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Showing posts with label Mavis Staples. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mavis Staples. Show all posts

Monday, February 27, 2017

Blues Hall of Fame Inductees announced: Mavis Staples, Johnny Copeland, Henry Gray, Latimore and more

Six performers, one album, five singles, one book and one magazine founder
will be inducted at the Blues Foundation’s 38th Annual
Induction Ceremony on May 10

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Blues Foundation welcomes the 38th class of Blues Hall of Fame inductees in a ceremony taking place on May 10, 2017. This year’s 14 richly deserving honorees represent all five of the Hall of Fame’s categories: Performers, Non-Performing Individuals, Classic of Blues Literature, Classic of Blues Recording (Song) and Classic of Blues Recording (Album).
The six performers chosen for induction include two distinctive vocalists, Mavis Staples and Latimore; a pair of legendary guitarists, Magic Slim and Johnny Copeland; and longtime Howlin’ Wolf sidemen guitarist Willie Johnson and piano-man Henry Gray. They will join the more than 125 performers who already are Hall of Fame members. The year’s non-performer selection is Living Blues Magazine co-founder and radio show host Amy van Singel, who passed away in Sept. 2016. 
The Classic of Blues Literature pick is the rightfully recognized Father of the Blues, W.C. Handy’s 1941 memorable autobiography. John Lee Hooker was among the Hall’s first inductees in 1980 and now his 1966 Chess album Real Folk Blues will enter the Hall of Fame too in the Classic of Blues Recording Album category. The quintet of Classic of Blues Recording songs includes Bo Diddley’s signature tune “Bo Diddley,” Tommy Tucker’s much covered classic “Hi Heel Sneakers,” the Albert King hit “I’ll Play the Blues For You,” Son House’s “Preachin’ the Blues” and “I Ain’t Superstitious,” which features 2017 inductee Henry Gray playing on Howlin’ Wolf’s well-known 1961 recording. 
The Blues Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony takes place Wednesday, May 10 at Memphis’ Halloran Centre for the Performing Arts and Education. Hosted by the Blues Foundation, the evening begins at 5:30 p.m. with a Cocktail Reception, followed by the Induction Ceremony at 6:30 pm. Tickets for this open-to-the-public ceremony are $100 per seat and can be purchased online at:
More festivities occur the following day, May 11, with the Blues Foundation’s Blues Music Awards. Celebrating the past year’s best in blues recordings and performances, this event will be held at the Memphis Cook Convention Center. A pre-ceremony party commences at 5:30 p.m., while the Awards Show, including a seated dinner and featuring performances by many of the nominees, starts at 7 pm. Individual tickets and tables may be purchased for $150 per seat at the same link as above. For more information, contact Barbara Newman, President & CEO;; (901) 527-2583, Ext. 12 
Henry Gray, who played piano in the Howlin’ Wolf band and other Chicago blues groups before returning to his native Louisiana in 1968, has rarely been in the spotlight, but has steadily built an impressive resume entertaining audiences around the world with his blues-drenched piano pounding. Gray, born in 1925, is still performing regularly six decades after his first recording sessions in Chicago.
Willie Johnson (1923-1995) recorded only a few songs on his own, but as a sideman his storming barrage of distortion and incendiary guitar licks in the 1950s, especially on the early records of Howlin’ Wolf, earned him a lasting reputation as a groundbreaking commando in the annals of electric guitar playing. Mentored by Wolf in their Mississippi days, Johnson played in Wolf’s band in the South and in Chicago, and recorded for Sun Records in 1955.
Mavis Staples, one of America’s premier singers of gospel and soul music, has expanded her musical mastery with her performances in more blues-based settings in recent years. The blues is nothing new to the Staples family, as Mavis’ father and founder of the Staple Singers, Roebuck “Pop” Staples, was a devotee of Delta blues master Charley Patton back in Mississippi. Mavis, born in Chicago in 1939, remains on her lifelong mission to inspire and uplift her listeners no matter what musical genre she employs.
Johnny Copeland (1937-1997) was one of a bevy of blazing guitar slingers to emerge from the vibrant Third Ward of Houston, Texas, and one of the city’s most powerful singers as well.  Establishing himself with a series of blues and soul singles beginning in 1958, he attained national prominence in the 1980s recording blues albums for Rounder Records. His daughter Shemekia has followed in his footsteps by winning multiple Blues Music Awards.
Magic Slim led one of the most relentless, hard-driving bands in Chicago blues history for several decades until his death in 2013. Born Morris Holt in Mississippi in 1937, he earned his nickname from his friend and fellow blues guitar ace Magic Sam. Slim was also known for possessing perhaps the largest repertoire of any blues artist, always able to pick up another song from the radio or the jukebox, enabling him to record more than 30 albums and garner dozens of Blues Music Awards nominations. His son Shawn “Lil Slim” Holt is ably carrying on the family blues tradition.
Latimore, the abbreviated stage name of singer, keyboardist and a songwriter Benny Lattimore, has cut a dashing figure on the Southern soul circuit ever since he began touring in the 1970s on the strength of hits such as “Stormy Monday” and his best-known original, “Let’s Straighten It Out.”  Latimore, who was born in Tennessee in 1939 but has called Florida home since the 1960s, is now a distinguished and still spirited love philosopher and elder statesman of the scene.
Individuals: Business, Production, Media or Academic
Amy van Singel, known to blues radio audiences as “Atomic Mama,” was a cofounder of Living Blues magazine in Chicago in 1970. She and her former husband Jim O'Neal published the magazine from their home in Chicago until they transferred the publication to the University of Mississippi in 1983. Her radio career began at Northwestern University and included stints at stations in Chicago, Mississippi, Memphis, Alaska and Maine. Amy died in her sleep at her home in Maine on Sept. 19, 2016, at the age at 66.
Classics of Blues Literature
Father of the Blues by W.C. Handy is a monumental opus that is indispensable to the study of American musical history. Published in 1941, the book traces Handy’s background as a trained orchestra leader, his discovery of the blues and the struggles he endured to become a successful music publisher. It is often cited as a primary resource on the earliest years of blues history. No book is more deserving of designation as a Classic of Blues Literature.
Classics of Blues Recording: Albums
The 1966 John Lee Hooker album Real Folk Blues is the latest of several Chess Records’ Real Folk Blues albums to be elected to the Blues Hall of Fame. Whereas the rest of the LPs in the series by Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf and others were compilations of older recordings, the Hooker album was newly recorded in May of 1966 in Chicago. Hooker was his inimitable and spontaneous self, reworking some of his older songs and improvising new ones, accompanied by his Detroit guitarist Eddie Burns and Chicago sidemen Lafayette Leake and S.P. Leary.
Classics of Blues Recording: Singles
“Bo Diddley” was not only the 1955 hit record that made Ellas McDaniel famous — it also gave him his professional name. The famed “Bo Diddley beat,” an energized update of the old “Hambone” rhythm, rocked the world, and Bo continued to create classics for Checker Records in Chicago with his innovative blend of blues and rock ’n’ roll.
“Hi-Heel Sneakers” by Tommy Tucker was the last blues record from the mighty Chess Records catalogue to hit No. 1 on the charts. Recorded in New York in 1963, the single on Chess’ Checker subsidiary label topped the Cash Box magazine R&B charts in 1964. Tucker’s enticement to “put on your red dress” and hi-heel sneakers has resounded on countless bandstands ever since.
“I Ain’t Superstitious,” an ominous Willie Dixon composition recorded by Howlin’ Wolf in 1961, is best known to rock audiences through the Jeff Beck Group’s 1968 cover version featuring Rod Stewart on vocals. On the original session for Chess Records in Chicago, Wolf’s band included Hubert Sumlin, Jimmy Rogers, Sam Lay and 2017 Blues Hall of Fame inductee Henry Gray.
“I’ll Play the Blues for You,” recorded by Albert King in Memphis for the Stax label in 1971, was written by Jerry Beach, a longtime fixture on the Shreveport, Louisiana, music scene who died in 2016. In Beach’s lyrics, sung with warmth and tenderness by King, the blues becomes a source of soothing and comfort. King’s 45 spent eight weeks on Billboard magazine’s Best Selling Soul Singles chart in 1972 
“Preachin’ the Blues,” a two-part single by Son House on the Paramount label from 1930, is a prime example not only of House’s intensity as a Delta blues singer and guitarist but also of his lifelong inner conflict between the lure of the blues life and devotion to the church. House, who did preach in church at times, also sang of the hypocrisy he saw in religion with lyrics such as “I’m gonna be a Baptist preacher and I sure won’t have to work.”

About the Blues Hall of Fame Museum: Since opening in May of 2015, the Blues Hall of Fame Museum has become a must-see destination for blues aficionados and casual fans alike. Through its ten permanent galleries and the Upstairs Legendary Rhythm and Blues Cruise Gallery’s temporary exhibit space, the museum exposes, educates, and entertains visitors, providing them a unique way to explore blues culture and history, while also highlighting its 400 inductees. Visitors can use interactive touchscreens to access databases that allow them to hear music, watch videos and read stories about every museum’s inductees. Guests can also view one-of-a-kind memorabilia, from musical instruments and tour attire to awards and artwork.
The 2017 Hall of Fame class will be represented in the special exhibit galleries beginning in early May. Located at 421 S. Main Street, Memphis, the museum is open seven days a week (10 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Sat., 1-5 p.m. Sun.). Admission is $10 per person, with children and Blues Foundation members free. The museum is also available for private parties and events after hours. For more information, call 901-527-2583.
About the Blues Foundation: This world-renowned, Memphis-based organization holds a mission to preserve blues heritage, celebrate blues recording and performance, expand worldwide awareness of the blues, and ensure the future of this uniquely American art form. Founded in 1980, The Blues Foundation has approximately 4,000 individual members and 200 affiliated blues societies representing another 50,000 fans and professionals around the world. Its signature honors and events — the Blues Music Awards, International Blues Challenge, and Keeping the Blues Alive Awards — make it the international hub of blues music. Its HART Fund provides the blues community with medical assistance for musicians in need, while Blues in the Schools programs and Generation Blues Scholarships expose new generations to blues music. Throughout the year, the Foundation staff serves the global blues community with answers, information, and news.


Friday, April 1, 2016

New West Records artist: Luther Dickinson - Blues & Ballads - New Release Review

I just received the newest release, Blues & Ballads (A Folksinger's Songbook: Volume I & II) by Luther Dickinson and it is a pure delight! Opening with Othar Turner's Hurry Up Sunrise, Dickinson teams up with Turner's granddaughter, Sharde' Thomas for a country blues pop track with really nice slide and a tight rhythm. Excellent opener! Up Over Yonder features JJ Grey on vocal and greasy slide work from Jason Isbell which adds real grit. Dickinson's own guitar work, bass by Amy LaVere and Thomas on drums round out this super track. Bang Bang Lulu is a really cool track with a New Orleans feel. Dickinson's own piano and slide work, along with fiddle by Lillie Mae Rische, and Paul Taylor on tub bass gives this track an excellent vibe. Super! Moonshine is an easy paced folk ballad with light, straight up acoustic picking and Dickinson on lead vocal. His slide work on this track again slides giving it a warm homey feel. Jackson is a well constructed folk ballad with simple acoustic accompaniment. This is just pure music. Mean Ol' Wind Died Down is a track that I would say sounds quite a bit like Othar with it's structure, snare drum, duet vocal and fife by Thomas and Dickinson on guitar. Very nice! How I Wish My Train Would Come has a strong melody and with secondary vocals by Thomas, B3 by Charles Hodges and Dickinson on guitar and mandolin, a very nice track. Ain't No Grave was written by Dickinson after the passing of his father. Mavis Staples joins on vocals on this eerie track and Will Sexton on acoustic guitar with Luther taking the prime vocal position and adding beautiful slide work. Excellent! Let It Roll is a very cool jam in spiritual form with a blend of B3, piano and slide guitar, breaking into very bluesy/gospel style melody featuring Thomas and Dickinson. One of my absolute favorites on the release! My Leavin' features Jimbo Mathus on banjo under Dickinson on lead vocal with Thomas on second vocal and fife. Very cool! Horseshoe (Reprise) is an excellent jam with Dickinson on coffe can diddley bo, Jimmy Crosthwait on washboard, Paul Taylor on tub bass and Thomas on fife. Excellent! Blues track, Highwater (Soldier) has a heavy kick drum bottom and lead diddley bo slide work balancing nicely with Dickinson's vocals. And It Hurts is a quiet ballad with acoustic guitar accompaniment, fiddle by Rische and some of the softest vocals on the release. Very nice! Storm, another ballad, has an unsettling melody reinforced by Dickinson's slide work. Dickinson is a master of tension and blending which is well exhibited here. Mojo, Mojo has a solid hill country sound with a raw unpolished feel. Dickinson's vocals, complimented by Thomas, his own guitar and the fiddle work of Rische make for a solid folk track. Very nice! Ol' Cannonball has a pure country blues feel with shuffle brushes by Thomas. This track just flows like water from a stream, natural and pure. A gritty blues number, Devilment, has a great primitive feel with unpolished vocals, raw slide and rudimentary drums. Excellent! Blow Out sounds like an early rocker with simple percussion and Dickinson's driving vocal and guitar work. Very cool! Mayor Langford Birmingham Blues is a really country blues track and another of my favorites on the release. Dickinson's vocals and guitar pickin is well complimented by Rische on fiddle and Dominic Davis on bass. Excellent! Shake (Yo Mama) has a real mountain country feel mixed with a city rock blues. The raw blending of vocals and mandolin, Jimbo Mathus on banjo and Alvin Youngblood on guitar is seriously cool! Wrapping the release is Horseshoe, with Dickinson on acoustic guitar and vocal. His playing technique is nicely showcased on this track making it a perfect conclusion to an excellent release!

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Monday, June 22, 2015

Mavis Staples / Live at Cambridge Corn Exchange ahead of Glastonbury appearance

Live at Cambridge Corn Exchange - 1st July 2015 

‘One of the 100 greatest singers of all time.’


2015 has seen the loss of Ben E. King. Percy Sledge and BB King…just three of the giants from the era of sixties soul, r‘n’b and gospel. It will be a truly unique chance then, on Wednesday 1 July, to still be able to watch another true soul/gospel legend from that era, when Mavis Staples walks on stage at the Cambridge Corn Exchange in one of just three UK concerts.

Now in her seventies, this incredible singer has been performing both solo, and in earlier years with The Staples Singers, for over 50 years. Tracks include classics like If You’re Ready (Come Go With Me) and The Weight along with numerous other soul and gospel classics. More recently Mavis Staples took the award for best Americana album at the 2011 Grammy Awards for her album You Are Not Alone, produced by Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy. It was an emotional first Grammy for the Chicago-based artist in a 50 plus-year career winning against Rosanne Cash, Willie Nelson, Los Lobos and Robert Plant.

She has just released Your Good Fortune, a new four-song EP produced by the acclaimed young cross-genre soul explorer Son Little.

The songs merge Staples’ iconic and soulful voice with Little’s talent for reconfiguring genres including soul, hip-hop and heavy rock. The resulting tracks retain every bit of Staples’ emotional delivery, while adding an array of modernist sounds created with the cut and paste of contemporary hip-hop.

“I’m always excited to do new songs,” Mavis says. “And this young man wrote two just for me. Seemed like we were a team made in heaven. He writes from his heart; he’s a great singer who sings from his heart, and he reached my heart.  I’m so glad we got to work together. The whole experience right down to the finished product was just extraordinary.”

Mavis Staples appears at Cambridge Corn Exchange on Wednesday 1 July at 7.30pm. Tickets from £22.50. Box Office 01223 357851

Friday, October 19, 2012

Holmstrom, Bonnie & Mavis

Rick Holmstrom With Mavis Staples & Bonnie Raitt On Austin City Limits This Weekend!

Contact: Mark Carpentieri                                         
Phone: 631-754-8725                                              

Northport NY - M.C. Records is excited to announce that guitarist Rick Holmstrom and his band will be playing with Mavis Staples on PBS' Austin City Limits this weekend. Rick and his band-mates have been backing Mavis on the road and in the studio for over five years. You can sneak a peak of this weekends show right here.

Rick Holmstrom's first CD in five years, Cruel Sunrise was released on August 28 and you can listen to and download all 24 tracks  (including two with Mavis Staples on tracks 3 & 8) and read his new bio right here:

Rick Holmstrom is just too talented and restrained to release anything less than professionally crafted. All Music Guide

I'm so inspired by the sounds, the vibe, Rick's edgy guitar playing, and the honest and revealing songwriting. Andy Ellis, Senior Editor, Premier Guitar

Each track is blissfully inventive. Holmstrom creates a blues that is effortless to vibe to. Where Y'At

Cruel Sunrise will leave a lasting impression in the ear, the heart and the mind, to be returned to over and over again.
David Rubin, KBA Winner in Journalism

All 12 songs on Cruel Sunrise were written or co-written by Rick Holmstrom. The recording are also  available as a limited "Deluxe Edition" which features a second disc of all instrumentals. They are Rick's unique take on classic songs including "You Send Me," "Folsom Prison Blues," and "I'll Take You There." Both the single CD and Deluxe Edition were released on August 28.

I was around songwriters like Jeff Tweedy, Ron Sexsmith, and Neko Case while recording and touring with Mavis Staples,” says Holmstrom “I thought there must be a way to write songs like theirs, but with a blues feeling—songs that regular music fans might like, in addition to blues aficionados. - Rick Holmstrom
No doubt both blues aficionados and rock music fans will enjoy Cruel Sunrise, a record that honors Rick Holmstrom’s ongoing reign as a statesman of the blues while pointing to his future as a songwriter to be reckoned with.

Rick Holmstrom Tour Dates with Mavis Staples

10/19/2012 Norwalk, CT Norwalk Concert Hall (Mavis)
10/27/2012 Linköping, SWEDEN Linköping Jazz & Blues Festival (Mavis)
10/30/2012 Amsterdam, THE NETHERLANDS MC Theatre (Mavis)
10/31/2012 Uppsala, SWEDEN Sacred Music Festival (Mavis)
11/3/2012 Dublin, IRELAND National Concert Hall (Mavis)
11/17/12 - Elgin, IL Elgin Community College (Mavis)
11/23/12 to 11/24/12 - Chicago, IL City Winery (Mavis)
11/29/12 - Kahului, HI Maui Arts & Cultural Center (Mavis)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

You Are Not Alone - Mavis Staples + Jeff Tweedy

Mavis Staples (born July 10, 1939 in Chicago, Illinois) is an American rhythm and blues and gospel singer and civil rights activist who recorded with The Staple Singers, her family's band.

On February 13, 2011, Mavis Staples won her first Grammy award in the category for Best Americana Album for You Are Not Alone. In her acceptance speech, a shocked and crying Staples said "This has been a long time coming."

On May 7th, 2011, Mavis was awarded an honorary doctorate from Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts.

Jeffrey Scot "Jeff" Tweedy (born August 25, 1967 in Belleville, Illinois, United States) is an American songwriter, musician and leader of the band Wilco. Tweedy joined rockabilly band The Plebes with high school friend Jay Farrar in the early 1980s, but Tweedy's musical interests caused one of Farrar's brothers to quit. The Plebes changed their name to The Primitives in 1984, and subsequently to Uncle Tupelo. Uncle Tupelo garnered enough support to earn a record deal and to tour nationally. After releasing four albums, the band broke up in 1994 because of conflicts between Tweedy and Farrar.

In 1994, Tweedy formed Wilco with John Stirratt, Max Johnston, and Ken Coomer. Wilco has released eight albums and found commercial success with their albums Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, A Ghost Is Born, Sky Blue Sky and Wilco (The Album). The band also released two collaboration albums with Billy Bragg and one with The Minus 5. Jeff Tweedy has been the recipient of two Grammy Awards, including Best Alternative Album for A Ghost Is Born. Tweedy has also participated in a number of side groups including Golden Smog and Loose Fur, published a book of poems, and released a DVD of solo performances. He was originally influenced by punk and country music, but has later reflected more experimental themes in his music.