his superb band or solo, sitting on a stool with his old resonator, his
performances are captivating – the hottest property on the European
blues scene. In the shadow of the British Blues Scene stalks the
lovechild of Howlin' Wolf and Big Mama Thornton" Mojo
"You should be very proud to have this young man in your own country.
You have someone right here who can really sing the Deep Blues. He got
in his voice. If my Daddy were alive today he'd say “That's
my boy!” Big Bill Morganfield
“The closest thing I’ve heard
to Chester Burnett.”
"I don't have to tell him
nothin', he got it.” Hubert Sumlin
"A natural talent - born to it" Bob Margolin
I was only able to spend a brief time
with Ian just before his set at the 5th Carlisle Blues & Rock Festival
I interviewed you here in Carlisle two years ago when you were on tour
with Ben Prestage.
Ian: That's right.
Alan: You said when you met Ben for the
first time you gelled straightaway, was this the same when you first met
Cody & Luther Dickinson?
Ian: Well, yes, we first
met in Memphis and Mississippi in 2010 and we really hit it off.
Alan: So this was when you first
worked with Cody when he produced The Skinny, recorded at the
Dickinson's Zebra Ranch studio near Coldwater, Mississippi, how did you
get to record there in the first place?
Ian: Initially it was my
manager, Richard Pavitt, who met Cody and my name cropped up in
conversation in terms of our similarities in tastes musically and I was
a fan of the All Stars and it just grew out of that. I went over to
Memphis to meet Cody to see if we could get along and talk musically,
and we did. Three or so months later I was back there in the studio
Alan: You were touring in July this
year with the Mississippi Mudbloods including Alvin Youngblood Hart.
Although I realise he’s not here now as he’s touring himself in the
States, is he going to continue joining in with the Mudbloods?
Ian: Hopefully yeah. We
have Carwyn Ellis with us this time who is an incredible musician, as
easily as good as Alvin and he does his own thing as well. There’s no
reason why Alvin shouldn’t, and I really hope he wants to come back as
it’s a pleasure to work with him, because of his presence and because
I’m a huge fan of his too.
Alan: Is Carl a friend of Cody &
Ian: Yes, I’m learning the
history as we go along but they’ve known each other for a long time
Alan: It must be a close community
over in the North Mississippi Hill country.
Ian: No, Carl is from here
and they met him in London. He’s just been playing with the Pretenders
and he plays with Edwyn Collins quite regularly. So they all met in
London when the Mississippi Allstars first started coming out about 12
years ago when I first heard of them. They all met at a party in London
where they met loads of other people I happened to know as well.
Luther: It is of course a close knit
community here in London!!
Ian: The blues scene is of
course a small world.
Alan: How did the name “Mississippi
Mudbloods” come about?
Ian: I think I came up with
that one. I’d just seen a Harry Potter movie and "Mudbloods" must have
been in the back of my brain somewhere.
Alan: My daughter thought it would be
that, she'll be pleased!!
Ian: The term definitely
comes from J K Rowling but I thought it was applicable to us as we’ve
got such a variety of backgrounds and with the UK/US thing it seemed to
quote about your latest album: "In a scene where too much blues
tastes the same, Candy Store Kid is an explosion of colours and flavours",
now was the 'candy' easy to make, did it all come together very easily?
I automatically want to say that it was all really easy, and everything
just fell together and I put very little effort into the format, but in
reality what happened was Cody did a lot pre-production and a great deal
of thought, mental preparation and physical preparation for it which
allowed me to just relax and feel like it was all falling together, but
really Cody’s production should be credited for creating that
environment. We did just get into a room and started playing and it did
just come together. You know, a meeting of minds musically. The
environment had to be set up for us to do that and Cody really put that
Alan: Presumably through Cody & Luther
you came across Garry Burnside and Lightin
Ian: That’s right, yeah.
For the first album, The Skinny, Cody invited them down and this time
Malcolm came as well and I’d been a fan of his for a long time.
Alan: Now the Gospel singers
Stefanie Bolton, Sharisse Norman and Shontelle
Norman, didn't they come from Royal Studios, Memphis?
Ian: Royal, yes! These
guys had already come across them as they’d just started singing with
the All Stars and Willie Mitchell’s son, Boo Mitchell, who runs the
studios now had discovered them and they certainly are the best backing
Alan: They certainly add something.
Ian: Yeah, they are
amazing. There are two sisters as part of the trio and that seems to be
what makes the difference.
Alan: I listened to the Paul
Jones show on Radio 2 on Monday and he played 'The Fear' from the
Candy Store Kid album and you mentioned the Johnny Cash influence -
my wife wondered if there was also a bit of a Leonard Cohen influence?
Ian: I’ve never really
listened to Leonard Cohen. I’ve got nothing against him but he’s not
really on my radar.
Alan: I thought more of the Johnny
Cash influence I must admit.
Ian: Yeah, Paul Jones got
Alan: This is your 4th
appearance at the 5th Carlisle Blues Festival, you are clearly one of
Carlisle's favourites, Carlisle must be one of yours?
Ian: Yeah, it’s a great
place to play and they put a great deal of effort in, and I like to
support that as much as possible. Without people like that we wouldn’t
Alan: Any plans for a US tour
with the Mississippi Mudbloods?
Ian: There’s a lot of talk
about that but I’m taking a long break after this tour and I’m not sure
I’ll be playing much next year at all. But I really hope so in the
future, yes. It’s all in discussion at the moment and we’ve been taken
by surprise a little at the response to this album. We knew it was
going to be good but it’s been exceptionally so. So I think there’ll
certainly be some interest.
Alan: It seems to me that the album
has moulded very much into an American sound and I know it’s gone down
very well there. No. 1 blues album on I-Tunes.
Alan: I also promised to be brief as I
know you are on stage shortly – Ian, thank you very much.
Ian: My pleasure, yeah, I've got
to get on stage .....
Ian Siegal & The Mississippi Mudbloods
Cody Dickinson, Luther Dickinson, Alvin Youngblood Hart
guests Garry Burnside and Lightnin'
Nugene Records NUG1204
"Life isn't just one flavour. Music shouldn't all have the same
taste. In the right hands, the blues can be a rainbow, and with Candy
Store Kid, Ian Siegal has just painted his masterpiece".
Check out an Earlyblues interview with Ian in 2010
when on tour with Ben Prestage
(including a selection of YouTube video clips and previous albums)
Check out photos of Ian Siegal at the 5th Carlisle Blues
Blues Interviews List
Website, Photos © Copyright 2000-2012 Alan
White. All Rights Reserved.
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