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A weekly digest of blues news
 
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JAN 8 – FEB 4 2021 
FORWARD TO A FELLOW BLUES LOVER FORWARD TO A FELLOW BLUES LOVER
ARE WE THERE YET?
Since I no longer know where "there" is, I can't answer that question. If the length of my hair and the fogginess of my brain is any indication, 2020 was unusual for more than a million reasons, not the least of which was that it was at least four times as long as a normal year. But, 2021 is finally here and, as reluctant as I am to look back, I will do it anyway. For perspective, I looked at what I wrote last year at this time––and it did not help my mental health:

"I can't say that 2019 was as bad as 2018, but no need to repeat much of it."

Wow...I wonder what I meant by that gloomy comment. Clearly, I had no clue what the word bad really meant. Looking back at 2020, it is too clear that it can in fact always get worse. However, to hold on to the last pieces of my own mental health, I will resurrect my Pollyanna hat. Yes...we will get to hear live music again sometime this year. Yes, we will find our new normal. Will Blues Fest be held? I hope so, but I won't hold my breath. So buckle up! We are still gonna be on a wild ride for a little while longer. 
OUR BEST PHOTOS 
Instead of the 70 or so shows we regularly shoot in a year, last year we made it to just 15. Thankfully, at least one of those events was the 34th Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise, which was even more fun than you would even have expected it to be.
CHECK OUT OUR FAVORITE SHOTS

SAYING GOODBYE
2020 was a particularly tough year for too many reasons. We lost so many members of the blues community that the memories numb me. Our 2020 Obituary page has 95 names on it–and very few of them match the list that Rolling Stone has put out listing the musicians we lost this past year.
TAKE A LOOK
REST IN PEACE

Joseph "Mojo" Morganfield, 56
4.14.64–12.10.20

The tragic death last month of Joe Morganfield, Muddy's youngest son, from a heart attack shocked me to my core. Joe was on the verge of seeing his music career take off this year, had just gotten married months before and was a father to seven children and two stepchildren. Every time we saw him, he had a big smile on his face and was always charming and kind to everyone who approached him.

It was a joyous thing to watch him blossom as a singer and performer channeling his incredible father. We were there when he got on stage at Legends to sing for the first time ever in front of an audience. It was a bit of a rocky start, but he worked hard and got better with each performance. Backed by a stellar group of musicians called the Mannish Boyz (Maurice John Vaughan, Chris Alexander, Rick Kreher and Mike Flynn), he was about to release a new CD on Delmark in 2021. And, just before he died, his newly released single, Good to Be King, was getting good reviews. Such a heartbreaking loss for his family and the Chicago blues community.
READ THE SUN-TIMES OBIT

DEC 8 SUN-TIMES ARTICLE
(published just days before Joe died)
For Joseph ‘Mojo’ Morganfield, making music like his famous dad is a very ‘Good’ thing

HIS NEW SINGLE
Good to Be King
with very special guests Billy Branch, Brother John Kattke and Ronnie Baker Brooks
BUY IT ON DELMARK

A FEW PHOTOS OF AN OLD PERFORMANCE
1.12.18 @ Cuzin's
Joseph Morganfield photo © chicagoBLUESnews

******************************
Hal Yeagy, 63
8.10.57–11.19.20
Yeagy was the much-loved owner of the Slippery Noodle Inn in Indianapolis, who transformed it from a simple lunch counter with two employees to an esteemed blues music destination. He died after a two-year battle with cancer.
READ THE INDIANAPOLIS STAR STORY

READ THE  OBIT

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

Helen Woods Jones
11.14.23–7.25.20

Helen Jones Woods, a trombone player for the 1940s all-female jazz band, the International Sweethearts of Rhythm, died of COVID-19 on July 25 in Sarasota, FL.
READ THE OBIT

HAVE A LISTEN

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

Justin Townes Earle 
1.4.82–8.20.20

Townes Earle was not a blues musician, but he definitely was blues-ish. He was an American singer-songwriter and musician and the son of musician Steve Earle. He had released eight full-length albums before his death by suicide at 38.
TRY TO THINK POSITIVELY
CASTING CALL. Trinity Health is looking for a 50+ male or female that is a passionate musician who is willing to participate on camera in a :15 commercial that will run in the North Dakota region for two years. According to the casting call, "It is preferred, but not required, that that person have some history dealing with a heart condition or neurological condition so that we can portray their experience in an authentic way. Perhaps their ability to participate was impacted by this health issue, but after recovering they are back to their passion." Interested musicians should send the following information to taylerbujnowski@gmail.com:
    •    Name
    •    Contact Info
    •    Age
    •    Location
    •    Photo/"headshot" 
    •    Health history with heart/neuro condition
    •    Field of music that they are passionate about and performance pictures or videos, if available


A FEW NOTES: The filming will be done in Chicago, it is a paid gig (assume scale) and they want the information (of course) ASAP–but definitely no later than "early next week." And, yes, I wondered why a hospital in ND would want to feature Chicago musicians, but didn't get an answer that made any sense to me. Probably why I am not in advertising.

DON'T START ME TALKIN'. I don't have much info right now, but director Kevin Mukherji and writer John McNaughton are supposedly in post-production with a documentary film about Chicago's own Tail Dragger. If I still had a subscription to IMDbPro, I might know more. The poster is kinda fun–and you know that Tail Dragger has more than a few stories to tell from his long career in the blues.

STREAM IT. There's a new streaming radio station online called ROCKIN 247 RADIO. According to its vision statement, it "will cover all  all genres of music"...including rockabilly, rock ’n’ roll, R&B, doo wop, hillbilly, western swing, rockin’ blues, early surf and more.
MUSICIANS: Note that the CONTACT US page has information on how to send your music to stream.
FANS: Send (blues) song requests using the (duh) Song Request link at the top of the website.
LEARN MORE

THINK POSITIVE. At press time, drummer Brian (BJ) Jones (most recently with Frank Bang and the Cook County Kings), was in the ICU at Advocate Christ Hospital. Jones is a highly respected drummer who has recorded with Junior Wells, James Cotton and Otis Rush, and was also the drummer in Magic Slim and The Teardrops. 

DO WE CARE? The 63rd Annual Grammy Awards have been rescheduled from JAN 31 to SUNDAY, MAR 14. The statement released said in part, "After thoughtful conversations with health experts, our host and artists scheduled to appear, we are rescheduling the 63rd Annual GRAMMY Awards to be broadcast Sunday, March 14, 2021. The deteriorating COVID situation in Los Angeles"...yada yada yada.
MY ANNUAL SNARKY GRAMMY COMMENT: It appears that the organizers of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards might dispute the "thoughtful conversations part" because the Grammy show is now on the same day as the SAG Awards. You would think that when they were thinking, they would have made sure their new date did not conflict with another awards show. Or does anyone really care?

FESTIVAL ALERT. Although I have not yet done a deep search to see what fests are scheduled yet, I did randomly come across dates for three great festivals in 2021, if they don't get rescheduled:
APR 9–11 Tampa Bay Blues Festival (St. Petersburg, FL)

JULY 10-11 North Atlantic Blues Festival (Rockland, ME)

OCT 15–17 3rd Annual Logan Center Blues Fest (at the University of Chicago)

And, at least this minute, the 2021 Chicago Blues Festival will be June 4–6.
Send me a note if you know of other 2021 blues festivals coming up.

WALL ART. Our photog buddy Peter Hurley has a 2021 calendar featuring Chicago blues artists that is available through the Chicago Blues Network for $33 (including tax). There's also individual prints you can buy. Proceeds go directly to the performing artists and to the Firehouse Community Arts Center of Chicago in Lawndale.

DISTRACT YOURSELF
WATCH AND LISTEN
NOTHING MORE NEEDS TO BE SAID...EXCEPT MAYBE GOOD RIDDANCE
How Low Can One Man Go?
Yes, this Dave Specter song from his new album, Blues From the Inside Out, is talking about that pathetic (excuse for a) man. It made me laugh just when I needed something to make me smile. And...it features Jorma Kaukonen!

LIVE FROM THE VENUE IN AURORA

1.6.20 Maurice John Vaughan
with Freddie Dixon and John Watkins
DONATE TO THE FOX VALLEY MUSIC ASSN.

FROM THE CHICAGO BLUES NETWORK 
Trading 4s New Year’s Eve Show 2020
Chicago blues from Jimmy Johnson, Billy Flynn, Joanna Connor, Johnny Iguana, Anne Harris, Dave Specter, Peaches Staten, John Kattke and Ivy Ford
DONATE HERE

BLAST FROM THE PAST
International Sweethearts of Rhythm
What a band this was! I learned about them when I read about Helen Woods Jones, a trumpet player for the band who died this past summer at 96.

VIDEO
Dream Land: Little Rock's West 9th Street
In the 1930s, Dreamland was a main stop on the "Chitlin Circuit," showcasing regional and national African-American bands in addition to local musicians, dances, socials, concerts and sporting events. Parts of this documentary are really hard to watch, but it is history that must be told. It shows that what happened in Tulsa's Greenwood District was horrifyingly not an aberration. 

Chitlin' Circuit and the Road to Rock 'N' Roll
A video lecture by Preston Lauterbach based on his 2011 book.

PODCAST
No Border Blues
A podcast from Delmark's Johnny Burgin and producer Stephanie Tice featuring all the blues you never knew existed from around the world. Right now, there are five episodes.
The next chicagoBLUESnews:  
FRIDAY, FEB 5 2021

(Mails on THURS, FEB 4)
STAY ON THE COUCH!
I highly recommend some form of winter coping, Scandinavian style, but if you do have to leave your humble abode, please wear your damn mask (says the crabby Karen). 

FIND SOME MORE MUSIC ONLINE
 chicagoBLUESnews Online Calendar 
The calendar is being updated now and then.... so keep looking.

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

In the meantime, listen to blues online. A quick spin on Facebook will find a lot of options to get your blues fix.
NEW (AND NOT SO NEW) MUSIC

New Moon Jelly Roll Freedom Rockers | Volume 1
RELEASE DATE: 9.4.20 | Stony Plain Records
I will admit that at first I just liked the name–and then I was all in when I saw who was on this recording, which was made back in January 2008: Charlie Musselwhite, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Jimbo Mathus, Jim Dickinson, Luther Dickinson and Cody Dickinson. This is the music  I want to listen to 24/7. Sadly, Jim Dickinson (father of Luther and Cody) passed in the summer of 2009.
BIG NEWS: Vol. 2 is coming in the spring with 11 more songs!

Dave Alvin |
From an Old Guitar: Rare and Unreleased Recordings
RELEASE DATE: 11.20.20 | Yep Roc Records
Sixteen songs (mostly covers) that range from acoustic folk rock to hard rockers from one of my all-time blues-ish favorites

John Lee Hooker | Live at Montreux 1983 & 1990
RELEASE DATE: 11.6.20 | Eagle Rock
A double LP (yes, vinyl) of John Lee's performances (with the Coast to Coast Blues Band) at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1983 and 1990. 

John Németh | Stronger Than Strong
RELEASE DATE: 8.14.20 | Nola Blue
Twelve tracks (10 originals) from this energetic singer/harp player

Lucky Losers | Godless Land
RELEASE DATE: 7.14.20 | Vizz Tone
It's the fourth recording for this hot San Francisco band, led by Cathy Lemons and Phil Berkowitz. From the bawdy, jazzy blues of the 1920s through the R&B/soul of the early 1970s, there is something for everyone on this recording, which has nine original tracks out of 12. 

COMING SOON
Selwyn Birchwood | Living In A Burning House
RELEASE DATE: 1.29.20 | Alligator
It's Birchwood's third release on Alligator and showcases this singer/songwriter and lap steel player at his best. It's produced by Grammy Winner Tom Hambridge and includes 13 originals.

Curtis Salgado | Damage Control
RELEASE DATE: 2.26.21 | Alligator
Salgado puts out the kind of soul-tinged blues that I love...and it sounds like you can expect more of the same in this perfect stew of old school rock, R&B, soul and gospel.
PLAN AHEAD
I am having a hard time right now thinking about planning for the future, BUT...the folks at Hey Nonny in Arlington Heights apparently have more faith than I do and have announced that they will reopen in March (yes, in just a couple of months!):
Two shows a night (7 and 9pm)
MARCH 18 Joanna Connor
APRIL 1 The Kinsey Report
APRIL 15 Smiley Tillmon Band
APRIL 29 Duke Tumatoe
MAY 19  Jason Narducy and Dag Juhlin
Celebrating Pete Townsend's birthday
(The listing says blues rock, but I am not sure about that.)

 
Jan 8
Shirley Bassey
 
Jan 10
Marcelo Zaine
Jimmy Vivino
 
Jan 12
Mark Maddox
Johnny Laws 
 
Jan 13
Kid Ramos
 
Jan 14
Clarence Carter
 
Jan 16
Barbara Lynn
Jennifer Littleton (B.L.U.E.S.)
 
Jan 17
Carlos Johnson
E.G. Kight 
 
Jan 18
Luther Dickinson
Miles Minor
Katherine Davis
 
Jan 19
Christone "Kingfish" Ingram
Charlie Love
 
Jan 21
Kenny Kinsey
Zora Young
 
Jan 22
Janine Judge
(Blues Heaven Foundation)
 
Jan 23
Ronnie Baker Brooks
Jan 24
Aaron Neville
Johnny Belle Moore
 
Jan 26
Jerron "Blind Boy" Paxton
Huey “Piano” Smith
 
Jan 27
Kevin Johnson
 
Jan 28
Lori Lewis
Bob “O” Walesa
Arnell Powell
 
Jan 29
Louis Pérez Jr.
Tom Crivellone

Jan 30
Rebecca Anne Lovell
Samantha Fish
Karen Carroll 
 
Jan 31
Charlie Musselwhite
 
Feb 1
Sonny Landdreth
Jeff Dale
 
Feb 2
Terry “Sonny Lee” Tritt
 
Feb 3
Brandon Santini
 
Feb 4
Curtis Salgado
Jeremy Powell
Frank Falduto
Jason Ricci
BIRTHDAY REMEMBRANCES
Jan 8
Tampa Red
Elvis Presley
 
Jan 9
Ishmon Bracey
 
Jan 10
Buddy Johnson
Sam Chatmon
Eddy Clearwater
 
Jan 11
Katie Webster
Slim Harpo
 
Jan 12
Ruth Brown
Mississippi Fred McDowell
Jay McShann
Long John Baldry
 
Jan 14
Allen Toussaint
Paul "Lil' Buck" Alton Sinegal
 
Jan 15
Earl Zebedee Hooker
Robert Wilkins
 
Jan 16
Lester "Mad Dog" Davenport
 
Jan 19
Henry Gray

Jan 20
Huddie “Leadbelly” Ledbetter
Luther Tucker
John Campbell
Jan 21
Snooks Eaglin

Jan 22
Robert "Big Mojo" Elem
Hammie Nixon
Sam Cooke
 
Jan 25
Little Mack Simmons
Sleepy John Estes
Blind Willie Johnson
Etta James
 
Jan 26
Guitar Shorty
(aka John Henry Fortescue)
 
Jan 27
Andrew "Smokey" Hogg
Elmore James
Bobby "Blue" Bland
 
Jan 28
Cash McCall
 
Jan 29
Bobby King
Eddie Taylor
 
Jan 31
Roosevelt Sykes
Chuck Willis
Paul deLay
 
Feb 1
Leroy Foster
James P. Johnson
Finis Tasby
BELATED BIRTHDAY WISHES
Dec 14
Linda Hopkins
 
Jan 1
Mama Yancey
TENTATIVE 2021 SCHEDULE
(All newsletters mail on Thursday, the day before the issue date)
JAN 8–FEB 4
FEB 5–MAR 4
MAR 5–APR 8
APR 9–MAY 6
MAY 7–JUNE 3
and more TBD

Alway subject to change in our crazy world.
 
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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