Down Home Blues: Chicago Volume 2
Deluxe 5 CD Set with 94 Page Book
Out 19 July 2019
The definitive collection of Chicago blues music from the mid-1940s to
the early 1960s
> Down Home Blues: Sweet Home Chicago (WNRCD5106) is
the second volume of Chicago Blues post war down home blues
music from Wienerworld, recorded from the mid-1940s through
the golden decade years of the 1950s up to the early 1960s
> A five CD set, packaged in a deluxe digipak with an outer
slip case, featuring 135 tracks all remastered and including
alternate takes of well-known recordings. All unissued and
alternate take records are from Peter Moody’s private
collection, many of which are otherwise unavailable
> Features 46 artists who were influential in developing the
Chicago blues scene including Elmore James, Howling Wolf and
Jimmy Rogers. Includes early down home blues recordings from
Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley just before they were on the cusp
of taking their music into the new big world of rock and
> Includes an outstanding 94 page book, featuring a new
essay by renowned blues historian Mike Rowe on the post war
Chicago scene; over fifty rare period photographs illustrate
the essay throughout; full track details, as well as full
sessionography. A feature page section on some of the
artists and a five page gallery of original 78 and 45 record
> Features eight unique unpublished photos:
Chuck Berry (inside cover), Johnnie Johnson (p.1), Memphis
Minnie (p.2), Robert Lockwood with Sonny Boy Williamson
(p.25), Honey Boy Edwards (p.31), Elmore James, Little
Walter & Muddy Waters (p.34), Bo Diddley (p.42), Billy Boy
Peter Moody, the compiler, was frustrated that as he worked
on the Chicago 5CD Fine Boogie set that was released
in 2017, he was finding that he had many more prime
recordings and ideas to bring to the ears of the blues music
audience so he started work on this follow up collection.
Continuing the mix of well-known artists to the
lesser-known, all the recordings are prime Chicago
masterworks. With big hitters like Muddy Waters, Little
Walter and Sonny Boy Williamson, all their tracks are
alternate takes or originally unissued masters by the record
companies, most of which are currently not available on
release. Mixing with these three there are many more stars
of this down home genre including Albert King, Jimmy Reed
and Memphis Minnie, again with alternate recordings of their
best well-known music. In this golden age of blues, there
were so many superb recordings being made it was impossible
to issue many of them into the singles record buying market
place. Eventually when the new long playing albums began to
surface they began to cater for this wealth of music when
recording in later years.
Am The Blues
Willie Dixon is the man who changed the style of the blues. He took big
band music and Mississippi blues and melded them into something new,
opening the door for Motown and others to walk in and take it even
further. DVD features eight tracks, biography, image gallery and much
The UKBlues Federation is
disappointed to have to announce that the 2019 FORM UKBlues Awards will
not now take place. The reasons for this are two-fold.
Over a period of more than
two months, we have been seeking to finalise a hire contract with
Preston Guild Hall (PGH). After a number of redrafts, the final
document supplied by PGH still contained a number of errors but, more
significantly, sought to impose upon the UKBlues Federation and its
Board members liabilities that went far wider than common law and
against which we were not reasonably able to obtain insurance
protection. Having sought a legal review which broadly confirmed our
concerns, we had no option but to cancel the proposed hire of PGH for
the Awards event on Saturday 27th April 2019.
We have worked hard to try to
source a suitable alternative venue which is both available and feasible
but these efforts have proved unsuccessful .
In order to identify the five
finalists in the various Award categories, we issued an invitation to a
panel numbering more than 750 people drawn from across the blues
spectrum in the UK to submit their nominations in 12 of the 20 award
categories. The response to this invitation has, frankly, been pitiful
and of such a disappointingly low level that we are not in a position to
put forward credible finalists in these categories.
By the closing date of the
nomination period – 23.59 on the 14th January 2019 – less than 13% of
those invited had submitted nominations!
In the regional categories,
response rates ranged from a single nomination to a maximum just under
13%, whilst categories such as Under the Radar, Innovation and Lifetime
Contribution were similarly abysmally supported with single figure
numbers of nominations.
By contrast, the Club/Venue
category, the only one open to the blues public at large, attracted over
200 nominations for some 24 different venues!
The UKBF is deeply saddened
by having to take this action which we have only done after considerable
discussion and thought, a considerable amount of work trying to find
ways to avoid doing so and with very heavy hearts. We set out to create
an Awards which had integrity and were open and honest and we believe
that our action in cancelling this year’s Awards reflects those values.
It is difficult to put in
words what message this sends out about the blues scene in the UK. Of
course it means that the blues in the UK will not have a credible awards
for 2019, a year in which we had hoped to build on the great success of
the inaugural awards and the support that we thought had been engendered
Perhaps more significantly,
it means that direct and indirect sponsorship to a value in excess of
£16,000 raised through a great deal of hard work by members of the
Federation’s Board and the generosity of the sponsors has been lost.
Whilst some of this money
would have been used to cover the costs of the Awards event, a large
proportion would have been used to provide much needed financial support
to the Federation’s other activities including providing funding to
support the UK’s representative at the International and European Blues
Challenges and various other initiatives including those supporting and
encouraging young and emerging artists.
In this respect we would like
to thank most sincerely all those who agreed to provide sponsorship for
FORM Fit Out, Blues in
Britain, the Lancashire Blues Archive, Digital Blues, Blues in the
South, The Great British Rhythm & Blues Festival, Blues Matters!, John
Cee Stannard, the New Crawdaddy Blues Club. EarlyBlues.com, Raven &
Blues, Colourblind Blues Show, Bluefunk Club, Poynton, Lesley & Terry
Marshall, The Meeting Room, Elland, Jason Elliott & Paddy Maguire, Big
House Blues Bar, Darwen, Red Pepper Promotions, Edinburgh Blues Club,
Mid Wales R&B Club, Blues at Woodlands and Upton Blues Festival.
The support and generosity of
these individuals and organisations is greatly appreciated.
forward, we plan to have a UKBlues Awards in place for 2020 but with a
significantly different nomination process which we hope will be
supported to a far greater extent than has been the case in 2019.
Be part of the selection process for the
2019 FORM UKBlues Awards
In less than a
couple of weeks’ time the nomination process for the 2019
FORM UKBlues Awards will commence.
This will involve
a panel of more than 700 people from across the UK blues
spectrum being invited to submit their nominations for
artists etc. in over half of the categories in the 2019
edition of the Awards.
If you are
already on that panel you will have received an e-mail
telling you so and, of course, if you are a member of the
UKBlues Federation you are also automatically included on
But for those of you who do not fall
into either of those categories and feel that you would like
to be considered for the nomination panel just drop us an
giving us your name, address and telephone number together
with a few words explaining why you would like to be part of
the nomination process. Please note that to join the
nomination panel you must be resident in the UK.
Although we do
not undertake to accept every application, we very much hope
to welcome you to the nomination panel so that the finalists
in the various categories in the 2019 FORM UKBlues Awards
are even more varied than in this year’s Awards.
Edinburgh Blues Club is bringing
two of the most respected, genuine and prominent US
Blues-men to Edinburgh in January 2019.
In an incredible start to their
2019 schedule, the club has pulled off quite a coup in
bringing the mighty Sugaray Rayford and Rick Estrin & The
Nightcats to the capital on 15th and 23rd January
Sugaray Rayford - 15th January 2019 - The Voodoo Rooms
Sugaray Rayford is an American
electric blues singer and songwriter. He has released four
albums to date and in 2018 was nominated for four awards at
the 39th annual Blues Music Awards. The four nominations
Soul Blues Album - The World That
We Live In
Soul Blues Male Artist
Intsrumentalist - Vocals
B.B King Entertainer of the Year
When Sugaray belts out a song,
you not only hear it, you feel it. The excitement in the
room is palpable when he takes the stage; he is a superb
vocalist and entertainer. His dynamic voice is large just
like the man himself. With his old school vocal style ,
echoes of Muddy Waters, Otis Redding and Teddy Pendergrass
can be heard. At 6'5'' he is a big man, but he moves with
grace and energy.
Sugaray has fronted his own band
since 2010. This band is made up of world-class musicians
who tour extensively internationally.
Seldom in modern blues do you
find a specialist vocalist who can command an entire venue
purely with his vocal chords. This is a chance to witness
one of the finest singers and performers in modern blues.
Rick Estrin & The Nightcats - 23rd January 2019 - Stramash
Wildly fun, musically fearless
and bursting with bravado, 2018's Blues Music Award winning
Band of The Year Rick Estrin & The Nightcats have created
one of the blues' most instantly recognisable sounds and
no-holds barred styles. Featuring the world class talents of
harmonica master, songwriter and vocalist Rick Estrin,
guitar 'wunderkid' Chris 'Kid' Andersen, keyboard wizard
Lorenzo Farrell and dynamic drummer Alex Pettersen, Rick
Estrin & The Nightcats serve up sharp and incisive original
blues and gritty roadhouse rock 'n' roll. With his wily and
unforgettable original songs and his hipster, streetsmart
vocals, no one on the blues scene writes or sings like Rick
Estrin. No one looks like him either, as Estrin is always
dressed to the nines, sporting his trademark pencil line
mustache and pompadour haircut.
'Downbeat' says; 'Rick Estrin
sings and writes songs like the briughtest wiseguy in all of
bluesland and blows harmonica as if he learned at the knee
of Little Walter. Live, the band is simply unbeatable. They
deliver a high-energy show capable of bringing any audience
to its feet'
According to Living Blues
Magazine, they play 'captivating, powerful blues and roots
rock with a wickedly cool and otherworldly twist on
tradition...intelligently conceived and executed...hugely
Down Home Blues:
Cincinnati & The North Eastern
Deluxe 4 CD Set with 80 Page Book
Out 21 September 2018
> Following the
popularity of the Detroit and Chicago box sets, this is the
third installment in Wienerworld’s Down Home Blues series
that explores the unique regions of the black American blues
> Features 37 artists, many of whom were influential in
developing the down home blues scene, including Brownie
McGhee, Big Chief Ellis, Alonzo Scales, Cousin Leroy and
> Four CD set, packaged in a deluxe digipak with outer slip
case, featuring 110 rare tracks, all digitally remastered,
some of which have never been reissued since their original
> Includes an 80 page book on the origins of the music and
the blues scene in this region by eminent blues writer and
scholar Chris Bentley, complete with essay, rare photos,
tracklisting and full sessionography
The box set
contains the down home blues of the territories of the North
Eastern States that encompasses two important cities that
helped in the development and growth of this blues genre,
mainly from artists who were far more comfortable playing
their music within the bars and out-of-town juke joints.
little venues were quite different from the bigger rhythm
and blues, jazz orchestrated venues that New York and
Northeastern cities had established for those bigger sounds.
This is black American musicians, many with pre-war country
blues roots which had evolved with an edge that didn’t have
to come out of the Delta and migrate up to the Illinois or
Michigan cites during and after the Second World War. Here,
many hailed from Florida, Georgia, Alabama and The
Carolinas. 110 performances from single solo artists who
were lucky enough to get just one sublime record release, up
to the tight small combo groups of musicians whom all
produced equally fine intense recordings.
We are privileged
to have Manchester born blues legend Victor Brox who is
probably one of the most underrated champions of the British
Blues scene and its unsung hero. This may well have been
because he has refused to be pigeon-holed into any single
category and has produced an eclectic style which often
defied analysis. What cannot be disputed is his excellent
singing voice, musical virtuosity and total eccentricity. He
was described by Jimi Hendrix and Tina Turner as their
favourite white blues singer.
He is without doubt a national treasure. He has worked with:
Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Ritchie Blackmore and Ian Gillan
of Deep Purple, Charlie Mingus, Memphis Slim, Dr. John,
Aynsley Dunbar, Graham Bond, Alexis Korner, John Mayall,
Country Joe McDonald, Keith Moon, Bill Coleman and Screaming
Lord Sutch. In 1970 Victor performed as Caiaphas on the
original recording of Tom Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber's
Jesus Christ Superstar.
We mourn the passing of Matt "Guitar" Murphy, who was inducted into the
Blues Hall of Fame in 2012. We join the rest of the blues world in
sending condolences to his family.
May his spirit live on through his wonderful music.
Photograph taken at the Chicago Blues Festival 2010
"The musicianship and
production is stunning"
- Classic Rock
- Rock Society
"Celebrates all good
things about the genre ... an unexpected little gem"
Trevor Babajack Steger
Release Date: 1st May 2018
is a fine collection of original songs that showcase Trevor’s
skills as a writer, musician and performer. Recorded in the best
traditions of the early delta blues legends, it’s just one man,
a guitar, a stompbox and a harp rack.From the
eponymous first song, right through to the random, riffing final
track, the result is a tour-de-force, capturing Trevor’s musical
integrity and leaving the listener richer for having heard it.
Musical influences whisper and weave their way through each of
the songs. It’s easy to imagine the spirits of long gone blues
legends catching a fleeting ride on Trevor’s music, nodding in
approval that their legacy is in safe hands. What you hear is
what you get, and the only thing better than listening to this
is to watch Trevor playing live, and to witness the
transformation he undergoes during each performance".
Wall, Blues in Britain 2018
Trevor on YouTube playing Sawdust Man:
1. Sawdust Man
2. Runaway Train
3. Black Dog
4. River Song
5. Red Boots
6. Cat Scratch Fever
7. Been So Long
8. Stranger in the Hall
9. Something on my mind
10. Went out walking
(All songs written and performed by
Trevor Babajack Steger)
A studio album from Ian
Siegal is always a seismic event. Recent times have seen this
award-winning British songwriter put untold miles on the clock, with the
spit-and-grit of his shows bottled in several live albums. But in 2018,
it's tantalising to find his name alongside ten new original songs and
to anticipate where ALL THE RAGE might take the man whose
material was rightly trumpeted by Mojo as "awash with wit, lust and
11/4 LONDON Jazz Café Camden
12/4 BRIGHTON Komedia
13/4 GODALMING W Noyce Centre
14/4 DEVIZES Long Street Blues
15/4 TEIGNMOUTH Pavilions
16/4 BRISTOL Tunnels
17/4 POOLE Mr Kyps
18/4 CHELTENHAM Vonnies
19/4 DERBY Flowerpot
20/4 MANCHESTER Ruby Lounge
21/4 EDINBURGH Voodoo Rooms
22/4 NEWCASTLE Sage
24/4 NORWICH Arts Centre
25/4 HULL Fruit
26/4 SHEFFIELD Greystones
We mourn the passing of Sonny Payne, who was a two-time Keeping the
Blues Alive Award recipient and was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame
in 2010. He was the host of the legendary "King Biscuit Time" program on
KFFA radio in Helena, Arkansas for over five decades. We join the rest
of the blues world in sending condolences to his family.
The photo was taken when I was a guest on his show in 2008.
firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 07966 514592
solo EP/CD from Blues/Rock Singer/Songwriter PAUL BRIDGWATER
guests –Luther Grosvenor, Tony Bayliss, Simon Neale, Lee Thomas Evans,
Jared Bryant, Troy Redfern, Jerry Christopher.)
the singer with Worcester-based blues rockers SLOWBURNER who have
impressed the best!.....
band & Paul’s a great singer who continues the tradition of great
British blues & soul singers” - Robert Plant
Songs” is Paul’s second solo recording.. following his 2012 album..”The
Other Side Of The Sun”....
only buy one more album this year, this is the one to get - incredible
voice, beautiful songs and superbly produced album, highly
recommended”... Alan White@earlyblues.com
exceptional CD, the songs breathe pure emotion and the vocals are
reminiscent of a young, soulful Paul Rodgers”... Lucas Campbell,
Red Eye Radio.
down, the man can sing to wake the dead... I mean that special, smoky
voice that only the best can bleed & only the average can imitate.
Bridgwater's voice is special ‘. ...Chris Watts, Kerrang!
Downloads from Amazon and iTunes
email@example.com OR tel ... 07966 514592
Raising funds to contribute towards the
costs of LaVendore Rogue representing the UK at the 2018
International and European Blues Challenges
LaVendore Rogue will be representing the UK when they join
more than 250 other acts from all over the world at the 34th
International Blues Challenge (IBC) in Memphis, USA
organised by the Blues Foundation between 16th and 20th January 2018.
They will also compete in the 8th European Blues Challenge (EBC)
in Hell, Norway organised by the European Blues Union on
15th, 16th and 17th March 2018 in which 21 bands from across
Europe will take part.
As part of
UKBlues’ mission to support the Blues in the UK we have set
up this crowd funding
campaign to raise
funds towards the considerable costs which will be incurred
by the LaVendore Rogue representing the UK at the 2018 IBC &
As well as
providing financial support to LaVendore Rogue the crowd
funding page also offers a huge range of rewards which you
can get in return for your pledge.
on from our announcement late last month about the UKBlues
Awards which we are putting in place, we are very excited to
tell you that the website for the Awards is now up and
running, albeit in a somewhat limited format for now.
At present there is some more detail about the Awards as
well as answers to some of the questions that have been
posed by people about the Awards.
We are also inviting people to apply to be included in the
extensive panel of people from across the blues spectrum in
the UK involved in the initial nomination stage of the
If you would like to be included in the extensive panel of
people from across the blues spectrum in the UK involved in
the initial nomination stage of the Awards process, then
e-mail us at
firstname.lastname@example.org giving us
your name, full postal address, telephone number and the
e-mail address with which you wish to register plus a brief
outline (no more than 50 words) describing why you wish to
join the panel and your background in the blues in the UK.
We do not undertake to accept every application and UKBlues’
decision will be final and we will not disclose our reasons
for accepting or not accepting applications. All
applications will be treated as confidential and all members
of the nomination panel are required to keep their
involvement in the panel confidential.
More information about the UKBlues Awards will become
available over the next few months.
Thank you for
your support of UKBlues in what it is doing. Please do your
bit by spreading the word to your friends and colleagues. If
you think they would be interested, invite them to apply to
join the nomination panel. Tell them about the benefits of
membership and see why it is a great idea to join!
(Browse the UKBlues website
www.ukblues.org for details
of membership discounts, how to join etc.)
2017 - For immediate release
ANNOUNCE AWARDS SCHEME FOR 2018
The UK Blues
Federation is pleased to announce that they are putting in
place the UKBlues Awards to commence in 2018 to give the
blues community in the UK the opportunity to recognise and
applaud those involved with the blues in the UK.
Many people have
expressed the opinion that UKBlues is the ideal body to
undertake the organising, running and overseeing of an
annual awards process given that it is an Affiliate of the
Blues Foundation and an Active Member of the European Blues
Union as well as the organiser of the annual UK Blues
Challenge. The UKBlues Awards is a natural next step for
UKBlues and furthers its stated aim to support and promote
the blues in the UK.
A new, dedicated
website is in the process of being created and voting in the
awards will take place over a four week period in February
with a high profile, high quality awards presentation
ceremony taking place later in the year.
Ashwyn Smyth, Chair, said: ‘It is evident from discussions
we have had that many people have missed there not being any
blues awards this year and, after much discussion and
thought, we have decided that UKBlues should look to fill
We have a very
clear idea of how we should proceed with these awards and
will be looking to create something that will draw support
from across the blues spectrum in the UK. Above all we want
to see an Awards process that does justice to all the
recipients and nominees and to all those involved with the
blues in the UK.
genres have high profile and successful Awards and we feel
it is high time that the blues in the UK enjoyed something
similar. It will not happen overnight and will take a great
deal of commitment.
It is clear that
building the profile of these Awards will take time but with
the support of all those involved with the blues in the UK,
we believe we can create something of which the UK blues
community can be proud.’
More information about the UKBlues Awards will become
available over the next few months.
Paul Oliver was one of the world's leading authorities and
writer on the history of the blues. From an early age he
collected blues records and books on the blues, publishing
his first article in 1951. Since that time he had published
thirteen books on the history of the blues and blues music
including The Story of the Blues, Blues Fell This
Morning, Conversation with the Blues, and Blues Off
The Record. His work also includes interviews, field
work and research in recording and printed sources tracing
the origin and development of African American music and
culture from the time of slavery through to the Twentieth
Century. This work, known as "The Paul Oliver Collection of
African American Music and Related Traditions" is one of
Paul’s legacies, held on a custodial basis at The University
of Gloucestershire, England, by agreement with the European
Blues Association and Paul Oliver. It represents an
enormously valuable resource in teaching and research and is
of international significance.
tribute to the late Paul Oliver, the world’s leading blues
25th May 1927 - 15th August 2017.)
mentor of the Blues, Paul Oliver, I learnt last night (15th.) has
died at the age of 90.
Paul, in the
latter years had become my friend and when I visited him at
his home in Oxon, on one occasion, we took a short walk in
the beautiful Oxfordshire rural surroundings. And he would
confide in me how much he missed his late beloved wife,
Valerie. This was a subject I would never have dreamed of
broaching him with. But as one of the older of his visitors
(although I am some 14 years his junior) he probably felt
we were nearly contemporaries. They were magic times, Paul,
(even the white-knuckle trips when you still had your car!)
which I will always treasure.
I feel I cannot
but repeat part of my notes to the 4-CD set ‘Meaning In The
Blues’ which I presented to him at one of his talks, some 6
years ago. This came out on JSP Records based in London,
and the company allowed an 80-page booklet to accompany the
recordings (thank you John), celebrating the 50th.
anniversary of Paul’s ‘Blues Fell This Morning’. My aim was
to give him this tribute while he was still in the land of
“In only a
slightly revised paragraph in the Introduction to the 1990
edition Paul Oliver wrote, ‘The blues did not reflect the
whole of black life in the United States, and a social study
of black problems does not explain the blues. But in order
to understand the blues singers it is necessary to explore
the background of their themes, and to enter their world
through them, distant and unapproachable though it may be.’
The last 34 words sealed my ongoing existence on this
planet.” (Max Haymes. p.3. Notes to ‘Meaning In The Blues’.
4-CD SET [JSP 77141. London] 2011).
The early blues
singers (often only semi-literate at best) would sing a
floating verse which runs:
They accuse me of forgin’ an’ I cannot even write my name
But Paul Oliver
could write their name, in his unprecedented book of the
genre, ‘Blues Fell This Morning’ and many subsequent ones on
both early blues and gospel which are all well-worth
reading, and indeed essential to the serious blues
If there is a
great juke joint in the sky, Paul, you are once more with
I learnt from
Paul’s books that the Blues is a way of life and will be
here until the last of our species dies out. The BLUES ROLL
ON! But to précis his own words, although events and social
conditions are changing, on the African American, the Blues
still fell this morning.
Max Haymes. 16th.
August 2017. Lancaster, UK.
Message from vocalist Alan Nimmo:
As you know I have had yet another set back concerning the
recovery of my vocal cords. Firstly I'd like to once again
apologise to you for not being able to carry on at the Wharf
in Tavistock on Friday 28th July and also for not being able
to perform our shows at Buckley and Steelhouse festival on
the same weekend.
Unfortunately, it is now clear, that in order for my voice
to fully recover I need to undertake an extended break from
performance. After further consultation, I plan to take a
minimum of a 3-month break to undergo a period of rest &
This has been one of the most difficult decisions I have
ever had to take in my career and fully realise King King
will be letting down an awful lot of people in the next few
months, I can only apologise most sincerely. It would be
unfair to our wonderful fans, for me to carry on as I am and
risk ruining any further King King gigs.
I'm working to get fighting fit, both vocally and physically
to perform at the top of my game when we return to the stage
towards the end of the year.
Rescheduled October Dates
We know many off you will have tickets
for our October tour, which has now been rescheduled to
January 2018. We are working on rescheduling other shows,
and a lot have been confirmed already. The full listing is
Thanks for your understanding! We look forward to seeing you
Alan, Lindsay, Wayne & Bob
Down Home Blues: Chicago
Deluxe 5 CD Set with 88 Page Book
Out 22 September 2017
> Features 41 artists who were influential in developing the
Chicago blues scene, including Muddy Waters, Howlin’
Wolf, Little Walter, Jimmy Rogers and many more
> Five CD set, packaged in a deluxe digipak with an outer
slip case, featuring 134 rare tracks, all digitally
remastered, some of which have never been previously
> Also includes an 88 page book featuring an essay on the
origins of Chicago music by renowned blues researcher and
historian Mike Rowe, complete with rare photos, tracklisting
and full sessionography.
The period from the end of World War II until the dawn of
the 1960s, the blues scene in Chicago can rightfully be
described as one of its golden ages.
Passionate, powerful and personal, blues is the spirit of
black America. It was a direct result of the Great
Migration, when thousands upon thousands of black people
left the rural south to settle in the urban areas in the
North. Many of these came from the Mississippi delta and
chose Chicago as the natural destination. Chicago was a city
of opportunities. For musicians with their roots from the
South, here was a welcoming network of clubs, radio stations
and record labels and – most importantly – a large and
5 CD set features a collection of 134 extraordinary
performances from this golden era of down home blues. Many
of these tracks were unissued at the time, others are
alternate takes of issued songs, but are equally as fine.
There are included some ultra-rare gems.
Sari Schorr & The Engine Room have been announced as support
for Walter Trout on his UK autumn tour, on the dates below:
09/10 The Brook Southampton UK
10/10 Under The Bridge London UK
11/10 Under The Bridge London UK
13/10 Central Station Wrexham UK
14/10 Warehouse 23 Wakefield UK
15/10 GuildHall Preston UK
17/10 Robin 2 Bilston UK
18/10 Public Hall Harpenden UK
20/10 Bierkeller Bristol UK
21/10 Muni Arts Centre UK
22/10 Sin City Swansea UK
Schorr and the Engine room and their 'A Force of Nature' CD have been
nominated in no less than 8 categories in the Independent Blues Awards.
vote here too
"His latest release Time and Emotion is so damn good. … Trower’s
smooth-as-buttah guitar licks, screaming solos and ethereal bluesy
vocals keep the listener hooked.”
- Classic Rock Revisited
"He’s a feel player for whom every note counts. Each song is an
emotional footprint on a landscape of vast possibilities. He explores
that terrain with a seamless flow, kick started by the clever segueing
of the opening two tracks, while the combination of his dreamy voice,
subtle musical pulses and a deep guitar tone draws us into a beautifully
- get ready to Rock!
this release, his
third album for Reference Recordings,
Doug MacLeod continues to explore the breadth and depth of the human
condition. Recorded by Reference’s Grammy-winning engineer ‘Prof.’ Keith
O. Johnson at Skywalker Sound in Marin County, California, Break The
Chain brings twelve new MacLeod originals. Each song is extremely
personal and at the same time, universal; covering subjects topical,
humorous, and soulful; from the satirical to the sublime.
title work, Break The Chain, composed and performed with his son
Jesse, focuses on breaking the cycle of family violence and abuse. A
powerful concern all too many are familiar with, Doug and Jesse confront
this pervasive issue directly and personally, bringing it out of the
shadows. Together, they share the healing, reconciliation and peace
available to all who work to prevent the cycle from repeating and to
Break The Chain.
album is co-produced by Doug MacLeod and Janice Mancuso. Bassist Denny
Croy, drummer Jimi Bott and percussionist Oliver Brown join Doug in duo,
trio and quartet settings. Like all ‘Prof.’ Johnson’s sessions, Break
The Chain was recorded live, in real- time, with no overdubs or effects.
It is being released on compact disc with HDCD, as high-resolution and
conventional downloads and later, as a premium 2-LP set.
prolific singer, songwriter, engaging storyteller, and masterful
guitarist, Doug is a perennial Blues Music Award nominee and multiple
Blues Music Award winner including Acoustic Artist Of The Year and
Acoustic Album of the Year. An active touring artist, MacLeod supports
his beloved St. Louis Cardinals during baseball season and, when at
home, enjoys cooking for wife Patti Joy.
For immediate release
Contestants for 4th UKBlues Challenge named
Blues Federation (UKBlues) is delighted to reveal the four
bands who have been selected to take part in the 4th
UKBlues Challenge which, as was revealed recently, will take
place at the world famous Cavern in Liverpool on Sunday 10th
The four bands have been chosen using the same process as
has been used in previous years and which is approved by the
Blues Foundation and the European Blues Union. This involved
a panel of some 250 people from across the UK blues spectrum
being invited to nominate three acts which they felt would
best represent the UK at the European and International
The bands/artistes are, in alphabetical order:
announced, they will be joined by the young band chosen by
representatives of Jessica Foxley Unsigned at the Great
British Rhythm and Blues Festival at Colne in late August.
Each act/band will perform at the 4th UKBlues
Challenge in front of a panel of judges drawn from across
the blues spectrum in the UK who will award them marks in
five categories as laid down by the organisers of the
International & European Challenges.
These categories are, in no particular order, blues content,
instrumental talent, vocal talent, originality and stage
Ashwyn Smyth, Chair of the UK Blues Federation commented:
‘After the success of this year with the UK winning the
European Blues Challenge with the Kaz Hawkins Band, the
successful act from the UKBlues Challenge has quite a task!
We are very pleased with the great variety represented by
the four bands selected and believe this demonstrates what a
broad church the blues in the UK is.
What is clear to me from attending the last five European
Blues Challenges, is that originality and variety counts for
a great deal and to win, bands have to have that special
something. I believe our chosen contestants all demonstrate
this in buckets. It is going to be a very interesting
UKBlues Challenge in September!'
Notes for Editors: The
UK Blues Federation is a not for profit pan-UK federation
that was founded in 2015 to create a focal point for blues
in the UK by bringing together musicians, fans, venues,
festivals and many others involved with the genre in the UK. In addition, UKBlues has
created and is continually developing a UKBlues website as
the one-stop portal for comprehensive information on UK
Blues artists, venues, events, festivals, agents, magazines,
radio and record labels. UKBlues also seeks to provide
support and guidance to the blues community in their blues
projects, develop and provide support for educational
projects, particularly those aimed at the younger generation
as well as organising an annual UK Blues Challenge to ensure
that the UK is represented both at the European and
International Blues Challenges. UKBlues also works to
seek/provide financial assistance for the UK band competing
at these Challenges.
UKBlues also recently
amalgamated with the British Blues Archive to create a
one-stop comprehensive British blues history resource.
A chance for young musicians to represent the UK at the
2018 European & International Blues Challenges
Following hard on the heels of the UK’s representative, the
Kaz Hawkins Band, being declared the winners of the 7th
European Blues Challenge in Horsens, Denmark, the UK Blues
Federation is delighted to announce that the 4th
UKBlues Challenge which will take place at the iconic Cavern
in Liverpool on Sunday 10th September 2017.
This will, for the first time, see five bands participating
to win the opportunity to represent the UK at both the
International and the European Blues Challenges in 2018.
Four of the bands have been chosen using the same process as
has been used in previous years and which is approved by the
Blues Foundation and the European Blues Union and the names
of these will be announced shortly.
The fifth band will be selected from the bands who have been
invited by Jessica Foxley Unsigned to play at the Great
British Rhythm ‘n’ Blues Festival which takes place in Colne
over the August Bank Holiday weekend – These bands are,
generally, under the radar and being selected to play at
Colne is a big step up for them.
As part of its mission to bring the blues to a wider
audience and to encourage young people to be more involved
with and take a greater interest in blues based music,
UKBlues is looking to offer one of these bands the
opportunity to take part in the UKBlues Challenge and,
perhaps, to represent the UK at the International & European
The band will be chosen by a panel of representatives of the
Jessica Foxley Unsigned project and will be chosen on the
strength of their performance at Colne.
Originally called the Jessica Foxley Stage, the project was
set up by her parents and brother in 2010 in memory of their
daughter/sister, a talented singer and musician who was
tragically killed in a car crash aged just 21 in 2009.
In 2011, the name was changed to Jessica Foxley Unsigned
which perfectly reflects what the project is about; giving
high quality performance opportunities to unsigned young
blues bands and solo artists based in the UK.
Co-founder of Jessica Foxley Unsigned, Margaret Foxley,
said: "We are particularly excited about our project this
year, as the festival's new emphasis aligns exactly with
everything we have been doing for younger, unsigned Blues
musicians for the past seven years.
Our eight selected performers will be given the opportunity
to play live to a festival audience who appreciate and
expect good quality acts. As in previous years, we are sure
that our talented Jessica Foxley Unsigned musicians will
step up to the mark and really give their audience something
to talk about.
Being asked to make a nomination for the UKBlues Challenge
is definitely the icing on the cake. We are very proud that
one of our acts will be able to benefit from this wonderful
opportunity to play at the Cavern in Liverpool, where so
many famous artists have started their musical careers. That
they could even go on to represent the UK in the European
and International Blues Challenges is quite mind-boggling!"
Speaking about the Jessica Foxley Unsigned project, Jason
Elliott, the Festival Director said: ‘’The Jessica Foxley
Unsigned project, focussing as it does on nurturing young
and emerging Blues-based talent, in many ways symbolises
much of our new direction. Our mission of bringing new life
and blood, new acts and audiences into this key genre, must
span all levels of experience, technical ability and all age
groups to be truly successful. This is where Colne can truly
create its legacy."
For UKBlues, Ashwyn Smyth said ‘‘We are delighted to work
with both the new organising team at Colne and with the
Jessica Foxley Unsigned team to offer such a fantastic
opportunity to a band or artist to take part in the UKBlues
Challenge alongside four well known and popular
bands/artists selected by a panel drawn from across the UK
blues spectrum, and for them to do so at such an iconic
The UK Blues Federation is a not for profit pan-UK
federation that was founded in 2015 to create a focal point
for blues in the UK by bringing together musicians, fans,
venues, festivals and many others involved with the genre in
In addition, UKBlues has created and is continually
developing a UKBlues website as the one-stop portal for
comprehensive information on UK Blues artists,
venues, events, festivals, agents, magazines, radio and
UKBlues also seeks to provide support and guidance to the
blues community in their blues projects, develop and provide
support for educational projects, particularly those aimed
at the younger generation as well as organising an annual UK
Blues Challenge to ensure that the UK is represented both at
the European and International Blues Challenges. UKBlues
also works to seek/provide financial assistance for the UK
band competing at these Challenges.
UKBlues also recently amalgamated with the British Blues
Archive to create a one-stop comprehensive British blues
man Larry Garner's songs are delivered with a sense of irony
and passion. His lyrics are meaningful and amusing in equal
measure and he's a fine guitarist. Larry is a great
performer and very much a modern day Blues man. He won the
1988 BB King Lucille Award in Memphis, the 1995 MO Better
Blues award in Atlanta, a 2002 Louisiana Blues Hall Of Fame
inductee, The BBC Jazz FM Bluesman Of The Year award, three
time recipient of Blues Songwriter Of The Year award in
Paris, five time nominee for WC Handy award in Memphis, 2004
Slim Harpo Ambassador for the Blues award in Baton Rouge,
recipient of the coveted Muddy's Club Bluebird award, and
two time recipient of The Bluesman Of The Year award, Canada
Norman Beaker Band
One of the top
Blues bands in the North West, The Norman Beaker Band have
been at the forefront of the UK blues scene for over 3
decades working with a who's who of Blues stars such as BB
King, Buddy Guy, Alexis Korner, Jack Bruce, Van Morrison,
Chuck Berry and many more.
HARMONICA LEGEND JAMES
COTTON, JULY 1, 1935 - MARCH 16, 2017
World-renowned blues harmonica master James
Cotton, whom Rolling Stone called,
“One of the greats of all time, burning with
brilliant virtuosity,” died on March 16, 2017 of
pneumonia at St. David's Medical Center in
Austin, Texas. He was 81. His overwhelmingly
powerful harmonica playing was one of the iconic
sounds of the blues. He toured worldwide for
over 60 years.
James Henry Cotton, known as “Mr. Superharp,”
recorded nearly 30 solo albums, winning one
Grammy Award, six Living Blues Awards and
10 Blues Music Awards. He was inducted into the
Blues Hall Of Fame in 2006. The New York
Daily News called him, “The greatest blues
harmonica player of all time.” NPR Weekend
Edition said, “Conjure up a list of all-time
great blues harmonica players, and high up on it
you'll see the name James Cotton.”
Born on a cotton plantation in Tunica,
Mississippi on July 1, 1935, Cotton was a
working musician by age nine. He learned
harmonica directly from Sonny Boy Williamson II
(Rice Miller), toured with Williamson and Howlin’
Wolf, and recorded for Sun Records in 1953
before spending 12 years touring and recording
with Muddy Waters (starting at age 20). Cotton
was featured on Muddy’s famous 1960 At
Newport LP on Chess Records, including the
iconic version of Got My Mojo Working,
one of the classic recordings of Chicago Blues.
After his 1953 Sun sessions, Cotton didn’t
record under his own name again until the
mid-1960s, with tracks included in the
groundbreaking Chicago/The Blues/Today!
series of LPs on Vanguard. Along with Otis
Spann, he cut The Blues Never Die! for
In 1966 he formed The James Cotton Band, quickly
earning a reputation as one of the most
commanding and potent live blues performers in
the world—a man who could literally suck the
reeds out of his harmonica from the pure force
of his playing. He made his initial solo albums,
three for Verve and one for Vanguard, in the
late 1960s. With bands featuring outstanding
musicians including famed guitarists Luther
Tucker, Matt “Guitar” Murphy and Hubert Sumlin,
he quickly rose to the top of the blues and rock
worlds. It wasn’t long before Cotton, with his
gale-force sound and fearless boogie band, was
adopted by the burgeoning hippie audience as one
of their own. Cotton shared stages with Janis
Joplin, The Grateful Dead, Led Zeppelin, B.B.
King, Santana, Steve Miller, Freddie King and
Cotton’s blistering talent and full-throttle
energy kept him in demand at concert halls all
over the country. He played the Fillmore East in
New York, the Fillmore West in San Francisco and
every major rock and blues venue in between.
During the 1970s, he cut three albums for Buddah
and one for Capitol. He rejoined his old boss
Muddy Waters for a series of Muddy albums
produced by Johnny Winter, starting with Hard
Again in 1977. Cotton also guested on
recordings by Koko Taylor, Steve Miller, Memphis
Slim, Hubert Sumlin and many others. He was
joined on his own albums by stars like Todd
Rundgren, Steve Miller, Johnny Winter, Dr. John,
David Sanborn, Charlie Haden, Michael Bloomfield
and Cissy Houston.
Cotton signed with Alligator Records in 1984,
releasing two solo albums and the famed Harp
Attack! with Junior Wells, Carey Bell and
Billy Branch. He won a Grammy Award in 1996 for
his Verve album, Deep In The Blues and
recorded four albums for Telarc Records before
returning to Alligator in 2010. His most recent
recording was 2013’s Grammy-nominated Cotton
In June 2010, Cotton was honored by New York’s
Lincoln Center, where his friends Hubert Sumlin,
Pinetop Perkins, Taj Mahal, Shemekia Copeland
and others paid tribute to him in an all-star
concert. The Festival International de Jazz de
Montréal honored Cotton with their 2015 B.B.
King Award for his seven decades of
contributions to the blues.
Throughout his entire career, Cotton’s
blast-furnace harmonica sound and
larger-than-life personality always remained a
true force of nature, described by USA Today
as “devastating and powerful…carrying the
Chicago sound to the world.”
Cotton is survived by his wife Jacklyn Hairston
Cotton, daughters Teresa Hampton of Seattle,
Washington, and Marshall Ann Cotton of Peoria,
Illinios and son James Patrick Cotton of
Chicago, Illinois, as well as numerous
grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
WINNER OF 3RD UK BLUES CHALLENGE
Photo courtesy Alan White
The Robin 2, Bilston, West Midlands
played host to the 3rd UK Blues Challenge on Saturday 12th
November 2016, organized by the UK Blues Federation
(UKBlues) and sponsored by Upton Blues Festival.
At stake for the four contestants was the
opportunity to represent the UK at the 33rd International
Blues Challenge (IBC) in Memphis in the USA at the end of
January/early February 2017 and at the 7th European Blues
Challenge (EBC) in Horsens, Denmark in April 2017. This will
be the first time that the UK has been represented at the
The four bands participating in the
Challenge were selected by a panel of more than 250 people
involved in and with the blues in the UK and came from
across the UK exhibiting the breadth, quality and
individuality that exists in the blues in the UK.
From Cornwall, Wille & the
Bandits, a trio whose reputation is being
reinforced by their most recent CD release.
Photo courtesy Graham Munn
from Norfolk the individual and combined
talents that are the Dove & Boweevil Band
Photo courtesy Graham Munn
from Northern Ireland the powerhouse that
is the Kaz Hawkins Band
Photo courtesy Graham Munn
and from Birmingham, multiple British
Blues Award winner, Rebecca Downes
Photo courtesy Graham Munn
Each of the bands delivered an exciting
and varied thirty minute set featuring mainly original music
which demonstrated how broad a church the blues is in the
UK, much to the delight of the large audience at the event.
Photo courtesy Ashwyn Smyth
Deciding upon a winner was a tough job
for the panel of seven judges, drawn from across the blues
Alex Butler of Red Butler who represented the UK at the 2015
Oliver Carpenter - Trustee - and Ruth Etheridge - Secretary
- Upton Blues Festival,
Mark Horsley, the Promoter and Director of the Scarborough
Secret Blues Festival,
Peter Noble, boss of Noble PR,
Becky Tate* of Babajack, EBC contestants in 2013.
*Honorary Members of UKBlues
After much deliberation and in a tight
contest, the Kaz Hawkins Band were declared
very popular winners and were presented with the UKBlues
Challenge trophy and Winner's certificate.
Kaz said after the announcement: ‘My band
and I are so humbled to be chosen to represent the UK Blues
Federation in the USA & Europe. It's exciting to be pushing
our own boundaries in the blues genre. We would like to
thank the UK Blues Federation for giving us this opportunity
to showcase our music on behalf of the UK. ‘
In addition to representing the UK at the
International and European Blues Challenges and the massive
exposure this will offer, the band will also be offered the
opportunity to play at four top blues festivals/events
during 2017 and they were presented with a trophy on the
Previous UK representatives at the EBC
have included Red Butler, Laurence Jones, Babajack and Ben
Poole. Becky Tate of Babajack, said of their participation
in the EBC:
‘For us it was immensely important. We
got to go to Europe, it was our window into Europe and we
met an enormous number of people. We had a whole year’s
worth of festival work offered us from that one twenty
minute slot we played.
We didn’t win, we came close, but you
know what, what we won was an amazing opportunity for us as
musicians and I can honestly say that our European work is
what has kept us on the road.
It’s an amazing thing to do for that individual band but it
is also an amazing thing to do for British blues. That’s why
what these guys (UKBlues) are doing is so important‘
Another of the judges, Peter Noble of
Noble PR commented:
’The UK Blues Challenge was wonderful.
It gave me the opportunity to see Wille & The Bandits live
who I felt were the most original artist of the night. I
particularly loved the pedal steel guitar and Wille’s
harrowing vocals. Kaz Hawkins touched a nerve with the
judges and after her performance you felt a definite
emotional connection. The biggest reaction of the night
went to Rebecca Downes who really impressed everyone with
her incredible powerhouse vocals and dynamic stage
presence. Dove & Boweevil were also impressive with their
entertaining blues repertoire. All in all a great evening.'
Ashwyn Smyth, Chair of UKBlues said:
‘ This was an excellent evening and our
thanks go to everyone involved, the bands, the judges, the
sponsors and all the team at the Robin 2 who made us so
welcome and worked so hard to make the event such a success.
The feedback we have received has been great and it is clear
that those who attended thoroughly enjoyed the very fine
musicians who played for them. I hope that we have laid the
foundations for future UK Blues Challenges and that it will
become one of the must attend events of the blues year.
This was a night that celebrated the best
in UK blues and demonstrated only too clearly the quality
and range of the talent that is all too often unsung in this
too frequently ignored musical genre. The event also raised
funds which we, UKBlues, can use to further our aims and to
make a contribution towards the Kaz Hawkins Band’s costs
attending the two Challenges.’
UKBlues will be setting up a crowd
funding page soon to raise additional funds to help the UK’s
representative attend both the European and International
Blues Challenges. Details will be announced shortly.
REMINDER TO MEMBERS
Don't forget that,
as a Member of UKBlues you can post details of your gigs
and/or those gigs with which you are involved on the Events
page of the UKBlues website. There are already a few gigs
posted here and
we hope that over the next few months this page will become
ever more populated.
If you are already a Member or Friend of
UKBlues and want to avail yourself of this facility, please
contact our Webmaster who will sort out access and log ins
for you - email@example.com.
By doing so you will be able to help us
support & promote the blues in the UK and you will enjoy a
range of benefits including being on the panel of those
invited to nominate artists for the annual UK Blues
Stumble are a powerful six piece band based in and around
Preston in the North-West and what you get is a classic
valve driven back line driven with shuffle and roll. Their
music is heavily based on the rapturous electric blues
guitar sound that emanated from Chicago in the ’50s and
’60s. Influences range from B.B. King, Freddy King, Muddy
Waters, Maceo Parker, Peter Green, Booker T, King Curtis
etc. Basically, if music has that screwed down ambient live
feel expressed by some of these guys, then it'll be on the
Paul Melville vocals, Colin Black guitar and harmonica, Boyd
Tonner drums and vocals, Simon Anthony Dixon on sax’s,
Cameron Sweetnam on bass, with newcomer Ant Scapens lead
guitar making up the formidable six.
Seeing the band is an experience not easily forgotten as
they are all about the exciting, live Chicago style Rhythm &
Blues. What better reference could any band have than this -
'Man this band’s so good I wanna take ‘em over to America
- Lazy Lester.
many years, Francis Wilford-Smith led a parallel existence as an
internationally respected cartoonist/illustrator ('Selby'), and also as
one of the world's foremost collectors of blues records and an
acknowledged expert on blues piano. Whilst both sides of his life are
celebrated in this memoir, it focuses mainly on the latter.
Motivated by a desire to
preserve as much as possible of the music that he loved, Francis
privately recorded several visiting blues pianists at his home, Trumpets
Farm, in 1960 and 1961. Unfettered by commercial or time constraints,
his guests had free reign to play whatever they wished and produced some
truly unique and outstanding performances. The intriguing stories behind
these groundbreaking recordings is to be found within these pages.
To accompany this book,
vintage jazz and blues reissue label Frog Records have released a
special 27-track companion CD, Trumpets Farm Blues, containing
previously unissued material from these legendary sessions. Check out Frog Records:
"A truly fascinating
book, a must for any lover of blues piano".
Alan White, Earlyblues.com
Check out the latest
Earlyblues interview with film director
Lisa leads an
Australian film team working on promoting an upcoming documentary film
called Women in Blues, directed by Lisa Eismen and shot by award-winning
cinematographer Pieter De Vries, ACS.
The film celebrates women who sing or play the blues and explores the
struggles that these artists have experienced as women in the world of
In order to help source the remaining funds necessary for
completion of the project, a fund raising campaign including film
trailer has been launched on Indiegogo.
You can see the film
trailer and details of how to donate by clicking here:
"from Cliff's rasping voice, to the
impressively powerful rhythm section and exceptional guitarists, the
seasoned and passionate musicianship of Slack Alice never fails to
deliver the blues, with feeling!"
- Alan White, earlyblues.com
- - - - "that
was Cliff Stocker and the Legendary Slack Alice and friends"
- - - - the album is called "never, never, ever give up!" that's
why that song is called "still singing the blues." Excellent album. What
a band and what friends they have! Talk about all star friends! You have
that wonderful) sax playing by "Snake
Davis," Cliff Stocker himself on
vocals, Jerry Donahue on guitars, Zoot Money and Paul Nuttall on pianos,
Gerry Conway on drums and Scott Whitley on bass. Lovely stuff!
And as I said the album is called " - - - - never, never, ever give up!
- - - -" What good advice!!!
- Paul Jones, BBC Radio 2 Nov 4th 2013
Stocker is a legend in himself, having gloried in the "fame" in the 70's
with the original Slack Alice.Cliff
on vocals, harmonica and acoustic guitar, the highly talented guitarists
of Chris Preston on lead and slide guitars, dobro, mandolin, etc. Colin
Redmond also on lead guitar, banjo, acoustic, etc. Alan Sagar with his
unique style on bass and fretless bass guitars and the hard hitting Liam
Barber on drums. With plenty of "guest" input,
this album has great presence. - - a great album with a variety of
tracks to keep everyone interested,
an eclectic mix and variety is the spice of life - -
- Rosy Greer (Lancashire Blues Archives.)
Rosy Greer (Lancashire Blues Archives.)
RIP Magic Slim Magic Slim, a revered and
towering figure in the field of traditional Chicago blues,
died 21st February in a Philadelphia hospital at the age of 75.
Magic Slim at the Great British R&B Festival, Colne, 2010
Press Releases from
Blind Pig Records:
a revered and towering figure in the field of traditional Chicago blues,
died today in a Philadelphia hospital at the age of 75. Born Morris Holt
in Torrance, Mississippi in 1937, the guitarist performer, bandleader,
and recording artist went on to enjoy a career that launched him to
national and international recognition and acclaim.
Slim was one of
the foremost practitioners of the raw, gut-bucket, back alley blues
associated with the postwar Chicago blues sound. He and his band, the
Teardrops, were known as "the last real Chicago blues band" for their
authentic, no-frills, straight-no-chaser performance of the music.
Slim's slash and
burn guitar technique and booming vocals made for a commanding stage
presence. His intense style was the blueprint that spawned much of the
music played by modern blues artists and rockers. After catching one of
Slim's electrifying live shows at a local nightclub Eddie Vetter invited
Slim to open Pearl Jam's concert in Chicago. Magic Slim also had an
encyclopedic repertoire of hundreds of blues songs in his head, giving
his live shows a charming impromptu quality.
Growing up in
Grenada, Mississippi, Slim took an early interest in music, singing in
the church choir, and fashioning a guitar for himself with baling wire
from a broom, which he nailed to the wall. "Mama whooped me for that,"
recalled Slim. His first love was the piano, but having lost the little
finger on his right hand in a cotton gin accident, he found it difficult
to play properly. Undaunted, he simply switched to guitar, working in
the cotton fields during the week and playing the blues at house parties
on weekends. In 2011 the state of Mississippi erected a Blues Trail
Marker in Slim's honor in front of a building in Grenada where his
mother operated a restaurant.
In 1955, like
many musicians from the Deep South, Slim migrated to Chicago, where he
was mentored by his friend Magic Sam, who gave the lanky Morris his
lifelong stage moniker. Initially discouraged by the highly competitive
local music scene, Slim went back to Mississippi and spent the next five
years woodshedding and perfecting his craft. He confidently returned to
Chicago and became a formidable player on the scene, eventually putting
together the Teardrops, who would become one of the busiest and
best-loved blues bands around, and one of the most sought-after
headliners for festivals in Europe, Japan, and South America. Slim and
his group won the coveted Blues Music Award in 2003 as "Blues Band of
the Year," one of six times Slim won a BMA, considered the highest honor
in the blues. Living Blues magazine called Slim and the Teardrops
"a national treasure."
career began with a series of singles in 1966, and he recorded his first
album for a French label in 1977. With the release of
in 1990, he began a twenty-two year association with Blind Pig Records,
who issued ten albums and a live DVD over that span. His last release,
2012's Bay Boy, proved that Slim could still deliver the goods.
As No Depression said, "Magic Slim doesn't just play the blues,
he body slams his audiences with a vicious guitar attack that pins them
to the floor. His blues are the in-your-face variety."
added, "Magic Slim turned 75 in 2012, but his growling vocals have the
fire and brimstone of a Young Lion and his guitar playing is still as
razor-sharp as it was when he turned pro in the '50s."
Blind Pig Records owner Jerry Del Giudice said, "Magic Slim embodied the
heart and soul of this label. It was Magic Slim, and the guys like him,
and their music, that inspired us to start the label in the first
once remarked, "Whoever the house band in blues heaven may be, even
money says they're wearing out Magic Slim albums trying to get that
Teardrops sound down cold." Now Slim can assume his rightful place as
the leader of that band.
For a complete biography,
To see a video of Slim recording "Goin' To Mississippi" in the Blind Pig
Chicago warehouse in April of 2002, please click
Michael "Iron Man" Burks,
July 30th, 1957 - May 6, 2012
songwriter Michael "Iron Man" Burks died in Atlanta on Sunday, May 6,
2012. He was 54 years old. He was returning from a tour of Europe and
collapsed at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. He was
rushed to South Fulton Medical Center where he could not be revived.
"Arkansas-based blues guitarist/vocalist
Michael “Iron Man” Burks toured Europe and the UK in November 2010. performing songs from his
Alligator Records CDs, "Iron Man", "I Smell Smoke" and "Make It Rain".
Boasting remarkable natural talent and deep-rooted soulfulness, Burks’
music is driven by an intense, blue collar work ethic that has earned
him well-deserved national recognition, making him one of the blues
world’s fastest-rising stars. Burks’ powerful presence, inventive and
riveting guitar work and soul-shaking vocals make him the torchbearer of
electric blues guitar heroes. His instantly identifiable guitar sound
and his live charisma have already earned him four Blues Music Award
nominations. Burks’ first Alligator release, MAKE IT RAIN, was named as
one of the Top 200 greatest guitar recordings by GuitarOne magazine. In
2006, the Delta Cultural Center awarded Burks the prestigious Sonny
Payne Award for Blues Excellence, presented each year to an individual
or individuals who have strongly influenced blues music in Arkansas".
- Alligator Records
AND MUSICAL CELEBRATION FOR MICHAEL "IRON MAN" BURKS
The family of late blues legend Michael
"Iron Man" Burks has announced plans for a memorial and musical
celebration on Sunday, May 20, 2012. The event, open to the public, will
take place rain or shine at 3:00pm CST at Riverwoods On The Ouachita,
Bradley Ferry Road, in Burks' hometown of Camden, Arkansas.
In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that
donations in Burks' name be made to the HART Fund of The Blues
Foundation, which aids musicians with health care needs:
Louisiana Red lived the Blues. He not only
played the Blues, he lived it through his guitar and his singing.
Strongly influenced by Muddy Waters, Lightnin‘ Hopkins and Arthur
Crudup, he long ago found his own voice, his own style, his own form
of expression. In a career spanning over half a century, Red played
with just about every major bluesman you can name, some of the most
memorable encounters being his jams with B.B.King and Muddy Waters. His
albums have been called masterpieces by critics, and in 1983 he won a
W.C. Handy Award as best traditional blues artist.
Red recently toured the UK with Michael Messer
and I had the privilege of interviewing Red at Southport Arts Centre in
conjunction with Spencer Leigh, BBC Radio Merseyside.
You can read the interview here.
RIP Etta James Three-time Grammy winner singer Etta James, a pioneer
of 1950s rhythm and blues and rock music, died from complications of
leukaemia on Friday, 20th January 2012, aged 73. Etta died at a hospital
in Riverside, California. She would have turned 74 on Wednesday.
"Reverend John Wilkins played guitar with O.V. Wright in the ’60s, as
well as performing in local churches, parties and clubs, very much in
the North Mississippi Hill Country country-blues style of his father
Reverend Robert Wilkins, whose 1930s version of “That’s No Way To Get
Along,” entitled “Prodigal Son,” was later covered by the Rolling
Stones. Since the early ’80s, Reverend John Wilkins has been pastor at
Hunter’s Chapel Church in Tate County, Mississippi. Past members of this
congregation include Fred McDowell and his wife Annie Mae, Other Turner
and Napolian Strickland".
Can’t Hurry God
sports a full bass-drums-guitar-Hammond lineup, with Reverend Wilkins’
daughters on backing vocals. Wonderful stuff. Available now from
Mississippi’s Big Legal Mess Records, an offshoot of Fat Possum Records.
Check it out here: