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A monthly digest of blues news
 
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MAY 7 - JUNE 3 2021 
FORWARD TO A FELLOW BLUES LOVER FORWARD TO A FELLOW BLUES LOVER
TENTATIVELY SPEAKING
Mayor Lori Lightfoot and various key city players had a press conference yesterday. I sat and watched––and waited and screamed at the TV because I only wanted to know one specific thing. They announced that Chicago would be fully reopening July 4 (Hallelujah!) and that there was something they were calling Chicago In Tune and that 2021 was now the Year of Chicago Music. I just wanted to know about the summer music festivals, specifically Blues Fest. They were not mentioned by name, though, and none of the reporters even asked (maybe they already knew the answer).

Thanks to a  spin around the internet, here are a few specific facts (probably tentative, based on youknowwhat) that should be cause for some (masked and socially distanced) dancing in the streets, with vax cards in hand.
  • CHICAGO IN TUNE | AUG 19 – SEPT 19
    This new citywide festival will celebrate Chicago's diverse and legendary music scene and the 2021 Year of Chicago Music with free and ticketed events at clubs, concert halls and beyond (Where? Mars or just Indiana?)

    FOUR SPECIAL EVENINGS AT THE PRITZKER PAVILION IN MILLENNIUM PARK (530-830pm)
    SEPT 3 | Gospel music
    SEPT 4 | Jazz
    SEPT 11 | House
    SEPT 18 BLUES This, my friends, is what will substitute for Blues Fest this year. It's certainly not Blues Fest circa any year before 2020, but certainly will be much better than last year's virtual snooze. No lineup yet.
     
  • SUMMERDANCE IS BACK!
    ...in parks throughout the city in August and September...not sure if that also means the main lakefront location.
     
  • MILLENNIUM PARK CONCERTS AND PROGRAMMING
    Note that in addition to the Grant Park Music Festival (aka classical music) that will be held not in Grant Park, but of course at Pritzker, there are also 10 more "genre-defying" concerts planned. I don't know about you, but no matter how I read that, somehow it does not spell blues (hopefully it doesn't mean something like a Kenny G tribute band).
     
  • OTHER STUFF
    The Chicago Cultural Center reopens on JUNE 2, some street fairs will be back and we can hope that the music clubs will be allowed to be open at 100% capacity soon.
GET MORE INFO

JUST TWO MORE THINGS
CHICAGO PRESENTS
This new Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) funding program supports "safe neighborhood programs that comply with public health guidelines in neighborhoods throughout Chicago in Summer 2021."
THE BAD NEWS: The Application Deadline is TOMORROW (FRI, MAY 7).
READ THE RULES

GET VAXXED
There will be vaccination events for the arts community at:
The Promontory (5311 S. Lake Park) on May 20 at 12-7pm
Theater Wit (1229 W. Belmont) on May 21 at 12-7pm
PLUS...mobile vaccinations at many city-sponsored summer events.
AND...city residents can also schedule an appointment or find walk-up vaccine locations online

AND...most events will require reservations, vaccinations, yada, yada, yada.
CHECK ON THE RULES BEFORE YOU GO ANYWHERE.
WE REALLY DON'T WANT TO GO BACK TO LOCKDOWN.


AT PRESS TIME
Gov. Pritzker just one-upped Mayor Lightfoot with an announcement that coronavirus restrictions in Illinois will be further loosened in Illinois on May 14 with the goal  to fully reopen the state on June 11. So...does that include Chicago or are we a separate territory?

REST IN PEACE

Paul Allan Oscher joined the Muddy Waters Band when he was just 20 years old and, for a while, lived in the basement of Muddy's house on Chicago's South Side. Oscher left Muddy's band in the early 1970s and went on to play with other notable musicians, including Eric Clapton, Levon Helms and T-Bone Walker. He was 74 when he died April 18 of complications from the coronavirus in Austin, TX, where he had been living for the past eight years. At the time of his death, he also was on the board of the Mojo Museum, the name for the new museum that will be located at 4339 S. Lake Park Ave., the historical Chicago landmark that was Muddy's home from 1954 to 1974.
READ THE NY TIMES OBIT

Oscher Mini-Documentary
Get to Know Paul Oscher

HAVE A LISTEN
Paul Oscher with Muddy in 1971
The Things I Used to Do
Dirty Dealin' Mama


Brian "BJ" Jones
1.15.58–4.24.21

Much beloved Chicago drummer Brian "BJ" Jones passed away April 24 after a long illness. I did not know Jones personally, but saw him play often over the years, most recently a few years ago with Frank Bang  and the Cook County Kings at Kingston Mines. 

If you want an idea of how much this man was loved by those who knew him well, take a little time to read all the heartfelt posts on his Facebook page. It will bring you to tears.

HAVE A LISTEN
With Magic Slim in 2011
With Frank Bang and the Cook County Kings in 2018
T Bone Shuffle 
Frank Bang & The Cook County Kings at Harlem Ave. Lounge (2016)



John Dee Holeman, 92
4.4.29–4.30.21

A Piedmont bluesman in the tradition of Blind Boy Fuller; of natural causes at his home in Hillsborough, NC
Learn about John Dee
HAVE A LISTEN

OTHER NOTABLE PASSINGS
Bob Porter, 80
6.20.40–4.10.21

Blues and jazz expert, two-time Grammy winner, record producer and writer who helped make WBGO (88.3 FM in Newark) the largest jazz radio station in the New York City area; of complications from esophageal cancer
WBGO STORY

Mike Mitchell, 77
4.16.44–4.16.21

Guitarist for The Kingsmen, famous for Louie, Louie, the song that titillated a million teens and even led to a fruitless FBI investigation; of unknown causes

Rusty Young, 75
2.23.46–4.14.21

Poco co-founder and pedal steel player; of a heart attack 

Joe Long, 88
9.5.32–4.21.21

Bass guitarist for the Four Seasons; of COVID-19

Morris "BB" Dickerson
8.3.49–4.2.21

Bassist and one of the founding members of War; after a long, undisclosed illness 

Paul Jackson, 73
3.28.47–3.18.21

Founder member of the Headhunters and jazz bassist for Herbie Hancock; in Japan (where he had lived for more than 30 years) of sepsis as a result of complications from diabetes

Al Young, 81
5.31.39–4.17.21

American poet, novelist, essayist, screenwriter and professor who was the 2005 Poet Laureate of California; wrote several blues-themed books, including Something About the Blues: An Unlikely Collection of Poetry and The Blues Don't Change: New and Selected Poems; of complications from a 2019 stroke

Denny Freeman, 76
8.7.44–4.25.21

Austin blues guitarist who was the co-lead guitarist with Stevie Ray Vaughan in the Cobras; worked with many other notable musicians, including Jimmie Vaughan, Bob Dylan, James Cotton and Taj Mahal; was a member of Antone's house band and backed Otis Rush, Albert Collins, Buddy Guy and Junior Wells; of abdominal cancer that was diagnosed just weeks before his death

Chris Barber, 90
4.17.1930–3.2.21

British jazz trombonist who also played double bass; helped launch the British rhythm and blues boom in the 1960s, arranging U.K. tours for blues musicians such as Big Bill Broonzy, Muddy Waters and Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee; suffered from dementia prior to his death
With Lonnie Donegan

James White, 81
4.12.39–1.24.21

Owner of the legendary Broken Spoke honky tonk dance hall in Austin, TX; of an undisclosed illness

Robert (Mike) Davis Jones
??–4.15.21

Brother of Chicago guitarist Eric "Guitar" Davis, who was murdered in 2014; of COVID-19
THINKING OUT LOUD
VOICE YOUR OPINION! The Living Blues magazine Reader's Ballot 2021 is now online––and EVERYONE can vote for their favorites (even if you aren't a reader)  in the 2021 Living Blues Readers' Awards (once in each category and only one ballot per person). There are a LOT of Chicago musicians on the ballot and in many cases the choice will be a hard one. Voting ends on Tuesday, June 15, 2021. Winners will be announced sometime (no exact date given).
VOTE RIGHT NOW

KEEP WIRE ALIVE. Berwyn's Wire, a music venue and bar located west of FitzGerald's at 6815 W. Roosevelt Rd., is for sale. Owner Chris Neville hopes to find a buyer that will continue to run the well-equipped venue as a live music space. LEARN MORE

A REASON TO VISIT SPRINGFIELD.  The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield (212 N. Sixth St.) has a new exhibit running through January 2022 that celebrates the legendary musicians and the music made in Illinois. The exhibit, called The State of Sound: A World of Music from Illinois, includes a working radio studio available to DJs.
A BIG BONUS: Receive FREE ADMISSION in May and June with proof of a COVID-19 vaccination card. Normal adult price is $15 (seniors, $12).
LEARN MORE

TIME FOR CAKE. Tony Howard, owner of The Water Hole, is celebrating his birthday on Thursday, May 27. Stop by and bring some cheer! 

BLUES IN THE UK. The 2021 UK  Blues Virtual Awards Show will be broadcast on YouTube and Facebook on Sunday, May 9 at Noon CST (6pm in the UK). Joe Bonamassa is one of the presenters and there will be a special feature remembering Chris Barber, who died in March.

SLIP OF THE SOMETHING. The dumb mistake of last month's newsletter was likely somewhat of a wishful thinking glitch. In the article about the Living Blues Radio Chart's Top 50 Blues Albums of 2020, the image of John Primer had  #1 on it when in fact, John Primer & Bob Corritore's wonderful CD, The Gypsy Woman Told Me (VizzTone) came in at #2. The copy below the image was correct, listing Primer and Corritore as #2 and Roomful of Blues, In a Roomful of Blues, in the top spot. I loved them both.
HERE'S THE COMPLETE LIST in case you want to reminisce.

AND NOW FOR SOMETHING AMAZING. Radio.garden is a website that lets you listen to radio stations from all around the world. Just click on a dot on the map. This should keep you busy for at least a little while.

POSITIVE CHANGE. Getting kids into music is one way to keep them off the streets and out of trouble. Did you know that there is an organization called NOTES FOR NOTES that provides youth in 16 locations throughout the U.S. with FREE access to music instruments, instruction and recording studio environments? The Chicago studio is at the Jordan Boys & Girls Club of Chicago at 2102 W. Monroe (312.226.2323). The club is open from 9am-730pm Monday–Friday.
LEARN MORE

GET SOME CHIPS. A Hard Rock Casino is opening in Gary, IN (5400 W. 29th Ave.), on Friday, May 14 @ 5pm. To celebrate the opening of the casino in their hometown, The Jacksons will have a free concert, tentatively scheduled for July 17 at the Gary Chicago Airport. Will the casino have some blues? We can hope.
LEARN MORE

BURNING DOWN THE HOUSE. I was very amused by this story about what sounds like the ultimate end of Burning Man. It kinda says something about rich people ruining everything for regular working free spirits. What idiot would pay $2500 for the right to reserve a chance to buy tickets? Okay, to be fair, it is for reservations to buy tickets for two festivals. THE ANSWER: Only someone who has too much money and too few brain cells.
HAVE A LAUGH

ONE MORE THING. You probably won't even notice, but the JUNE newsletter (JUNE 4–JULY 8) will be mailed on Friday, June 4, instead of the usual Thursday mailing because...I can...and also because I will be somewhere far from my beloved desktop computer.
OUT AND ABOUT
OMG...We Were OTC!
MONDAY NIGHT BLUES JAM | 7-930pm
with Casey Lee Chicago and the Blue Line Blues Band

Kale My Name | 3300 W. Montrose

When I lived near that stretch of Montrose, no one I knew had ever heard of kale, let alone considered it edible. Now, a restaurant that serves it and other vegan delicacies has a regular BLUES JAM on its patio. My, how times have changed.

It was wonderful to get out and off the couch (OTC) to hear live blues––outside––in beautiful weather (remember those days?). This Blues Jam happens weekly when the weather cooperates (not this past Monday) and the Blue Line Blues Band is all musicians you know and love, if you hang around the local clubs. And, if I had been drinking, I might have thought that one of the guests that showed up was one of the Glimmer Twins. See if you agree (or just think I am nuts and possibly going blind).
FYI: The restaurant is BYO so you can drink whatever your heart desires and your liver can tolerate.
TAKE A LOOK AT THE PICS
PLAN TENTATIVELY
(BUT ENTHUSIASTICALLY) 
CROSSROADS BLUES SOCIETY
We had a GREAT time when we finally made it out to the 2019 Crossroads Blues Society Festival at Lyran Park in Rockford. So...we were sad to hear that there will not be a festival in 2021. BUT, CBS President Steve Jones has made the brilliant move to schedule six small socially distanced shows with BYO coolers of beverages and food. You must wear a mask to come in and out and walk about.

You will be able to sit in your groups of up to 10, and the groups will be six or more feet from other groups spaced across the hill at Lyran Park in Rockford.

Advanced tickets will be $10 and sold for each event by the Crossroads Blues Society and Lyran Society.
BUY TICKETS ON THE CROSSROADS BLUES SOCIETY SITE

SUMMER MUSIC AT LYRAN PARK
SAT, MAY 29 @ 1-6pm
Dave Fields, Blind Eye Willis

SUN, JUNE 20 @ 3-6pm
Ivy Ford Band

SAT, JUL 3 @ 4-7pm
The Bel Airs

SAT, AUG 28 @ 1-6pm
Teeny Tucker, Aaron Williams and  the Hoodoo, plus Wheatbread Johnson

SAT, SEPT 25 @ 3-6pm
Cash Box Kings

SAT, OCT 2 @ 3-6pm
The Jimmys

NOTE:
They are also have scheduled a few FREE shows.
Check either their website or Facebook page for more info.

***************************************

MILWAUKEE SUMMERFEST
It's more like the Endofsummerfest, but we will take it. The 53rd edition of the festival will be held on three separate weekends:
SEPT 2-4, 9-11 and 16-18 and will feature more 1,000 performances on 12 stages along the shores of Lake Michigan. I don't think all the bands are listed yet, but there are a lot (just not any blues, other than ZZ Top that I can see).
GET MORE INFO

ARCADA THEATRE
The Arcada Theatre
in St. Charles has begun rescheduling shows and is planning a mid-July reopening. So far, I am not seeing any blues acts.

LEE'S UNLEADED BLUES
Supposed to open in late summer 2021

FINALLY...
Rosa's continues to have weekend shows, Kingston Mines and FitzGerald's are open, Blue Chicago is opening and Buddy Guy's likely will be open when we are back to 100% capacity. 

Keep looking at the online calendar of events...I am typing as fast as I can to add stuff.
Note that I am also adding FESTIVALS to the online calendar so I don't have to keep updating a web page.

We are ALMOST there....stay safe and YOU KNOW WHAT TO DO!
NEW RELEASES

Guy Davis | Be Ready When I Call You
RELEASE DATE: June 4 (M.C. Records)
It's a beautiful 13-track stew of blues, folk and Americana from the "ambassador of the blues" who also happens to be the son of Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis.  

Jose Ramirez | Whatever She Wants
RELEASE DATE: APRIL 16 (Delmark)
He's the first Latin American artist to sign with Delmark and, from what I have experienced, one of the few Costa Rican blues guitarists (believe me, I looked everywhere when I was there and came up empty). This new release was nominated for a 2021 Blues Music Award for Best Emerging Artist.

"Big" Al's Blues Howlers | Get It While It's Hot
AVAILABLE NOW (Self-release)
Not only are there two harp players on this CD ("Big" Al Dorn and Benny Richun) special guest Jim Liban joins them for harp and vocals on two tracks of this 10-track recording. It's our own Chicago blues coming back to us from Milwaukee. 

Robert Finley | Sharecropper's Son
RELEASE DATE: May 21
Finley's third studio release has been co-written and produced by The Black Keys' Dan Auerbach, who has been quoted as calling Finley "the greatest living soul singer."
YOU DECIDE

The Black Keys | Delta Kream
RELEASE DATE: May 14 (Nonesuch)
This is the 10th studio album from the Black Keys and it pays tribute to R.L. Burnside and Junior Kimbrough and the music of the Mississippi Hill Country. They were joined on this recording by Kenny Brown and Eric Deaton, two respected Hill Country musicians who both have played with Kimbrough and Burnside.
HAVE A TASTE

Maria Muldaur with Tuba Skinny 
| Let's Get Happy Together
RELEASE DATE: May 7 (Stony Plain Music)
It's a joyous celebration of early blues, jazz and jug band music from the 1920s and 1930s that joins Maria Muldaur with one of New Orleans' traditional jazz street bands.

OLDIES BUT GOODIES

Various Artists | Southern Bred – Louisiana & New Orleans R&B Rockers
RELEASE DATE: June 4, 2021 (Koko-Mojo)
These two CDs just looked interesting––with a combined total of 29 tracks from an eclectic group of musicians that include Buddy Guy, Irma Thomas, Lazy Lester, Little Walter and Slim Harpo. Apparently, there also is a Texas version that features musicians such as Cleanhead Vinson and Pee Wee Crayton.
DISTRACT YOURSELF
BLASTS FROM THE PAST
What My Momma Told Me
Carey Bell backed by Lurrie Bell, Bob Stroger, Roosevelt Purifoy and Brian Jones

The Aces with T-Bone Walker, Lafayette Leake and Chuck Berry

Woman Don't Lie
Luther Johnson (1973)

WHO KNEW H.W. WAS SO COOL?
Actually, it was probably Lee Atwater who had the great musical taste. Without a doubt, though, George H.W. Bush had the greatest of all presidential inaugural concerts––featuring Dr. John, Koko Taylor, Willie Dixon, Bo Diddley, William Bell, Delbert McClinton, Jimmie Vaughan and Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble and more. A DVD of the concert––A Celebration Of Blues And Soul: The 1989 Presidential Inaugural Concert––was released today. Yes...you should get it.

SIT AWHILE–AND READ
What Jimmy Hendrix taught Billy Gibbons

How a Second-Generation Chicago Bluesman Survived a Year Without Gigs
The next chicagoBLUESnews:  
FRIDAY, JUNE 4 2021

(Mails on FRI, JUNE 4)
GET OUT!
OUR ONLINE CALENDAR
 chicagoBLUESnews Online Calendar 
The calendar is starting to look more like it should...with more live shows being listed all the time. I am also listing streaming shows here and festivals here.

SUPPORT THE MUSICIANS
www.chicagobluesnews.com/pay-musicians.html
This page has several links where you can find music–live and virtual

A quick spin on Facebook will find a lot of options to get your blues fix.
MAY 7
Lazer Lloyd

MAY 8
Carlos Showers
Joe Bonamassa
Red Young
Ron Onesti
  (Arcada Theatre)

MAY 9
Bob Margolin
Jontavious Willis

MAY 10
Greg Piccolo
Gene "Birdlegg" Pittman
Maurice John Vaughn

MAY 12
Guy Davis
Barbara Dane
Donald Kinsey

MAY 13
Ana Popovic
Magic Dick

MAY 14
Grady Gaines

MAY 15
Lindsay Beaver
Ole Harv Stauffer
  Blues Revue on WVPE-FM
  (88.1 FM, Northern Indiana)

Michael Schafer-Murray
  (Planetary Blues Band)

MAY 17
Taj Mahal
Giles Robson

MAY 18
Tierinii Jackson
  (Southern Avenue)
 
MAY 19
Jimmy Thackery

MAY 21
Dave Specter

MAY 23
Dick Shurman
Michael Cloeren

MAY 25
Krissy Matthews 
Hard Luck Hopson

MAY 27
Tony Howard
 
 owner of The Water Hole

MAY 28
Jesse Robinson

MAY 29
Gerry Hundt
Ron Levy
Michael Alkaraki
  (Mary Lane and
  the No Static Blues Band)


MAY 30
Rick Holmstrom

JUNE 1
Rich Delgrosso
Tom Principato
Zach Avery

JUNE 2
Johnnie Marshall
Luca Kiella Chiellini

JUNE 3
Terry Garland
Tikyra Khamiir Jackson
  (Southern Avenue)
BELATED BIRTHDAY WISHES
MARCH 18
Casey Lee Chicago
BIRTHDAY REMEMBRANCES
MAY 6
Eddie C. Campbell
Henry Ford Thompson

MAY 7
Amos “Bumble Bee Slim” Easton
Kansas City Red

MAY 8
Luke "Long Gone" Miles
Robert Johnson

MAY 9
A.C. Reed
Dave Prater

MAY 10
Larry Williams
Ted Bogan

MAY 11
Kansas Joe McCoy

MAY 13
L.C. “Good Rockin” Robinson

MAY 14
John Lee
Smokey Holman

MAY 15
Larry Johnson
Johnny Williams

MAY 16
Cleveland Chenier
Big George Brock

MAY 17
Tiny Powell

MAY 18
Big Joe Turner
Charles Caldwell
Little Son Joe Lawlars
MAY 20
Jaybird Coleman

MAY 21
Billy Wright
Lee “Shot” Williams
Lil' Dave Thompson 
Willie (Little Willie) Anderson

MAY 22
Aaron Pinetop Sparks

MAY 23
Chico Chism

MAY 25
James Crutchfield

MAY 26
Big Boy Henry
Mamie Smith
Papa Charlie McCoy

MAY 27
Brother John Sellers
Junior Parker

MAY 28
T-Bone Walker

MAY 30
King Ernest Baker

JUNE 1
Lafayette Leake
Boyd Gilmore
Jim Jackson

JUNE 2
Leonard "Baby Do" Caston
Othar Turner

JUNE 3
Buster Pickens
Jimmy Rogers
Memphis Minnie
TENTATIVE 2021 SCHEDULE
(All newsletters mail on Thursday, the day before the issue date)
JUNE 4 – JULY 8*
JULY 9 – AUG 5
AUG 6 – SEPT 9
and more TBD

Always subject to change in our crazy world.
* The June newsletter will mail on Friday, June 4 (not Thursday).
 
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 © 2021 Chicago Blues News, All rights reserved.
 

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