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MIKE BOWDEN & the A917



Mike Bowden is proud to announce the release of a new album from the A917, in conjunction with the EPONA label.

Recorded at various locations in Scotland during lockdown, TIMEPIECES sees the band expanding it's parameters, and stepping out of the comfort zone, with a feast of new material plus a couple of favourites from earlier in Mike's career.... and what a journey that has been!

Download Release Date: 3rd Sept 2021

Physical CD Release Date: 10th Sept 2021

Click here for full details

Mike Bowden - Vocals, acoustic guitar
Martin Rhydderch - Keyboards
John Hall - Guitar
Shaun Walker - Bass
Big Vern - Drums, Percussion
Emily Murray - Vocals

All Enquiries to Mike …. 07368 597353

“Mike Bowden & the A917 received a well deserved standing ovation, following a stunning set at Carlisle Blues Festival. Their set was mainly made up of 'off the wall' blues, self penned by Mike. This is a band with 'true entertainment' as their middle name!”
- Rosy Greer,
Lancashire Blues Archive
Couldn't agree more - Alan White,



Fullerton Museum Center Re-Opens with “Have Blues Will Travel” Exhibit on July 24, 2021

The “Have Blues, Will Travel” Exhibit is based on the Negro Motorist Green Book (or simply Green Book) published from 1936-1966 to aid Black motorists during the Jim Crow era. Many blues musicians found safe places to lodge, dine, and perform by referencing the Green Book. Since Black artists were not paid royalties on their songs in the way Caucasian musicians were, touring was among the only ways to make money from their music. However, moving about the country as a Black person, especially in the American south, was incredibly dangerous. On the road, they were faced with segregation laws everywhere they went; intense prejudice; and even violence in some cases.

The "Have Blues Will Travel" exhibit was created in partnership with the National Blues Museum and graduate students from the University of Missouri at St. Louis and will be on view at the Fullerton Museum Center for the Summer of 2021.

For full details click here.


Fullerton Museum Center
(Home of The Leo Fender Gallery)
301 N. Pomona Avenue Fullerton, CA, USA

Fullerton Museum Center


Matthew Robb

War Without Witness

New Album out June 10 2021

“Musically, Robb occupies the borderland between the talking blues of Townes Van Zandt and the folk excursions of early Dylan.”
- Uncut

“Robb is doing for country folk music what seasick Steve purported to do for the blues”
- RnR magazine

Robb’s cool spoken voice  sits as well as on any J.J Cale record”
- Americana UK

“Matthew gets into a groove like a Dust bowl Van Morrison with a drier road weary run at Astral Weeks”
- Fatea Magazine




Blues From The Avon Delta: The Matchbox Blues Story

by Mark Jones

How Blueswailin' Bristol kick-started Britain's late 1960s' country blues boom and became the epicentre of the UK's DIY blues record label industry

Release Date: 2nd July 2021

ISBN: 978-1-909953-76-5

Publisher: The Record Press (an imprint of Bristol Folk Publications)

Available from :

In 1967, the fledgling Bristol based Saydisc label released its first country blues record, this was a 7" "LP" by Anderson Jones Jackson, with Noël Sheldon on jug. By 1968, it was helping three ‘pop-up’ independent DIY blues labels to get to market - these were the now highly-collectable Sunflower, Kokomo and Highway 51 labels. These were mere toes in the water and mid-1968 Saydisc created the celebrated Matchbox label to release contemporary British country blues and LPs (transcribed from original 78s) of classic pre-war American country blues. Matchbox also pressed the popular Austrian Roots label for the UK market and later issued contemporary American blues and transcriptions of Library of Congress recordings. Later again came the Bluesmaster Series. Saydisc released well over 100 blues LPs between 1967 and 1987.

By 1968, blues was becoming increasingly popular in the UK, though the focus was mostly on electric blues bands. In July, however, Matchbox released the first LP of home-grown British country blues. The time was right and Blues Like Showers of Rain made a big stir. John Peel played it on his Night Ride radio show and invited most of the artists to record BBC sessions. The major labels picked up on the buzz and most of the artists were snapped up. Matchbox carried on the momentum over the next few years but eventually shut in July 1977, whilst Saydisc concentrated on other styles of music. Matchbox returned in 1982 with the extremely well-received Bluesmaster Series, an ambitious undertaking that resulted in 38 LPs, plus two double-LP sets to support Paul Oliver's extremely well-received book, Songsters & Saints.

Amongst other things, Blues from the Avon Delta includes:

- Information on every Saydisc-related, blues record released (and two that never saw light of day).
- Images of all Saydisc’s blues record sleeves, including those on Sunflower, Kokomo, Highway 51, Roots and Ahura Mazda.
- A cameo appearance by The Village Thing label, which represented ‘what came after the blues, British style’.
- Memorabilia provided specially by the label owners and other archives/collections, much not seen in print since the 1960s and 1970s (if ever).
- Active input from those who were there.
- A section on Saydisc’s hook-ups with the 'Blues World' magazine and November Books’ 'Blues Paperbacks' series.


Matchbox Bluesmaster Series 

The most comprehensive survey tracing the origins of Black American Blues Music 

Available as seven 6CD sets and all digital platforms for the first time 

Two 6CD sets/digital released in January 2021 with three more being released during 2021 and the final volumes becoming available in Spring 2022.


Matchbox Bluesmaster Series details …

This series documents the early days of blues, ragtime, hokum and gospel music from 1926 to 1934 and gives an insight into the way that black music was first released on record. RACE record companies such as OKEH sent out talent scouts to find black singers, many of them “singing for nickels” on street corners. The music of these singers formed the backbone of later urban blues, rhythm-and-blues and, of course, rock-‘n’-roll. The songs are sometimes raw and primitive in character, but some really outstanding playing and singing shines through many of the performances. Along with the work of other field collectors and researchers, we gain a rare insight into the world of black musicians of the day by reading his notes alongside listening to the music they performed. This is the most comprehensive survey tracing the origins of Black American Blues Music presenting detailed material from the 42 original LP albums released by Saydisc Records in the 1980s. The rare originating 78s were provided by several collectors under the editorship of well-known Austrian collector, Johnny Parth. The restoration and digital remastering was performed by Nimbus archivist Norman White who curated the internationally acclaimed Prima Voce historic vocal series.

This series will now be released on seven 6CD sets plus all digital platforms. Offering this iconic series for the first time on CD will both appeal to existing collectors worldwide and also attract a new generation of early blues lovers as this music was so central to the development of many forms of popular music. The market that these RACE record companies were after was the black community and they sometimes gave these newly found performers epithets such as “Peg Leg …”, “Blind …”, “Bo Weavil…”, “Buddy Boy…”, “Barbecue…” or “Texas…” to give them more appeal. Putting this music into perspective are the very valuable notes by Paul Oliver who was a world authority on early jazz and blues along with the work of other field collectors and researchers, we gain a rare insight into the world of black musicians of the day by reading his notes alongside listening to the music they performed.

Paul Oliver wrote 10 books on the history of blues and gospel music, but was also a Professor of Architecture on which subject he wrote five seminal books. He was born in May 1927 and died in August 2017. Through his blues books and writings he opened many windows into a little researched area which is of such importance to the history of black music in America. The final 4 CDs in the series are entitled “Songsters and Saints” and were put together by Paul Oliver to illustrate his book of the same name. The present Matchbox Bluesmaster Series has been transcribed from the 1980’s vinyl pressings by Norman White using high-end transcription techniques. The original master tapes for the vinyl releases vanished long ago.


Saydisc Records was created in 1965 by Gef Lucena and has built up a substantial catalogue of music in many genres on several labels. The Saydisc label itself is devoted to folk and world music, bells in their various forms, mechanical instruments of all sorts, exotic and weird music, jazz and ragtime, wildlife, dialect, poetry, spoken word, brass ensembles, chant, nostalgia, Christmas and choral music, guitar music, music hall, traditional children’s songs and games and much else besides. Sister label, Amon Ra, is devoted to authentic performances of classical repertoire on original instruments by leading world musicians in this field. The Village Thing label features contemporary folk music and, of course, Matchbox is devoted to blues, both classic early blues and was at the forefront of the white British blues boom of the 60s. The Matchbox Bluesmaster Series then followed on from a large range of classic blues and American ”Old Timey” albums.


The first two 6CD sets will be released in January 2021 with three more being released during 2021 and the final volumes becoming available in Spring 2022.  

Available to buy here:

News of future releases will be available from Nimbus Records and via : 

The series will be launched with two sets:  

Release date: Jan 2021

MSE 205 PEG LEG HOWELL (1928-29)
MSE 206 TEXAS ALEXANDER VOL. 1 (1927-28)

Release date: Jan 2021

MSE 207 SKIP JAMES: Skip James (1931)
MSE 210 LEROY CARR (1928)

Release date: May 2021

MSE 214 TEXAS ALEXANDER VOL. 2 (1928-29)
MSE 215 RAMBLIN' THOMAS (1928-32)
MSE 216 COUNTRY GIRLS (1926-29)
MSE 217 RUFUS & BEN QUILLIAN (1929-31)

Release date: August 2021

MSE 220 TEXAS ALEXANDER VOL. 3 (1929-30)
MSE 221 PEG LEG HOWELL (1926-27)
MSE 223 ST. LOUIS BESSlE (I 927-30)
MSE 224 TEXAS ALEXANDER VOL. 4 (1934-50)  

Release date: November 2021

MSE 1002 FRANK STOKES (1927-29)
MSE 1003 BLIND BLAKE (1926-29)
MSE 1004 BIG BILL BROONZY (1927-32)
MSE 1006 LONNIE JOHNSON VOL. 1 (1926-28)  

Release date: Spring 2022

MSE 1008 MEMPHIS JUG BAND (1927-34)
MSE 1009 BARBECUE BOB (1927-30)
MSE 1010 LEECAN & COOKSEY (1926-27)
MSE 1011 ROOSEVELT SYKES (1929-34)
MSE 1012 MISSISSIPPI SHEIKS VOL. 2 (1930-34)  

Release date: Summer 2022

MSE 1013 LONNIE JOHNSON VOL. 2 (1927-32)
Vocal Traditions On Race Records (1925-31)
MSEX 2003/2004 SONGSTERS AND SAINTS VOL. 2 Race Records (1925-31)

Available to buy here:



Tickets here:



Hosted by Paul Jones and featuring amazing guest presenters including:

Jon Cleary

Whispering Bob Harris

Kaz Hawkins

Erja Lyytinen

Cerys Matthews

Mike Vernon

More information on the UKBlues website:

SUNDAY MAY 9th at 18.00

Click here to view the virtual event:




Buy now

True Strays

New single 'Take What You Want From Me'

Release Date : 26th February 2021

Take What You Want From Me, a sentiment that reverberates through our lives. Whether it’s said endearingly in offer of hope to a friend, or the angst of being drained of all you have to give. A swaggering verse of roots rock groove sets the scene, mirroring the depths of despair felt through these modern times, ‘Nothing left to give, gave it all away, bent out of shape, got to catch a break’. The bridge picks up pace and there's hope that you can ‘Turn it around’ and as it explodes into the anthemic rock and rolling chorus of ‘Take what you want from me, take it for free, you won’t get what you need’ the band take full flight and the intensity dial is ramped up to the red.

True Strays are lifelong friends, songwriters and country boys - Joseph James and James Cameron - from Bristol, England who are fast carving out a niche of their own in the UK Americana scene. Their music is a cathartic celebration of alternative roots americana and blues rock.

Their songs focus on the dirt that life throws at you and how struggle can be transformed into something better. The prolific songwriting duo draw influences from classic sounds such as Neil Young, Muddy Waters, Fleetwood Mac and modern retro inspired acts like Alabama Shakes, Gary Clark Jr and the Black Keys.

Full Press Release here

“Rising stars of the UK Americana scene” – The List

“Delightful” – Blues Matters

“Brilliant Rootsy Vibes!” – BBC Bristol

"Americana Gems" -

True Strays | Facebook




Songs From The Fire Station


Songs From The Fire Station, was recorded live at the band’s monthly blues jam in the Old Fire Station, Carlisle. The EP comprises four well-chosen covers which these talented musicians make their own as they explore and interpret aspects of blues, funk, soul and jazz.

Check out these reviews:

British Brave Hearts Redfish Deliver Valentine’s Day Blues Blockbuster - American Blues Scene

Redfish to release live EP: 'Songs from the Fire Station' - Blues Matters Magazine

Available now - Music | Redfish (

Redfish - Live Soul Deep Rhythm & Blues (




One More Mile’ is Dave Thomas’s first album for 5 years and features collaborations with some great musicians and songwriters.

This album is an eclectic mix of styles with original material and covers and it is Dave’s distinctive vocals that deliver the driving force that brings the whole thing together into a celebration of Dave’s musical journey!

‘One More Mile’ is available to buy through Dave’s website:


More Than a One Night Stand


Digital only release on 4th September 2020 at

"In a year where gigs have come to an abrupt halt and stage curtains have dropped indefinitely, Sunjay is stepping into the breach and serving up an impressive new album of live recordings to fill the void. 'More Than a One Night Stand' consists of eleven perfectly executed songs recorded over the course of two shows. The album manages to capture the raw energy, humour and enthusiasm that can only be found in a live performance ... only now it can be enjoyed again and again, even once the night is over. The majority of the tracks are interpretations of folk and blues favourites, with Sunjay taking the opportunity to record some of the frequently requested numbers from his live repertoire that he may not have otherwise released. The assured delivery of these songs showcase Sunjay at his best: on stage, guitar in hand, with an audience in his thrall. Nobody can say when normal order will resume and venues will reopen their doors ... but with a live album offering of this standard, perhaps we can all bear to wait a little longer..."



Tommy Allen Music YouTube Channel

Check out and subscribe to the ‘Tommy Allen Music’ YouTube Channel where Tommy is posting a weekly 'In the chair with' series at 7pm each Wednesday UK time. Basically it's a chilled chat with musicians and the people behind the blues scene, talking about them, the music, and their journey in keeping the blues alive. There is also other related Tommy Allen stuff from lessons and licks to original music for you to enjoy. So follow the link below, hit the subscribe button and the bell notification to be informed when new videos are released.

Also check out Tommy’s website:

Episode 17:
"This weeks music Interview and talk series, is with the amazing Alan White, Music photographer and member of the UK Blues Federation. Also the 2020 UKBlues Award winner for 'Unsung Hero of the Year'".



Dark Was the Night – Blind Willie Johnson's Journey to the Stars

Written by Gary Golio

Illustrated by E.B. Lewis

Published by Penguin/Nancy Paulsen Books August 2020

Ages 5-8 • 32 pages • $17.99 hardcover/$10.99 Ebook • ISBN: 978-1524738884






Ask Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Lucinda Williams and Jack White to name the slide-guitar player they most admire, and they'll all say Blind Willie Johnson. What those musicians may not know is that one of his songs found its way to the depths of outer space. In Dark Was the Night – Blind Willie Johnson's Journey to the StarsNY Times-bestselling author Gary Golio and Caldecott Honoree E. B. Lewis weave a magical tale of how the healing power of music can turn darkness into light.


Born in 1897, young Willie shone as he sang and played a cigar box guitar made by his father. But his bright childhood fell dark when he lost both his mother and his sight. Fortunately, his love of music led him back into the light. He began singing in churches and later brought his unique blend of gospel-blues to street corners all over Texas. Willie's powerful voice, joined to the wail of his slide guitar, moved even more people when he cut some records and his songs were played on the radio. Yet by the time he died, he and his music were largely forgotten.


Then, in 1977, Willie's haunting song, "Dark Was the Night," was launched into space on the Voyager I space probe's famous Golden Record. There, along with the many sounds and sights of planet Earth, is the soul-stirring song of a blind man, telling us not to be afraid of the dark, and reminding us that we are never really alone.


"An ode to a too-little-discussed musician and an excellent introduction to his amazing musical talent."
*starred review*


“An inspiring story of one man’s commitment to lifting up himself and those around him with his music.

An American treasure who shouldn’t go unsung."


"I enjoyed the book, I liked it, even though he was blind he became famous"
6 year old reviewer

Gary Golio is the author of the NY Times bestseller JIMI: Sounds Like a Rainbow – A Story of the Young Jimi Hendrixwinner of a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award; Bird & Diz and Strange Fruit – Billie Holiday and the Power of a Protest Song, both ALA Notables; and other books about legendary artists. A writer and musician, Golio has been featured on NPR’s "Weekend Edition", CBS-TV’s “Sunday Morning News,” and on radio stations nationwide. He lives in the Hudson Valley with his wife, children’s book author Susanna Reich.


E.B. Lewis is a fine artist and the acclaimed illustrator of over 70 books, among them Coming On Home Soon by Jacqueline Woodson (Caldecott Honor Award), Talkin' About Bessie by Nikki Grimes (Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award), and The Secret World of Walter Anderson by Hester Bass (Orbis Pictus Award). He is also the recipient of the NY Times Best Illustrated Book Award, Kirkus' Best Illustrated Book Award, and four additional Coretta Scott King Illustrator Awards. Lewis teaches at the University of Arts in Philadelphia, and lives in Folsom, New Jersey.




The UKBlues Federation is here to promote and support Blues in and from the United Kingdom in all its forms and styles.

The Blues means many things to many people, but the tap root of it all is the form of music that came from the southern United States, from an African American culture.

The Blues is music played and loved by people of all races and colours from all over the world, but we do owe a debt to those whose hardship gave birth to the music, and then watched it flower, evolve and influence subsequent generations of musicians and audiences around the world.

We wish to affirm our support for African Americans and people of colour in their struggle for equality and justice that has gone through slavery, segregation, discrimination, and the civil rights movements, to the most recent shocking events.

We also stand beside the BAME communities in Britain, as there is work to do here too. We need to listen to what they say.

Music has the power to unite, to inspire, and to bring about social change. Musicians have long supported movements like Rock Against Racism, The Anti-Apartheid Movement and now Love Music, Hate Racism.

Gigs, festivals, tours are all on hold at present and so there are limited ways for us to raise awareness and provide support but we must and will always remember and celebrate what is at the heart of the music we love.

Stay safe, stay well.

Ashwyn Smyth
UKBlues  Federation

Visit to find out more about the UKBlues Federation,
how to support our work and to join.

The UKBlues Federation is an Active Member of the European Blues Union and the sole UK Affiliate of the Blues Foundation.





2020 FORM UKBlues Awards - and the winners are.....

The 2020 FORM UKBlues Awards virtual presentation event took place  earlier this evening - Sunday 17th May 2020 - and if you missed it or want to enjoy it again it is now available on the UKBlues Federation’s YouTube channel and on the UKBlues Federation's Facebook page

And the winners are:

Blues Artist of the Year - sponsored by Blues in the South


Blues Instrumentalist of the Year - sponsored by Digital Blues



Emerging Artist of the Year - sponsored by the Great British Rhythm & Blues Festival


Blues Band of the Year - sponsored by The Meeting Room, Elland


Acoustic Blues Act of the Year - sponsored by Blues on the Bay, Eaglescliffe


Jules Fothergill Young Blues Artist of the Year - sponsored by Bluefunk Rhythm & Blues Club


Blues Based Festival of the Year - sponsored by


Dave Raven UK Blues Based Broadcaster of the Year - sponsored by Blues Matters!


Blues Album of the Year - sponsored by The Colourblind Blues Show


Blues Club/Venue of the Year - sponsored by Upton Blues Festival


Blues Unsung Hero - sponsored by the UKBlues Federation


Many congratulations go to all the individual Award winners and also to all the finalists.
You can find a full list of these at

 We owe an enormous debt of gratitude to Paul Long who put in a Herculean effort pulling together and producing this event as well as creating and engineering the jam band contribution. Our thanks too, go to Kev Hickman who created and produced the performance video.

Big thank yous also go to our MC for the event, blues royalty, Paul Jones, and to special guest Award presenters Larkin Poe, Bernie Marsden, Bob Harris and Walter Trout.

Our thanks too to Lorna Fothergill and Suellen Raven who presented the Awards for the Jules Fothergill Young Blues Artist of the Year and the Dave Raven UK Blues Based Broadcaster of the Year which were named in memory of their late husbands.


With musical contributions from Kyla Brox & Danny Blomeley, The Achievers, Crossfire Blues Band, Elles Bailey and Dom Martin, the evening culminated in a fantastic 'lockdown' jam band performance of The Allman Brothers classic ‘Soul Shine’. 


We also express our great gratitude to all the musicians who contributed to the event including the members of the jam band which featured Award winners and representatives from the bands that would have played live at the originally planned event at Dingwalls. 

The band comprised Kev Hickman (Catfish) and Graham Walker (Crossfire) : Drums, Danny Blomeley (Kyla Brox Band) and Adam Pyke (Catfish): Bass, Connor Selby, Marcus Praestgaard-Stevens, Matt Long : Guitars, Paul Long ; Keyboards, Elles Bailey, Kyla Brox, Alice Armstrong (Crossfire) : Lead Vocals.

Our thanks go to all of these wonderful folk who have agreed to be involved and to help make this a truly spectacular celebration of the blues in the UK, notwithstanding the very difficult times in which we find ourselves.

The UKBlues Federation is pleased to announce that, thanks to the generous and continuing sponsorship and support of the headline and event sponsors, we were able to pay the musicians who were originally booked to play the event a fee slightly greater than that originally agreed whilst all the jam band musicians also received a fee in recognition of their contribution. 

In these very challenging times, the Federation is pleased to be able to give some financial support, albeit in a small way. 

We would like, once again, to thank our sponsors without whose generous and continuing support, these Awards would not have taken place. 

Headline sponsors - FORM Fit Out 

and Event sponsors


Our thanks also go to all the individual Award sponsors whose generous support is hugely appreciated.

You can find full details of the Award sponsors on the Awards website - - as well as details of all the categories and the finalists.

And so, that's it for this year. we will be looking to present the physical trophies to all the winners as soon as feasible and we are already starting to make plans for the 2021 UKBlues Awards with a live presentation event to be held in May 2021, barring the World coming to an end!!

Stay safe, stay well.

 Ashwyn Smyth
UKBlues  Federation


Visit to find out more about the UKBlues Federation, how to support our work and to join.

The UKBlues Federation is an Active Member of the European Blues Union and the sole UK Affiliate of the Blues Foundation,





R.I.P. Lucky Peterson



Tommy Allen Music YouTube Channel

Check out and subscribe to the ‘Tommy Allen Music’ YouTube Channel where Tommy will be posting a weekly 'In the chair with' series at 7pm each Wednesday UK time. Basically it's a chilled chat with musicians and the people behind the blues scene, talking about them, the music, and their journey in keeping the blues alive. There will also be other related Tommy Allen stuff from lessons and licks to original music for you to enjoy. So follow the link below, hit the subscribe button and the bell notification to be informed when new videos are released.

Also check out Tommy’s website:




John Cee Stannard

Cast Iron Recordings

"Quirky, distinctive and certainly eccentric - English blues"
- Blues in Britain


Robert Cray to Release New Album That’s What I Heard on March 27th  (Nozzle Records/Thirty Tigers)

Produced by Steve Jordan, Cray Shows Gratitude to His Soul, R&B, Gospel & Blues Heroes, Alongside New Music

 “Funky, cool and bad,” is how Robert Cray describes his latest album, That’s What I Heard, out in the UK on March 27th. “I thought if it we could get this thing that Sam Cooke used to have, the kind of sound that early Sam Cooke records had, that we could pull this off,” says producer Steve Jordan.

Over the past four decades, Cray has created a sound that rises from American roots, blues, soul and R&B, with five Grammy wins, 20 acclaimed studio albums and a bundle of live albums that punctuate the Blues Hall of Famer’s career. On That’s What I Heard, Robert celebrates the music of Curtis Mayfield, Bobby “Blue” Bland, The Sensational Nightingales and more, alongside four newly written songs. Listen to the first single “Anything You Want” here (by Robert Cray), available now on all streaming services.

Cray and Jordan go way back, having met during the making of the Chuck Berry documentary Hail! Hail! Rock ’n’ Roll, in 1987. They started working together in 1999, when Jordan produced the Grammy-winning Take Your Shoes Off, and the recent Grammy-nominated LP, Robert Cray & Hi Rhythm. That’s What I Heard is their sixth album. “Once you start working with Steve, it’s kind of hard to get away from him,” said Robert.

The music on That’s What I Heard falls into two camps, the sweet and the funky. Of the former, “You’re the One” comes from the Bobby “Blue” Bland songbook. “There’s this thing where I feel you kind of gotta get out of your own head when you’re covering one of your heroes,” Cray explained. “Bobby’s one of those. You just let yourself go, and do the song because you love it.”

Don Gardner’s “My Baby Likes to Boogaloo” and the Billy Sha-Rae minor hit, “Do It” are acknowledged rarities (the originals can be heard on the compilation, Groove & Grind: Rare Soul). “Do It” is leaner and meaner, the sort of bare-bones funk that defined the Detroit club sound in the early ’70s with Sha-Rae, Dennis Coffey, and Earl Van Dyke. Cray’s steamroller rendition gets a little extra push from guest guitarist Ray Parker, Jr., who played in Sha-Rae’s band as a teen.

“Burying Ground” is a sacred song from the Sensational Nightingales, inspired by Cray’s youth, when Sundays on the stereo were reserved for his parents’ gospel records. Curtis Mayfield wrote “You’ll Want Me Back” for Major Lance, and Cray wrote “To Be with You” for his late friend, Tony Joe White. “Hot” is another Cray original. “As for the lyrics, “We always say to ourselves, ‘I’m old, but I’m hot,’” he said, and laughed. Spotted hanging around the studio, Steve Perry sang harmony vocals on “Promises You Can’t Keep,” written by Steve Jordan, Kim Wilson and Danny Kortchmar.

“Robert is just a great person besides being extraordinary talent,” adds Jordan. “People gravitate to his guitar playing first, but I think he’s one of the best singers I’ve heard in my life. Not only because of his singing ability, but his interpretations. He’s such an honest soul in my opinion.”

Robert’s band features Richard Cousins (bass), Dover Weinberg (keyboards), Terence F. Clark (drums), and Steve Jordan (drums, percussion).




The UKBlues Federation has teamed up with The Great British Rhythm & Blues Festival in Colne to offer up-and-coming, under-the-radar acts (solo artists or bands) the opportunity to play the main stages at the festival this summer.

Apply to play via the festival website. Deadline for applications is Saturday 29th February: 
Apply to Play.  

As part of the process, applicants are asked to submit a link to a sound recording, along with a link to a video of their act performing live. Applications will be perused by a panel of music professionals, who will use the submitted sound recordings and videos to select a shortlist. A mix of award-winning musicians, recording artists, event managers, radio presenters and more, make up the judging panel.

Two bands/artists will be chosen to each play a one hour slot. The judges are seeking blues-based acts with originality (no 'covers' bands please), creativity, technical ability, musical compatibility to the festival, and entertainment value, being at the core of their choices. The acts must not have played the festival within the last 3 years. The bands must make their own way to and from the festival. The available musical slots will be paid, as will accommodation.   

In addition to a slot at The Great British Rhythm & Blues Festival, one of the chosen acts will be nominated to be part of the UKBlues Challenge 2020.

Steve Potter from the UKBlues Federation explains further. "Keeping the blues genre alive and fresh is a huge part of what our federation strives to do. Discovering up-and-coming artists and showcasing them in a vibrant, upbeat, busy environment, such as at The Great British Rhythm & Blues Festival, has a significant impact on both the musicians and the musical genre as a whole. We're thrilled to be involved in helping to bring forward new music to the scene, and supporting the music and musicians in any way we can." 

And there's more...
In addition to a slot at The Great British Rhythm & Blues Festival, one of the chosen festival acts will be nominated to take part in the 2020 UKBlues Challenge, organised by the UKBlues Federation. The winner of the 2020 UKBlues Challenge will be invited to represent the UK at the 37th International Blues Challenge in Memphis in January 2021 and the 11th European Blues Challenge in Chorzow, Poland in April 2021.  

Five acts will take part in the 2020 UKBlues Challenge, four of whom will have been selected under a process run by the UKBlues Federation, with the fifth being selected from those acts appearing at the Great British Rhythm & Blues Festival under the project's banner.

Ashwyn Smyth, Chair of the UK Blues Federation said "Each year, the UKBlues Challenge contestants are very varied, creating differing blues soundscapes from across the genre and demonstrating the fact that blues is a 'broad church'. I am looking forward to seeing who the judges choose as the winner. I know it won't be an easy choice. I am immensely proud that since we took on responsibility for selecting the UK’s representatives at the International and European Blues Challenges, we have twice reached the semi-finals in Memphis and twice won the European Blues Challenge. As is clear from the quotes below, participating in the UKBlues Challenge really raises profiles and brings acts to a much wider audience."   

Quotes from previous UKBlues Challenge artists:   

"Being selected to take part in the UKBlues Challenge is first and foremost an honour, we were humbled to be asked. If you happen to 'win' as we did it, becomes a delicious opportunity to reach a wider audience, giving us even more cause to feel really positive about the music we make - all the while backed by the very supportive UKBlues Federation. Get stuck in, it's totally worth it.
The Achievers - UKBlues Challenge Winners 2019

"It’s impossible to say how much taking part in the UKBlues Challenge has propelled our career and contributed to such a successful time for us. It has helped us to bring our music to new audiences, gaining new fans and gigging opportunities across the UK... and worldwide. I can’t thank the UKBlues Federation enough for all the work they put into the challenges and for keeping UKBlues scene alive and kicking."
Kyla Brox - UKBlues Challenge Winner 2018    

"The UKBlues Challenge was a great opportunity for us to play some fantastic venues with some amazing bands. To think this little band from the Essex Delta would play on Beale Street is a dream come true!"
La Vendore Rogue - UKBlues Challenge Winners 2017

"Winning the European Blues Challenge in 2017 gave me the opportunity to explore my career outside the UK & Northern Ireland. I now live in France and have found great management who have helped me gain momentum in Europe. I believe that taking part in the UK Blues Challenge directly led to the amazing opportunities that have come my way. I will always be grateful for the challenge and the UK Blues Federation." 
Kaz Hawkins - UKBlues Challenge Winner 2016  

For further information and to apply, visit the Blues Festival website:
Further information on the UKBlues Federation:
Further festival news items are available online here: 




Gary Fletcher : River Keeps Flowing

"2019 release featuring 12 new songs, book-ended by short instrumental Intro and Outro tracks. River Keeps Flowing is his sixth offering (one of which was released as by the Relatives) and benefits from contributions by a number of very fine players including, from his road band, Alan Glen (the Yardbirds, Nine Below Zero) on harmonica, Tom Leary (Lindisfarne, Feast of Fiddles) on violin, Sam Kelly (Tom Robinson, Circulus) drums, Jack Fletcher (Aphid) on bass and Nick Ritchie (Mud, Canto) lead guitar plus guest appearances from Paul Jones on harmonica, Charlie Hart (Slim Chance) on accordion, Amanda Guy on alto sax and Lol Plummer on piano. The material straddles roots, Americana, folk as well as blues, and reflects Gary's song writing influences outside of the territory occupied by The Blues Band. As has been the case with previous releases the lyrics are an important contributor to the listening experience".    Source: Amazon Music

Label: Repertoire Records

Available from the usual digital outlets

The album officially releases January 2020 and a number of live dates support the release as follows:-

 Jan 10th Jubilee Hall, Hartley Wintney
Jan 11th Ropetackle Centre, Shoreham by Sea
Jan 14th Tuesday Night Music Club, Coulsdon
Jan 15th Half Moon, Putney
Jan 16th Tivoli Theatre, Wimborne
Jan 17th G Live, Guildford - Bellerby Studio
Jan 21st Crooked Billet, Stoke Row (trio)
Jan 24th and 25th The Stables, Wavendon - Studio 2.
Feb 23rd Broadstairs Blues Festival (trio)

"Gary Fletcher has emerged from the shadow of the Blues Band and has proved that he is a seriously talented singer/songwriter in his own right. His well-crafted and emotional songs, bolstered by the various guest artists and musicians, are very, very good and in places so very honest that they assume brilliance." ~ Fatea 

"Perhaps less celebrated than some of his more high-profile bandmates, Gary Fletcher has nevertheless been quietly nurturing a rather profound songwriting talent for some years now. Using blues music as a jumping-off point, Fletcher deftly avoids any of the stylistic limitations to which the genre is often prone by keeping the melody quotient high and the lyrical content sincere. Like a more animated J J Cale, this is rootsy fare, with impeccably underplayed musicianship, at its most effective." ~ Dorset Echo







Friday 8th of November
Den Norske Sjømannskirke / The Norwegian Church Abroad

Artists: Jolly Jumper/Big Moe/ Reidar Larsen

Saturday 9th of November
The Norwegian Blues Adventure - Subterania

Artists: Notodden Blues Festival Roadshow med gjester, Joakim Tinderholt, JT Lauritsen, Hans Bollandsås/Helene Misund, Daniel Eriksen, Pristine, Maldito, Reidar Larsen/Arne Skage

Sunday 10th of November 
Labelmates - Royal Albert Hall 

Artists: Amund Maarud, Vidar Busk, Kid Andersen, Knut Reiersrud, Bjørn Berge, Nordgarden, Stian Carstensen, Ronnie Jacobsen, Trudy & Dave, Bekken & Gjems, Bill Troiani, Rune Endal, Henrik Maarud, Martin Windstad, Johnny Augland, Arne Rasmussen


During three days in London (8th – 10th of November 2019), the world will finally experience the high level and strength that lies in the Norwegian blues community. The idea, which has been planned for years, will finally have its finale!

For over 25 years, Norwegian blues supporters and musicians have fought their battle to get attention. Throughout the period, strong efforts have contributed to volunteer work and efforts, whether it be club operations, building festivals, or idealistic efforts in, for example, Bluesnews and special programs in Norwegian local radio. The musicians have driven endless miles of bandwagon on their way to or from their audience around our polarized country. All this is now approaching its preliminary climax, with a celebration of ourselves, and a display of how far one can go with empty hands and true love for music and good friendship.

 One of our most prominent performers, Amund Maarud, has been given the prestigious responsibility of being the musical leader at Royal Albert Hall on November 10. A work he has been preparing for almost a year. He’s eager to bring a show to London, that includes many of his friends, colleagues and role models. Amund says;

- The Norwegian blues community can be much better to feel the applause when musicians they’ve helped to develop are seen by a wider music industry, and are listened to by a bigger audience. They must realize that they are a part of the applause. It is also possible to practice a greater degree of applause every time you find that other genres borrow from the blues. It happens all the time in most genres. Having a blues background is definitely something to be proud of as a musician, and especially in situations where blues can be and is being used as a spice. When you know your own “spice”, it becomes a very effective tool, and we all know that nothing really taste that interesting without any spice. I have made it my way of life to try to push my references into other contexts and twist them, and it has helped to give me an identity as a performer. The same can be said of many Norwegian artists and musicians.


Redfish 'Souls'

UK’s Redfish Bare Their Souls On Sensational New Release

"This album of 12 original songs by Redfish comes hot on the heels of the band’s highly praised debut EP, 5×5, and confirms the meteoric rise of these exceptional musicians from the England and Scotland border region...Beautifully arranged, glorious, genre-busting and at times breathtaking extravaganza".

- American Blues Scene

Redfish contribute an original blues masterpiece Immaterial Man from their highly acclaimed 5x5 EP. Impassioned vocals from lead singer Stumblin’ Harris are underpinned by the tightest of rhythm sections which enable guitarist Martin McDonald and keyboard player extraordinaire Fraser Clark to demonstrate their creative talents. Clark is both a showman and a genius, his speed, dexterity and compositions reminiscent of the best in the world, from Brian Auger to Keith Emerson.  

- Jock's Juke Joint 4 Album Review - David Scott

“... this relatively new five piece now gaining widespread acclaim with their atmospheric, dynamic, high-energy performances. I saw them at Edinburgh Blues Club last year and they upstaged the high profile American headliners”. 

- Blues in Britain Magazine, 2018

“... a band to be reckoned with and well worth seeing live on stage to experience their showmanship, professionalism, eccentricity and passion”. 

- Blues Matters Magazine, 2018

"I’ve been promoting blues events in the UK for coming up 20 years and I would be most comfortable in recommending Redfish to any other venue/festival".      

- Nick Westgarth – Carlisle Blues/Rock Festival (Organiser/Promoter/Director)



Gary Grainger - Vocal & Guitar

Recorded by accident at The Barrels, Berwick, March 2019

Mastered by John Verity

•  If you were planning to record a live album, you’d restring your guitars, make sure your vocal pipes were in tip top condition, maybe select an appropriate venue, invite a specially selected audience, hire an awesome sound engineer and The Manor Mobile, and rehearse the heck out of the specially selected songs that you were going to play.

•  Well, if only! Those of you who know me will know that I straddle genres between blues, country rock and West Coast Hippy stuff, so a live gig reflects this. I hadn’t planned to record this gig but realised that I had my digital recorder in my kit bag. I flipped it to record in Wav, set it down next to the stage, and pressed record, and played 2 sets to a fairly attentive audience.

•  A day later I though I would check the quality of the recording from an audio point of view. It sounded pretty good for what it was. A little later I decided that I would listen to it to see if it was worth some work to release as a live album, so I listened to each track from 3 viewpoints: 1 - is this a song that doesn’t appear on either of my other CDs (one of which is also live) - if it does appear on one of those CDS, is this performance better - given that I have been performing the songs for a lot longer now. 2 is the vocal performance up to scratch 3 Is the guitar performance up to scratch - no fluffed notes or out of tune guitars.

•  I asked a few folks whose opinions I value to take a listen, and the response was generally positive, so I decided to run a crowd funder to get this sorted. And here it is. There is some very slight distortion here and there, but this was, as stated above, recorded by accident!

Check out Gary's award winning Blues Show:
Sunday 6-9.30 pm (UK Time) on BishopFM 105.9 and online at




BlueonBlue - Connie's new album

Available now from her new website -

"It's just beautiful - sung from the heart, just as if Connie was singing to me personally. 
Absolutely wonderful !!"
- Alan White, and UKBlues Federation





Click here for Press Release

Click here for Tour Dates



12th August 2019

New Board Members

We are very pleased to announce that Paul Long and Oliver Carpenter have both accepted invitations to join the Board of the UKBlues Federation.

Both Paul and Oliver bring considerable experience to the Board with both being working musicians as well as having a deep and lengthy involvement in the management and organisation of successful large scale events, talents and experience which will be invaluable to the UKBF.



Paul was recently elected Chair of the Independent Blues Broadcasters Association where he replaced the late Dave Raven, also a UKBF Board member until his untimely death. Paul is looking to build upon the natural synergy between the IBBA & the UKBF to see the two organisations working together to support and promote blues in the UK.



Oliver is well known and respected for his work with blues festivals over the years including, latterly, the very successful Upton Blues Festival.


We are also very pleased to announce that later in the year, Nick Westgarth will be joining the UKBF Board, bringing with him his skills and experience as the organiser, manager, promoter and almost everything else of the Carlisle Rock & Blues Festival.


We believe that these three additions to the Board will help the UKBF grow and will give us a much stronger management team, especially in the areas of the UKBlues Challenge and the UKBlues Awards, as well as giving more capacity and relieving the existing Board members of a massive workload.


We very much welcome Paul, Oliver and Nick ‘on board’ and look forward to working with them as part of the team.

You can read more about Paul & Oliver as well as the other members of the UKBlues Federation Board at


6th UKBlues Challenge 2019

Saturday 14th September 2019

Click here for interview with The Achievers

Click here for interview with Ash Wilson

Click here for interview with Crossfire Blues Band

Click here for interview with Connor Selby

The 2019 UKBlues Challenge will be taking place at
Bluefunk Rhythm and Blues Club, Poynton, Cheshire
on Saturday 14th September 2019.

Doors open at 18.30 and the evening will close at around 23.15.

Tickets priced at £17.50 (plus booking fee) seated and £15.00 (plus booking fee) standing are now on sale and can only be purchased via at this link:

Demand for tickets is already very high
and there are a very limited number of tickets available so,
to avoid disappointment, get yours now before they are all gone.









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 roll
> 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 labels
> 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 Arnold (p.44)


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.





I Am The Blues
Willie Dixon

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 more!

DVD Release Date: 8th April 2019

For full details click here





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 thereby.

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 the Awards:

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., 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.

Looking 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.




Coming soon!

Check out the Kyla Brox Benefit Concert







6th December 2018:

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 the panel. 

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 e-mail at  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. 

We look forward to hearing from you. 

Find out more about the 2019 FORM UKBlues Awards at




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 respectively.

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 were for;

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. 

Tickets are available here:


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 entertaining.'

Tickets available here:





Down Home Blues: New York
Cincinnati & The North Eastern States

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 scene
> 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 others
> 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 release
> 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. 

These tough 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.



R.I.P. Matt "Guitar" Murphy
1929 - 2018

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
© Copyright 2010 Alan White. All Rights Reserved.


Cut and Run

The Chris Bevington Organisation

Release Date: 25th May 2018


"The musicianship and production is stunning"
-  Classic Rock

"Quality musicianship throughout"
- Rock Society

"Celebrates all good things about the genre ... an unexpected little gem"
- Fatea



Sawdust Man 

Trevor Babajack Steger

Release Date: 1st May 2018

"Sawdust Man 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".

​ - Richard Wall, Blues in Britain 2018

Here is Trevor on YouTube playing Sawdust Man:


Sawdust Man Tracks:

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)

Available at:  


All The Rage
Ian Siegal

Release Date: 16th March 2018

Nugene Records NUG1801

Recorded at Island Studios, Amsterdam

Produced by Jimbo Mathus

Artwork by Ian Siegal

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 distraction".



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
24/4 NORWICH Arts Centre
25/4 HULL Fruit
26/4 SHEFFIELD Greystones



R.I.P. "Sunshine" Sonny Payne

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.




Email:    Tel: 07966 514592 

The new solo EP/CD from Blues/Rock Singer/Songwriter  PAUL BRIDGWATER

(with guests –Luther Grosvenor, Tony Bayliss, Simon Neale, Lee Thomas Evans, Jared Bryant, Troy Redfern, Jerry Christopher.) 

Paul is the singer with Worcester-based blues rockers SLOWBURNER who have impressed the best!.....

”Great band & Paul’s a great singer who continues the tradition of great British blues & soul singers”  -  Robert Plant 

“7 Songs” is Paul’s second solo recording.. following his 2012 album..”The Other Side Of The Sun”....

“If you only buy one more album this year, this is the one to get - incredible voice, beautiful songs and superbly produced album, highly recommended”... Alan

“An exceptional CD, the songs breathe pure emotion and the vocals are reminiscent of a young, soulful Paul Rodgers”...  Lucas Campbell, Red Eye Radio. 

‘Blow me 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

CONTACT:  OR  tel ... 07966 514592

Or via....... facebook







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 & EBC.

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. 

So don't delay, visit the
 crowd funding page today!

Click here for full details

Visit UKBlues' website-
which contains a wealth of information which is regularly updated.


We See Us Later
Norman Beaker Band

Special guests: Steve Ellis and Larry Garner

Recorded : April 2017

Available from Amazon



Following 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.

Visit to find out more.

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 Awards process,

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 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 for details of membership discounts, how to join etc.)




27th September 2017 - For immediate release


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. 

For UKBlues, 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 that gap.  

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.  

Other musical 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.


ALBUM AVAILABLE ON  iTunes  Amazon  Spotify






R.I.P. Paul Hereford Oliver MBE

25 May 1927 – 15 August 2017

World Authority on the Blues

© Copyright 2012 Alan White. All Rights Reserved.
Paul Oliver (right) with long time friend and blues historian Max Haymes
Photograph © Copyright 2012 Alan White. All Rights Reserved.

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.

(Extract from an interview with Paul Oliver)

Full interview with Paul Oliver on a blues research weekend in 2012


A tribute from blues historian Max Haymes:


     (an initial tribute to the late Paul Oliver, the world’s leading blues historian:
25th May 1927 - 15th August 2017.) 

My literary 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 the living 

“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 collector.

If there is a great juke joint in the sky, Paul, you are once more with your Valerie. 

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 & vocal rehabilitation.

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 on our website.

Thanks for your understanding! We look forward to seeing you all soon.
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 available
> 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 appreciative audience.

This 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.








Exile & Grace
King King

Announced: 28th June 2017

Get your copy here:






Exile & Grace UK October Tour

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

Sari 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. You can vote here too

Robin's new album Time and Emotion is in now stock and shipping to the UK and Europe,
gaining rave reviews:

"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 crafted album."
get ready to Rock!

Robin has also just announced his only UK Headline show at
London Islington Hall on 29th November 











Break the Chain
Doug Macleod

Release date: 2nd June 2017

Reference Recordings

In 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.

The 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.

The 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.

A 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

21st APRIL 2017 

Contestants for 4th UKBlues Challenge named

The UK 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 September 2017.

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 Blues Challenges.

The bands/artistes are, in alphabetical order:

Elles Bailey

LaVendore Rogue


Zoe Schwarz Blue Commotion

As recently 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 presence.

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.
For more information:

Ashwyn Smyth – Chair -  UKBlues – – + 33 604 48 79 98
Darren Weale - +44 (0)7708 712011



For immediate release

18th APRIL 2017 

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 Blues Challenges.

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 venue!’’
UKBlues Federation
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.
For more information visit
For more information:

Ashwyn Smyth – Chair -  UKBlues – – + 33 604 48 79 98
Darren Weale - +44 (0)7708 712011





Larry Garner and the Norman Beaker Band

Penrith Rugby Club, Penrith

Friday 19th May 2017

Winters Park
CA11 8RG

Tickets Phone

01768 864024

Larry Garner

Louisiana 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 .

The 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.






Photo courtesy Dave Raven, UKBlues




Photo courtesy Dave Raven, UKBlues



Details on EBC Facebook page:

and UKBlues Facebook page:

Mike Vernon is a Patron and Kaz Hawkins is an Honorary Member of the UKBlues Federation

Mike Vernon and Ashwyn Smyth, Chairman UKBlues Federation
Photo Courtesy Paul Styles, Blues in Britain



Chuck Berry at Maryport Blues Festival 2008 © Copyright 2008 Alan White. All Rights Reserved.

Chuck Berry

1926 - 2017


Roll Over Beethoven


Photo courtesy Paul Natkin / Alligator Records


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 Prestige. 

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 many others. 

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 Mouth Man. 

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.







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 IBC.

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 spectrum:

Kyla Brox*,
Alex Butler of Red Butler who represented the UK at the 2015 EBC,
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.

Photo courtesy Liz Aiken

As well as competing at the International & European Blues Challenges, the winner will also be offered slots to play at Blues on the Farmthe Great British R'n'B Festival at Colnethe International Blues Review Mini Cruise and the Upton Blues Festival in 2017.

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 night.

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.


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 -


If you are not already a member of UKBlues, why not join now? Click here to join.

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 Challenge.





Best Album/Recorded Session


Fire on the Floor - Beth Hart (USA) 

Runners Up

Coming Home - Julian Sas (NL)

A Force of Nature - Sari Schorr (USA)

Rise up from the Ashes - Ulrich Ellison (AT/USA)

Breaking Free - Layla Zoe (Can)

Best Festival/Event


Ribs en Blues (NL) 

Runners Up

Blues on the Farm (GB)

Great British R&B Festival Colne (GB)

Gevarenwinkel Festival (BE)

Best Vocalist


Layla Zoe (Can)

Runners Up

Sari Schorr (USA)

Lisa Mills (USA)

Best Guitarist


Ryan McGarvey (USA)

Runners Up

Laurence Jones (GB)

Joanne Shaw Taylor (GB)

Danny Bryant (GB)

Best Radio Show


Paul Jones - Radio 2 Blues Show (GB)

Runners Up

Ashwyn Smyth - Digital Blues (EU)

Gary Grainger - The Blues Show (GB)

Tim Aves - The Blues is Back (GB)

Best Magazine/Publication


Blues Magazine (NL)

Runners Up

Blues Matters (GB)

 Blues in Britain (GB)

Blues News (NO)

Best Solo/Acoustic


Matt Andersen (CAN)

Runners Up

Dave Arcari (GB)

Bex Marshall (GB)

Eddie Martin (GB)

Best Musician (Performance)


Julian Sas (NL)

Runners Up

Dale Storr (GB)

 Paul Lamb (GB)

Best Band


Tedeschi Trucks Band (USA)

Runners Up

Wilko Johnson Band (GB)

Band of Friends (EU)

Tommy Castro and the Painkillers (USA)

Lifetime Contribution Award (awarded by European Blues Awards team)

Pete Feenstra - Feenstra Blues (UK)



Congratulations go to all the winners and runners up in the 2016 British Blues Awards, the results of which were announced at Newark Blues Festival earlier today (Sunday 11th September 2016) 

Male Vocalist of the Year Sponsored by Blues in the South

1)         Alan Nimmo

2)        Aynsley Lister

3)        Marcus Bonfanti

Female Vocalist of the Year Sponsored by Digital Blues

1)         Rebecca Downes

2)        Connie Lush

3)        Kaz Hawkins

Band of the Year - Sponsored by The Tuesday Night Music Club

1)         The Nimmo Brothers

2)        The Laurence Jones Band

3)        Red Butler

Acoustic Act of the Year - Sponsored by Blues is the Truth

1)         Ian Siegal

2)        Marcus Bonfanti

3)        Joel Fisk and Jon Amor

Guitarist of the Year - Sponsored by New Crawdaddy Blues Club

1)         Laurence Jones

2)        Alan Nimmo

3)        Aynsley Lister

Harmonica Player of the Year - Sponsored by Wall2Wall Blues

1)         Mark Feltham

2)        Will Wilde

3)        Trevor Steger

Keyboard Player of the Year - Sponsored by G99photography

1)         Paul Long

2)        Paddy Milner

3)        Steve Watts

Bass Player of the Year - Sponsored by The Blues and Soul

1)         Lindsay Coulson

2)        Roger Inniss

3)        Matthew Brooks

Drummer of the Year - Sponsored by The Hat Reviews

1)         Andrew Naumann

2)        Sam Kelly

3)        Mark Barrett

Instrumentalist of the Year - Sponsored by Raven and the Blues

1)         Becky Tate

2)        Kyla Brox

3)        Karena K

Young Artist of the Year - Sponsored by Pablo and the Blues Show

1)         Laurence Jones

2)        Alex Butler

3)        Matthew Long

Blues Festival of the Year - Sponsored by Blues and Roots PR

1)         Upton Blues Festival

2)        Blues on the Farm

3)        Great British Rhythm and Blues Festival Colne

Overseas Artist of the Year - Sponsored by Sunday Morning Soul

1)         Buddy Guy

2)        Dan Patlansky

3)        Dana Fuchs

Independent Blues Broadcaster of the Year - Sponsored by The Roots Collective

1)         Paul Long

2)        Dave Raven

3)        Gary Grainger

Blues Album of the Year - Sponsored by Sedgefield Rock and Blues Club

1)         Reaching for the Light - King King

2)        Renaissance - Connie Lush Band

3)        Big Blues - Jesse Davey

Blues Song of the Year - Sponsored by GMH Promotions

1)         Rush Hour - King King

2)        Believe - Rebecca Downes

3)        Walk on Land - Chantel McGregor

The Barry Middleton Memorial Award for Emerging Artist of the Year - Sponsored by Blues in Britain

1)         Rebecca Downes

2)        The Voodoo Sheiks

3)        The Della Grants

The Kevin Thorpe Memorial Award for Songwriter of the Year - Sponsored by Blues and Roots Connections

1)         King King

2)        Stevie Nimmo

3)        Wily Bo Walker

Blues Great -   Papa George - Sponsored by Cavern Club London

Blues Great The Hoax - Sponsored by Ginger Cow Marketing

Lifetime AchievementPete Feenstra - Sponsored by Wrinkly Rockers Club

Full details of the awards -  click here


The Other Side

The Stumble

Self Release - Available from

Rapturous Chicago style rhythm & blues

The 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 playlist.

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 with me.’ - Lazy Lester.


Blues for Francis:
The Life and Work of Francis Wilford-Smith
  by Caroline Beecroft and Howard Rye

ISBN-13: 978-0-9562679-5-5

Paperback, 404 pages, 187 illustrations, Published 2015

Nominated for the Association for Recorded Sound Collections 2016 Award for  Excellence in Historical Recorded Sound Research

Published by Music Mentor Books:

For 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,



Women in Blues

Check out the latest Earlyblues interview with film director Lisa Eismen. 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 blues music. 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:    A very worthwhile cause!!


RIP B.B. King
September 16, 1925 - May 14, 2015

© Copyright 2011 Kirk Lang. All Rights Reserved.

'The Thrill Has Gone'




BEST BAND - Winner
Gary Clark Jr

Ryan McGarvey

The Great British R&B Festival, Colne

Ian Siegal

Matt Anderson

Blues Magazine UK

The late Jack Bruce

Paul Jones Show, BBC Radio 2

Rory Gallaher, Kickback City

Alan White
for providing Europe's independent guide to the blues

Categories 1-9 were decided by electronic poll-daddy public vote.
Category 10 was decided unanimously by the EBA Team.

"Congratulations to all #European Blues Awards 2014 winners
and our best wishes to all contenders past and present"
- The EBA Team



... never, never, ever, give up...
Cliff Stocker & The Legendary Slack Alice

Organic Mountain Music / OMP0013

Rock Artist Management

"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,

- - - - "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

"Cliff 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 - -  excellent!!!!"

  - 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.

© Copyright 2010 Alan White. All Rights Reserved.
Magic Slim at the Great British R&B Festival, Colne, 2010

Press Releases from Blind Pig Records:

Magic Slim, 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."

Slim's recording 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 Gravel Road 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." AllMusicGuide 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 place."

Blues Revue 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, please click HERE. To see a video of Slim recording "Goin' To Mississippi" in the Blind Pig Chicago warehouse in April of 2002, please click HERE.

For more information visit

© Copyright 2010 Alan White. All Rights Reserved.
Magic Slim at the Great British R&B Festival, Colne, 2010

Click here for Earlyblues Interview with Magic Slim


Michael "Iron Man" Burks, July 30th, 1957 - May 6, 2012

Guitarist, vocalist, 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.

© Copyright 2010 Alligator Records. All Rights Reserved.
© Copyright 2010 Alligator Records. All Rights Reserved. Used with permission.

"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


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: _________________________________________________________________________

I interviewed Michael at the Carlisle Blues Festival in November 2010 during his European and UK tour, you can read the interview here.


RIP Louisiana Red
W.C. Handy award winner traditional blues artist Louisiana Red (born Iverson Minter) died from a thyroid imbalance in hospital in Germany on Saturday 25th February 2012, aged 79.

© Copyright 2009 Alan White. All Rights Reserved.
Louisiana Red © Copyright 2009 Alan White. All Rights Reserved.

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.

Photo: Etta James performing in 2004 (Reuters: Fred Prouser)



RIP Hubert Sumlin
The legendary blues guitarist Hubert Sumlin passed away in hospital in Wayne, New Jersey
of heart failure on Sunday, 4th December 2011. He was aged 80.

Hubert Sumlin © Copyright 2010 Alan White. All Rights Reserved.
Hubert Sumlin, Chicago Blues Festival 2010 © Copyright 2010 Alan White. All Rights Reserved.

Hubert Sumlin © Copyright 2010 Alan White. All Rights Reserved.
Hubert Sumlin, Chicago Blues Festival 2010
© Copyright 2010 Alan White. All Rights Reserved.


David Honeyboy Edwards © Copyright 2010 Alan White. All Rights Reserved.RIP David Honeyboy Edwards

The legendary Delta blues artist David
Honeyboy Edwards passed away peacefully at his Chicago home at 3am, Monday, 29th August 2011.
He was 96.

Here is a link to a story of his passing in the Chicago Sun Times:



David Honeyboy Edwards © Copyright 2010 Alan White. All Rights Reserved.
Photograph taken at the Chicago Blues Festival 2010.


Check out details of "Meaning In The Blues" - a new JSP 4-CD set
celebrating the 50th anniversary of Blues Fell This Morning by Paul Oliver
Compiled and annotated by Max Haymes

Available now from or

Read Red Lick's review here

Rev. John Wilkins
You Can't Hurry God

"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".

You 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:

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