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I started a quest to find terrific blues music and incredible musicianship when I was just a little kid. I also have a tremendous appreciation of fine musical instruments and equipment. One of my greatest joys all of my life was sharing my finds with my friends. I'm now publishing my journey. I hope that you come along!

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Thursday, May 3, 2012

Merle Jam Welcomes Back Chicago's Howard and the White Boys

Howard Logo

"Chicago's Hardest-Working Blues Band...For Over Two Decades!"

"Chicago's Hardest-Working Blues Band," Howard and the White Boys (pictured here with the great B.B. King) perform at this year's Sixth Annual Merle Jam Festival at Knucklehead's in Kansas City on Saturday, May 5. Merle Jam - named for founder Merle Zuel - raises awareness and money for the organ-donor world.

Performing Live: 6th Annual Merle Jam Fest Knucklehead's - Saturday, May 5

"In these days when it seems that most every CD I receive to consider for review is produced by the hands of yet another non-shaving aged guitar prodigy with visions of Stevie Ray dancing in his head complete with hired gun session players, it is indeed a pleasure when I get one from a real genuine band (yes they do exist even now). It is a double pleasure when the recording comes from one of the many great region bands from here in the US. The popular Chicago based band Howard and the White Boys are among my personal favorites of these bands, and are also high upon my "hope to see live soon" list.

KANSAS CITY, MO) - Howard and the White Boys, known as "Chicago's Hardest-Working Blues Band" for their over two decades of non-stop performing and touring, return to perform at the Sixth Annual Merle Jam Fest at Knuckleheads, 2719 Rochester St., Kansas City, Saturday, May 5. $15. Info: The festival is named for Kansas City resident Merle Zuel, who received a heart transplant in 2007 and has been active in raising both money and awareness in the organ-donor world ever since. The event is a fundraiser for the Kansas City chapter of Transplant Recipients International Organization (TRIO). Funds go to heart transplant recipients via the St. Luke's Hospital Foundation.
The veteran quartet are recently back from their yearly Southern tour and continue to perform through out the U.S., bringing audiences to their feet and out onto the dance floor - much as they have done for over twenty years - while getting ready to record the follow up to their critically-acclaimed most recent recording, MADE IN CHICAGO (Evidence Records). Most recently, band member Rocco Calipari has branched out with his side project Head Honchos', who have released a well-received debut CD.

MADE IN CHICAGO represents the zenith of the group's recorded output, and it's certainly the disc that Howard & the White Boys are most proud of. While the band hadn't recorded in six years, they've been gigging continuously throughout the U.S. and Europe; this, in turn, has lent their trademark brand of contemporary blues an indomitable tightness brimming with raw power. All of this comes through on the new disc, proving that the wait was well worth it.

Watch Howard and The White Boys performing their funky interpretation of the Robert Cray tune "Phone Booth" at the Blues Nights Festival in Lithuania below:

The members of Howard And the White Boys first met at Northern Illinois University in Dekalb in 1988 and began jamming together just for fun, but their fast-growing popularity soon convinced them they could make a career of it. After only a few months, they got their first big break by opening for Blues legend, B.B. King. The band soon made the move to Chicago and began performing with the biggest names in Blues: Koko Taylor, Albert King, Junior Wells, Lonnie Brooks, Luther Allison, Bo Diddley, and Chuck Berry (the latter whom they were the backing band for in a headlining capacity at the 2002 Long Beach Blues Festival in Long Beach, Calif.).

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