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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 Memphis. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Memphis. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Reuben Records artist: Amy Black - Memphis - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Memphis, from Amy Black and it's old school. Opening with It's Hard To Love An Angry Man, Black shows her serious nature backed by Al Gamble on Hammond, Leroy Flick Hodges on bass, George Sluppick on drums, and really nice guitar work by Joe Restivo. Mark Franklin on trumpet, Kirk Smothers on tenor sax, Art Edmaiston on bari sax really adds to the warmth and Reba Russell, Daunielle Hill and Black contribute super backing vocals. Out for a rumble on The Blackest Cloud Edmaiston's sax work really sets the track off and the horn section really adds punch. Ballad, Without You is a full taste of the reason this release is called Memphis (from my perspective) with upfront female vocals and solid horns. One of top radio tracks on the release, If I Could Reach Out (and Help Somebody) is a super smooth with R&B bones and strings (Jessie Munson on violin, Yennifer Correia on violin, Jennifer Puckett on viola and Jonathan Kirkscey on cello. I particularly like Black's lead vocals on Let The Light with a airy darkness and rich backing vocals, Rev Charles Hodges on Hammond and a bluesy guitar solo by Restivo. High steppin' What Makes A Man has that cool Al Green strut. Franklin's trumpet highlights and that super bari sax by Edmaiston really sets the track off. Sassy, Further On Up The Road, with terrific vocals by Black, top notch key work from Hodges, really punchy horn work and excellent guitar work from Restivo. Wrapping the release is classic blues track, I Need Your Love So Bad. Excellent lead vocals are the key with super Hammond work from Hodges and hot bluesy chops from Bobby Manuel on guitar making this a strong closer for a cool release.

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Monday, January 23, 2017

Blues Foundation kicks off 33rd Int'l. Blues Challenge with free concert in Clayborn Temple 1/31

The IBC’S International Showcase will feature 
top blues acts from around the world 
performing at Memphis’ historic Clayborn Temple
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The blues will be coming home to Memphis on January 31st when The Blues Foundation hosts its 33rd annual International Blues Challenge. At this blues summit, musicians from around the globe will battle it out for cash, prizes, and bookings in the Challenge’s half-dozen categories.  
Before the much-anticipated competition begins, however, musicians, blues professionals and fans will first come together for the traditional kick-off concert, the International Showcase. Taking place at the historic Clayborn Temple on January 31, 2017, beginning at 5 p.m., this opening night event features performers — representing Europe, Asia, Australia, North and South America — celebrating the blues. You don’t even have to be an IBC pass holder to attend because this show is free and open to the public.  
The International Showcase serves as a terrific introduction to the five-day-long IBC as it presents a vibrant picture of the many exciting things happening in blues music today. The concert also gives this diverse lineup of musicians, hailing from 13 different countries, an opportunity to play together in one location. Additionally, it provides local Memphians the chance to be part of this celebration of the music for which the city is known throughout the world.  
This type of community building reflects what the Blues Foundation is all about. For more than 35 years, the local Memphis organization has not only worked to increase awareness of blues’ past, present and future throughout the world but it also has been an advocate for the vital and varied societal roles that this music plays. The Foundation runs two highly regarded education programs, Blues in the Schools and the Generation Blues Scholarship, along with operating the HART Fund, which provides medical assistance for musicians in need. The IBC festival, furthermore, features several youth showcases and benefit concerts, while its February 3rd keynote panel explores the role of “Blues as Healer.”  
This emphasis on community also makes the International Showcase’s venue, the historic Clayborn Temple, a wonderfully appropriate location. A Memphis landmark for more than 120 years, the Clayborn, which is currently undergoing renovations, played a particularly important role during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. As a frequent community meeting place, it acted as a distribution site for the now famous “I Am a Man” signs and also was the staging ground for many marches, including the last one Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would ever lead, the March 28, 1968 rally supporting the Memphis Sanitation Workers Strike. Dr. King’s final speech, the legendary “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” address, was originally scheduled for the Clayborn too, but at the last minute was moved to the nearby Mason Temple. The spirit of Dr. King’s message on breaking down the boundaries of color, nationality and gender is proudly carried on by the Blues Foundation.    
Memphians and IBC attendees from across the globe attending the International Showcase concert will have the exclusive pleasure of being able to witness the progress that has been made with the extensive restoration of the Clayborn, which has been vacant for the past few decades. The current owners, in fact, just received a $400,000 grant from the National Parks Service on January 12 that will further help reestablish its original grandeur and bring this historical significant building back to life.  
Honoring and preserving the past also is a main function of the Blues Foundation’s mission. In 2015, it opened the Blues Hall of Fame in Memphis to much popular and critical acclaim. Each year at the IBC, the Foundation also bestows its Keeping the Blues Alive Awards to salute those who have worked to keep the blues flame glowing strong. This year’s 16 honorees, who will be recognized at an IBC luncheon on February 3rd, include record labels, music festivals, recording studios, clubs, radio stations, publications and individuals located all around the world.
The International Showcase opening night concert, (the show’s performance schedule will be released that day) beginning at 5 p.m. on January 31 is just the start of the IBC’s five exciting days. In fact, music from additional international acts will be starting up in clubs on Beale Street that night beginning at 8 p.m. International Showcase attendees will be able to purchase passes ($100 per person) for the rest of the International Blues Challenge events. Passes can also be purchased at, where there is more information about the Blues Foundation and the IBC, the schedule of IBC activities and performances, and how to join the Blues Foundation. Daily wristbands for the competition events (beginning at 4:30 p.m. each evening) can be purchased each day on Beale Street. Passes are required for daytime activities.
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 societies representing another 50,000 fans and professionals around the world. Its signature honors and events — the Blues Music Awards, Blues Hall of Fame, 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. The recent opening of the Blues Hall of Fame Museum, in Memphis, now adds the opportunity for music lovers of all ages to interact with the music and its history. Throughout the year, the Foundation staff serves the global blues community with answers, information, and news.

Guitar Prodigy Ray Goren Plays IBC Roots & Blues Showcase


Thurs, Feb. 2 - PURPLE HAZE NIGHT CLUB  - Set Time Approx. 4:00 PM

 "Teen Phenom"  - Pasadena Weekly

"Ray Goren is fast becoming the young hot guitar picker to watch in the blues world and beyond" - San Francisco Chronicle

  (Memphis, TN) - Acclaimed SoCal-based guitar prodigy Ray Gorenperforms at the Roots & Blues Showcase taking  place at Purple Haze Night Club during 2017 International Blues Challenge Week, on Thursday, February 2. Set time: Approximately 4:00 pm. 140 Lt George W. Lee Ave. Info: (901) 577-1139 or

   "No one rattles the place like Ray Goren, from the Los Angeles area. He plays electric guitar — and sings — with a fluency, ease and depth of expression that defy easy explanation”.”

                            Howard Reich, CHICAGO TRIBUNE

  Just a few years ago, after seeing Ray Goren play at the Golden State Theater in Monterey, California, reviewer Jason Debord wrote on “Ray is a real phenomenon, and you sit there not believing what you are seeing and hearing…It was really one of the most unbelievable moments I’ve experienced at any concert. Amazing.” Dazzled by his raw, intense live performances, Chicago Tribune critic Howard Reich once wrote, “No one rattles the place like Ray Goren.

  The NYC born, SoCal-raised singer, songwriter and trailblazing electric guitarist has been getting that kind of jaw-dropping attention since he first picked up the guitar at age eight. A purely indie self-release, Save My Soul EP title single, reached the Top 40 on the BDS (Billboard/Nielsen) Triple AAA radio chart.

  Goren traces his musical trajectory back to when he and his parents lived in a small apartment on New York’s Upper West Side. He was noodling around on a toy keyboard at the age of three and by five the budding musician was listening to Oscar Peterson and Thelonious Monk, and playing jazz on his piano. Ray has said that "the soul of my music is tied to the blues. However, instead of growing and evolving from blues to rock, I listened to Stevie Wonder, D’Angelo, Amy Winehouse, Donny Hathaway, Prince and others. Later I listened to rock artists like, Jimi Hendrix, Maroon 5, Arctic Monkeys, Radiohead and Imagine Dragon. I have also always been inspired by lyrically-driven artists like Leon Russell, Bob Dylan and more recently by J. Cole, Kendrick Lamar and Drake. I want to be a unique artist and create my own sound."

  As he continues to musically mature and grow his guitar prowess, Ray's sound has morphed into a vibrant amalgamation of the Blues, Rock, Alternative, Soul, and even some Hip-Hop (not unusual, considering he's all of sixteen years of age). Watch for 2017 to be the year that Ray Goren makes his presence felt on not only the national, but international, stage.

        Ray Goren - Solo Show from The Mint, Los Angeles, Calif.

Feb. 2 (Thur.)          ROOTS & BLUES SHOWCASE     Memphis, TN 
Feb. 18 (Sat.)           GENGHIS COHEN                       Los Angeles, CA

Thursday, April 14, 2016


Best in blues recording, songwriting, and performance to be celebrated at the Memphis' Cook Convention Center. 
All six living Hall of Fame inductees will be in attendance

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — On Thursday, May 5, 2016, the Blues Foundation will present its annual Blues Music Awards at the Cook Convention Center in downtown Memphis, Tennessee. The Awards are universally regarded as the highest accolade afforded to blues performers, and the awards ceremony is widely recognized as the premier event for professionals, musicians and fans from around the world. The mission of the celebration is to honor the rich cultural tradition of the blues by recognizing the past year’s outstanding achievements in performance, songwriting and recording. 
On May 4, at the Halloran Centre for Performing Arts, the Blues Foundation will induct five legendary artists into the Blues Hall of Fame: Elvin Bishop, Eddy Clearwater, Jimmy Johnson, John Mayall, Memphis Jug Band, and Malaco Records' Tommy Couch Sr. and Wolf Stephenson. Elected by a select group of respected blues scholars and industry veterans, Hall of Fame inductees are recognized for their musical achievements and their contributions to blues history. 
Leading this year’s award nomination count are James Harman with five, and Anthony Geraci and Sugaray Rayford, who each have four. Harman and Geraci will go head to head in three categories: Best Song, Best Album, and Best Traditional Blues Album. Harman’s gift for musical storytelling, combined with the soulful sound of his newest release, Bonetime, propelled him to a nomination as Best Traditional Male Blues Artist, and his strong musicianship set the stage for his nomination as Best Instrumentalist — Harmonica. Geraci's piano finesse led to a nomination for the prestigious Pinetop Perkins Piano Player award. Vocalist-songwriter Rayford is nominated for Contemporary Blues Album and Contemporary Blues Male Artist, as well as Best Song and the B.B. King Entertainer Award
Cedric Burnside and Shemekia Copeland, 2016 Grammy nominees, each have three nominations here, as do Doug MacLeod, the Cash Box Kings, Victor Wainwright and Wee Willie Walker (see below for a complete list of nominees). 
The five new Blues Hall of Fame inductees have all had long and influential careers that have elevated each to seminal status in the blues world. Elvin Bishop was honored with the 2015 Blues Music Awards for Song of the Year. Bishop and his fellow 2016 inductees Clearwater, Johnson and Mayall all have bodies of work spanning more than half a century, and each continues to create new music and perform for new audiences. The legendary Memphis Jug Band’s music crossed racial divides during the first half of the 20th century, and inspired countless musicians to follow in their footsteps. 
For their behind-the-scenes contributions, Malaco Records partners Tommy Couch Sr. and Wolf Stephenson, who founded a Southern R&B empire that continues to be an influential force, are also Blues Foundation honorees this year. 
This year’s literature entry into the Blues Hall of Fame is Jeff Todd Titon’s book Early Downhome Blues: A Musical and Cultural Analysis, which has been widely recognized as one of the most important analytical studies of the blues ever written. 
The Blues Hall of Fame is also honoring several historic blues recordings: The classic Big Bill Broonzy/Memphis Slim/Sonny Boy Williamson album Blues in the Mississippi Night (Nixa, 1957: United Artists, 1959), and the vintage singles “Crazy Blues” by Mamie Smith (OKeh, 1920), “That’s All Right” by Jimmy Rogers (Chess, 1950), Billy Boy Arnold's “I Wish You Would” (Vee-Jay, 1955), “Blues Before Sunrise” by Leroy Carr and Scrapper Blackwell (Vocalion, 1934) and “Merry Christmas Baby” by Johnny Moore’s Three Blazers (Exclusive, 1947). The last disc, with Charles Brown on vocal and piano, is the first Yuletide song inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame. 
The Memphis-based Blues Foundation is internationally renowned for its tireless efforts in preserving blues heritage, celebrating blues recording and performance, expanding worldwide awareness of the blues, and ensuring the future of this uniquely American art form. Founded in 1980, the Blues Foundation has approximately 4,000 individual members and 200 affiliated local blues societies, representing another 50,000 fans and professionals around the world.   
The Blues Foundation’s signature honors and events — the Blues Music Awards, Blues Hall of Fame, International Blues Challenge and Keeping the Blues Alive Awards — make it the international capital of blues music. The recent opening of the Blues Hall of Fame Museum in Memphis, Tenn., now adds the opportunity for music lovers of all ages to interact with the music and its history.  
Major funding is provided by ArtsMemphis and the Tennessee Arts Commission. The 37th Blues Music Awards is also sponsored by AutoZone, BMI, First Tennessee Foundation, Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise, Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Sierra Nevada Brewing Company and Sony Legacy Recordings
HOF tickets are $100 each, reception at 5:30pm with ceremony beginning at 6:30 p.m. BMA tickets are $150 each, tables of 10 for $1500; a special pre-party will begin at 5:30 p.m.; the BMA begin at 6:30 p.m..
For more information, log onto; tickets and membership details are available at
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37th Blues Music Award Nominees 

Acoustic Album 
Doug MacLeod - Exactly Like This
Duke Robillard - The Acoustic Blues & Roots of Duke Robillard
Eric Bibb - Blues People
Guy Davis - Kokomo Kidd
The Ragpicker String Band - The Ragpicker String Band 

Acoustic Artist 
Doug MacLeod Eric Bibb
Gaye Adegbalola 
Guy Davis 
Ian Siegal 

Anthony Geraci & the Boston Blues All-Stars - Fifty Shades of Blue
Buddy Guy - Born to Play Guitar
James Harman - Bonetime
The Cash Box Kings - Holding Court
Wee Willie Walker - If Nothing Ever Changes 

Andy T - Nick Nixon Band 
Rick Estrin & the Nightcats 
Sugar Ray & the Bluetones 
The Cash Box Kings 
Victor Wainwright & the Wild Roots 

B.B. King Entertainer 
John NĂ©meth
Rick Estrin 
Shemekia Copeland 
Sugaray Rayford 
Victor Wainwright 

Best New Artist Album 
Eddie Cotton - One at a Time
Igor Prado Band - Way Down South
Mighty Mike Schermer – Blues in Good Hands
Mr. Sipp - The Blues Child
Slam Allen - Feel These Blues

Contemporary Blues Album 
Buddy Guy - Born to Play Guitar
Eugene Hideaway Bridges - Hold on a Little Bit Longer
Shemekia Copeland - Outskirts of Love
Sonny Landreth - Bound by the Blues
Sugaray Rayford – Southside 

Contemporary Blues Female Artist 
Beth Hart Karen Lovely
Nikki Hill 
Samantha Fish 
Shemekia Copeland 

Contemporary Blues Male Artist 
Brandon Santini
Eugene Hideaway Bridges 
Jarekus Singleton
Joe Louis Walker
Sugaray Rayford 

Historical Album 
The Henry Gray/Bob Corritore Sessions, Vol. 1, Blues Won't Let Me Take My Rest on Delta Groove Records 
Hawk Squat by J. B. Hutto & His Hawks on Delmark Records 
Southside Blues Jam by Junior Wells on Delmark Records 
Buzzin' the Blues by Slim Harpo on Bear Family Records
Dynamite! The Unsung King of the Blues by Tampa Red on Ace Records 

Charlie Wooten
Lisa Mann
Michael “Mudcat” 
Ward Patrick Rynn 
Willie J. Campbell 

Cedric Burnside 
Jimi Bott
June Core
Tom Hambridge 
Tony Braunagel 

Anson Funderburgh 
Kid Andersen 
Monster Mike Welch 
Ronnie Earl 
Sonny Landreth 

Billy Branch 
Brandon Santini 
James Harman 
Jason Ricci 
Kim Wilson 

Al Basile 
Doug James
Kaz Kazanoff 
Sax Gordon 
Terry Hanck

Koko Taylor Award (Traditional Blues Female) 
Diunna Greenleaf 
Fiona Boyes 
Ruthie Foster 
Trudy Lynn 
Zora Young 

Pinetop Perkins Piano Player 
Allen Toussaint 
Anthony Geraci 
Barrelhouse Chuck 
John Ginty 
Victor Wainwright 

Rock Blues Album of the Year 
Joe Bonamassa - Muddy Wolf at Red Rocks
Joe Louis Walker - Everybody Wants a Piece
Royal Southern Brotherhood - Don't Look Back 
Tinsley Ellis - Tough Love
Walter Trout - Battle Scars

“Bad Feet/Bad Hair” written and performed by James Harman 
“Fifty Shades of Blue” written by Anthony Geraci and performed by Anthony Geraci & the Boston Blues All-Stars 
“Gonna Live Again” written and performed by Walter Trout 
“Southside of Town” written by Sugaray Rayford and & Ralph Carter and performed by Sugaray Rayford 
“You Got It Good (and That Ain’t Bad)” written and performed by Doug MacLeod 

Soul Blues Album 
Bey Paule Band - Not Goin' Away
Billy Price & Otis Clay - This Time for Real 
Jackie Payne - I Saw the Blues
Tad Robinson - Day into Night
Wee Willie Walker - If Nothing Ever Changes 

Soul Blues Female Artist 
Bettye LaVette 
Dorothy Moore
Missy Anderson
Toni Lynn Washington 
Vaneese Thomas 

Soul Blues Male Artist 
Frank Bey
Jackie Payne 
Johnny Rawls
Otis Clay
Wee Willie Walker 

Traditional Blues Album 
Andy T - Nick Nixon Band - Numbers Man
Anthony Geraci & the Boston Blues All-Stars - Fifty Shades of Blue
Cedric Burnside Project - Descendants of Hill Country
James Harman - Bonetime
The Cash Box Kings - Holding Court

Traditional Blues Male Artist 
Cedric Burnside
Dave Alvin & Phil Alvin 
James Harman
Jimmy Burns
John Prime