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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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Showing posts with label Chicago. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Chicago. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Cry Over Me - Lonesome Lee

Jimmie Lee Robinson Born: April 30, 1931 in Chicago, Illinois Died: July 6, 2002 in Chicago, Illinois Jimmie Lee Robertson was part of the generation of blues performers who helped establish Maxwell Street in Chicago as a famous blues locale. He was known as "Lonesome" Jimmie Lee, or sometimes nicknamed "The Lonely Traveller". He was related to Bessie Smith on his father's side, and saw his musical roots as lying in Mississippi (his grandparents had moved north). He first played acoustic guitar, but switched to the electric blues style when he joined the harmonicist Little Walter's band. He recorded with musicians like Magic Sam and Jimmy Reed, made records as a leader, and took part in the American Folk Blues Festival package tour of the US and Europe in 1965. He played bass as well as guitar. He took a succession of days jobs in the 1970s and 1980s, but returned to recording in the 1990s, and made several albums for the Delmark, Amina and Apo labels. He led a protest against the proposed redevlopment of the historic Maxwell Street area and Chicago's blues heritage in the late 1990s, including two lengthy hunger strikes. In 1998 he embarked upon the first of two long hunger strikes in protest. He had been been diagnosed with bone cancer, and was found dead with an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound.

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”

 

Monday, April 29, 2013

I ain't Drunk - Alex Jenkins & The Bombers

Alex Jenkins & the bombers is a rythym & blues based blues band. If you had to label this band the best way to describe their music is that it has elements of R&B, blues, jazz, rockabilly, roots and Americana with having an uptown, Westside Chicago sound. From the first song until the last song the band will have the audience jumping to their feet to tapping their toes. The bands current release “Creepin After Midnight” showcases the many influences in the playing and vocals. The Cd was on the Illinois Roots Airplay Radio chart for September 2012. The cd also made the top 25 airplay for the month of July 2012 at WEFT radio Champaign Illinois. The song she wants to rock made the top 50 songs for 2011 plays on WKCC radio Kankakee Illinois friends of the blues show. The band is currently working on material for their second release. They are currently performing many venues including festivals and state fairs. The band has appeared on the same bill with blues artists Royal Southern Brotherhood, Tinsley Ellis, Ronnie Baker Brooks, Nick Moss, Lil Ed at the Champaign Illinois blues, brews and bar b que festival on June 29th 2012. Also July 21st at the It Aint Nothing But The Blues festival in Bloomington IL. appearing on the bill with Anna Popovich, Sam Lay, Teeny Tucker and others. The Band Consists of Veteran Guitar Player/Vocalist Alex "Wayne" Jenkins, Brother Tim Jenkins on Drums/Vocals, Mike Crisp/Bass Guitar. Alex grew up on Chicago’s south west side within walking distance of the famous Maxwell St. It is there that he got his first exposure to blues music peering through windows of the blues clubs watching Muddy Waters, Howling wolf, Buddy Guy and others playing the blues. At age 13 is when he started playing guitar in local bands all throughout the 60’s in what was called oldtown. After moving out to Los Angeles for a few years Alex came back to the Midwest and spent the next several years playing and touring all throughout theUS And Canada performing in roadhouses, theatre’s and festivals. Alex then moved to Nashville where he lived from 1996-2002. While there, he played in blues bands and also hosted a pro blues jam in downtown Nashville. Alex decided to return to the Midwest to his roots and to form Alex Jenkins & The Bombers. Tim was born in Harvey Il. a south suburb of Chicago in 1961. He grew up listening to WLS & WVON radio where he was first exposed to motown and blues. He has played many styles of music in several bands throughout his career, but his true roots is with blues and R & B music. Tim currently plays vintage Rogers drums. Some of his influences include Charlie Watts, Frank Beard, Louie Bellson, Buddy Rich, Ginger Baker and others. Both Alex and brother Tim have many years combined playing experience. Alex and Tim have toured on the road for many years including playing venues in Memphis and Nashville. They competed in the international blues competition challenge in Memphis in 1989. Current members of the prairie crossroads blues society Champaign Il. and the Bloomington blowtorch blues society out of Bloomington Il. Their influences are many including artists such as Albert King, BB King, Freddie King, Muddy Waters, Howling Wolf, Johnny Guitar Watson , Bobby Blue Bland , Robert Cray, Little Milton ,Jimmy Liggins, Roy Brown. Jazz artists George Benson, John Coltrane, Charlie Bird, Cab Calloway, Boz Skaggs and others, Rockabilly artists such as Carl Perkins, Eddie Cochran, Rick Nelson, and of course Motown, and Stax. Member bassist Mike Crisp played 4 years in the high school jazz band then attended Illinois State University in Bloomington Il. Where he played for four years in the Il. State University Jazz combo. Some if his influences include Stanley Clarke, Charles Mingus, Victor Wooten, Maynard Ferguson, Miles Davis, Dave Matthews, and Stevie Ray Vaughn.

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Friday, April 26, 2013

Dorothy Donegan live at the White House

Dorothy Donegan (April 6, 1922 – May 19, 1998) was an American classically trained jazz pianist primarily known for performing in the stride piano and boogie-woogie style. She also played bop, swing jazz, and classical music. Donegan was born and grew up in Chicago, Illinois and began studying piano at the age of eight. She took her first lessons from Alfred N. Simms, a West Indian pianist who also taught Cleo Brown. She graduated from Chicago's DuSable High School, where she studied with Walter Dyett, a gifted teacher who also worked with, among others, Dinah Washington, Johnny Griffin, Gene Ammons, and Von Freeman. She also studied at the Chicago Musical College and, later, the University of Southern California. In 1942 she made her recording debut. She appeared in Sensations of 1945 with Cab Calloway, Gene Rodgers and W. C. Fields and was known for her work in Chicago nightclubs. She was a protégée of Art Tatum, who once called her "the only woman who can make me practice." (She said that Tatum "was supposed to be blind...I know he could see women.") In 1943, Donegan became the first African American to perform at Chicago's Orchestra Hall. She later said of this pathbreaking performance that: In the first half I played Rachmaninoff and Grieg and in the second I drug it through the swamp – played jazz. Claudia Cassidy reviewed the concert on the first page of the Chicago Tribune. She said I had a terrific technique and I looked like a Toulouse-Lautrec lithograph. In May 1983, Donegan, along with Billy Taylor, Milt Hinton, Art Blakey, Maxine Sullivan, Jackie Byard, and Eddie Locke, performed at a memorial service for Earl Hines, held at St. Peter's Evangelical Lutheran Church in New York City. Her first six albums would prove to be obscure when compared to her successes in performance. It was not until the 1980s that her work gained notice in the recorded jazz world. In particular, a recorded appearance at the 1987 Montreux Jazz Festival and her live albums from 1991 were met with acclaim. Even so, she remained best known for her live performances. She drew crowds with her eclectic mixture of styles and her flamboyant personality. Ben Ratliff argued in the New York Times that: her flamboyance helped her find work in a field that was largely hostile to women. To a certain extent, it was also her downfall; her concerts were often criticized for having an excess of personality. Donegan was outspoken about her view that sexism, along with her insistence on being paid the same rates as male musicians, had limited her career.In 1992, Donegan received an "American Jazz Master" fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, and in 1994, an honorary doctorate from Roosevelt University. Donegan died of cancer in 1998 in Los Angeles, California

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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Johnny Griffin

John Arnold Griffin III (April 24, 1928 – July 25, 2008) was an American bop and hard bop tenor saxophonist. Griffin studied music at DuSable High School in Chicago under Walter Dyett, starting out on clarinet before moving on to oboe and then alto sax. While still at high school at age 15, Griffin was playing with T-Bone Walker in a band led by Walker's brother. Alto saxophone was still his instrument of choice when he joined Lionel Hampton's big band three days after his high school graduation, but Hampton encouraged him to take up the tenor, playing alongside Arnett Cobb. He first appeared on a Los Angeles recording with Hampton's band in 1945 at age 17. By mid-1947, Griffin and fellow Hampton band member Joe Morris had formed a sextet made up of local musicians, including George Freeman, where he remained for the next two years. His playing can be heard on various early Rhythm and Blues recordings for Atlantic Records. By 1951 Griffin was playing baritone saxophone in an R&B sextet led by former bandmate Arnett Cobb. After returning to Chicago from two years in the Army, Griffin began establishing a reputation as one of the premiere saxophonists in that city. Thelonious Monk enthusiastically encouraged Orrin Keepnews of Riverside Records to sign the young tenor, but before he could act Blue Note Records had signed Griffin. He joined Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers in 1957, and his recordings from that time include a memorable album joining together the Messengers and Thelonious Monk. Griffin then succeeded John Coltrane as a member of Monk's Five Spot quartet; he can be heard on the albums Thelonious in Action and Misterioso. Griffin's unique style, based on an astounding technique, included a vast cannon of bebop language. He was known to quote generously from classical, opera and other musical forms. A prodigious player. he was often subjected to and victorious at "cutting session" involving a legion of tenor players, both in his hometown Chicago with the likes of Hank Mobley and Gene Ammons, and on the road. Diminutive, he was distinctive as a fashionable dresser, a good businessman, and a well-liked bandleader to other musicians. Griffin was leader on his first Blue Note album Introducing Johnny Griffin in 1956. Also featuring Wynton Kelly on piano, Curly Russell on bass and Max Roach on drums, the recording brought Griffin critical acclaim. A 1957 Blue Note album A Blowin' Session featured him with fellow tenor players John Coltrane and Hank Mobley. He played with Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers for a few months in 1957, and in the Thelonious Monk Sextet and Quartet (1958). During this period, he recorded a set with Clark Terry on Serenade To a Bus Seat featuring the rhythm trio of Wynton Kelly, Paul Chambers, and Philly Joe Jones. At this stage in his career, Griffin was known as the "fastest tenor in the west", for the ease with which he could execute fast note runs with excellent intonation. Subsequent to his three albums for Blue Note, Griffin did not get along with the label's house engineer Rudy Van Gelder, he recorded for Riverside Records. From 1960 to 1962 he and Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis led their own quintet, recording several albums together. He went to live in France in 1963, moving to the Netherlands in 1978. Apart from appearing regularly under his own name at jazz clubs such as London's Ronnie Scott's, Griffin became the "first choice" sax player for visiting US musicians touring the continent during the 1960s and '70s. He briefly rejoined Monk's groups (an Octet and Nonet) in 1967. Griffin and Davis met up again in 1970 and recorded Tough Tenors Again 'n' Again, and again with the Dizzy Gillespie Big 7 at the Montreux Jazz Festival. In 1965 he recorded some albums with Wes Montgomery. From 1967 to 1969, he formed part of The Kenny Clarke-Francy Boland Big Band, and in the late '70s, recorded with Peter Herbolzheimer And His Big Band, which also included, among others, Nat Adderley, Derek Watkins, Art Farmer, Slide Hampton, Jiggs Whigham, Herb Geller, Wilton Gaynair, Stan Getz, Gerry Mulligan, Rita Reys, Jean "Toots" Thielemans, Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen, Grady Tate, and Quincy Jones as arranger. He also recorded with the Nat Adderley Quintet in 1978, having previously recorded with Adderley in 1958. On July 25, 2008, Johnny Griffin died of a heart attack at the age of 80 in Mauprévoir, near Availles-Limouzine, France. He had lived there for the past 24 years. His last concert, July 21, 2008, was played in Hyères, France.

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Eyesight to the Blind - Manuel Arrington

Photo by Bob Corritore
b. 24 April 1944; Collins, MS Chicago blues vocalist who has performed with the Manuel Arrington Blues Revue and New Orleans Beau group. A frequent performer in Chicago blues venues










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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Birmingham Bertha - Walter Barnes & His Royal Creolians

Walter Barnes (July 8, 1905 in Vicksburg, Mississippi – April 23, 1940 in Natchez, Mississippi) was an American jazz clarinetist, saxophonist and bandleader. Barnes grew up in Chicago and studied under Franz Schoepp in addition to attending the Chicago Musical College and the American Conservatory of Music. He led his own bands from the early 1920s in addition to playing with Detroit Shannon and his Royal Creolians. After Shannon's retinue became dissatisfied with his leadership, Barnes took control of this group as well. He played mostly in Chicago, though the band did hold a residency at the Savoy Ballroom in New York City as well. His band recorded in 1928-29 for Brunswick Records. He toured the American South in the 1930s to considerable success, touring there yearly; by 1938 his ensemble included 16 members. Barnes was one of the victims of the Rhythm Club Fire in Natchez, Mississippi on April 23, 1940. He played in an eight-piece band that night when the club caught fire; he had the group continue playing the song "Marie" in order to keep the crowd from stampeding out of the building. Nearly all of the band's members (which included Paul Stott and vocalist Juanita Avery) except for drummer Walter Brown and bassist Arthur Edward, were among the 201 victims of the fire. Barnes's death was repeatedly immortalized in song thereafter.  

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 favorite band!

High And Humble - The Steepwater Band

The Steepwater Band’s latest studio release, “CLAVA” (pronounced CLAY-va) finds the band hitting their most creative and focused point of their careers. The new album was recorded on the South Side of Chicago at the studio of the same name in Spring of 2011. CLAVA was produced and recorded by the trio of Bowers, Massey & Winters along with Colin Sipos, a young, up-and-coming producer/engineer who has worked with the critically acclaimed Iron & Wine and Califone. Sipos also recorded TSB's "The Stars Look Tonight/My Back Pocket (2010)" single and mixed "Live at the Double Door (2010)." The ten new songs feature some of their most blues-infused, heavy and psychedelic tunes to date. Each song takes you on a musical journey, steeped in tradition, while not being overly nostalgic. On “CLAVA” the band honors their heroes and pays them the highest compliment – continuing the Rock n’ Roll lineage while creating paths not yet explored. Although The Steepwater Band got their start as devotees of delta blues, they have since been expanding on their influences taking on everything from psychedelia to Americana, and of course, rock and roll music. Formed in Chicago in 1998, the band’s signature sound is at once a nod to earlier rock n’ blues combined with a raw and gutsy musical approach. Founding band members Jeff Massey (vocals & guitar), Tod Bowers (bass) and Joe Winters (drums) have a synergy that comes from years of playing together. In early 2012 the long-time trio have been joined by Eric Saylors (guitar & bk vocal), from Indianapolis, IN. Mr. Saylors brings an added depth to the TSB LIVE sound, where the foundation laid by Bowers & Winters leaves the space for the guitars to soar and vocals to shine. Massey always performs with a passion that can belie his virtuosity, while being true to the song at hand. The band’s infectious energy is equally evident in their live performances, as critics and fans hail their shows as forceful and intoxicating. It is their humble devotion to music, and a commitment to achieving their musical goals without compromising the integrity of their musical vision that make The Steepwater Band such a refreshing find. In 2010, the band released the highly lauded live record entitled “Live at the Double Door” which contained tracks from their previous two LPs, “Revelation Sunday (2006)” and “Grace and Melody (2008).” The Steepwater Band has maintained a grueling schedule throughout the last 10 years, averaging about 125 shows per year. They have toured and shared the stage with acts such as Gov't Mule, Buddy Guy, Wilco, Taj Mahal, Marc Ford, ZZ Top, T-Model Ford, North Mississippi All Stars, Leon Russell, Drive-By Truckers, Robert Randolph & the Family Band, Cheap Trick, Bad Company and Heart. In 2005, the band made its European debut, performing at the Azkena Rock Festival in Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain. In the following years, the band has returned to the United Kingdom and Europe for multiple club and festival tours, increasing their loyal overseas fan-base.

 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 favorite band!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Delta Groove Music artists: John Primer and Bob Corritore - Knockin' Around The Blues

I just received the much anticipated new release from Delta Groove, Knockin' Around The Blues from John Primer and Bob Corritore and it's great! Both Corritore and Primer are known for their traditional Chicago style and this is right on it...but it is a solid square hit. Opening with The Clock, you're in Chicago and the best band in town is up and making that statement isn't far off. These guys, both superstars themselves, have a full hand of musicians with them. Primer of course handles lead vocals and he's always terrific. Corritore can really be magic on the harp and his playing on this track is very strong. Barrelhouse Chuck adds terrific riffs throughout and Chris James and Primer both do nice jobs on guitar on this track. Blue and Lonesome opens with a great intro from Chuck and Primer and Corritore exchange call and response. This is slow dirty blues like you love it. One of the comments that I've had of some recordings of Corritore in the past have been that he gets lost in the mix. Not on this recording! Corritore is well highlighted and sounding great. James and Primer are both highlighted on guitar on this track as well and there is a blood curdling solo on this track that is not to be missed. When I Get Lonely is an uptempo blues track and Brian Fahey is light in the front on drums. Primer has a great voice and Corritore takes a real nice solo early in the track complimenting his singing. Great harp tone! A smokin' Chicago loper, Cairo Blues, is up next and Billy Flynn (guitar), Bob Stroger (bass) and Kenny "Beedy Eyes" Smith join the mix. Corritore really gets the harp screamin on this track and Chuck adds really nice punctuation throughout. Leanin' Tree opens with some smokin guitar riffs but them paring back to highlight to allow Primer to lead the way on vocal. One of my favorite tracks on the release, James, Primer and Corritore all take nice solos on this track. Harmonica Joyride is an absolute blast! Corritore takes a step to the front and demonstrates clearly why he's regarded as on of the top harp men in the business today. (Yeah stilladog...this track's for you pal). Little Boy Blue, of course the great track by Robert Jr. Lockwood is a nice slow in the pocket track. Corritore again blowin exceptional tone on this track. Chuck of course is always spot on and this track is no exception. Opening with a real slick slide intro, Dixon's Just Like I Treat You is bright and full of energy featuring Patrick Rynn on bass and Brian Fahey on drums. Again the mastery of Corritore is well documented on this track. Chuck takes a cool piano solo on this track opening for Primer on slide. Saw Primer a short while back at the rhythm Room and his second set blew the doors off the place. This is a guy who can really do it all in his genre. Man Or Mouse gets right into the groove. Billy Flynn takes a nice solo on this track and Chuck keeps the ivories hot. Finishing up with Going Back Home, an old Lightning Hopkins track, the band is tight and lays down the last of 10 solid performances. Corritore takes the first of the solos on this track is it's really apparent how deeply he feels about getting just the right tome. Excellent. Chuck belly's up with a really clean solo but James and Primer really step it up on this track and knock it out of the park. This is a great contemporary recording of traditional Chicago blues played by a group of exceptional blues musicians. This is one not to be missed.

  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 favorite band!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Boll Weevil - Jimmie Lee Robinson

Guitarist, bassist, and singer Jimmie Lee Robinson, active on the Chicago blues scene since the 1940s, died on Saturday, July 6th, 2002. Early this year Jimmie Lee was diagnosed with a large malignant tumor in his sinuses, which he had removed at the end of April. He began gigging again almost immediately, playing at a celebration of his 72nd birthday at the Deep Blue club in Schaumburg just four days after his surgery, but apparently the cancer had already spread to other parts of his body, and his health deteriorated rapidly over the following months. For those who aren't familiar with him or his music, Jimmie's blues resume was long and illustrious. Born in Chicago's Cook County hospital and raised in the nearby Maxwell Street neighborhood, he began playing guitar on the bustling Maxwell Street market scene when he was in his early teens in the mid 1940s. By the late '40s he was good enough to have played behind blues legends Memphis Minnie and Big Bill Broonzy among others. Around 1950 he formed his first band, The Every Hour Blues Boys, which consisted of Frank "Sonny" Scott (still one of his best friends) on drums, with Jimmie Lee and a young Freddie King sharing guitars and vocals. In the mid 1950s Jimmie was playing on local gigs with Elmore James when Little Walter recruited him into his band, where he spent the next few years. He recorded on a couple of sessions with Little Walter, appearing on "Confessing The Blues", "Temperature", "Ah'w Baby" and several other of Walter's well-known recordings. He also moonlighted on sessions with his long-time friend Eddie Taylor on the Vee Jay label. In the late '50s Jimmie left Walter's band and joined up with Magic Sam for a while, and around this time cut a few singles of his own for the local Bandera label (backed by Luther Tucker and Eddie Clearwater, among others.) It was for Bandera that Jimmie Lee recorded his single "Times Getting Harder" and "Twist it Baby", notable now because future Delmark label-mate Jimmy Burns was then a member of The Medallionaires vocal group that provided the backing vocals. In the '60s he played and / or recorded with Willie Mabon, Sunnyland Slim, Mighty Joe Young, Shakey Jake, Howlin' Wolf among many others, and made it over to Europe as part of the 1965 American Folk Blues Festival with John Lee Hooker, Buddy Guy, Big Walter Horton, Big Mama Thornton, Eddie Boyd, et al, but eventually retired from music as a full time pursuit and opened a candy store on Chicago's South Side. During the '70s he played part time, often with his friend Little Willie Anderson (a disciple of Jimmie Lee's former employer Little Walter), made it over to Europe for a few more tours, and recorded sporadically, but by the '80s had almost completely abandoned his music. When I met him in the late '80s, he was working as a cab driver; I encouraged him to get back into music, and invited him out to sit in on the regular gigs I was then doing at a club called Lilly's with The Ice Cream Men. This led to appearances on the Chicago Blues Festival in 1991 and '93, and eventually to Jimmie Lee's his first full-length album, Lonely Traveler released on Delmark in 1994 to widespread praise. He took off from there and started working again pretty regularly, but found it both financially and artistically advantageous to work as an acoustic solo artist rather than in a full band setting as he had for most of his professional career. Over the last decade he stayed busy doing festivals and short tours, including numerous trips overseas, and released four or five CDs of mostly acoustic material on various labels, including his own Amina Records. He retired from cab driving, but continued to drive his cab, emblazoned on the sides with "Delmark Recording Artist Jimmie Lee Robinson - The Lonely Traveler", around town as a rolling advertisement for his musical comeback. In addition to his own recordings, he also occasionally recorded as a sideman for several of his old friends and musical cronies on the Chicago blues scene. In the early 1990s he wholeheartedly threw his support behind the fight to preserve what little remained of the historic Maxwell Street neighborhood he grew up in during the '30s and '40s, and became one of the most active and vocal spokespersons for this cause in his final years. At some point fairly early in his musical career he converted to the Muslim faith and adopted the name Latif Aliomar. But to the end, his close friends and musical family knew him as Jimmie Lee, one of the kindest and gentlest souls on the Chicago blues scene. Jimmie Lee Robinson was 72 years old. Scott Dirks is the co-author, with Tony Glover and Ward Gaines, of the recent book Blues With A Feeling - The Little Walter Story, Routledge Press, 2002.

  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 favorite band!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Happy Blues - Gene Ammons

Eugene "Jug" Ammons (April 14, 1925 – July 23, 1974) also known as "The Boss," was an American jazz tenor saxophonist, and the son of boogie-woogie pianist Albert Ammons. Born in Chicago, Illinois, Ammons studied music with instructor Walter Dyett at DuSable High School. Ammons began to gain recognition while still at high school when in 1943, at the age of 18, he went on the road with trumpeter King Kolax's band. In 1944 he joined the band of Billy Eckstine (who bestowed on him the nickname "Jug" when straw hats ordered for the band did not fit), playing alongside Charlie Parker and later Dexter Gordon. Notable performances from this period include "Blowin' the Blues Away," featuring a saxophone duel between Ammons and Gordon. After 1947, when Eckstine became a solo performer, Ammons then led a group, including Miles Davis and Sonny Stitt, that performed at Chicago's Jumptown Club. In 1949 Ammons replaced Stan Getz as a member of Woody Herman's Second Herd, and then in 1950 formed a duet with Sonny Stitt. The 1950s were a prolific period for Ammons and produced some acclaimed recordings such as "The Happy Blues" (1955), featuring Freddie Redd and Lou Donaldson. Musicians who played in his groups, apart from Stitt, included Donald Byrd, Jackie McLean, John Coltrane, Kenny Burrell, Mal Waldron, Art Farmer, and Duke Jordan. His later career was interrupted by two prison sentences for narcotics possession, the first from 1958 to 1960, the second from 1962 to 1969. He recorded as a leader for Mercury (1947-1949), Aristocrat (1948-1950), Chess (1950-1951), Prestige (1950-1952), Decca (1952), and United (1952-1953). For the rest of his career, he was affiliated with Prestige. After his release from prison in 1969, having served a seven-year sentence at Joliet penitentiary, he signed the largest contract ever offered at that time by Prestige's Bob Weinstock. Ammons died in Chicago in 1974, at the age of 49, from cancer.

  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 favorite band!


Friday, April 12, 2013

Herbie Hancock Headhunters

Herbert Jeffrey "Herbie" Hancock (born April 12, 1940) is an American pianist, keyboardist, bandleader and composer. As part of Miles Davis's Second Great Quintet, Hancock helped to redefine the role of a jazz rhythm section and was one of the primary architects of the "post-bop" sound. He was one of the first jazz musicians to embrace music synthesizers and funk music (characterized by syncopated drum beats). Hancock's music is often melodic and accessible; he has had many songs "cross over" and achieved success among pop audiences. His music embraces elements of funk and soul while adopting freer stylistic elements from jazz. In his jazz improvisation, he possesses a unique creative blend of jazz, blues, and modern classical music, with harmonic stylings much like the styles of Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel. Hancock's best-known solo works include "Cantaloupe Island", "Watermelon Man" (later performed by dozens of musicians, including bandleader Mongo Santamaría), "Maiden Voyage", "Chameleon", and the singles "I Thought It Was You" and "Rockit". His 2007 tribute album River: The Joni Letters won the 2008 Grammy Award for Album of the Year, only the second jazz album ever to win the award after Getz/Gilberto in 1965. Hancock is a member of Sōka Gakkai International. On July 22, 2011 at a ceremony in Paris, Hancock was named UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for the promotion of Intercultural Dialogue. Hancock recently joined the University of California, Los Angeles faculty as a professor in the UCLA music department where he will teach jazz music.

  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”

 

Monday, April 8, 2013

Lil Ed Williams

Lil' Ed Williams (born April 18, 1955, Chicago, Illinois, United States) is an American blues guitarist, singer and songwriter. With his backing band, the Blues Imperials, slide guitarist Williams has built up a loyal following Williams and his half-brother James "Pookie" Young, received childhood encouragement and tutelage from their uncle, J. B. Hutto, and by 1975 the half-siblings had formed the first version of the Blues Imperials. A decade later and Alligator Records offered them the chance to record for a forthcoming compilation album. In the event they cut a full album's worth of material that was released as Roughhousin' (1986). They then appeared at music festivals and toured widely. Their second album release was entitled, Chicken, Gravy & Biscuits (1989), and their third LP, What You See is What You Get was issued in 1992. At this point the group disbanded, while Williams issued two solo albums; Keep On Walking, followed by Who's Been Talking (1998), the latter with Willie Kent. In 1999 the release of Get Wild marked the group's reunion, and has been followed in subsequent years with Heads Up (2002), Rattleshake (2006), and Full Tilt (2008) . In June 2008, Williams and the Blues Imperials appeared at the Chicago Blues Festival. The same year Williams guested on Magic Slim's album, Midnight Blues. In June 2009, Williams appeared as a guest on the radio quiz game show, produced by Chicago Public Radio and National Public Radio, Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me! In 2013, Lil' Ed Williams and the Blues Imperials were nominated for a Blues Music Award in the 'Band' category.  

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Friday, April 5, 2013

Chicago-Based Roots Goliath Frank Bang & the Secret Stash Set to Unleash New "Double Dare" CD on May 21 from Blue Hoss Records


Chicago-Based Roots Goliath Frank Bang & the Secret Stash Set to Unleash New Double Dare CD on May 21 from
Blue Hoss Records

Former Buddy Guy Band Guitarist Spreads His Gospel of Musical Truths on Eclectic Fifth Album



CHICAGO, IL – Blue Hoss Records announces a May 21 release date for Double Dare, the new CD from former Buddy Guy Band monster guitarist Frank Bang & the Secret Stash. As its title implies, Chicago-based Bang’s new CD (his fifth release), displays an artist not afraid to take chances, and showcases a wide palette of roots sounds inspired from his blues, rock and country influences – all awash in his scintillating electric guitar and slide work.

Double Dare was produced by Umphrey’s McGee and Rod Stewart producer/engineer Manny Sanchez and recorded at the Windy City’s I.V. Lab Studio. Bang’s lead vocals and assortment of guitars are backed by a core band of Bobby Spelbring on drums and Ryan Fitzgerald on bass, augmented with guest musicians on harmonica, guitars, keyboards and sax. The 11 all-original song disc kicks off with the blazing title track, wherein Bang launches a mind-blowing caldron of slide guitar blasting straight into the stratosphere. Other highlights include the riff-based rocker, “Lose Control;” the celebration of life’s simple joys, “This Is What It’s All About;” and “Wonder Woman,” a warm slide guitar powered tune about the inspiration and healing power of love. “I knew I had a song with heart and meaning, and that set the bar for the rest of the songs that I wanted to write,” he explains. Similarly, “All I Need” chronicles the turns of life over a bed of gently grinding six-string and a glide of organ, brought to an emotional arc by Bang’s soaring solo.

With six years having passed since the release of his last CD, And They Named It Rock and Roll, Frank Bang has experienced several personal and professional highs and lows, all of which have informed the music on his new album. And he pays that experience forward with the insightful songs on Double Dare. “I felt that I really had to step up my game and write songs that had a deeper meaning, because I realized my music had a deep meaning for a lot of people,” Bang says. “People would, and still do, tell me my music lifted them when they were down, and helped them through hard times. I wanted to live up to that.
“There isn’t one thing on this album that isn’t true,” he adds. “There are stories about my family, about my life and experiences, about things that have struck me as funny or interesting. Even the guitar sound goes right back to the buzz I got plugging an electric guitar in for the first time — getting that real pure tone and letting it rip.”

Born and raised in Chicago, Frank Bang’s musical influences initially revolved around the music he heard at home while growing up. Bang saw his first live music at the lounge where his mother waitressed. His father, a Chicago police officer, was initially disapproving of his son’s interest in playing guitar. But Bang persevered, and at age 16 bought a cheap six-string and amp that he was only allowed to play in the garage.

After initial excursions into rock, when Frank turned 21 he made his first visits to Chicago’s blues clubs, where he learned that the genesis of most of the music he was digging at the time came from the blues root. After a false start in college, he quit school and got a job at Chicago’s Hard Rock Café, which led to him transferring to other Hard Rock locales in San Diego and Houston. A chance encounter in San Diego with the great Stevie Ray Vaughan set him on the righteous path back home to Chicago and all its blues wonders.

When Bang moved home, he got a one-night-a-week job at Buddy Guy’s club Legends as a doorman. Over the next few years, his involvement in the club grew to even occasionally traveling with Guy and his crew to major concerts. And after the club had closed for the night, Frank and his newfound musical buddy Wayne Baker Brooks, son of blues giant Lonnie Brooks, would drag the amps out on stage after hours and play together, trading licks and trying to learn some of what they’d just heard that night.
               
Besides expanding his guitar vocabulary, Bang - whose real surname is Blinkal - got his professional name during his Legends years. He’d occasionally take time off to road manage for guitarist Larry McCray, who started calling him “Bang” due to the speed at which he accomplished tasks — as in “bang,” job done.
               
Bang began playing during the Monday night Legends jams and soon assembled his own blues-rock group, the Buzz, who became regulars at the club. He also came into his own on slide guitar — which plays a major role in Double Dare — after discovering the daredevil musicianship of Robert Randolph, Aubrey Ghent and the other slide-based players from the Holiness Church sacred steel tradition.

Eventually, the man himself - Buddy Guy - took notice and asked Frank to join his band on second guitar.
Bang circled the world five times with Guy, headlining clubs and theaters, and opening on major tours in some of the biggest arenas and amphitheaters. Along the way, Bang shared the stage with the Rolling Stones, Santana, Robert Plant, R.E.M., Jimmie Vaughan, Dave Matthews, B.B. King, Clapton and other blues and rock titans. He also performed alongside Guy in many television appearances, including the The Tonight Show and Late Night with Conan O’Brien.
               
Bang continued to forge ahead on his own, too. In 2004, he cut his debut album, Frank Bang Alive One, followed by the studio set, Frank Bang’s Secret Stash in 2005. In 2006, he made Homegrown Live from Martyr’s. With 2007’s And They Named It Rock And Roll, Bang’s songwriting skills took a significant leap forward, which led to his developing the songs that play out on Double Dare.

“I’ve set a high bar of artistic maturity and musical integrity for myself,” he says, “and I hope people hear that in this album.”

Frank Bang & the Secret Stash will continue to tour in support of Double Dare, playing showcase clubs and festivals throughout the spring and summer, including some high profile gigs as part of the Van’s Warped Tour in July. He’s managed by Vickie Markusic of Vincent, Markusic & Associates (773) 472-2063 / vickiemarkusic@gmail.com; and booked by Sara Vale of AXEcess Entertainment (916) 955-0121 / saravale8@gmail.com. For more information, visit www.frankbang.net.

If You're A Viper - Rosetta Howard & The Harlem Hamfats with Horace Malcolm

The Harlem Hamfats was a Chicago jazz band formed in 1936. Initially, they mainly provided backup music for jazz and blues singers, such as Johnny Temple, Rosetta Howard, and Frankie Jaxon for Decca Records, but when their first record "Oh Red" became a hit, it secured them a Decca contract for fifty titles. They launched a successful recording career performing danceable music. The group was not from Harlem nor were they "hamfats". The name 'hamfat' derives from early 20th century slang in which the word was used to designate something as second-rate or a poor substitute. There is some disagreement about the roots of the word. Some believe it refers to a 'hamfat' cut of meat, which was cheaper and of poorer quality than the lean part of the ham. It has also been suggested that hamfat was used by poor country boys to grease the cork on their instruments, as opposed to the city slickers, who could easily find and afford cork grease. Others hold that it refers to a method black face comedians had of adhering burnt cork makeup with hamfat. Regardless, the name was most likely adopted in a spirit of facetiousness, since by all measurable standards the band members were talented musicians. Despite their name, the Hamfats were based in Chicago, and were put together by record producer and entrepreneur J. Mayo Williams simply for the purpose of making records - perhaps the first group to be so created. None of the members of the band were actually from New York. "Kansas" Joe McCoy (guitar, vocals) and his brother "Papa" Charlie McCoy (guitar, mandolin) were from Mississippi; Herb Morand (trumpet, vocals), John Lindsay (bass), and Odell Rand (1905 - 22 June 1960) (clarinet) were from New Orleans; Horace Malcolm (piano), Freddie Flynn (drums) and Pearlis Williams (drums) were from Chicago. The diverse geographical backgrounds of the musicians played a strong role in the band's sound, which blended blues, dixieland and swing jazz. Led by Morand and Joe McCoy, the main songwriters, the group initially provided instrumental backing to Williams' stable of artists, including Frankie Jaxon, Rosetta Howard, and Johnny Temple. They were perhaps the first example of a studio recording band becoming an act in their own right and recorded extensively. Their first major hits were "Oh! Red", recorded in April 1936, and "Let's Get Drunk And Truck" (originally recorded by Tampa Red), recorded in August of the same year. "Oh! Red" was popular enough to be covered by Count Basie, The Ink Spots, Blind Willie McTell, various Western swing bands, and, later, Howlin' Wolf. Some of their other recordings, such as "We Gonna Pitch A Boogie Woogie", more clearly presage the later rhythms of rock and roll. Their most recognizable work may be the modern jazz tune "Why Don't You Do Right?", which was written by Joe McCoy and included on their 1936 record under the title "The Weed Smoker's Dream". The song had numerous drug references. The lyrics were later changed and the tune refined. Lil Green recorded it as "Why Don't You Do Right", a tune about a conniving mistress and her broke lover, in 1941, and it was later recorded by Peggy Lee with the Benny Goodman Orchestra. By 1939, singer Morand had returned to New Orleans, and changing fashions had made their sound less commercially attractive. The Harlem Hamfats were not thought to be the most innovative group of the time, and many of the band's original works dealt heavily with sex, drugs and alcohol, which may have hindered their music from being more widely available. However, as a small group playing entertaining music primarily for dancing they are considered an important contributor to 1930s jazz, and their early riff-based style would help pave the way for Louis Jordan's small group sound a few years later, rhythm and blues, and later rock and roll

  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”

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Johnny Laws

While a fixture of Chicago's South Side blues community since the mid-1960s, singer/guitarist Johnny Laws long remained unknown outside of his native Windy City, and did not make his debut recordings for another three decades. Born July 12, 1943, he garnered considerable local attention as a result of his aching falsetto voice, in addition to a vast and eclectic repertoire of songs; still, Laws remained little more than a cult favorite until the release of his 1995 Wolf label debut My Little Girl finally made his music available to a wider audience. Blues Burnin' in My Soul followed in 1999.




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Saturday, March 30, 2013

Betty Jean - Harold Burrage

Harold Burrage (March 30, 1931, Chicago - November 26, 1966, Chicago) was an American blues and soul musician. Burrage did session work as a pianist in the 1950s and 1960s as well as recording under his own name. He released singles on Decca, Aladdin, States, and Cobra in the 1950s, and for Vee-Jay and M-Pac in the 1960s. Burrage's backing bands included the likes of Otis Rush, Willie Dixon, and Jody Williams, while Burrage supported Magic Sam, Charles Clark, and others as a pianist. Burrage's only national hit was the 1965 Chicago soul song "Got to Find a Way", which reached #31 on the Billboard R&B charts. The following year Burrage died at the home of Tyrone Davis, a musician Burrage influenced  

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 favorite band!



Saturday, March 9, 2013

Was I Drunk - Georgia White

Georgia White (March 9, 1903 – c.1980) was an African American blues singer, most prolific in the 1930s and 1940s. Little is known of her early life. By the late 1920s she was singing in clubs in Chicago, and she made her first recording, "When You're Smiling, the Whole World Smiles With You," with Jimmie Noone's orchestra in 1930. She returned to the studio in 1935, and over the next six years recorded over 100 tracks for Decca Records, usually accompanied by the pianist Richard M. Jones and also, in the late 1930s, by guitarist Lonnie Johnson. Her output exceeds that of her rivals Lil Johnson and Merline Johnson, and even Memphis Minnie, during those years. She also recorded under the name Georgia Lawson. Many of her songs were mildly risqué, including "I'll Keep Sitting on It," "Take Me for a Buggy Ride," "Mama Knows What Papa Wants When Papa's Feeling Blue," and "Hot Nuts." Her best known song was "You Done Lost Your Good Thing Now." In the 1940s, Georgia White formed an all-women band, which never recorded, and also performed with Bumble Bee Slim. In 1949 she joined Big Bill Broonzy as pianist in his Laughing Trio. "She was very easy to get along with," said Broonzy. "Real friendly." She returned to singing in clubs in the 1950s, and her last known public performance was in 1959 in Chicago. One of her songs, "Alley Boogie" (recorded November 9, 1937), was used as the theme music for the British romantic comedy drama series, Love Soup.

  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 favorite band!


Sure as Sin - Laura Lee

Laura Lee (born Laura Lee Newton, 9 March 1945, Chicago, Illinois) is an American soul and gospel singer and songwriter, most successful in the 1960s and 1970s and influential for her records which discussed and celebrated women’s experience. Lee was born in Chicago, but as a child relocated to Detroit with her mother. After a few years, she was adopted by Rev. E. Allan Rundless, who had previously been a member of the Soul Stirrers, and his wife Ernestine, who led a gospel group, The Meditation Singers. Featuring Della Reese, they were the first Detroit gospel group to perform with instrumental backing. The group recorded on the Specialty label in the mid 1950s, appeared on the LP Della Reese Presents The Meditation Singers in 1958, and in the early 1960s recorded for Checker Records. As Laura Lee Rundless, she replaced Reese in The Meditation Singers in 1956, and over the next few years toured widely around the country. In 1965, as Laura Lee, she launched her secular solo career as an R&B singer in clubs in Detroit, although she also continued to record occasionally with The Meditation Singers. She first recorded solo for Ric-Tic Records in 1966, with "To Win Your Heart". The following year, she signed with Chess Records and, after initially recording in-house with the label's producers in Chicago, it was decided to send her to Rick Hall’s FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals to record "Dirty Man". This became her first hit, reaching #13 R&B and #68 pop. She stayed with Chess until 1969, also recording "Up Tight Good Man" (#16 R&B) and "As Long As I Got You" (#31 R&B)). A short spell with Atlantic subsidiary, Cotillion resulted in two singles and then in 1970, Lee moved to former Motown producers, Holland, Dozier and Holland’s newly established Hot Wax label in Detroit. One of her first recordings for Hot Wax, "Women’s Love Rights", became one of her biggest hits, reaching #11 on the R&B chart in 1971 and #36 pop. In 1972, "Rip Off" became her biggest R&B hit at #3 but only climbed to #68 on the Billboard Hot 100. She also recorded an album, Two Sides of Laura Lee, while in a relationship with singer Al Green. Most of her material on Hot Wax was produced by William Weatherspoon, formerly with Motown. Lee left Invictus / Hot Wax in 1975 and signed with Ariola Records, but became seriously ill shortly afterwards and retired from the music industry for several years. She returned in 1983 with a gospel album, Jesus Is The Light Of My Life, on which she worked with Al Green. By 1990 she was recovered from her illness, and had been ordained as a minister. She has continued recording music, mostly gospel. A Swedish garage rock band did an unexpected homage to Lee by baptizing themselves as Division of Laura Lee.

  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 favorite band!

Thursday, February 28, 2013

She's Worse - Queen Sylvia Embry

Carey Bell-voc/harmonica Louisiana Red-git Jimmy Rodgers-git Lovie Lee-piano Queen Sylvia Embry-bass Charles"Honey Boy"Otis-drums For a period of time in the ‘70s and ‘80s, it appeared that Queen Sylvia Embry was going to emerge as one of Chicago’s leading blues women. After she emerged from her role as bass player for Lefty Dizz and the Shock treatment in the late 1970s, she began fronting her own small band in South Side clubs and making guest appearances on the North Side circuit. Everywhere she went, her big smile, warm stage presence, rich gospel-rooted voice and solid bass playing won her new fans. There were (and are) only a few professional-quality instrumentalists among the city’s blues women, and only one other playing bass. “I played piano when I first started out as a kid,” Sylvia recalled, “and I got away from it because my grandmother was very strict. She demanded I play gospel, and I wanted to play a little boogie-woogie. I was crazy about Chuck Berry and Lloyd Price; I didn’t care for blues then. My grandmother and her friends would drink white lightning and play blues records at their little outdoor cookouts, but she didn’t want me to do it.” To please her family, Sylvia sang in church choirs, even in a professional gospel group, The Southern Echoes, while a teenager. But at the age of nineteen, her ambitions grew bigger than the tiny town of Wabbaseka, Arkansas (where she was born in 1941) could hold. “I always wanted to be an actress or a vocalist. So I left home, went to Memphis. But unfortunately I got married, started to raise a family. I really didn’t trust leaving my home with someone else, so I was mainly a common housewife.”

  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 favorite band!


Monday, February 25, 2013

After The Rain Fell - Big Dog Mercer

For over a decade, Marty “Big Dog” Mercer’s heartfelt, southpaw Blues and soulful voice has growled through the Chicagoland music scene. Mercer’s ability to combine emotional lyrics with aggressive slide guitar makes him an artist unlike any other. Earning his moniker from local Chicagoland blues favorites, the “Big Dog” has proven to be a talent no one saw coming. Mercer’s music career began in Northern Illinois where he performed at local jam sessions. While dealing with the struggles of life and developing his musical skills, Mercer found solace in the blues. As Mercer has said, “I’ve been told that a musician doesn’t pick the blues, the blues picks the musician.I love all kinds of music, but the Blues grabbed me and never let me go.” Mercer followed the driving rhythm of the blues to the suburbs of Chicago where he started performing locally. That's when the “Big Dog” was born. "They started calling me Big Dog & pretty soon that's what everyone called me.There's so many people that don't know my name is Marty.They just know me as Big Dog." Since residing in Chicagoland, Mercer has shared the billing & or stage with ; The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Billy Branch & the S.O.B's, L.V.Banks, Toronzo Cannon, Lonnie Brooks, Ronnie Baker Brooks, Mud Morganfield ,Eddie Taylor Jr., Lindsey Alexander, Tom Holland , Larry McCray , Rockin' Johnny, Anthony Gomes, Hollee Thee Maxwell, Chris Beard and Sharon Lewis, just to name a few. In April 2007, Mercer was crowned Joliet, Illinois’ Guitar Center “King of the Blues”. 2010 proved to be a big year for the “Big Dog”, beginning with the signing to Electro Glide Records in October. The year also brought the release of his 2nd album,"Attack of the southpaw" and the honor of having his recording on the top 60 blues songs of 2010 by “Friends of the Blues”. He placed second in the July 2010 Muddy Waters’ Chicago Blues Slide Guitar Championship. In January 2011, Mercer was nominated for the Chicago SuburbaNites Magazine "Best of the Burbs" contest in the categories of best guitarist, best male vocalist, best acoustic duo, best cover band and best blues band. The “Best of the Burbs” readers’ poll earned him the title of Best Blues Band in both 2010 & 2011. In September 2011 Mercer signed a 2 album contract & released his latest cd on Electro Glide Records simply titled "Big Dog" Mercer. Reviews. It's receiving regular airplay on many radio & internet stations. The band tied for first place at the Chicago Blues Challenge hosted by the Windy City Blues Society at Chicago Blues Fest 2012. Mercer demonstrates this desire to help others through his contribution to area causes including the Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Guardian Angel Home, St. Joe's Academy, several Humane Societies, Heal With Love Foundation, private fundraisers, and many others. You can find the Big Dog’s music online, on over 150 radio stations in over 12 countries and live all over Chicagoland & surrounding areas. The “Big Dog” can be found playing with his band, as a duo and solo.

 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 favorite band!