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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 Massachusetts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Massachusetts. Show all posts

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Gandy Dancer Records artist: Peter Ward - Blues On My Shoulders - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Blues On My Shoulders, from Peter Ward and it's quite good. Opening with solid shuffle, She Took It All, Peter Ward on guitar and lead vocal sets a great pace with Mudcat Ward on bass, Neil Gouvin on drums and Sugar Ray Norcia on harp. Excellent opener. Surf rocker, Which Hazel, is a solid rocker along the lines of Chuck Berry with a strong surf twist. Clever lyrics and guitar riffs by Ward give this track a lot of gas. On title track, Blues On My Shoulders, Anthony Geraci adds nice piano and I particularly love the guitar work by Monster Mike Welch. Collaborate is all about lush chords and sassy sax and Ward's guitar work with Sax Gordon Beadle's sax work is just that. Excellent! Shuffle track, It's On Me is another outstanding entry on the release with a hot sax solo from Beadle and hot fingering from Ronnie Earl and Ward. Very nice. Southpaw is a hot number with a smoking B3 solo from Rusty Scott, solid bass work from George Dellomo, and hot guitar riffs by Ward.  One of my personal favorites on the release is jump track, Kansas City Blues featuring great vocals, a strong bass line by Joe Delia and really nice soloing by Ward. Wrapping the release is Drummin' Willie, about Willie Big Eyes Smith with Neil Gouvin on druma, Mudcat on bass and Sugar Ray Norcia on harp. This is a strong release with a lot of cool surprises. Check it out. 

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Playin' in the the Sand with Ronnie Earl & the Broadcasters

During a recent sand sculpture competition on Revere Beach north of Boston, one contestant tied together his love of Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters with his sand sculpture building skills. Check out this work by Prince Edward Island artist Abe Waterman. Sure beats my work with a little bucket!

Thanks Mark Pucci

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Guitarist Mark T. Small Delivers Some "Smokin' Blues" on New CD Coming January 28, 2014, on Lead Foot Music

Guitarist Mark T. Small Delivers Some
Smokin’ Blues on New CD Coming January 28, 2014, on Lead Foot Music  

Latest Album Showcases Small’s Guitar Mastery in a Variety of Blues & Roots Forms

SOMERSET, MA – Guitarist Mark T. Small announces a January 28, 2014 release date for his fourth CD, Smokin’ Blues, on the Lead Foot Music label imprint. The even-dozen tracks on Smokin’ Blues solidify the Massachusetts-based Small’s place as an emerging master of the guitar, ranging from Delta blues and Chicago styles, to the intricate flatpicking schooled from his early days in “Newgrass” bands. The 12 songs on the new CD reflect music originally performed by such early blues legends as Blind Boy Fuller, Tampa Red, Charley Patton and Reverend Gary Davis to post-war icons John Lee Hooker, Howlin’ Wolf, Elmore James and even a Stax/Memphis soul vibe with the inclusion of a Rufus Thomas tune.  

“Smokin' Blues is a sampler of the guitar grooves that make up my solo show,” says Mark T. Small. “My main objective for this CD was to produce a recording that sounds and feels like I am playing in a small room with the listener.  The only effect that was added, other than the ‘radio tone’ on the song, ‘Daddy Was a Jockey,’ was a touch of reverb to further simulate listening in a small room.

“I am a live player, not a studio guy. My friend and mentor Shor'ty Billups, who is a guest on this CD, always taught me to let the audience do the editing of my songs. By paying attention to the crowd, I can tell if my solos or songs are too long or if the groove is not quite right.  I am always watching to see who is tapping their feet in the back of the room and am paying close attention to which grooves get people moving.”

Small enlists the aid of some serious guitar “weapons” on Smokin’ Blues to achieve the desired effects. “I have tried to include a number of different guitar styles and techniques on this CD,” he adds. “At gigs, I use a Martin flattop and a National resophonic guitar to play about six different guitar styles.  I try to mix things up by maybe starting with a fingerpicking piano-like style, then switching to a flatpick for some Chicago style blues, and then I might use my National guitar to create a tonal shift. When the grooves are thumpin' for a while, I may bring the set in a different direction by flatpicking something like ‘Railroad Blues’ in a bluegrass style, throw in a fiddle tune and then maybe play a couple of rag time instrumentals.”
Mark includes two instrumentals on the new album that truly showcase his deft guitar work: Reverend Gary Davis’ “Buck Rag,” and the album’s closer, “America Medley.” On the former, he plays the bass, melody and harmony lines all at once, using the thumb, index and middle fingers on his right hand, effectively emulating the amazing work Davis did on the original. The “America Medley” features one of his own arrangements in a fingerpicking style similar to that of Chet Atkins and Merle Travis.

Mark T. Small has been playing music since his early teens, when he began listening to Old Time Music. He learned to play fiddle tunes on the guitar in the styles of Doc Watson and Norman Blake and also learned to play the Dobro. In 1981, this music took Mark to Indiana to play and record with a five-piece “Newgrass Band” called The Brown County Band. At the same time, he was playing harmonica and listening to Junior Wells and Charlie Musselwhite.
After returning to the East Coast, Mark dug deeper into the blues, playing more electric guitar. When he was playing progressive Newgrass, his style had the influence of the blues. Now delving into the blues, his playing has the razors edge and speed that was developed from years of flat-picking. This combination of the lightning fast bluegrass style and his soulful blues playing are the key components of Mark’s sound today.
Beginning in the late 1980s, Mark started his own Chicago-style blues band that ranged anywhere from three to ten pieces on a given night and was a staple on the New England club circuit for over a dozen years. Many of the gigs were played as a “power trio” with Mark singing and filling the band out with scorching electric blues guitar. Other times, the band included a keyboard or sax player and/or the addition of the Newport Navy Band Horn Section.
 In 2000, Mark began to gravitate back to his acoustic roots and the studio became his classroom. After making a decision to pursue a solo career, Mark took all of the lessons that he had learned over the last 25 years and constructed an act that was as hard- hitting as the band, but all in a one-man show. As such, he’s opened for Johnny Winter, Robert Cray, James Cotton and others.
Today, his show includes many traditional Delta blues numbers with a Chicago blues slant that transforms each tune into a “tour de force.” Included are the blazing flat-picking techniques that grabbed audiences in Mark’s bluegrass days, the hot slide guitar playing that creates a mood and timbre change in each set and the showmanship that was developed from his years of experience. 
“On Smokin' Blues I have also tried to match the intensity of playing in a club setting, Mark states. “In these settings I take the tunes that I love, interpret them and do everything possible to make that connection with the audience.”
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Thursday, December 5, 2013

Proof of Love - Gracie Curran & The High Falutin' Band - New release Review

I just received the newest release, Proof of Love from Gracie Curran and the High Falutin' Band and it's powerful. Opening with a potent guitar riff into a saturated amp by Tom Caroll, the High Falutin' Band sets a smokin' tempo on Even With The Rain. Sax man Mark Earley has the bottom and he really has control. Curran has a strong, sassy voice and Latin rhythm by drummer Derek John Bergman spices up the track. Ballad Take You With Me is constructed along the lines of a "Band" track but with Curran taking it light and key man extraordinaire Bruce Bears adding the warmth and Doug Woolverton laying down counter melodies on trumpet. A sweet guitar solo on this track by Carroll shows influence by Dickey Betts. Jack & MaryJane has the rhythm of Use Me Up which is just a great groove and sax man Earley is strong making memorable use of his horn. Very nice! Another fluid guitar guitar solo with hints of Jimi adds to the tone of the track. Super ballad Rock & A Hard Place gives Curran a nice opportunity to grind into the vocals and reverb treatment on the guitar adds a nice dimension. A super sax solo near the end of this track by Earley is another highlight of this track. Can't Getta is a R&B style track rhythmic vocal and Wooverton playing tight trumpet overtone. Been All Over has a gritty blues swagger and saturated harp work by Richard Rosenblatt. Carroll steps up with a stinging guitar solo on this track as well making it clearly one of the hot tracks on the release. Weight Of Her World is a mellow ballad giving Curran space to show her stuff with full horn backing from Woolverton and clean guitar soloing from Carroll. With Friends Like These has a haunting melody and may be my favorite track on the release. Light touches of trumpet by Woolverton punctuate the delicate nature of the track and Carroll adds just the right touches of guitar on this track to give it some bite. Nicely done.

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Sunday, August 11, 2013

Gashouse Dave

David Randall Shorey – a.k.a. Gashouse Dave – was born in Concord, Massachusetts and played in bands throughout New England, opening for major acts like the Young Rascals, The Animals, The Youngbloods, Jimmy Smith, Starship, Fleetwood Mac and The Doobie Brothers. After a while he packed up the truck and moved to Lake Tahoe and then Mill Valley, where he eventually played bass and guitar with the late Mike Bloomfield for about 4 years, doing tours and recordings on the Takoma, Chrysalis and TK labels. He has also played guitar with a lot of artists, including The Judds, Big Joe Turner, Stevie Wonder, Elvin Bishop and Nick Gravenites, among others. Gashouse Dave is a bluesman at heart, with a natural lived-in voice that no teenage sensation can approximate. While the music is rooted in the Blues, the lyrics and indeed, the entire vocal attitude are steeped in the literary influences of writers such as Jack Kerouac, Raymond Chandler, William Carlos Williams and many others. His love of music is matched by his passion for the written word. In fact, he holds a degree in literature, after studying in London and Paris, and even did a few stints teaching English. "I feel like I found friends in books. Early in the game I identified with American writers like Jack London, William Saroyan, John Steinbeck, but drew the line at Hemmingway. I found that I was getting more specific in my quest. I found Bukowski, Raymond Chandler, James Ellroy and Elmore Leonard. The Universe was getting smaller for me. Dee Brown, John C. Neihardt, Robert Anton Wilson, Edgar Cayce, Aleister Crowley, Jules Verne and James Baldwin. I was looking for something in the Brotherhood. In addition to electric guitar, Dave also plays most of the keyboards, utilizes the dobro as a thematic element and doesn’t hesitate to use what the modern technology can offer. In fact, this californian blues poet mixes the roots of the blues whith what could be its futures.  

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, July 26, 2013

Charlie Sayles

Harmonica player Charlie Sayles is starting to carve out a hard-fought niche for himself in U.S. blues circles, thanks to some help from the London-based JSP Records. Sayles has three excellent albums out on JSP, Night Ain't Right (1990), I Got Something to Say (1995), and Hip Guy (2000). Although life hasn't been easy for Sayles, he seems to have come through the traumas OK. They started in his childhood, when he was shifted from his broken home to a long procession of foster homes. He ended up joining the Army in the late '60s and was promptly shipped to South Vietnam. His tour of duty ended in 1971, and he came back to Massachusetts for a time. Sayles picked up the blues harp while he was in Vietnam, and made a slow adjustment back to civilized society upon his return from three years in the infantry. He discovered the music of Sonny Boy Williamson (Rice Miller) after he returned home, and learned all he could from those recordings. Sayles began to make trips to New York City, Atlanta, St. Louis, and other cities, playing on the streets for tips from passersby in 1974 and for several years thereafter. He worked when he needed money as a day laborer. He hasn't had a real day job since then, patiently plying his craft in clubs, on street corners and more recently, at blues festivals. What shows in Sayles' playing are the long periods of time he spent honing his craft on the streets and in subway stations. His approach as a solo artist was to get as full and band-like a sound as he could with his harp. It appears to have paid off, because Sayles is unlike other harp players; his playing is full of extended phrasing and super-quick changes in register. Sayles uses the harmonica as a melodic device while coaxing sharp, almost percussive sounds from it as well. Sayles began to develop his songwriting voice in the mid-'70s, and his debut for the JSP label is far from a straight-ahead blues album. On his second JSP release, Sayles artfully blends funky, gritty urban blues sounds with original, down-to-earth lyrics, successfully avoiding a lot of blues clich├ęs. Perhaps his first big break was being "discovered" by Ralph Rinzler, an organizer for the Smithsonian Festival of American Folklife. Rinzler paired Sayles up with Pete Seeger, and after a variety of festival appearances, Sayles ended up moving to Washington, D.C. By the early '80s, while living in Washington, Sayles had begun to form his first bands. Sayles' first record, Raw Harmonica Blues, was issued in 1976, long before blues became fashionable, on the Dusty Road label. Sayles didn't record again for 15 years, when he got picked up by JSP Records. I Got Something to Say has some prominent guests on it, including Washington's most celebrated blues guitar player, Bobby Parker. Also performing on the record is guitarist Deborah Coleman. Hip Guy was released in 2000. Each of Sayles' JSP recordings are well-worth seeking out, even at import prices, because of his original take on blues music. Sayles would be the first to tell you that he's not a straight-ahead Chicago blues player. He takes a much more mongrelized approach to the music, mixing in elements of New Orleans funk, Chicago blues and rock & roll in his playing. ~ Richard Skelly, Rovi

  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, July 22, 2013

Lover Man - Sonny Stitt

Sonny Stitt Alto Sax, Walter Bishop Piano. Tommy Potter Bass, Kenny Clarke Drums. Edward "Sonny" Stitt (born Edward Boatner, Jr., February 2, 1924 – July 22, 1982) was an American jazz saxophonist of the bebop/hard bop idiom. He was one of the best-documented saxophonists of his generation, recording over 100 albums. He was nicknamed the "Lone Wolf" by jazz critic Dan Morgenstern, in reference to his relentless touring and devotion to jazz. Edward Boatner, Jr. was born in Boston, Massachusetts,and grew up in Saginaw, Michigan. He had a musical background; his father, Edward Boatner, was a baritone singer, composer and college music professor, his brother was a classically trained pianist, and his mother was a piano teacher. Boatner was soon adopted by another family, the Stitts, who gave him his new surname. He later began calling himself "Sonny". In 1943, Stitt first met Charlie Parker, and as he often later recalled, the two men found that their styles had an extraordinary similarity that was partly coincidental and not merely due to Stitt's emulation. Stitt's improvisations were more melodic and less dissonant than those of Parker. Stitt's earliest recordings were made in 1945 with Stan Getz and Dizzy Gillespie. He had also played in some swing bands, though he mainly played in bop bands. Stitt was featured in Tiny Bradshaw's big band in the early forties. Stitt replaced Charlie Parker in Dizzy Gillespie's band in 1945. Stitt played alto saxophone in Billy Eckstine's big band alongside future bop pioneers Dexter Gordon and Gene Ammons from 1945 until 1956, when he started to play tenor saxophone more frequently, in order to avoid being referred to as a Charlie Parker imitator. Later on, he played with Gene Ammons and Bud Powell. Stitt spent time in a Lexington prison between 1948–49 for selling narcotics. Stitt, when playing tenor saxophone, seemed to break free from some of the criticism that he was imitating Charlie Parker's style, although it appears in the instance with Ammons above that the availability of the larger instrument was a factor. Indeed, Stitt began to develop a far more distinctive sound on tenor. He played with other bop musicians Bud Powell and Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis, a fellow tenor with a distinctly tough tone in comparison to Stitt, in the 1950s and recorded a number of sides for Prestige Records label as well as albums for Argo, Verve and Roost. Stitt experimented with Afro-Cuban jazz in the late 1950s, and the results can be heard on his recordings for Roost and Verve, on which he teamed up with Thad Jones and Chick Corea for Latin versions of such standards as "Autumn Leaves." Stitt joined Miles Davis briefly in 1960, and recordings with Davis' quintet can be found only in live settings on the tour of 1960. Concerts in Manchester and Paris are available commercially and also a number of concerts (which include sets by the earlier quintet with John Coltrane) on the record Live at Stockholm (Dragon), all of which featured Wynton Kelly, Jimmy Cobb and Paul Chambers. However, Miles fired Stitt due to the excessive drinking habit he had developed, and replaced him with fellow tenor saxophonist Hank Mobley. Stitt, later in the 1960s, paid homage to one of his main influences, Charlie Parker, on the album Stitt Plays Bird, which features Jim Hall on guitar and at Newport in 1964 with other bebop players including J.J. Johnson. He recorded a number of memorable records with his friend and fellow saxophonist Gene Ammons, interrupted by Ammons' own imprisonment for narcotics possession. The records recorded by these two saxophonists are regarded by many as some of both Ammons and Stitt's best work, thus the Ammons/Stitt partnership went down in posterity as one of the best duelling partnerships in jazz, alongside Zoot Sims and Al Cohn, and Johnny Griffin with Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis. Stitt would venture into soul jazz, and he recorded with fellow tenor saxophonist Booker Ervin in 1964 on the Soul People album. Stitt also recorded with Duke Ellington alumnus Paul Gonsalves in 1963 for Impulse! on the Salt And Pepper album in 1963. Around that time he also appeared regularly at Ronnie Scott's in London, a live 1964 encounter with Ronnie Scott, The Night Has A Thousand Eyes, eventually surfaced, and another in 1966 with resident guitarist Ernest Ranglin and British tenor saxophonist Dick Morrissey. Stitt was one of the first jazz musicians to experiment with an electric saxophone (the instrument was called a Varitone), as heard on the albums What's New in 1966 and Parallel-A-Stitt in 1967. Later life In the 1970s, Stitt slowed his recording output slightly, and in 1972, he produced another classic, Tune Up, which was and still is regarded by many jazz critics, such as Scott Yanow, as his definitive record. Indeed, his fiery and ebullient soloing was quite reminiscent of his earlier playing. He also recorded another album with Varitone, Just The Way It Was - Live At The Left Bank in 1971 which was released in 2000. Stitt joined the all-star group Giants of Jazz (which also featured Art Blakey, Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk, Kai Winding and bassist Al McKibbon) and made albums for Atlantic Records, Concord Records and Emarcy Records. His last recordings were made in Japan. In 1982, Stitt suffered a heart attack, and he died on July 22 in Washington, D.C.  

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, May 11, 2013

Black Butterfly - Johnny Hodges

John Keith "Johnny" Hodges (July 25, 1906 – May 11, 1970) was an American alto saxophonist, best known for solo work with Duke Ellington's big band. He played lead alto in the saxophone section for many years, except the period between 1932–1946 when Otto Hardwick generally played first chair. Hodges was also featured on soprano saxophone, but refused to play soprano after 1946, when he was given the lead chair. He is considered one of the definitive alto saxophones players of the Big Band Era (alongside Benny Carter). Hodges started playing with Lloyd Scott, Sidney Bechet, Lucky Roberts and Chick Webb. When Ellington wanted to expand his band in 1928, Ellington's clarinet player Barney Bigard recommended Hodges. His playing became one of the identifying voices of the Ellington orchestra. From 1951-1955, Hodges left the Duke to lead his own band, but returned shortly before Ellington's triumphant return to prominence – the orchestra's performance at the 1956 Newport Jazz Festival. Hodges was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts to John H. Hodges and Katie Swan Hodges, both from Virginia originally. Soon after, the family moved to Hammond Street in Boston, where he grew up with baritone saxophonist Harry Carney, and saxophonists Charlie Holmes and Howard E. Johnson. He started out on drums and piano (his mother was a skilled piano player). He was mostly self-taught, but once he became good enough, he would play the piano at dances in private homes for eight dollars an evening. By the time he was a teenager, he took up the soprano saxophone. It was around this time he developed the nickname "Rabbit". Some people believe that this arose from Hodges' ability to win 100 yard dashes and outrun truant officers. Carney called him Rabbit because of his rabbit-like nibbling on lettuce and tomato sandwiches. When Hodges was 14, he saw Sidney Bechet play in Jimmy Cooper's Black and White Revue in a Boston burlesque hall. Hodges' sister got to know Bechet, which gave him the inspiration to introduce himself and play "My Honey's Lovin Arms" for Bechet. Bechet was impressed with his skill and encouraged him to keep on playing. Hodges built a name for himself in the Boston area before moving to New York in 1924. He was one of the prominent Ellington Band members who featured in Benny Goodman's legendary 1938 Carnegie Hall concert. Goodman described Hodges as "by far the greatest man on alto sax that I ever heard." Charlie Parker called him "the Lily Pons of his instrument." Ellington's practice of writing tunes specifically for members of his orchestra resulted in the Hodges specialties, "Confab with Rab", "Jeep's Blues", "Sultry Sunset", and "Hodge Podge". Other songs recorded by the Ellington Orchestra which prominently feature Hodges' smooth alto saxophone sound are "Magenta Haze", "Prelude to a Kiss", "Haupe" (from Anatomy of a Murder) – note also the "seductive" and hip-swaying “Flirtibird,” featuring the "irresistibly salacious tremor" by Hodges, "The Star-Crossed Lovers" from Ellington's Such Sweet Thunder suite, "I Got It Bad (And That Ain't Good)", "Blood Count" and "Passion Flower". He had a pure tone and economy of melody on both the blues and ballads that won him admiration from musicians of all eras and styles, from Ben Webster and John Coltrane, who both played with him when he had his own orchestra in the 1950s, to Lawrence Welk, who featured him in an album of standards. His highly individualistic playing style, which featured the use of a wide vibrato and much sliding between slurred notes, was frequently imitated. As evidenced by the Ellington compositions named after him, he earned the nicknames Jeep and Rabbit – according to Johnny Griffin because "he looked like a rabbit, no expression on his face while he's playing all this beautiful music." Hodges' last performances were at the Imperial Room in Toronto, less than a week before his death from a heart attack, suffered during a visit to the office of a dental surgeon. His last recordings are featured on the New Orleans Suite, which was under progress at the time of his death. In Ellington's eulogy of Hodges, he said, "Never the world's most highly animated showman or greatest stage personality, but a tone so beautiful it sometimes brought tears to the eyes—this was Johnny Hodges. This is Johnny Hodges.

 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, May 9, 2013

Bob Margolin meets Mike Sponza Band

I was born in Boston in 1949 and was brought up in nearby Brookline, Massachusetts. Inspired by Chuck Berry, I started to play guitar in 1964 and began playing in Rock bands right away. I soon followed the path of Chuck Berry’s inspiration back to the Blues. I was especially taken by the music of Muddy Waters and listened to as much of it as I could find. I worked in Blues or Blues-Rock bands in the Boston area, including with Luther “Georgia Boy” “Snake” Johnson, and The Boston Blues Band. In August, 1973, I went to see Muddy at Paul’s Mall in Boston. He had seen me in opening bands and had been very encouraging to me because I was trying to play his style of “Old School” (Muddy’s term) Chicago Blues. He had just lost long-time guitarist Sammy Lawhorn and he hired me to play in his band. While most musicians in modern times learn from listening to recordings, Muddy put me on his right side on the bandstand so I could watch him play guitar. I sure appreciated that opportunity while it was happening, and tried to use it to learn to give Muddy what he wanted on the bandstand, and for myself. Bob and Muddy, 1978 Bob and Muddy, 1978 Muddy’s band toured the world and jammed with many great Blues and Rock musicians, but the biggest thrill was playing Muddy’s blues with him. He brought me with him to special shows and recordings too, when sometimes he didn’t use his whole band, to give him a familiar sound when he worked with other musicians: In 1975, we recorded Grammy® Award-winning Muddy Waters Woodstock Album, his last with Chess Records, featuring Paul Butterfield, and Levon Helm and Garth Hudson from The Band. Throughout the last half of the ‘70s, when I had time off from Muddy’s band, I would add on to Washington D.C.’s The Nighthawks and The Charlottesville Blues All-Stars, playing Blues and Rock ‘n’ Roll and making life-long friends. In ‘76, Muddy brought me with him to San Francisco to perform at The Band’s The Last Waltz concert. Martin Scorcese filmed the concert for the movie of the same name. As it happened, only one camera was operating during our performance, zooming in or out, and since I was standing right next to Muddy, I was in every shot while he sang a powerful “Mannish Boy.” Now, when the movie is shown on TV, everyone I speak to tells me, “I saw you on TV!” for a few days. Then they tell me I looked scared, happy, mad, excited, or bored, or however they would have felt in my place. I also played on the four albums that Muddy recorded for Blue Sky Records, which were produced by Johnny Winter, and with Johnny on his Nothin’ But The Blues album. Three of those albums won Grammy® Awards. Bob, Johnny Winter, Muddy - London, 1979 Bob, Johnny Winter, Muddy In 1980, Muddy’s band left him over business problems, though we all remained personal friends with him until his death in 1983. It is sometimes presumed that I worked with Pinetop Perkins, Jerry Portnoy, Calvin “Fuzz” Jones, and Willie “Big Eyes” Smith in The Legendary Blues Band, which they formed, but actually Luther “Guitar Jr.” Johnson and I each started our own bands at that time. I was living in Washington, DC then and in 1985 moved to Blacksburg, Virginia, a beautiful college town in the mountains. All through the ‘80s I ran up and down the highways, mostly in Virginia and North Carolina (to where I moved in ‘89) and played Blues in bars for soulful folks having fun. I was able to make a living without the pressures of the music business, and didn’t even feel any need to make an album -- I was playing most nights, and with total musical freedom and no commercial considerations. Sometimes I’d make a live recording of my band off the mixing board, and make up cassette copies for my friends. Bob Margolin Blues Band, 1980 In ’82 and ‘83, I did some gigs with my neighbor in Springfield, Virginia, Rocakbilly musician Tex Rubinowitz, who taught me the language of that music. We did a show backing original Rockabilly legend Charlie Feathers, and worked with fine players like Danny Gatton and Evan Johns. Occasionally, I would do a “high-profile” gig, based on my Muddy Waters connection. In ‘84, at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, we did a tribute to Muddy where Pinetop and I added on to The Fabulous Thunderbirds, with Etta James singing, and Taj Mahal and James Cotton opening. With my band, I opened shows for Stevie Vaughan, George Thorogood, Johnny Winter, and The T-Birds. These years of playing many styles of Blues, as well as some Rock ‘n’ Roll, Rockabilly, Funk, and favorite oldies were important to my musical development, just as my Chicago Blues experience was. And beyond the music, being at home onstage, improvising on the moment, and treating the audience like friends in all kinds of performing situations helps me break down the barriers that are often found between musician and audience. We all have a better time than if I was playing a show AT them. Though I can’t mark my progress in the ‘80s by recordings, folks who were at my shows then come out now and let me know how much they enjoyed my band in places like Desperado’s in D.C., The Nightshade Cafe in Greensboro, North Carolina, or The South Main Cafe in Blacksburg, Virginia. Those clubs, and many more like them, are gone now. I worked with some wonderful musicians over hundreds of gigs in the ‘80s – Jeff Lodsun, Clark Matthews, Steve “Slash” Hunt, Rev. Billy Wirtz, Doug Jay, Terry Benton, Jeff Sarli, Tom Principato, Steve Wolf, Steve Jacobs, Rick Serfas, Big Joe Maher, John Mooney, Ben Sandmel, Dave Besley, Matt Abts, David Nelson, Mike Avery, Billy Mather, Nappy Brown, Fats Jackson, Sweet Betty and many more. By the end of the ‘80s, it didn’t take a psychic to see that the Blues Scene was going to change a lot in the ‘90s. People were not going out to clubs as much for their entertainment but there were many new Blues bands emerging, all wanting to work. I realized that in order to continue making a living playing Blues, I would have to record and get back out on the world-wide Blues Scene and tour more widely. In 1989 I recorded my first solo album The Old School for Powerhouse Records, which is owned by Tom Principato, a Washington D.C. guitar wizard who started the label to release his own albums and those of his friends. The Old School features Mark Wenner, harp player for The Nighthawks, Big Joe Maher on drums, and Jeff Sarli on bass. I began 1990 doing a 10-week cross-country tour playing guitar with James Cotton, who was taking a break from his high-energy Blues-boogie to feature more traditional Chicago Blues. A big highlight of that tour for me was getting to work with and learn from the late Luther Tucker, a great Blues guitar player who had worked with Little Walter, Sonny Boy Williamson, Robert Lockwood Jr., and of course, Cotton. My second album for Powerhouse, Chicago Blues, released in ‘91, features songs from three different recording sessions. One had Chicago Blues legend Jimmy Rogers on guitar and harp master Kim Wilson, with Willie “Big Eyes” Smith on drums. I did a few songs with Willie on drums, along with Pinetop Perkins and Calvin “Fuzz” Jones, all from Muddy’s band, and Kaz Kazanoff on sax and harp and co-producing. I also did some with my band at the time, Mookie Brill on bass and harp, and Clark Matthews on drums. The Powerhouse albums are out of print. Also in the early ‘90s, I began a second career as a music magazine writer. Local friends from the Piedmont Blues Preservation Society in North Carolina asked me to write a story for their newsletter about Chicago harp legend Carey Bell, a friend of mine who was coming to town for a concert. Soon, I began to write stories and Blues album reviews for a local entertainment weekly, ESP. After doing that in ’91 and ’92, I was interviewed for the new Blues Revue Quarterly magazine. It occured to me that my local Blues writing might be even more at home in this growing Blues magazine, and I contacted founder/publisher/editor Bob Vorel and submitted some of my stories. Since then, I have been a regular contributor, writing articles from my personal experience, profiles of musicians I know, and some Blues Fiction stories. In August, ‘92 I began working on my third solo album in my hometown of Boston with help from friend and guitar star Ronnie Earl, and his band. Kaz was co-producing again, and I did some additional songs with my own band back in North Carolina. I also did a couple of songs with just my acoustic guitar and the vocals of legendary R&B singer Nappy Brown, whom I worked with occasionally. Another special guest was Chicago Blues legend John Brim, with whom I’d cut a Handy Award-nominated album for Tone-Cool Records, Tough Times, in ‘92. I sent a rough tape to Bruce Iglauer, president of Alligator Records, the premier independent Blues record label. Bruce was not ready to pick up my album, but he made some very constructive suggestions about performance and mix. I appreciated the benefit of Bruce’s perspective and experience and reworked the songs and re-submitted them. Finally, in July ‘93, Bruce committed to finishing the album with me and releasing it on Alligator. The album is called Down In The Alley. This was certainly the biggest “break” I’d had in music since Muddy took me into his band 20 years before, for Alligator is without peer for promoting their artists. At the same time, I signed with Piedmont Talent, a fine Blues booking agency based in Charlotte, North Carolina. Down In The Alley and Piedmont’s strong booking took me all over the world and helped me re-connect with the Blues audience that hadn’t seen much of me in years. At the end of ‘93, I did a gig at B.B. King’s club in Memphis with Billy Boy Arnold, a Chicago Blues harp legend who also had a new release on Alligator. Our success together led to a lot of bookings over the next few years with Billy Boy and my band, and we backed him on his next Alligator album, Eldorado Cadillac. 1994 found me touring hard and playing at many of the major Blues festivals during the Summer season. In August and September, The Muddy Waters Tribute Band, the musicians who were in Muddy’s band when I was, went on a national tour with B.B. King, Dr. John, and Little Feat. In December of that year, we cut an album featuring ourselves and special guests from the Rock and Blues worlds, You Gonna Miss Me, a Tribute to Muddy Waters on Telarc Records. That recording was nominated for a Grammy® Award in ‘96. Also at the end of ‘94, I recorded my second album for Alligator, My Blues and My Guitar which featured special guest Chicago Blues harp legend Snooky Pryor, Kaz Kazanoff playing harp, horn, arranging for a horn section, and co-producing again, percussionist Jim Brock, and my band at the time, Chuck Cotton on drums and Steve “Slash” Hunt on bass. My Blues and My Guitar was released in ‘95 and I was nominated for a W.C. Handy Award in the guitar category in ‘96. ‘95 and ‘96 found me touring constantly, doing clubs, concerts, festivals, and overseas tours with my band, sometimes with Billy Boy Arnold or the Muddy Waters Tribute Band. At the end of ‘96 I toured again with James Cotton, this time in a trio with David Maxwell, an old friend from Boston who is one of the world’s greatest Blues piano players, and is featured on all of my Alligator albums. My third album for Alligator, Up & In, was released in March, ‘97. I tried to play some deep Blues, but the song that got the most attention, and airplay on Blues radio, was “Blues for Bartenders.” This song is a string of “this guy walks into a bar...” jokes set to a Blues shuffle. While I was making Up & In, I went out to dinner with Alligator Records president Bruce Iglauer and Piedmont Talent presidents Steve Hecht, and we were trying to think of a special way to promote the album. Bruce suggested that since Pinetop Perkins was a special guest on the album, that we book lot of shows with Pinetop added onto the band. Great idea. It has been my honor to work often with Pinetop since then. I introduce Pinetop Perkins at our shows together this way, and it should work for you now if you don’t know about him: “Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s Star Time. Please welcome a young man who worked with the original King Biscuit Boys in Helena, Arkansas. He played with great slide guitar players Robert Nighthawk and Earl Hooker, and spent twelve years in Muddy Waters’ band. On his own, he is a living legend of the blues piano and has won 10 W.C. Handy Awards, and was nominated for a Grammy this year...” – and since I originally wrote this for my website, Pinetop’s had more W.C. Handy Awards, Grammy® nominations, and a Grammy® Lifetime Achievement Award too. Pinetop Perkins and Bob, King Biscuit Festival 2003 Pinetop Perkins and Bob Pinetop was born in 1913, two years before Muddy Waters. When we played in Muddy’s band together, I stood onstage between Pine and Mud, and those times are the deepest Blues music I will ever experience. Though many of my shows are still done with just me and my band, the many times in the last few years that Pine has been our featured guest are a pure pleasure for me. We try to back him up gracefully and to inspire him to play his best, deep Blue and good fun. Pinetop is getting the recognition he deserves now -- when I introduce him as above, fans rush the stage like he was Elvis. Also in ’97, I scripted and was featured in an instuctional video, Muddy Waters’ Guitar Style, for Starlicks Video produced by Dave Rubin and distributed by Hal Leonard Corp. Originally on VHS tape, this video is now widely available on DVD. It gives up what I know about Muddy’s guitar playing for the Blues guitar player. It continues to sell strongly, according to the checks in my mailbox. Eight times between ’95-’05, I played at the Handy Award shows in Memphis, usually leading an all-star band and performing with such fine musicians as Scotty Moore, Joe Louis Walker, Shemekia Copeland, Marcia Ball, Tracy Nelson, Reba Russell, Kim Wilson, Snooky Pryor, Charlie Musselwhite, Chris Layton, Pinetop, Rod Piazza, Dr. John, Ronnie Earl, Duke Robillard, Willie Kent, Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, Calvin “Fuzz” Jones, and bass players Mookie Brill and Tad Walters, who were in my band at the time. In ’97, I appeared on a Kennedy Center Tribute to Muddy Waters, which featured Buddy Guy, Koko Taylor, John Hiatt, G.E. Smith, Peter Wolf, Nick Gravenites, Keb’ Mo’, Big Bill Morganfield, Robert Lockwood, Jr., Charlie Musselwhite, Barry Goldberg, and Johnnie Johnson. A DVD, A Tribute to Muddy Waters, King of the Blues, of that show was released the next year. In ’98, I was approached by Blind Pig Records to produce a debut album for Muddy’ son, Big Bill Morganfield. Rising Son won a W.C. Handy Award for Bill, “Best New Artist” in 2000. I was having artistic differences with Alligator Records and left them on friendly terms to make Hold Me To It for Blind Pig Records, released in June ’99. I made the album I wanted to with Blind Pig, and Big Bill Morganfield and I were co-billed on a number of shows in ’99 and 2000 which featured my band backing us. During that time, Bill and I also played some shows which featured Pinetop Perkins. This revue was called “The Rolling Fork Revue,” a joke that musician/comedian Rev. Billy Wirtz made to our booking agents, referring to Muddy Waters’ birthplace and our traditional Blues. I still think it’s strange that the name stuck – I’ve still never even been to Rolling Fork, Mississippi, and I don’t pretend to be an old African-American Bluesman, and most people who hear the name don’t understand the obscure reference to Blues history. The “Rolling Fork Revue” name is retired now, but the idea of old-fashioned revues featuring well-known players is a good one and lives on... As The Blues World grows tighter in the New Millenium, I’ve been putting together revues with my legendary Chicago Blues friends. In the Fall of 2002, I produced a recording of The Bob Margolin All-Star Blues Jam which features Pinetop, Carey Bell, Hubert Sumlin, Jimmy D. Lane, and my bass/harp/singer Mookie Brill. This album was released on May 27, 2003 on Telarc Records. In 2004, it brought me two W.C. Handy Award nominations: one for “Blues Band of the Year” and the other for “Traditional Blues Album.” It was recorded at Blue Heaven Studio in Salina, Kansas, known for it’s majestic acoustics and the audiophile dedication of owner/promoter Chad Kassem. It shows off the consummate engineering skills of Mark Williams, who has worked on all of my albums since ’93, and has taught me patiently about the process of recording music. Hubert Sumlin and Bob, Chicago Blues Festival '05 Hubert Sumlin and Bob At the end of 2003, booking agent Hugh Southard left Piedmont Talent to start his own booking agency, Blue Mountain Artists. Believing in Hugh and how he operates in business and friendship, I jumped over to Blue Mountain and have enjoyed the progress that they’ve made booking me on my own, with The Bob Margolin All-Star Blues Jam, and starting in 2005 with Legends of Chicago Blues. This gang features a customizable line-up of with Willie “Big Eyes” Smith on drums and harp, a choice of harp players James Cotton, Carey Bell, or Jerry Portnoy, guitar genius Hubert Sumlin, piano players Pinetop or David Maxwell, and a choice of Calvin “Fuzz” Jones, Bob Stroger, or Mookie Brill. I am also producing and consulting on re-issues of Muddy Waters’ recordings for the Blue Sky Label for Sony/Legacy. I played guitar on these recordings and it’s an honor to make them sound as good as we can, present unreleased recordings for the first time, and write liner notes that reveal the story of the recordings from the inside. The first was released in September, 2003 -- the Muddy “Mississippi” Waters Live Legacy Edition. It was remixed, remastered, and featured a new CD of a performance of Muddy and in his band in a small club. In 2004, it won the W.C. Handy Award Best Historical Recording. In May, 2004, the other three albums I did with Muddy for Blue Sky Records were reissued: Hard Again, I’m Ready, and King Bee. Each album features out-takes from the original sessions. The albums were remastered but not remixed, and I wrote new liner notes for each of them. King Bee and I’m Ready were nominated for Handy Awards for Best Historical Recording in 2005. I was particularly surprised and thrilled to win the Handy Award for Guitar in 2005. I will take it as an inspiration to honor all Blues guitar players. In early 2004, Blues Revue magazine was sold by founder/publisher Bob Vorel to Visionation, which publishes the online Blues magazine Blueswax ( The print and the online magazine exist independently and now I write articles for both regularly. In 2005, I was honored to receive a W.C. Handy Award for Best Instrumentalist, Guitar. I took it as an inspiration to honor all Blues guitar players. I continued to tour worldwide, both with my North Carolina band and in revues which featured Chicago Blues Legends like Hubert Sumlin, James Cotton, Carey Bell, Pinetop Perkins, and Willie “Big Eyes” Smith. 2006 brought more of the same, including tours in Finland, Poland, and the Czech Republic. In January of 2007, I released In North Carolina, a CD that I crafted at home, alone. It is a solo album in that nobody else played a note on it, but there are songs where I overdubbed more than one guitar part, and I played electric bass and snare drum on some. I wanted to play the music that was in my heart, beyond the music I make onstage and in recording studios, and take my time recording it,. To release the album, I formed my own record label Steady Rollin’ Records, with partners Chip Eagle (publisher of Blues Revue and BluesWax) and Richard “Rosy” Rosenblatt (former President of Tone Cool Records, a great harp player, and an old Boston Blues Scene friend). We soon realized that we could provide the same label services for other Blues musicians with independent labels. We formed the VizzTone Label Group. As of the beginning of 2010, we have 23 releases. VizzTone makes sense in today’s world where the twentieth-century business model of marketing recordings is long gone. It’s a win-win-win situation for VizzTone, the artists, and music lovers. In January of 2007, as my own new CD was being released, I was in California producing and playing on Candye Kane’s Guitar’d & Feathered CD for Ruf Records. In February I produced Breakin’ It Up, Breakin’ It Down for Sony/Legacy. This live album is from concert tapes of a 1977 tour featuring Muddy Waters, Johnny Winter, and James Cotton after the release of the legendary Hard Again album. I played in the original concerts, chose the songs for the CD, worked on the sound of the recordings with master engineer Mark Williams, and wrote the liner notes for it. The album won a Blues Music Award in 2008 as Best Historical Recording. In 2008, I continued non-stop touring, but also co-produced and played on Gaye Adegbalola’s Gaye Without Shame and Big Bill Morganfield’s Born Lover. Both were released through the VizzTone Label Group. I also won another Blues Music Award for Guitar. In 2009, I produced and played on Mac Arnold’s Country Man and it was released on VizzTone. In October, 2009, I toured in Argentina and Chile with Willie “Big Eyes” Smith and Bob Stroger. For 2010, I’m hoping to finish and release a new CD, Steady Rollin’ Live with performances of my North Carolina band, Matt Hill and Chuck Cotton, plus some from the Chicago Blues legends I still work with, Hubert Sumlin, Bob Stroger, and Willie “Big Eyes” Smith. All the music I’ve listened to and played, all the experience onstage, and all of the fine musicians I’ve worked with have left their mark on me, and are obvious when I play now. On the bandstand, I play what feels right at the moment, whether it’s featuring my original songs, telling stories, joking and talking with he audience, or just playing for the dancers. I like to be “professional” in terms of responsibility and competence, but past that, I am a musician playing for my friends. Thank you for checking me out and getting to know me, but you can get much closer to who I am by listening to my music. I hope this background makes that more interesting for you.

  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, May 6, 2013

She Won't Say Yes - The Love Dogs

Take one red-hot horn section - we're talkin' alto, tenor, baritone saxes and trombone - down and dirty. Add liberal amounts of barrelhouse boogie-woogie piano and stinging Fender guitar. Pour over a funky and swinging rhythm section that Blues Review magazine called "the best in the business", and top it all off with a crazy and charismatic front man with one of the biggest blues voices around. Season with a few years on the road tearing up juke joints, festivals and concert halls across the U.S. and Canada and on both sides of the Atlantic. Sound tasty? It's a recipe for music and mayhem, for intensity and irreverence; it's THE LOVE DOGS. Based out of Boston, this hard blowing septet just celebrated its sixteenth year wowing audiences and critics alike with their combination of great musicianship and pure fun. The Dogs combine elements of jump blues, New Orleans R&B and early rock 'n' roll into their own powerhouse sound. You can hear it loud and clear on their three Tone-Cool cds "I'm Yo Dog" (1996), "Heavy Petting" (1998) and "New Tricks" (2000). Many of the cuts from these three discs have been blues radio favorites, several of the Dogs' signature original songs have been used in feature films and on television, and one has even been sampled for use on the upcoming Run-DMC cd! But as much fun as the Dogs' studio discs are, it's nothing compared to seeing them live. FMQB magazine called Love Dogs' concerts "the stuff of legend" where "soulful vocals, killer grooves, unpredictability and pure entertainment play equal parts". With their newest cd "Live And On Fire" The Love Dogs have finally captured the unbridled energy of their live show on disc. Far from a live retread of previously recorded tunes, "Live And On Fire" features ten brand new tracks captured live on a summer weekend at the famous Sea Note nightclub on the outskirts of Boston. "It's important to us to have fun, and sometimes even we don't know what we're gonna do next." says lead vocalist and songwriter EDDIE "DUATO" SCHEER, a former sideman of R&B legend Johnny Adams. "We have a lot of humor in our music, and we love to surprise each other and make each other laugh. When a crowd can see that, it becomes contagious. Pretty soon they're giving us back as much energy as we're putting out, and the whole thing keeps escalating. We call it the 'tribal love vibe'". Featuring some of the Northeast's best players, it's impossible not to notice the high level of musicianship in this band. "We're all lifetime fans of blues, jazz, and R&B, and we all have a real reverence for the music. Part of what makes this band special is that we really play together as a unit, and the whole is greater than the sum of its parts." The band's lineup consists of SCHEER, ALIZON LISSANCE (keyboards, vocals), MYANNA (alto/tenor sax, vocals), GLENN SHAMBROOM (guitar, baritone sax), RANDY BRAMWELL (bass, vocals), STEVE BROWN (drums, vocals), along with part time Dogs MARIO PERRETT (tenor sax/vocals), MARK PAQUIN (tenor sax, trombone) and old friend "SAX" GORDON BEADLE (tenor and baritone sax). Voted "Best New England Band" by Blues Audience magazine, the Dogs are Part Rat Pack party, part 20th century musical encyclopedia, and part revival meeting. The New York Post says "Even though the music could make Leonardo's David dance, it's the songwriting that separates these dogs from the rest of the pack" and Blues Review agrees "If there were a Superbowl for crowd pleasing rhythm & blues, a photo of The Love Dogs would be on every Wheaties box in America." Scheer sums it up by saying "If this band doesn't put a smile on your face, check your pulse because you just might be dead."  

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

Time Was - Shorty Rogers and His Giants

Milton “Shorty” Rogers (April 14, 1924 – November 7, 1994), born Milton Rajonsky in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, was one of the principal creators of West Coast jazz. He played both the trumpet and flugelhorn, and was in demand for his skills as an arranger. Rogers worked first as a professional musician with Will Bradley and Red Norvo. From 1947 to 1949, he worked extensively with Woody Herman and in 1950 and 1951 he played with Stan Kenton. Rogers appeared on the 1954 Shelly Manne album The Three and the Two along with Jimmy Giuffre. Much of the music he recorded with Giuffre showed his experimental side, resulting in an early form of avant-garde jazz. He also made notable recordings with Art Pepper and Andre Previn, among others. From 1953 through 1962 Rogers recorded a series of RCA Victor albums (later reissued under the Bluebird label) and Atlantic albums with his own group, Shorty Rogers and His Giants, including Shorty Courts the Count (1954), The Swinging Mr. Rogers (1955), and Martians Come Back (1955), the album title alluding to the tune "Martians Go Home" which Rogers had composed and performed on The Swinging Mr. Rogers earlier the same year. These albums incorporated some of his more avant-garde music. To some extent they could be classified as "cool" jazz; but they also looked back to the "hot" style of Count Basie, whom Rogers always credited as a major inspiration. Credited with the composition of the music for UPA's Mr. Magoo cartoon Hotsy Footsy and the Looney Tune Three Little Bops, Rogers eventually became better known for his skills as a composer and arranger than as a trumpeter. In the 1958 Peter Gunn TV series episode The Frog Shorty plays flugelhorn as Lola Albright sings How High the Moon at Mother's. After the early 1960s Rogers stopped performing on trumpet, and left the jazz scene for many years. Among other composing and arranging activities, he arranged a series of records for The Monkees (including Daydream Believer) in the late 1960s, and in the 1970s wrote the jazzy background score to TV's The Partridge Family during the show's first season. He also contributed episode scores for the fourth season of Starsky & Hutch. Finally, in 1982, he was persuaded to pick up his trumpet and return to performing in jazz ensembles, playing first with Britain’s National Youth Jazz Orchestra and soon with Bud Shank and others. In the 1990s he was part of a Lighthouse All Stars group along with Shank, Bill Perkins, Bob Cooper, Conte Candoli, Claude Williamson, Monty Budwig, and John Guerin.  

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 9, 2013

Do That Thing - Ten Foot Polecats

Their sound, though hard to define, has been referred to as “punk-blues”, “gutbucket soul”and “explosive stomp and groove”. This high-octane trio from Boston, MA has been touring the country for the past five years, taking their unique form of roots music (influenced by the sounds of the northern Mississippi hill country) to cafes, restaurants, record stores, rock clubs, theatres, festivals and back yard parties, and playing for anyone who will listen. In 2010, they released their first full-length CD, "I Get Blamed For Everything I Do" (Hillgrass Bluebilly Records). Their new album, “Undertow” (also on Hillgrass), will be officially released in March/April 2013.  

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!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

CSP Records Signs Massachusetts-Based Singer Janet Ryan & Will Release Her New CD, "Mama Soul," on April 16

CSP Records Signs Massachusetts-Based Singer Janet Ryan and Will Release Her New CD, Mama Soul, on April 16

DALLAS, TX – Texas-based CSP Records has announced the signing of soul/blues singer Janet Ryan and will release her label debut CD, Mama Soul, on April 16. Ryan will kick off her tour in support of the new album with a special show on April 18 at Theodore’s Booze, Blues and BBQ in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Mama Soul showcases Janet Ryan’s powerfully soulful voice on a “baker’s dozen” 13 tracks of mostly original material, along with her unique take on the Sippie Wallace blues chestnut, “Women Be Wise.” The majority of the new CD was recorded at Audio Dallas Recording Studio in Garland, Texas, and produced by Jimmy Rogers and Paul Osborn; with two songs recorded at The Tone Zone in Holyoke, Massachusetts and produced by Ryan. The sessions feature Ryan supported by her long-time backing group, The Straight Up Band, as well as by members of the former Dallas-based outfit, Crosscut.

“The tracks on Mama Soul are an interesting marriage of many songs that we’ve road-tested and have become live-show favorites, such as “Take Your Shoes Off” and “Tired of Talking,” along with a batch of new tunes that I was really excited to record,” says Ryan about the sessions.

Janet Ryan’s amazing voice has its beginnings in New England, where she grew up and at age 16 was actually a member of a choir group that backed up immortal jazz giant Duke Ellington at one of the “sacred concerts” he performed in Connecticut during his later years. She moved to Chicago at 19 to go to school, but soon discovered all the wonderful blues clubs and lounges on the north side of the Windy City and really got her “education” singing in various bands around town. Over the years there, her “teachers” included people like Koko Taylor, Magic Slim and Big Twist and the Mellow Fellows, in classrooms such as Biddy Mulligan’s, Kingston Mines and other legendary blues joints in the city.

Janet moved back east in 1989 to be closer to her family and lived in several New England states before finally settling in Western Massachusetts near Springfield. As she began to tour again in the northeast, her reputation as a powerfully soulful singer and crowd-pleasing performer grew with shows in venues throughout New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and her home state. Several festival performances helped fuel the fire, as audiences raved about Ryan and The Straight Up Band’s high energy blues shows.

Ryan’s voice blends the wailing sound of the blues with the deeply soulful internalized grit of rhythm and blues to form a potent combination. Her influences include everyone from Etta James, Aretha Franklin and Janis Joplin, to Otis Redding, Buddy Guy and Junior Wells. She’s performed with the likes of John Hammond, Guitar Shorty, James Cotton, Solomon Burke Johnny Winter, Dickey Betts and The Blind Boys of Alabama, to name but a few.

Although live performing is still a viable love of hers, in recent years Janet has transmitted her passion by instructing children about the joys of music, becoming a music teacher at two elementary schools in her area and also becoming a director of vocal music studies at a local school.          

While she continued to perform locally, Janet was not pursuing a recording deal when an out-of-the-blue encounter through a performance in a film documentary caught the ears of Jimmy and Connie Rogers, owners of CSP Records in Texas, who heard her sing a snippet of a song she had written. As a result Janet Ryan flew down to Dallas in August of 2012 and began recording the sessions that would become Mama Soul.

“I had just about given up on the music business,” remembers Ryan, “when this opportunity came out of nowhere that seemed like a sign that I still had more songs to sing. It’s been the biggest surprise of my life.”

Fans of blues and soul music are in for a very pleasant surprise of their own when they hear the music on Mama Soul.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Canned Heat Blues - Paul Rishell and Annie Raines

When 22-year-old harmonica ace Annie Raines first sat in with 42-year-old country blues guitarist Paul Rishell in a Boston bar in 1992, few in the crowd suspected that they were witnessing the beginning of a musical partnership that would span the next fifteen years and counting. As a working team, Paul and Annie have racked up hundreds of thousands of miles on the road in the U.S. and Europe, collaborated on original songs, and released I WANT YOU TO KNOW (Tone-Cool/Artemis 1996), MOVING TO THE COUNTRY (2000), the W.C. Handy Award winner for Acoustic Blues Album of the Year, and GOIN’ HOME (2004), which was nominated for two Handy Awards. Paul Rishell and Annie Raines’s fifth project together, the live recording “A NIGHT IN WOODSTOCK” was released in 2008 as a CD and in 2009 as a DVD on their own Mojo Rodeo label, and distributed internationally by Burnside Distribution, each release earning multiple Blues Music Award nominations. The live concert features special guests John Sebastian, Bruce Katz, and Paul and Annie’s own backing band joining the duo for an eclectic, high-energy set of acoustic and electric originals and classic blues songs. The DVD includes extra features such as artist biographies, video guitar lessons and audio commentary by Rishell, Raines and Sebastian. Paul and Annie are equally passionate about their craft and devoted to the study and performance of a wide range of blues styles, from the syncopated acoustic guitar wizardry of Blind Lemon Jefferson and Son House to Chicagoan “Little” Walter Jacob’s swinging amplified harmonica. Paul has reached what Boston Phoenix writer Ted Drozdowski called “a place deep and resonant as Robert Johnson’s crossroads, where authenticity, soul, and a sense of purpose and commitment ring out in every note he sings and plays.” Annie has added vocals, mandolin, piano, and other instruments to her musical arsenal, while being recognized by top professionals and fans worldwide as the “queen of the blues harmonica.” Says blues legend Pinetop Perkins, “She plays so good it hurts!” Touring internationally at festivals, clubs, and concert halls, and teaching workshops and seminars, Paul Rishell & Annie Raines have earned loyal fans around the globe. Paul and Annie are featured in the new jug band music documentary, Chasin’ Gus’ Ghost, which debuted at the San Francisco Film Festival in August 2007. They have performed on diverse radio and TV shows including A Prairie Home Companion, Late Night with Conan O’Brien, and PBS’s Arthur. They have performed and recorded with Susan Tedeschi, John Sebastian, Pinetop Perkins, and Rory Block. Susan Tedeschi recorded an “unplugged” version of Paul’s Blues on a Holiday with Paul and Annie for her 2003 release, Wait For Me. Recently, Annie began writing a ‘blog of tales from their road tours for their website,, garnering a new following in the online community. Annie Raines was born in 1969 in Boston and grew up in the suburb of Newton, Massachusetts. She picked up the blues harp at 17 and made her stage debut at the 1369 Jazz Club in Cambridge a few months before her high school graduation. Enthralled by the recordings of Muddy Waters, Little Walter Jacobs, Big Walter Horton and Sonny Boy Williamson, she became a fixture at Boston area blues jams. She briefly attended Antioch College and 1988 interned with Washington, DC homeless rights activist Mitch Snyder, who persuaded her to drop out of school to pursue her musical career. One of the few female blues harmonica players in the country, Annie played the New England club circuit with local bands, and traveled to Chicago where she met and played with many of her musical idols including Pinetop Perkins, Louis Myers, and James Cotton. She also enjoyed yearlong stints with the Tarbox Ramblers and the Susan Tedeschi Band, going on to perform on Susan’s first three albums. She lives in Boston with her number one musical hero, Paul Rishell. Paul Rishell was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1950, descended from a long line of Methodist preachers and Norwegian painters. At the age of ten, he discovered that he could keep time on the drums, though his feet didn’t reach the pedals. He started a band a few years later, playing surf music and rock ‘n roll, until a friend turned him on to the country blues records of Son House, Robert Johnson, Charley Patton, and Blind Lemon Jefferson. He immediately took up the guitar and in the early 70’s Paul moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts and had the chance to play with many of the first and second generation of blues masters — including Son House, Johnny Shines, Sonny Terry, Brownie McGhee, and Howlin’ Wolf. Paul Rishell’s debut recording, BLUES ON A HOLIDAY (Tone-Cool) was released in 1990 to resounding critical acclaim. The album was half acoustic, half electric, and established Paul as a masterful, versatile blues player and as well as a deeply soulful singer and songwriter. He followed that with SWEAR TO TELL THE TRUTH in 1993, which featured heart-stopping solo performances as well as guest artists Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters and “Little”Annie Raines. Paul’s original music has been used in plays, films, and countless television shows including Friends, Oprah, and A&E’s Biography. He has built up a stellar reputation over 40 years as a performer, teacher, and torchbearer of the country blues tradition. His former students include Susan Tedeschi and Michael Tarbox. Dirt Road Blues, Paul’s instructional video/CD-Rom for, was released in 2008 with detailed demonstrations and transcriptions of his original songs and songs by Scrapper Blackwell, Blind Boy Fuller, and many others. He is currently serving as a visiting artist at Berklee College of Music in Boston. 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, January 15, 2013



On My Mind / In My Heart, the title track from the upcoming Alligator Records debut album from Boston's soul singing, songwriting, guitar playing Jesse Dee, will make its worldwide debut on Monday, January 14. The song will stream at, the website of the influential music magazine Blurt. The album will be released on Tuesday, February 26. Dee will tour extensively in support of the CD, with a show at New York's Iridium on Friday, March 8 and a hometown CD release party planned for Saturday, March 9 at Boston's Brighton Music Hall. The full tour schedule will be announced shortly.

With his warm and honest sound, his instantly memorable melodies and positive, slice-of-life lyrics (evoking the heyday of the Brill Building songwriters), Jesse Dee expertly updates soul music for contemporary audiences. The new album is a sweet soul masterpiece full of good vibes and funky, joyful music. Like Sam Cooke, Dee writes about real life with true emotional poetry. His lyrics are set to toe-tapping melodies with horn charts channeling The Memphis Horns and 1970s-era Van Morrison. "I'm a music fan first," Dee says, "so it's important to me to seek out and create with original ideas. That's why songwriting is so important, and why I mean every word I write and sing."


Friday, January 4, 2013

Charlie Sayles

Born 4 January 1948, Woburn, Massachusetts, USA. Sayles only became acquainted with the blues when he heard a record by BornBorn King during his US military service in Vietnam, and began to take a serious interest in playing harmonica in 1971. During the 70s he played frequently on the streets in cities across the country, and was put on the bill of several folk festivals. His original blues compositions, featuring raw, amplified harmonica and direct singing, were captured on vinyl in 1976 when he was playing in New York. Sayles began working with a small band around 1980, but he still remains largely an uncompromising street and solo performer. In the 90s he has recorded for the JSP label. 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”

Friday, November 30, 2012

Duke Levine

Duke Levine (born November 29, 1961 in Worcester, Massachusetts) is an American guitarist known primarily for his rock and country music playing as a session musician. He has recorded and performed with Shawn Colvin, Peter Wolf, Lucy Kaplansky, Bill Morrissey, Jonatha Brooke, John Gorka, Jeanie Stahl, Ellis Paul, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Slaid Cleaves and many others. Since 2011 he has been touring guitarist for The J Geils Band. He frequently performs live with The Duke Levine Band and Slaid Cleaves. 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, November 20, 2012

Tree O Records Signs Juliet and the Lonesome Romeos & Will Release Their Debut CD, "No Regrets," on January 15

Tree O Records Signs Boston-Based Juliet and the Lonesome Romeos and Will Release Their Debut Album, No Regrets, on January 15, 2013

NASHVILLE, TN – Tree O Records announces the signing of Boston-based group Juliet and the Lonesome Romeos, and will nationally release their debut album, No Regrets, on January 15, 2013. No Regrets was produced by Michael Dinallo and Ducky Carlisle, known collectively as “The Tremolo Twins,” whose credits include a Grammy Award, a number one single and various gold and platinum awards.

Dynamic singer Juliet Simmons Dinallo, whose powerfully soulful vocals drive the band, demonstrates a flair for roots-infused pop music, while incorporating a definite leaning toward the country side of life. The deeply emotional songs travel down the highways and backroads between heartache and hope. Boston Globe writer Steve Morse described her voice as “fresh and emotionally charged, as though Juliet were a long-lost sister of Lucinda Williams.”  

The 10 original songs on No Regrets cover a wide spectrum of American music. Juliet co-wrote seven of the tunes with Michael Gray, one with husband/producer Michael Dinallo, and one alone. The opening title track exemplifies the pop/country musical meshing throughout the album.  The song itself tells the story of a person taken advantage of for the last time.  “Wishing Well”, written solely by Juliet, crunches along like Harvest-era Neil Young meets Lucinda until it hits the poppy chorus with oohs and aahs. Curtis Mayfield-inspired rhythm guitar propels the beautiful love song and country-soul ballad “Song For You”.  The rocking and punchy “Narcissus” is the ultimate kiss-off song, delivered with a snarling vocal by Juliet and a ripping guitar solo by Jonas Kahn.  The vocal/guitar duet “Winter Night” is the softest moment on the record with a stark beauty invoking love found in the cold of winter.

“Last Kiss” is a roots-rock tribute to a fallen friend.  The sadness in watching a loved one fall to schizophrenia is the subject of “Unkindest Cut”, which is yet again fueled by a powerful vocal by Juliet and soulful guitar by Michael Dinallo.  “Faded Highway” is a Billy Joe Shaver-inspired piece of writing from Michael Dinallo.  The destruction, after-effects and lasting suffering from Katrina in New Orleans are lamented in “September Day”.   The country-soul ballad “Learn To Love Again” provides the ultimate showcase of Juliet’s remarkable vocal talent, and closes the album out on a warm note of hope and happiness.

No Regrets is a calling card announcing the arrival of a major new musical talent in Juliet and the Lonesome Romeos, with her rich, powerful, take-no-prisoners voice bursting with soul. From the original and insightful songwriting, to the masterful musicianship and spot on production, No Regrets truly is an album that has something for everyone.

Born in North Carolina, Juliet Simmons Dinallo lived in Maine for a short while before moving to Massachusetts. She was exposed to the arts and music from birth with both her parents being English literature scholars.  Her father studied Shakespeare, hence her name and the album’s song titled “Unkindest Cut”, and her mother was a folk music DJ while at college.  With music and literature all around her, it is no wonder Juliet was singing songs by the Beatles as soon as she could walk and talk. During her teens, she played in garage bands with her brother and later studied music at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, where she landed a spot on the world-renowned Berklee Gospel Choir.

Immersing herself in the eclectic Boston music scene, Juliet collected the experiences and relationships she encountered, which would help her write the songs on No Regrets. By playing in the local clubs, she also honed her vocal style and performing chops, while meeting the musicians who helped her shape the sound and feel of the new album. Growing up in this fertile musical environment helped Juliet transcend her musical influences (Patty Griffin, the Beatles, Shawn Colvin, Van Morrison, Steve Earle, Lucinda Williams, Lyle Lovett, and Emmylou Harris), while maintaining the inspiration they provide, which is an important part of becoming a true artist.