often humourous songwriter, and on some of his classic recordings are considered the bedrock of early rock & roll. He will be best remembered for his now classic double single on Rex Records of “She’s Tough” with it’s catchy vocal break, and the flip of the evergreen harmonica instrumental “Steady.” Both of these songs are often covered band-stand favorites. The Fabulous Thunderbirds re-popularized “She’s Tough” with a version on their 1979 debut record which brought wider attention to McCain’s original version. We thank Jerry McCain for his many great and timeless recordings and the profound infuence he had on the blues.

For Jerry McCain’s bio by Larry Benicewicz click here

To read about his passing in the Gadsden Times click here

To hear Jerry McCain’s “Steady” click here

To hear “She’s Tough” click here

To hear his version of “Red Top” on the Okeh label click here

To hear “My Next Door Neighbor” click here

To hear Jerry first record “Wine-O-Wine” on Trumpet, click here .

  • Alan Lomax field recordings available online at no charge. Alan Lomax in his tireless work as a folklorist for the Library Of Congress, went around the USA with portable recording equipment to capture and historically archive American folk music, including many great recordings of the blues. His contributions to preserving and exposing musical traditions are nothing short of amazing. The Lomax recordings are becoming available online for free some 10 years after the folklorist’s passing. Click here for the NPR story.
  • Son House On YouTube! Please enjoy this powerful A Capella performance of Son House singing his classic “Grinnin’  In Your Face” which you can click here to see.

March 16, 2012

February 25, 2012

  • RIP Iverson Minter AKA Louisiana Red March 23rd, 1932- to February 25, 2012. It is with a heavy heart that we report the passing of one of the greatest and most beloved traditional blues artists. Louisiana Red died this afternoon at a hospital in Germany (Note Europe is 9 hours ahead) after a few days in a coma brought on by thyroid imbalance. He was 79. Louisiana Red was a powerful downhome blues artist who could channel his teachers (among them Muddy WatersElmore JamesRobert NighthawkLightnin’ Hopkins and John Lee Hooker) into his own heartfelt musical conversation, delivered with such moving passion and honesty that it would leave his audiences indelibly touched. He was fine singer with a distinctive voice, and an amazing guitarist who could play all of the traditional blues styles and excelled as one of the world’s greatest slide guitarists. He could create moods and textures, both musically and spiritually, and had the ability of falling so deep into his own songs that he would go to tears, making his audience cry with him. That was the gift of this great artist.Wikipedia lists Louisiana Red as being born in Bessemer, Alabama but his own reports have fluctuated from various Southern towns and cities. Red lost his mother at birth and his father was killed in a Ku Klux Klan lynching when Red was just 5 years old. He lived in an orphanage in New Orleans for a few a his childhood years until his grandmother took him to Pittsburgh to live. A few years later she bought him his first guitar, a $12 Kay. Red would play along with records and the radio and begged some guitar lessons from his first mentor, Crit Walters. It was early in life that Red made the decision to become a blues musician. In the late 1940s Red would follow his passion to Detroit where he would become friends with Eddie Burns and John Lee Hooker. He would make his first recordings in Detroit for producer Joe Von Battle under the moniker of Rocky Fuller, a pair of these recordings were leased to Chess records. He would accompany John Lee Hooker on a session for Modern Records and you can hear Red shouting “Lord Have Mercy” in the middle of JLH’s “Down Child”. Red would also land a 1953 recording session in Chicago for Chess in which he is accompanied by Little Walter on the brilliant “Funeral Hearse At My Door” which remained in the vaults unreleased for decades. Red’s next stop would be New York where he would record for producer Bobby Robinson and for Atlas Records. But it was Louisiana Red‘s 1962 Roulette label recordings that garnered him national recognition as a bluesman. His single “Red’s Dream” with its humorous political commentary became a major hit and was followed by the Roulette album The Lowdown Back Porch Blues. This was followed by the 1965 release of Louisiana Red Sings The Blues on Atco. In the mid 70s he became the cornerstone of the Blue Labor label cutting two excellent solo acoustic albums; Sweet Blood Call and Dead Stray Dog and also appearing on that label as a featured sideman on albums by Johnny ShinesRoosevelt Sykes,Brownie McGhee, and Peg Leg Sam. He was romantically involved with folk legend Odetta for a small period of time in the 1970s. European promoters and booking agents took an interest, and Red found a new audience with his annual overseas tours. Labels such as L+R from Germany and JSP from England began recording Red, the latter debuting their catalog with Red, Funk and Blue, a duet album with Sugar Blue. Red appeared as himself in the movie Come Back featuring Eric Burdon of Animals fame. Red lived in Chicago for awhile in the early 1980s where he worked at the Delta Fish Market. He would then move to Phoenix in late 1981 where he lived and played with Bob Corritore for about a year.Red left Phoenix for a European tour in late 1982, and it was then and there that he met his true love, Dora, who he married and spent the rest of his life with. Dora gave Red an uncompromised love and the constant companionship and protective looking-out-for that Red needed. Dora also provided the family situation that Red yearned for in his life as Red took great pride in his love and adoption of Dora’s sons. The positive impact and dedication that Dora provided Red was simply amazing. Red would live in Hanover Germany for the rest of his life with Dora and each year in January, the two would vacation in Ghana, Africa, Dora’s country of origin. He found work so plentiful in Europe that for a period of time he rarely would come to the USA. In 1995 Earwig Records would release Sittin’ Here Wondering. which had been recorded by Bob Corritore in 1982 and sat on the shelf for over a decade. This CD created a relationship between Red and Earwig label chief Michael Frank who would record 2 more records by Red and book annual US tours. Releases followed on High Toneand Severn as well as a documentary DVD released only in Europe. In 2009 Little Victor struck gold with his production of Red’s Back To The Black Bayou CD released first on the Bluestown Label and then picked up by Ruf Records. Victor had idolized and studied under Red for years and lovingly coaxed this brilliant album from his mentor. Back To The Black Bayou swept Europe and the US with awards and nominations. Simultaneously, Red’s collaboration with pianist David Maxwell produced You Got To Move, and in 2010 Red would go to the Blues Music Awards with 5 nominations and receive 2 wins! Little Victor also produced Red’s final critically acclaimed CD Memphis Mojo.

    It is sad to say goodbye to the loving persona of this great bluesman who’s music warmed our hearts  Louisiana Red‘s vulnerability became his strength and he filled his heart with an unstoppable passion for music and acceptance. His legacy is great and his friendships are many. He can now rest in peace after a lifetime of giving us everything he had through his amazing blues. God bless you Red.

February 23, 2012

  • This weekend at the Rhythm Room; Lucius Parr CD Release Party, A Blues Benefit and The Rocket 88s with guests!  The Rhythm Room in Phoenix will present the blues this weekend with Lucius Parr (the nephew of Albert Collins) hosting a CD release party for his new CD Gotta Go. Guests include George BowmanCharlie Rae, Gloria Bailey, Bob Corritore (who plays of 3 tracks of the new CD) and others. To see the event flier click here. On Saturday afternoon beginning at 3:30 Mary Godfrey hosts a benefit called Breathe The Blues Away. To see the event flier with the lineup of many bands click here. On Saturday night the veteran Rocket 88s (Bill and Susie Tarsha and Dave Forster) bring their traditional blues sound to the Rhythm Room with special guests Johnny Rapp, Keith Rogers, Dave Riley and Bob Corritore. The Rhythm Room is located at 1019 E. Indian School Rd,. Phoenix, AZ 85014.
  • Blues is celebrated at the White House! Last Tuesday night President Barack Obama presented an evening honoring the blues as part of Black History Month. Many aspects of the blues and it’s popular crossover were featured and the artist’s included were B.B. King,Mick JaggerBuddy GuyShemekia CopelandTrombone Shorty, Warren HaynesJeff BeckSusan TedeschiDerek TrucksGary Clark, Jr. and a house band led by Booker T (of Booker T. and the MGs fame). President Obama even joined in for a few lines of “Sweet Home Chicago“! Both Etta James and Hubert Sumlin were memorialized. The filming in it’s live raw form was viewable online last night, and the edited presentation will be available on PBS on Monday night (Consult your local listings for the exact time). The White House blues celebration will be watched by millions and should give all of us in this industry a boost! To see the Yahoo News article and some clips from the night click here.
  • First Mud Morganfield CD reviews! The highly anticipated new CD, Mud Morganfield / Son Of The Seventh Son on the Severn label has a release date of March 20. But it is already garnering some great initial airplay and the first batch of rave reviews. To see the first two published reviews click here. Look out for Mud’s CD release party on March 31st at Buddy Guy’s Legends in Chicago!
  • 2011 BMA Photo Page! As the voting for the 2012 BMA is in it’s last week, we have put together a photo page of some of the fun times from last year’s event. The BMAs are simply the greatest blues hang that there is. This year’s BMA ceremony takes place on Thursday May 10, 2012 at the Cook Convention Center in Memphis, Tennessee. For more information on the BMAs go to the Blues Foundation website at www.blues.org. Note that Voting ends at 07:59:59 (CST) Thursday, March 1, 2012. To see our 2011 BMA photo page click here.
  • Chicago Blues Guide pays tribute to Maxwell Street! Please enjoy this beautiful article and photo expose recently posted by the Chicago Blues GuideTom Smith provides an insider’s look at the grand blues tradition of Chicago’s Maxwell Street market. Each Sunday morning a gathering of street vendors, hustlers, bargain seekers, and blues and gospel street performers came to this street. It was a cultural smorgasbord with healthy servings of blues dished up in fine form. To see this article click here.
  • B.B. King on Sesame Street! B.B. King sings the blues about the letter “B” on a 2004 episode of the children’s show Sesame Street! This performance, complete with Big Bird, Bert and other show characters, is simply amazing! Click here.
  • Jimmy Rogers on harmonica! It is not well known that Jimmy Rogers was a great harmonica player as he is most celebrated for his intricate guitar-work and his elegant blues vocals. Please enjoy the “Round About Boogie” from 1948, which happens to be Jimmy Rogers‘ first record, where he sings and plays harmonica. And here is a nice write-up on the song and how it fits into Chicago blues history by the renown blues journalist / harmonica player Scott Dirks.
  • Junior Wells with Buddy Guy on YouTube! Please enjoy this riveting 1970 performance showing the musical chemistry of Junior Wells and Buddy Guy from the movie Chicago Blues. Click here.

February 9, 2012

  • This Friday and Saturday a Chicago Blues celebration at the Rhythm Room in Phoenix with John Primer! The Rhythm Room proudly presents John Primer with the Rhythm Room All-Stars (Bob CorritoreChris JamesPatrick RynnBrian Fahey) and special guestBarrelhouse Chuck on Friday and Saturday, February 10 and 11. Expect a very special two nights of pure Chicago Blues! Also of note is Saturday’s pre-show featuring jazz guitar great Bobby Broom & The Deep Blue Organ Trio who will appear for a 6pm set before John Primer‘s 9pm show. The Rhythm Room is located at 1019 E. Indian School Rd., Phoenix, AZ 85014. Please also note that John Primer and Barrelhouse Chuck will also be guests on Bob Corritore‘s radio show on Sunday February 12. The radio show, Those Lowdown Blues, can be heard online at www.kjzz.org or in Phoenix at 91.5FM, 6pm to 11pm (Arizona time) each Sunday night.
  • IBC Recap. I once thought that going to the IBCs (AKA The International Blues Challenge)was all about the band competition, and perhaps for some it is. But for a number of years now I have chosen to attend to be a part of what I feel is the bigger picture of this event. To me this event is a family gathering of blues people who come to get the feeling of community that is so powerfully demonstrated in these few days. Everyone is there for the blues, and that’s a powerful thing. Hundreds of bands determined to make their best appearance, blues societies, seasoned musicians, agents, writers, bloggers, photographers, booking agents, publicists,and blues people of all types are all there. In addition to the band contests, the IBCs feature great showcases and after-hours jams, tasty southern dining experiences, clinics, seminars, and the Keeping the Blues Alive Awards Brunch. One must applaud the amazing organization of the Blues Foundation, who’s small staff call upon and coordinate volunteer members to work many of the tasks of this smoothly run event. These are just a few examples of the many ways that this event nurtures a powerful blues camaraderie. You could not walk down the street without bumping into a familiar face every few steps.  Many introductions and exchanged business cards combine with a wide array of great bands all playing their hearts out to their blues family. While at the IBCs I had a number of fun playing opportunities; a Thursday late night jam at the New Daisy Theater with Jonn Del Toro RichardsonSean Carney, and Rich DelGrosso, a Thursday later night jam where host Nick Moss called upon me to join him for a couple classic Chicago blues numbers, a walk back to the hotel with Hawkeye Herman were I played harp and Hawkeye sang some gospel classics, Bob Margolin‘s Friday blues showcase where I got to play with Bob, Tad Walters (who opened the show playing some great harmonica!), Matt Hill, Chuck Cotton and the Peterson Brothers, And then an impromptu lobby jam at the Double Tree after the KBA Brunch. Speaking of which, Saturday’s KBAs were a very reflective and joyous time as the Blues Foundation honored the behind the scenes heroes of our industry. To see this years KBA recipients click here. I sat between my friends Jean Guillermo (Blues Sur Seine) and Karen McFarland (Mississippi Valley Blues Society) watching some heart-warming speeches by some very accomplished award recipients!  Shortly after the KBAs it was off to the band finals at the beautiful Orpheum Theater which was part concert and part lobby party. For a list of the IBC winners in all categories click here. Immediately after the band finals, was a dinner with friends Steve Simon and his lovely lady Downing, Paul and Jean Benjamin, and Bill Wax, who’s birthday we were celebrating! I called it an early night around 10:30pm because of my early Sunday morning flight back to Phoenix where later that night my radio show celebrated it’s 28 year anniversary! Coming home, I was on the same flight home as my friends, Common Ground Blues Band who represented Phoenix at the IBCs. A fun time in Memphis!
  • Phoenix’s Blues Blast Festival happens March 10 with headliner Sugar Ray & The Bluetones! The Phoenix Blues Society presents the Blues Blast 2012 festival on Saturday, March 10 at the new location of Margaret T. Hance Park in downtown Phoenix, located at 200 East Moreland Street. Appearing at Blues Blast 2012 will be Sugar Ray & the Bluetones, Dave Riley & Bob Corritore, The Sugar Thieves,Big Daddy D & the DynamitesGeorge Bowman and the Baddboyz Blues Band featuring Lucius Parr, and Common Ground Blues Band. The show will start at 11:00 am; gates will open at 10:00 am. More information at www.bluesblast.info. Also note that the pre-party will be Friday March 9 at the Rhythm Room with Alligator recording artist Janiva Magness and her CD release party! Also the after party will happen immediately after the fest at the Rhythm Room with a showcase / celebrity jam hosted by the Rocket 88s. Festival ticket stub holders can attend the after-party free of charge!
  • Tail Dragger and Bob Corritore to headline Stompin’ At The Savoy in Helsinki, Finland! The official poster with the full lineup has just come out! The 2nd Annual Stompin’ At The Savoy Festival happens April 13, 14 and 15 at the Savoy Theatre in Helsinki. Appearing at this festival will be Tail Dragger and Bob Corritore backed by the Tomi Leino Band (excellent band!), Steve JamesSven ZetterbergBeat From PalookavilleQueen Fatima & The Royal FourDave Acari & The Hellsinki HellraisersHoney B & The T-Bones featuring Paleface, and Maxwell Street Market. DJs Pete H and High-Q, Black River Bluesman and Bad Mood Hudson. To see the new poster click here. To see cover art for the Tail Dragger & Bob Corritore‘s forthcoming CD on Delta Groove, click here.
  • Bob Corritore’s 2011 Year in Photos! We have just added a 2 part photo page to reflect Bob’s musical adventures of last year. Please enjoy an inside peek at shows, show posters. sessions, off stage fun, recording sessions, good fun and good friends. For part one click here, and for part two, click here. Note that we also will soon be showing you extensive photo pages of the 2011 BMAs, The 2011 Lucerne Blues Festival and the Hubert Sumlin Memorial Show at FitzGerald’s so these great events are just touched upon in year photo recap. Please enjoy these mementos of a great year!
  • Mud Morganfield complete CD art revealed! Mud Morganfield, the eldest son of Muddy Waters, will have his first nationally released CD, Son Of The Seventh Son, out on the Severn Records label on March 20th, 2011. There will be a CD release party in Chicago on Saturday, March 31 at Buddy Guy’s Legends! Here is the complete artwork for this highly anticipated release. Click here.
  • Sister Rosetta Tharpe with Big Walter Horton on YouTube! Check out this unusual paring of gospel and Chicago blues as the magnificent Sister Rosetta Tharpe performs with Willie Dixon’s Chicago Blues All-Stars with Big Walter HortonLee JacksonLafayette Leake, and Clifton James. This 1960s clip has beautiful sound and color as Sister Rosetta Tharpe sings her classics “That’s All” and “Didn’t It Rain” with Chicago blues backing! Click here.

February 3, 2012

  • Off to Memphis for the IBCs! The International Blues Challenge (AKA IBCs) is a time when the blues community comes together to greet the up-and-coming artists that will be part of the future of this music. During the IBCs, many bands from all over the world will compete for a chance at great recognition in the blues community. In addition to this event, there are many side attractions such as theKeeping The Blues Alive awards presentations, various showcases, a now famous jam after hours at the Rum Boogie hosted by Bob Margolin, and much networking. Blues societies, booking agents, labels, festivals, publications, photographers, and every possible blues industry type is in attendance, as well a multitude of fans who come to take part in this blues spectacle! For more information on this event click here. To see the flier for Bob Margolin‘s after hours jam, please click here.

  • Those Lowdown Blues on KJZZ turns 28 this Sunday! Bob Corritore‘s radio show, Those Lowdown Blues celebrates 28 years on Sunday! Bob has earned a strong radio listenership with the show’s timeless historic presentation of the genre and with Bob’s extensive personal library of blues music. The show has been celebrated locally with numerous New Times “Best Of Phoenix” awards and other press and recognition, received the Blues Foundation‘s “Keeping The Blues Alive Award” in 2007, and won an “Honorary Membership” from Collectif Des Radios Blues presented to Bob in France at the 2008 Cognac Blues Festival! You can tune into Those Lowdown Blueseach Sunday from 6pm to 11pm Arizona time, or hear it online at www.kjzz.org. Thanks to KJZZ for their commitment to blues music!

  • John Primer to headline Chciago Blues weekend at the the Rhythm Room! On February 10 and 11 the Rhythm Room will present two nights of glorious Chicago blues with John Primer backed by the Rhythm Room All-Stars (Bob Corritore, Chris James, Patrick Rynn, and Brian Fahey) plus very special guest Barrelhouse Chuck on piano. John has an exceptional resume: He worked in the house band at Theresa’s Lounge along side of Sammy Lawnhorn, where he regularly backed Junior Wells and James Cotton. He was in the last lineup of the Muddy Waters Blues Band, he worked with Magic Slim & The Teardrops for years. He played on the Grammy winning CD, Pinetop Perkins & Willie “Big Eyes” Smith / Joined At The Hip. He is currently a featured artist in the highly aclaimed Chicago Blues: A Living History package. We look forward to a weekend of pure Chicago Blues. The Rhythm Room is located at 1019 E. Indian School Rd., Phoenix, AZ 85014. To see the flyer for this event click here.
  • Diunna Greenleaf continues to garner critical acclaim! Congratulations to Houston based blues queen Diunna Greenleaf as her new album, Trying To Hold On, continues to be met with critical acclaim. The most recent Blues Revue Magazine with Robert Cray on the cover features a rave review of the record by Kay Cordtz. And in that same issue, her CD was in the Bravo listing of most listened to CDs in the Blues Revue offices! Blues Revue is also preparing a future Diunna Greenleaf feature article written by Tim Parsons. She was recently featured in Deitra Farr‘s Artist To Artist column in Living Blues Magazine. She is the feature of Honey Sepeda’s blog Honey Bee’s Blues. Diunna is up for a Blues Music Award in the “Koko Taylor Traditional Female Blues Artist” category and Trying To Hold Onis up for “Traditional Blues CD”!
  •  Amazing 1940’s Footage of Sonny Boy Williamson and Robert Jr. Lockwood! Please enjoy these silent movies of Sonny Boy Williamson and Robert Jr. Lockwood performing in promotion of King Biscuit Flour. It is as if you have been transported in a time machine! We became aware of this footage from Facebook’s Real Blues Forum. The YouTube copy states the following; “Max Moore, owner of Interstate Grocery in Helena, Arkansas, was the sponsor for radio station KFFA’s “King Biscuit Time” program. We believe he shot this home movie circa 1942. In it, renowned blues musicians Robert ‘Junior’ Lockwood and Sonny Boy Williamson perform on the front porch of a small-town Arkansas grocery store. This is likely the earliest footage of these musicians performing together. The second portion of the clip is a 1952 tour featuring Williamson and his band. This film was preserved with a grant from the National Film Preservation Foundation. Max Moore Home Movie Collection”. To see, click here!
  • Chicago Sun-Times previews upcoming Chicago Blues Festival! The Chicago Blues Festival happens this year on June 8, 9 and 10 in beautiful Grant Park. Though the full music schedule does not yet appear on the fest website (http://www.explorechicago.org/city/en/supporting_narrative/events___special_events/special_events/mose/chicago_blues_festival.html), The Chicago Sun-Times newspaper has the inside track and speaks of many of the acts performing. To read the article click here.
  • Lazy Lester /  You Better Listen Liner Notes. In 2011 Lazy Lester released You Better Listen on the Bluestown label out of Norway. This CD is nominated for a Blues Music Award in the category of “Traditional Blues Album.” Lazy Lester is also up for BMAs in “Instrumentalist-Harmonica” and “Traditional Blues Male Artist”. Co-producer Jostein Forsburg asked Bob Corritore to write the liner notes for this release, which are posted on the label website. You can see them by clicking here.
  • Magic Slim and Grana Louise to star in a movie! Though still in the fundraising stage, here is a teaser revealing the basic idea of a forthcoming movie called We Be Kings that will star Magic Slim and Grana Louise as main characters. In this movie two down and out teen rockers save an elderly bluesman’s life and are guided by the ghost of his wife to achieve the fame he never had. To see the clip and find out more about the movie, click here.
  • RIP Don Cornelius -September 27, 1936 to February 1, 2012. Don Cornelius, host and creator of the beloved television show Soul Train was found dead today, from an apparent suicide. He was 75. One cannot over-estimate the influence of this show in bringing great soul and rhythm & blues artists into the spotlight and highlighting the joy of dancing to the music it presented. For Don’s wikipedia bio click here, and for the Huffington Post article which includes a video and a slide show click here.
    We are saddened that a man that brought so much joy to others, would leave the world this way. He will be remembered fondly by the millions of people that his work touched.Here is a wonderful YouTube clip of Don Cornelius announcing on Soul Train, with special guest Johnnie Taylor singing “Stop Doggin’ Me Around”(Click here to see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s1kDiLDwflY).
  • Correction to Omar Shariff Obit. Bay Area blues promoter Thomas Mazzolini sends this correction and his personal insight to our Dave Alexander AKA Omar Shariff obit; “Dave Alexander shot himself in Marshall, Texas. He had moved there from California in 2011.  I cannot understand why he would take his own life given that he had embarked on a new career and location where he appeared to be working more often and was appreciated for his skills and legacy. The only thing that I could think of was depression. Perhaps a moment of utter despair. I was sickened over the news upon hearing it early Monday morning. While in Sacramento we had often spoken and of course I booked him many times especially in the early years”.
  • 1968 B.B. King on YouTube! Here is a clip of a youthful B.B. King from 1968 singing “I’ve Got A Mind To Give Up Living.” Clickhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nC8NACR28J4&feature=related.

January 20, 2012

  • Etta James January 25, 1938 – January 20, 2012. How many people have fallen in love while listening to the song “At Last” or shed a tear when listening to “I’d Rather Go Blind” or danced with delight and empowerment when the song “Tell Mama” would come on? That was the power of the legendary Etta James who died  today after a long struggle with numerous health issues. She was 73. Etta represented the human condition and all of its imperfections of which she could sing about with an experienced vulnerability that would seem to cut straight to your heart. Born Jamesetta Hawkins in Los Angeles, Etta began singing in church at age 5. She would launch a professional music career under the name “Peaches” while still in her early teens. In 1955 she teamed up with producer/musician/ bandleader/talent scout Johnny Otis to release “The Wallflower” which rose to #1 in the Rhythm & Blues charts. Throughout the 1950s she made many spectacular recordings for Modern Records and in 1960 she signed with the Chess label’s subsidiary Argo Records. It was during her Chess period that some of her most beloved hits were released. Along the way she became addicted to heroin which led to some bumps in her career but she kicked the habit in 1974 and rebuilt her amazing career. She would open for the Rolling Stones, winGrammy and Handy Awards, sing the national anthem at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, be inducted in the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame in 1993, and unquestionably solidify her stature as a true music legend. In 2008 the movie Cadillac Records featured Beyoncé  portraying the Etta James character during the Chess Records years. Beyoncé‘s version of Etta’s “At Last’ from that movie would win aGrammy. Sadly, Etta James publicly criticized Beyoncé for singing “At Last” at the inaugural ball for President Barack Obama. The last few years found Etta dealing with many health issues including blood infection and leukemia. Through all of her trials and tribulations,Etta James will remembered for all time as a singer who, perhaps better than anyone else, could become the song. We thank Etta James for the gift of her music and her unstoppable spirit and grit which will live on forever through her many timeless recordings. To read the Yahoo news article on Etta’s passing click http://music.yahoo.com/news/legendary-blues-singer-etta-james-dies-calif-163709371.html.

Here are some examples of Etta’s wonderful music:

“I’d Rather Go Blind” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YApNirMC9gM

“At Last” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_1uunRdQ61M

“Good Rockin’ Daddy” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GV6_ro22Swk

“The Wallflower” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EZFyKBQ7evY

“The Pick-Up” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rOtmVy5zFt4

“I Just Want To Make Love To You” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Pu_AdU_NQg

“Tell Mama” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xVqsvCclGnk&feature=fvst

January 19, 2012

  • RIP Johnny Otis – December 28, 1921 to January 17, 2012. Ioannis Alexandres Veliotes, who is best known as Johnny Otis, was one of the true bedrock figures of blues, rhythm & blues & early rock & roll. He died at age 90 at his home in the Los Angeles suburb of Altadena after years of decreasing health. Johnny Otis did it all: singer, multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, producer, bandleader, talent scout, radio show host, television show host, label owner, nightclub owner, sculptor and painter, author, and he even had his own brand of apple juice! He had a vibrant personality, a sharp look, and the ability to get things done. He was an essential part of many of the greatest moments in rhythm & blues! As as white man of Greek decent, Otis truly embraced black culture, and very decidedly and successfully led his own black music movement. The huge list of his musical contributions show super-human qualities, and his amazing story is well told from Lee Hildrebrand words from Johnny’s own website:

 “Johnny Otis was born December 28, 1921 in Vallejo, California. He grew up in a predominantly black neighborhood in Berkeley, California, where his father owned and operated a neighborhood grocery store. He began his musical career in 1939 as a drummer with Count Otis Matthew’s West Oakland House Rockers. In 1943, at the recommendation of Nat “King” Cole and Jimmy Witherspoon, he moved to Los Angeles to join Harlan Leonard’s Kansas City Rockets at the Club Alabam. By 1945 he was leading his own band, and had his first big hit that year with “Harlem Nocturne”. In 1948 he joined with Bardu and Tila Ali, and Johnny Miller to open The Barrelhouse in Los Angeles, which was the first nightclub to feature Rhythm & Blues exclusively. In 1950 he had ten songs that made the Top 10 onBillboard Magazine‘s Best Selling Retail Rhythm & Blues Records list. With this success, he went on the road with his California Rhythm & Blues Caravan, and became the hottest musical attraction in black America. In the early 1950’s, remaining active as a writer, performer, and producer, Johnny began a radio career and became one of the most popular disc jockeys in southern California. His career in radio has now spanned almost 50 years. His early radio broadcast success led to a weekly variety show on television. “The Johnny Otis Show” was on TV in Los Angeles for eight years.

Johnny Otis discovered many legendary Rhythm and Blues singers such as Esther PhillipsWillie Mae “Big Momma” ThorntonEtta James, and the Robins (who evolved into the Coasters), all of whom were at one time featured vocalists in his band. He also discoveredSugar Pie DeSantoHank Ballard and the MidnightersJackie Wilson, and Little Willie John. He produced, and with his band played on the original recording of “Hound Dog” with “Big Momma” Thornton. He produced and played on Johnny Ace‘s “Pledging My Love”, and produced some of Little Richard‘s earliest recordings. On his own Blues Spectrum label, Johnny has recorded and played with Rhythm & Blues pioneers such as Big Joe TurnerGatemouth MooreAmos MilburnRichard BerryJoe LigginsRoy MiltonEddie “Cleanhead” VinsonCharles Brown, and Louis Jordan. Johnny played the drums on Charles Brown‘s first major hit “Driftin’ Blues” in 1946. He also recorded with Illinois Jacquet, and Lester Young. One of the many highlights of his long career was when he performed as a drummer with the great Count Basie Orchestra.

In the 1960’s Johnny served as Deputy Chief of Staff to Mervin Dymally, whose career he followed from the State Assembly, State Senate, Lieutenant Governorship of California, to the U.S. Congress. His first book “Listen To The Lambs“, which addressed the 1965 race riots was published in 1968. His next book, “Upside Your Head! Rhythm & Blues on Central Avenue” was published in 1993. Many of his paintings, sculptures, and wood carvings are displayed in “Colors and Chords – The Art of Johnny Otis” which was published in 1995. His most recent book, “Johnny Otis – Red Beans & Rice and Other Rock ‘n’ Roll Recipes” was published in 1997.

Johnny Otis‘s song writing credits include “Every Beat of My Heart”, (a song he wrote originally for Jackie Wilson, but was made a hit byGladys Knight and the Pips), “Roll With Me Henry”, (also known as “The Wallflower”), “So Fine”, “Willie And The Hand Jive” (which sold over 1.5 million copies), and many, many others.

Johnny has been inducted into the Rhythm & Blues Hall of Fame, into the Blues Hall of Fame and into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. The Archives of African American Music and Culture at the University of Indiana has cataloged hundreds of hours of his past radio shows for his interviews, comments, insights, and historical significance.

He has remained active in his recording studio and has put out 6 CD’s on his label since the mid-nineties.”

One must also mention Johnny Otis‘ son, Shuggie Otis who is a brilliant guitarist. Another observation is Johnny Otis‘ appearance at theMonterey Jazz Festival in the movie thriller Play Misty For Me starring Clint Eastwood. Another fun fact was Johnny’s disguised “adult party” album credited to Snatch and the Poontangs. We thank God for Johnny Otis and remember his brilliant and definitive contributions which will live on forever. His mark on the world leaves it a better place.

Some great clips:

Johnny Otis singing “Willie And The Hand Jive” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qOrQTh_Cq7U

Johnny with Little Esther Phillips performing “Misery” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0WNkoABY63w

Johnny with Roy Buchannan performing “Bye Bye Baby” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=icwUx_xGPXg

Johnny Otis “Harlem Nocturne” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3bYPnfXXUp4

January 13, 2012

  • Dave Riley / Bob Corritore Juke Joint Blues Band tonight at the Rhythm Room! When Dave Riley and Bob Corritore combine their rich blues experiences the result is a finely crafted combination of deep Mississippi and Chicago Blues. On Friday, January 13 Dave and Bob and their band (with Brian Fahey on drums and Dave “Yahni” Riley, Jr. on bass) will bring their special brand of blues to the Rhythm Room. Doors at 8pm and music at 9pm. The Rhythm Room is at 1019 E. Indian School Road, Phoenix, AZ 85014.
  • Mud Morganfield’s new CD on Severn to be released on March 20th! Cover art revealed! Mud Morganfield, the eldest son of Muddy Waters, came onto the scene about 5 years ago. His closeness to his father in voice, appearance, and mannerisms in nothing short of a modern miracle. Severn Records will release Son Of The Seventh Son, Mud’s first national release on March 20th. The CD produced byBob Corritore features a great backing band consisting of Rick KreherBilly FlynnBarrelhouse ChuckE.G. McDanielKenny Smith, andHarmonica Hinds and Bob Corritore switching off on the harmonica chores. Look for numerous CD release parties around the country and around the world, starting appropriately on March 31 at Buddy Guy’s Legends. To see the album art and the spectacular cover, click here. Watch out world, here comes Mud Morganfield!
  • New Mannish Boys CD to recorded next week! When band leader/ harmonicist/ label chief Randy Chortkoff does something, he does it all the way. so is the case with the grandiose production of the new CD by super group The Mannish Boys. Musicians will gather next week for numerous days of recording sessions that will become the next CD by this memorable band. Here is what the press release says:

“THE MANNISH BOYS RETURN TO THE STUDIO. So how exactly do The Mannish Boys plan to top five critically acclaimed CDs when preparing to record their next highly anticipated studio album? Easy… they simply call up all their friends, invite them over, and make it a double! Yes, you heard correctly. This month The Mannish Boys head into the studio to record a 2-CD set and follow up to the band’s 5th anniversary recording “Shake For Me,” released back in March 2010. The current lineup will feature powerhouse vocalists Finis Tasbyand newcomer Sugaray Rayford, the dynamic six-string duo of Kirk Fletcher and Frank “Paris Slim” Goldwasser on guitars, Randy Chortkoff on harmonica, along with the propulsive rhythmic support of Willie J. Campbell on bass and Jimi Bott on drums. Rounding out this star-studded extravaganza will be special guests Elvin BishopMud MorganfieldJackie PayneCandye KaneRod PiazzaJames HarmanKid Ramos, Junior Watson, Mike FinniganRob RioFred KaplanNathan JamesLaura ChavezBob Corritore and Bill Stuve. The sparks will fly as The Mannish Boys tackle classics and B-side rarities for what is sure to become another quintessential recording in their ever-growing catalog. Look for the new Mannish Boys album, produced by Randy Chortkoff and Jeff Scott Fleenor, coming out onDelta Groove this May 2012″ To see the beautiful poster announcing this release click here.

January 11, 2012

The year was off to a running start with a Tail Dragger live recording session at the Rhythm Room! the band included Kirk Fletcher,Chris JamesPatrick RynnBrian Fahey and myself. Clarke Rigsby of Tempest Recording recorded 2 solid nights of heavy Chicago blues on January 7th and 8th.

– The following weekend went from back in the alley to uptown as country legend Jessi Colter had me accompany her in her January 7th performance at a Childs Help VIP fundraiser dinner at the Paradise Valley Country Club in the audience were Jane Seymour, John O’Hurley, former president Dan Quayle and senator Jon Kyl. A complete 360 from the weekend before.

– Janiva Magness invited me onstage to join her on a Robin Rogers song during her January 14th show at the Rhythm Room.

– The Dave Riley / Bob Corritore Juke Joint Blues Band appeared many times at the Rhythm Room with Jan 21st being the first of the year.

– The mighty Mud Morganfield (eldest son of Muddy Waters) played a 2 night run at the Rhythm Room backed by the Rhythm Room All-Stars on January 28th and 29th.

– A trip to Memphis to IBCs would not be complete without attending Bob Margolin‘s famous jam at the Rum Boogie. This happened on Feb 4th and was the first of many times that Bob Margolin would play together during the year.

– I played a couple Chico Chism songs with Hans Olson at the Arizona Musicians and Entertainers Hall of Fame event at the historic Orpheum Theater in Phoenix. I also presented the award to Chico’s daughter Audry Donson who flew in from Chicago for the event.

– Dave Riley and I opened the Blues Blast Festival after-party with a duo set at the Rhythm Room before Johnny Rawls kicked off the jam. I would get up later in the night and play with Johnny and members of Trampled Under Foot.

– On Feb 23rd Dave Riley and Bob Corritore did a seminar and acoustic performance for the Arizona Audio Video Club. we won allot of fans that night.

– Another great gig with the Dave Riley / Bob Corritore Juke Joint Blues Band on Feb 26th.

– The Rhythm Room All-Stars appeared Friday and Saturday March 4th and 5th at the Rhythm Room

– The Dave Riley / Bob Corritore Band did a 2 night live recording on March 18th and 19th with the 18th being Dave Riley‘s birthday!

– On April 1st Dave Riley and I did a guest set with the Rocket 88s who I had the pleasure of working with quite a bit throughout the year.

– It was up north to Cottonwood, Arizona the next day (April 2nd) to headline the Old Town Blues Festival with a great array of Arizona talent.

– Dave Riley and I were in Tacoma, Washington on April 9th to headline the Gray Sky Blues FestivalGary Grape, the festival promoter had us play with the marvelous rhythm section of Scott Simmons and Andrew Cloutier. Dave and I sat in with Maia Santell and the V-Knights (all brother child prodigy blues band). we also did a few numbers at the after party hosted by Randy Oxford.

– On Tuesday April 12th, Dave and I performed a short set for the Japan Earthquake Relief Benefit at the Rhythm Room (Thanks for organizing this Gypsy). I also played a fun set that night with Paris James.

– Dave Riley Bob Corritore Band at the Rhythm Room on April 23rd

– Rhythm Room All-Stars played at the Rhythm Room on April 29th and 30th with special guest George Bowman.

– May 5th Bob played at the Blues Music Awards with a dream band of Jimi BottEddie ShawChris JamesPatrick RynnDavid Maxwell, and Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, who came up on the second song to do a Pinetop Perkins tribute of “Big Fat Mama” which he sang and did a harp duet with Bob. This set was right after Bob Corritore & Friends / Harmonica Blues won a BMA for “Historical Album”.

– 2 days and very little sleep later the Dave Riley / Bob Corritore Juke Joint Blues Band took the stage on May 7th at the amazing Moulin Ospel Blues Festival in the Netherlands. That was the start of a tour which found us at Goor Blues in Gooreind, Belgium on May 8th, The legendary Banana Peel in Ruiselede, Belgium on May 9th, De Kroeg in Geldrop, Holland, on May 10th, Muziekodroom Club in Hasselt, Belgium on May 12th, the Amsterdam Harmonica Meetup Group on May 13th (thanks George Reijnders), and Hunky Dory in Leiden, Holland on May 14th. A great week of playing!

– May 21st found Dave Riley and I back at the Rhythm Room doing a short set at the annual Chico Chism Memorial Birthday Show.

– I appeared at The Simi Valley Cajun & Blues Music Festival on Saturday, May 28th as a guest of the Mannish Boys backing Finis Tasby on a couple Lowell Fulson songs.

– The following week I was reunited with my dear friend Louisiana Red for 2 nights of joy at the Rhythm Room on June 3rd and 4th. The Rhythm Room All-Stars were the backing with Chris James playing amazing accompaniment in Red’s totally down home numbers.

– The following week was off to the Chicago Blues Festival with a string of numerous shows. I played during the Pinetop Perkins tribute set at the Kick-off Party at Buddy Guy’s Legends on June 9th (this was the last time I saw Willie “Big Eyes” Smith perform and he was just amazing!) . The next day I played with Sam Lay and the Bob Riedy Blues Band at the Windy City Blues Society Stage, and later that afternoon I had an impromptu acoustic duet with Rocky Lawrence at the Best Buy tent.  That night I was at Smoke Daddy with Billy Flynn where I played some songs behind Milwaukee Slim as well as doing a kicking harmonica solo and a accompanying Billy on aJimmy Rogers song. On Saturday, June 11,  I played in Willowbrook at Dell Rhea’s Chicken Basket with Sam Lay and the Bob Riedy Blues Band, this show was filmed for a future documentary. On Sunday, June 12th I played the Front Porch stage of the Chicago Blues Festival with the Mud Morganfield Band with Barrelhouse ChuckBilly FlynnRick KreherE.G. McDanielKenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith.Harmonica Hinds did the first half of the show and I played the second with Hinds coming back up for a 2 harp blowout on the last song! To see a nice clip from this show click here. Later that night I appeared at Smoke Daddy as part of Morry Sochat & The Special 20s “Half Chicken Special Show” with both Billy Flynn and I as featured special guests. Rick EstrinJoe FiliskoDave WaldmanWillie BuckScott Dirks, Mojo Mark, Andrew DiehlDeak Harp and others all played for great festival wrap up!

– Valerie June came to visit and we had 3 great musical days together. She came in on the 28th and we spent that day working up songs and playing records, the next day we opened for Jimmie Vaughan at the Rhythm Room, and on June 30 we did a duet recording session at Tempest Recording. What a wonderful talent she is!

– Dave Riley and I did a tour of  Brazil with promoter  Adrian Flores in July. Dave and I just love this country for it’s warm, musical people and the great food. We played July 9 and 10 at the Pocos de Caldas Jazz & Blues Festival, July 15 at Patio Havana in Buzios, July 16 in Natal at the Bosa Y Jazz Fest and July 17 at Pipa Beach (where I also sat in on a number with Jefferson Goncalves and Taryn Szpilman). Thanks to Adrian Flores and Luciano Boca.

– On July 28 through Aug 2. I brought Tail DraggerHenry GrayKirk Fletcher & The Rhythm Room All-Stars. to Phoenix for a weekend at the Rhythm Room and to have 2 days in the recording studio. Really a magical combination of musicians! We played and recorded some heartfelt, ferocious blues!

– Dave Riley / Bob Corritore Juke Joint Blues Band played Friday, August 12th at the Rhythm Room and then traveled to Tucson for a great gig on Saturday, August 13th at the Boondocks! Also on the 13th dave and Bob did an interview / live broadcast on Marty Kool’s blues show on KXCI!

– After hearing about the Edmonton’s Labatt Blues Festival for years I was finally able to experience it’s magic. On Saturday, August 20th The Dave Riley / Bob Corritore Juke Joint Blues Band band provided a great set of our unique brand of down home blues for the fest. The next day, August 21, I sat in on a couple of songs from her new album Trying To Hold On which, was the first time I played those songs since we recorded them. I then played on the debut performance of the Delta Groove Harp Blast! Quite a maiden voyage as this show was pure harmonica fireworks! The great band included Jimi BottWillie J CampbellKirk FletcherFrank “Paris Slim” Goldwasser, and Rob Rio! I opened the set, followed by Randy ChortkoffBig PeteMitch Kashmar, and a harmonica finale with all 4 of us plus R.J. Mischo. What an honor to be associated with this noble project and prestigious label. This was a very satisfying festival and I felt like each of my 3 appearances at the show brought a different aspect of my playing to the stage.

– I was reunited with Tommy Dukes on August 27 at his appearance at the Rhythm Room. I used to work in his band in the 1980s. Tommy called me up for a few numbers each set to play the Jimmy Reed songs he loves so much.

– The Rhythm Room All-Stars with special guest Dave Riley appeared Friday and Saturday, September 8 and 9.

– On Sept 15th Dave Riley and Bob Corritore did a concert and seminar with famed blues author Bill Ferris at the Kerr Cultural Center. This was done through ASU’s Humanities Department.

– The Rhythm Room 20th Anniversary Celebration happened Friday, Saturday, and Sunday September 16, 17, 18. We celebrated the 2 decade mark with a spectacular star studded weekend of  musical presentation! Many bands and artists played over this 3 day blues and soul marathon, but my contributions to the proceedings were as follws: On Friday I sat in with Tommy Castro on a Jimmy Reed song, Saturday was billed as “Bob Corritore & Friends” and included Mud MorganfieldBob MargolinDiunna GreenleafDave RileyBilly FlynnBarrelhouse Chuck, Mookie Brill and Brian Fahey. This show happened just days after Willie “Big Eyes” Smith passed. Each of us had close releationships with Willie and this night became an unofficail memorial tribute to our friend.  Friday was a full day of 11 Phoenix bands, Dave Riley and I did a set and I also contibuted to George Bowman‘s set with Lucius Parr, and to Tommy Dukes set. These three days were a powerful musical statement from Phoenix’s blues and roots concert club!

– I celebrated my 55th birthday on September 24 (My actual birthday is September 27th). I brought in Magic Slim & The Teardrops for the proceedings. I have known Magic Slim since I was 18 years old so it was very symbolic that he was the band to perform at this fife milestone. Dave Riley and I opened up with a duo set and we called up Jessi Colter and Jerry Lawson for a song each during our set. Slim was just great and he had me join him for the 2nd set. Slim reminded me of the afternoon at Florence’s on Chicago’s South Side in the late 1970s when I tried my first (and last) pig ear sandwich. The next day we did a 4 song recording session at Tempest and that night I flew into Chicago to attend Willie “Big Eyes” Smith‘s funeral.

– This year’s King Biscuit Festival in Helena, Arkansas was a very powerful musical experience. Then again, it always is. Being in the heart of the Deep South really connects you to the roots of this music. During the week (from October 4th to 9th, I performed 3 memorials for Pinetop and Willie with Bob MargolinBob StrogerKenny SmithLittle FrankClay Swafford, and Jimmy Mayes. On one of these tributes I also played a very powerful set with Hubert Sumlin. All of these memorials were very moving and spiritual. It was great to see Kenny Smith up front singing and I see that as a future direction for this talented young man.  I also played 2 great shows withDave Riley (one at the Delta Cultural Center Annex and one at Hopson’s Plantation in nearby Clarksdale, Mississippi) The DCC show featured Yahni on bass and the great Wes Starr on drums. I also played a wild set with Ernest “Guitar” Roy at the festival. I also played a great set with Helena legend C.W. Gatlin and played with Cleome BovaBig RedLevee Town (with Cheryl Arena and Deak Harp), Sterling Billingsley, and members of Reba Russell’s band. Always an amazing time at the Biscuit!

– The Rhythm Room All-Stars with special guest Dave Riley rocked the house at the Rhythm Room on Friday and Saturday October 14th and 15th.

– I went to Chicago for the Blues Blast Music Awards on Oct 27 and set up shows before and afterwards. The night before the awards I was part of the VizzTone Label Showcase with host Bob Margolin at SPACE in Evanston. I played a few that night backing Bob, and the Italian blues singer Gloria Turrini. I also played a song that night with David Katzman and had a nice green room jam with Dave Specter. Then the glorious Blues Blast Music AwardsDave Riley and I did a powerful 2 song set. I was also asked to perform a memorial tribute set for Robin Rogers with Tony Rogers and Sharrie Williams (that was very powerful!) and I played with Teeny Tucker on her part of the show. the Blues Blast Music Awards has really become a must attend event over the years. The following night (October 28th) I played a nice show with the Bob Riedy Blues Band at Dell Rhea’s Chicken Basket.

– On November 1st  I left for Switzerland to participate in the Lucerne Blues Festival. I arranged for a great band that included Tail DraggerHenry GrayKirk FletcherChris JamesPatrick RynnBrian Fahey and myself. I also was part of the Delta Groove Harp Blast with Mitch KashmarRandy ChortkoffBig PeteJimi BottWillie J. CampbellKirk Fletcher, and Alex Schultz. I did numerous shows throughout the week with both bands. Performances began on November 4th where the Tail Dragger / Henry Gray package played for a “Blues Night” concert at La Poste in the Swiss town of Visp. then numerous shows throughout the week with both bands. On one of these shows Tail DraggerChris James and myself performed for the mayor and a group of city officials. Tail Dragger crawled on his belly while singing for the Mayor! The festival had me do a speech for the festival sponsors at a special dinner. I also sat for a song or two on the sets by Joe Louis Walker and Terrance Simien. This festival is so amazing and it was one of the great highlights of the year! I returned home on November 15th with a smile on my face.

– The Dave Riley / Bob Corritore Blues Band did a killer show on November 18 at the Rhythm Room!

– The Dave Riley Bob Corritore Blues Band appeared on November 9th at the great Desert Ridge Blues Festival in Arizona.

– On November 25th (the day after Thanksgiving) I did a wonderful gig with the Rocket 88sJohnny Rapp and I were the special guests that night and it just fell together magically.

– On December 2nd I appeared with George Bowman and his band featuring Lucius Parr at the Rhythm Room. I also played a song with Charlie Rae that night.

– The next night, December 3rd was another fun night with the Rocket 88s at the Rhythm Room.

– On Thursday, December 8th I was featured along with about 20 other Phoenix based harmonica players for our annual Blues Harmonica Showcase, hosted by the Rocket 88s.

– Just when I thought we were winding down the year, the legendary Hubert Sumlin died. I flew into Chicago for December 12th and stayed at Tail Dragger‘s house. On Tuesday, December 13th Tail Dragger and I went to the burial and later that night Bob Margolin and I hosted a most amazing tribute show in Hubert’s honor at Fitzgerald’s in the Chicago suburb of Berwyn, IL. It was really a community event and I did my best to direct the stage and get everyone up. That night I did the opening set with Bob MargolinLittle FrankBob Stroger and Jimmy Mayes. I would later back up my close associates Sam LayTail Dragger & Mud Morganfield (with Sam Lay on drums!) Other performers that night were Eddie ShawBilly BranchZora Young, Gary Martin (Hubert’s nephew), Lil’ EdKenny “Beedy Eyes” SmithMary LaneEddie C. CampbellRonnie and Wayne Baker BrooksScott DirksJonn Del Toro RichardsonHarry GarnerMatt HillRichard RosenblattDeak HarpDave HerreroMark Wydra, Harlan Terson, Rodney BrownBilly FlynnTom HollandMarty BinderMichael ColemanKenneth KinseyMelvin Smith, Jerry Porter, Twist TurnerBig Head ToddMichael Frank and many others. An incredibly powerful night remembering one of the greatest of Chicago blues musicians.

-On Dec 17th I made my last appearance of the year when Rod Piazza invited me to join him onstage for 2 numbers with his great band. It was wild playing through the Rod amp with that fantastic band.

As I reflect on all of these great shows it is hard for me to believe that I fit all this into one year. I feel very blessed to have all these great shows with great musicians.

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