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Showing posts with label Johnny Rivers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Johnny Rivers. Show all posts

Sunday, February 10, 2013

8th Annual Ventura County Blues Festival: New Name, New Venue, Legendary Lineup

8th Annual Ventura County Blues Festival
New Name, New Venue, Legendary Lineup

A Full Day Of Blues Music And Family Enjoyment 
At Our New Location, Moorpark College 

(Formerly The Simi Valley Blues Festival) 
Benefits The American Diabetes Association & Local Charities  
   (MOORPARK, CALIF) - New name, new venue, legendary lineup: Michael John's 8th Annual Ventura County Blues Festival takes place Saturday, April 27, 2013 at Moorpark College, 7075 Campus Rd., Moorpark. Gates open 10 a.m., music starts 11 a.m. Tickets $25 in advance, $30. day of show. Kids 12 and under free with adult. Plus food and craft vendors; guitar giveaway signed by all the artists; special kid's area; and silent auction including new autographed Fender guitar signed by Johnny Rivers, and photo opportunity (with Rivers). Info: or call the Festival Hotline: (805) 501-7122. Festival proceeds benefit the American Diabetes Association and local charities. Presented by the Ventura County Blues Society.

    This year's 8th Annual Ventura County Blues Festival is headlined by musical living legends: Johnny Rivers and Savoy Brown featuring Kim Simmonds; plus talented national acts guitarist Kenny Neal; keyboardist-vocalist Dona Oxford; Preston Smith and the Crocodiles; and Michael John and the Bottom Line. Special Guest Emcee: Actor/musician, Mickey Jones. Another capacity crowd is anticipated this year, so purchase tickets now in advance.
                                                                        Johnny Rivers                         
                                                     The Headliners...

    Johnny Rivers: With seventeen Gold Records, twenty-nine Chart Hits and over thirty million records sold, this legendary singer/songwriter and producer continues to perform before sellout crowds worldwide, remarkably at an age (70) when most people are happily retired. The "Secret Agent Man" has many other accomplishments and has made significant contributions to the history of rock 'n roll. River's long list of hits include "Baby I Need You Lovin," "Maybelline," "Memphis," "Mountain Of Love," "Poor Side Of Town," "Rockin Pneumonia & Boogie Woogie Flu," "Secret Agent Man," "Seventh Son," "Summer Rain," "Swayin To The Music (Slow Dancin)," "The Tracks Of My Tears" and many more. In 2009 Rivers was inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall Of Fame.

Savoy Brown featuring Kim Simmonds
   Savoy Brown Featuring Kim Simmonds: Legendary ... a Blues/Rock institution ... true innovators. These are just a few of the ways Savoy Brown has been described over the past forty years by music critics and fans. One of the earliest of British blues bands, Savoy Brown, with founder guitarist Kim Simmonds at the helm, helped launch the 1967 UK blues boom movement that brought blues music back to the USA invigorating the style forever. In the process, the band became part of the framework that launched the rock and roll music of the 1970's. Their influence now stretches into modern rock as we know it today.
                                               Also Performing....        
   Kenny Neal: Kenny Neal is an acclaimed multi-instrumentalist widely renowned as a modern swamp-blues master. His new release, Hooked On Your Love, follows the triumph of his multi-award winning 2008 comeback album, Let Life Flow. An outstanding success, the CD raked in accolades including three prestigious Album Of The Year awards, two Song Of The Year awards for the title track, and two Artist of the Year honors for Neal. It was clear that Kenny touched something deep in the blues community with his soulful guitar playing and uplifting songwriting, and his hot streak continues. Hooked On Your Love covers the plethora of accomplished roots styles Kenny has become known for: a tasty musical gumbo of swamp-boogie, jazz, R&B, and straight-ahead blues.    
  Dona Oxford: Santa Claritan Doña Oxford earned her reputation as a top-notch keyboardist and vocalist while playing with such legendary performers as Keith Richards, Bob Weir, Levon Helm, Phil Upchurch, Buddy Guy, Son Seals, Mark Termonti (Creed), Jimmy Vivino (Conan O'Brien Show) and her idol, former Chuck Berry sideman and Father of Rock & Roll Piano, Johnnie Johnson.

   Preston Smith & The Crocodiles: The 2013 VCBS IBC Winner,  Preston Smith has crafted his own irresistible original songs and colorful stage show. His expressive showmanship and varied musical influences have endeared Smith to fans all over the globe. He keeps the crowd on its feet with eyes glued to the stage, a bluesman to the core. Smith's music can be heard on Movie soundtracks as well as numerous TV commercials, and he has appeared on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. His snarlin' guitar sound blends with his screamin' harmonica work to produce a raw, soulful treat for any music lover. In addition to his guitar, harmonica and vocal work, Preston soars over the solid backbeat set by the tightly wound rhythm section of the Crocodiles.

   Michael John And The Bottom Line: Michael John, Founder and President of the Ventura County Blues Society, is also the Founder of the Ventura County Blues Festival and leads his band The Bottom Line. Since the festival's inception, Michael John & The Bottom Line have performed and donated their music which now has become an annual tradition for the festival kick off. When you combine family and lifelong friends you get a special musical bond that touches the hearts and souls of all music lovers alike. The band consists of Michael John (lead singer, guitar, harmonica), Michael John's son Mikey Mo (lead guitar), Steve Nelson (electric, stand-up Bass), Eddie Z (tenor, alto sax), Jeff Dellisanti (tenor, baritone sax), and Tom "T-Bone" Broderick (drums, backup vocals). The group attracts people of all ages with their blend of Swing to more contemporary rocking blues. They have received national airplay and have won multiple awards including placing in the top ten bands in the finals for the International Blues Challenge in Memphis Tennessee. In 2006 Michael was awarded the All Access Magazine award for "Best Male Vocalist."


                                                    A History....

   Michael John's Ventura County Blues Festival, formerly the Simi Valley Blues Festival, was the vision of Simi Valley resident Michael John Basowski. John (who also recently founded the  Ventura County Blues Society) has been a musician all his life and had always dreamed that someday he could do something which would make an impact on his community.

   Being a blues musician, the idea of a blues festival was the ideal way to turn his dream into reality. At the first festival - held in 2006 - Michael John teamed up with the local non-profit organization Write4Hope, who was instrumental in helping with the logistics for the event and made it possible to hold the first three blues festivals in Oak County Park in Simi Valley.
   Simi Valley resident musician/actor and celebrity figure Mickey Jones has emceed the Simi Valley Blues Festival every year since its beginning. In addition, Michael John's family and friends have donated their time and talent to help make this event a yearly success, with over three thousand attendees at the 2012 Simi Valley Blues Festival


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Seventh Son - Johnny Rivers

In 1964, when the British Invasion was in progress and American rockers were tough to find on the U.S. pop charts, Johnny Rivers was one of the first to regain a foothold; his first Top 10 record came right in the midst of Beatlemania. His formula was much the same as the British style vintage American rock n' roll and R&B played with a verve and simplicity that gave his music a contemporary edge. Over the next four years his funky, go-go rock gave him a steady stream of Top 10 records. His first #1 record came when, against the advice of the record company, he abruptly switched gears and began cutting ballads. The southern tone in much of Rivers' music was authentic. John Henry Ramistella was born November 7, 1942, in New York City. When he was about five, his father wound up out of work. The Ramistella's moved to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where an uncle, head of the Louisiana State University art department, got John's dad work painting houses and antiquing furniture. John's first musical inspiration was his father. "My dad and uncle used to get together and play these old Italian folk songs on mandolin and guitar." As John started playing, he listened to R&B on the late-night radio, megawatt stations like WLAC in Nashville. However, R&B was a way of life in Baton Rouge. "When I went to Baton Rouge Junior High, Fats Domino, Jimmy Reed and guys like that used to play at our dances," Rivers says. By junior high, he was sitting in with various local bands, including one led by Dick Holler, who later wrote "Abraham, Martin And John." Holler's guitarist was the still-unknown Jimmy Clanton. Holler, Rivers says, "introduced me to a lot of R&B artists and opened up a whole new world for me." Johnny formed his own band The Spades in 1956. "We played all Fats' tunes... Little Richard, Larry Williams, Bobby Bland," Rivers says. "We became the hot little band around Baton Rouge. Then Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis hit so I took on a little touch of rockabilly." Johnny and The Spades toured Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, Arkansas and Alabama. His first recording, "Hey Little Girl," was released by the Natchez, Mississippi-based Suede label, and sold well on The Spades' touring circuit. In 1957, John flew to New York during a school vacation and stayed with an aunt there. He wanted to meet Alan Freed. And he did. "It was like a scene out of an Alan Freed movie," Rivers says. He was at WINS in Columbus Circle. "I stood in front of the radio station. It was freezing cold and he came up with Jack Hooke who was his manager. I said 'My name's Johnny Ramistella. I'm from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and I have a band. I play and write and I'd like you to hear my music.' Alan gave me his card and said 'We have an office down at the Brill Building on Broadway. Why don't you come down tomorrow afternoon?' I went down and Jack Hooke was there and I played four or five songs." Hooke called George Goldner, owner of Gone and End records, whose office was also in the Brill. Legendary songwriter Otis Blackwell, author of "Don't Be Cruel" and "Great Balls Of Fire" arranged John's debut single "Baby Come Back" b/w "Long, Long Walk." Freed also gave Johnny a new name. "I was sitting around with Jack and Alan and they were gettin' ready to release the record," John remembers. "Alan (said) 'Your name... you need to come up with something a little more musical.' We were talkin' about where I grew up on the Mississippi River and somehow Rivers came out of that, That was the first time I used that name." "Baby Come Back" was released in March 1958. His New York contacts also led to releases like "Your First And Last Love" on the Dee Dee label, issued that August, and "You're The One" on the Guyden label, released in March 1959. None were hits. Back in Baton Rouge, Rivers began touring as a solo act with innovative Southern comedian Brother Dave Gardner. At a show in Birmingham, Alabama, he met Hank Williams' widow Audrey, who brought him to Nashville around 1959 and got him a contract with Cub, a subsidiary of MGM Records. He cut two singles for Cub backed by some of Nashville's best session players: Floyd Kramer, Buddy Harman, Bob Moore, and Hank Garland, who became a close friend. Johnny also hung out with Roger Miller, then a promising songwriter at Tree Music, Roger's publishing company. Rivers credits his uncanny gift of finding good songs and writers to his New York and Nashville experiences. "I learned that the song was everything from hangin' out at the Brill Building and in Nashville around Tree Music," he says. "I used to cut demos for Hill and arrange songs when I was in New York, Guys like Otis Blackwell would come in with a new tune and they'd get me to do the Elvis Presley sound and cut demos for them. 25 bucks a demo." Around 1960, as Johnny alternated between Nashville and Baton Rouge, Merle Kilgore, then a deejay at KWKH in Shreveport, got him a spot on the Louisiana Hayride. He also introduced him to Shreveport guitar legend James Burton, home on vacation from working with Ricky Nelson in California. Burton took a tape of Johnny's song "I'll Make Believe" back to California. Within a month, he called to tell Johnny that Rick would record it. The song wound up on Nelson's 1960 Imperial LP More Songs By Ricky. Rivers flew to L.A., met Rick and the band, and relocated to L.A. around 1961. "I was thinking of producing records," he says. "I was starting to give up on the artist idea. I'd kicked around for so long I was starting to look in other areas. Then I met a producer named Nick Venet and wound up doing some stuff for Capitol." The 1962 Capitol sides, including a cover version of Lefty Frizzell's country hit "Long Black Veil" didn't sell, but Rivers' contacts gained him work as a writer and producer. Rivers returned to the stage in 1963, almost by accident. He was a regular customer at Bill Gazzari's club on La Cienega Blvd. in L.A. for some time. "Hangin' out in the studios, bein' a musician, I was always up late, so I wound up goin' by there quite a bit," Rivers says. "It was a little Italian restaurant that usually stayed open until four in the morning. When the clubs closed at two, everyone that was still hungry would go get some good food. He had a jazz trio there." One night Johnny found Gazzari forlorn because his house band was leaving. "Bill said, 'You're a musician. Can't you come in and help us out for a few nights until I can find somebody?' I said, 'I play funky rock'n'roll. I don't think that's what you want in here.' He begged me, 'Please come in and play your stuff until I find another jazz group."' Johnny devised a formula: "Trini Lopez had been playing over at PJ's, doin' this slap rhythm thing. I said, 'I can do that kind of stuff.' I didn't have a band so I called Eddie Rubin, a jazz drummer. He wasn't gigging at the time, so he and Eddie went into Gazzari's together‹just guitar and drums‹and played what we thought was going to be a three- or four-day gig." To everyone's surprise, huge crowds gathered to hear Johnny and Rubin play rock and R&B hits. Gazzari's profits soared, and when Rivers was ready to leave, Gazzari offered him more money and let him hire a bassist. Joe Osborn, just starting to become an L.A. studio legend, joined Rivers and Rubin. Rivers also met two men at Gazzari's who would play major roles in his career: Lou Adler, who became his producer, and Elmer Valentine, who was opening an L.A. version of the Paris Whisky A Go-Go club on the Sunset Strip. Valentine offered Rivers a year's contract to appear at the new club. On January 15, 1964, he opened. Three days later 'The Beatles' "I Want To Hold Your Hand" entered the charts. "The Whisky was a smash from opening night," Rivers says. I brought my following from Gazzari's." Rivers and his famous red Gibson ES-335 guitar symbolized the Strip's new youth-oriented atmosphere. They weren't at the Whisky long when he and Adler thought of cutting a live album. Another L.A. club owner loaned Rivers and Adler money to hire Wally Heider's remote recording unit. "We recorded this album two nights in a row and took it to every record company in town. None of them wanted it," Johnny recalls. Liberty Records executive Bob Skaff liked the tape and convinced reluctant Liberty President Al Bennett to release it on Imperial Records. Bennett had purchased Imperial from founder Lew Chudd, and ran it as a small, semi-independent label. To release Rivers' recordings, he and Adler formed Dunhill Productions with Bobby Roberts (an ex-member of The Dunhills, a tap dancing group that inspired the name) and Pierre Cossette (now producer of the Grammy Awards show). This eventually evolved into Dunhill Records, home to L.A rock legends The Mamas & The Papas, The Grass Roots and Steppenwolf. Adler and company were disappointed that the album would appear on what they considered a secondary label. But not Johnny. "When they said 'Imperial Records.' I just jumped up and went 'YEAH! YEAH!' Because I grew up with nothing but Imperial Records, Bobby Mitchell, Fats Domino, and Ricky Nelson, and I thought 'What a cool label!'" Both Rivers and Adler came to see Imperial's smallness as a plus. "it gave Lou and me the autonomy to pick our own singles and work closely with the promotion men and marketing people," Rivers says. "I think that had a lot to do with why we had so much success, because we had a real good handle on it." 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”