CROSS YOUR FINGERS AND TOES. Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot has appointed Erin Harkey acting commissioner of the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE), replacing Mark Kelly, 70, who retired after five years as DCASE Commissioner. We can only hope that Harkey will have the same tireless commitment to the city’s arts and culture as Kelly had and will continue to expand on his great work. Harkey previously served as first deputy commissioner of DCASE.
RAISING SOME FUNDS. Chicago Blues Revival is hosting an online fundraiser, Giving for the Blues, on Tuesday, Nov. 30, from 7–8pm. There will be special performances by Toronzo Cannon, Melody Angel and Jimmy Burns. The funds raised will support Chicago Blues Revival's wonderful neighborhood blues programs–and there is no cover, no drink minimum (except, of course, what you choose to make for yourself at home) and you never have to leave your couch for this one. Please give what you can. chicagobluesrevival.org
WOW. A MUSIC MUSEUM. IN ILLINOIS. How in the world did that happen? Kudos to the people behind the Illinois Rock and Roll Museum, which is thisclose to opening in Joliet (9 W. Cass St.). While it won't be exactly the museum I wanted in Chicago, the plans are to honor all Illinois music...which does include our musical heroes (like Muddy and Buddy) and is a really good thing. If only Joliet was in the South Loop. So...they have a building, a website and a day-long fundraiser scheduled for Sunday, Nov. 7 at the Brauer House in Lombard. Music begins at quietly (aka acoustically) at 12:40pm, begins to get loud around 245pm and ends whenever they want or the city ordinances dictate. roadtorock.org
GET TO KNOW B.B. Daniel de Visé has written a highly praised, comprehensive biography of B.B. King, called King of the Blues: The Rise and Reign of B.B. King.According to the promo materials, de Visé interviewed almost every surviving member of King's inner circle for this 496-page in-depth look at King's fascinating life.
PRESERVING HISTORY. There is a GoFundMe campaign to save The Riverside Hotel in Clarksdale, MS. It is probably the most historic hotel in blues history and before it was a hotel, it was the GT Thomas Hospital for African Americans, where Bessie Smith, the Empress of the Blues, died in 1937 as a result of injuries sustained in a horrible car crash. Give what you can. LEARN MORE
ANOTHER COVID CASUALTY? Apparently, the Windy City Blues Society is close to gasping its last breath––unless they get some new members. In their heyday, the group had around 1400 members. Now they are down to 54 according to their website. If you want to help stop the ship from sinking, you know what to do: BECOME A MEMBER. NOTE: They are having a fundraiser featuring Kevin Purcell and the Nightburners (of course) on NOV. 20 for members and new members who join at the door ($20). CHECK THE ONLINE CALENDAR
REST IN PEACE
3.17.48–10.28.21 William O. Luckett, Jr.
Bill Luckett was so many things, including one of the co-owners of Ground Zero Blues Club in Clarksdale, a former Clarksdale mayor and a top-rated attorney. In lieu of a funeral, a celebration of life was held at Ground Zero on Nov. 2. After reading all the tributes, I am certain it will be a long time before there will be another guy like Bill Luckett in Clarksdale. READ HIS IMPRESSIVE OBIT SIDE NOTE: A second location for Ground Zero will be opening in Biloxi, MS, with current predicted soft opening events in December and a full opening in January 2022.
OTHER RECENT MUSICAL PASSINGS
SEPT 20 | Sarah Dash, 76
Aco-founder of the 1970s rock group Labelle, most famous for Lady Marmalade
OCT 9 | Shawn McLemore, 54
American gospel singer; after a long battle with diabetes
OCT 11 | Paddy Moloney, 83
Irish musician who was a founding member of The Chieftains
OCT 11 | Deon Estus, 65
Longtime bass player for Wham! and George Michael
OCT 14 | Phil Leadbetter, 59
American resonator guitarist and bluegrass musician who survived five bouts with Hodgkin's lymphoma; of COVID-19
OCT 14 | Emani, 22
American R&B singer
OCT 16 | Ron Tutt, 83
Drummer for Elvis and Neil Diamond
NOV 1 | Pat Marino, 77
Jazz guitar great
NOV 2 | Ronnie Wilson, 73
A founding member of the R&B sibling trio,The Gap Band
THE CLOCK IS TICKING WIN TWO TICKETS! Friday, NOV 19
Hey Nonny, Arlington Heights
Joe Louis Walker
You can't really call yourself a blues fan if I need to explain to you who Joe Louis Walker is. But...I will tell you this: He's got a new recording coming out on NOV. 12, right before he comes to Hey Nonny. One more thing: He's been in the Blues Hall of Fame since 2013 and was good buddies with none other than Michael Bloomfield. FIND OUT MORE
OCT 10 BIRTHDAY Dave Weld & The Imperial Flames
Buddy Guy's Legends
Dave Weld likes to celebrate his birthday every year with a show at Legends–and we like to be there to celebrate, too. Weld and the band wowed the crowd with their usual high-energy performance ––and then they brought out the cake!
************************************************* OCT 13 GUITAR FEST JD Simo and GA-20
Shank Hall, Milwaukee
It's true we had to go past the cheese curtain to see GA-20 and JD Simo because their Chicago show conflicted with the Logan Center Blues Fest. So...you shoulda been there. Great club, friendly folks and more guitars on stage than the number of musicians combined for the two bands. Even local musicians Stephen Hull and Alex Wilson came out to see this really great show. SIDE NOTES
GA-20's current recording is called Try It...You Might Like It. It's GA-20 doing Hound Dog Taylor. Of course, you will LOVE it. HAVE A LISTEN
JD Simo also has a new recording, Mind Control, which conveniently comes out tomorrow (Nov. 5). HAVE A LISTEN
************************************************* OCT 15–17 BLUES FEST Logan Center Blues Festival
University of Chicago
This was the 3rd Logan Center Fest and, as usual, it was a wonderful weekend of discussions and performances and live streams. We could only attend on Friday and Saturday, which featured the Sons and Daughters of the Blues (Ronnie Baker Brooks, Demetria Taylor, Lurrie and Steve Bell and Shemekia Copeland (Friday)and Bobby Rush and Jontavius Willis (Saturday).A special edition of Second Monday Blues hosted by Billy Branch featured jazz great George Freeman on Friday. There were also interesting interviews with Bobby Rush and Paul Natkin in addition to a discussion of what's next for The Mojo Museum.
SIDE NOTE: Wall of Blues: Photos by Paul Natkin will be on display at Café Logan in the Logan Center until Friday, Dec. 11, 2021 at 11am. Go see them while you can.
************************************************* OCT 22 CD RELEASE Win Noll & The Rockin' Souls
This was the CD Release Party for the band's debut recording and it was a great time. The band consists of veteran musicians––Shoji Naito (Guitar), Minoru Maruyama (Guitar), Wabi Yuguchi (harmonica), Mike Flynn (Bass) and Stephen Bass (Drums) fronted by energetic singer Win Noll, who has come a very long way since the days not that long ago when she would occasionally join Mary Lane on stage to sing a song or two. And kudos to Rosa's for having such great lighting on the stage...it really makes my photos shine. WATCH THE FIRST SET
ALLIGATOR CELEBRATES 50 YEARS
If you have missed the concerts held recently (like I unfortunately have), you can still watch this wonderful 90-minute WTTW episode: Sweet Home Chicago: 50 Years of Alligator Records, featuring Billy Branch, Shemekia Copeland, Lil' Ed Williams and Toronzo Cannon.
NEW ELIZABETH KING SINGLE What You Gonna Do?
King is a Memphis gospel singer whose debut recording came out just this year when she was 77 years old. Now, her second recording for Bible & Tire Recording Co., called I Got a Love, will be out in early 2022.
John Mayall | The Sun is Shining Down RELEASE DATE: 1.28.21(Forty Below Records)
As usual, Mayall is surrounded by a stellar group of musicians on this latest offering. Guests include Mike Campbell, Marcus King, Scarlet Rivera, and Chicago's own Melvin Taylor, plus regular band members Greg Rzab and Jay Davenport, plus the lovely Carolyn Wonderland on guitar. Here's a taste
Dion | Stomping Ground RELEASE DATE: 11.5.21 (KTBA Records)
Yikes...I had the image last month, but instead wrote about a Robert Cray CD release from last year. (I'm not losing it...it just seems that way.) This is another recording with a lot of famous guests (Clapton, Springsteen, Frampton, Billy Gibbons, etc.) joining Dion. Most of the songs were written by Dion and his writing partner Mike Aquilinna.
Johnny Tucker featuring Kid Ramos and the Allstars | 75 & Alive RELEASE DATE: 8.20.21 (Blue Heart Records)
This wonderful recording was produced by Ramos and recorded on Oct. 17, 2020, which was Tucker's 75th birthday. HAVE A LISTEN
The Blue Quarantinos | Phoning It In RELEASE DATE: 4.23.21 (Keeping the Blues Alive Records)
Not all of what the pandemic brought us was gloom and doom. This digital release from Jimmy Vivino, Jesse Williams & Rob Paparozzi––with a lot of their talented friends––was recorded to help support musicians negatively impacted by the pandemic through Joe Bonamassa's Keeping the Blues Alive Foundation. There are 20 tracks from stars like Shemekia Copeland, the North Mississippi Allstars, Joe Louis Walker and more. All proceeds will go to the Fueling Musicians Program. HAVE A LISTEN
Tony McPhee’s Blues Band | Split Part II: Live in Bremen1982 RELEASE DATE: 5.28.21(MIG)
This blast from the past will be a delight for fans of the British blues/rock band The Groundhogs, the band founded by Tony McPhee in the 1960s. Seeing them a zillion years ago at The Marquee Club in London was a major highlight of my youth.
Ben Levin | Still Here RELEASE DATE: 8.22.21 (Vizztone)
This is the third release from the 21-year-old blues pianist, vocalist and songwriter, who began playing professionally when he was just 15. There are eight originals from Ben and his dad Aron, plus four lesser known covers.
Dwayne Dopsie and the Zydeco Hellraisers | Set Me Free RELEASE DATE: 10.1.21 (Louisiana Red Hot)
It's zydeco––from none other than the son of a zydeco master and the Hellraisers––do you need to know more?
ONE MORE THING...OK, THREE MORE Luca Kiella is having a CD Release Party on Sunday, Nov. 7 at Buddy Guy's Legends for his new recording, Ready for You.
Buffalo Nichols, whowill be at FitzGerald's on Dec. 8, released his new self-titled recording on Oct. 15.
Finally...if all of these new releases are not interesting enough for you, Abba, the band that Rolling Stone once called, "Muzak with vapid lyrics" (gee, I wish I said that), apparently is coming out with a new recording AND a creepy (IMO) concert tour that only an avatar like Mark Zuckerberg could love. Inexplicably, a lot of the tickets are already sold. Go figure.
The next chicagoBLUESnews:
FRIDAY, DEC 3 2021 (Mails on THURS, DEC 2)
Know about a gig I don't?Give me a heads-up.
Updates to the calendar are made regularly––not just once a month––and includes some shows in states that border Illinois and Festivals all over the map that just look fun to me. What makes the cut? Shows within the Chicago metro area and those outside of the area that I would go to if I could.
NOTE: At press time, there are noticeable holes in the calendar, but that is because some venues have not updated their calendars for NOV yet––and others have not found time to do it since the early 2000s.
GO HEAR LIVE MUSIC! Far be it from me to tell you where to go, but here are a few ideas for the next month.
NOV 5 Kenny Wayne Shepherd
The Des Plaines Theatre, Des Plaines
NOV 6 Nick Moss Trio
NOV 10 BLUES JAM
Low-reen & The Maxwell St. Market Blues Band
The Water Hole
NOV 14 Mz Peachez
Buddy Guy's Legends
NOV 18 North Mississippi Allstars, Cedric Burnside
NOV 19 Joe Louis Walker
Hey Nonny, Arlington Heights
NOV 20 Donna Herula
with special guests Erwin Helfer, Anne Harris, Katherine Davis and Rebecca Toon
Old Town School of Folk Music
NOV 24 Super Percy
The Water Hole
NOV 27 Bobby Rush, Mz Reese
Buddy Guy's Legends
DEC 2 Mike Zito
MAR 27, 2022 Christone "Kingfish" Ingram
The Vic Theatre
Tickets went on sale today for those with a Jam Mail presale code and are on sale to the public tomorrow at 10am