CLICK ON TITLE BELOW TO GO TO PURCHASE!!!! CD submissions accepted! Guest writers always welcome!!

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!

Please email me at
Showing posts with label Blind Boys of Alabama. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Blind Boys of Alabama. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

The Last Music Company: Dr. John - Ske-Dat-De-Dat, The Spirit Of Satch - New on vinyl

The Last Music Company has released Dr. John's tribute to Louis Armstrong, Ske-Dat-De-Dat, on vinyl on June 5, 2020. I had the opportunity to review this newest release and it's a lot of fun. Opening with What A Wonderful World, Dr John joins up with Nicholas Payton on trumpet and the Blind Boys of Alabama for a Mac stylized version of this Armstrong classic. Payton floats on the melodic rhythm and Mac's vocals are tops. Bonnie Raitt joins on I've Got The World On A String and an easy swing. Both Mac and Raitt seem very comfortable with excellent lead vocals, bluesy guitar riffs, clarinet and full horn backing. Very nice. In traditional Mac/New Orleans Jazz style, Gut Bucket Blues is one of my favorite tracks on the release, again featuring Payton on trumpet and with strong horn backing and some really tasty drumming. Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child features Anthony Hamilton on lead vocal with smooth soulful backing and solid horn work. The McCrary Sisters and Ledisi do a totally spiritual version of Nobody Knows The Trouble I've Seen with powerful rich vocals, organ and strong piano work from Dr. John. Excellent! Mac is back up front on piano and vocal on Wrap Your Trouble in Dreams, joined by The Blind Boys of Alabama and Terrance Blanchard. This is a particularly cool track with Mac's classic New Orleans blues styling, blended with the warm gospel backing of BBA and the cool jazz styling of Blanchard on trumpet. Very cool. More traditional New Orleans style blues on Dippermouth Blues is a great track with Mac on lead vocal and piano and a super new Orleans beat. James 12 Andrews (Trombone Shorty) hits the trumpet on this one and it's another of my favorites. Shemekia Copeland contributes her own lush vocals to Sweet Hunk of Trash, a funky New Orleans number. With cool trombone work and tight drumming, another strong track. Easy jazz ballad, Memories of You features mac on lead vocal and piano but it's the terrific trumpet soloing of Arturo Sandoval that really sails this one. Sandoval plants himself and just wails. Excellent! Wrapping the release is a totally Dirty Dozen-ized When You're Smiling with a great tuba bottom and with excellent, trumpet led, march style jazz. Snappy percussion and mac on piano works really nicely with Mac's lead vocals. It's nice that Last Music has captured this on vinyl. Very cool. 

View Bman Blueswriter's profile on LinkedIn

  If you support live Blues acts, up and coming Blues talents and want to learn more about Blues news and Fathers of the Blues, Like ---Bman’s Blues Report--- Facebook Page! I’m looking for great talent and trying to grow the audience for your favorites band! ”LIKE”

 For added exposure - Blues World Wide Group "LIKE" 


“Like” Bman’s Facebook page and get support for your favorite band or venue - click HERE

Monday, February 15, 2016

Tom Waits Streams New Track From Blind Willie Johnson Tribute Album



Legendary artist Tom Waits is streaming his new recording of Soul Of A Man from the forthcoming album God Don't Never Change: The Songs Of Blind Willie Johnson at his Facebook page. Waits also recorded John The Revelator for the album.

The album -- to be issued on CD on February 26 and soon after on vinyl -- features newly recorded versions of the iconic slide guitarist/vocalist's most seminal material. In addition to Waits, Lucinda Williams, Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi, Cowboy Junkies, Blind Boys Of Alabama (with Jason Isbell on guitar), Sinéad O'Connor, Luther Dickinson featuring The Rising Star Fife & Drum Band, Maria McKee, and Rickie Lee Jones all deliver deeply moving interpretations of Johnson's otherworldly "gospel blues" music.

Produced by Jeffrey Gaskill (producer of the twice Grammy-nominated compilation, Gotta Serve Somebody: The Gospel Songs of Bob Dylan), God Don't Never Change: The Songs Of Blind Willie Johnson highlights the music of one of the greatest and most influential slide guitarists and vocalists who ever walked the Earth. Johnson sang his sanctified gospel lyrics with overwhelming intensity, his deep, raspy voice accompanying his haunting, blues-drenched guitar playing. Rock fans will no doubt recognize many of his songs which have been recorded over the years by artists ranging from Led Zeppelin to Eric Clapton to Bob Dylan. Johnson's recording of John The Revelator was included in the Anthology Of American Folk Music, archivist Harry Smith's 6-LP collection released in 1952 that set the folk revival of the 1960s into motion. God Don't Never Change: The Songs Of Blind Willie Johnson is, according to Gaskill, "my life's work." The project was years in the making, and Gaskill is thrilled it's ready to be released. "You gotta serve somebody," he says, referencing his earlier compilation, "and I got the songs of Blind Willie Johnson."

Blind Willie Johnson, whose life remains shrouded in mystery, was born in Pendleton, Texas in 1897 and grew up around Marlin, Texas, He recorded a total of 30 songs between 1927 and 1930 for Columbia, leaving behind a priceless legacy of the unforgettable music he created by marrying the raw, gospel fervor of his voice with the steely blues fire of his guitar. His songs were mostly traditional or came from hymnals, but when Johnson performed them, he transformed them with his soul-shaking voice and amazing slide guitar. Johnson was among the best-selling black gospel artists of the era, but the Great Depression ended his recording career. He continued traveling as a street singer, moving between Dallas, Galveston, Houston, Corpus Christi, San Antonio and finally to Beaumont, where he thundered out his street corner evangelism, spreading his sacred message through his transfixing music. He died in 1945 in Beaumont, Texas at the age of 48.

God Don't Never Change: The Songs Of Blind Willie Johnson
1) The Soul Of A Man (Tom Waits)
2) It's Nobody’s Fault But Mine (Lucinda Williams)
3) Keep Your Lamp Trimmed And Burning (Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi)
4) Jesus Is Coming Soon (Cowboy Junkies)
5) Mother’s Children Have A Hard Time (Blind Boys of Alabama)
6) Trouble Will Soon Be Over (Sinéad O'Connor)
7) Bye And Bye I’m Going To See The King (Luther Dickinson featuring The Rising Star Fife & Drum Band)
8) God Don’t Never Change (Lucinda Williams)
9) John The Revelator (Tom Waits)
10) Let Your Light Shine On Me (Maria McKee)
11) Dark Was The Night--Cold Was The Ground (Rickie Lee Jones)

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Put Together Records artist: The Reverend Shawn Amos - The Reverend Shawn Amos Loves You - New Release Review

I just received the newest release (October 16, 2015), The Reverend Shawn Amos Loves You, from The Reverend Shawn Amos and it's funky blues time! Opening with gospel style track, Days of Depression, Amos, on lead vocal is joined by the Blind Boys of Alabama on an old school blues track with only primitive guitar and the sounds of their voices. Very nice! Brand New Man has a much more aggressive rock feel and Chris "Doctor" Roberts grunts out some pretty impressive guitar riffs. Driven by Brady Blade on drums, Lewis Smith on trumpet and Mindi Abair on sax, this track rocks! Slowing down with a little shuffle, Boogie, features Amos on harp and vocals joined by Missy Andersen. Brothers Keeper has a solid R&B feel and Amos lays in a nice blues line on harp. Roberts leads off You're Gonna Miss Me (When I Get Home), a funky track with a solid bottom provided by Chris Thomas. Roberts plays a nicely distorted guitar solo and Amos follows with a cool harp riff which seems to really get him wound up vocally. Cool! Rompin blues track, Joliet Bound has a rudimentary feel with only percussion, guitar and vocal. One of my favorite tracks on the release, this track is solid! Will You Be Mine has a swampy feel with a Mississippi feel enhanced by acoustic slide guitar vamping. Breaking out the harp again, Amos gives the track a heavier blues feel and Anthony Martinelli on keys adds texture. I particularly like Amos' vocals on this track. The Outlaw is a lumbering Chicago style blues with traditional horn and guitar clues. Amos handles lead vocals like a pro and Roberts adds a gritty guitar solo. Horn punctuation by Smith and Abair ride nicely over the bass line of Blade. On Jimmy Reed's Bright, Lights Big City, Abair joins Amos on lead vocal with light snare work and groovy guitar riffs. Amos' harp riffs are balanced by Abair on sax and Martinelli carries the middle on keys. Hollywood Blues opens with solid guitar/bass rhythm and B3 by Hassell Teekell. A shuffle track, Amos leads the way on vocal backed by warm horn work of Smith and Abair. Put Together is a funky track with Roberts reinforcing the rhythm. Amos is very comfortable in this slot and horn work by Abair and Martinelli really boosts the funk. I really like the guitar freedom exercised by Roberts and Amos joins in on harp adding to the improvisational nature but with solid horn lines keeping home base. Very cool! Wrapping the release is The Last Day I'm Loving You, a bluesy ballad with soft and comforting backing vocals by Forever James and Abair, and given a particularly somber feel by added B3 of Teekell. Very nice finish to a well done release!

  View Bman Blueswriter's profile on LinkedIn 

  If you support live Blues acts, up and coming Blues talents and want to learn more about Blues news and Fathers of the Blues, Like ---Bman’s Blues Report--- Facebook Page! I’m looking for great talent and trying to grow the audience for your favorites band! ”LIKE”


Thursday, September 3, 2015

Blind Boys of Alabama Guitarist Sam Butler Exults His Audience to "Raise Your Hands!" On First Solo CD, Due October 16 on Severn Records

Blind Boys of Alabama Guitarist Sam Butler Exults His Audience to Raise Your Hands! On First Solo CD, Due October 16 on Severn Records

Americana Compilation of Bluesy Spirituals Penned by Secular Artists Shines the Spotlight on His Many Talents

ANNAPOLIS, MD – Severn Records announces an October 16 release date for Raise Your Hands!, the first solo recording from Blind Boys of Alabama guitarist Sam Butler. Produced by Brian Brinkerhoff (Guitar Shorty, Jazz Soul 7), the even-dozen tracks on Raise Your Hands! showcase the splendid talents of Butler, whose guitar work has been a staple of The Blind Boys of Alabama for over 40 years.

Sam Butler’s solo debut puts his own spin on an Americana compilation of bluesy spirituals written by some of the most important and compelling artists and songwriters of the last fifty years of rock and roll (Bruce Springsteen, U2, Eric Clapton, Van Morrison, Johnny Cash, Tom Waits, etc.), with some righteous results. Butler’s resume also includes work with Keith Richards, Steely Dan’s Donald Fagan and gospel legend Clarence Fountain, and he can currently be seen in the critically-acclaimed play, The Gospel at Colonus. On Raise Your Hands, Butler is joined by an impressive list of stellar musicians, including Sacred Steel virtuoso Roosevelt Collier, drummer Marco Giovino (Robert Plant, Tom Jones) and bassist Viktor Kraus (Lyle Lovett, Bill Frisell).

“I wanted to make a bluesy and rootsy album of spiritual songs originally performed by traditionally secular artists,” says producer Brian Brinkerhoff about the recording sessions. “Having been familiar with Sam’s roots and gospel work with The Blind Boys of Alabama and Clarence Fountain, I approached him with the idea and we quickly enlisted an A-list team of players to join Sam on this musical adventure. Esteemed Sacred Steel player Roosevelt Collier was an obvious choice to bring his lap steel virtuosity; and when Nashville’s first call rhythm section of drummer Marco Giovino and bassist Viktor Kraus became available, a dynamic three-day musical worship service of sorts took place in Nashville, with the results being Raise Your Hands!” 
You can tell a lot by the company that one keeps.  Following this logic, it’s clear that Sam Butler is an incredibly important and dynamic artist. When legendary Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards and his producer Steve Jordan wanted to add some truth to Richard’s 1989 solo album, Talk Is Cheap, they called on Sam to “moan” on a track. Steely Dan main man Donald Fagan was so moved by Sam's soulful stirrings and guitar playing in the much-lauded play, The Gospel at Colonus, he has been a collaborator, friend and fan of Sam’s for more than 20 years. And of course, The Blind Boys of Alabama have enjoyed the support of Sam’s guitar playing for more than 40 years, a position that he apprenticed for by accompanying his father, influential guitarist Samuel Butler Sr., on the road with The Blind Boys of Mississippi, beginning at the age of four.

Raise Your Hands! is a 12-song celebration that runs the gamut of energy and emotions - from the rollicking up-tempo to the quiet and introspective - and Butler delivers the performances of a lifetime. Raise Your Hands! will certainly make you do just that … and move your body and shout out loud! From Sam Butler’s lips to God’s ears.

For more information, visit

Raise Your Hands! Track List

1.      Heaven’s Wall 3:55 (B. Springsteen)
2.      The Lord 2:41 (B. Gibb, M. Gibb)
3.      Lead Me Father 2:51 (J. Cash) 
4.      Presence of the Lord 4:21 (E. Clapton)
5.      Gospel Train 2:52 (T. Waits)
6.      Magnificent 3:34 (A. Clayton, B. Eno, D. Evans, P. Hewson, D. Lanois, L. Mullen)
7.      Full Force Gale 6:17 (V. Morrison) 
8.      All His Saints 3:50 (M. Smith)
9.      God’s Hotel 3:47 (N. Cave, P. Kelly)
10.  Wherever You Leadeth 4:14 (C. Mayfield) 
11.  Long Black Cadillac 4:30 (R. Halligan) 
12.  Sanctuary 4:23 (E. Gilkyson)

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Stony Plain Records artist: Eric Bibb - Blues People - New Release review

I just received the newest release, Blues People, from Eric Bibb and I think it's his best in quite some time! Opening with Silver Spoon, a primarily acoustic track rooted deeply in the delta but with hot contrasting electric blues riffs from Popa Chubby in the distance and bass and drums by Glen Scott. Excellent! Driftin' Door To Door has a bit more of the walking blues sound with nice picked and slide work from Bibb and Michael Jerome Browne. Very nice. God's Mojo is a quiet jazz framed blues track with nicely figured key work and light drums by Glen Scott. Bibbs vocals are particularly focused on this track. Turner Station has a more modern acoustic blues sound with Bibb and Browne on guitar. As the track builds more fullness appears with Scott on Hammond, backing vocals and electric keys as well as Neville Malcolm on bass. On Pink Dream Cadillac, Bibb paints a vivid story as Staffan Astner adds some tasty slide work. Guy Davis' Chocolate Man features Davis and and Bibb trading lead vocals and guitar with Scott on bass, piano and drums. Rosewood is a somber ballad with light electronic keyboards backing Bibbs articulate acoustic guitar and vocal. Rev. Gard Davis' I Heard The Angels Singin' has an almost Richie Havens feel with Browne on 12 string, Scott on bass and drums and featuring J.J. Milteau on harp and The Blind Boys of Alabama on backing vocals. Dream Catchers has an interesting reggae feel with Ruthie Foster at her grittiest and Harrison Kennedy singing lead and Sara Bergkvist-Scott on backing vocals. Very nice! Chain Reaction features Glen Scott on lead vocal with Bibb for some really nice soul style harmonizing. Paris Renita adds some really nice backing on this track giving it a real soul feeling. Taj Mahal is on lead vocal and banjo on this shot but critical, Needed Time intro. A more flowing and refined expanded track follows with Foster, Bibb and the Blind Boys Of Alabama sharing vocal duties with Scott on piano, Browne on electric slide, Paul Robinson on drums Neville Malcolm on upright bass. Also backing on vocal is Bob Manning, Ulrika Ponten on Big Daddy Wilson. Excellent! Out Walkin', again with a solid blues base but in a more contemporary form features Bibb on vocal joined by Browne on acoustic guitar. R&B track, Remember The Ones, features Linda Tillery trading lead vocal with Bibb. Scott adds a nice Hammond warmth as well as sampling horns from the Memphis horns. Andre De Lange shares the lead vocal with Bibb on African influenced Home. Astner joins on acoustic guitar and guitelele and Scott adds piano, bass, drums and percussion to this moving track. Very cool. Wrapping the release is Where Do We Go featuring a vocal duet with Bibb and Leyla McCalla who also adds banjo. Scott on Melodica and piano Astner on electric guitar and Malcolm on upright bass add to the quiet melody. A soft sensitive ballad, this is a nice track to conclude a very interesting release.

 “Like” Bman’s Facebook page. I use Facebook to spread the word about my blog (Now with translation in over 50 languages). I will not hit you with 50 posts a day. I will not relay senseless nonsense. I use it only to draw attention to some of the key posts on my blog each day. In this way I can get out the word on new talent, venues and blues happenings! - click Here


Monday, October 20, 2014

Award-Winning Roots Music Artist Eric Bibb Sings About "Blues People" on New Stony Plain Records CD, Coming November 4

Award-Winning Roots Music Artist Eric Bibb Sings About Blues People on New Stony Plain Records CD, Coming November 4

Special Guests Include Taj Mahal, Guy Davis, The Blind Boys of Alabama & Ruthie Foster

EDMONTON, AB – Stony Plain Records, one of the world’s foremost roots music labels, announces a November 4 release date for Blues People, the new CD from award-winning singer, songwriter and musician Eric Bibb. Produced by Glen Scott, who also plays several instruments throughout, Blues People includes special guest performances by Taj Mahal, Guy Davis, The Blind Boys of Alabama, Ruthie Foster (who Eric has been touring with), Popa Chubby and a number of other musicians from around the world.

The 15 tracks on Blues People include a number of Eric Bibb originals, as well as collaborations with other songwriters, plus songs written by Guy Davis (“Chocolate Man”), Rev. Gary Davis (“I Heard the Angels Singin’”) and the traditional, “Needed Time,” arranged by Taj Mahal, Eric Bibb and Glen Scott.

The concept of Blues People came to Eric Bibb, who’s won the Blues Music Award as “Acoustic Artist of the Year” and been nominated for a Grammy, when he was surrounded by his musical friends at the Blues Foundation Awards in Memphis a few years back. It inspired him to create a collection of songs about change and hope, in collaboration with many of his friends in the blues and roots music realm.

“In the introduction to his classic book, Blues People, Amiri Baraka (who published it as LeRoi Jones) wrote: ‘The path the slave took to ‘citizenship’ is what I want to look at,’” writes Eric Bibb in the album’s liner notes. “That same path, along with its continuation, provided much inspiration for this album called Blues People. This record is also a tribute to the tribe of blues troubadours that I’m grateful to be a member of and it features the talents of several friends and heroes of mine. We, who traverse the highways and skyways of the planet playing the music known as blues, have become a rainbow tribe. We hail from many lands and cultures, bonded by our love of this music and the challenge of making it our own. What began in the fields of the southern United States, became a universal treasure, cherished by music lovers the world over.
My intention with these songs is to focus on some of the history of African Americans, the original blues people, as a reminder of what we’ve been through and where the music is coming from. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is one of my greatest heroes. The Civil Rights movement that he is synonymous with is referred to in several songs on this album. I hope these songs will remind us that Dr. King’s dream is still a work in progress – we are still not home. May the New Year bring us closer to living that dream.”

Eric Bibb, one of the highest profile international roots music artists, was raised in New York City by a musical family; his father is noted folk singer Leon Bibb and his uncle was world-famous jazz pianist John Lewis, founding member of the Modern Jazz Quartet. Legendary actor/singer/activist Paul Robeson was Eric’s godfather, and other music icons such as Peter Seeger, Odetta and Bob Dylan were known to regularly visit the Bibb household.

Eric was given his first guitar at age seven, and by the time he’d reached 16 was asked by his father to play guitar in the house band for the elder Bibb’s local New York City TV talent show.
In 1970, Eric Bibb left New York City for Paris, meeting legendary guitarist Mickey Baker, and began to concentrate on playing blues guitar. He later moved to Europe and is now based in Finland, from which he tours extensively both in the U.S. and overseas.

To watch a special video Eric Bibb created to explain the backstory about Blues People, click on this link:

Eric Bibb will be touring in support of Blues People and is booked by Folklore International Artists ( For more information, visit and

Blues People Track Listing

14 HOME - Featuring ANDRE DE LANGE

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Proper Records artist: Dr. John - Ske-Dat - De-Dat ... Spirit Of Satch - New Release review

I just received the newest release, Ske-Dat-De-Dat ... Spirit of Satch from Dr John and I quite like it. Oh yeah. With a tribute to an older statesman, there are some old time ballads but with a fresh look which is overall very interesting. On opener, What A Wonderful World, The Blind Boys Of Alabama add a different dimension to what is done sixties pop style with a twist of New Orleans. Terrence Blanchard a really nice melodic trumpet solo over what is otherwise a funky orchestral arrangement. Mack The Knife gets a total revamp with a solid New Orleans strut. With very little except lyrics to the original track, this is an ingenious mix with brilliant work from Blanchard. There is a rap break which I don't care for but overall the track is excellent. Tight Like That has a real Latin feel with vocals by Telmary and sweet Spanish guitar and really smart trumpet work by Arturo Sandoval. I've Got The World On A String stays with very traditional arrangement say, Tony Bennett or Frank Sinatra but with a Dr John twist. The good Dr and Bonnie Raitt handle the vocal duet which is very solid. Stylized swing blues guitar work on the bridge is really nice. Gut Bucket Blues has a really cool bari sax bottom and full horn tribute. Dr Johns vocals are as good as any on the release with a gritty feel. Nicholas Payton takes the floor with trumpet on this track blowin some serious brass. On Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child, Anthony Hamilton takes the mic singing a counter melody to the all to familiar track adding mystery and interest. With a neo soul feel to the track, warm backing vocals and horns this track is as fresh as the first time I heard it. On That's My Home, Dr John takes a straight ahead swat and with his relaxed interpretive way weaves a smooth and comforting track with beautiful trumpet highlights from Wendell Brunious. On classic gospel track Nobody Knows The Trouble I've Seen, lead vocals are handled by Ledisi backed by the McCrary Sisters. It still maintains a a spiritual feel but with more of a modern take and less of a "pure spiritual" track as most of us (at least me) have heard. Nice job! Wrap Your Troubles In Your Dreams finds the good Dr back at the mic and also predominantly out front with the piano. The Blind Boys of Alabama are back with both solo and backing vocals and less tight but soulful trumpet work from Terence Blanchard adds a nice touch. Dippermouth Blues comes out with horns blaring and a cool New Orleans march rhythm. The Dr has the keys rolling and the saxs are honking. James Andrews steps up with some authentic feeling NO trumpet styling. This is a great party track and with warm organ work may be one of my favorite tracks on the release. Blues giant Shemekia Copeland joins the Dr on Sweet Hunk O'Trash and with a funky bottom gets you groovin fast. Hot funky instrumentals throughout this track make it another nice add. Memories Of You has Dr John in the lounge mode laid back with his piano with brilliant punctuation by Arturo Sandoval on trumpet. Hot sax work opens the last track on the release, When You're Smiling. With a definite Latin/Mardi Gras feel and the great Dirty Dozen Brass band, the party is leaving town. This is a fun release with some hot trumpet work.

  If you support live Blues acts, up and coming Blues talents and want to learn more about Blues news and Fathers of the Blues, Like ---Bman’s Blues Report--- Facebook Page! I’m looking for great talent and trying to grow the audience for your favorites band! ”LIKE”


Thursday, June 26, 2014

Dr John announces Louis Armstrong tribute album ft. Bonnie Raitt, Blind Boys of Alabama and more


New Orleans musical giant pays tribute to fellow Crescent City legend Louis Armstrong with star-studded, divinely-inspired new tribute disc

Proper Records / September 1st 

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee and six-time GRAMMY®-winner Dr. John is New Orleans' most prominent living musical icon. The embodiment of his hometown's freewheeling creative spirit and multiple musical traditions, he's built a visionary, idiosyncratic body of work that's deeply rooted in the Crescent City's myriad blues, R&B, jazz and rock 'n' roll traditions.

So it's fitting that Dr. John's new album on Proper Records, Ske-Dat-De-Dat...Spirit of Satch, pays heartfelt tribute to another larger-than-life New Orleans legend: the seminal trumpeter and vocalist Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong, whose musical innovations created the template for 20th-century jazz, and whose playful attitude and life-embracing spirit made him a beloved figure whose worldwide appeal transcended music.

"He's the most famous guy that ever came out of my neighborhood," notes Dr. John. "He became a legend all over, for his trumpet playin' and everything else, and he was the United States' ambassador to the world."

Ske-Dat-De-Dat...Spirit of Satch honors Armstrong's musical genius as well as his effervescent personality with 13 classic numbers drawn from various phases of Armstrong's five-decade career, with Dr. John joined by a stellar supporting cast that manages to update the material while maintaining the music's timeless emotional appeal.

The subtitle Spirit of Satch is particularly appropriate given the album's birth cycle, which Dr. John says was set into motion when the late Armstrong—whom he'd only met once during his lifetime, in the office of their mutual manager Joe Glaser—came to him in a dream.

"Louis's spirit came to me and told me to do something, that's how this whole thing started," says Dr. John, who's previously released tribute albums to musical giants Duke Ellington and Johnny Mercer. "Louis told me, 'Take my music and do it your way.'  It was the most unexpected thing in the world to me, to have Louis' spirit show up like that, but he gave me a concept of where to roll with it that was spiritually correct. That made me feel very open to try some different things, because I felt that his spirit had ok'ed this record."

Prior to making the album, Dr. John honored Satchmo on stage, presenting rapturously received tribute concerts, dubbed "Props to Pops," at New York's Brooklyn Academy of Music in March 2012 and at the Hollywood Bowl in July 2013.

In addition to Dr. John's trademark vocals and piano, and backup from some of New Orleans' finest musicians, Ske-Dat-De-Dat...Spirit of Satch features a stellar assortment of guest singers and players. Bonnie Raitt shares the spotlight on a swinging reading of "I've Got the World On A String," Ledisi and the McCrary Sisters lend gospel authority to "Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen," Anthony Hamilton is featured on a mournful "Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child," Shemekia Copeland trades verses with Dr. John on a playful reworking on "Sweet Hunk O' Trash," and the Blind Boys of Alabama lend their powerful voices to "What A Wonderful World" and "Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams."

Since Ske-Dat-De-Dat...Spirit of Satch is a tribute to the man who popularized the trumpet for a worldwide audience, it's fitting that the project should feature some of today's greatest trumpeters, namely Nicholas Payton (on "What A Wonderful World" and "Gut Bucket Blues"), Terence Blanchard ("Mack the Knife," "Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams"), Arturo Sandoval ("Tight Like This," "Memories of You"), Wendell Brunious ("Thats My Home") and James Andrews ("Dippermouth Blues"), along with New Orleans' legendary horn ensemble the Dirty Dozen Brass Band ("When You're Smiling").

"The whole thing felt pretty special, and I definitely was in a different zone for this record," says Dr. John, who co-produced the album with his longtime trombonist Sarah Morrow, who also arranged ten of the album's 13 tracks. "I wanted to pull together some of his hits and some of songs he wasn't as well known for, and make them feel fresh and different. Sarah wrote some slammin' charts that kept everything spacious and hip. And everybody played and sang great, and gave it their own spirit."

Ske-Dat-De-Dat...Spirit of Satch is the latest achievement in a singular musical history that stretches back to the 1950s, when Dr. John—then still known by his given name, Mac Rebennack—emerged as an in-demand producer, guitarist, pianist and songwriter on New Orleans' studio scene, working for such local labels as Ace, Ron and Ric, collaborating with the likes of James Booker, Earl King, Professor Longhair, Art Neville and Frankie Ford, and scoring the regional solo hit "Storm Warning."

In the early '60s, he relocated to Los Angeles, where he played on countless sessions before debuting his flamboyant new musical persona, "Dr. John, The Night Tripper," with his first solo album, 1968's Gris-Gris, which introduced the world to his uniquely eclectic voodoo-funk. In the years since, he has remained a distinctly prolific and powerful force, releasing more than 30 albums of his own while collaborating with a broad array of acts including the Rolling Stones, Sonny and Cher, Van Morrison, Aretha Franklin, Gregg Allman, Mike Bloomfield, Levon Helm, Ringo Starr, Rickie Lee Jones, B.B. King and Christina Aguilera. He also performed in such films as The Last Waltz and Blues Brothers 2000, and pursued a successful two-decade songwriting partnership with legendary tunesmith Doc Pomus.

Dr. John was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2011, and won the most recent of his six GRAMMY® Awards when 2012's Locked Down was voted that year's Best Blues Album.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Blind Willie Johnson all-star album in the works...


Salute to legendary gospel singer-guitarist Blind Willie Johnson,
 with new recordings by Tom Waits, Sinead O’Connor,
Lucinda Williams, Luther Dickinson, Cowboys Junkies, Derek Trucks & Susan Tedeschi, Blind Boys of Alabama and Rickie Lee Jones, is a Kickstarter project in the works.

LOS ANGELES, Calif. — Johnson's music was charred with purgatorial fire — more than sixty years later, you can still
smell the smoke on it.—Francis Davis, The History of the Blues 

More than 60 years after his death, Blind Willie Johnson continues to capture listeners in a way that few singers or musicians have equaled. The list of artists he has influenced goes back to Robert Johnson and forward to the White Stripes. The most obviously indebted would include several generations of hard country gospel singers, from the Blind Boys of Alabama to the Staple Singers, and the most soulful and virtuosic slide guitarists, from Mississippi Delta bluesmen to Ry Cooder.

Raising $125,000 in 30 days for an album of new recordings celebrating the music of Blind Willie Johnson is a risk that music producer Jeffrey Gaskill finds completely worthwhile. “I think when Blind Willie Johnson sat down in the recording studio in the late ’20s he understood the importance of posterity, that he was recording something to be heard by future generations. Today, his music is on a spaceship representing mankind in outer space and yet many of his recordings are virtually unknown.” But Gaskill realizes, “It’s a labor of love that will not be supported by a record label; God Don’t Never Change will
only happen if it’s going to be funded by appreciators of good music.”

According to the Encyclopedia of American Gospel Music, “It would be impossible to list every musician influenced by Blind Willie Johnson, because it would require mentioning almost everyone who ever listened to one of his records.” In
his time, Johnson was considered a singing gospel preacher. Today, he is called a “holy bluesman,” reflecting all of the blues and rock fans and musicians who have been inspired by his work. Either way, there is no more compelling voice in early American music. His music lives on, both in the gospel world and in genres he never could have imagined, and it is
a fitting honor that his legacy be saluted and carried forward into the 21st century.

In order to raise enough money to fund the project, a group of rare and collectible items are available for sale. The
fundraiser’s crown jewels include The Blind Pilgrim Collection, a set of five, unique handcrafted cigar-box
guitars made from the wood of Johnson’s 1930s Marlin, Texas home. For sale individually, the guitars are a limited, numbered set exclusively for this effort.

The Kickstarter fund raising effort begins on October 16 and ends on November 16, 2013.

The project features several rewards for investors at several levels. One-of-a-kind collectibles, content exclusives, and premiums for backers of the album include:

· Backer-only “making-of-the-album” video updates
· Exclusive CD version of the album
· Limited-edition Blind Willie Johnson T-shirts
· Set of two 180-gram LPs in a gatefold package (includes re-mastered, original Blind Willie Johnson recordings)
· Limited, signed and numbered art prints
· Box set in a hardbound case that includes 10” vinyl 33 RPM singles for each track, with a
new recording on one side and the original Johnson recording on the flipside
· Advance digital download of the new album two weeks before release
· Hand-crafted cigar-box guitars made from the wood of Johnson’s Texas home Kickstarter campaigns operate under an “all-or-nothing” funding model so if the Blind Willie Johnson project doesn’t reach its goal at the end of the 30 days the
recording won’ happen.

The project can be followed on