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A weekly digest of blues news
 
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JUNE 14–20 2019
ONLINE CALENDAR  |  FESTIVALS
FORWARD TO A FELLOW BLUES LOVER
It's a Wrap
All that anticipation and it's already over for another year. Before I do a little whining, let me say that the Chicago Blues Festival is my all-time favorite weekend of the year and has been for most years of my adult life. We owe a BIG THANK YOU to Carlos and the Blues Fest committee members who gave us another great weekend of blues. Even the weather cooperated for most of the fest. This year, I didn't even try to see everything...instead I focused more on bands I don't often get to see regularly around town.

OUR PHOTOS
I worked until my fingers were bloody, my back was almost broken and I was just about blind, but I am not quite done posting images. There could be too many...maybe. More Blues Fest stuff to come next week plus photos from two nights at Legends.
HERE'S WHAT WE HAVE SO FAR

GENERAL COMMENTS/OBSERVATIONS
  • This year's lineup was a particularly good one with lots of great music.
  • The Mississippi Juke Joint tent is absolutely wonderful. If only Crossroads could have a tent, too.
  • The photo pit for Crossroads was much improved over last year (not that you care).
  • Hard to pick a favorite performance this year...there were many standouts, including Benny Turner & Real Blues, Thornetta Davis, Guy King with Chris Cain, Super Chikan and the Fighting Cocks, Dave Alvin and Jimmie Dale Gilmore with the Guilty Ones, and RL Boyce.
  • It seemed like everywhere I looked, I saw Kenny Smith (nothing has changed here), Ari Seder or Oscar Wilson–and that was a good thing.
  • A few more benches/picnic tables would be welcomed by all...especially those juggling their food.
NOBODY ASKED ME, BUT IN CASE YOU WONDERED....
Here's a few observations:
  • ROSA'S STAGE
    So great and popular that in 2020 it might be time for Rosa's to get a raised stage. The crowds were so thick throughout the fest that I never could get near the stage. From afar, though, I did get a good shot of Thornetta Davis' pin-encrusted hat.
     
  • PIANO MASTERS: TRIBUTE TO OTIS SPANN
    I love Otis Spann and loved the tribute, especially the musical chairs style ending....BUT why did Oscar Wilson sing a Muddy Waters song when Spann had so many great songs of his own? What about these:
    Country Boy
    Blues is a Botheration
    Blind Man with Lucille Spann
    It Was a Big Thing (with Peter Green)
     
  • THE MISSISSIPPI JUKE JOINT STAGE
    Why were John Primer and Jimmy Burns on this stage? Shouldn't it be just Mississippi acts with maybe a few other Delta adjacent acts from down South? Primer and Burns could play any of the other stages.
     
  • PRE-FEST STUFF
    I missed the annual Blues Fest preview shows, particularly the one in Daley Plaza the week of Blues Fest. It would also have been nice to have some films running at the Cultural Center and maybe even a photo exhibit with photos from past festivals. I know where some recent photos could be found.
     
  • OUR NEW MAYOR
    Yes, I know Lori Lightfoot has a very full plate right now, but I do believe that Rahm showed up for the Otis Rush Tribute. Seems like Mayor Lightfoot could have found a millisecond or two in her schedule to show up on the main stage to honor Jimmy Johnson and say hi to the festival crowd.
     
  • THE CONNECTION: Mike Welch and Friends
    Mike Welch was great as usual, but I thought the and Friends  part of The Connection meant that we would see a large parade of musicians who had played with Mike Ledbetter come and play a song or two. I was particularly surprised not to see Dan Carelli on the stage since he played with Ledbetter so often in Chicago.
     
  • AND THEN THERE WAS LARKIN POE.
    Lots of gushing going on about Larkin Poe, but they weren't the greatest thing I've ever seen–and definitely were not what I want to see at a blues festival in Chicago (not quite as annoying, though, as Fantastic youknowwho). Yes, they are talented, Rebecca Lovell has a wonderful voice and they are a photographer's dream–especially with all that flying hair. But couldn't they have showcased their blues chops a little more and just played a couple of their other songs  at the end of their set? I also wish they had mentioned Lead Belly when they introduced the song, Black Betty, rather than the reference to that band that basically had their only hit with Black Betty. And asking the audience at a Chicago blues fest if they know who Robert Johnson is....HMMM. Did they take a close look at the audience they were addressing?
ONWARD TO 2020
The city of Chicago will be starting to plan the 2020 festival season in the fall of 2019 so musicians take note: If you want to play blues fest or one of the other summer fests, keep an eye on this page, where you can also subscribe to the DCASE monthly opportunities newsletter.

An educated guess would place the 2020 Chicago Blues Festival on June 12–14. That means, it is 364 days 'til Blues Fest 2020. I should be recovered by then.
Dr. John @ The 2014 Chicago Blues Festival
© Chicago Blues News/Michael Murphy


R.I.P. Dr. John
11.20.41–6.6.19

Malcolm John Rebennack Jr. (aka Dr. John) died of a heart attack on June 6. He was 77. During his long career, he won six Grammy awards and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2011. In May 2013, he also received an honorary doctorate of fine arts from Tulane University in New Orleans. Something about his whole voodoo night tripper persona made me think he was the one person that actually wouldn't die. 
READ THE NY TIMES OBIT

Dr. John’s second-line parade rambles through Treme

THE LAST ALBUM–COMING SOON
Here's the Rolling Stone article that tells you all you need to know–except the exact release date and title.

HAVE A LISTEN
With Etta James | I'd Rather Go Blind
Iko Iko
| Live at Montreux 1995)
Dr. John and Eric Clapton | VH1 duets
In Session (1983) | Johnny Winter and Dr. John
Newport Jazz Festival (2006) | St. James Infirmary Blues
THINKING OUT LOUD 

GET SCHOOLED. Three blues guitar masters (Donna Herula, Jon Shain and Mark Dvorak) will be hosting an Acoustic Blues Guitar Clinic: Piedmont, Delta and Chicago on Friday, June 21 from 10am–4pm at the Old Town School of Folk Music. 
GET MORE INFO: 773.728.6000 

Jon Shain also will be teaching Improvising Blues for the Solo Acoustic Player on Thursday, June 20 at 7:30pm.

OR JUST SIT AND LISTEN. For those of us who just listen enthusiastically and don't play even one accurate note, Donna, Mark and Jon will be playing at Wishbone North  (3300 N. Lincoln) at 7pm on Friday, June 21. Reservations recommended.

FYI: Jon Shain (representing the Triangle Blues Society in North Carolina)  took 1st place in the SOLO/DUO category in the 2019 International Blues Challenge in Memphis. So, you can probably assume he has some talent.

DEAD–AT LEAST FOR NOW. Apparently both the Maxwell Street Blues Festival and the Windy City Blues Festival are dead for 2019. Ironically, this year they were both planned for the same weekend (SEPT 6–8). Stay tuned.

SAVE YOUR PENNIES. Earwig Records is releasing Cadillac Baby’s Bea & Baby Records: The Definitive Collection on July 19. There will be 101 tracks on four CDs plus a 128-page book that has many archival documents and photos. In addition, there will be an additional 10 downloadable tracks by Sleepy John Estes and Hammie Nixon that were previously unreleased. The collection features early tracks from legendary musicians that include Sunnyland Slim, James Cotton, Hound Dog Taylor, Sleepy John Estes, Earl Hooker and Andre Williams. Bea & Baby Records recorded blues, gospel, doo-wop, soul and comedy between 1959 and 1989. The company was founded by the late "ever-colorful" Chicago entrepreneur Narvel “Cadillac Baby” Eatmon. The price has not been released yet, but assume it will be $100+.
CHECK OUT THE TRACK LIST

DECISIONS, DECISIONS. There are hot blues shows at opposite ends of the Chicago metro area this weekend. On FRI, JUNE 14, Buddy Guy will be joined by the North Mississippi Allstars and Shemekia Copeland at Ravinia in Highland Park. Or, if you prefer to go West, the annual Blues on the Fox Festival at RiverEdge Park in Aurora has two days of blues:
FRI: Taj Mahal Quintet (not to be confused with the Phantom Blues Band) and Ana Popovic
SAT: Jamiah Rogers, Ronnie Baker Brooks, Coco Montoya and Robert Randolph and the Family Band
If money is a concern, Blues on the Fox is relatively cheap ($20/day). And, The Venue in Aurora is hosting after parties on both nights.

BREAK TIME

My computer, my back, my needy cats, my disheveled closet, my cluttered office and my foggy brain are telling me (screaming, really) that it is time for a little break. So...next week's newsletter will have a summer schedule, which could simply say, See You in September. Not sure yet, but that is definitely tempting.
OUT AND ABOUT
Hard to believe, but we went OUT AND ABOUT WITHOUT CAMERAS to the House of Blues on Tuesday night to see Rockin' Johnny in his last local appearance before he went off to Madrid. Don't worry...he will be back in the area in late July, playing a number of dates, including the Merchant St. Music Festival in Kankakee on July 27. Yes, we had our iPhones, but those are only for taking photos of our cats.
Hard to believe, but we went OUT AND ABOUT WITHOUT CAMERAS to the House of Blues on Tuesday night to see Rockin' Johnny in his last local appearance before he went off to Madrid. Don't worry...he will be back in the area in late July, playing a number of dates, including the Merchant St. Music Festival in Kankakee on July 27. Yes, we had our iPhones, but those are only for taking photos of our cats.
GET OUT
So many choices, so little time. Know about a show I don't? Tell Me About It...please.
ONE MORE THING: Always call before you go if you have your heart set on a particular show...things can change.


ONLINE CALENDAR  |  FESTIVALS
FRI, JUN 14
Demetria Taylor & Her Bad Boyz

BLUES
Also on Saturday

JAZZIN' IN BRONZEVILLE
Low-reen & The Maxwell St. Market Blues Band

Corpus Christi Hall

Paul Kaye and the Blues Cartel
The Water Hole

Corey Dennison Organ Trio
with Pookie Styx and Luca Kiella

Harlem Ave. Lounge, Berwyn

Brandon Santini, Nick Bell
Legends

Buddy Guy, North Mississippi Allstars, Shemekia Copeland
Ravinia, Highland Park

SAT, JUN 15
BLUES ON THE FOX AFTERPARTY
Wayne Baker Brooks

The Venue, Aurora

Mojo Morganfield
and the Mannish Boyz

Smoke Daddy

Vance "Guitar" Kelly 
and the Backstreet Blues Band

Untitled

Melvin Taylor & The Slack Band
Rosa's Lounge

SUN, JUN 16
Dave Weld
and the Imperial Flames

Legends

LIBERTYVILLE DAYS (Noon-2pm)
Ivy Ford Band

Libertyville

Neil Rose Band
Maxwell St. Market (11am)

Nigel Mack, Mike Wheeler
House of Blues
MON, JUN 17
Luca Chiellini, Joanna Connor

House of Blues

Omar Coleman, Corey Dennison
Kingston Mines

TUES, JUN 18
Chicago Wind
featuring Deitra Farr

Blue Chicago

Pete Galanis & Friends
featuring Dave Herrero

Rosa's Lounge

Ronnie Shellist Duo (4pm)
Smoke Daddy Wrigleyville

WED, JUN 19
FREE LUNCHTIME CONCERT
John Kattke with Doug Corcoran

Michigan Plaza (2015 N. Michigan, 1145am)

Lurrie Bell & Dan Carelli
Acoustic Blues Project

Rosa's Lounge

THURS, JUN 20
BTS Express with Shirley Johnson

Blue Chicago

Gerry Hundt's One Man Band
Taylor St. Tap

Mississippi Heat
Shaw's Crab House

Morry Sochat Duo
Smoke Daddy Wrigleyville

RECORD ROW CONCERT SERIES
Sheryl Youngblood

Blues Heaven Foundation
PLAN AHEAD
SAT, OCT 12
Corky Siegel with Tracy Nelson
SPACE, Evanston
JUNE 14
Sarah Marie Young
(aka Mrs. Guy King)

JUNE 16
Nolan Struck

JUNE 18
Jimmy Lee Tillman
David Sims
Michael Peavy
JUNE 19
Joan Gand 
Harvell Thomas
Big Bill Morganfield


JUNE 20
Hambone (WDCB DJ)
(aka Scott Hammer)
BELATED WISHES 
JUNE 8
Derek Trucks

JUNE 9
Anthony "Big A" Sherrod

JUNE 10
Kent Burnside
Buzz Krantz
If I missed your birthday, more cake for you. Please let me know the date for next year so I can add you to the list. 
BIRTHDAY REMEMBRANCES
JUNE 18
Sara Martin
Don "Sugarcane" Harris
JUNE 20
Lazy Lester
Louis “Kid Thomas” Watts
ONE MORE THING
It's Father's Day on Sunday.
Be nice to your dad or someone's Dad.
WE DO ACCEPT ADVERTISING.
Contact Michael NOW!
You are receiving this blues newsletter because you love the blues and asked to be on the mailing list. If you are no longer interested, you can unsubscribe at any time. Chicago Blues News is written and distributed by Editorial Director Karen Murphy every Thursday, with the exception of previously announced vacation plans. Its content cannot be reproduced in any form without written permission in advance. The weekly deadline to submit information for possible inclusion in the newsletter is Wednesday at Noon.
Copyright © 2019 Chicago Blues News, All rights reserved.
 

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