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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 Ontario. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ontario. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Mr. Rick - Mr. Rick Sings About God + Booze - New Release Review

I just received the newest release, Mr. Rick Sings About God + Booze, from Mr. Rick and it's quite entertaining. Opening with One Kind Of Favor, an adaptation of Blind Lemon Jefferson's See That My Grave Is Kept Clean, has a hillbilly jazz feel with a hot beat. Lead acoustic guitar and vocal by Rick, Alec Fraser on bass, Drew Jurecka on fiddle and Ted Hawkins on drums show this track with a real spark. On It's The Bottle Talking, Ricks solid vocals lead the way with cool fiddle riffs by Jurecka and light percussion by Hawkins. Blind Willie Johnson's You'll Need Someone on Your Bond gets a real cool boogie take with slick guitar riffs from Steve Briggs, Tyler "Uncle Junior" Thompson on bass and cool backing vocals by the Ted Hawkins singers. Traditional hymn, I'll Fly Away, gets a Piedmont style and Mr. Rick keeps it simple and clean, joined by "Blues Doctor" Julie Hill. Very nice! Sister Rosetta Thorpe's Two Little Fishes retains the blues solidity but with a definite Louisiana taste with real nice clarinet work by Jono Lightstone and warn deep backing vocals by the Ted Hawkins singers. Excellent! Sleep John Estes' Liquor Store Blues is up next with a rural country feel but warm vlcals and a cool rock a billy guitar riffs by Briggs and fiddle solo by Jurecka. Very nice! Another spiritual track, Hush, gets a really cool, traditional uptempo country rework with a shuffle drum rhythm, and fun country guitar riffs. This is almost Porter Wagoner or Bob Wills territory...yes. Very cool! Mississippi Fred McDowell's Death Come In My Room has a real eerie country/blues feel with mando-guitar by Rick and the simplest of drums with fiddle by Jurecka. Classic track doe with a nice twist. Very cool! Champagne Don't Drive Me Crazy, a rework of Taj Mahal's Ain't Nobody's Business is real nice with clean Piedmont picking and fiddle work. Rick really knows how to work these tracks and with his arrangements, vocals and rhythm, really presents this material as fresh. I Know I've Been Changed is a hot track. I think it was penned by LaShun Pace but this track really sounds like the work of Gary Davis. This is probably my favorite track on the release with a terrific arrangement, super backing vocals, cool guitar riffs and wailing clarinet by Jono Lightstone. Excellent! Ernest Tubbs' Drivin' Nails In My Coffin is up next and retains a bunch of it's classic country swing honesty. Rick and the Hawkins Singers do an excellent job on this track and Rick's guitar work is clean and tight. Don't Put My Bourbon Down is a super country swing track with a great hook and clever lyrics with a real nice bass solo by Uncle Junior. Very cool! Wrapping the release is Sister Rosetta Thorpe's, Beams of Heaven, with an almost Elvis arrangement. Warm, 50's style rock ballad with an almost Hawaiian twist seems a perfect closer to this really surprising delight of a release. You really owe it to yourself to check this out!

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Monday, January 11, 2016

John McKinley - Window On The World - New Release Review

I just received the newest release, Window On The World, by John McKinley and it's a driving rocker with solid blues and fusion influence. Opening with instrumental, Dirty Nails, John McKinley rides high on guitar with strong support from Darius McKinley on bass and Ben Rollo on drums. Reminding me a bit of early Dregs this track rips! One A Ponce A Time is tight with a funky jazz beat. Nicely blended vocals by the McKinleys and Rollo and a light footed dance with rapid fire guitar riffs makes this track hot as a baked potato! Straight ahead rocker, Welfare Mama, seems like a natural radio track with a lot of polish and a cool laid back melody. McKinley doesn't let up on the throttle with crisp guitar riffs throughout! Instrumental, Stratitude has a heavy bottom with guitar riffs sounding like twists of Jeff Beck and Steve Vai. Very cool! Cuando Yo Me Voy (I'm Outta' Here), has a hot salsa feel with excellent drum rhythms and scorching guitar riffs played over a combination of Spanish and English vocals. Excellent! Rev It Up is a solid rocker with a mix of acoustic and electric guitar riffs pushing it along. Keep The Door Cracked Open has a solid bass riff played against a chicken pickin guitar riff for some light fun. P-Nutt-Butt-Ah is a smooth slow blues number with warm guitar chords and outrageous tone swell and synthesized guitar riffs over interesting bass and drum riffs making it my choice for the release. Very nice! Tight boogie, Life's A Bitch, has a great walking bass line, slick guitar riffs and clever lyrics that should make it a solid crowd pleaser. Cool Night Breeze is an easy going shuffle with clean slide guitar work. Lead vocals on this track have an interesting quality warmed up by choir like backing vocals and "twisted" guitar work make this a definite standout track. Passionate Man has a simple pop feel, along the lines of Elvis Costello with cool bass lines and a solid guitar solo that adds a bluesy texture. Wrapping the release is Ontarian Song, a bright, instrumental track beginning with solid acoustic guitar work, bringing feelings of Leo Kottke. Slowly building with electric guitar, bass and drums and then backing down to a quiet vocal, this is a very nice conclusion to a very strong release.

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Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Andre Bisson digs deep on his 6th album 'Left With The Blues"

Andre Bisson digs deep on his 6th album "Left With The Blues"

With the influence of Motown, big band, and gospel music, Hamilton Ontario based artist Andre Bisson has composed a repertoire of blues songs that reach orchestrations of 20 pieces.  Using a combination of detailed arrangements and top notch musicians, André has created a truly unique blues album, Left With The Blues.

In just a few short weeks since its release, Left With The Blues has received significant airplay in Canada and the USA as well as positive reviews from critics. Left With The Blues was featured as Album of the Week on Blues and Roots Radio and has garnered charting positions on the !earshot Campus and Community Radio Charts.

"Left With The Blues veers from soulful ballads to jumpy blues numbers that ignite sparks like metal on flint. This is a robust blues album that leaves an impression.”  (Invisible Ink)

Since 2005, André Bisson has been performing his unique blend of R&B and Soul throughout the US, Canada, England, Wales & Ireland. After graduating from the Applied Music Program at Mohawk College in Hamilton, Bisson went on to record, compose, and arrange five studio albums.  The success of these award winning albums has led to four international tours, radio airplay, and the chance to open for artists such as Colin James, Jimmie Vaughan, Robben Ford and Steven Page (Barenaked Ladies). 

Recently, Bisson was honored as Male Vocalist of the Year at the 2015 Hamilton Blues Awards as well as a nomination for Overseas Artist of the Year from the British Blues Awards.

Track List

1.            Left With The Blues (3:06)
2.            Borrowed Time (3:43)
3.            Play Me a Fool (4:17)
4.            All I Need (5:09)
5.            Deepest Kind of Mean (4:05)
6.            There For You (3:49)
7.            Daybreak (4:08)
8.            Ordinary Day (3:31)
9.            Crosscut Saw (2:55)
10.          Brand New Day (5:01)

All songs written & arranged by Andre Bisson (except #9)

Left With The Blues is available on CD Baby  

Andre Bisson is available for media appearances and station IDs.

To request a copy of Left With The Blues, please contact Sarah French.

Sarah French Publicity
Sarah French

Monday, August 31, 2015

Sugar Brown - Poor Lazarus - New release review

I just received the newest release, Poor Lazarus from Sugar Brown and I quite like it! Opening with rocker Walkin' With Frankie, a Frankie Lee Sims track, it has a certain crude construction quality that I find particularly cool. Sugar Brown leads on guitar and vocal, joined by Joolyah Narveson on rhythm guitar and sax, and Art Maky on drums. Meet Me In The Country is a great delta style blues track with an authentic guitar riff throughout. Growing to a loud jangle this track keeps it's backwoods sound and primitive sound. Very nice! Boogie track, What A Comrade Left Behind has a Hound Dog Taylor feel with just a minor pinch of C&W styling. Love the loose guitar soloing by Brown. Tom Waits track, Get Behind The Mule has a RL Burnside rockin blues sound with real intensity, joined on this track by Pat Phillips on drums and Tyler Stoddart on maracas. Brown has a cool voice and gets a cool guitar groove going. On RL Burnside's Goin' Down South Narveson switches over to upright bass and Art Maky plays drums following Brown in a chant like blues track. Poor Lazarus is a real cool remake of a traditional track about the shooting of a black man at the hands of a vengeful sheriff, with a heavy Doors like blues feel and descending bass work from Narveson. Bharath Rajakumar joins on chromatic harp. Very cool track! Instrumental, Blue Lights Hooker is possibly my favorite track on the release with a traditional Chicago styling...nice and slow. Rajakumar lays it down heavy on chromatic harp and with predominantly only a bass line played under the melody and joined by Phillips on vibes. Tokyo Nagaremono is an unusual track in that it is a theme song from a Japanese film , Tokyo Drifter. This track doesn't have a blues construction but it is in fact a very cool eerie ballad. Train Sixty-Four feels like a Morganfield track with a deep delta root. Written in fact by Brown, it features raw vocals by Brown, a simple guitar track and is supplemented by Rajakumar on harp, Narveson on upright, Maky on drums and Phillips on percussion. With a Johnny Otis/R&B/Bo Diddley fusion, Brown takes a Lewis Carroll poem, The Mad Gardener's Song: Part 1 and makes it into a contagious rocker. Cool! Burn It Down visits the Jimmy Reed blues book with a great driving blues rhythm, solid vocals and screaming harp. Very nice! The Mad Gardener's Song: Part 2 gets an eastern twist but still over a basic stripped down blues rocker grinds out a real cool track. With a twist on Willie Dixon, Brown comes up with Not Your Backdoor Man. Staying with that Mississippi Hill style, Brown gets a solid groove and certainly understands how to deliver the vocals. His raw, fat, jangly guitar work rides nicely on top of a solid bed of rhythm by Narveson, Maky, Phillips. Wrapping the release is Willie Dixon's Weak Brain and Narrow Mind but with a very solitude interpretation. This track is a real surprise on the release, very understated but powerful. This is a real strong release that packs a punch!

  View Bman Blueswriter's profile on LinkedIn  

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”


Thursday, January 29, 2015

Those Winter Blues: New Release and Video from Singer-Songwriter Lee Palmer

Lee Palmer, Al Cross, Lance Anderson, David Woodhead, Elmer Ferrer
Toronto based singer-songwriter and guitarist Lee Palmer has released two full length CDs, both recorded live off-the-floor. His third recording is set for release in Spring 2015.  

“Those Winter Blues” is a sneak peek from Lee Palmer’s third album, Like ElwayThe seasonally correct single highlights well known Toronto musicians Al Cross, David Woodhead, Lance Anderson and Elmer Ferrer. Elmer Ferrer also mixed, co-produced and co-wrote the track “Wonderful Life”, from Like Elway, to be released in the Spring of 2015.

Respected recording engineer, George Seara recorded the 10- track, live album at Noble Street Studios in Toronto. It all took place one cold winter day, this past December.

“Those Winter Blues" is available on CD Baby, Radio Submit and Airplay Direct.

"...Americana with a big arching A, incorporating blues, folk and country ... You get the feeling that in those years before he started making his own records, that Palmer was a bit of a collector of stories and was probably more than a bit player in a lot of them, there is a tone, a quality to the material that suggests a real sense of ownership." - Neil King, Fatea Magazine
"A first-rate singer-songwriter. Worthy to be heard, this Lee Palmer. Where have you been all this time, Lee?" - Fred Schmale, Real Roots Cafe

Those Winter Blues - view on YouTube
Radio Download Links:

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Busted Flat Records artist: Daddy Long Legs - The Devil's in the Details - New Release review

I just received the newest release (September 17, 2013), The Devil's in the Details, from Daddy Long Legs and it's a non stop rockin' blues bash! Opening with the title track, The Devil's In The Details, Mike Elliott leads the way on a raucous ride with his driving guitar and vocal. Chris Junior Malleck plays smokin harp with great tone. Your Love Is Killing Me is an uptempo "Train" style track with Jeff Wagner keeping things solid on drums and Steve Toms riding the bass as Malleck solo's on harp. On slower soul style blues track, Lonely, Elliott goes deep to the well with super vocals and hot guitar riffs. One of my favorites on the release. Borrowed Time is a retro rock track with blazing tom toms and harp supporting Elliott on vocal. Elliott rips a very stylistic guitar solo bringing to mind Keith Richards doing a take on Chuck Berry. Cool track. On Texas loper, 40 Hour Week, it's not only the great drive and lope, or the super harp track, or the flaming guitar work but the vocals are spot on on this track! Get Drunk and Be Someone is a rock and roll track with great harp, rockabilly guitar riffs and super enthusiasm. This is a track that should easily make huge waves on the airwaves. You Wonder is is a bluesy rock track with shimmery guitar work and fiery harp work. Really quite cool. The One has a cool Latin punk like beat with an overdrive bridge. Elliott again finds great tones on his guitar and has super backing from Malleck on harp. With it's strong back beat rhythm Half Pint is a stand out track with a dynamite harp solo, hot guitar riffs and cool 50's backing vocals. Dug My Own Grave is a simple understated blues track along the lines of Key To The Highway. With evenly balanced guitar, harp and vocal, this is another of the best tracks on the release. This is a really super release which demands attention. If you get a chance, pick up a copy... you can thank me later!

  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, July 22, 2013

Mark Bird Stafford - Live At the Delta - New Release Review

I just received the new release (July 23, 2013), Live At The Delta, from Mark Bird Stafford and it's sensational. I have read a few of the clippings on Mark's work and I keep seeing key figure in Canada's Blues Scene and Canada's Blues elite but this guy is world class. His tone and phrasing are terrific! Stafford has put up a Live set for us consisting of all blues standards. Opening with Junior Parker's Pretty Baby, Stafford and crew, Aaron Griggs on guitar, Fabio Parovel on guitar, Tyler Burgess on drums and Dennis Pinhorn on bass are smokin! SBW's Born Blind gives Stafford a great bed to play on and his riffs are cut. Slick guitar riffs on this track give Stafford a chance to set up for solid vocals and then back to the harp. Sweet! Walter Jacobs' Juke (ish) is a hot instrumental that really should not be missed (you listening still a dog). Another Jacobs track, Mellow Down Easy shows how well Stafford's vocals work with these tracks and then he cuts loose... nice instrumentals on harp and guitar! Jimmy Reed's I Found Joy is particularly notable for super harp tone. SWB's I Don't Know carves a great groove with super guitar riffs from Aaron Griggs on guitar. Slim Harpo's Got Love If You Want It is driven by Burgess on tom tom and again Stafford takes command on vocal. Super understated guitar work also works really well with this track. Willie Dixon's Can't Hold Out Much Longer starts the triple threat close to this release. Stafford has a way of phrasing his vocals and carries the track nicely punctuating his vocals with superb harp work. This is thick and fat and ready to boil over. This is likely the best track on the release but there is a lot here to choose from. It's Too Late Brother pushes up the tempo a bit and with a cool uptempo swing, Stafford has it by the short hairs. The band staying on the down low and giving Stafford room to blow his distorted harp is acoustically really cool. Finishing with Up The Line takes the band to a nice quick Latin tempo. With guitar rhythm and melodic riffs under the heat, Stafford gets a frenzy going. The fans who saw this show live back in July of 2012 got to see a great show. This is a really enjoyable release with great harp playing and strong blues tracks played by solid musicians. I really enjoyed it. Hope you do too!

  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”


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Blues Don't Say It All - Ron Beer - New Release review

I just received the newest release, The Blues Don't Say It All by Ron Beer and it explores a number of different musical styles. Opening with the title track, The Blues Don't Say It All, Beer creates a funky blues rock style and a tasty little guitar solo. If We Don't Talk is a bit more uptempo but stays in the funky rock blues stream. Opening with searing guitar riffs, Beer sets a nice path. Possibly the best track on the release. I Understand is a R&B style ballad backed bu simple but effective guitar riffs and horn backing. Close To The Fire is a swing blues track with heavy horns and a light pace. Bill Evans adds some real nice key work on this track. Give Me Shelter has a latin Rhythm and really sounds like it is from a Billy Joel release. Light jazz tune Puppets and Pantomime has very prominent vocals and horns. Sax dominated solo work on this track makes it a real strong contender for prime time airplay. Call Me A Doctor is done in a vaudeville/ New Orleans style again aimed directly at airplay. Clarinet and keyboard work on this track is quite good. Who's Fooling Who is a top rate pop song sounding like a Todd Rundgren composition. Again with a lot of horns and sax solo, it could garner a bit of airplay. Farm Kids, again with a pop tune and predominant sax work it could easily see airplay. Play House gets back to a more rockin' blues style. Featuring a solid guitar brifge, this track has a bit more beef but still finds itself on the pop track. Overall, this is a pop oriented release with a number of catchy tunes and solid vocal and instrumentation throughout.  

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, June 17, 2013

Live At The Acoustic Grill - Al Lerman - New release Review

I just received a copy of the new release, Live At The Acoustic Grill, by Al Lerman. Lerman, a super harp player, singer and guitarist has assembled an all acoustic set including such classics as Close To You, It Hurts Me Too and Good Morning Little School Girl which is one of the cooler of the guitar tracks. Charmalene is a cool track with a particularly nice harp solo. Move On Up is another of my favorites. Lerman hits a nice stride on this track with crisp guitar and harp work. My absolute favorite track on the release is an original style arrangement of Cocaine. Kept simple and straightforward, this track really really sits tight and Lerman's harp work is particularly vocal in nature. Don't Leave Me Baby is a real nice heartfelt contemporary blues track. Slippery Slope, a fast paced boogie has driving acoustic guitar rhythm complimenting Lerman's vocals and his harp work on this track adds to the dynamics. On Slim Harpo's Miss You Like The Devil, Lerman digs in on the groove and although he keeps the soloing somewhat contained, he still produces a strong foot stomper. A really nice version of Nobody Knows You When You're Down And Out allows Lerman to shine on vocal, harp and guitar. Clean recording, crisp playing technique and super sensitivity makes this a particularly nice track. Take A Little Time For Yourself is a great choice for the final track with Lerman becoming a little more aggressive on the guitar. His vocals are simple and strong and paired with his clean strumming makes a really nice finale. This is a cool acoustic set and one that Lerman should be proud of.  

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, March 29, 2013

Blues In D Natural / Queen Bee - Sue Foley

Sue Foley (born March 29, 1968, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada) is a Canadian blues singer and guitarist. Foley has been writing and playing professionally since 1984. She has recorded ten albums, for both Antone's Records and Shanachie Records. She has spent over fourteen years on the road as a bandleader, lead vocalist, guitarist and manager of her own band. In addition to her own touring, she has also shared the stage with blues musicians, such as Back Alley John, B. B. King, Buddy Guy and John Lee Hooker. Her initial career began in Ottawa, Canada, at the age of sixteen where, in addition to solo work, she sang with the Back Alley John Revue. Foley sent a demo tape of herself to Clifford Antone's label (Antone's Records) in 1990. Impressed, the record label arranged an audition for the guitarist. She moved to Austin, Texas and soon signed a recording contract with Antone's. Foley appeared on the bill at the 1992 San Francisco Blues Festival. In 2000 Foley won a Juno Award for Best Blues Album for Love Comin' Down. Her 2007 album, Time Bomb (2007), features two other female blues players, Deborah Coleman and Roxanne Potvin. The opening title track, "Time Bomb", an instrumental where all three women take turns laying down leads, on the next nine songs the women trade off taking lead vocals and guitar duties of every third song until they come together again on the final track "In The Basement".

 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”


Thursday, March 28, 2013

Scott McCord and the Bonafide Truth - Self Titled - New Release Review

Opening with Deploy The Bird, Scott McCord and the Bonafide Truth comes out, horns blazing. Gotta Be Something is a funk, soul, pop track with a bit of Philly sound to my ear. Lead vocalist Scott McCord is backed by Ben Rollo (drums,percussion), Charles James (bass,vocals), Simon Craig (Electric guitar), David Atkinson (Keys), Todd "Storm Shadow" Porter (bari sax), Steve Dyte (trumpet, flugelhorn, vocal and Christian Overton (trombone, vocal) with a high energy, horn infused sound. A relaxed and unusual cover of Beatles track, Baby You're A Rich Man, adds a different flavor featuring primarily McCord on vocal, accented with horns. A little track, Interlude, is actually a very nice little instrumental intro to contemporary sould ballad Where Did You Go. Bringing to mind the work of Michael Franks, McCord sings a very strong vocal pop track with soul roots. The instrumentation is very smooth and subtle. Very nice. Turn Around starts out very quiet and acoustic but opens into a full blown rocker. McCord has a great voice for this style of music and should win loads of new fans with this track and some nice slide guitar. Bad For You, another strong radio style track puts me in mind of Squeeze blended with Steely Dan backed by the Tower of Power. Very interesting mix. Overall this is a very cool release with plenty of horn infused soul/pop tracks and great vocals.

  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”


Saturday, March 9, 2013


Richard Alfred Newell (March 9, 1944 – January 5, 2003), better known by his stage name King Biscuit Boy, was a Canadian blues musician. He was the first Canadian blues artist to chart on the Billboard Hot 100 in the U.S.. King Biscuit Boy played with artists such as Muddy Waters, Joe Cocker, and Janis Joplin. Newell was born in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, and played guitar and sang, but was most noted for his harmonica playing. His stage name was taken from the King Biscuit Flour Hour, an early American blues broadcast. He was given the name by Ronald "Ronnie" Hawkins, a pioneering rock and roll musician, while he was part of Hawkins' back-up band. Newell reportedly started his career by stealing his first harmonica (Marine Band, key of B) from a joke shop near his home on Hamilton Mountain, Hamilton, Ontario. Newell played with The Barons (later renamed Son Richard and the Chessmen) from 1961 to 1965, followed by a stint with The Midknights and in the summer of 1969 helped to form And Many Others, which was Ronnie Hawkins' backing band at that time. After one LP and several US appearances, Hawkins fired the entire band in early 1970, upon which the members, including Newell, formed themselves into their own band, which they named Crowbar. Newell recorded an album with Crowbar, then embarked on a solo career, although he played with Crowbar off and on throughout his career. After leaving Crowbar, he signed a major American deal with Paramount/Epic. Seven solo albums followed, along with two Juno nominations (the Juno Awards are the Canadian equivalent of the U.S. Grammy Awards). Newell released his last album in early 2003 at Race Records, an independent record label in Hamilton, Ontario. It was a collaboration with saxophonist Sonny Del-Rio (a former Crowbar bandmate and long-standing friend) entitled Two Hound Blues. The album was a combination of six lost tracks from the 1981 King Biscuit Boy album, Biscuits 'n' Gravy, and the 1991 Sonny Del-Rio effort, 40 Years of Rock & Roll and All I Got's the Blues, which was recorded in 2002. Blake 'Kelly Jay' Fordham (a former Crowbar bandmate and friend) recalled that Newell had a soft spot in his heart for 1950s doo-wop music. "We'd do a medley, four chords in F, and see how many songs we could fit into it; stuff by Johnnie & Joe - ""Over the Mountain, Across the Sea," and "You Belong to Me", or "Talk to Me", by Little Willie John. Each week we'd try to best ourselves, see who could come up with more. He would always find the most obscure stuff." Newell preferred Hohner Special 20 (diatonic) harmonicas, and was using a Danelectro amplifier late in his career. He rarely played a chromatic, either on stage or in the studio. Newell fought repeated battles with alcohol abuse throughout his life. Poor health due to alcoholism stunted his career through the 1990s. The bright spot in this time period was his release of the album Urban Blues Re: Newell in 1995. Newell succumbed to the disease at his home in Hamilton, Ontario, in 2003, just two months short of his fifty-ninth birthday.

  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, March 6, 2013

Get Together - David Rotundo Band

Toronto blues harpist David Rotundo heard James Cotton perform at the El Mocambo in 1991. “He blew one note on the harmonica that hypnotized me...” The next day, Rotundo went out and bought a harmonica. “…and I’ve been playing the blues ever since.” Obsession with the blues led Rotundo on a diesel-fuelled roots tour of blues epicentres of the United States including - New Orleans, Clarksdale, Austin, Memphis and Chicago with little more than his wits and a bag full of harmonicas. "I wanted to hear and experience the real thing.” He returned to Canada with a visceral perception of the blues and a deep knowledge of blues history. After making the stories his own, he earned the right to tell them. Rotundo has developed his own language of the blues, honing the technique that gives the voice power and authenticity. In 1997, Rotundo led a band called The Blue Canadians (with Peter Schmidt, Shane Scott, Julian Fauth and Doc MacLean) who played the Toronto circuit. In 2000, he was asked to join the legendary Jack de Keyzer Band, while continuing to tour internationally with The Blue Canadians. He was thrilled by the opportunity to play with “one of the best Canadian guitarists”. Aside from de Keyzer, Rotundo has performed with Lee Oskar (from the legendary band War), Ronnie Hawkins, ex- Muddy Waters drummer Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, Madagascar Slim, Mel Brown, Jeff Healey, Johnny Winter, Edgar Winter, Finis Tasby, James Cotton, Magic Slim and The Tear Drops, Elvis Costello, Shakura S’Aida, members of Downchild, among many others. Rotundo’s 2001 debut album “Blowin’ for Broke” featured twelve original songs written by David and produced by bassist and engineer Shane Scott of Stone Pillar Productions. The album was nominated "Blues Album of 2001" by the Canadian Independent Artist Association and was winner of the MapleBlues Award "Best New Artist of The Year 2002". In 2003, David returned to Stone Pillar Studios with his newly formed international "David Rotundo Band", resulting in the highly popular, critically acclaimed "Blues Ignited" album featuring international guitarist Enrico Crivellaro. Rotundo, as well as writing the material for this album, also co-produced it with bassist/engineer Scott. After much fan demand, in late 2007, David recorded and released his live album - "Live at Roc 'N Doc's" which captured the true essence of the band’s high energy live performance. In 2008 it was considered in the top twenty blues albums released that year by various community radio stations with blues format shows. As a songwriter who easily pulls inspiration from the world around him that fuels his continual writing, Rotundo choose twelve new original songs that graced his fourth album “No Looking Back”, which again featured Enrico Crivellaro on guitar as well as Jeff Healey’s keyboardist Dave Murphy on organ. Released in March of 2009 to overwhelming response from fans both new and old, as well as industry - bright prospects continue to lie on the path ahead, which goes to prove, that for The David Rotundo Band, there really is no looking back… When you see David Rotundo live, you’ll know instantly that he lives for what he does.

 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, December 9, 2012

Stage Fright - Rick Danko - The Band

Richard Clare "Rick" Danko (December 29, 1942 – December 10, 1999) was a Canadian musician and singer, best known as a member of The Band. The third of four sons, Danko was born in Green's Corners, Ontario, a farming community outside of the town of Simcoe, to a musical family of Ukrainian descent. Growing up in front of the family radio (as his future bandmates also did), he was exposed to country and R&B music at an early age. His musical heroes included Hank Williams and, later, Sam Cooke. He also drew inspiration from the music of his oldest brother, Maurice "Junior" Danko. Danko's younger brother, Terry, also became a musician. After entering the first grade in school, he performed on a 4 string tenor banjo. Danko formed the Rick Danko Band at the age of 12 or 13, and at 14, he left school to pursue music. At 17, already a five-year music veteran, he booked himself as the opening act for Ronnie Hawkins, an American rockabilly singer whose group, The Hawks, were considered to be one of the best in Canada. Danko also played solid, understated acoustic bass (along with Levon Helm on drums) on jazz guitar wizard, Lenny Breau's legendary The Hallmark Sessions Art of Life release in 1961. Hawkins invited Danko to join The Hawks as rhythm guitarist. Around this time, Hawks bassist Rebel Paine was fired by Hawkins, who, wasting no time, had Danko learn bass, given help by other members of the band. By September 1960, he was Hawkins's bassist, using the Fender VI six-string bass, then switching to a Fender Jazz Bass. Soon joined by pianist Richard Manuel and organist/reedsman Garth Hudson, The Hawks played with Hawkins through mid-1963. An altercation that year between Danko and Hawkins led Danko, Levon Helm, Robertson, Manuel, and Hudson to give two-weeks' notice in early 1964 and parted ways with Hawkins on reasonably amicable terms. The group had been planning to leave Hawkins and strike out together as a band without a frontman, as a team of equal members. Danko and the former Hawks initially performed as the Levon Helm Sextet, with saxophonist Jerry Penfound, later became The Canadian Squires, after Penfound left, and finally being called Levon and the Hawks. Playing a circuit that stretched in an arc from Ontario to Arkansas, they became known as "the best damn bar band in the land." By 1965, with two singles under their belt, recorded as the Canadian Squires, they met the legendary blues harmonicist and vocalist Sonny Boy Williamson and planned a collaboration with him as soon as he returned to Chicago. Unfortunately for the group (who went on to play a four-month stand of gigs in New Jersey immediately afterward), Williamson died two months after their meeting, and the collaboration never happened. Around that same time, Bob Dylan contacted them, and they became his backing group. The nature of Dylan's tour, however, became too much for Helm, who departed in November. Through May 1966, Dylan and the remaining foursome (together with pick-up drummers, including actor/musician Mickey Jones) traveled across America, Australia, and Europe, playing new versions of Dylan classics. After the final shows in England, Dylan retreated to his new home in Woodstock, New York, and the Hawks joined him shortly thereafter. It was Danko who had found the pink house on Parnassus Lane, just off Stoll Road, in Saugerties, New York, which became known as "Big Pink". Danko, Hudson, and Manuel moved in, with Robertson ensconcing himself nearby. The Band's musical sessions with Dylan took place in the basement of Big Pink, between June and October 1967, generating recordings that were officially released in 1975 as The Basement Tapes album. In October, The Hawks began their demo recordings for their first album, with Helm re-joining the group in that month. Their manager, Albert Grossman, secured them a recording deal with Capitol Records in late 1967. From January to March 1968, The Band recorded their debut album, Music From Big Pink, in recording studios in New York and Los Angeles. On this album, Danko sang lead vocal on three songs: "Caledonia Mission", "Long Black Veil" and "This Wheel's on Fire," which Danko had co-written with Dylan. Before The Band could promote the album by touring, Danko was severely injured in a car accident, breaking his neck and back in six places, which put him in traction for months. The Band finally made their concert debut at Bill Graham's Winterland in San Francisco April 1969. By this time, they were already hard at work on their eponymous second album. On that record, sometimes known as "The Brown Album," Danko sang what would become two of his signature songs—and two of the group's best-loved classics: the reflective yet whimsical story-song "When You Awake" and the achingly poignant "The Unfaithful Servant." Both songs exemplified Danko's talents as a lead singer and demonstrated his naturally plaintive voice. Rick Danko was also known to play concerts and hang around Coconut Grove in Miami, Florida. The Band's albums were defined by each member—Robertson's lyrics and guitar work, Helm's "bayou folk" drumming and Southern voice, Manuel's Ray Charles-like vocals and complex keyboard rhythms, and Hudson's arrangements on an assortment of instruments and Danko's iconic tenor, his on-top-of-the-melody harmonies, and his percussive, melodic bass-playing style were an integral part of the group's sound. In an interview with Guitar Player, Danko cited bassists James Jamerson, Ron Carter, Edgar Willis, and Chuck Rainey as his musical influences. He eventually moved from the Fender Jazz Bass to an Ampeg fretless model and later a Gibson Ripper for The Last Waltz. After The Band performed its farewell concert ("The Last Waltz") at Winterland in November 1976, Danko was offered a contract with Arista Records by Clive Davis, making him the first Band member to record a solo album. Issued in 1977, his self titled début featured each of his former bandmates in addition to Ronnie Wood, Eric Clapton, Doug Sahm and Danko's brother, Terry. The album was primarily recorded at The Band's California Studio, Shangri-La. The poor sales of the album destined it for rarity status. After he recorded an unreleased follow-up album, Danko was dropped from Arista. The follow-up album was finally released as a part of 2005's Cryin' Heart Blues. Rick Danko with Paul Butterfield Woodstock Reunion, 1979 In early 1979 Danko opened shows for Boz Scaggs. Also in 1979, Danko and Paul Butterfield toured together as the Danko/Butterfield Band. Among the songs they covered was Sail On, Sailor, originally recorded by The Beach Boys, with Blondie Chaplin, who toured with Danko/Butterfield, on guitar and vocals. From 1983 to 1999, Danko alternated between a reformed version of The Band featuring Helm, Hudson, and guitarist Jim Weider (and, from 1983 to 1986, Manuel); a solo career; and collaborations including award-winning work with singer/songwriter Eric Andersen and Norway's Jonas Fjeld as Danko/Fjeld/Andersen. In 1984, Rick Danko joined members of the Byrds, the Flying Burrito Brothers and others in a touring company called "The Byrds Twenty-Year Celebration." Several members of the band performed solo songs to start the show including Danko, who performed "Mystery Train". In 1989, he toured with Levon Helm and Garth Hudson as part of Ringo Starr's first All-Starr Band. Danko sang on the Pink Floyd songs "Comfortably Numb" and "Mother", the former with Van Morrison, Roger Waters, and Levon Helm, and the latter with Helm and Sinéad O'Connor on July 21, 1990, in Roger Waters' stage production of The Wall Concert in Berlin. He recorded demos and made a number of appearances on albums by other artists throughout the 1980s and 1990s, and, in 1997, released Rick Danko in Concert. Two years later, a third solo album (Live on Breeze Hill) was released, and Danko was at work on a fourth (Times Like These) at the time of his death. In the meantime, The Band, without Robertson, recorded three more albums, and Danko teamed with Fjeld and Andersen for two trio albums, Danko/Fjeld/Andersen in 1991 and Ridin' on the Blinds in 1994. In 1994, Rick Danko was inducted into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of The Band. By the late 1990s, alcoholism, prescribed opiates, including morphine, and rapid weight gain in the mid 1990s took its toll. Danko was found guilty of smuggling heroin into Japan. He told the presiding judge that he had begun using the drug (together with prescription morphine) to fight lifelong pain resulting from his 1968 auto accident. On December 10, 1999, days after the end of a brief tour of the Midwest that included two shows in the Chicago area and a final gig at The Ark in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Danko died in his sleep at his home in Marbletown, New York, near Woodstock. Following an autopsy, Danko's cause of death was determined to be drug-related heart failure. He was survived by his wife, Elizabeth; son Justin (adopted stepson); and daughter, Lisa, by his first marriage. His son Eli, also from his first marriage, died in 1989 at the age of 18 from asphyxiation. Danko was buried in the Woodstock Cemetery in Woodstock, New York; his bandmate Levon Helm was buried near him following his death in April, 2012. 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, November 12, 2012

When The Sun Goes Down - Jackie Washington

Jackie Washington (November 12, 1919 — June 27, 2009) was a Canadian blues musician. Born and raised in Hamilton, Ontario, Washington became Canada's first black disk jockey in 1948, at CHML in Hamilton. Washington came from a large family of musicians, including his brothers Reg (Hammond B3) and Dickie (drums). In the 1930s, he was one of the Washington Brothers, who played clubs and nightspots until his brother's tragic death by drowning. Washington played with saxophonist Freddie Purser for many years during the 1970s and 1980s at the Windsor and Royal taverns in Hamilton. In 1980 Washington played the part of the janitor in the film adaptation of the play: Hank Williams: The Show He Never Gave. He also appeared in the 2005 television documentary: I Want To Be Happy: The Jackie Washington Story. His first release as a solo blues artist was Blues and Sentimental in June 1976. In addition to his own albums, Washington appeared on recordings by Duke Ellington, Lionel Hampton, Joni Mitchell and Gordon Lightfoot. He had also been a regular performer at many Canadian folk and blues festivals, several of which have named awards in his honour. Washington was well known for having a repertoire of some 1300 blues, folk and jazz songs. He was nominated for a Juno Award in 1993 for Best Roots & Traditional Album, along with Ken Whiteley and Mose Scarlett, for their album Where Old Friends Meet. In 1995 Washington was inducted into Hamilton's Gallery of Distinction. In 2002 he was inducted into the Canadian Jazz & Blues Hall of Fame. He was also honoured through the establishment of the Jackie Washington Rotary Park in Hamilton in 2004 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!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Sugar Ray Norcia Inducted Into Canada South Blues Society Hall of Fame

(Photo Courtesy of InRetro)
WINDSOR, ON – During a rousing evening of blues music in Windsor, Ontario, Severn Records artist Sugar Ray Norcia was inducted into the Canada South Blues Society Hall of Fame on Saturday, October 20. Sugar Ray and his band, The Bluetones, performed a blazing set of the group’s trademark blues songs during the night’s festivities at the Canada South Blues Museum. The evening celebrated Sugar Ray Norcia’s contributions to the blues over the past 40 years.
“I am humbled and honored to be recognized for my contribution to blues music,” said Sugar Ray. “Along with my band The Bluetones, the support of Severn Records and the loyal  fans who have followed my career, I hope to continue singing and playing this wonderful genre of music for many years to come.”
Besides Sugar Ray on vocals and harmonica, The Bluetones lineup also includes Michael “Mudcat” Ward on bass, Anthony Geraci on keyboards, Neil Gouvin on drums and “Monster” Mike Welch on guitar and vocals.
Writing a review in Canada’s InRetro about the event, writer Lou Durnbeck said, “Sugar is well known for his sweet singing voice (and personality) and his stellar command of the blues harp. His induction into to CSBS’s Hall of Fame is a richly deserved honour that he accepted with humility and gratitude – and then he and the Bluetones rocked the house with two sets of real-deal blues that had the crowd jumpin’ and cheerin’ all night long!
“Perhaps most inspiring to me, is the very obvious love of the music and love of playing together in this band that each of the members demonstrates on and off the bandstand. A more easy-going and approachable band you’d be hard-pressed to find. Friendly and open, they all exude a comfortable professionalism that makes it a real pleasure to talk with them about music generally, blues specifically or just whatever you like. No prima donnas here. With Sugar at the helm of this cast of talented performers, Sugar Ray and The Bluetones may well be the genre’s foremost ambassadors today – and they have so much fun doing it!
“Evening is the band’s most recent release, and they played a number of tunes from that CD last night. The title track was played with such feeling and soul it gave me goosebumps! The set lists were a virtual blues encyclopedia ranging from ballads and shuffles to down-in-the-alley Chicago blues styles as well as a fair share of jumpin’ – East Coast style, and even a T-Bone! It was a great night of blues to mark Sugar Ray’s induction and no doubt was left that he deserves all the accolades coming his way!
True masters of the art of the blues, the band is set to go back into the studio early next year to record so keep an eye & ear open for that.”
For more information on the band, visit