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Showing posts with label Lonnie Brooks. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lonnie Brooks. Show all posts

Friday, April 7, 2017

Provogue Records artist: Ronnie Baker Brooks - Times Have Changed - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Times Have Changed, by Ronnie Baker Brooks and it's terrific! Opening with Joe Tex number, Show Me, Ronnie Baker Brooks (on vocal and guitar) is kicking ass and taking names right out of the chute featuring Steve Cropper on guitar, Steve Jordan on drums, Willie Weeks on bass, Felix Cavaliere on Hammond, Ben Cauley on trumpet, Lonniie McMillan on tenor sax and Jack Hale Sr on trombone. Big Head Todd sits in on Doing Too Much, a cool blue rocker with Leroy Hodges on bass, Charles Hodges on Hammond and Turner on piano. Recently passed and sorely missed, Lonine Brooks, sits in on Twine Time, a cool, sixties style surf rocker. Rapper, Al Kapone  sits in on traditional blues style track, Times Have Changed, with Weeks setting a great bass line and Brooks' solid vocals and guitar riffs. The addition of Jessie Munson and Wen-Yih Yu on violin, Beth Luscome and Jennifer Puckett on viola, and Mark Wallace and Jonathan Kirkscey on cello add a refined note to the short Kapone rap. Curtis Mayfield's Give me Your Love, a cool jazz infused soul track featuring Angie Stone on vocal has a true Mayfield smoothness. Robert Cray track, Old Love has great style and featuring Bobby Blue Bland on vocal and his own stylistic guitar work makes this a true favorite. On high stepper, Wham Bam Thank You Sam, Brooks really struts with cool vocals, great guitar accents, a solid bass line from Hodges and super R&B style horns. Very cool. Closing the release is When I Was We, featuring Hubby Turner on piano supporting Brooks' warm vocals.

Very nice conclusion to an exceptional release.



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Monday, April 3, 2017

Lonnie Brooks has passed - My thoughts are with his family



Grammy-nominated Chicago blues icon Lonnie Brooks, whose music Rolling Stone called, "witty, soulful and ferociously energetic...simply astonishing guitar work," died on Saturday, April 1, 2017 in Chicago, according to his son, Ronnie Baker Brooks. He was 83. Guitar Player described him as “...like a fire-and-brimstone preacher, testifying the blues from the bottom of his soul.”

With his "booming, gritty vocals and fierce six-string firepower” (Chicago Tribune), Brooks created an instantly recognizable signature sound. It combined Chicago blues, rock ‘n’ roll, Memphis soul, swampy Louisiana grooves and country twang into a style that his fellow musicians called "voodoo blues." He was inducted into the Port Arthur Historical Society Hall Of Fame in 2001 and the Blues Hall Of Fame in 2010. On June 12, 2012 Mayor Rahm Emanuel declared Lonnie Brooks Day in Chicago.

Lonnie Brooks was born Lee Baker, Jr. on December 18, 1933. Over the course of his 60-year career, he recorded 11 full albums and dozens of 45s for a number of labels. His career began in Port Arthur, Texas in the mid-1950s. Recording under the name Guitar Junior, he scored a string of regional hits, including Family Rules and The Crawl for the Goldband label.

The success of his singles led to numerous southern tours and a busy performance schedule that included dancehalls, juke joints and roadhouses across Texas and Louisiana. In 1959, Lonnie befriended the great Sam Cooke, who suggested his move to Chicago. Once settled, he changed his name to Lonnie Brooks (Chicago already had a Guitar Junior) and became infatuated with the sound of deep Chicago blues. He soon landed a job as a sideman with blues hitmaker Jimmy Reed, with whom he toured and recorded. Brooks cut a handful of singles throughout the 1960s, as well as appearing on a number of Chicago blues and R&B recording sessions. He played nightly in the bars on the South and West sides of Chicago and in Gary and East Chicago, Indiana. In 1969, Capitol Records released Brooks’ first album, Broke an’ Hungry, under his old stage name, Guitar Junior.

In 1978, Brooks recorded four songs for Alligator Records' Grammy-nominated Living Chicago Blues anthology. This led to a full contract with the label. His Alligator debut, Bayou Lightning, was released in 1979. The album, along with Brooks' roof-raising live performances, brought him to the attention of Rolling Stone, which ran a six-page feature on the legendary musician. The album won the prestigious Grand Prix du Disque Award from the 1980 Montreux Jazz Festival. While appearing in Montreux, Lonnie befriended country star Roy Clark. Clark was so impressed with Lonnie that he arranged an appearance for Lonnie on the popular country music television show Hee Haw.

Constant touring in the U.S. and abroad kept Brooks in the public eye. His scorching 1980 live performance of Sweet Home Chicago on the Blues Deluxe album (resulting in Brooks' second Grammy nomination) is now considered the quintessential version of the song. A 1982 trip to Germany resulted in an hour-long Lonnie Brooks special shown on German television. BBC radio broadcast an hour-long live performance across all of Great Britain in 1987. Brooks spent the summer of 1993 on a national concert tour with B.B. King, Buddy Guy, Koko Taylor, Junior Wells and Eric Johnson. In 1995 Eric Clapton honored Brooks by inviting the bluesman on stage for an unforgettable impromptu jam at Chicago's Buddy Guy’s Legends club. In 1998 alone, he appeared in the film Blues Brothers 2000, performed on The Late Show With David Letterman and co-authored (along with his son Wayne Baker Brooks and music scribe Cub Koda) the book Blues For Dummies.

His final two releases, 1996's Roadhouse Rules and 1999's Lone Star Shootout (recorded with fellow Gulf Coast blues veterans Long John Hunter and Phillip Walker), showed Brooks at his very best -- an electrifying guitarist with full-throated vocals, clever original songs, and a dedication to having fun. His recording of It's Your World from Roadhouse Rules was featured in an episode of HBO's The Sopranos. In 2008, Brooks appeared in the film The Express -- The Ernie Davis Story. Lonnie also appeared in two award-winning Heineken beer commercials.

Among Brooks' proudest accomplishments was the success of his talented guitar-playing sons, Ronnie Baker Brooks and Wayne Baker Brooks. Lonnie always encouraged and mentored the boys as they were growing up. Ronnie even toured with his dad while still a teenager. Both Wayne and Ronnie lead their own bands and have released critically acclaimed recordings. In 2011 and 2012, Lonnie, Ronnie and Wayne toured as The Brooks Family Dynasty, showcasing three world-class blues guitarists -- a father and his sons -- standing shoulder to shoulder, delivering thunderous performances. Lonnie's last recording appearance was as a guest on Ronnie's latest album, Times Have Changed.

Lonnie Brooks' larger-than-life personality and abundance of pure talent made him beloved worldwide, leading The Chicago Tribune to declare his music "a joyful paean to the power of the blues." 

Brooks is survived by sisters Erma, Geraldine, Jerryline, Carol, Patricia (preceded him in death), brothers Herman, Cliff, Joe, MC (all preceded him in death), Ahal and Willie, Shirley, mother of his son Lee Baker III and daughter Linda Baker Williams (preceded him in death), Jeannine, mother of his sons Ronnie Baker Brooks, Wayne Baker Brooks, Russell Baker, Robert Lauderdale and daughters Denise Baker Parker, Jackie Graham and Gina Baker Landers, with a host of cousins, nieces, nephews, grandchildren, great grandchildren and great great grandchildren.

The family would like to thank all of his worldwide fans for their love, support and loyalty over his 60 year long career.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Lonnie Brooks

Lonnie Brooks (born Lee Baker Jr., December 18, 1933) is an American blues singer and guitarist. He was born in Dubuisson, Louisiana, United States. Rolling Stone stated, "His music is witty, soulful and ferociously energetic, brimming with novel harmonic turnarounds, committed vocals and simply astonishing guitar work." The New York Times added, "He sings in a rowdy baritone, sliding and rasping in songs that celebrate lust, fulfilled and unfulfilled; his guitar solos are pointed and unhurried, with a tone that slices cleanly across the beat. Wearing a cowboy hat, he looks like the embodiment of a good-time bluesman." He learned to play blues from his banjo-picking grandfather, but did not think about a professional career until he moved to Port Arthur, Texas in the early 1950s. There he heard live performances by Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, T-Bone Walker, B.B. King, Long John Hunter and others and began to think about making money from his music. One day, while Brooks was strumming his guitar on his front porch in Port Arthur, Clifton Chenier heard him and offered him a job in his touring band. Embarking on a solo career, he adopted the moniker of Guitar Junior and signed with Lake Charles's Goldband label. His singles for the label included regional hit "Family Rules", which remains a favorite of the swamp pop idiom in south Louisiana and southeast Texas. Other Goldband singles included "Made In The Shade" and "The Crawl" (later recorded by The Fabulous Thunderbirds). In 1960, he moved to Chicago, Illinois. Luther Johnson was already using the name 'Guitar Junior' there, so he adopted the alternative stage name, Lonnie Brooks. In Chicago, he found regular work in the West Side clubs as well as in Gary and East Chicago, Indiana and occasionally in the Rush Street North Side entertainment area. He cut a series of 45s for a variety of labels, including Chess, Chirrup, Mercury, Midas and USA Records, achieving some local radio airplay. He also supported other artists on record and live, including Jimmy Reed. In 1961 he played guitar on the double album, Jimmy Reed at Carnegie Hall. In 1969, he recorded his first album, Broke An’ Hungry, for the Capitol label. It was produced by Wayne Shuler, son of Eddie Shuler, who had founded Goldband Records in Louisiana. In 1974, Brooks participated in a multi-artist tour of Europe, and cut an album entitled Sweet Home Chicago for the French label Black & Blue. When he returned to Chicago, he began playing regularly at Pepper’s Hideout on the Chicago's South Side. There he attracted the attention of Bruce Iglauer, head of the fledgling Alligator Records label, who had previously seen him a number of times at the Avenue Lounge on the city’s West Side. In 1978, Iglauer included four of Brooks’ songs (including three originals) on an anthology series entitled Living Chicago Blues, released by Alligator Records. He was signed to the label, and the following year, he released his album Bayou Lightning on the Alligator label. The album won the 'Grand Prix du Disque Award' from the 1980 Montreux Jazz Festival. While in Montreux, Brooks befriended country star Roy Clark. Clark was impressed with Brooks, and he arranged for an appearance on the country music television program Hee Haw. Since that time, Brooks has recorded exclusively for the Alligator, releasing seven albums as well as shared recordings and compilation appearances. Brooks' style, sometimes described as "voodoo blues", includes elements of Chicago blues, Louisiana blues, swamp pop and rhythm and blues. Other labels have issued pre-1978 recordings by Brooks as well as compilations of Brooks' singles. Following the release of Bayou Lightning, Brooks began touring nationwide as well as returning to Europe. A 1982 trip to Germany resulted in an hour-long Brooks live performance on German television. His 1983 follow-up album was Hot Shot. 1986's Wound Up Tight featured a guest appearance by Brooks' most famous fan, Johnny Winter, on guitar. Rolling Stone took notice of the album, running a six-page feature on Brooks. And in 1987, BBC Radio broadcast an hour-long live performance. By this time, Brooks' teenage son, Ronnie Baker Brooks, was touring with the band. He made his recording debut on his father's Live From Chicago—Bayou Lightning Strikes. Brooks’ 1991 release, Satisfaction Guaranteed, received major media coverage, including features and articles in The Washington Post, The Village Voice, Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, Guitar World, Living Blues, Blues Revue, and many other publications. Brooks spent the summer of 1993 on a national concert tour with B.B. King, Buddy Guy, Koko Taylor, Junior Wells and Eric Johnson. During the Chicago stop of his 1995 “From The Cradle” club tour, Eric Clapton honored Brooks by inviting the bluesman on stage for an impromptu jam at Buddy Guy's Legends club. In 1996, Brooks released Roadhouse Rules. The album was produced in Memphis by Jim Gaines, who also produced Luther Allison, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Santana, and his son Ronnie Baker Brooks appeared again. In 1999, along with fellow Gulf Coast blues veterans Long John Hunter and Phillip Walker (both of whom he had known and played with in the 1950s in Port Arthur), Brooks released Lone Star Shootout. Brooks continues to tour in the U.S. and Europe. His sons, Ronnie Baker Brooks and Wayne Baker Brooks, are also full-time blues entertainers, fronting their own bands and touring extensively in the U.S. and abroad. Wayne Baker Brooks continues to play in his father's band as well. The Brooks' are frequent guest performers at each other's shows and have booked appearances as 'The Brooks Family'. Besides his live and recorded performances, Brooks appeared in the films Blues Brothers 2000 and The Express and in two UK television commercials for Heineken beer. His song "Eyeballin'" was heard in Forever LuLu, and "Got Lucky Last Night" featuring Johnny Winter appeared in John Candy's Masters of Menace. He also co-authored the book Blues for Dummies, along with son Wayne Baker Brooks and music historian, guitarist, and songwriter, Cub Koda. “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

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Blues With A Feeling - Lonnie Brooks


Lonnie Brooks (born Lee Baker Jr., December 18, 1933) is an American blues singer and guitarist. He was born in Dubuisson, Louisiana, United States. Rolling Stone stated, "His music is witty, soulful and ferociously energetic, brimming with novel harmonic turnarounds, committed vocals and simply astonishing guitar work." The New York Times added, "He sings in a rowdy baritone, sliding and rasping in songs that celebrate lust, fulfilled and unfulfilled; his guitar solos are pointed and unhurried, with a tone that slices cleanly across the beat. Wearing a cowboy hat, he looks like the embodiment of a good-time bluesman.
He learned to play blues from his banjo-picking grandfather, but did not think about a professional career until he moved to Port Arthur, Texas in the early 1950s. There he heard live performances by Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, T-Bone Walker, B.B. King, Long John Hunter and others and began to think about making money from his music. One day, while Brooks was strumming his guitar on his front porch in Port Arthur, Clifton Chenier heard him and offered him a job in his touring band.

Embarking on a solo career, he adopted the moniker of Guitar Junior and signed with Lake Charles's Goldband label. His singles for the label included regional hit "Family Rules", which remains a favorite of the swamp pop idiom in south Louisiana and southeast Texas
In 1960, he moved to Chicago, Illinois. Luther Johnson was already using the name 'Guitar Junior' there, so he adopted the alternative stage name, Lonnie Brooks.
Brooks continues to tour in the U.S. and Europe. His sons, Ronnie Baker Brooks and Wayne Baker Brooks, are also full-time blues entertainers, fronting their own bands and touring extensively in the U.S. and abroad. Wayne Baker Brooks continues to play in his father's band as well. The Brooks' are frequent guest performers at each other's shows and have booked appearances as 'The Brooks Family'.
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