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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 Maxwell Street. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Maxwell Street. Show all posts

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Stony Plain Records - Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters - Maxwell Street - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release (September 9, 2016), Maxwell Street, from Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters and it's a scorcher! Opening with Mother Angel, a tight jazz influenced number featuring Ronnie Earl and Nicholas Tabarias on guitar, Lorne Entress on drums, Dave Limina on keys and Jim Mouradian on bass. Slow blues, Elegy For A Bluesman is one of many beautifully executed tracks on this release. With subtle bottom and really nice piano and B3 by Limina, Earl takes it front and center with lush melodic guitar lead. Excellent! In Memory of T-Bone is a strong, T-Bone Walker "modeled" blues track with Earl interpreting T-Bone Walker's style and phrasing. With just a wisp of bass and drums and a carrier tune of keys, Earl just flat out plays the melody in fine style. Excellent! Diane Blue joins the mix for original track, Kismet, showing why she is the go to girl on many blues release. Her vocals are clean and powerful and a good balance for Earl's powerful dynamic style. Earl's emotional bends are pointed and precise, and his solo phrases succinct giving the track the sound of fine wine. Otis Rush's Double Trouble is certainly one of my favorite tracks on the release pushing the bar even higher with Blue's emotional vocals and Earl's incredible knack of squeezing every drop of sweat from his guitar. Clocking in at over 11 minutes, this track is stimulating from end to end. Excellent! R&B track made popular by Gladys Knight, Imagination, has a definite funky drive with a tight bass line and excellent vocals from Blue. Earl brings the pace down again on Blues for David Maxwell. Limina takes a long lush stroll on the piano leading up to Earl's incredibly soulful solo giving this track air for more than 8 minutes. Wow! On Eddy Arnold's jazz ballad, You Don't Know Me, Blue takes front and center again with strong support from Limina and Earl. There's plenty of room here for both Earl and Limina to take brief expressive solos of their own but this track is really all about Blue. Very nice! Kicking it up to a strong loping shuffle on Brojoe, Earl is back, front and center, with Limina on B3 pushing him all the way. Entress' tight drum work and walking bass work from Mouradian frame the work nicely with Earl shooting riff after riff. Smooth. Wrapping the release is Don Roby's ultra soulful, As The Years Go Passing By. This track has been given up by a lot of the best including Otis Rush, Albert King and Elvin Bishop and Earl's entry will certainly not go unnoticed. Blue handles the vocal lead with authority and Earl would be a certain candidate for top blues player today. This is an excellent closer for an excellent release!

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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Guitar Legend Ronnie Earl Is Right at Home on "Maxwell Street," New Stony Plain Records Album Coming September 9




Guitar Legend Ronnie Earl Is Right at Home on Maxwell Street, New Stony Plain Records Album Coming September 9

EDMONTON, AB – Stony Plain Records announces a September 9 release date for Maxwell Street, the new CD from three-time Blues Music Award winner as “Guitarist of the Year,” Ronnie Earl and his band, the Broadcasters.

Maxwell Street is named in honor of the late blues pianist and previous member of the Broadcasters, David Maxwell, and is also a nod to Chicago’s famed Maxwell Street, where blues musicians gathered to play outside for the Sunday market crowds.

Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters are: Ronnie Earl – guitar; Lorne Entress – drums; Dave Limina – piano and Hammond B3 organ; Jim Mouradian – bass; and Diane Blue – vocals. Special guest guitarist on the album is Nicholas Tabarias. Maxwell Street was produced by Ronnie Earl and recorded at Wellspring Studios in Acton, Massachusetts, and Wooly Mammoth Studios in Waltham, Mass. Ronnie formed his band, the Broadcasters, in 1988.

“This album is dedicated to my big brother David Maxwell,” says Ronnie Earl. “We were born on the same day ten years apart. His playing was as deep as the ocean, as high as the sky and as bright as a quasar. When he passed, I felt a huge loss as I still do. David was a Broadcaster and he and I made a few records together. It was always a supreme honor to play with him. He played blues as well as jazz with incredible expression from Otis Spann to Cecil Taylor. He knew and loved it all. He became Otis Spann in the later years. Our pianist David Limina wrote a tune (“Elegy for a Bluesman”) that captures the feeling of the album and we all send our love and respect to David’s family and all of our love and gratitude for David Maxwell.”

Maxwell Street showcases 10 tracks, including six originals, plus exciting covers of songs by Otis Rush (one of Ronnie’s main musical mentors), “Double Trouble;” Gladys Knight (“I’ve Got to Use My) Imagination;” Eddy Arnold, “You Don’t Know Me;” and the blues/soul chestnut, “As the Years Go Passing By,” which closes the album.

Ronnie and the band performed a special set at the recent Chicago Blues Festival in honor of Otis Rush. In his review of that concert, DownBeat writer Jeff Johnson singled out Ronnie for praise: “Perhaps the most heartfelt expression came from the guitar of Ronnie Earl. His playing was a study in economy, yet electrifying enough to make the hairs on your neck stand on end on the seminal Rush tune, “Double Trouble.”

Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters are also represented with a track on the new Stony Plain special 3-CD set, 40 Years of Stony Plain, which salutes the label’s four decades of the best in roots, rock, folk, country and blues music. To commemorate Stony Plain’s anniversary, Ronnie Earl recorded this short video about their relationship: 




“Ronnie Earl is one of the most sensitive, refined and exquisite guitarists on the international blues scene.” - Living Blues.   


Current Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters Tour Dates

Aug. 14                 Mystic Blues Festival                                                      North Stonington, CT
Aug. 19                 White Mountain Boogie ‘n Blues Festival              Thornton, NH
Sept. 18                Pennsylvania Blues Festival                                         Lake Harmony, PA




Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Cry Over Me - Lonesome Lee

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

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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Rubbin' My Root - Big John Wrencher & His Maxwell Street Blues Boys

Big John Wrencher (February 12, 1923 - July 15, 1977), also known as One Arm John, was an American blues harmonica player and singer, well known for playing on Maxwell Street Market, Chicago in the 1960s, and who later toured Europe in the 1970s.John Thomas Wrencher was born in Sunflower, Mississippi, United States. He became interested in music as a child, and taught himself to play harmonica at an early age, and from the early 1940s was working as an itinerant musician in Tennessee, Missouri, Indiana, and Illinois. By the mid 1940s he had arrived in Chicago and was playing on Maxwell Street and at house parties with Jimmy Rogers, Claude "Blue Smitty" Smith and John Henry Barbee. In the 1950s he moved to Detroit, where he worked with singer/guitarist Baby Boy Warren, and formed his own trio to work in the Detroit and Clarksdale, Mississippi areas. In 1958 Wrencher lost his left arm as a result of a car accident outside Memphis, Tennessee. By the early 1960s he had settled in Chicago, where he became a fixture on Maxwell Street Market, in particular playing from 10am to 3pm on Sundays. In 1964 he appeared in a documentary film about Maxwell Street, titled And This Is Free; performances by Wrencher recorded in the process of making the film were eventually issued on the three CD set And This Is Maxwell Street. During the 1960s he recorded for the Testament label backing Robert Nighthawk, and as part of the Chicago String Band. In 1969 he recorded for Barrelhouse Records, backed by guitarist Little Buddy Thomas and drummer Playboy Vinson, who formed his Maxwell Street band of the time. The resulting album, Maxwell Street Alley Blues, was described as "superlative in every regard" by Cub Koda at Allmusic. Wrencher toured Europe with the Chicago Blues Festival in 1973 and with the American Blues Legends in 1974, and during the latter tour recorded an album in London for the Big Bear label, backed by guitarist Eddie Taylor and his band. During a trip to Mississippi to visit his family in July 1977, Wrencher died suddenly of a heart attack in Wade Walton's barber shop in Clarksdale, Mississippi 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, December 30, 2011

Maxwell Street - 24 Pesos


24PESOS is one of the fastest rising bands in the blues scene today. Emerging from the roughneck dives of London, 24PESOS burst on to the blues scene in 2008 with their raw and rootsy live shows and debut album “The Boogie Worm”. The band’s latest album “Busted broken and Blue” (release 19 July 2010) showcases the evolution of the 24Pesos sound – 11 boot stompin’ originals drawing from influences as diverse as Ray Charles, The Meters, James Brown, Freddie King, Howlin Wolf, and the Roots. Featuring saw-tooth Dobro guitars, searing harmonicas, a funky old school rhythm section and a greasy Hammond B3, the album showcases an eclectic and infectious blend that is the unmistakable 24Pesos sound.
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Thursday, December 15, 2011

I'll Be Coming Home - Jimmie Lee Robinson

Jimmie Lee Robertson was part of the generation of blues performers who helped establish Maxwell Street in Chicago as a famous blues locale. He was known as "Lonesome" Jimmie Lee, or sometimes nicknamed "The Lonely Traveller".

He was related to Bessie Smith on his father's side, and saw his musical roots as lying in Mississippi (his grandparents had moved north). He first played acoustic guitar, but switched to the electric blues style when he joined the harmonicist Little Walter's band.


(April 30, 1931 - July 6, 2002) He recorded with musicians like Magic Sam and Jimmy Reed, made records as a leader, and took part in the American Folk Blues Festival package tour of the US and Europe in 1965.

He played bass as well as guitar. He took a succession of days jobs in the 1970s and 1980s, but returned to recording in the 1990s, and made several albums for the Delmark, Amina and Apo labels.

He led a protest against the proposed redevlopment of the historic Maxwell Street area and Chicago's blues heritage in the late 1990s, including two lengthy hunger strikes. In 1998 he embarked upon the first of two long hunger strikes in protest.

He had been been diagnosed with bone cancer, and was found dead with an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound.
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Sunday, December 11, 2011

Hubert Sumlin Talks About Maxwell Street


Hubert Sumlin (November 16, 1931 – December 4, 2011) was an American Chicago blues and electric blues guitarist and singer.[1] He was best known for his celebrated work, from 1955, as guitarist in Howlin' Wolf's band. His singular playing was characterized by "wrenched, shattering bursts of notes, sudden cliff-hanger silences and daring rhythmic suspensions". Sumlin was listed as number 43 in the Rolling Stone 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.

Sumlin favored a Louis Electric Model HS M12 amplifier and a 1955 Gibson Les Paul Goldtop guitarHubert Sumlin talks about playing on Maxwell Street in Chicago. For more on Hubert Sumlin, Chicago's Maxwell Street and the electric blues, check out the critically-acclaimed documentary, "Cheat You Fair: The Story of Maxwell Street"
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Tamp 'em Up Solid - Blind Arvella Gray

Blind Arvella Gray (January 28, 1906 – September 7, 1980) was an American blues, folk and gospel singer and guitarist.

His birth name was James Dixon, and he was born in Somerville, Texas, United States. He spent the latter part of his life performing and busking folk, blues and gospel music at Chicago's Maxwell Street flea market and at rapid-transit depots.

Gray's only album, 1973's The Singing Drifter was reissued on the (Conjuroo) Conqueroo record label in 2005. The re-issue producer was Cary Baker, who wrote the liner notes for the original Birch Records vinyl LP.

Gray died in Chicago, Illinois in September 1980, at the age of 74An excerpt from a tribute to Chicago Blues by Jim Morrissette, Raul Zaritsky, and Linda Williams. Features a performance by Blind Arvella Gray, a 72-year-old blues musician at Chicago's Maxwell Street Market.
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Chicken Man


Chicken Man was a common sight at bus stops in Chicago during the 50's and 60's. Put down a dime watch the show.From the Mike Shea Films classic 'And This is Free'. The most complete account of a Sunday Morning on Chicago's Maxwell St.“Like” Bman’s Facebook page (available in over 50 languages). I will not relay senseless nonsense. In this way I can get out the word on new talent, venues and blues happenings! - click Here

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Maxwell Street - Studebaker John


John Grimaldi, better known by his stage name Studebaker John (born November 5, 1952, Chicago) is an American blues guitarist and harmonica player. He is a representative of the Chicago blues style.
Studebaker John's father was an amateur musician, and he played early in life at the Maxwell Street flea market. Grimaldi began playing harmonica at age seven. In the 1970s he put together his band, the Hawks, and worked as a construction worker while recording and performing on the side. He recorded extensively for Blind Pig Records in the 1990s. Grimaldi counts Hound Dog Taylor as the reason he began playing slide guitar.[1] Atom Egoyan choose three of John's songs for his 1993 film Calendar, and included two songs in his 1994 film Exotica.
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