Remember that date. It is allegedly when the city of Chicago will finally announce the lineup for the Chicago Blues Festival. It will be revealed along with every other thing in Millennium Park this summer that you probably don't care about. At this point, why not just wait until June 9 and make the festival a spinoff of the Masked Singer.
Don't blame the messenger.
OOPS..I FOUND A LEAK! Friday, June 10, 2022 @ 2:55– 4:10pm | Pritzker Pavilion, Chicago Bob Stroger and Friends with special guest sax playerSam Burckhardt
NEWS FLASH: The city has released the schedule for SummerDance today...but don't worry, they didn't bother to include any blues.
TIME TO HELP JOHN. Every time I start feeling too sorry for myself, I get snapped back to reality by a story much worse than mine. Incredible blues singer/harp player John Nemeth has ameloblastoma, a benign but aggressive tumor that will require the removal of most of his lower jaw. He has found a great surgeon, but has terrible insurance that is refusing to pay for the needed surgery. He is going to Houston May 23 for surgery. Just the hospital fees will be $40,000/night. Reach deep into your pockets if you can. DONATE NOW
GOT TO MOVE. The Friends of the Blues, co-founded by James Walker, held its last show April 26 (its 195th!) with Too Slim and the Taildraggers. Walker, 71, has decided that it is time to step down. The sad news is that, at least so far, no one has stepped up to continue his great work to bring blues to what I would often call "the edge of the earth." I have always admired what Walker and his wife have done to create a blues "society" with no dues, no rules, just friends having fun together listening to the blues. I always meant to go down there for a show, but...you know...the edge of the earth is too long a drive for me. Someone please keep this going. Kurt Foor, what are you doing in the next year or three? LEARN MORE
RADIO DAZE.WDCB DJ Leslie Keros will be hosting a revival of her old blues show, Mood Indigo on Saturday nights beginning this weekend (May 7, 6–7pm). It will feature blues from the 1950s to the present, with a little jazz thrown in. This means that WDCB will have 11 hours of blues on Saturday nights from 6pm –5am!
6–7pm Mood Indigo with Leslie Keros
7–9pm Blues Time with Tom Marker
9–10pm Blues from The Red Rooster Lounge
10–11pm Blacks & Blues
11pm–Midnight Night Train
Midnight–5am Blues Before Sunrise with Steve Cushing
BLUES IN THE GARDEN.Willie Dixon's Blues Heaven Foundation will be hosting live music in its garden again this summer––but you will have to wait to find out who's playing. The first show of the Record Row Concert Series is planned for Thursday, June 2.
BLUES IN THE (FORMER) BREWERY. The Freddie Dixon Band is back at the old Motor Row Brewery (2337 S. Michigan) now known as Venue OverDrive hosting a weekly Thursday night blues jam from 7pm–10pm. Music is on the 3rd floor. The Duneyrr Artisan Fermenta Project is now on the 1st floor. They co-ferment wine, cider, and mead ingredients with artisanal craft beer. I know how it sounds, but don't turn up your nose until you at least try it. Check out some photos of the blues jam in the AROUND TOWN SECTION
NOW HE'S REALLY MADE IT. The birthplace of Buddy Guy in Lettsworth, LA, is now listed on the Atlas Obscura site, probably because it is noted with a plaque on the Mississippi Blues Trail.
CANADIAN BLUES. Our neighbor to the north (think past the Cheddar Curtain) has issued a stamp to honor Salome Bey, the woman known as Canada's first lady of the blues. I listened, I liked her voice and the stamp is beautiful–but Ms. Bey was not a blues singer. Everything I listened to sounded like it belonged in a piano bar, not that there is anything wrong with that. But, if we are talking' blues, Koko Taylor was a blues singer. Need I say more? FYI: Bey, who died in 2020 at the age of 86, was actually born in the U.S.
CHICAGO STYLE SCHMOOZE. Former Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel is now the U.S. Ambassador to Japan and is making friends in high places with his Chicago gifts. I particularly like that he gave Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi an autographed guitar strap and CD from Chicago Blues legend Buddy Guy. Apparently, Hayashi is a musician and huge music lover...and Rahm knows how to schmooze.
THEY OWN THE MUSIC WORLD. In February, BMG and its longstanding partner Fujipacific Music acquired the entire publishing catalog of John Lee Hooker (think "Boom Boom, "One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer," "Boogie Chillen," among others)from his estate. The details confused me, but all the recorded and performance royalties are part of the deal. By the way, BMG currently represents or owns rights for the music of Son House, Willie Dixon, Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, Little Walter, Sonny Boy Williamson II and Mississippi Fred McDowell. LEARN MORE
TALES FROM THE FRONT.An interesting new book,Going Up the Country: Adventures in Blues Fieldwork in the 1960s, by Marina Bokelman and David Evans, is now available for pre-order. The book will be published by the University Press of Mississippi (UPM) on Nov. 15, 2922. UPM is the largest and only nonprofit published in Mississippi and is affiliated and supported by the eight state universities. NOTE: The UPM is currently having a 52nd Anniversary sale through May 9, where every book is 40% off.
RANDOM INTERNET WANDERING. I stumbled upon this apparent podcast (I might be the last person to actually have barely scratched the surface of the podcast world.), called Soul Kitchen Blues by Rockin' Johnny (no, not that Rockin' Johnny)––and I couldn't stop listening. Apparently there is a Rockin' Johnny down under sharing his blues collection with the world. I listened to #135 and loved what I heard so I will likely join his 48 followers and become a regular.
VOTE! Subscriber and non-subscribers can vote (but just once!) in the 2022 Living Blues Awards. Deadline to vote is Wednesday, June 15. VOTE RIGHT NOW
Nick and Kate Moss celebrated 20 years of wedded bliss yesterday––and hopefully will be having a year-long celebration. I have snapped many great photos of these two over the past few years, but this one might be my favorite––from the Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise in January 2020.
I honestly don't know if this is a good or creepy thing...but there is now a website devoted to the idea of giving touring artists a place to sleep called...of course...Tour Sleeper. www.toursleeper.com
MICHAEL MURPHY'S CELEBRATION OF LIFE AUG 5 2022 | Epiphany Center for the Arts
Just a quick update. Yes, this will still be happening on SUN, AUG. 5.
In the coming weeks, I finally will be working on finalizing details and trying to gather a solid RSVP list. I will send out a separate EMAIL as soon as I have all the details.
Everyone who wants to come and celebrate is welcome to join the party.
ALWAYS IN OUR HEARTS
PHOTO by Don Monick courtesy of Alligator Records
Guitar Shorty, 87 9.8.34–4.20.22
David "Guitar Shorty" had a career that spanned seven decades in which he recorded 11 solo albums. Buddy Guy, for one, has often said he was influenced by Guitar Shorty's electrifying style. As a young man, Shorty toured with Ray Charles, Sam Cooke, B. B. King, Guitar Slim and T-Bone Walker. After Willie Dixon saw him perform in Florida, Shorty came to Chicago and recorded his first single for Cobra Records in 1957, back by Otis Rush. LEARN MORE
SIDE NOTE: Krystal Khali, who supported Guitar Shorty on guitar for the past seven years, has hinted at a possible documentary film and mentioned that she also filmed his last show. Stay tuned.
John Rossi, 79
Drummer for Roomful of Blues for almost 30 years; of a short, but unspecified, illness READ HIS OBIT
Allan C. Hostert
Known as Joliet Al in the local blues community, Allan Hostert was known for covering Big Walter Horton's song, Have a Good Time READ HIS OBIT
Greg "Slim Lively" Johnson, 63
3.15.593.24.22An active member of the Portland, OR, blues community, Greg Johnson was president of the Cascade Blues Assn. from 2002–2021 and then president emeritus in 2022. He received a Keeping the Blues Alive Award from the Blues Foundation in 2016. LEARN MORE ABOUT SLIM LIVELY Lola Gulley, 57 1975–3.30.22
Lola Gulley was an R&B singer, keyboardist and considered Atlanta’s Queen of Blues. LEARN MORE ABOUT LOLA lolagulley.com
From a May 5 Facebook post by Jun Moon:
Entertainment entrepreneur and club owner Helen Wooten passed this morning (May 5). She ran the hottest venue in the Midwest, ￼The High Chaparral nightclub, near 77th and Stony Island.
MORE SAD GOODBYES Cynthia Albritton (aka Cynthia Plaster Caster), 74
A visual artist who gained notoriety for making plaster casts of male rock stars genitals. The cast of Jimi Hendrix, her first subject, is apparently sometimes referred to as Penis de Milo. I'm still blushing. READ THE GUARDIAN ARTICLE
Naomi Judd, 76
Naomi Judd was one half of the legendary country music duo, The Judds (the other half was her daughter Wynonna). She also was the mother of actress Ashley Judd. Ms. Judd committed suicide after a long illness just a day before she was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
C.W. McCall (aka William Dale Fries Jr.), 93
Advertising exec turned country singer, who was famous for the song, Convoy
Ernie Andrews, 94
Jazz and blues singer who got his big break thanks to film star Betty Grable
Bobby O’Jay, 68
WDIA Memphis radio legend, of unspecified causes
Richard "Ric" J. Parnell, 70
English rock drummer, who was in the band Atomic Rooster, but was best known for his role as the ill-fated drummer Mick Shrimpton in the film This Is Spinal Tap
Art Rupe, 104
Specialty Records Founder and rock ‘n’ roll pioneer
Dick Halligan, 78
Musician/composer best known as a founding member of the jazz-rock band Blood, Sweat and Tears
Taylor Hawkins, 50
Foo Fighters drummer
Jon Appleton, 83
Composer, professor and pioneer in electronic and electro-acoustic music, who helped develop the Synclavier, an early digital synthesizer
Randy Rand, 62
Bassist for the 1980s glam metal band Autograph
Keith Martin, 57
R&B artist known for the 2004 single, Because of You
Brad Martin, 48
Country singer/songwriter famous for his song, Before I Knew Better
Timmy Thomas, 77
R&B singer/keyboardist/songwriter/record producer known for the song, Why Can't We Live Together
Howard Lee Grimes, 80
American drummer, best known as a member of the acclaimed Hi Rhythm Section that appeared on records by Al Green, Ann Peebles, Otis Clay and O.V. Wright
Scotty Wray, 64
Brother of ‘90s country hitmaker Collin Raye and longtime guitarist for Miranda Lambert
Hargus ‘Pig’ Robbins, 84
Session keyboard player who played on recordings by Bob Dylan, Neil Young and Dolly Parton, among many others
Héctor "Tito" Matos, 53
Master percussionist, revered educator and lifelong champion of the Puerto Rican style of music known as plena
Bobbie Nelson, 91
Older sister of Willie Nelson and a longtime pianist in his band
Charles Ingalls (aka CharlestheFirst), 25
Electronic music star who died from cocktail of drugs including cocaine and fentanyl
Keaton Pierce, 32
Vocalist for Kentucky post-hardcore band Too Close To Touch
Chris Bailey, 65
Australian singer, songwriter, musician and producer and co-founder of the rock band The Saints
I managed to get to seven shows since the last newsletter (OK, six since Elvin Bishop was actually the day before the last newsletter).
I saw Mark Hummel and the Blues Survivors twice, in part because I wanted to finally catch up with Dig 3 and they opened for Hummel in Urbana. It was definitely worth the drive. And, much to my delight, Hummel & Co. did not do the same show when they appeared at SPACE in Evanston a week later. In fact, Billy Flynn did not even drag out his mandolin in Urbana.
Also note that Donna Kosiba at City News Cafe is doing her part to help Ukraine by hosting regular fundraisers on Saturdays and Sundays. This weekend, Tom Holland is playing Saturday and Studebaker John and Earl Howell are there Sunday. Stop by and show them some love and support––and buy some truffles.
APR 6 @ City Winery Elvin Bishop Big Fun Trio THE PHOTOS
APR 17 @ Rose Bowl Tavern, Urbana Dig 3
Mark Hummel and
the Blues Survivors THE PHOTOS
APR 25 @ SPACE, Evanston Mark Hummel and
the Blues Survivors THE PHOTOS
APR 28 @ Venue OverDrive The Freddie Dixon Blues Band THE PHOTOS NOTE:The weekly jam is back.
APR 28 @ The Water Hole RickyD and BluesDrüg (formerly RickyD and the Barrelhouse Boys) THE PHOTOS NOTE:You can see this band every last THURS of the month at The Water Hole.
APR 9 @ City News Cafe Low-Reen and Harpdog Hellen THE PHOTOS
APR 24 @ City News Cafe Frank Falduto and Friends THE PHOTOS
WELL, OF COURSE
“There are two means of refuge
from the miseries of life:
music and cats.”
— Andrew Schweitzer
Theologian, organist, musicologist, writer,
humanitarian, philosopher and physician
GET YOUR WALLETS OUT
Dave Weld and the Imperial Flames | Nightwalk RELEASE DATE: May 27 (Delmark)
This latest recording from Dave Weld and his band was produced by Tom Hambridge and includes twelve tracks, 10 of which are originals written by Dave Weld and singer Monica Myhre, partners in music and life. The other two are covers of songs from Weld's mentor, J.B. Hutto. I am sure there will be more than a few CD release parties coming soon. You can catch the band often at the Aloft Hotel on East Ontario (next date: May 26 from 5-9pm) and at Buddy Guy's Legends on Sunday, June 26.
Big Jack Johnson | Stripped Down in Memphis RELEASE DATE: May 20 (M.C. Records)
Johnson is joined by Kim Wilson on four tracks and George "Wild Child" Butler on five tracks–and none of the nine songs have been released before. Songs were recorded in two separate sessions: in 1998 with Butler and in 2000 with Wilson. The Wilson tracks are the unreleased songs from The Memphis Barbecue Sessions, which received a W.C Handy Award for Acoustic Album of the Year.
Al Blake | Doctor Blake's Magic Soul Elixir No. 2 RELEASE DATE: April 29 (Soul Sanctuary)
I've been a fan of Al Blake since his Hollywood Fats days so I was thrilled to see this latest release. Freddy Kaplan and Kirk Fletcher join Blake on this 18-track journey deep into classic blues.
Hank Williams Jr. | Rich White Honky Blues RELEASE DATE: June 17 (Easy Eye Sound)
It's Hank Williams Jr.'s 57th studio album and I like it for a million reasons, not the least of which is that Dan Auerbach recorded the set live, and Williams Jr. is joined by Mississippi Hill Country electric slide guitarist Kenny Brown and Junior Kimbrough's son Kinney on drums. So far, I've hear two tracks and LOVE them both.
Johnny Sansone | Into Your Blues RELEASE DATE: 2022 (ShortStack Records)
Eleven new, original songs with a star-studded list of special guests that include Mike Morgan, Johnny Burgin, Little Freddie King and Jason Ricci.
Trudy Lynn | Golden Girl RELEASE DATE: March 18 (Nola Blue)
Ms. Lynn knows how to celebrate a birthday. For her 75th, she released this recording, her 18th full-length album, which offers fans 11 new tracks of classic R&B and soul blues.
Ry Cooder and Taj Mahal | Get On Board: The Songs of Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee RELEASE DATE: April 22 (Nonesuch)
It's Ry Cooder and Taj Mahal...what else do you need to know? OK...it has been about 60 years since they recorded together AND they are doing the songs of their blues heroes. It's magic.
Henry Gray | Shake a Hand RELEASE DATE: 2022 (Wolf Records)
The 17 songs on this release are from six different concerts and one studio session (1994–1995).
The Blue and the Gold | The Blue and the Gold RELEASE DATE: Spring2022 (Hidden City Records)
I am not even sure how I stumbled on this recording, but WOW. It is the debut album from Juno nominated and WCMA Blues Artist Of The Year Ndidi Oand folk-roots guitarist/banjo player Trish Klein that is a homage to the work of pioneering female blues artists such as Memphis Minnie, Lottie Kimbrough, Victoria Spivey, Jessie Mae Hemphill and Sister Rosetta Tharpe. It was recorded in Vancouver, BC, Canada.
Mavis Staples and Levon Helm | Carry Me Home RELEASE DATE: May 20 (ANTI- Records)
This is another one where I have to say, "What else do you need to know? It's Mavis and Levon." It is, in fact, is the last recording of these two musical giants together––and one of Helm's final performances before his death in 2012. It was recorded in the summer of 2011 at one of Helm's Midnight Ramble shows.
Delbert McClinton | Outdate Emotion RELEASE DATE: May 13 (Hot Shot Records/Thirty Tigers)
The 16 songs on this new studio album from the 81-year-old Texas blues and soul rocker are his favorites from his childhood musical heroes such as Ain't That Lovin' You by Jimmy Reed and Long Tall Sally by Little Richard.
Anthony Geraci | Blues Called My Name RELEASE DATE: May 20 (Blue Heart Records)
Ten new originals from this former member of Sugar Ray and the Bluetones and Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters, with special guest appearances by Anne Harris, Walter Trout, Sugar Ray Norcia, Monster Mike Welch, Erika Van Pelt and The Boston Blues All-Stars.
AND TWO MORE Bonnie Raitt has a new album, Just Like That, that I am not sure could be called a blues album, but I love Bonnie anyway. And, since she never stops touring, you can catch her somewhere soon. For example, she's at Ravinia with Mavis Staples on July 27.
Edgar Winter has also released a new recording, Brother Johnny, dedicated to youknowwho. It is a big musical labor of love that has 17 tracks in 76 minutes featuring guitar slingers such as Billy Gibbons, Derek Trucks, Joe Walsh, Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Warren Haynes. Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins, who died just three weeks before the recording's release, plays on the song, Guess I'll Just Go Away.
AND FINALLY A RE-ISSUE
On June 17, Craft Recordings is set to release an audiophile-quality 180-gram vinyl reissue of Chicago/The Blues/Today! Vol. 1 that features three of Chicago's true blues legends: Junior Wells, J. B. Hutto and Otis Spann.
The next chicagoBLUESnews:
THURS, JUNE 9–JULY 7 Chicago Blues Fest Special Edition (Mails on WED, JUNE 8)
OK...just a few suggestions. If I were you, I would go to:
Mamapalooza at Double Clutch Brewing Co. in Evanston featuring Ivy Ford and Demetria Taylor
Danielle Nicole at Hey Nonny, Arlington Heights
Dave Tepper's Opening Reception for his Photo Exhibit at Trickster Cultural Center in Schaumburg
Charlie Love and the Silky Smooth Blues Band at O'Neil's on Wells
with Jeff Stone, plus Orlando Wright and Ric Hall (from Buddy Guy's Band)
Look at the calendar...there are a zillion other options.
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 shows in nearby states and festivals all over the map that just look fun to me.
BE FULLY VAXXED AND GO HEAR LIVE MUSIC!
BLUES IS A FEELING
Here are just a few of the things that get me through the night.
Direct from Chicago
Eddie Clearwater, Fred Below, Eddie Taylor
A live recording from 1976 and 1977