Click on the link for a recent Chicago Sun-Times editorial promoting the possibility of a mile-long “Music Row” showcasing the blues on South Michigan Avenue…
The Blues Foundation has announced election results. Two of it’s newest members are from Chicagoland, Les Walgreen and Alan Maites. They join fellow Chicagoland Board Member Stefan Levy and others.
Congrats to the Chicago contingent, and click on the link for more info: http://www.blues.org/#ref=index
May 29, 2011
Blues Review – Richie Rich and the Chi-Town Blues Band
I want to announce my blues “show of the year” so far, and we’re well into the year. Richie Rich and the Chi-Town Blues Band, with special guest Tom Holland. The band appeared in the west suburbs in Lombard at J. Reilly’s on Roosevelt Road, an under the radar venue that has occasional blues. I almost didn’t make it to the show, as I was not familiar with the band, but hearing that Tom Holland would be joining them, and that they were performing only 5 minutes from my house, I had to get my butt over there. And what a surprise! I walked in and saw a full contingent of musicians- four horn players, a harmonica player hiding in the back, Richie up front, Felton Crews on bass, Tom Holland with his red “lefty”guitar, and keyboard, drums and another guitar player to round it out- all very talented road-tested musicians. Oh yes, and a local female guest vocalist sitting in as well. An amazing dozen or so performers- not something you see at any club, much less in the burbs where it’s hard to even get a 4-piece band to play given the economy.
I got there fairly early in the show, expecting to not stay that long if the music weren’t so good, and especially as I don’t normally like blues and horns in the same sentence, but I was blown away early with the obvious fullness of the sound, the professionalism of the musicians, and the obvious love and passion of the performance, especially by the horn section and Richie himself. It quickly became evident that these guys loved to perform and that they lived to perform. You could see in the horn players faces that they had weathered a blues storm over the years, but that they were willing and able to follow their leader, down whatever road he led them.
Richie was as passionate and emotional a singer and storyteller as you’ll find. Nothing fake or scripted here. He spoke and sang from the heart, and his drive and genuineness was impossible to avoid. You could tell his life was tied to the music he sang and that the performance and words of the songs likely reflected the bands true feelings and lifestyle. I stayed the entire night, a rarity for me, but there was no point at which you wanted to just sneak out or tire of this kind of performance, and it truly was my “show of the year” to date- a true surprise by an under the radar band in a small bar in a non-blues town. An unexpected nugget that I won’t soon forget. I guess the saying is true…“Riches found are twice as sweet as riches earned”, and Richie Rich was quite a sweet find.
Richie Rich and the Chi-Town Blues Band is now on my blues radar, and they should have their own weekly venue to perform at, but they have to hit the road for now. I recommend you track them down and seek them out as soon as you can!
(BlackJack announces his “BlackJack’s Blues Calendar” on Saturday nights on “Blues Edition” and sometimes Thursday nights on “Hambone’s Blues Party” on 90.9fm WDCB Public Radio, and posts his weekly blues calendar on the Windy City Blues Society website at www.WindyCityBlues.org.)
Take a look at BlackJack’s “Show of the Year” so far- a review of Richie Rich & the Chi-Town Blues Band, with guest guitarist Tom Holland…
click on the link: review-richie-rich-with-tom-holland2
Attached is a resource showing and detailing the Great Flood of 1927, which was a major reason for people of the south (including the bluesmen & women) to move north to seek refuge, work and a new home. The details and locations of the current flooding up and down the Mississippi is eerily similar to the 1927 event.
Click here: the-great-flood-of-1927
Eddie Shaw to receive Mississippi Trail Marker! The great Eddie Shaw played sax in the bands of Howlin’ Wolf, Magic Sam, Freddie King, Jimmy Reed, and Jimmy Dawkins. After Howlin’ Wolf’s passing in 1976, Eddie embarked on a solo career billed as Eddie Shaw & The Wolf Gang, initially keeping the entire lineup of Howlin’ Wolf’s last band (Hubert Sumlin, Detroit Junior, Chico Chism, and Shorty Gilbert). Eddie will be honored with a Mississippi Blues Trail Marker in his home town of Benoit, Mississippi.
The unveiling ceremony will take place on Wednesday, April 27, 2011, 2pm at Highways 1 and 448 in Benoit. Congratulation to Eddie!
Mississippi Blues Trail info: http://www.msbluestrail.org/index.aspx
(Thanks to Bob Corritore for this announcement)
Buddy Guy appears on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno
Wednesday, April 27 @ 10:35 p.m. CST
The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on NBC: http://www.nbc.com/the-tonight-show/episode-guide/
* Sunday, Apr. 10- Rockin’ Johnny with Big D on Harp @ Simon’s, 5210 N. Clark, 8-11
* Tuesday, Apr. 12- Jazz Showcase Benefit for Japan- Dozens of Jazz, Blues and World Musicians, 806 S. Plymouth Ct., 6 to 11 p.m.
* Friday, April 15- John Primer’s at Adam’s Roadhouse in Buffalo Grove
* Friday, April 15- Matthew Skoller duo’s at Walnut Speakeasy in Elgin
* Saturday, April 16- Rockin Johnny Band, featuring Smiley Tillmon, Tail Dragger, Rick Kreher & Studebaker John, play at EndZone Tap- 100th at S. Western Ave.
* Saturday, April 16- Pinetop Perkins Tribute @ Rosa’s w/ Willie “Big Eyes” Smith
* Saturday, April 16- Lonnie Brooks headlines at Buddy Guy’s Legends
* Saturday, April 16- “Show Your Love for Japan” Old Town School of Folk Music Benefit at Concert Hall, 909 W. Armitage. $10 Suggested Donation (100% of Proceeds will be matched by an anonymous donor and will benefit the Japanese Red Cross). Including Shoji Naito, Yoko Noge, Matt Hendricks, Old Crow Medicine Show, Jug Band, Mark Dvorak, Paulinho Garcia and dozens of others. 11 a.m. to Midnight-ish.
(For an extensive listing of additional shows, click on the Pirate on the right side of the home page)
|April 16, 2011|
Saturday, April 16- “Show Your Love for Japan” Old Town School of Folk Music Benefit at Concert Hall, 909 W. Armitage. $10 Suggested Donation (100% of Proceeds will be matched by an anonymous donor and will benefit the Japanese Red Cross).
Including Shoji Naito, Yoko Noge, Matt Hendricks, Old Crow Medicine Show, Jug Band, Mark Dvorak, Paulinho Garcia and dozens of others. 11 a.m. to Midnight-ish.
Our representatives have returned safe and sound from Memphis and the 2011 International Blues Challenge. These three groups did a marvelous job of representing the Windy City Blues Society and Chicago. Our band representative Rob Blaine and Big Otis Blues took third place honors for the Band Competition. Rob also won the Best Guitarist Award as well! Given the international nature of this competition and the fact that close to 200 bands competed, this is an impressive accomplishment.
While they didn’t advance to the prize rounds Donna Herula and John Jochem, our entry for the Solo/Duo competition, raised the profile of their duo act with a strong performance in Memphis. Finally, Jamiah on Fire and the Red Machine, our entry in the Youth Showcase, turned quite a few heads during their set.
The WCBS would like to congratulate all of our representatives for a job well done! They have made the WCBS and Chicago proud.
Blues Show Review – Joe Price
(This is a reprint of a review posted September 24th, 2010 in order to celebrate Joe’s return to Legends on March 11th at 5:30)
Headed on over to Buddy Guy’s Legends tonight to see Joe Price for the free after-work set. Walked in and couldn’t believe the place was packed (hundreds)- a rare sighting for the early show, which started at 5:30. Joe was hammerin’ away and I was lucky to be able to share a table up front. He hasn’t been seen more than 2 or 3 times in Chicago the last 5 or 6 years, and I was fortunate to see him for a couple performances during that stretch. He mainly plays in Iowa where he and his playing-partner/wife Vicki reside.
Joe was in his usual rare form, and I had forgotten about his amazing, unique energy- a combination seemingly somewhere between in-the-gutter blues and the hills of the country, along with a touch of something else, but I can’t put my finger on what other influences his music has, and that’s the way it should be. I’d later speak to Joe and he’d clarify that “it’s just me trying to play the blues”, so anyone thinking this ain’t blues definitely has the wrong picture.
It was a two-plus hour stint of infectious raucousness, and Joe would ask “are you having fun” but it was evident he was having even more fun than we were- a passionate player who was there to perform with heart and soul, in no way just going through the motions. His playing and the notes were too unpredictable to be anything sketched out beforehand, and you could tell he just played based on the mood and that night’s vibe. You can’t help but be drawn into his mesmerizing show. He’s comparable to none- I’d say a mix of Joe Cocker, L.C. Ulmer, Louisiana Red, Robert Pete Williams and the Standells (the band from one of the “Munsters” episodes from 1965), yet unlike any one of them. His personality, aloofness and focus might be compared to jazz great Chet Baker.
Okay, I’m crazy, but his music messes with your senses in the best way possible, leaving you wondering what just hit you. His music is simultaneously chaotic and hypnotic. Now I don’t know what gut-bucket blues is, but I’m sure Joe has some ideas- it just sounds like something Joe would intimately understand. He indicated that he was fortunate enough to grow up in Waterloo, Iowa where Earl Hooker died, and he was able to see Earl perform many times, and Earl gave him some early tips on tuning as Joe opened for him several times. He also was heavily influenced by Muddy Waters and met him early on as well. Ninety percent of the songs Joe played were originals, including his “25 degrees below”, in fine delta blues style, and his “Beer Tent Boogie” was a delight.
I’m not sure if Joe’s stage antics, including his wild foot dancing, are some for show or more likely inseparable from his emotive play, but you can’t help but enjoy his performance- the music, the shared stage with Vicki’s laughing smile, and his intertwined stories and quips.
Get out and see Joe if he’s within roadtrip distance- I promise he won’t hold anything back. See you at the next show…BlackJack
Here’s a detailed listing of Important Delta Blues Recordings. We hope it’s of use/interest, and you are urged to listen to, and learn about, all of these important delta blues artists:
Important Delta Blues Recordings
© by “BlackJack” in Chicago
“The Delta blues is one of the earliest styles of blues music. It originated in the Mississippi Delta, a region of the United States that roughly stretches from Memphis, Tennessee in the north to Vicksburg, Mississippi in the south, the Mississippi River on the west to the Yazoo River on the east. The Mississippi Delta area is famous both for its fertile soil and its extreme poverty. Guitar (especially slide) and harmonica were the dominant instruments used (although piano and other mountain & stringed instruments often accompanied the musicians, especially at the jukes, fish fry’s and plantation parties). The vocal styles ranged from introspective and soulful to passionate and fiery.”
Artists/recordings were selected based on a number of weightings (wherever possible): Best Songs, Quality of Recording/Label, Availability, Importance/Influence, Number of Tracks, Variety, Earliest, Revival or Re-Mastered Recordings, and true to the Delta region/style. These recordings all come among the highest recommendations, and likely cover 95% of the most important and available early delta-related recordings.
I urge you to listen to, and read more about, the artists, as all were influential keys, from early blues through today…
The Big 3
Charley Patton (c. 1891 in Bolton/Edwards, MS) rec. (first recorded in) 1929
“King or Founder of Delta Blues” hosted plantation dances and notoriously rollicked in jook “juke” joints. Mentored by Henry Sloan, he became a star especially due to his recordings and gyrating performances. He was the leader and everyone followed, and was part Cherokee, Black and Caucasian.
Complete Recordings: 1929-1934 (JSP) 92 tracks, mostly of Patton
Screamin’ and Hollerin’ the Blues: The Worlds of Charley Patton (Revenant) Contains
all 54 known Patton sides and extensive interviews
Founder of Delta Blues and King of the Delta Blues (Yazoo) Nice pairing of single CD
Masters of the Delta Blues: The Friends of Charlie Patton (Yazoo) Bracey, T. Johnson,
Willie Brown, House, Louise Johnson, Kid Bailey, Bertha Lee.
Son House (b. 1902 in Riverton, MS) rec. 1930
Delta Blues (Biograph) Son House’s Library of Congress “Field recordings” by Alan Lomax in the early 40’s
Heroes of the Blues: The Very Best of Son House (Shout! Factory) Includes early 30’s
and 40’s pressings, and 60’s revival recordings
Preachin’ the Blues (Catfish) All the Paramount recordings, decently transferred from
masters. Also 1941/1942 Lomax recordings. Hear House, Patton and Willie Brown
on “Walking Blues” test pressing.
Father of the Delta Blues: The Complete 1965 Sessions (Columbia/Legacy)
Tommy Johnson (b. 1896 in Terry, MS) rec. 1928
“King of Country Blues”. The devil’s bluesman, fond of drinking strained sterno, he was a disseminator of blues, teaching or influencing countless players, including: Howlin’ Wolf, Spann, Nighthawk, Temple, Muddy, Shines, Honeyboy. He heavily influenced Jimmie Rodgers, the “Father of Country Music”, especially the yodeling affect.
Tommy Johnson, 1928-1930 (Wolf) Complete Recordings
Tommy Johnson & Associates (Catfish) Mostly Johnson- also Bracey, McCoy, Carter
The Other 3
Skip James (b. 1902 in Bentonia, MS) rec. 1931
Bentonia-style player that moved early to the Delta, influencing R. Johnson, Muddy & John Lee Hooker.
Today! (1965) Vanguard
Hard Times Killing Floor Blues Biograph
I’d Rather Be the Devil: The Legendary 1931 Session Revola
Robert Johnson (b. 1911 in Hazlehurst, MS) rec. 1936
Master innovator of the “turnaround” in blues songs, and wildly popular for both his music and the folklore surrounding his life.
Robert Johnson: The Complete Recordings (Legacy)
Muddy Waters (c. 1913 by Jug’s Corner, MS) rec. 1941
Popularized the electrified blues in Chicago once he fled the plantation via Clarksdale on the Illinois Central Rail Line.
The Complete Plantation Recordings (MCA/Chess) 1941/1942 must have Lomax record
At Newport – 1960 (MCA/Chess) Classic early live revival re-issue
The Chess Box (MCA/Chess) Amazing set of 72 Chess studio tracks
The Collection: Hard Again/I’m Ready/King Bee (Epic/Legacy)
The Rest of the Best (ordered by first recording date)
Gus Cannon & Cannon’s Jug Stompers (b. 1883 in Red Banks, MS) rec. 1927
Jug and Banjo. Not necessarily Delta, but among the first to be recorded, and he bridged the gap between early blues and the minstrel and folk styles which preceded it.
The Best of Cannon’s Jug Stompers (Yazoo) 1928-1930 recordings
Ishman Bracey (b. 1901 in Byram) rec. 1928
Highly influential partner of Tommy Johnson- he gave up the blues for preaching.
Complete Recorded Works, 1928-1929 (Document) Also 4 tracks by Charley Taylor
Leroy Carr (b. 1905 in Nashville, TN) rec. 1928
Piano-playing songwriter, included here mainly for his wide influence on the likes of Muddy Waters, T-Bone Walker, Ray Charles, Nat King Cole, Count Basie and many others. Born in Tennessee, he lived and traveled throughout the midwest. Partnered with Scrapper Blackwell on numerous recordings, despite dying at 30, and known for playing house rent parties. Muddy recounted that Carr’s “How Long Blues” was the first song that Waters learned and played, and the prevalence of Carr’s recordings (along with Blind Lemon Jefferson and Leadbelly) played on Victrolas throughout the delta had unquestioned influence on the spawning of early blues.
Whiskey is my Habit, Women is all I Crave: The Best of Leroy Carr (Columbia/Legacy)
Mississippi John Hurt (c. 1892/1893 in Teoc, MS) rec. 1928
Piedmont style finger-picker, especially popular during the 60’s Folk/Blues revival.
Avalon Blues: The Complete 1928 Okeh Recordings (Columbia/Legacy)
Memorial Anthology (Genes Records) Live 60’s folk recordings, including 30-minute
interview with Pete Seeger
Booker “Bukka” White (b. 1906 near Aberdeen, MS) rec. 1930
B.B. King’s uncle and mentor- a premiere slide player. His “Fixin’ to Die Blues” was popularized by Bob Dylan.
The Complete Sessions 1930-1940 (Travelin’ Man – U.K.)
Revisited (Fuel 2000 Records) 1963 recording
The Complete Bukka White (Columbia/Legacy)
Big Joe Williams (b. 1903 in Crawford, MS) rec. 1930
Nine string guitarist. “His “Baby Please Don’t Go” and “Crawlin’ King Snake” were recorded at Aurora, Illinois’ Leland Hotel on the Bluebird label. As protégé Honeyboy Edwards describes “Williams in his early Delta days was a walking musician who played work camps, jukes, store porches, streets, and alleys, as did several of the key players.”
Complete Recorded Works, Vol. 1, 1935-1941 (Document)
Piney Woods (Delmark) Late 50’s recording
Shake Your Boogie (Arhoolie) Double re-issue of early live re-discovery period
Delta Blues: 1951 (Alligator) Early 50’s recording originally
on Trumpet Records, also includes tracks by Willie Love and the Huff Brothers
Tommy McClennan (b. 1908 in Yazoo City, MS) rec. 1939
Influential Bluebird recording artist.
Bluebird Recordings, 1939-1942 (1997) Bluebird RCA
Robert Jr. Lockwood (b. 1915 in Helena, AK) rec. 1941
Learned from “stepdad” Robert Johnson, and known for his version of “Key to the Highway”, along with his King Biscuit radio appearances.
Plays Robert and Robert (Evidence) 1982 solo performance of Robert Johnson songs
and originals, using his 12 string.
Honeyboy Edwards (b. 1915 in Shaw, MS) rec. 1942
With Sonny Boy & Robert the night Johnson “was likely poisoned with moth balls in his drink”. Left home with Big Joe Williams around 1932 after seeing Tommy Johnson play, and just in time to get stranded by the 1932 flood (which Hooker sings so eloquently of). Played with or observed most of the main delta players, and likely the most traveled- still touring the world today at 94.
Mississippi Delta Bluesman (2001) Smithsonian Folkways Recordings
The World Don’t Owe Me Nothing (Earwig) Last of the Leland Hotel (Aurora)
Recordings, made in 1996/1997, with Carey Bell & Rick Sherry
Delta Bluesman (Earwig) Predominantly 1942 (Lomax) & 1991 recordings
White Windows (Evidence) 1988 recording among his best
Johnny Shines (b. 1915 in Frayser, TN) rec. 1946
Traveling partner of Robert Johnson.
Johnny Shines and Robert Lockwood (Paula Records) Half the tracks are Shines in top
form in the early 50’s
Standing at the Crossroads (Testament – 1970)
Johnny Shines with Big Walter Horton (Testament) One of the best Chicago Blues
albums, recorded in late 60’s
John Lee Hooker (b. 1917 in Clarksdale, MS) rec. 1948
Brought the Delta to Detroit with his unique stuttering style.
John Lee Hooker Plays and Sings the Blues (1961-MCA/Chess)
John Lee Hooker at Newport- Live (1964-Vee-Jay)
The Real Folk Blues (1966-MCA/Chess)
The Folk Lore of John Lee Hooker (1961-Various labels)
The Ultimate Collection, 1948-1990 (Rhino)
The Very Best of John Lee Hooker (Rhino)
Sonny Boy Williamson II (“Rice” Miller) – (c. 1908, Tallahatchie Cty., MS) rec. 1951
Harp player who appeared regularly on King Biscuit Hour in 1941 with Lockwood. Not to be confused with the other Sonny Boy, John Lee Williamson.
His Best (MCA/Chess) Recorded 1955-1964. Hard to argue with this one.
King Biscuit Time (Arhoolie) 1951 to mid-60’s among his best
Selected Compilations (not all artists are considered Delta):
Rough Guide to Delta Blues (World Music Network) Great variety with some Hill Country Blues mixed in, including: R. Johnson, Waters, Broonzy, B. White, S. James, McDowell, Petway, Willie Brown, Hurt, Son House, Wilkins, Patton, Burnside, Belfour
Deep River of Song: Mississippi – The Blues Lineage (Rounder) Alan Lomax’s discovery of giants McKinley Morganfield (aka Muddy Waters) and Son House, who both turn in stunning performances. There’s also David “Honeyboy” Edwards, who has outlived them all, with an eerie and powerful “Wind Howlin’ Blues.” Lomax also found William Brown (different than Willie) and recorded him twice before Brown vanished into obscurity.
Newport Folk Festival: Best of the Blues 1959-1968 (Wel) Great live revival set
Legends of Country Blues [Original recording remastered] (JSP) 102 tracks of these five: Bukka, House, Bracey, S. James, T. Johnson
Last of the Great Mississippi Delta Bluesmen – Live in Dallas (Blue Shoe Project- 2007) Henry Townsend, Robert Lockwood Jr., Pinetop Perkins, David Honeyboy Edwards
Blues Masters, Vol. 8: Mississippi Delta Blues (Rhino) Willie Brown, House, Patton, T. Johnson, Elmore James, etc.
Mississippi Blues: Rare Cuts 1926-1941 [Original recording remastered] (JSP) 100 songs, with many obscure early important recordings
Lonesome Road Blues: 15 Years in the Mississippi Delta, 1926-1941 (Yazoo) Some obscure but important delta artists, including Papa Freddie Spruell (first Delta Blues recording “Milk Cow Blues” in 1926).
The Essential Recording of Mississippi Delta Blues: Dust My Broom (Indigo) Nice grouping of artists, including Patton, T. Johnson, House, Bukka, Big Joe Williams, McClennan, Petway.
Memphis Masters: Early American Blues Classics 1927-1934 (Yazoo) Including: Memphis Minnie, Cannon, Stokes, etc.
Mississippi Masters: Early American Blues Classics 1927-1935 (Yazoo) Including: Akers, Wiley, etc.
Legendary Sessions Delta Style (Autogram) Willie Brown, Son House and Louise Johnson.
Mississippi Delta Blues, Vol. 1 & 2: Blow My Blues Away (Arhoolie) Includes Calicott, Burnside, Stackhouse, etc.
Various Artists – Son House & The Great Delta Blues Singers (Document) House, Willie Brown, Kid Bailey, Calicott, Blind Willie Reynolds, Akers.
Paramount Piano Blues, Vols. 1 & 2 (Black Swan Records of 1927 to 1932)
Blues Masters, Vol. 11: Classic Blues Women (Rhino) Traces the female blues tradition, including Mamie Smith’s groundbreaking “Crazy Blues” from 1926.
Added (not necessarily all delta)…
Mississippi Moaners: 1927-1942 (Yazoo) Includes “Ham Hound Crave” by Ruben Lacey (By his mentor George Hendrix) and songs by House, Calicott, Reynolds, Patton, James
A Richer Tradition – Country Blues & String Band Music 1923 – 1942 (JSP CD 7798- 4 disks) Many of the old and lesser known musicians, including Newburn, Lottie Kimbrough, papa Charlie Jackson, Lonnie Carter & many, many others.
Blues 1920-40 (RCA Victor RA-9051/3 (Jp 1975)) Many of the greats, if even available on CD, including: Wheatstraw, Jazz Gillum, and others
Harmonicas Unlimited Volumes 1 & 2, 1924-1949 (Document DLP 503/504) Daddy Stovepipe, Eddie Mapp, William McCoy, etc.
William Harris Complete Recorded Works in Chronological Order 1927 – 1929 (Document)
Web Sources: AMG (All Music Guide), Wikipedia, Blues for Peace